Today it is my pleasure to Welcome romance author Jane O’Reilly to HJ!
Hi Jane, welcome to HJ!
What is your favorite trope to read, one you will never get tired of?
I am a big fan of the friends to lovers trope, especially if it’s a big brother of the best friend/friend to lovers combo. I love the whole scenario of the pair who have known each other for a long time but have never gone there. I love it even more when the hero has secretly been in love with the heroine for years 🙂 My all time favourite take on this is Daring to Dream by Nora Roberts – we have the housekeeper’s daughter, Margo, the wealthy son of the household, Josh, and a passion that has quietly burned since they were teenagers. They have very memorable sex in a bathroom and lots of angst before they finally get their HEA.
Let’s talk about your newest release: The Holiday Survival Guide
If you had to summarize the book for the readers here
A sexy contemporary novella about a tabloid journalist who is trapped in a tent in the snow with a man who’s marriage she ruined. There’s hate sex and snow and yetis. No sex with yetis though. That would be a different book entirely.
Please tell us about the characters in your book?
Erica Parker is a ball breaking tabloid journalist who has specialised in exposing the cheating spouses of the rich and famous. She’s got a stubborn streak a mile wide, is independent to a fault, and has a very clear sense of wrong and right. And she hates being told what to do. Nathan Wilde is a former Royal Marine who hosted a successful survival show on TV until his marriage and his career fell apart. Now he’s something of a lone wolf, teaching survival skills in Northern Sweden. He doesn’t suffer fools gladly, and he has no time for a woman who won’t do as she’s told.
Was it love at first sight for your characters? If not what was the pivotal moment of change?
Definitely not love at first sight! Neither of them can quite believe the cruel twist of fate that has landed them together. But the frozen landscape of Northern Sweden forces them to deal with each other, leaving them nowhere to hide. The pivotal moment comes when the two of them realise that there are always two sides to every story, and they’ve both been stubbornly refusing to see more than one.
If your characters could go back in time and change one thing what would it be? Why?
When Erica was at university, she made the mistake of falling in love with one of her tutors, and I think if she was going to change anything, it would be this. She hasn’t forgiven herself for it, despite the fact that she was young and emotionally inexperienced. Nathan would probably have ended his marriage sooner, rather than allowing it to carry on well past its sell by date.
What scene did you have the most fun writing? Why?
My favourite scene in the book happens quite early on, when they’ve trekked out to their first campsite. They’ve got 2 huskies, a sled and a tent, and Erica realises exactly what it means to live with no mod cons when she has to take a pee without catching frostbite.
‘I need to pee,’ she reminded Nathan, who had dropped his rucksack and was crouching down next to it.
‘Pick a tree,’ he said without looking up. ‘Go to the left. Needs to be at least thirty feet away. More if you can manage it.’
It was exactly what she’d expected him to say, but it still shocked her. Stomping off in the direction he’d told her to take, Erica found herself what she thought was a good spot. Her breath huffed out, hanging in frozen clouds as she reluctantly struggled out of her padded trousers and exposed her bare backside to the chill. The bark of the tree cut into her flesh as she put her weight against it and tried not to pee on her boots, and the triumph she’d felt when Nathan Wilde had said yes, he would take her out, disappeared in a flash.
You wanted to be miserable, she told herself sternly, as her bottom lip started to wobble. And now you are. Good.
A sharp crack had her head jerking up. In front of her, only feet away, was a huge, fur-covered creature with a massive head and big yellow teeth. It blew out a billowing white cloud of smelly breath and made a low, rumbling sound.
‘Oh my god!’ she shrieked. ‘A yeti!’
What scene was the hardest to write? Why?
The hardest scene to write takes place when their 3 days in the wilderness are up, and they’re heading back to the Ice Hotel. Neither of them really wants to go, but neither wants to admit it. There was so much unsaid in the scene, so much hurt for both characters that made it a very difficult scene to write.
She walked around him, her blue jacket and trousers matching the sky, her hair a pale tangle down her back. ‘Thanks,’ she said, giving him the briefest of glances over her shoulder. Most of her face was obscured by the oversized ski goggles he’d forced on her, the tinted lenses hiding her eyes. ‘You taught me a lot, Nathan. I can honestly it was exactly what I needed.’
And that was it. Watching her walk away was the right thing for both of them. It was physical attraction, that was all. Perfectly understandable given that they were both healthy adults who liked sex but each had their own reasons for avoiding it. Pleasure had caused so much pain in both their lives.
It was hurting like a bitch right now.
How did your character spend the week just before the story starts?
Erica spent it planning and shopping for the trip, and refusing to think about how close she is to being fired. All she wants is to get back to work. Nathan had spent it with a group of men on a stag trip. There was a lot of mouthing off and bravado, for the first day at least.
Who would you cast in the role of your characters if your book was optioned for a movie?
Alexander Skarsgard would definitely have to play Nathan, though only if he could perfect his English accent. He’s got the height, the build and all the rest 🙂 He could definitely carry off the quiet intensity that Nathan has. For Erica, I think I’d have to choose Alice Eve. She bossed Kirk around in Star Trek, so I think she could handle Nathan.
What are you currently working on? What other releases so you have planned for 2013 into 2014?
At the moment, I’m writing a romantic space opera about a genetically modified woman and a space pirate. I’d describe it as X-Men in space. I’ve got 5 releases scheduled for 2013-14 – The Holiday Survival Guide will be out on the first of January, followed by an erotic romance trilogy, and then another contemporary, a friends to lovers (woohoo!) with a virgin heroine called Perfect Timing. (The book, not the heroine. She’s called Ruby.)
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: a digital copy of The Holiday Survival Guide
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: The Holiday Survival Guide touches on several areas that are often considered taboo in romance. Erica had an affair with a married man, and Nathan’s ex-wife had an abortion. What do you think about taboos? Do they have a place in romance? Are there any which are a deal breaker for you, or any which you think writers should address more often?
The body burns up to 50% more calories in the cold. Make sure you eat plenty.
The Holiday Survival Guide, page 27
Crikey, it was bright. Erica stretched out tight muscles, trying to pull her usual yoga stances as best she could in big padded clothes and snow that came up to mid calf. It came up to her waist when she lost her balance and fell over. It hadn’t snowed in the night – their tracks from the previous day were still clear, but there was still more pure, virgin snow than she’d ever seen in her life.
She felt like a child. Letting out a shriek of laughter, Erica staggered to her feet then bent down and scooped up a handful of snow. It packed into a tight ball when she squeezed it. Turning around, she eyed Nathan, who was crouched at the edge of the tent, doing something with the contents of a small plastic box.
The snowball was flying in his direction before she could even think. She scooped up another, sent that the same way. It landed on one wide shoulder with a satisfying thwack, leaving a dusting of white on his black jacket.
For a moment, everything stilled. Then Nathan slowly turned his head. Slipping off his sunglasses, he regarded Erica with cool eyes. Despite the chill that surrounded her, creeping into the pores of her skin and gaps between her bones, she felt the heat of that look right into the pit of her stomach.
He rose slowly to his feet. One of the huskies approached him, winding itself around his long legs.
He bent down, scooped up a handful of snow, moulding it into a ball just as she had done, only his ball was at least three times the size of hers. He tossed it between his gloved hands, and Erica had a split second to realise that his aim would be undeniably perfect before his arm went back and the ball shot in her direction.
It hit her smack on the thigh. ‘Ow!’ she shouted, rubbing at the spot as the sting flashed to maximum then faded almost as quickly as it had come. ‘That hurt!’
‘That,’ he said, patting his leg and bringing the dog to heel as he walked towards her, ‘was a warning.’
Erica folded her arms protectively over her chest as he approached. She didn’t know why it felt vitally important to cover that part of her body, but it did. The tips of her breasts felt hard as she squashed them down. Hard and aware. ‘Spoilsport,’ she muttered. ‘What’s the harm in a snowball fight?’
‘We can have a snowball fight, if that’s what you want.’ He looked down at her. ‘I was just letting you know that you’ll lose. And I won’t go easy on you just because you’re a girl and you make pathetic little excuses for missiles and your aim is rubbish.’
‘My aim is not rubbish,’ she retorted. ‘I hit you, didn’t I?’
‘Where were you intending to hit me?’
‘In the head.’
‘Is that so?’
Erica nodded. The movement brought her hat slipping down over her forehead until the edge of it rested on her sunglasses. Nathan reached out and pushed it back into position. He seemed to hesitate for a moment, then he pulled off his glove and touched his knuckles against her cheek.
The breath stuttered in her lungs as awareness exploded inside her. It was nothing more than the slightest of touches. He could just have been checking her temperature. According to the survival guide, most body heat was lost through the head, so it figured that included the face. But Erica felt herself react as strongly to it as if he’d slipped his hand between her legs. What she wouldn’t give for a moose to make an appearance right now.
‘Why in the head?’ he said softly.
Erica blinked. ‘It’s a big target,’ she told him. ‘Not easy to miss.’
‘Are you saying I’ve got a big head?’
‘Let’s face it,’ she said. ‘You’re pretty big everywhere.’ And he was. A great giant of a man, with big hands and big feet. He could so easily overpower her. It would take nothing. And yet more than anything, his size made her feel protected and safe.
Safe enough to risk throwing a snowball at his head.
Nathan raised an eyebrow. He stared down at her for a long moment, and for that moment Erica found herself wondering if he was going to kiss her again. Hoping for it, even.
The fire she could see burning in those beautiful storm grey eyes seemed to flare, then just as abruptly, it disappeared, hidden behind the silvery curve of his sunglasses.
Erica found herself staring at her own warped reflection. Her cheeks were pink, as was her mouth. Tatty strands of hair stuck out from under her hat, and she remembered all too late that she hadn’t washed, or cleaned her teeth, or done any of the other things she would normally do in the morning to make herself feel human. Her stomach chose that moment to give a long, loud growl, reminding her that she hadn’t eaten either.
Yet knowing all this didn’t make it easy for her to step back. She’d been attracted to him as he’d scaled mountains and survived deserts right there on her TV screen, but that had been private and safe. This situation was anything but.
And suddenly Nathan Wilde’s size, his big everything, didn’t make her feel safe anymore.
With that thought firmly in mind, Erica stepped away, turning to the side so she wouldn’t have to look at him. She set her gaze on the husky sitting patiently next to Nathan’s bulky, black rucksack. The dog lifted one paw and licked it, then set it back on the ground and stared at her.
‘Don’t look at me like that, buster,’ she said. ‘I’ve always wanted to try dog steak.’
When tabloid journalist Erica Parker is forced to take a holiday, the last thing she expects is to find herself sharing a tent with survival expert Nathan Wilde. He was a married man with a successful TV show before Erica got to work on his life. Now the hottest man she’s ever met is single, he’s furious, and he’s got her alone in the wilderness for three long days…
Jane O’Reilly started writing as an antidote to kid’s TV when her youngest child was a baby. Her first novel was set in her old school and involved a ghost and lots of death. It’s unpublished, which is probably for the best. Then she discovered contemporary romance, and that, as they say, was that. She lives near London with her husband and two children. Find her at www.janeoreilly.com and on Twitter as @janeoreilly, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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