Monday, August 31, 2009
Grab a Cup of Coffee and Come and Chat with Beth Cornelison! (Chance to win Healing Luke!)
Shared by Kristi Herbrand
Please help me welcome Beth Cornelison to Books and Needlepoint today. She is currently touring with her latest book - Healing Luke. Beth, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions for me and my readers - Can you tell us about your latest book, Healing Luke?
Sure. The idea for Healing Luke came to me after a family vacation in Destin, Florida. In Healing Luke, readers meet the Morgan men, father Bart, and his two grown sons, Aaron and Luke. The Morgans run a snorkeling and deep sea fishing tours business in Destin, Florida. The three bachelors lead a charmed life until an accident on their tour boat leaves Luke injured and the whole family grappling with the changes in their lives.
Enter Abby Stanford, an occupational therapist from Texas on vacation by herself after breaking her engagement with her philandering fiancé. When Abby arrives at the snorkeling office and has a run-in with a surly Luke, Aaron swoops in to save face for the family business, and, ladies' man that he is, Aaron snags a date with Abby. Aaron quickly realizes the rapport Abby has with his brother, and he and Bart offer Abby an unconventional job– a multi-purpose assistant to the family. Among other duties at the snorkeling office, Abby's goal is to motivate Luke, help with his therapy, and guide the family through the troubled waters they face.
Needing a distraction from her own painful break up and feeling a connection to the Morgan men, Abby accepts the position and takes a leave of absence from her job in Texas. In the weeks that follow, Abby becomes part of the Morgan family, sharing their heartaches and triumphs as she guides Luke through his recovery and rehabilitation. With the Morgan men, Abby finds healing for her own wounded heart, and when friendship and a sizzling attraction flare with Luke, she discovers a second chance for true love.
I had a great time writing about Abby and the Morgans, and I hope readers will love them, too.
I have just started reading this book and I am already enjoying it! (Be sure to come back for my review in the next week or so!)
2. You have an article on your website called Perfect People are Boring where you talk about flawed characters being more interesting than "perfect people". Do you ever start out with a character where you think you know their flaws, only to have it go in a direction you never expected?
That actually happened to an extent with Abby. She started out in my mind as a much more demure, sweet southern belle/girl-next-door character. But Abby would have nothing of it. She battled me from the beginning and quickly evolved into the sassy, military brat, take-no-guff woman that she is in Healing Luke. Her insecurities and stubbornness (and other flaws) made her a much more interesting character, in my opinion, than the character I initially intended. Likewise, Luke proved to have flaws and fears I hadn't originally planned. As I write my books and get to know my characters, I peel back layers on my characters and learn things about them that I have to go back and weave into the story. It is not uncommon to have to revise and tweak several times, especially when a character (usually the hero) is reticent about revealing who he is to me.
Not being a writer myself, that is just fascinating to me the way that characters take on personalities for authors and evolve over time!
3. This may not be a fair question, but do you have a favorite book or character that you have written? Or how about a favorite quote?
Oh, that is a bit like asking which child I love best! :-) But I have a few books that have special meaning to me, or that have plots that I had an especially fun time writing. Under Fire was a labor of love, and I'm really proud of it. It is the kind of book I love most to read when I read for pleasure-- lots of action and suspense. But In Protective Custody won the Golden Heart in 2001, so it has sentimental meaning. And I worked on Healing Luke for years, revising and reworking it, so it feels like an old friend to me. I always smile when I read certain scenes involving all of the Morgan men. Their rapport with each other, the family dynamic and roles they each played in the family were so clear to me, at times I felt more like I was taking dictation from the voices in my head than writing fictional characters! By favorite quote, do you mean an inspiring quote from someone else? If so, there is the one on my website home page (www.bethcornelison.com to see what it is!) and I also love this one from Theodore Roosevelt. (Sorry, it is a bit long...): “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
This is a wonderful quote - I also love the one on your website - that will be one that I share with my daughters as they grow up!
4. How much influence do you have with the titles of your books or the cover pictures? Was Healing Luke your original title?
My original title was “Second Chances.” I usually get a good bit of input on my titles, even if the final choice is not mine. I've had a few titles I loved, while others took time to grow on me. I also get to make suggestions regarding my covers, but ultimately the cover artist's interpretation of my suggestions, the marketing department's vision for the cover, and the editor's input all factor in to the final design. I've loved most of my covers, even if they weren't what I'd envisioned. I think the cover of Healing Luke, for example, is beautiful and emotional. It makes me want to go back to the beach!
I am almost embarrassed to say that the beach wasn't the first thing I noticed about this cover . . .
5. Since To Love, Honor and Defend was published in 2005, how has your life or writing time changed, if at all?
Writing now feels more like the job it is rather than a pastime, but I love my job! I'm much busier with my writing, promotion, travel, and writing workshops now than I was in 2005, and I'm under more deadlines. For example, in 2005 I had one book out. In 2009, I have 4 books and a novella (although I didn't write all of them in one year), with five more books coming up in the next 12 to 18 months. There is always something in the works!
Wow! That is a lot of books! I look forward to hearing all about those new projects!
6. Do you want to write anything outside of the Romance/suspense genre?
I'd love to write inspirational romance or a children's book. See the last question for the reason I haven't attempted those recently!
I think you have a good reason to put those on hold for now!
7. You have a degree in Public Relations and worked in that field for a year - if you were not an author, what career do you think you would be in?
I'd likely be in some form of Public Relations, though I'm not sure what. Perhaps I'd have gone back to newspaper journalism, which was what I'd originally planned to major in before I fell in love with PR. Writing would definitely be involved in some aspect of the job, though!
8. Where do you most like to write, and is there anything that you "must have" in that space?
Well, since I don't own a laptop, I'm chained to my PC in the guest bedroom/office in my house. I've taken over a corner of that room and decorated it with clutter, printers, manuscripts, to do lists and lots of Snoopy paraphernalia. Ole Snoopy is my good luck charm/muse, so I need him around as I write. Beyond that, I have to have my coffee in the morning and plenty of gum around for later in the day.
And to think that I titled this post Grab a Cup of Coffee - I must have had a premonition there!
9. While on this tour, has there been in comments or questions that have taken you by surprise?
Well, my blog tour has really just started, but I've been getting feedback on Healing Luke coming in this summer from reviewers. So far the response to the book has been overwhelmingly positive, and the question I get most is: Will Aaron have his own book? The answer to that is: I hope so! I intend for Luke's brother, and maybe their father Bart, to have their own books, but the trick is finding the time to write it! I'm under contract to write two more books in the next eight months for Silhouette. Once I have those finished, writing Aaron's book is high on my wish list.
10. Is there anything that you would like to leave my readers with today?
Thank you for the opportunity to share some about Healing Luke, my writing life and my earlier books! It's been fun! I love to hear from readers, and they can contact me through my website: www.bethcornelison.com. I have a newsletter people can sign up for as well. Look for the link on my NEWS page. Also, my official launch party for Healing Luke takes place on the Casablanca authors blog (http://casablancaauthors.blogspot.com/) on September 1. I hope folks will stop by and leave a comment. I will have prizes!! Thanks again and happy reading (and needlepointing!) everyone!
I don't know about you readers - but it is always very exciting for me to be able to do these interviews! I love finding out more about them and learning how their books come into existence! Thank you Beth for sharing with us today!
Danielle at Sourcebooks is going to give away 2 copies of Healing Luke to 2 Lucky Readers! All you have to do is visit Beth's website and tell me something you learned about her or her books or even tell me that you signed up for her newsletter (this last one will have to be on the honor system. . .) This giveaway is limited to the U.S. and Canada. Please also leave an email address in your comment so that I can reach you! This giveaway will end on Sept 14th!
There are a lot of other blogs also hosting Beth in the next few weeks - so be sure to visit them!
August 27—Love Romance Passion
September 3—Pop Syndicate’s Book Addict
September 4—Cindy’s Love of Books
September 7—Grace’s Book Blog
September 8—Yankee Romance Reviewers
September 9—This Book for Free
September 10—The Review From Here/Scribe Vibe
September 11—Romance Reader at Heart’s Novel Thoughts Blog
September 14—My Thoughts… Your Thoughts