b2bMelanie: Hello Erin and welcome to b2b! I’m so happy you’re here! It was so much fun meeting you at this year’s RT’s and I’ll always remember your awesome smile and southern charm. How have you been and are you enjoying your summer so far? How exited are you with ‘More Than a Stranger’ coming out?
Erin, this is your début novel and I cannot even imagine the feelings you’re going through! The closest I can compare it to is sending my kids off to the Kindergarten and hoping they’ll do good without me there to guide them….
Erin Knightley: LOL, Melanie – that is actually a great comparison! I’m excited, and nervous, and really hoping that everything goes well. As for the summer, I had two deadlines last week, so I’m still recovering from it. I actually went outside – in the sun – for what felt like the first time in ages this weekend. For a person who lives on a lake, it’s hard to believe that I am the least tan person I know!
Thanks so much for the compliment – it was an absolute delight to meet you as well. I hope to see you at more conferences in the future!
b2bMelanie: Seeing you again would be such a treat! Before I start with my interview, won’t you introduce yourself to our readers and tell us a bit about yourself and your début novel?
Erin: I’m so thrilled to be here with you today, Melanie. I’ve been a full-time writer for almost three years now, and with all that ‘typing away in the writing dungeon’ stuff, it’s great to interact with the wonderful romance community like this. More Than a Stranger is actually the very first book I ever wrote, though it went through a ton of revisions. But as I learned more about the craft and my storytelling improved, I simply couldn’t give up on Evie and Benedict, whom I absolutely love. And I’m glad I didn’t! Their story is so special to me, and I’m thrilled to share it with the world (and nervous! But mostly thrilled).
Evie and Benedict’s story begins as 11-year-old Evie sends off an indignant letter to her brother’s new best friend, warning him off. After all, she had always been her brother’s closest friend. Benedict, inwardly lonely and intrigued by a girl who could be so fiercely protective of her sibling—so different from his own experience—writes her back a letter guaranteed to get a response. They eventually end up sharing a five year correspondence, though they never actually meet. So years later, when Benedict comes face to face with her at a time when he can’t reveal who he really is, there is no denying the chemistry between them. Evie might think he’s a stranger, but it seems that her heart knows that he’s so much more…
b2bMelanie: What made you choose this premise? It truly is unique and exciting way to start a relationship that slowly develops between Evie and Benedict through their correspondence.
Erin: Interestingly enough, with this, my first book, I literally just sat down and started typing. I didn’t know what was going to happen, or how things were going to turn out—I just let the story flow. That being said, I’m rather fascinated with the way we communicate these days. There are so many people online who I “know” so well, but really not at all. It makes me wonder if I met them on the street, would I recognize them? A lot of that fascination came through in the unfolding of their correspondence.
b2bMelanie: That’s so brave! It sounds like you’re the ‘pantser’ and not a ‘plotter’
Do you let someone read your work during your writing process? Who and why? Or do you wait ‘till it’s finished, then you let someone read it…and who?
Erin: Ha! I’m supposed to say yes to this question, but more often than not, the answer is no. I have a wonderful critique group, but these days, I’m pushing against deadlines, and I never feel like I have enough time to let someone else critique my writing, and then try to incorporate their suggestions. So right now, it’s just me and my editor!
b2bMelanie: I must say that the intimate scenes were very sweet and they reminded me of the movies from long ago, (and of Carla Kelly’s wonderful writing as well) where the very details of the intimacy was left to our imagination and I wondered if that was your deliberate choice or did you find it hard writing the intimate scenes?
Erin: You know, I actually tend to skip love scenes when I’m reading. I love the sizzling sexual tension and chemistry of a couple, but not so much the nuts and bolts of what they do together. It wasn’t so much a conscious decision as just writing what I like to read. I’m not saying I won’t ever write a sex scene, I’m just saying I haven’t yet felt the need in my characters’ journeys.
b2bMelanie: I think Cover Art is almost as much important as the content of the novel, but I find that not many publishers are acknowledging the artists or the models, and as an avid reader I love all aspects of the novel I’m about to read. Tell me about the cover art for this book. It is stunning. This girl IS Evie. By the way, who did you model the hero and heroine after?
Erin: Ha!! I have asked multiple times who the models were for my two covers, and I have yet to hear a thing! The good news is that the art department did exquisite work on both my covers; the bad news is that I’m still in the dark on the process! I will say that they let me tell them what I wanted the poses to be on both my covers so far, and each one came out even better than I’d ever imagined. Seriously – my hubby may not know it, but we are totally recreating the cover of A TASTE FOR SCANDAL on our Christmas cards!
b2bMelanie: OMG! Are you serious? My address is….LOL!!!
Let’s talk titles…How hard is it to ‘name’ your ‘baby’? Have you gone through more than one and can you tell us what they were?
Erin: Actually, the first one wasn’t too bad. And I was really surprised that the publisher let me keep it. I was expecting a battle, and they readily agreed that MORE THAN A STRANGER was perfect for the story. Now the second story is a whole other story, lol. That was a heck of a battle, and in the end, I think I submitted close to 50 alternatives before we settled on the second one I came up with, lol. I was polling my critique partners, my coworkers, my writing friend—anyone who could give me ideas! My first choice for that one, by the way, was Tempting Lord Raleigh. Though I love the new title, I think it will always be TLR in my mind
b2bMelanie: You know what? I like it too! We all have favorite books, authors… How about you? Are you willing to fess-up?
Erin: Oh, there are so many! Sabrina Jeffries, Julia Quinn, Cathy Maxwell, Mary Jo Putney are only a few of my favorites. Oh, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips is my go-to girl for when I feel like a contemporary. As for my favorite books, THE BARGAIN, by Mary Jo Putney and THE DUKE AND I by Julia Quinn are way up there.
b2bMelanie: Most of those are mine as well, and I ADORE Julia Quinn! What’s on your TBR right now?
Erin: I have STACKS in my TBR pile these days! One of the major downsides of having my dream job of being an author is that my reading time is vastly diminished. Right now, I have A WEEK TO BE WICKED by Tessa Dare, WALLFLOWER by Catherine Gayle, and WHEN A SCOT LOVES A LADY by Katharine Ashe all at the top of the list.
b2bMelanie: You’ll love Tessa’s book. She does sexual tension so well. I bought WALLFLOWER at RT’s while waiting for another author to show up and sign my book.
Now, that ends up our ‘professional’ portion of this interview. Are you ready to get personal? Or are you going to chicken out on me?
Erin: I’m totally game – Bring it!
b2bMelanie: I love a brave woman…Let’s get Personal:
So, tell us something personal about yourself that you’d like us to know…anything that makes you comfortable…or not…like how many times did you fall in love? What’s your favorite meal of the day (food)? Flannels or Silk? Do you like to cook? What’s your favorite spot in the house? Cats or Dogs? Champagne or Beer? Your favorite time of the year? What are your fears? Your joys?
Erin:-My love life is one of the simplest on the books: I met and fell in love with my husband when we were in high school! We just this week celebrated our eleventh anniversary, and I have to say he is a prince among men. And here’s a little secret for you: I was even his first kiss!
-I am a breakfast aficionado, and I think waffles are darn near the most perfect food on earth. Second only to bacon
-I don’t like flannel of silk – only the softest, purest cotton will do for me!
-Not only do I love to cook, I LIVE to bake, and have a whole section of my website dedicated to the recipes I have perfected over the years. And this is another reason my hubby and I are such a perfect match: I cook, he cleans J
-Like cats, ADORE dogs. I have three, and they are my constant companions while I write.
-I’m allergic to wine and champagne (tragic!!), and I hate the taste of beer. I’ll take a chocolate martini, thank you very much.
-My fears? Failure, of course. Although, with my wonderful family around me, even that would be okay in the end. Which leads me to my joys: My parents, brother, and sister are so important to me. My sister is a screenwriter, and was there for many an angsty writer crisis before I was published. My brother is a composer, and actually took a scene from MORE THAN A STRANGER and composed an original piano piece to complement it. The song is available for a free download on my website, and I ain’t gonna lie—I cried over the beauty of the music when I first heard it. Most of all, my husband and pups bring me immeasurable joy each and every day. I’m blessed within an inch of my life, and I’m so grateful for it!
b2bMelanie: Erin, thanks for ‘coming over to play’! It has been a hoot and I hope you come back often.
Erin: Thanks so much for letting me join you today. And I’d love to hear from your readers! Tell me, what is your greatest joy in life for TWO chances to win!
- Everyone who comments will be entered in my Sealed with a Kiss blog tour giveaway! Prizes include signed books, lots of fun swag, stationery, a custom iPhone case, and gift cards from Starbucks and Amazon! For details, click HERE. Drawings will be made June 15th!
- You’re already a winner! If you’d like a signed bookmark (or more – let me know how many!), simply say so in the comments section, and I’ll send post haste! Offer good for the first 40 requests per blog.
*Be sure to leave your e-mail address so I can contact winners, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you don’t wish to list publicly* I’ll ship anywhere in the US, Canada, or Mexico