Saturday, September 24, 2016

Between Breaths by: Alexa Padgett w/ Interview

Title: Between Breaths
Author: Alexa Padgett
Series: Seattle Sound Series (Book 2)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: TBA
Edition/Formations: eBook & Print
Grief brought them together
A hospice center is no place to fall in lust. But with his world cracking during his estranged mother’s last days, Hayden Crewe needs something sweet to focus on. It doesn’t matter that he’s the backbone of Australia’s hottest international rock group—here, watching his mother die, he’s more alone than ever. So when he meets long-legged, clear-minded Briar Moore, he suddenly knows exactly what will fill the hole inside.
Fortune will drag them apart
Briar has just escaped a job and relationship that nearly crushed her. Crawling out of the wreckage of her previous life, she’s done playing it safe. Sexy, vibrant Hayden is what she wants, and Briar is going to take him.  For as long as she can…
Out of heartbreak comes hope
With their time short and the ghosts of their pasts haunting every moment, Briar and Hayden know they’ve fallen too deep. While those few, intense days changed them both forever, everyone knows a connection this intense should burn out as fast as it ignited…

She winced as the brush caught in her hair. I plucked the brush from her hand, falling victim to an overwhelming need to squeeze each gram of enjoyment from our time together. Maybe the expiration date on our time together made each moment special.
I led her toward the big picture windows with great views of the sound. She glanced at me over her shoulder, and I pressed a soft kiss on the corner of her mouth. She inhaled, her body melting back into mine. Liked that, she did.
I grinned as I adjusted my grip on her. Taking my time, I placed more small kisses there.
She hummed deep in her throat, and I cupped her cheek. Pressing my lips to hers, I waited a heartbeat for her to part her lips. She did, and I slid my tongue into her mouth, lapping up her taste and fanning the flames of desire between us in long, lazy swipes of my tongue.
She moaned and struggled to turn fully into my arms. Blood pumping hot and thick through my veins, I stepped back and turned her until she once again faced the window. Lifting the brush, I swept it through her wet hair, letting it pull to the ends. Briar released a breath and relaxed.
“Mmm. You’re good at brushing my hair.”
I smiled at the slightly ragged quality of her voice.
“I’ve never done this before.” I paused, hesitant to reveal too much of myself. But this was Briar. We were in a space that no one could enter. So I said, “Hair brushing or courting a woman. Never wanted to.”
She turned her head a little, and I let the brush hover over her. Her blue eyes were dark. Her lips parted, a little swollen from my kiss. Her cheeks bloomed with soft pink color.
“I like firsts with you, Hayden.”

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?  
I was slow to learn to read, but once I understood I could get lost in stories, I always had a book. Writing, for me, was an extension of my love of reading others’ novels.

How long does it take you to write a book?
Depends on the book. Sweet Solace, the first book in this series, took me 45 days. Between Breaths was slower (and longer)—three-and-a-half months. Hold You Close took about the same length of time—three months.  

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
Well, it shifts because I have school-aged children. When they’re in school, I try to write from 9:00 am until noon, walk for an hour and then write from 1:30 pm until 2:30 pm. But that’s a perfect day. Few days are perfect.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Hmmm…. I guess my biggest quirk is a preference to write all my books front to back unless I have a real plot bunny I just have to run away with. If I detour like that, I have a hard time getting back into the flow of my story again. That’s probably because I want to follow my outline.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
For my contemporary romance stories, I pull from my own experiences and also from headlines I read online. I refuse to read the whole story if I like an idea—I want to let my imagination take over.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I wrote my fist book with a friend in middle school. I think I was 11. I was 24 when I completed my first romantic suspense novel and signed with my first agent (the book never sold—bummer).

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I love to hike. Love it! Cooking is my relaxation time, and I don’t like to share the kitchen. Me, alone in the kitchen, that’s bliss.

What does your family think of your writing?
My husband is awesome—so supportive! Even though he’s not much of a novel-reader, he’s read parts (at least) of all my books and told me recently that even though he’s not a fan of romance, my novels pulled him in. That was such a lovely compliment, especially from someone who prefers esoteric short stories. My parents are supportive as well, though my dad does not like sexy books. That’s perfectly fine with me—it’s weird to think of him reading sex scenes I wrote. My kids grew up with me scribbling in notebooks or tapping away on my computer’s keyboard, so writing is just Mom’s job. My extended family…well, we don’t talk about it much. I don’t really know how they feel about me writing romance, specifically. I don’t ask.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I love writing the hero’s point-of-view. Maybe more than my heroine’s.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve written over ten novels, though nowhere near that many are available for purchase. I’m not sure I’ll ever publish my first few attempts. I like all my books for different reasons but mainly because I learned more about craft by writing them.
I’m currently neck-deep in a fantasy series that’s pushed me so much as a writer. I had to create an entire world as well as each character’s magical abilities. I think I’ve grown the most in craft through that series, but I love my romances because, c’mon, who doesn’t need love and romance in their life?
I’ve also written a literary novel that pushed me to create poetical prose. I love that novel, too, but in a much different way.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I have a few fans who email or Facebook message me. One told me it was my fault she was sleepy because she stayed up too late reading my book. That was a gratifying message! Another woman told me she really loved Hayden and BETWEEN BREATHS was the best book she ever read. I don’t know if she was being hyperbolic, but I was thrilled she connected with my characters.

What do you think makes a good story?  
There are two main elements that make up a great story (well, that’s after the initial set up and question are formed). I alluded to the first above, and that’s to write characters my readers connect with. There’s nothing more frustrating than wanting to love a book but being unable to connect with the POV character. So, developing an emotional investment for the reader is key. Second is character growth. I’m not saying the character has to come to some great epiphany or change dramatically—though that can happen. I think it’s more about journeying with characters to see them find out something fundamental about their elemental self.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be a veterinarian. Okay, fine. First I wanted to be the Sun-Maid raisin girl (you laugh now, but it is the coolest job—you get to wear a bonnet and sit in a beautiful field. All. Day. Long.) until I realized 1. It wasn’t a real job and 2. I would never like raisins.
But I loved animals and loved the idea of helping them to the point my parents took me to Cornell to check out the university’s program. Upon our return, my dog, the one I’d found at the grocery store when I was five years old, fell ill and died, and I decided I could never, ever handle the day-to-day trauma of dying animals. That’s how I ended up with a boring business degree. A cautionary tale, to be sure!

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Between Breaths says it all in the title: There’s that space from one breath to the next—a quick flash—where emotions (loss, love, even the next note of a song) can alter one’s life. Will you find the strength to take the next breath, to create a song, a love? To let a loved one go? These are hard questions. I’m not sure I know how I’d handle that space.

What books have most influenced your life most?
Wow. That’s tough. I LOVE to read. Love it. My first romance novel I ever read was Shana by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. My mother had a pile of books she’d picked up at a garage sale, and I snagged that one and processed to devour it in one sitting. In fact, I read it so many times the front cover fell off. Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones and The Memory Thief by Emily Colin have stuck with me for a long time after I read them as did Outlander and The Stranger and The Catcher in the Rye. But I’ve read many, many other fantastic books since, and I now get to call many amazing writers my friends. Watching their writing progress has taught me so much in my own writing because I’ve learned we’re all still learning craft and how to write a better story.

What are your current projects?
Books three (Hold You Close) and four (The Many Sounds of Silence) in The Seattle Sound series are in edits and I’m revising books five and six right now. I’m concurrently working on The Curse of Kuskurza, book three in my Echo series.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I have to understand my character’s motivations in order to get them into and (hopefully) out of certain situations. Until I finish struggling with that purpose, a book just cannot progress.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write every day. Make it a habit. I know, I know. The answer lacks glamor or magic or anything slightly interesting. But writing, improving one’s craft, is like using any other muscle—you have to build it and then use it if you want it to remain viable.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you. Each sale, each review means so much to me. I know you have TONS of choices for entertainment so thank you, thank you, thank you for spending your precious time and money on my books. Y’all are the best!

What’s next for you after your current project is complete?
I want to finish up The Seattle Sound series and the Echo series because I have the coolest idea for a thriller series I want to write. But I need to finish up these series first so that I can begin writing that first book. I’m telling you, I’m so excited about what I can do with this idea. Maybe I shouldn’t have said that. Now I have to live up to the expectation.

With a degree in international marketing and a varied career path as a content manager for a web firm at the height of the tech boom, marketing director for a high-profile sports agency and a two-year stint with a renowned literary agency, Alexa Padgett has returned to her first love: writing fiction. She is a card-carrying member of RWA, or would be if Romance Writers of America had cards. She’s also a member of Land of Enchantment Romance Authors (LERA), and Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal (FF&P) chapters, where she’s met fabulous writers. She aspires to be as witty and kind as her writing family is.

Alexa spent a good part of her youth traveling. From Budapest to Belize, Calgary to Coober Pedy, Alexa soaked in the myriad smells, sounds, and feels of these gorgeous places, wishing she could live in them all – at least for a while. And she does in her books.

Alexa loves to read, especially her friends’ stories. She also spends a great deal of time in her tiny kitchen, channeling her inner Barefoot Contessa.

Instagram (IG) @alexapadgett
Twitter @AlexaPadgett

Seattle Sound Series
Sweet Solace  Book 1

The Echo Series

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