Hi Isabelle and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Chasing Red!
Thank you so much for doing this interview with me. Have a lovely day!
Please summarize the book for the readers here:
Straight laced and hardworking college student VERONICA STRAFFORD (RED) gets kicked out of her apartment. Broke and homeless, she wakes up in an unfamiliar room and unable to remember the events of the night before. She plans to make a fast exit, but finds the school jock CALEB LOCKHART instead.
Unable to explain the pull Caleb feels for her, he offers her a place to stay. He’s confident that he’d win her over, but Veronica has a painful past, and her heart might be the one thing Caleb can’t win.
Please share a few Fun facts about this book…
- When I wrote Chasing Red, I was going to college. I was so obsessed with it that I’d miss classes just to finish the chapters.
- I love checking out the fan made trailers, fan fic art, and reading messages from my amazing readers. I wouldn’t have finished Chasing Red without the encouragement, support, and love of my Wattpad readers. They guided me in writing the next chapter of my story and I’m forever grateful to them.
- Chasing Red has a combined reading time of 282 years by Wattpad’s community of
more than 60 million. It’s Wattpad’s most-read story of 2016 and currently has over 150 million reads. It’s insane! I haven’t fully absorbed everything.
What, in your mind, distinguishes this book from other books out there in the same genre?
I get quite a few messages from my readers saying how relatable my characters are and that they can see themselves in the characters. I think that’s the strength of my story.
Did any scene have you blushing, crying or laughing while writing it? And Why?
When they broke up, I could see them so clearly in my mind. I could hear them, feel their pain. It was a very emotional scene to write and I couldn’t stop until it was finished.
Here is a little snippet of that scene in Veronica’s POV.
When I heard his voice break, I crumpled inside.
“Is it a crime for me to ask for…to want your trust? It hurts me that you don’t trust me. It hurts a fucking lot.”
My grip on the doorknob loosened, and I let my hand fall to my side.
“What am I to you?” he demanded painfully. He turned me around to face him.
My throat tightened and burned. Even if I’d wanted to answer him, I couldn’t have. When he reached for my face, I turned away.
“Don’t,” I choked out.
“Am I… Am I not even worth a fight?” he whispered. “Red?”
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?
Wait… if my story was optioned for a movie, I’d freak the hell out! The scene must be their first kiss! The chemistry between Caleb and Red should be sizzling. Here’s a snippet of the scene in Veronica’s POV.
I found him in the kitchen, standing in front of the open fridge, drinking a glass of orange juice. He wore a crisp black suit and tie, his bronze hair slicked back to frame his gorgeous face.
The suit caught me off guard. He looked so good that he seemed unreal. Had he gone to another charity event with his mother?
I just stood there, immobilized, unable to pry my gaze away. His green eyes widened slightly when he saw me. He closed the fridge and placed the glass on the counter. Slowly, he lifted his head. Our eyes met.
Embarrassed, I broke our gaze, but my eyes couldn’t help dragging to his lips. They were rosy, irresistible, and probably cold from drinking his favorite juice.
His tongue quickly darted out to lick the juice on his lips. That was too much. The butterflies were in my stomach now, wreaking havoc with my emotions.
“Hi, Red. Like what you see?” His voice was huskier than normal.
I blushed, forcing myself to look away from him. Where was my tongue? My brain? I couldn’t let him take the upper hand.
“I see,” he said quietly, his voice deepening. “Are you just going to pretend I’m not turning you on right now?”
Oh God. Oh God. Oh God.
I watched him walk slowly toward me, his hooded eyes intense on my face. He stopped a few inches away. I could smell the faint scent of his cologne, feel the warmth emanating from his body.
“I told you I wouldn’t be able to pull away next time,” he whispered.
In one swift move, he had me pinned against the wall. His green eyes bored into mine, then flicked down to my mouth, lingering there.
“I should leave you alone, but I can’t.” My eyes closed as his fingers traced a line on my cheek, down to the hollow of my throat where my pulse was beating wildly.
“I’m greedy.” His head dipped to my neck, and I gasped as his soft lips lightly brushed the sensitive area below my ear. “And I want more.”
What do you want people to take away from reading this book?
I like to write about characters that inspire me and I hope my readers feel inspired by them as well. Veronica, with her admirable work ethic, strength, and resilience no matter what life throws at her. Caleb with his openness, honesty, and perseverance to go after what he wants. I could only hope that my readers feel happy and in love after reading Chasing Red.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: Signed print copy of CHASING RED by Isabelle Ronin
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Excerpt from Chasing Red:
The beach was a good half-hour drive from Caleb’s place. We drove there with our windows open, the wind blowing my long hair. It was dark, the roads free of traffic.
I felt excited, energized, and at the same time Caleb’s hand in mine calmed my anxious mind.
He threw me a glance, his thumb stroking my palm.
“I’m glad you’re here with me, Red.”
I swallowed the lump in my throat. No one had said that to me before. I turned my gaze out the window so he wouldn’t see how much his words had affected me.
Tonight I was seeing a side of Caleb I hadn’t encountered before. I didn’t know what to think of it, or maybe I did but refused to think about it.
All I knew was that I liked this boy as I had never liked anyone before.
He parked his car in front of the lakeside shops that had already closed for the night. We took off our shoes, then walked on the beach, the white sand cool as our feet dug into it.
The wind was a little chilly, and I wrapped my arms around my middle to ward off the cold. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Caleb shrug out of his jacket.
“Here,” he said, placing it on my shoulders.
“What about you?”
“Just hold my hand. You warm me up.”
But he was the one who warmed me up inside as his hand reached for mine again, pulling me close to his side as we walked.
“I knew you were avoiding me,” he began after a moment. His voice held no resentment, only understanding. That surprised me. “I knew you didn’t want anything to do with me the past few weeks, but I thought about you. Actually,” he corrected, his voice deepening. “I think I’m a little obsessed.”
He sighed when I didn’t respond as quickly as he may have expected. “I’m sorry if I made you feel like I was forcing you to do something you didn’t like.”
I walked beside him for a moment, listening to the sound of the waves before I answered. “I’m sorry I said that. It’s not that, really… You confuse me, Caleb.”
I knew he was waiting for me to say something more, to explain, but the words were stuck in my throat.
“Sometimes I think you’re a very sad girl, Red.”
He was more observant than I’d given him credit for. Because he was right, I realized. I had been sad for a long, long time. I had been starved for love and affection for so long that I’d forgotten what it felt like. I had refused to let anyone in, afraid to be hurt again. But this boy holding my hand was stripping me of my armor bit by bit.
It scared me.
“All I could think about was how to make you smile again. Not the fake ones you give to people to be polite. I want your real smile, where your eyes light up and your lips stretch up to your ears.”
My ears were ringing. What was he trying to say?
“You confuse me,” I repeated. “I-I don’t know what you want.”
He stopped suddenly, and I had to turn around to face him.
“Don’t you?” he asked solemnly, directly.
His eyes were burning with emotion. I looked away.
Who was this boy? This intense, serious boy who looked at me as if he could see my soul.
“I-I’m not ready, Caleb.”
He nodded. “That’s okay. I’ve been waiting for you to come along for a long time now. I think I can wait some more.”
“Don’t you think this is too fast?”
“The thing is, I’ve made up my mind. And my mind says it’s you. If I’d just met you today, I would still want you today, tomorrow, five days from now…” His voice trailed off, and I was scared he was going to say forever or some ridiculous thing like that.
I didn’t believe in forever. Forever was for people who believed in fairy tales. And I never had.
“You’re scaring me.”
He let out a quiet laugh. “I know. You just have to endure it.” He paused. “After all, how could you give up a handsome boy like me?”
And the usual Caleb was back.
“But you have to promise me something,” I said.
“What is it?”
“Don’t kiss me.”
He did that thing again where he angled his head and studied me. I squirmed.
“You’re afraid of my kisses.” It wasn’t a question. “You’re afraid of how they make you feel.”
I swallowed a chunk of cowardice that was lodged in my throat. Of course, he was right. How could he know what I was feeling before I realized it myself?
“Why promise something when I’d fail miserably?”
“Will you try at least?” I persisted.
He looked to the water, sighed, and looked at me.
“I don’t think I could keep from kissing you if I wanted to. It’s not even a choice for me anymore. I need to touch you, to breathe you in. I need to see you look up at me and smile. I need to see you happy…even grumpy or angry, as long as I can see you. I crave everything about you. I crave everything about you a little too much.”
I held my breath as my heart knocked wildly against my chest.
Suddenly he sat on the sand, resting his back on a broken tree trunk and tugging me down with him.
“Lie back on me.”
I had about two seconds before he was pulling me toward him, my back against his chest, my legs encased between his. I was drowning in Caleb.
“Just relax. I won’t kiss you tonight if you really don’t want me to.”
Suddenly, I wanted him to kiss me again.
What was wrong with me? When he was offering it, I didn’t want it, but now faced with the possibility that he wouldn’t kiss me tonight, I suddenly yearned for it.
I rested my cheek on his shoulder, inhaling his scent. He stiffened.
“Don’t do that if you don’t want to be kissed tonight. I only have so much control before I—” He cut himself off before he could finish.
“Before you what?” I could hear the smile in my voice. Even to my ears, I sounded…happy.
Caleb couldn’t resist me. Caleb, the gorgeous and charming boy that everyone wanted, couldn’t resist me. Me, someone used to not being wanted. It seemed unreal.
His eyes narrowed. “Are you deliberately provoking me?”
His expression turned serious as he cupped my face with his hands and forced me to look at him.
“What do you want, Red?” he whispered, his voice husky.
I opened my mouth, but nothing came out. Hadn’t he figured out that I’d changed my mind and wanted him to kiss me? Was I not throwing him enough signals?
“Say it, or I won’t do it,” he declared, his eyes mesmerizing me into surrender.
“Kiss me, Caleb.”
I didn’t have to say it twice. His mouth claimed my lips. Gone were the butterfly kisses; gone were the teasing and coaxing. This was a branding. One of his hands was on my back, pushing me against him, while the other plunged into my hair, cupping my head so that he could control the kiss.
I own you, his kiss said. We kissed for a long, long time.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
They said she was going to be my ruin…
Then let her ruin me.
Caleb Lockhart has everything―wealth, adoration, a brilliant future. Until a chance encounter with a siren in a red dress changes everything. Until he meets the woman he dubs Red.
Veronica Strafford’s past makes it hard for her to trust anyone. Now, kicked out of her apartment, she reluctantly accepts Caleb’s offer for a place to stay.
Caleb feels intensely drawn to Veronica. And, for the first time in his life, he really wants something―someone. Too bad Veronica’s heart might just be the one thing Caleb can’t win.
Chasing Red Duology:
Chasing Red (Book 1)
Always Red (Book 2)
Buy Links: http://books.sourcebooks.com/chasing-red/
Meet the Author:
Isabelle Ronin is a Filipino Canadian writer based in Manitoba, Canada. Her Wattpad story, Chasing Red, has garnered over 150 million reads and was one of the most-read stories of 2016. As a result of the story’s immense popularity online, several major publishers around the world have acquired the rights to Chasing Red.
When she’s not writing, Isabelle can be found hanging out in bookstores, cafes, and whenever possible, the beach. You can follow her and read her stories on Wattpad. https://www.wattpad.com/isabelleronin