Sunday, August 30, 2015

Interview with Emma Chase, Author of Sustained + Giveaway! (US/Can only!)

I'd like to welcome the lovely Emma Chase, to the blog today to celebrate the exciting release of Sustained, the long-anticipated sequel to Overruled, from Gallery Books!

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

Will you please share a brief introduction with us?

By day, Emma Chase is a devoted wife and mother who resides in a small town in New Jersey. By night she is a keyboard crusader, toiling away the hours to bring her colorful characters and their endless antics to life. She has a long standing love/hate relationship with caffeine.

Emma is an avid reader. Before her children were born she was known to consume whole books in a single day. Writing has also always been a passion and with the 2013 release of her debut romantic comedy, Tangled, the ability to now call herself an author is nothing less than a dream come true.

It's amazing to get to feature you today! Readers, here's a bit about the book, which just hit shelves last week:

Emma Chase, New York Times bestselling author of the Tangled series, returns with a brand new funny, romantic, sexy story!

A knight in tarnished armor is still a knight.

When you’re a defense attorney in Washington, DC, you see firsthand how hard life can be, and that sometimes the only way to survive is to be harder. I, Jake Becker, have a reputation for being cold, callous, and intimidating—and that suits me just fine. In fact, it’s necessary when I’m breaking down a witness on the stand.

Complications don’t work for me—I’m a “need-to-know” type of man. If you’re my client, tell me the basic facts. If you’re my date, stick to what will turn you on. I’m not a therapist or Prince Charming—and I don’t pretend to be.

Then Chelsea McQuaid and her six orphaned nieces and nephews came along and complicated the ever-loving hell out of my life. Now I’m going to Mommy and Me classes, One Direction concerts, the emergency room, and arguing cases in the principal’s office.

Chelsea’s too sweet, too innocent, and too gorgeous for her own good. She tries to be tough, but she’s not. She needs someone to help her, defend her... and the kids.

And that—that, I know how to do.

Describe Sustained in six words (or less!).

Fun, sexy, heartwarming, hilarious, sweet, memorable.

How did you arrive at writing romance? Are there any other genres you’d like to try your hand at, or any you want to stay away from?

I started writing romance because that was mostly what I read. I love books that I’ll smile thinking about after I’ve read them and romance fits that bill perfectly.

I would love to try my hand at horror one day. I was a big horror movie kid growing up and every once in a while I’ll get the urge to write something spooky, dark and thrilling.

I adore reading historical romances, but I’m not sure I could write one. I’d be too caught up in the research—the clothes, the mannerisms, the endearments and phrases—to ever actually write the book.

I agree; writing a historical seems like too much work! What was the inspiration for the book?

The idea for the series came when I was in Washington DD for a book signing; I fell in love with the vibrant energy of the city. The three male leads in the series all have very distinct personalities: Stanton is the southern charmer, Jake the serious protector, and Brent, the carefree playboy.

With Jake being the tough, silent type, I thought it’d be fun to throw a sweet, beautiful woman and a bunch of precocious kids at him and see what happened. 

As a huge fan of first lines, I'd love to hear the first line of Sustained. Could you give us a brief commentary on it?
I don’t use an alarm clock.
It’s funny, because I didn’t think too deeply about it at the time, but these few words really say so much about who Jake Becker is. He’s very regimented, disciplined—even in his sleep. He’s also very self-sufficient, an “if you want something done right you have to do it yourself” type of guy. He doesn’t like to depend on anyone; he’s the kind of man other people depend on instead.

Tell us about your road to publication, such as how you first queried, unexpected challenges, and things you picked up along the way.

I finished writing my first book, Tangled, when the Fifty Shades phenomenon first began. It gave me the idea to try sending my manuscript out to publishers. I received about a dozen rejection letters, and got to the point where I thought maybe the story just wasn’t good. My husband pointed out that though the manuscript had been rejected, the feedback was pretty positive and that I should keep trying. So I did—and within a few weeks, I’d had three offers from small houses to publish my book.

Throughout the process I revised my query letter and summary several times. There’s a lot of information online about what makes an eye catching query letter and for me, this was very helpful.

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?

None of my characters are based on one individual person I know. But pieces of my husband and friends definitely make their way into their personalities—particularly with my male characters. Sustained has the most real-to-life inspired situations, in that a lot of my children went into the McQuaid kids and many of Jake’s interactions with them were inspired by my own experiences with them.

Which character from Sustained was most difficult to write?

None of them were really difficult. One area that was tricky was how much page time the kids should get. This is a romance so I didn’t want it to be all about squabbling children and changing diapers. But it was important to show Jake falling in love with Chelsea and the family as a whole.

It turned out wonderful, because each of the kids has their own personality which brings something different out in Jake. And his interactions with them—the honest, tender way he deals with them is very entertaining and attractive.

What do you consider your biggest strengths and weaknesses as an author?

My biggest strength is writing from the male point of view. There’s a freedom when I’m in a male character’s head that makes the writing so humorous and snappy.

My biggest weakness is procrastination.

Who DOESN'T have that weakness? :) What's the greatest thing you ever learned?

Never pass up an opportunity to try new things.

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

Everyone has their own experiences and opinions. Reviews are feedback on the work—but they’re also a reflection of the tastes of the reviewer. I’ve read reviews of books that I love—that other people absolutely hate, and books that I thought were “meh” that others adore. The world would be horrendously boring if we all liked the same thing. When you know that, negative reviews become par for the course.

Blog babes, click "Read more" to find out Emma's random favorites, her best writing and personal advice, and what makes Sustained stand out as a book from all the rest. We're also hosting a giveaway for a finished copy of Sustained, 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?? Milk Chocolate. Sometimes with almonds.

What kind of kid were you in high school?  The eclectic kind. A joiner. I was a cheerleader, on student council, worked on the newspaper, and acted in the school dramas. Classwork came pretty easy to me, and my favorite subject was English.

All-time favorite quote? “Be with me always—take any form—drive me mad! Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!” — Heathcliff, Wuthering Heights. (Some people really don’t like Heathcliff, but this quote endeared him to me forever. I see a lot of him in my male characters—the impulsiveness, the occasional self-destructiveness, and selfishness—and most importantly the ability to love another with a breathtaking, consuming passion.)

Most romantic thing a guy has ever done for you? My husband, after we’d been dating a few weeks looked me in the eyes and said, “I’m falling in love with you.” Just like a romance novel.

*Swoon* Most disastrous date you've ever been on? Well, it wasn’t really a disaster, but... just before my second date with my husband I lost one of my contact lenses. My glasses were old and really big and made me look like a bug. So instead of wearing them, I wore one contact lens and spent half the night with one eye closed—like Popeye.

After I started to get a headache, my husband said "Just put your glasses on," so I went to the restroom and took out my one contact lens. When I came back with my glasses on, my husband looked at me, smiled, and said, "They do make you look like a bug."

But I married him anyway.

Cutest story ever! How do you get over heartbreak? Heartbreak is the sadness you feel when a dream ends. It gets better once you have a new dream, but that takes time. So, stay busy—go outside, visit new places, drive somewhere you’ve never been and when you least expect it, a new dream will come.

Currently reading? Nuts by Alice Clayton (and it’s amazing!).

Currently wearing? The same jeans and t-shirt I’ve been wearing for the last 2 days. This is what happens on deadline.

Most visited websites? Goodreads, Facebook, Amazon.

Favorite vegetable? I actually like all vegetables, except brussels sprouts.

Biggest celebrity crush? Not into celebrities, but I loved the character of Jax in "Sons of Anarchy."

Guiltiest pleasure? Watching "Say Yes to the Dress."

What did you want to grow up to be when you were little?  A lawyer until seventh grade and then a writer. (This series is kind of all my childhood dreams come true).

Go-to comfort food? Cake.

Charity or cause of choice? St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

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

Its humor and its heart. I’ve heard from many early readers that they had a smile on their faces from beginning to end—and so did I while I was writing it.

Give aspiring writers a piece of advice you wish you had known before getting published.

Write what you love; someone else will love it too.

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

It will be okay. Whatever “it” is; somehow, someway, life will go on and in time, everything will be okay again.

That is so soothing to my anxious soul. What are you involved in when you aren't writing?

My kids. Driving them around, watching them at their activities, hanging out with them. Oh, and trying to squeeze in a date night with the hubby.

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

Question: Do you express your opinions through your characters?

Answer: No. My characters' thoughts and actions are all their own. Sometimes I disagree with them, but once I censor them based on what I’m comfortable, I'm no longer telling the story—they're telling it. And they will always tell a more entertaining story than I could.

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

Make a schedule and stick to it! Also, write for yourself and your own enjoyment.

Are there any occupational hazards to being a writer?

Writing 6-8 hours a day isn’t really conducive to an active lifestyle. Writing at night, sometimes all night, means lack of sleep and drinking too much caffeine.

When not on deadline I make an effort to cut down on the coffee, exercise, and sleep as much as possible. Sleep is awesome!

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

I want my daughter to read your books when she’s old enough, actually.

What is the message in Sustained that you want readers to grasp?

That love can come to us when we’re not looking for it. Love makes us vulnerable but strong too and capable of doing things we never thought we’d be able to do.

What are your goals as a writer?

To write fun, entertaining stories with memorable, enjoyable characters that will leave readers (and me) smiling long after the end.

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

Almost all of them. I’m making a living off of doing something I love, something I’ve dreamed my entire life of doing. I’ve worked with the most amazing, talented men and women. I’ve traveled with my family to Europe and across the country and had the chance to meet some truly wonderful people.

What’s next for you?

Finishing up edits for Appealed and then I’m going to crack open one of the many files I have for book ideas. There’s a few outlines for new standalones and some ideas to maybe revisit with the Tangled series characters!

It all sounds so exciting! Where can you be found on the web?

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

What kind of books are most often your favorite reads: angsty and dark; light and funny; suspenseful and plot twisty; or something else?

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


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of Sustained—woohoo! To enter, all you have to do is answer Emma's question:
What kind of books are most often your favorite reads: angsty and dark; light and funny; suspenseful and plot twisty; or something else?
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. Emma 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 September 13th 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!