Wordy Wednesday – Interview with Author Bella Leone

I can’t tell y’all how happy I am to have the lovely Bella Leone stop by for an interview this week. See, this girl right here? Yeah, she’s kind of why I started taking writing seriously in the first place. She was my very first CP/beta, and the first person who gave me encouragement to pursue this crazy writing thing. Now, we’re celebrating the release of her first full-length novel, a M/M Adult Romance entitled DOWNPOUR. From its Goodreads blurb:

Weathering one of the fiercest storms of your life can seem almost impossible, but once you’re through it, things can be a whole lot brighter. Markus Simmons, a pre-med student who moonlights as a barista, narrates as he and his long-time crush, Clinton Stewart, learn more about themselves and what they’re willing to go through to heal and be together.

It took weeks before Markus knew his crush’s name. It took months of serving him coffee every morning before Markus learned that Clinton was an American History major. It took nearly six months into their senior year at UC Davis before Markus accidentally found out that Clinton had no family, few friends, and rather than the dorms, he actually lived in the library.

Let’s get started, my dearest Bella. When you sent me the idea for DOWNPOUR almost a year ago, I flailed like the fangirl I am. And now, here you are with your book in your hands. To say I’m excited would be the biggest understatement of the century. Can you tell the readers a little bit about the inspiration for the book?

I can’t believe it was March of 2012 that this idea came. It seems so long ago, but then again only eight months. I was hit with this idea while grocery shopping with my husband (2nd time for those keeping track. HAPPY HOUR came at the grocery too.) and while we were walking around I happened to see a homeless man who we’ve seen before walk in and head toward the Starbucks kiosk just inside the store. Before he got to the counter, a very handsome young barista came around the counter with a cup in hand and gave it to the man. They exchanged a few words and the man walked out while the barista went on to help other guests. I was just kind of dumbfounded. Immediately I texted you, Chelle, and asked what you thought and mentioned it to my husband as we walked to the check out. Both of you liked it, so I went right home and did a quick outline. I also found this picture when trying to find characters. It fits so perfectly.

28 days later, I had 55,000 words.

(Michelle note – I remember you sending me that picture! Sigh. Brings back so many memories.)

You know how I love “casting” my characters. Who do you picture as your Markus and Clint?

Markus was always African American and Japanese American in my head because that’s who I saw actually do the coffee giving. I found a guy on a modeling headshot site soon after that was quite similar and I wish I knew his name. He is so beautiful.

As for Clint, he came later. The man in the store was older – maybe by ten or more years. As my story unfolded in my head, I made him more of an equal to Mark. At first I imagined someone like Paul Walker, but he was too big. My dear writer buddy Kat introduced me to Chase Crawford and it was kismet. I’d never seen him before but he’ll forever be my Clinton Stewart with his shaggy curly blond hair and a little grin.

Jesse morphed into the love child of Paul Walker and Kellan Lutz. He’s just that all American athlete who looks better shirtless.

Peter was always Peter Facinelli from Can’t Hardly Wait or Nurse Jackie combined with David Tenent of Doctor Who fame. He must have a sweater vest though!

I love Markus because he’s such a dreamer and do-gooder. I adore Clint, even though he breaks my heart at times. What about them makes you love these guys?

Exactly what you said. Markus is a Pollyanna. He sees the good in everything. It’s why he doesn’t turn his back on Clint. It’s his drive to be a doctor. He’s just one of the good guys almost to a fault.
Clint is the underdog. I love that he went from being a prince who had everything to a pauper with nothing. He wants to be closed and bitter but he can’t. Love is in charge.

You’re what I lovingly refer to as a fluffernutter. You and I – we love the fluff. Of course, there are plenty of romances out there for readers to choose from. Tell us what makes DOWNPOUR different from the other romances.

I’d like to think it’s well written as anything published should be, but I also think it’s special because it’s based on something real. And Mark and Clint come alive. Their story is one that happens all the time. It’s a real story and a lot of the details are from real people.

DOWNPOUR has a few secondary characters who are just as amazing as the main fellas. Do we have any chance of seeing more of them in the future? 😉

Yes. The second book will be about Peter and Jesse. Writing that now. The third book will be Tyson’s story. He’s another character to fall in love with! His story is partly done and pretty angsty.

Thanks so much for stopping by, my dear. DOWNPOUR is available now!

Thank you for letting me come by for a visit! I hope you all enjoy the story!
Bella

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