Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Interview with Monica Murphy, Author of Owning Violet + Giveaway! (US/Can only)

I'd like to welcome the lovely Monica Murphy, to the blog today to celebrate the exciting release of Owning Violet from Bantam. You guys may know Monica from her explosive One Week Girlfriend series—what a delight to get to know her a bit today!

Welcome to Books à la Mode, Monica! Let's get this interview started.

Will you please share a brief introduction with us?

New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author Monica Murphy is a native Californian who lives in the foothills below Yosemite with her husband and three children. She’s a workaholic who loves her job. When she’s not busy writing, she also loves to read and travel with her family. She writes new adult and contemporary romance and is published with Bantam and Avon. She also writes romance as USA Today bestselling author Karen Erickson, and is published with Samhain Publishing, Entangled Brazen, and Bliss.

It's amazing to get to feature you today, Monica! Readers, here's a bit about the book, which hits shelves today:

New York Times bestselling author Monica Murphy begins a sexy new contemporary romance series—perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Emma Chase—that introduces three sisters born to wealth, raised to succeed, ready to love, destined to make waves.

I’ve moved through life doing what’s expected of me. I’m the middle daughter, the dutiful daughter. The one who braved a vicious attack and won. The one who devoted herself to her family’s cosmetics empire. The one who met an ambitious man and fell in love. We were going to run Fleur Cosmetics together, Zachary and I.

Until he got a promotion and left me in the dust. Maybe it’s for the best, between his disloyalty and his wandering eye. But another man was waiting for me. Wanting me. He too has an overwhelming thirst for success, just like Zachary—perhaps even more so. He’s also ruthless. And mysterious. I know nothing about Ryder McKay beyond that he makes me feel things I’ve never experienced before.

One stolen moment, a kiss, a touch... and I’m hooked. Ryder’s like a powerful drug and I’m an addict who doesn’t want to be cured. He tells me his intentions aren’t pure and I believe him. For once I don’t care. I’m willing to risk everything just to be with him. Including my heart. My soul.

My everything.
Buy the book from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository | Books-A-Million | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play | Publisher

Describe the Owning Violet in six words.

Sexy, mysterious, hot, dark, glamorous, love. :)

How did you arrive at writing NA romance?

I was flat out inspired by all of the wonderful NA out there in 2012 and decided hey, I want to write one. So I did and that became One Week Girlfriend. I decided to self publish it under a new name (I also write as Karen Erickson) because I thought, if it failed, no one would know.

To my surprise, it didn't fail. Karen got jealous, Monica took over, and the rest is history.

What was the inspiration for the book?

Owning Violet is the first book in The Fowler Sisters series. I've always wanted to write about three sisters named after flowers. I've been cleaning out my office and I found notes about those sisters from as far back as 2007! And do you get why they're named Fowler? Switch the letters around and you get... flower. (!)

I wanted to write something sexy and glamorous, set in the fashion industry (cosmetics, close enough). I wanted to create an alpha hero who was up to no good. I wanted a heroine who would slay the hero emotionally. All of those things came together and created Owning Violet.

I can't wait to read it—it's exactly my type of setup. As a huge fan of first lines, I’d love to hear the first line of Owning Violet. Could you give us a brief commentary on it?
Tonight, my life is going to change.
It's from Violet's perspective and yes indeed, her life IS going to change, but not in the way she expected it. She has things planned out. Her job, her love life... she thinks her boyfriend is going to propose to her. But she's wrong. Everything is turned on its head and she has to adjust to that.

I also started one of the last chapters in the book with that line (something I've never done before). By then she's come full circle.

Love it, absolutely love it. That line would send shivers down my spine reading it later! Are the characters from your book based off anyone you know in real life? How much else of your actual life gets written into your fiction?

An author said a long time ago that a little bit of herself appears in every character she creates and I have to agree. I think all of my characters share one of my traits. Now, I've never lived in NYC, I've never worked for a cosmetics company (though I did work at a department store, is that close? LOL), everything I write comes from my imagination.

But lines... small moments, references, even the occasional one-off character name... comes from my life. I just won't tell you exactly what. *winks*

How do you react to a negative or harsh review to your books?

Everyone has an opinion. My books won't appeal to everyone. I'm thankful for every thoughtful review that's written. I try not to react at all when I read a bad one, though some can sting, I won't lie. I certainly don't respond to bad reviews because that's just asking for trouble.

Agreed, one of my biggest pet peeves in the reviewing world is when authors ARGUE with a reader's perfectly well-formulated opinion!

Blog babes, click "Read more" to find out Monica's random favorites, what makes her book stand out from every other romance written, as well as her best personal and professional advice. We're also hosting a giveaway for a finished copy of Owning Violet, so you don't want to miss that either!

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Some randomness...

Favorite kind of chocolate? Dark, milk, white, coffee-flavored, the kind with nuts or berries inside?? I love white chocolate!

What kind of kid were you in high school?  I was active but not super popular. I was on the school newspaper (of course!), I got decent grades, I had a boyfriend, I had good friends and we did lots of stupid goofy stuff. High school was fun.

Favorite quote from Owning Violet“Wear something sexy.”
“To work?” I’m shocked by his request. And aroused.
“Beneath the clothes, Violet. Wear your armor.” He smiles. “And then wear a little something that will slay me underneath it.”

How do you get over heartbreak?  Ice cream is a cure-all for most anything.

Agreed ;) Currently reading? The Invitation series by Roxy Sloane!

Currently wearing? Sweats and a T-shirt with a hoodie cuz it's cold.

Most visited websites? Facebook and WeHeartIt lately (get lots of inspiration there!)

Favorite vegetable? Asparagus!

Biggest celebrity crush? Too many to name? Fine, I choose Chris Hemsworth.

Good option. Guiltiest pleasure? Taking a long, hot bath and reading.

What did you want to grow up to be when you were little? A teacher or a flight attendant. Ha ha.

Go-to comfort food? Mac and cheese.

Charity or cause of choice? Anything to do with kids.

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Out of all the fantastic books out there, what makes Owning Violet stand out from the rest?

It's got a mysterious vibe to it, a Cruel Intentions feel. It's not what I would call your standard romance.

I'm even more intrigued! Give aspiring writers a piece of advice you wish you had known before getting published.

Finish the book! That's the best advice I can give; it might suck but FINISH IT. You'll feel so good accomplishing something.

Now give us your best personal advice—something you wish you had known when you were younger and would offer to your own kids.

Try to live your life with no regrets. Don't be scared to ask for something you really want. It might not work out but at least you tried right?

What are you involved in when you aren’t writing?

My family. My daughter is in competition dance so I'm a dance mom and that keeps me busy during competition season.

What’s a question you’ve always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer it?

"What's it like to refer to yourself in the third person since you write under two names?"

Crazy making. *winks*

What would you say are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?

We are not sane. Really. There's a little bit of crazy in me and I'm okay with that.

At least you've come to terms with it. Are there any occupational hazards to being a writer?

Yes, you sit too much. Carpal tunnel. Other than that, I wouldn't trade this job for the world!

What’s the most interesting comment you have ever received about your books?

Long ago I received a review as Karen that said I almost made the reader stop reading erotic romance FOREVER. I felt pretty powerful. LOL.

HAHAHA. Is there a message in Owning Violet that you want readers to grasp?

That we're all human and we all do stupid things and we all make bad choices. Despite all that, we can still remain strong and survive.

Oh and bad boys are good in bed. That's another message I'm delivering via Ryder. Ha ha..

What are your goals as a writer?

To always learn and always grow. We never stop learning in this business. I always want to get better. And try new things. Keeps it interesting.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?

Hitting the NYT and USA Today was a biggie. Never thought I would do that. Reaching so many readers and making them feel so strongly with One Week Girlfriend, that's been pretty amazing. And selling to foreign publishers; I never thought that would happen and now my books are reaching readers around the world. It's been amazing. A surreal ride that keeps getting better.

A huge congrats for everything you've worked so hard to accomplish! What’s next for you?

The remaining Fowler Sisters books come out in 2015: Stealing Rose on March 3rd and Taming Lily on July 7th. As Karen Ericksonm I have lots going on through 2015 too.

It'll be a busy but exciting year! Where can you be found on the web?

Before we conclude this interview, is there anything you'd like to ask our readers?

What do you think about bad boy heroes?

It was a pleasure to be able to get to know you better today, Monica! Thank you again for dropping by, and best of luck with future endeavors!


Books à la Mode is giving away
 one print copy of Owning Violet
—woohoo! To enter, all you have to do is answer Monica's question:
Bad boy heroes—love them or hate them? Let's discuss!
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Monica and I really want to hear your thoughts! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publicist—a huge thank you to the lovely folks at Sullivan & Partners!
Giveaway ends December 16th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada residents only. Sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar on the right for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide—there are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!