Ruby, the fabulous blogger behind Ruby’s Reads, is hosting a book giveaway hop. Why? Because it’s her birthday! To help her celebrate, I am giving away an ARC of Kelly Keaton’s A Beautiful Evil. It’s easy to win! Just fill out the widget below. Earn extra entries by following. US mailing addresses only, please. Contest ends April 24. Don’t forget to hop over and enter the other giveaways! Wish Ruby a happy birthday, too!
To celebrate the release of their new book, Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams are giving away a signed copy of Goddess Girls: Medusa the Mean! Want to win this fun MG read? Just fill out the widget below! You can earn extra entries by following. US mailing addresses only, please.
I am giving away an ARC of an exciting Middle Grade book: Above World by Jenn Reese! This is a fun, fast-paced adventure with likable characters and a fierce protagonist. I really enjoyed, and I think you will, too!
Entering is easy! Just fill out the widget. Earn extra entries for following on Twitter and Goodreads, or by subscribing to receive an email with blog updates. Easy, Huh?!
I am giving away an ARC of another one of my favorite books of 2012: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller! This book is awesome, and it retells The Iliad in an new and compelling way! I loved it, and you will, too! You know you want to win!
Entering is easy! Just fill out the widget. Earn extra entries for following on Twitter, Goodreads, or subscribing to receive an email with blog updates. Easy, Huh?!
Lizbeth Selvig is the author of the recently released romance, The Rancher and the Rock Star. Right off the bat, this book has two major interest points for me – it’s about a rancher and it has a hawt rock star who causes havoc in her life. Yum!
Liz was able to drop by the virtual offices to chat about her new book, and she brought some prizes! One of you will take home a digital or print copy of The Rancher and the Rock Star (your choice), and another winner will score a commemorative mug with Abby’s secret recipe for hot chocolate. Who needs hot chocolate with this hottie on mug?!
[Lizbeth Selvig] I want to thank Julie so much for inviting me to visit Manga Maniac Café today. It’s great to be here, and these questions were so much fun to answer. I hope you all enjoy!
[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Lizbeth Selvig] Uber-chatty former journalist, married to my hero. Proud mom/mom-in-law, animal lover, quilter, hiker-but no cook. Living my writing dream!
[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about The Rancher and the Rock Star?
[Lizbeth Selvig] It’s the story of rock superstar Gray Covey, who finds his runaway son, Dawson, at the small, struggling ranch (if you can call it that) of a beautiful but isolated and independent widow raising her fifteen-year-old daughter, Kim.
Gray figures to take his son with him on the road, assuming he’s simply run away from the English boarding school where his mother, Gray’s ex-wife, has placed him. To his shock, Gray has it dead wrong. His son is running as hard from him as he is from any school.
When Dawson guilts Gray with an ultimatum (“prove you love me more than you love your career”) into cancelling six sold-out concerts, sparks fly all around Abby Stadtler’s farm. But the most surprising sparks are the ones between Abby and Gray. With Kim’s crush on Gray growing, angry paparazzi closing in, a son who’s furious with him, and a woman who wants nothing to do with his crazy rock lifestyle—their relationship simply cannot work.
And yet, in her heart, Abby longs for a white knight. And Gray needs to figure out what it means to be a real superstar. With help from their children and two crazy birds—they find out that love and family are the answers to all their problems.
[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Lizbeth Selvig] The idea for the book came from a conversation with my daughter many years ago, when she was in high school. She really liked (still does) Elton John, even though he was definitely not of her generation, and her friends, in her own words, “thought I was a freak.” We got to talking about what would happen if you got to meet your favorite singer and he went and fell in love with your mother. How horrible would that be?
Gray came to me easily, but he started life with no conflict. I wrote five chapters that never saw more than my notebook. Abby appeared and spent a full two chapters just talking to Gray, getting on famously. Boring!
After some thought and some good brainstorming Dawson was born – the runaway son of a famous rock star seemed to have potential. Kim had come into being along with Abby, and I knew from the start that she and Gray shared a birthday. Finally, when all the players had arrived, the story took off.
Ed and Sylvia are based very loosely on my neighbors. We live in a rural area and I don’t know them well, but they are the cutest older couple. I gave them a new last name and senses of humor and Abby’s beloved neighbors had arrived.
The Loon Feather sisters, Claudia and Gladys, were based on two women I never really knew, but overheard once in our small town hole-in-the-wall diner. I’ve never forgotten them and wanted to immortalize small town ladies in a small way. This was definitely a fun book to cast—and the town of Kennison Falls became very real to me! I hope to bring it back in the next book.
[Manga Maniac Café] What was the most challenging aspect of writing the story?
[Lizbeth Selvig] I think the hardest part of the story was getting Gray’s character right. Yes, he’s a rock star, but he’s not at the pinnacle of his career—he’s been through the rock and roll ringer, done the drug rehab and the divorce. He’s searching and he knows it. He just doesn’t know what to do about it. And, yet, he’s got such a good heart. It would have been easier, perhaps, to make a bad-boy-turns-good story, but that wasn’t where Gray was in his life. Making him believable without being a ravaged rocker was definitely a challenge.
[Manga Maniac Café] What three words best describe Abby?
[Lizbeth Selvig] Survivor—She’s survived a huge tragedy, including the threat of losing her daughter to her late husband’s parents, and she’s built a good, solid life for herself and Kim.
Stubborn—Because she’s created her life on her own terms and refuses to jeopardize her home or her relationship with her daughter, she often clings without good reason to the way things are. She’s hard to convince that things need to change.
Passionate—she’s both a fiercely protective mother and a woman who longs for love.
[Manga Maniac Café] What are three things Gray would never have in in his bathroom?
[Lizbeth Selvig] Above all, he’d never have a picture of himself. (And that would extend to his bedroom and anywhere but his office, by the way.) He doesn’t really like photos of himself – even album covers and publicity photos are hard for him to sit for. He’ll look in the mirror to shave.
He’d never have a bathroom scale. He works out and he runs, and he figures if his belt won’t tighten he has to cut back on the hotel food. Scales only give him numbers to obsess over and he hasn’t got time.
He wouldn’t have scented candles. Don’t fruitify the bathroom. Don’t fru fru it up with flowers or powder either. Fresh air comes from windows and electric fans. Darn it.
[Manga Maniac Café] What are your greatest creative influences?
[Lizbeth Selvig] My first true writer crush was on LaVyrle Spencer. She’s a fellow Minnesotan and my favorite author of all time. I still feel her influence even though we only ever met at a book signing once.
I do my best thinking and brainstorming on a hike – preferably one of several miles or more. A short walk doesn’t allow my goofy brain, which loves to churn and churn over events, time enough to mellow out and connect with my story.
A song can trigger ideas, but I don’t use a lot of play lists for my books. Even in this one about a singer, there was one main song: Love Potion #9 covered by Neil Diamond, a slow sexy version that inspired the incident that led to the big love scene
A deadline really inspires me. I get creative very quickly when time is short.
[Manga Maniac Café] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Lizbeth Selvig] Sadly, a semi-large chunk of time. I wish I were one of those writers who could sit for ten minutes and write an entire scene, but I’m far too afflicted with shiny object syndrome for that. I need time to get immersed back into the world I’ve created.
A fairly quiet work environment. At every other time I love music—loud and live, television, people, but when I’m really writing I love my space to be distraction-free. The exception is a coffee shop-type atmosphere with no Internet. I can ignore people who don’t know me—most of the time.
Lots of paper for notes – I jot down ideas as they come to me and I’m not fond of keeping my notes in computer files. This is not necessarily very efficient, since I spend a fair amount of time looking for these notes later. But I used to write everything by hand and I’ve given in to the logic of composing on the computer, so I still need to put pencil to paper for some things.
[Manga Maniac Café] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[Lizbeth Selvig] The Black Stallion by Walter Farley. This has got to be the greatest YA series in the world. It has a hot high school guy, an almost unearthly horse, a wise mentor, intrigue, hardships to overcome, foreign adventures and, eventually, a love interest. I lived in those books, over and over again! And wow, what a crush I had on Alec Ramsay. That fed the romance thing … and here I am!
[Manga Maniac Café] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Lizbeth Selvig] My husband and I love to hike—we’re planning a three week hiking trip to England this summer. I also love to quilt because it provides such a different experience from writing—a good balance for the spirit! Of course I read as much as I can—which isn’t as much as I’d like. Best of all I love having my adult children and their spouses around – I love empty-nesting and they love their lives, but everything is whole when they’re all here and laughing!
[Manga Maniac Café] How can readers connect with you?
Thank you to everyone who’s joining the fun today. I’m giving away a free copy of “The Rancher and the Rock Star” to one commenter (e-book or paperback—winner’s choice). I also have a “lovely commemorative mug” for another commenter –with Abby’s secret hot chocolate recipe printed on it.
To finish up, I have to ask a continuation of my favorite question from today: what three things would YOU never have in your bathroom? Enquiring minds and all that . . .
To enter for your chance to win The Rancher and the Rock Star or the super cool mug, leave a comment to answer Liz’s question and fill out the widget below. You can earn extra entries for following Liz on Facebook and Twitter.
You can also purchase The Rancher and the Rock Star from your favorite bookseller, or by clicking the widget below: