Hi Leisa and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Professor Feelgood!
Hi, lovelies! Glad to be here.
Please summarize the book for the readers here:
When a young book editor signs a sexy Instagram poet called Professor Feelgood, she thinks she’s onto a surefire bestseller. But when the man behind the soulful words turns out to be an arrogant, infuriating blast from her past who stimulates her body as much as her mind, long buried emotions and ghosts of betrayal force them to both confront their real feelings. A story of love, hate, and dysfunctional soul mates.
Please share the opening lines of this book:
Well, this is mortifying.
Here I am at 7.30am on a Monday morning, more turned on than I’ve been in all my twenty-three and three-quarter years. But am I with the man of my dreams? Am I being wined and dined and romanced out of my pants? Am I in an exotic location involving sand, sea, and half-naked waiters serving drinks with tiny paper umbrellas?
I’m sitting at my desk at Whiplash Publishing, surrounded by an empty office and the faint clicking of the water cooler, as I’m bombarded with very bad thoughts about a man I’ve never met.
Please share a few Fun facts about this book…
- Observant readers will notice some ‘easter eggs’ in this book, that not only make reference to Mister Romance, but also some subtle throwbacks to my Starcrossed series.
- One character readers adore is Moby Duck – a thoroughly spoiled pet with a meal-worm addiction and the surly attitude of a teenage boy.
- The most fun human character is Joanna, a charismatic friend whose tall tales have people wondering if she’s the most extraordinary woman alive, or just a fantastic storyteller.
Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. As you wrote your protagonist was there anything about them that surprised you?
The story is narrated by Asha, book editor, romance novel enthusiast, and the reluctant victim of Professor Feelgood’s outrageous sex appeal.
Jacob Stone is Asha’s ex-best friend, current nemesis, and the man behind Professor Feelgood’s crazy-popular Instagram account.
Together, these two are like fire and kerosene, and the fact they’ve known each other their whole lives means they have backlog of dinosaur-sized bones to pick.
The thing that surprised me most about their relationship was how incredibly passionate it was. When they were childhood friends, they were fiercely loyal. Then when puberty hit and things fell apart, they were bitter enemies. Coming back together as adults who are further frustrated by inconvenient attraction makes their relationship a lot of fun to write. Jake is the sort of guy who seems arrogant and untouchable, but once he reveals his softer side, it’s clear he loves with so much passion, he doesn’t know how to deal with it all.
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?
The Professor Feelgood movie would definitely include this scene to make sure the actors could play the many subtextural layers of Jake and Asha’s relationship.
“How many times have you told yourself our friendship fell apart because of me?” he asks, his patience as thin as onion skin.
“No, really, I want to know. Because if you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes truth. How many times, Ash?”
A cold hand squeezes my heart, making my pulse run fast. “We did fall apart because of you.”
“So, you were blameless?”
My voice rises with my blood-pressure. “You turned into an asshole.”
“And you had nothing to do with that?”
I lean away from him, just like I did back then.
He notices and shakes his head. “You once told me that in the story of our lives, we’re our own flawed narrator. You think I’m the bad guy, and I think you are. Our memories are subjective, and we rarely remember ourselves as the villain, even when we were.”
I push back into the arm of the couch, as far away from him as I can get. “Don’t you dare throw this back onto me. You were the villain. If you’d embraced the role any more, you would have started wearing a black ten-gallon hat to school instead of a beanie.”
My voice is shrill in the empty space, and my heart is pounding so fast, it feels like a roar in my ears.
I can’t do this, a small voice whispers inside me. Stop it. Stop talking. Just stop.
I don’t know what he sees in my expression, but after a few more seconds of searching my face, he drops the box onto the coffee table and goes over to the bed.
“Okay, princess.” He grabs some clothes from the baskets on the floor. “If it helps you sleep at night to remember our past that way, go ahead. Stay safe in your delusion.” He walks over to the bathroom and stops when he reaches the door. “But if you ever want to talk about the way things really were, give me a call.”
Then, he disappears into the bathroom and slams the door.
I’m still breathing heavy when I hear the water start.
What do you want people to take away from reading this book?
The main thing I want people to realize is that even the most passionate love isn’t perfect. People are flawed and make stupid decisions, and we so often try to protect ourselves by avoiding the truth. In the words of Professor Feelgood: “Anyone who says true love is easy has never felt it, because there’s nothing easy about loving a person who’s as necessary to your life as breathing. There’s nothing easy about being so terrified of losing them, you’ll make a thousand wrong decisions before you figure out that risking everything is the only right one.”
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned?
I’m going to have a week or so off to recover from this one, because it turned out far more emotional than I’d anticipated, and I can’t count how many times I cried giving these two their happy ending. After that, I’m diving straight into the third book in the Masters of Love series. Once again, it will be a standalone featuring characters from the other two books. It’s called Doctor Love, and it will be out in early 2019.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: A signed copy of PROFESSOR FEELGOOD, plus 5 KINDLE copies. Open internationally.
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: Our female MC in Professor Feelgood is a romance novel enthusiast. If you could only recommend one book for her to add to her collection, what would it be?
Excerpt from Professor Feelgood:
I lean forward as I watch Joanna’s face. She’s gripping her phone tightly, mouth open as she scans the screen.
God, please let her confirm my opinion, otherwise I’m just a crazy person who’s grasping at straws out of desperation.
She takes her time, and I don’t know if she’s keeping her face passive to drive me insane, or if she genuinely has no reaction to what she’d reading. If it’s the second, I’m sunk. If it’s the first, I’m going to beat her viciously with my Chris Hemsworth body pillow.
I hear the door to the apartment open and close, followed by the soft murmuring of my sister and her boyfriend arriving home. Normally, I’d go out and greet them, but right now I have more important things to do. Like holding myself back from shaking Joanna until she tells me what the heckity-heck she’s thinking.
Just when I’m starting to believe the power of Professor Feelgood is all in my head, I see the exact reaction I’d hoped for: Joanna’s face goes a deep red, and then there are random shallow exhales every time she clicks on a new post.
This is major. Despite working together for two years, I’ve never seen Joanna lose her cool. But in this moment, her perfect blonde curls and flawless makeup can’t hide how gobsmacked she is.
“Oh, my God,” she says, her gaze flicking to me and then away.
Her chest rises and falls rapidly, and her fingers are almost shaking. “Oh … my God.”
“Oh, my GOD.”
She starts fanning herself with her hand, and I know exactly how fast and hot her blood is pounding. How her skin is screaming from too much sensation.
I get up the courage to ask her my most burning question. “Tell me you’re feeling what I’m feeling.”
She nods. “I absolutely am.” When she glances up at me, her mouth is agape. “Holy hotness, Asha.”
I lean back against my headboard, relief tempering my erratic heartbeat. “Just to be clear––you’re turned on, right?”
She goes back to her screen. “Sooooooo turned on.”
My sister Eden pokes her head around the edge of the doorway to my bedroom and eyes us suspiciously. I’m not sure what she expected to find, but I’m certain it wasn’t me and Joanna sitting on my bed, caressing our phones.
“What the hell, you two?” she asks, eyes narrowed. “Are you watching porn together?”
I smile and beckon her over. “In a way.”
I hand her my phone and watch her face to gauge her reaction. As she thumb scrolls through his timeline, I know that Eden will be the real test here. Her innate cynicism and lack of patience means she’s immune to most forms of emotional manipulation. If she digs the Professor, then I’m home free.
I hold my breath in tense anticipation. Roughly thirty seconds later, I get my answer.
She frowns, her mouth opens, and then the apples of her cheeks brighten with color.
We’ve both inherited our late mother’s peaches-and-cream coloring, and even though Eden’s auburn locks are curly, and I work hard to keep mine straight, there’s no mistaking how vibrantly our cheeks light up when we’re embarrassed. Or aroused.
“Oh, my God,” she says.
Joanna nods and points. “There it is.”
‘Oh … my God,” Eden says again, eyes working overtime as her voice becomes breathier every second.
I feel myself beaming in vindication. “It’s amazing, right?”
“Oh, my GOD!”
She jumps a little when her large, handsome boyfriend appears in the doorway.
“Okay,” Max says, narrowing his green eyes at Eden. “I’m usually the one who makes you sound like that. What the hell is going on in here?”
Joanna leans over and whispers, “I don’t think I’ll ever get used to seeing Mister Romance in your apartment. He’s, like, a unicorn among men. So freaking gorgeous, inside and out.”
I nod. “I know, right?”
Eden beckons him over, and when he’s next to her, she hands over my phone to show him what we’re looking at.
“It’s the Instagram feed of a guy calling himself Professor Feelgood,” she explains.
Max frowns as he scrolls through. “Whoa. Three million followers. How the hell is some guy I’ve never heard of so popular?”
Still running on excess adrenaline, I type the Professor’s name into my spreadsheet and highlight it in the brightest, most neon green I can find.
“Believe it or not, Max, but there are heaps of people who are massively Insta-famous but otherwise anonymous. Fashion bloggers, makeup artists, hot doctors and lawyers. But this guy? He’s got something … indefinable. It’s fascinating.”
As Max continues to scroll, Eden grips his bicep, and I don’t miss the way she strokes it lovingly.
“What do you think?” she asks.
Max shrugs. “Not really sure what I’m looking at. Arty photographs, lots of pics of international landmarks. Some angsty poetry.”
“It’s a journey of discovery,” Eden says, pointing to the screen. “If you start at the beginning, you’ll see he’s trying to find himself by traveling around the world. Then he meets someone he thinks is his soul mate, they have a passionate relationship, and he loses her. Now he’s trying to find ways of coping without her.”
Max nods. “Okay.” He looks between me, Eden, and Joanna. “Wait … you all find this sexy?”
We answer almost in unison. “Oh, my God, yes!”
“He should have called himself Professor Feelgood in my pants,” Joanna says, fanning herself again.
“Right?!” I say, nodding vigorously.
Eden laughs. “Absolutely.”
Max raises his eyebrows and turns to his girlfriend. “Is that right?”
Her smile falls, and she clears her throat before stretching up and kissing him gently. “Don’t get me wrong, no one will ever be as sexy as you, but … I can see the appeal. Good-looking guy, broken-hearted and pining for the woman of his dreams? That’s pretty attractive.”
Max hands the phone back to me. “How do you know he’s good looking? There are no pictures of his face.”
“Oh, he’s good looking,” Joanna says, still staring at her screen. “Just from the few flashes of that scruff-lined jaw, you can tell he’s a freaking dreamboat.”
“But what he looks like isn’t the point,” I say, glancing up from my laptop. “It’s his words that affect us, so much more than his body or face. They’re just so … soulful. Overflowing with passion.”
Joanna hands Max her phone. “Look, here’s a prime example. Read this out loud.”
Max looks at us all dubiously before holding up the phone and reciting what’s on the screen.
“If people were colors, then she’d be bright yellow, like sunshine.
I’d be charcoal gray, like the sky before a storm.
But whenever I was with her, it was like I was standing in full sun,
bright and happy.
I was yellow, too.
I liked being yellow.
I tried to stay that way when she left. To keep her light inside of me.
But I’ve always been made of storm clouds, and eventually, she faded
and the gray descended again.
Sometimes, I hold my hand up to the sun,
and the warmth always reminds me of how it used to feel
when I held her fingers between mine.”
When he finishes, Joanna and I let out deep sighs.
Eden has a more … physical reaction. She looks at Max like she’s three seconds away from tearing his shirt in half and licking his chest.
Max doesn’t miss her wild expression. “You know, if you’re into this sort of thing, I have a ton of angsty poetry at my loft that I wrote a few years ago back.”
Eden moves closer and touches his abdomen. “Is that right?”
When Max nods, she puts her arms around his neck and pulls him down so they’re face to face. “Then it looks like you’ll be giving me a private reading later tonight.”
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
What’s a girl to do when a man who’s countless shades of wrong feels oh-so-right?
Ambitious book editor Asha Tate is a hopeless romantic. Despite her mediocre track record with men, she believes in swooning, sighing, and the everlasting love of true soul mates. Sure, sex is okay, but she’s not someone who’s ever been driven by her animal urges.
When Asha stumbles upon the scorching hot Instagram feed of someone calling himself Professor Feelgood, she falls in lust for the first time. Not only is she left panting over the professor’s insane body, but his angst-filled poetry about losing his one true love speaks straight to her soul.
Desperately in need of a bestseller for her struggling publishing company, Asha knows the professor’s potential to sell to his millions of loyal followers could be the lifeline her bosses need. However, the ink is barely dry on a book deal before she realizes she’s made a terrible mistake. Sure, the professor is incredibly talented and sexier than any man has a right to be, but the man behind the persona isn’t at all who she pictured. In real life, he’s intense, arrogant and infuriating, and his uncanny ability to rub her the wrong way turns her dream project into a total nightmare.
Knowing that the professor is everything she doesn’t want in a man should help Asha ignore her occasional urges to mount him, but she quickly learns that explosive, unwanted chemistry can make even smart people do stupid things.
Don’t miss this sexy new standalone from the international bestselling author of Bad Romeo!
Meet the Author:
Author, actor, and professional snuggler, Leisa is the creator of the critically acclaimed Starcrossed series, published through Macmillan New York: BAD ROMEO, BROKEN JULIET, and WICKED HEART. The finale in the Starcrossed series was the holiday-themed anthology, BAD ROMEO CHRISTMAS.
Her last release was a love-letter to romance readers: MISTER ROMANCE, and the second title in the Masters of Love series, PROFESSOR FEELGOOD, is now available. DOCTOR LOVE released in early 2019.)
Leisa’s books have gained hordes of passionate fans all over the world, and can be found on e-readers and bookshelves in fourteen foreign countries. She’s been featured on various international bestseller lists, including Brazil and Germany.
Leisa Rayven lives in Australia with her husband, two little boys, three cats, and a kangaroo named Howard.