Did you always want to be a writer?
I always wrote, but I didn't even really know that was an option or a realjob. It was more like a hobby. I wrote funny stories for my kids, limericks and spoof-type song lyrics. My quest for publication really didn't start until Dec. of 2009, and I was 36 years old.
What really excites you about writing/publishing?
I love creating. Nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing tangible results from my labor, and to step back and kind of go, "I just wrote that. One hundred-fifty pages, and I did that." It's surreal at times. Then to have people actually want to read it, or gaspemail you to tell you how much they loved it? Crazy.
You write under two names - Christine Bell and Chloe Cole. Is it hard keeping the two separate?
Nope. It's SO necessary, I just think of it like a must-do. My Christine Bell work is SO different than my Chloe Cole stuff, sometimes I think I'm saving lives by keeping two names, lol! If a Christine Bell reader picked up Three to Tango, say, and read it expecting it to be like The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale? That would be unfortunate. The heat levels are like night and day. Christine books are more adventure oriented, and, while there will be an open door love scene or two, they are couched in euphemisms and not too graphic. Chloe books are raw, super sexy and no holds barred. If it was all under my real name (Christine Bell), there would be unhappy people on both ends of the spectrum and it would be really confusing. I think there is a thread of humor that ties all my books together, and I know there are some readers who like all heat levels (I'm one of them) but I don't want to give some poor person an apoplexy! I can't have that on my conscience.
Your books have really funny moments - do you have to 'work' to be funny or does it come naturally?
Ack. Well, I'll say this. There is nothing more prized in my family (or my circle of friends) than funny. We'll forgive almost anything for funny. My kids are master ball-breakers, we parry back and forth with one-liners, and laugh a LOT. Getting it on paper really depends on how well I know my characters. I don't want all my heroines to be funny like me, I want them to be funny like them. So when I really get in there and dig deep, I can find the sweet spot, like their funny bone, and the humor sort of drives itself. If a heroine is clumsy or neurotic, the humor takes a more slap-stick-y bent. If she's a wounded soul, it'll be more biting as sarcasm takes over.
You have four teenage boys and a husband - how do you survive all that testosterone?
Alcohol. The hooch. Liquid courage. The hair o' the dog. Okay, not really, although I do love me some red wine on occasion. I actually don't know any better. I was a teenage girl once, and I would've sent me off to live with a crazy aunt in Nebraska if I was my mother. The melodrama was just off the charts. Boys are easier. There are more broken bones than broken hearts, and our issues are less "You don't understand me!" or "But I LOVE him!" *sob* *flounce* *slam* and more "Hey, um, could you not eat five granola bars in one sitting? Awesome." or "You know the toilet has a hole in the middle you're supposed to aim for, right? Think of it like a dart board, and that's the bull's eye." Yeah, I'll take testosterone ALL DAY.
Tell us about your new release...
Book two of my Rock Hard series, for Ellora's Cave, is out now. It's called Breaking Beau, and I have to say, it's one of my favorite books I've written so far. The heroine is funny and adorable, and the hero is just delicious.
When Rex and Quinn hire a chef to come on tour with the band, Beau Trudeau finds a welcome distraction in quirky Gigi Somerville. She’s not his type at all, but she’s fun to have around, and she’s sort of growing on him.
If Gigi wants to start the business she’s worked so hard for, she needs something big to happen. When the members of Hank Lemon and the Law contact her to cook for them during their summer concert tour, she’s elated. Not only is this a dream opportunity, when she meets Beau Trudeau, she realizes she can kill two birds with one stone. He’s the perfect guy to foist her unwanted virginity upon before she has to go back to the real world and fifteen-hour work days. He’s scorching hot but, even better, he has no interest in a relationship. In fact, he’s so perfectly wrong for her, there’s no chance of her actually falling for him..
And an excerpt!
Five days later, bags packed, Gigi waited for the bus to pick her up. The butterflies that had been camping out in her belly for the last few days kicked up a huge fuss as the behemoth vehicle came around the corner, right on time.
She grabbed two bags and lugged them to the curb, leaving behind several others and a cooler in case the refrigerator wasn’t big enough for all the food she’d purchased. She was all prepped to walk in and focus one hundred percent of her energy on cooking. Maybe it would keep her mind off the fact that it was going to be her and Beau all alone for a day and a half on that bus.
Beau had been staying at his fishing cabin in the Florida Keys, so the band had decided that he would swing by and get her in Tennessee on his way north. Then, they’d meet up with the rest of the band in New York to play their first show of the tour. After that, there would be ten more shows with almost non-stop travel back down the East Coast. In spite of constantly reminding herself this was just work, she couldn’t suppress the feeling that she was embarking on a great adventure.
The door folded opened and Beau came down the steps to meet her. His hair glowed like a burnished halo over his head, but the grin was all devil. She resisted the urge to swipe a hand over her mouth to check for drool.
“Hey there, girl. Looks like you got a lot of clothes there for just two weeks. I woulda never took you for that type.”
His puzzled gaze traveled over her jeans and polo shirt and she tried not to cringe.
“Your first instinct was dead-on. I’m not exactly what you’d call a fashion plate. Most of this stuff is cookware, then some staples for the next few days. It’s heavy, so be careful,” she warned as he bent low.
He hoisted up one of the largest boxes without even a grimace. His biceps bulged and she had to look away for fear of grabbing hold of one and squeezing. This nonsense had to stop before it started. He was so far out of her league it was as if they weren’t even playing the same sport.
Her gaze returned to him just the same, and she watched as he boarded the bus. She grabbed a bag and followed. She was so taken with his rear twitching as he walked, she wasn’t watching where she was going. A terrifying, one-armed, wind-milling second later, she was sprawled out over the steps, on top of a bag that had both sounded and felt suspiciously like a carton of eggs.
“What the— Are you okay?”
She craned her neck up to see that Beau had abandoned his box and was bent over her, his face tight with concern. If she had three wishes, she would have used one in a heartbeat to have a do-over of the previous ten seconds. Her knees throbbed where they’d connected with the metal steps and her face burned in abject humiliation.
“Damn it, Gigi, answer me. Did you break something?”
“My eggs,” she muttered miserably.
“Your eggs? You mean…” His eyes went a little wide as he struggled to make sense of her words.
“No! I don’t even—no. Like, eggs. From chickens.”
He stared at her for a long second and then flashed his dimples. “Well, that’s all right then. We can get more of those at the store. Come on, let me help you up.”
She pushed herself onto her knees and winced. Beau took her elbow and guided her to her feet. Sparing a glance at her ruined shirtfront, she groaned. Judging by the carnage, she’d managed to land on the entire dozen. Gloppy whites mixed with runny yolks, saturating her top.
Beau stared at her chest intently until she cleared her throat. “Um, I gotta change.”
“Sorry, I was just thinking, from this angle it kind of looks like one of those abstract, artsy-fartsy paintings.”
She laughed in spite of her embarrassment. “If you’re nice, I’ll frame it for you.”
“I’m always nice.”
His voice had gone low and ran over her like an intimate caress. She stared up into his true-blue eyes and tried to think of a response. Jesus, he was beautiful.
He stepped back and released her arm abruptly. “Besides, usually I get panties thrown at me, so this will be an interesting change of pace.”
“Come on, let me show you to the bathroom. There’s clean wash cloths under the sink. You can throw on one of my T-shirts for the time being until you get your stuff unpacked. I’m going to finish loading the bus then clean up this mess.”
“I can clean it,” she protested. She’d already caused enough trouble and it was only her first day.
“Just get washed up. You’ll have plenty to do after with unpacking all this stuff and making me a gourmet meal tonight.”
The eggs had started to coagulate and were sticking to her stomach so she nodded then followed him into a bedroom. He rifled through the drawers and tossed her a shirt. He pointed to the bathroom then headed out to get the rest of her bags.
“I’m really sorry for the inconvenience, Beau.”
“It’s not your fault, girl,” he drawled, a wicked light blazing in his eyes. “Women tend to get wet when I’m around.” He stepped off the bus, but his low chuckle trailed behind him.
Okay, Kristina back. Wasn't that a great teaser to the book? And what a yummy cover! You can buy a copy here. Christine is giving away a copy of Breaking Beau to one lucky commenter so - come on! Have a question for her? A compliment? Are you desperate for something hot to read on a cold winter's night? :)