I’ve begun a Wednesday weekly post to present interviews with authors across all romance genres. Although I’m primarily an historical romance writer, I do read outside my genre and suspect a lot of you do as well. And what’s more fascinating than finding out more about either your favorite authors or new ones? I plan to change up my questions (most of them at least) every three months or so, just to keep the interviews lively.
So now gather round the tea table, grab a scone or cookies, and a cup of tea or coffee and discover a new friend in the writing world.
This week on Be My Guest, I have one of my newer online friends, author Viviana Mackade. I met Vivi rather recently through a shared online writer’s group and we’ve hit it off famously. So I was thrilled when she told me she wanted to Be My Guest!
Beach bum and country music addicted, Viviana lives in a small Floridian town with her husband and her son, her die-hard fans and personal cheer squad. She spends her days between typing on her beloved keyboard, playing in the pool with her boy, and eating whatever her husband puts on her plate (the guy is that good, and she really loves eating). Besides beaching, she enjoys long walks, horse-riding, hiking, and pretty much whatever she can do outside with her family.
Welcome, Viviana! I’m so happy to see you here today!
Now, let’s start off with an easy one: Who is your favorite romance hero or heroine and why? What qualities do they possess that make them memorable?
Oh, wow. That’s a tough one. I couldn’t pick just one. I loved many Heroes and Heroines for different reasons… such a book slut. The common factor is energy, wherever that comes from. The people I like (both in this reality and in a story’s), have to have some sparkle. I don’t care if it’s physical, mental, if it comes from loving their job, a hobby. There has to be something brewing within them.
Sorry to have begun with a tough one. Okay, so then maybe this will be easier: Who or what inspires your writing?
Anything. A story can come up from a newspaper, a lazy afternoon at the beach where you can sit back and think, a song. A fight. Sometimes the characters speak to me and tell me their story, other times the story comes up and I discover the people in it as I go.
That sounds a lot like me, Vivi. I can get an idea from almost anything. So then, what is your favorite holiday and why?
I love Thanksgiving. Not per se, but because my son was born around that time. I remember being pregnant and getting closer the Massimo-day, and everything was getting ready for Thanksgiving. It was so happy, the world around me–bright oranges, the cozy browns, the falling leaves (fake, because we don’t get falling leaves here. But still..), the flowers. It was like the world wanted to welcome my boy, and every year since.
Oh, how lovely! 🙂 If you could have one wish granted just for you (not world peace, LOL), what would you wish for?
Just for me, so nothing about my family. Mh, let me think. Uh, I got one. To have my books, past, present, and future, made into movies. I already have the casts lined up, and the soundtracks. My characters are real of course, but that would give them so much more! I’d love for them to have that experience, and that reach. Not all would be happy about that, I’m sure. Some had trouble with me butting into their lives, but it would be cool anyway.
What an absolutely perfect wish! I think I’m going to steal it if I ever run across a genie in a bottle! Now, what is the most exciting/daredevil thing you’ve ever done?
Leaving Italy so many years ago with nothing but a suitcase and my husband (then boyfriend), and move to the UK. Fresh out of college, no money, no job, no home. Little to none English. Best, smartest, and pee-in-your-pants jump I’ve ever made.
Wow. That did take guts to go off to a country with no money, where you didn’t know the language. Whew! Talk about daredevil! Maybe more on the quiet side, do you have any hobbies/passions outside of writing?
Horses, anything that has to do with them. Not just riding, although I do love that. Hanging out with them is enough. And the beach. A ride on the beach is sheer perfection
I can so picture that now. And who is your favorite non-romance genre author? What is your favorite book of theirs?
Ah, so, so many. Let’s see if I can skin it down a bit. Edward Rutherford (London and Dublin), Ken Follett (The Pillar of the Earth), Clive Cussler (Treasure), Wilbur Smith (Desert God), James Patterson (Along Came a Spider), Umberto Eco (The Name of the Rose). Yeah, too many.
That sounds like me trying to narrow down the field. LOL
Now let’s turn toward your books. What was your inspiration for your last story?
Andrea, the heroine of She Came With The Tide, had escaped a cult her parent had joined when she was young and had been on the run ever since. The idea came when I saw a documentary about cults from the prospective of a girl who got out. It was hard to watch, harder to understand, and it must have been even worst for Andrea, because it hadn’t been her decision. I thought of Erik when I listened to a Luke Bryan’s interview. He was so sunny, and had a big smile in his voice, and I thought a man like him would be perfect for Andrea. Erik is very laid back and cool (he was a rock star, after all), loves to have fun, and knows how to enjoy the benefit of hard work. So I played matchmaker, and here we are.
What a great story! And I like the names Erik and Andrea. I am a fanatic about my character names. Are these character names special in any way?
Of course. There’s so much in it. In Italy we say Nomen Omen, your destiny is in your name. That’s why I want a name that really speaks of my character. Family history can come playing into the choice, so the melody of the name, but is the essence I care about. It takes me a long time to find out a character’s name, but it’s worth it.
Do you have plans for a sequel to this book?
Actually, I do. I have different stories set in Crescent Creek, Erik’s town. I’ll stick around there for a while, see in what trouble the townsfolk stumble upon.
Now, the Infamous Lightning Round:
What is your favorite amusement park ride?
Sea World. I’m not a roller coaster kind of gal, so there are plenty of other things to do for me while my husband puts his stomach to the test. Crazy dude. It’s never too fast for him.
Tea or coffee?
Depends. Coffee in the morning, Earl Grey in the afternoon.
French manicure or color (and if color, what color)?
Color. Something glittery in some lilac shade. It takes too long for the French thing. And I do it myself, because I don’t have the patience to go somewhere, wait, do the whole thing, go back home… Nah, too long.
Beach or mountains?
Beach in summer, mountain in winter.
Chocolate or vanilla?
Come on. Chocolate. Lindt is my favorite, dark with chilly or milk chocolate.
Boxers, briefs or commando? (preferred for your heroes)
Blond, brunette or redhead? (preferred men’s hair color)
Redhead. They usually come with freckles and I love those, too (incidentally, my husband used to be ginger. He’s darker now, more mahogany, but his beard still carries the red. And he has freckles. A lot. Yum.).
Would you rather skydive or scuba dive?
I’d rather chop off my pinky fingers (all 4, and I’m fond of them) than skydive. Scuba dive all the way. Which I actually do with my brother in law.
Would you rather vacation in Hawaii, Vegas or London?
I lived one-and-a-half-hour east of London for 5 years. I went (and didn’t quite understand) Vegas. And I live in Florida (it might not be Hawaii, but it’s darn good in the same beachy way. Go Gators). Sooo… I’ll ride the nostalgia wave and pick London. It’s a fantastic city, by the way. The British Museum rocks.
What’s the one thing you would never do?
I would never say never. Circumstances make all the difference, time and places change, nothing is ever the same. Today I might say I would never do something, and tomorrow that thing exactly what I have/need/want to do.
Thank you so much for coming by today, Vivi. I’ve had such fun talking with you. But I guess we should let the others take a peek at She Came with the Tide in the Rock Stars: Our Songs boxed set.
He’s impulsive, fearless, and fun loving.
Erik Axelsson, Ax, had it all: talent, fame, money. He’d lived the rock & roll life fully and with gusto until it wasn’t fun anymore. Without a second thought, he’d traded the spotlight with the Floridian sun, and the guitar with a surfboard. Young, rich, and free from anything – what more he could need?
She’s innocent, scared, and in trouble.
Andrea Smith escaped the life imposed to her when her parents joined a cult. After years on the run, hunger pushed her to accept a stranger’s offer for breakfast. She had no clue her life changed with that simple ‘yes’.
But the past catches up with her, forcing Andrea to choose what person she wants to be: the scared cult member that obeyed in silence, or the new woman Erik made blossom.
She took a step back to look at him in the eyes when he towered in front of her.
“Thank you for everything, Erik. It’s more than anyone has ever done for me.” She had to stop and clear her voice. Those words burned and scorched more than a thousand flames. “It’s time for me to leave. I’m sure you understand.”
He ran his fingers through his pale gold mane, scratched his head, frowned as he looked outside for a second. “You can be sure I don’t.”
“I’m sorry about that, but–”
“But what? Is it the itch of the road? Because believe me, baby, I know all about that.”
“No, it’s not that.” Far from it.
He opened his arms, just as wide as his sapphire eyes. “Then what the hell is it? All the secrecy, the half words.” He walked to the fridge, took a bottle of cranberry juice, closed the door with a slam that made the inside of the fridge rattle. Then he faced her again. “I opened my house to you.”
“I didn’t ask you to.”
“You’re right. My bad. Regardless, I’m sure I deserve a teeny-tiny bit of trust. Or, at the very least, a goodbye.” His eyes leveled with hers as he leaned over. “You were sneaking out, weren’t you, Pixie?”
“Lousy, lousy liar.”
“Why are you so mad?” she managed and was surprised to see the same question in his eyes.
She’d be damned if she let the tears go. It didn’t matter if his eyes had lost the heat of anger and turned a soft blue. It didn’t matter if he stretched his hand, only to brush the back of his finger along her cheek. “I know you’re in trouble. Trust me, Andrea. Please.”
“Why,” she managed through a shaky voice. “Why are you going through all this trouble for me?”
That made her chuckle through the tears. “That’s not an answer.”
“Neither are yours.”
She closed her eyes. Tired. She was so tired. Of running, of loneliness, of fear. What he offered was not a solution because there wasn’t any. He was ready to give her some relief, support, a shoulder that would help to take the edge off the past years and it was more than she’d ever had.
Andrea took his hand, big and warm and strong, in hers. “Come sit with me.”
You can buy She Came with the Tide and the whole Rock Stars boxed set at Amazon.
Please please save the date next Wednesday when I’ll be introducing you to my BFF, Alexandra Christle whose very first published book is coming out on January 28! I’m even going to the launch party! Her forte is mainstream/vintage settings and enough romantic elements to break your heart. You’re not going to want to miss this!