Kristen Ethridge is visiting today to talk about books and how sweet romance can be.
Would you like a cup of coffee, Kristen?
KRISTEN: I actually don’t drink coffee—I never have! If I’m in a coffee shop, I’ll get a hot chocolate or a really cool sounding tea blend. If I’m at home, I’m usually drinking kombucha. My current favorite flavor is mojito kombucha. It’s been a great, tropical flavor to get me through this really looooooong winter.
Ally: We'll see what the magic pot can do for you while you show readers your bio. Don't forget to include something unique that isn't in your regular bio.
The writing bug bit Kristen Ethridge around the time she first held a pencil. A 2012 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award Finalist, Kristen was discovered by Harlequin through their 2012 So You Think You Can Write contest.
She writes contemporary inspirational romance for Harlequin's Love Inspired line, as well as sweet contemporary romance. Her favorite stories are filled with love, laughter, and happily ever after--and her favorite happily ever after is the story of God's love. Although she has fun creating characters, Kristen's favorite people are her family. She lives in Texas with her husband, children and a self-important poodle. Visit her online at www.kristenethridge.com.
Something unique? I was born just a few blocks from the beach in Galveston, Texas, so I’m what’s known as a BOI (Born On the Island).
Amazon Author Central Page: http://amzn.to/1nQSoJ8
KIRSTEN: The Holiday Hearts series is a series of six stories I’m putting out this year, all with a holiday theme. These stories are about finding love on some of the most special days of the year. There will be releases featuring New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas this year. Most of the books have separate characters, although you meet Lisa Fleming, the heroine of Lucky in Love (St. Patrick’s Day) in The Cupid Caper (Valentine’s Day). And, although the first two Holiday Hearts Stories were novellas, Lucky in Love—which will actually release shortly after St. Patrick’s Day, at the end of March—will be a full-length book.
Ally: When you're ready to start a new manuscript, what comes first: characters, plot or theme?
KIRSTEN: Usually, it’s actually the title…but I honestly don’t know why. For Lucky in Love, my March release, it was obviously a St. Patrick’s Day theme. I started thinking about what could I do with St. Patrick’s Day, and I thought about the “luck of the Irish.” That actually led me to set the book in Las Vegas—a city where everyone hopes for luck—and brought me to Ryan McBride, a professional poker player nicknamed “Lucky Charm” by those in the business. I’m a “pantser” by nature as a writer, so once I’ve got a few basic details lined up in my head, I just start writing and let the story come together organically.
Ally: How do you choose character names? Do you ever base them on people you know?
KIRSTEN: Usually they just come to me. Like I said, I’m a total “pantser,” so I’ve been known to start writing without having names and I wait until one of the other characters calls them by name.
Ally: What is your favorite thing to do when you're not writing? hobby, sport, vacationing, etc. How did you get into this and/or why do you find it so satisfying?
KIRSTEN: Two things… As a family, we tend to do a lot of things related to Baylor University athletics, especially football. My husband and I are both Baylor graduates and we met at a football tailgate. So I guess you could say it’s a long-standing family tradition.
Another interest of mine is real food and healthy living. I’ve gotten to meet a lot of wonderful bloggers along the way in this area and I’ve started blogging about these areas in addition to my writing. In fact, I’ve kind of tagged my blog as a place to find “food, family, faith, and fiction.” It kind of ties a lot of things in my life together. I work full-time, I have an active family, and I write sweet contemporary romance and inspirational romance. The blog is part of my way to let readers connect not just with my writing but with me as a working mom, because I know so many of my readers are working moms trying to take care of their families and keep everyone healthy, just like I do.
Ally: Ready for some quick answer questions?
- Spike heels or sneakers: Definitely sneakers, although my favorite pair of shoes is a pair of tall boots with a 3” heel. I’ve had them for fifteen years and I will have them completely rebuilt before I ever get rid of them.
- Favorite candy: Chocolate. Is there another kind?
- Last place you went shopping: Does the Internet count? I bought shirts for my kiddos today off Zulily that said “Don’t Go Bacon My Heart…I Couldn’t If I Fried.”
- An item on your bucket list: My family immigrated to the U.S. several generations ago from Switzerland. I’d love to go back to the region in Switzerland that they came from. I think there are still some distant cousins there. It would be fun to meet them.
- Car you drive: a big ol’ Mom-style SUV; car you'd like to drive: I actually love my car, but when my Mom SUV days are over, I’d like to go back to a convertible so I can enjoy the Texas sunshine!
Sometimes you've got to take Cupid's bow and arrow into your own hands.
Amanda Marsh is in love with love. As a high school English teacher, she is surrounded by poetry and classic literature, including the love stories written by her favorite author, Shakespeare. She knows she’ll never find anything as romantic as the stories that have stood the test of time, so she’s settled on having a crush on chemistry teacher Luke Baker from a far.
Luke Baker left his career as a research chemist behind to share a love of science with students. And he’s about to make his pet project a reality as the curriculum lead for the district’s new specialized science and technology academy. When a poem shows up on his desk drawing him into The Cupid Caper, the Valentine’s Day-themed dance and fundraiser for Skyview High School’s Student Council, Luke dismisses the whole thing as a silly game. But when he realizes that winning the grand prize in The Cupid Caper is the one way he can help a star student attend the new STEM Academy, he decides to play along.
Paired together, the English teacher and the chemistry teacher both realize The Cupid Caper is more than a game, but neither can tell the other their feelings are no joke. When an education in happily ever after is on the line, will a man whose life has been ruled by the scientific method and a woman who quotes sonnets miss the mark, or will Cupid’s arrow finally ring true?
The Holiday Hearts Series: Heartwarming Stories of Finding Love on the Most Special Days of the Year:
The Cupid Caper: http://amzn.to/1ebnWnC
New Year's Eve: http://amzn.to/1jO4sNN
Saving Gracie: http://amzn.to/NeIHsO