[Manga Maniac Cafe] Hi, Claire! Welcome to the Manga Maniac Café. Please describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Claire Baxter] I’m an Australian romance writer, a reader, a former corporate communications manager, a gardener, and a swimmer (though not a good one).
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Flirting with Danger?
[Claire Baxter] Firefighter Jasmine Mackinnon has always just been one of the guys. So no one’s more shocked than she is to find herself kissing fellow firefighter and all-around sinfully handsome playboy Aaron Parkes after a friend’s wedding. Jasmine knows she can’t risk an emotional connection with a colleague—a potentially dangerous entanglement when fighting fires together—and nothing’s more important to her than her job.
Aaron never noticed how beautiful Jasmine was until he saw her out of her firefighter duds, but there’s something about the fiery woman that tempts him. Though he knows pursuing a real relationship is out of the question for a serial dater like him, when their casual flirtation builds into something more serious, it’s not just their jobs or their safety on the line. It’s their hearts.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Claire Baxter] I’d had this heroine in my head for a long time. I knew she was tough and prickly and worked in a male-dominated workplace in which she was just one of the boys and that was exactly the way she wanted it. I also knew that she fell for a co-worker, but I had no idea what job she did.
One day during a conversation with a non-writing friend, my friend mentioned a girl she knew who wanted to become a firefighter and suddenly lightbulbs sparked to life all around me. As soon as I knew that Jasmine was a firefighter everything else about her story fell into place, including Aaron.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Aaron?
[Claire Baxter] Sexy, cheeky, commitment-phobe,
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Jasmine had a theme song, what would it be?
[Claire Baxter] That’s an easy question because I played the song every day while I worked on the story. It’s SWEET ABOUT ME by Gabriella Cilmi. Gabriella actually sings: “There’s nothing sweet about me.” Tomboy Jasmine would definitely say the same about herself.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Aaron is never without.
[Claire Baxter] Can I say his sense of humour?
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find on Jasmine’s bathroom?
[Claire Baxter] When we meet Jasmine you will never find make-up in her bathroom. Nor will you find perfume or hair-styling equipment. She simply doesn’t bother with any of that girlie stuff.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Aaron’s greatest regret?
[Claire Baxter] Oh, good question. Possibly his greatest regret is that he wasn’t able — wasn’t enough — to stop his mother drinking herself to death after his father disappeared.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?
[Claire Baxter] Romantic comedy and light-hearted women’s fiction authors such as Jill Mansell, Cathy Kelly, Marian Keyes, Carole Matthews, Jennifer Crusie, Rachel Gibson. All very different voices, but their stories are funny as well as heart-warming. That’s what I hope to achieve with my writing.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Claire Baxter] A mug, hot water and a teabag. Can’t write without my tea.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What was your biggest distraction while working on Flirting with Danger?
[Claire Baxter] Same as always…the internet. I’ve now installed Freedom, the app that switches off internet access for a set amount of time. It’s good, but I can always find something else to distract me, eg, weeds in the garden, bookshelves that need re-organising (I’ve had to turn my chair around in my workspace to stop me staring at the bookshelves and thinking of ways to re-organise them!).
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?
[Claire Baxter] Spark by Brigid Kemmerer. I think one of the reasons it had such an effect is that I don’t read YA or paranormal. This book is both YA and paranormal, and totally blew me away. I haven’t read the other stories in the series yet, but I will. Definitely.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[Claire Baxter] I’m sure I’ve loved reading since I saw my very first ABC book, but the one I remember that swept me away to a fictional world was Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome. It was the first in a series of 12 about children who had adventures in boats. I read all of them and was so sad when there were no more to read, but I quickly discovered other books to love.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Claire Baxter] I read, of course. I record episodes of my favourite TV series and watch them in blocks – I love murder mystery series especially. I work in the garden – there’s always something that needs doing out there.
If I have a whole day off I love to go for a drive with my husband, either into the Adelaide Hills or to one of South Australia’s many beachside towns. Occasionally we’ll fish from the jetty, but more often we’ll just enjoy being near the ocean.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?
[Claire Baxter] Website: http://www.clairebaxter.com
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!
Flirting With Danger by Claire Baxter
Publisher: Entangled Publishing – Bliss
Date of Publication: September 9, 2013
Number of pages: approx. 190
Cover Artist: Jessica Cantor
About the book:
About the Author:
Claire Baxter writes contemporary romantic fiction of all lengths. Her short stories have been published in commercial women’s magazines around the world, while her novels have been translated into 20 languages and have been nominated in the Romance Writers of Australia’s Romantic Book of the Year Award, the RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Awards, and the Cataromance Reviewers’ Choice Awards (Winner, Best Harlequin Romance).
Before following her passion to write full-time, Claire was an award-winning corporate communications manager. Earlier, she worked as a translator and a PA.
Claire grew up in Warwickshire, England, but for more than 20 years has called Australia home. She considers herself lucky to live near one of Adelaide’s beautiful metropolitan beaches where she loves to walk and think up stories.
Enter Claire’s tour wide giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card and charm necklace.
Jasmine awoke, surprised that she’d managed to sleep at all, with a raging thirst thanks to downing enough champagne to float a small sailing boat. Well, not so much in truth, but way more than she was used to, and enough to give her a pounding head and make her swear to stay away from Zoe at any future parties Leanne might throw.
As she drank her third glass of water, the full horror of the kiss returned to her with appalling clarity. Aaron might have kissed her first, but she had flung herself at him.
Groaning, she bent over till her forehead met the countertop with a satisfying clunk. But it wasn’t satisfying enough, so she lifted it and let it drop again. And again. How could she have been such an idiot? Of all the dimwits in the world, she was the award-winning, cake-taking number one of all time.
For pity’s sake, if she’d had to lose control, why couldn’t it have been with someone else? Someone she didn’t work with. Someone she didn’t hold in such contempt—outside of work, that was. She had nothing but respect for him as a fellow firefighter. His private life was another matter entirely.
Aaron knew how she felt about his lifestyle; he could hardly be unaware, since she’d made it as clear as she possibly could during the time they’d worked together. And she’d been equally critical of the women who fell for his charm—the charm she’d always claimed to find unfathomable. Now, she’d behaved no better than a woman he’d picked up in a pub.