|Click Here to Buy!|
Today it's my pleasure to welcome author Elyse Mady! Elyse's latest novel, LEARNING CURVES, releases today from Carina Press.
About The Book:
Leanne Galloway has no time for dating; her focus is on launching her academic career. Dragged along to her childhood frenemy Gillian's bachelorette party at a male strip club, she just wants to get through the evening—but she can't help interfering when Gillian sends a note to a sexy dancer proposing a hot hookup.
Brandon Myles is working backstage at the Foxe's Den to fund his post-graduate studies in dance, but he's forced onstage when the headliner fails to show up. He feels a surprisingly strong connection with a quiet woman watching from a table full of tipsy bridesmaids, and he's delighted when she appears backstage after his set.
After a scorching spontaneous encounter, Leanne and Brandon agree to go their separate ways. But they're both grad students on a small campus, and avoiding each other and denying their attraction won't work for long, especially when a jealous rival appears, determined to ruin both their academic careers.
Welcome, Elyse! Tell us a little about yourself.
Writer. Mom. And as of this coming Thursday, married for a whole 10 years to a wonderful guy. (Seriously, don't know how that happened. I swear, I was finishing school and looking for my first job yesterday. Now, we're hitting double digits?! But they've been a great ten years and I'm looking forward to a bunch more :) I live in Hamilton, Ontario and wear several different writing and working hats: in addition to my contemporary and historical romance with Carina, I also write magazine articles for a half dozen or so different publications and teach literature and film at a local college.
Describe Leanne Galloway and Brandon Myles the hero and heroine of Learning Curves, and what inspired you to create them.
Leanne and Brandon are wonderful characters who are completely convinced that romance is something that other people need. It's not that they have anything against falling in love but they've both got really definite reasons for why it can't be them. Of course, disabusing them of that notion entails lots of steamy encounters, some hard personal realizations and sacrifices on both their parts before they can learn differently.
The germ of the story appeared when I was thinking about applying to do my doctorate a couple of years ago. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure, applying for a graduate degree is almost a full time job. 20 million forms (and each university has their own process), grant applications to fund your research (the universities pay their grad students a very small amount to cover tuition but they like you better if you bring your own research money!) reference letters, interviews. It's craziness, like filing your annual taxes times about....a gazillion. It becomes all-consuming, and people legitimately get very invested in the process because it is their future career on the line. At the same time, I started wondering about what some of the students I was talking to would do when they were done being professional students? What else would there be for them outside of their books and the rarefied experience that an academic life can become because they were pouring everything into this one goal and it seemed like a very limited way to live a life?
Leanne marched into my mind a little bit later, very determined to convince me that she was fine, thank you very much, and I should go write someone else's story. So of course I didn't. And then I bumped into Brandon, who was rambling around my subconscious and I knew that they would be perfect together. Leanne thinks she's very logical and focused but in reality she has this really tender heart while Brandon is a dancer who relies on his body for expression but has cut himself off from his emotions. I had way too much fun twisting them into pretzels until their HEA, I tell yah!
How much research was involved in writing Learning Curves?
A lot of the story is based on personal experience, rather than research per say. Not, mind you, that I met my husband while he was dancing at a strip club. Lovely fellow, adore him to pieces, but lets just say he dances like the farm boy he once was. A lot of Robot Chicken, in other words! But I've lived as a graduate student, done the late nights and the non-existent budget and the lengthy papers and I know the world well. I wrote this story over the course of a couple of years, and actually wrote the first draft while I was doing my Masters so a lot of the small elements: the crummy office Leanne shares with her friend, the bad student essays, the campus layout, the atmosphere in other words, are cobbled together from a wide range of my own experiences, just reordered and shaped to fit the story.
But as I've assured several of my friends that I went to school with, all my characters are fictional. Unless, of course, I didn't like you and then absolutely, the girl in chapter three who gets run over by a Mac truck? Yeah, totally based on a real person! LOL Because I'm the author and I can smite you as I please (Disclaimer: no one *actually* gets run over in the book, in Chapter 3 or otherwise! :))
What appeals to you about writing romance?
I like writing about people who feel things. Although I enjoy a wide range of book styles and am a big science fiction fan, I tend to gravitate towards real life situations in my own stories. So no alternate universes, shapeshifters, sparkly vampires or the like. And as of yet, no ultra-rich sheik billionaires or English venture capitalists. I like to explore the challenges inherent in any successful relationship and see how people balance all of the competing pressures in their life successfully.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Panster all the way, baby. I don't even write my books in order. I build out from a scene, connecting them together very organically as I write. Of course, once I have a completed draft, I'm a little more conventional but I find that letting the story tell itself works best for me.
What is your writing schedule like?
I try and write four afternoons out of seven. My mornings are generally given over to exciting things like laundry and shifting the family detritus around. Evenings are often very busy with activities and it can be hard to be creative when I'm tired so the routine gives me a chance to write something regularly and keeps my characters front of mind.
Can you tell us what you're working on now?
I'll have my third Carina Press title released at the end of September. "Something So Right" is another contemporary, set in Northern Canada. It's a friends-to-lovers storyline that explores the lingering effects of surviving an abusive relationship and the vulnerabilties inherient in falling in love again. I'm really excited about it. Then I'm 2/3rds of the way through my fourth novel, which will be coming out early in 2012. It's a departure for me. Although my first novella was set in the Regency, it was completely fictional. This is historical fiction. It's based on a notorious gay brothel raid; the men who were arrested and tried were known as the Vere St. Coterie. I've found it very exciting balancing the need for historical accuracy with a story that respects the characters as I've imagined them.
Then I've got a few more pots boiling for future stories: a prequel to "The Debutante's Dilemma", a linked pair of Regency novels with a very distinctive hero and a couple of new contemporaries.
Do you have a website or blog?
I do. And I tweet.
Readers can find me at www.elysemady.wordpress.com and on twitter at @elysemady.
What good books have you read recently that you'd like to recommend?
I really enjoyed "The Mistress of Nothing" by Kate Pullinger. It's historical fiction set in 1860s Egypt and the writing is gripping. It explores a time and place in history I knew little about.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Write, write and then write some more. And when you're not writing, read. Workshops and connections and a great blog are all important elements to a successful career, but in the end, your work is what your reputation will sink or fail on.
Thanks for stopping by, Elyse! Congrats on your new release ; ).
Thanks so much for having me today, Angela. I really enjoyed having a chance to talk about my new book. I'd love to give one of your readers a chance to win a copy of "Learning Curves" in their choice of eformat. Before they get together, both Brandon and Leanne have a lot of trouble living a well-rounded, balanced life. And that's something not just fictional characters have trouble with. I'd like to know what they do to balance work and life? How do they find time for themselves? Family? Romance?