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

Wordy Wednesday – Interview with Author Nina Post

Happy Wednesday, everyone! As I’m sure y’all know, whenever I read a great book, I love running here to tell you guys about it. Well, today, we’re mixing it up a bit. I’m not just going to tell you about my most recent read – I had the pleasure of interviewing the author of the book!

Nina Post, the author of One Ghost Per Serving, was kind enough to sit down and answer a few of my questions.

Eric Snackerge has had a rough time lately. After being possessed by a mischievous spirit, he lost his scholarship and got blamed for a scandal that left him blacklisted from the legal profession. Now he’s working two minimum wage jobs and is desperate to show his wife and daughter that he can put his life back together — before his best-friend-turned-enemy swoops in and steals his family away.

When Eric learns about an unusual contest, he realizes that winning the grand prize will help him make his daughter’s dreams come true. But he’ll have to overcome his own self-doubt — not to mention the seemingly impossible odds — in order to achieve that goal.

However, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill sweepstakes. Everyone who eats the product develops an insatiable craving for more. Plus, the people behind the contest are dispatching everything from spy cameras to attack helicopters to make sure that Eric doesn’t get any further.

As Eric soon learns, the contest was only the first phase of a much larger plan. If the villains are successful, they will spread a dangerous supernatural pathogen throughout the food supply. But with distribution of the tainted products already underway, does Eric have what it takes to stop their plan and protect his family from being the next victims?

Hi Nina! I’m so excited to have the opportunity to interview you. You
just released your second book, One Ghost Per Serving, through
Curiosity Quills. Can you tell us a little bit about your inspiration
for the book? How did it unfold for you?

I’m thrilled to have the opportunity. Part of the inspiration for
Ghost sparked when our favorite brand of yogurt started running a
contest on the lids. I began keeping the lids in a drawer, but my
husband and I realized that despite the ridiculous number of yogurts
we bought on a monthly basis, at least one piece was always missing.
It seemed impossible to win even the most nominal prize.

Around the same time, I was reading about yokai, which are
supernatural creatures in Japanese mythology, some of which used to be
human or were inanimate objects that came to life after a certain
period of time. Many had specific roles or tasks, particularly in the
household.

I also read that people who are most susceptible to spirit possession
(not that I necessarily believe in that) have low self-esteem. So I
put my character in a support group for Spirits, Sprites, Apparitions
and Disincarnate Essences, with the tagline “Do you want to stop
possessing humans with low self-esteem and get some self-esteem of
your own?”

Your main character, Eric, has had a rough go at things thanks to his
ghostly companion. If you had to describe Eric in one word, what would
it be?

I would describe him as “self-doubting”. Sure, he lost eighteen months
of his life when he drank a free sample of POUNCE! and was possessed
by Rex, an unusually strong spirit. But his state at the beginning is
a result of not believing in himself or his abilities. He and Rex
develop a complicated possessor/possessee relationship, and Eric
doesn’t trust that Rex is actually his friend, even though he seeks
his guidance.


As a writer, I know that characters become near and dear to an
author’s heart. What was your favorite part about writing Eric?

My favorite part about writing Eric was putting him through the
ringer. He needed to face all of these obstacles during his quest to
win a seemingly impossible contest. Then, I could get him to a place
where he’s stronger, learns to trust his own gut (a probiotic pun),
and take charge of his own life.

Overall, which character was your favorite to write?

That’s a tough one to answer, because I really did have a lot of fun
writing every character. But I would say it was Taffy, the acerbic
twelve-year-old who’s afraid of nothing, totally comfortable with who
she is, and obsessed with food borne-pathogens and zoonotic diseases.
She’s the one Eric is going to all this trouble for.

You incorporate so much humor into the book, but are still able to
maintain the steady storyline. That can be a delicate balance, so your
ability to do so is pretty awesome. Do you have any comedic
inspirations? Any authors you look up to in general?

Thank you! I have many comedic inspirations, but I’ll list some I
haven’t mentioned elsewhere: I love Woody Allen (his humorous essays
were a big influence on me), The Office (original), This is Spinal
Tap, Gene Wilder, Eddie Izzard, Absolutely Fabulous.

As for authors, I admire pretty much any author who works hard and
treats people well.

Do you actually believe in ghosts, or just enjoy writing about them?

No, but “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are
dreamt of in your philosophy.”

Are there any new releases in 2012, or even 2013, that you’re dying to
get your hands on?

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but I can think of several. MR. REAL by
Carolyn Crane, AMERICAN ELSEWHERE by Robert Jackson Bennett, IN
SUNLIGHT AND IN SHADOW by Mark Helprin, LIVE BY NIGHT by Dennis
Lehane, DODGER by Terry Pratchett.

And now, a few quickfires:

Favorite writing snack? When I’m writing, I usually stick to just
coffee or gum, but I also like Granny Smith apples.

Favorite TV show? Pete & Pete.

Favorite movie? The Wizard of Oz.

One person that makes you laugh until you cry? My husband!

Jelly Beans or Jelly Bellies (and yes, there’s totally a right
answer)?
Jelly Belly. They have a flavor enhancing process that my
candy-making character Taffy would respect.

Once again, thanks so much for allowing me to interview you, Nina. One Ghost Per Serving is now available, and can be picked up at Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Also, if you visit the book’s Goodreads page, Nina is having a giveaway. Enter for a chance to win a copy!

Nina Post


Nina Post is a fiction writer who lives in downtown Chicago. She is the author of ONE GHOST PER SERVING and THE LAST CONDO BOARD OF THE APOCALYPSE, both from Curiosity Quills Press. Her very early cultural influences include Steve Martin’s comedy albums, Chuck Jones, and MAD magazine. She likes spending time with her husband, reading, running, and information gathering.