When ordinary guy, E.J. McCarty, crosses paths with not-so-ordinary Annie Wilson, extraordinary things happen. For E.J., it’s the start of a great adventure. For Annie, it’s an escape from colossal failure. But thanks to fate--and Amtrak--they’re thrust together on the cross-country ride of their lives.
E.J. and Annie like each other, so what’s the problem? Rock star/actress Cassandra Lawrence is the problem. Despite their obvious attraction to each other, Cassandra’s history in show biz and distrustful nature conspire to keep them apart.
Can E.J. break down the walls Cassandra has built around Annie? Can Annie learn to trust E.J. enough to let him even try? And what’s with E.J.’s bizarre dreams about the North Star? From Chicago, through the heartland and all the way to the Malibu Pier, they struggle to accept that while faith, hope and love are important, trust is the key to the future.
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Mmm, those cinnamon rolls are to die for. And in answer to your question, it's going totally fab. Enjoying cinnamon rolls and hanging out with you, what more could a guy ask for!Oh make a girl blush! lol Alright now, I'm curious about your first book--Fallen Star. If you had 10 seconds to hook someone what would you tell them about EJ and Annie's adventure?
Come along on a cross country adventure of a lifetime with ordinary E.J. and not so ordinary Annie. You're guaranteed to fall for them as they come to trust and then fall for each other.Gah that would totally work for me. I love cross country adventures. So, can you tell us 3 fun/sexy/silly/interesting/etc behind the scenes facts about Fallen Star?? Think Pop-Up Video style.
For starters, my wife Nancy read an early version of Fallen Star. When she finished, she looked at me, shook her head, and said, "Dude, you need to learn how to think like a girl." I have now spent countless hours in my never-ending quest to learn to think like a woman.
Next, many of the places Annie and E.J. visit on their trip, like the City Museum, Jazz Museum, and Malibu Bluffs Park, are real. I had a blast researching actual landmarks I could weave into the story. My favorite was the City Museum in St. Louis. If you get a chance, go!
Last, but not least, Annie's song Where are You is based on Ingrid Michaelson's hit single Maybe. I was struggling to find the right ending to the story, when I heard an acoustic version of Maybe. In an instant, it was like the clouds parted, everything fell into place, and I had my ending.
Oh the City Museum looks like a blast! Gorgeous song too. I'd love to hear a bit more about your characters. What's the first thing that comes to mind about EJ?
He's a good guy who's been dealt some pretty lousy cards in recent years, but he still inherently sees the good in people, and in the world. Oh, and he could use a haircut.LOL EJ and I have that hair bit in common it seems. What about Annie? Was there just that something that had you melting for her?
Oh my God, I could go on for hours about Annie. What I love most about her is that she's smart, tough, talented, and beautiful in a very natural way. Yet she's also very alone in the world. She's worked very hard to maintain this façade of impenetrable strength, but inside is a woman who wants to love, and be loved for who she truly is. That's a dichotomy I can really empathize with.Oh Annie sounds like a heroine I would really love. Any fantabulous quotes from the two you just loved? Or think totally sum up these them and their romance?
A scene that really captures their relationship is when they're at an amusement park in Las Vegas. They love to tease each other, and this exchange gives us Annie and E.J. at their best.
We started with one of those rides that takes you up a few stories and then drops you like a rock. I think Annie kept her eyes closed the whole time. I screamed during the entire drop just to annoy her.
From there we went on a spinning ride that left Annie laughing like a crazy person and me with weak knees. When I asked to sit down for a minute, she gave me a pitying look.
"Oh, what's the matter Mr. Thrill Seeker? Can't hack spinning around a few times?"
After getting flipped around enough that I felt like my lungs had permanently switched places with my stomach, we got in line for the roller coaster.
"Looking a little green around the gills there, McCarty. Sure you can handle both loops?" Annie gave me an evil grin after we'd watched the coaster run a few times.
"I can handle whatever you're dishing out, Wilson."
"Ha! E.J., you have no idea who you're tangling with."
"Perhaps not." Our turn had come up. "But I know enough to know that you look really hot when you're picking on me."
Annie stared, eyes wide and mouth open.
The gate swung aside. "Ladies first."
She shook her head and stepped into the car without a word.
I have, as a matter of fact. Part of my research for Fallen Star included taking the same cross country train trip Annie and E.J. took. My wife and I drove from our home in Indianapolis to Chicago and then took the train all the way to Las Vegas, where we spent a few days on "research." We had so much fun, and I learned a ton. I really think that authenticity comes through in the story.Oh my gosh. How fun! I would love to do something like that one day. So. I'm a little curious and okay, okay. Pretty fascinated by male romance authors since the vast majority of romance authors are women. What was it that pulled you towards writing the genre?
Okay, this answer's going to take a while, so you all may want to grab another cinnamon roll. On May 1, 2009, Nancy was diagnosed with breast cancer. I'm not going to lie, I was scared out of my wits, because while I was hoping for the best, I was still fearful of the worst. At the time our sons were twelve and eight, and the thought of them losing their mother was almost paralyzing. Fortunately, she responded well to treatment, and by the end of November of that year,she was declared cancer-free.
Like many cancer caregivers, going through that experience changed me. I wasn't content with just going back to my life B.C. (before cancer). There had to be something I could do to share my experiences as a care giver with others, so that maybe expressing what I went through might help someone else one day.
I flailed around for a while, wanting to do something, but clueless as to what that something should be. Finally, in the summer of 2011, Annie and E.J. started knocking on the inside of my head, asking for their story to be told. I started writing the story without giving it much thought beyond it being this cross country trip a guy and a girl share.
It wasn't until I was about a hundred pages into my first draft when I realized I was writing a romance. At first I freaked. After all, what business did I, a forty something married dude with two kids, have writing romance? That's when it hit me. The things I was writing about--trust, faith, beating the odds--were the very things Nancy and I went through during her cancer treatment. Eureka!
I became a romance writer because the themes we explore every day in romance are the most basic, and most important, themes in our day to day lives--trust in one another, faith in ourselves and our partner, hope that we'll win whatever battles we may face, and love, because without love, we're all alone. Those are the themes that compel me to write.
And to close the circle on this story, becoming a romance writer also let me tell my story as a cancer caregiver. You can read that story in Wish Upon a Star. Okay, it's not my story blow by blow, but there is an awful lot of the real thing in there.Oh goodness. So glad Nancy kicked ass. What a scary time. That's wonderful that you're wanting to share and help others with the experience as a caregiver and that you were able to find a new outlet for yourself.
Do you think there's a different feel to a romance written from the male POV? Anything you think stands out compared to those written by a female author?
I don't know if there is a different feel, per se, but I have had a number of readers tell me they really enjoyed being able to get so deep into a hero's head thanks to the story being written from the male POV.
My readers might be better ones to ask this question than me! LOL Honestly, I hope not. The job of the author, regardless of gender, is to tell a story so engrossing that the reader forgets about the author. I think female authors who have done their homework know how to tell stories from the male POV in a way that is completely convincing.
At the end of the day, we are all storytellers who should be free to write those stories that matter to them. If the story is a good one, the author's gender shouldn't matter.
So...some quickies! Favorite "couldn't live without it" snack?
Popcorn. Without it, life simply wouldn't be worth living.Weirdest thing in your purse right now?
I suppose my computer bag serves as my man purse, so that will have to do. I've got an SD card that's been there so long, I have no idea what's stored on it!:facepalm: You are such a trooper! I totally meant to change that to room for you but...computer bag works too. lol Thank ya for ignoring my blogger girl "moment" ::snort::
Favorite office supply?
Paper clips - I HATE staples.Plain socks or totally wacky?
Mostly plain, but I have some killer socks with bicycle on them I love!Oh those sound fun! I love neat socks like that. I'm completely obsessed with?
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. GPN is a fantabulous band and Grace Potter just happens to be the real life Cassandra Lawrence. If you haven't checked them out, you need to.Something you'd totally do if you could get away with it?
Walk up to Donald Trump, mess up his hair, and then tell him he's fired!Best ever...?
Place to get lucky (nudge, nudge, wink, wink)--Las Vegas, baby!Bwhaha. Nice. ::snort:: So, before you head out, what's up next for you?
I have a new series based on a small college campus called The Irving Series. My agent is shopping the first book, currently called On the Rebound. It's a redemption story about a disgraced basketball coach who crosses paths with a beautiful, but mistrustful, academic advisor and the hoops they have to jump through on their way to falling in love.Oh that sounds so good. I love all books of the sporty romance variety. We'll keep paws crossed for good news :) Thanks so much for dropping in and visiting with the herd Jim! Hope you have a great day!
No, no, thank you, Anna. This has been a treat worthy of a plateful of cinnamon rolls. My day's been made visiting with you. Hope you have a great one, too!
And thank you to everyone for stopping by. Hope to chat with you again soon!
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