Hi Susan and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Notorious!
Hey, everyone! Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to check out my latest book.
Tell us about the book with this fun little challenge using the title of the book:
Narcissist—which our villain definitely is
On stage—hero Jon-Michael for real, plus the way the press constantly makes heroine Hayley feel
Train—plays a small but important part
Omnipresent—Hayley wishes the press would just go away
Responsive—Jon-Michael and Hayley wish their mutual attraction was truly behind them, but they cannot stop responding to each other
Invasive—the media frenzy that assaults Gravers Bend
Orgasms—as in, oh, lots. ;-D
Undies (hey, not a lot of options with U. At least that popped to mind.
Sexy, suspenseful, secrets (NOW we’re talkin’ an easy letter)
Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?
Hayley Prescott grew up in Gravers Bend, WA, in a middle/lower income family. Her father walked out on her and her mom when Hayley was in middle school, but she was close to her mother.
Jon-Michael Olivet is the son of the town’s richest man (sister Kurstin is Hayley’s bestie). His mom died young and his father…well, let’s just say he is not the warm and fuzzy type.
Jon-Michael and Hayley always talked to each other and one night in high school they found themselves on a blanket in the woods. But Jon-Michael screwed everything up the following morning, giving Hayley her first taste of notoriety.
When you sat down to start this book, what was the biggest challenge you faced? What were you most excited about?
I started this book 20 years ago, then set it aside when the bottom dropped out of the Romantic Suspense market in ‘96. I don’t actually remember my mind set at the time. The original writing is always my biggest challenge—I shine at fixing what I first get down. The fun part was seeing how much my writing’s improved as I brought the chapters I wrote back when up to date, and it was exciting to realize the topics of media intrusiveness and the debate over the death penalty are every bit as current today as they were in 1996. And of course love and sex never go out of style.
What, in your mind, makes this book stand out?
I have always loved books in which the people talk and have conflicts that even when talked about do not simply resolve themselves. So I would have to say the raw honesty of the hero/heroine’s and heroine/best friend’s conversations make Notorious stand out.
The First Kiss…
“I don’t drink any more, Hayley,” he informed her in a deep, hoarse voice. “And I am no longer eighteen. I would take my time now, make it real good for you.”
Holy cannoli. The man could probably convince the devil to take up saving souls. Hayley had known him at his worst and still she had her work cut out simply dredging up enough moisture to swallow.
“Um hmm,” she agreed. “You probably could.” She felt him startle against her, felt his fingers clench at her neck and over her hand. Watching his eyelids grow heavier yet and his head descend, knowing he believed she was going to allow him to kiss her, she took a savage satisfaction in bursting his bubble. “Of course then,” she said coolly, “every night before I left Bluey’s to go home, I would have to check the men’s room walls to be sure my name and number aren’t up there under the recommendation For a good time, call…”
“Damn it, Hayley, I’ve changed.” He stared at her mouth, slicking his tongue over his lower lip.
“Well, good for you. Go tell it to the mountain.”
“I’d rather tell you. Or better yet, show you. Kiss me.”
“C’mon. You know how bad I wanna kiss you.”
She forced a rude noise through lips gone dry.
“Kiss me, Hayley.” Without waiting to see if she would decline a third time, he lowered his head and rocked his mouth over hers.
And Holy effing—all thought shut down and she could only feel.
Damn him! He still had that old magic in spades. He wrapped her in the warmth of his body, the scent of his skin, and to her shame, she immediately grew wet. It left her with only one recourse.
Fingers curling around the oar handle, she slid it off the shelf, brought it up, and rapped it upside his head.
What do you want people to take away from reading this book?
I want them to laugh, to cry, to clench their thighs. Oh, and to sigh in satisfaction and gasp in surprise.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned for 2016?
I have always wanted to write a book set in the 1920s but have barely just started it. It is unlikely it will be finished in time to be out this year, but hopefully it won’t be too far into 2017.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
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Excerpt from Notorious:
Bluey’s was a three ring circus, and Hayley feared she was the dancing bear. She struggled to stay calm while a flood of out-of-town media jockeys jostled for space at the bar, yelling drink orders and attempting, many of them at the top of their lungs, to elicit her life story. They were rude and pushy and showed not the least compunction about elbowing the regular patrons out of their way. Even Marsha and Lucy had a difficult time getting close enough to the bar to place their orders.
She looked up and a strobe went off in her face for the third time in as many minutes. The current contender for her attention called, “Have you talked to Senator Jarvis yet?”
She blinked against the blue spots floating in front of her eyes. But to answer the question, yes. She had taken the senator’s call but told the woman she was not putting herself even more firmly in the paparazzi’s crosshairs to further the the woman’s agenda. Jarvis was well known in New Hampshire for trying to get the death penalty back in play.
Not that she was sharing that conversation with the press.
A brief, now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t flood of sunlight washed and retreated across the lounge floor, alerting her that the front door had opened to admit someone new. Oh, goody.
She really needed yet another journalist in her face right now. Then Jon-Michael’s voice, stringing obscenities together with rare creativity, cut through the din as another flash went off in her eyes.
“Get that the fuck out of her face!” Striding into the throng, he ripped the camera out of the hands of the most recent contender for the Hayley Prescott photo-of-the-night award and turned to look for the nearest bar maid.
“Lucy!” He tossed her his sax case and a small, exquisitely wrapped package. “Get Bluey out here.” Twisting to fend off the photographer who jumped at his side making grabs for the camera, Jon-Michael held it aloft and fumbled to pull up the right menu. Then he found it and the photographer howled in outrage when Jon-Michael hit the delete-all button with one satisfying economical tap of his finger. Are you sure, the digital security feature asked him. “Oh, yeah,” he murmured and hit yes to that as well. The photographer moaned.
Jon-Michael looked down at him. “Oh, that was small spuds, chief. You wanna see this expensive little camera stay in one piece, I’d advise you to back off. I am feeling just the tiniest bit clumsy tonight.”
The roar of voices rose to deafening proportions. Then the unmistakable sound of a twelve-gauge shotgun being cocked sliced through the high decibel babble like a chainsaw through butter, and the lounge went very still.
“What the hell is going on out here?” Harve ‘Bluey’ Moser stood outside his office door, a lit cigarette illegally glued to his lower lip and a shotgun cradled in his arms, the fully primed barrels pointed at the floor. “Hayley,” he said into the sudden silence, “you okay?”
She drew a shaky breath and pulled herself together. “Yeah. I’m fine.”
“Uh huh.” He looked less than convinced. “And I suppose these fine people howling your name are just a bunch of blues lovers, huh?”
“They’re media trash,” Marsha snapped, elbowing a network reporter out of her way and slapping her tray down on the bar. She straightened the waistband on her polyester slacks, yanked down the points of her vest and reached across the bar to give Hayley’s forearm a comforting squeeze. Then she turned to address Bluey. “These lowlifes have been shoving our customers out of their way, yelling questions I would blush to answer to my father confessor, let alone tell the world, and shoving cameras in Hayley’s face ever since they barreled through the door.”
“Who, exactly, took her picture?”
“This joker here for one,” Marsha retorted with a jerk of her thumb at the culprit. “But Jon-Michael deleted it.”
“Yes, and I’ll have you know—” the agitated photographer started to say, only to have Bluey step on his words.
“Shut up,” the old man advised. He did not so much as twitch the shotgun in his arms but the photographer looked at his set face, shot a nervous glance at the weapon, and shut up.
“The guy with the white shirt took one,” Lucy contributed, pointing out the individual in question. “And the babe with the bad haircut over there snapped off a couple.”
The woman she indicated shot her a look brimming with incredulity that anyone with two-toned hair could possibly disparage a perfectly acceptable spiked buzz-cut.
One of the customers pointed out yet another photographer who had shot off a frame and Bluey ordered them all to delete their images.
“Forget it,” one photographer snapped, and all the others hesitated when he demanded belligerently, “What is this, a police state? You don’t have the authority to make us delete our work.”
“This is the state of the blues, boy—and I own it. I have the authority to do whatever I damn well please.”
“I’ll call the sheriff. I know my rights.”
“You’re not too bright, are you, son?” Bluey gave him a pitying look. “Hayley, pass this sorry sumbitch the phone. Punch 911, boy, just like you were still in the big city. And don’t you believe a word you hear about police brutality in small town cops. Who says they would just as soon lock you up and throw away the key as look at you? Our Brutus isn’t like that at all.”
Paulette Benson, Gravers Bend sheriff, would have been surprised to hear her new name, and she was not like that at all. Bluey, however, was a better judge of human nature than the photographers. They deleted their memory cards or, in the case of one photographer who still worked old school, handed over his exposed film.
Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Hayley Prescott has had it with being labeled The Widow of a murdered hero. But going home again might not have been her best move. Because the guy who made her notorious in a different way still lives in Gravers Bend—and is every bit as hot as he was back in the day.
So does being the guy in the wrong…
Years ago, Jon-Michael Olivet tried to apologize to Hayley for making her the hottest topic on their small town’s grape-vine, but she refused to listen. Well, he’s not the boy he was then. He grew the hell up and now he just wants to move on. Hard to do when he can’t stay away from her.
And if it’s not one damn thing…
Before the two can deal with old issues, the paparazzi track Hayley down. Worse, her #1 Fan’s grasp on reality is starting to slip. Still, Fate often has plans when it comes to love. And Jon-Michael and Hayley’s best intentions may just go up in smoke.
Meet the Author:
Susan Andersen writes contemporary romantic suspense peopled with hot, edgy men and the women who tame them. She’s also known for her sassy, sexy, often humorous novels of opposites attract. Her books have spent many weeks on the USAToday and New York Times bestseller lists, and have twice been included in RWA’s Top Ten Favorite Books of the Year. the proud mother of a grown son, she’s a native of the Pacific Northwest, where she lives with her husband and two cats.
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