Spotlight & Giveaway: A Love Like the Sun by Riss M. Neilson

Posted June 10th, 2024 by in Blog, Spotlight / 21 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome author Riss M. Neilson to HJ!

Hi Riss M. Neilson and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, A Love Like the Sun!

Hello, Dear Reader. So happy to have you here!

Please summarize the book for the readers here:

A Love Like the Sun is about two best friends who decide to fake date and use the hero’s fame to save the heroines struggling business.

Please share your favorite line(s) or quote from this book:

“For you, I’d bring down the sun.” & “It feels like you take a piece of me with you when you leave, and I’m missing it until you come home.”


Please share a few Fun facts about this book…

A Love Like the Sun was previously titled Wild in the Sun because of a spicy scene in the book and the way it makes Laniah and Issac feel. I listened to Taylor Swift, Tyler, The Creator, Frank Ocean and Hozier mostly while writing and revising this book. Think “Lover,” “Are We Still Friends,” “Thinkin’ about you,” and “Work Song.” I wrote the first draft of this book during Nano Wrimo while I was supposed to be writing something else because these characters wouldn’t have it any other way. And some fun facts in the book itself: the famous/not famous trope makes for scenes filled with juicy tension, it’s a slow burn romance but the spice becomes the explicit kind, and the couple are parents to a hermit crab.


What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?

Issac is first attracted to Laniah’s bold and brave nature. She likes to take risks and sometimes it makes him feel braver too. Laniah is attracted to the sense of safety she feels when she’s with Issac and his spontaneous, passionate personality. His bad jokes are a plus but she refuses to admit it.


Did any scene have you blushing, crying or laughing while writing it? And Why?

The whole last act of the book had me sobbing, tears dripping onto my keyboard while writing this book, so I think I’ll go with a blushing scene here. This one in particular made my cheeks hot because of how nervous the characters were too. Here’s a snippet: “He pulls out the pearl clips, and my hair falls around my face. Then he moves to the clasp at the top of the dress, hesitating there, and softly asking, “May I help you out of this?”


Readers should read this book….

If they want to giggle and kick their feet right before crying and wanting to send me their therapy bills (I’ve already gotten yelled at a few times.)


What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have in the works?

I just sent off the second romance book in my contract with Berkley. It’s untitled yet, and I don’t think I can share much about it, but I will say that it’s an adversaries to lovers story with one bed and a lot of banter. It should be out next summer.

Thanks for blogging at HJ!


Giveaway: A finished copy of A LOVE LIKE THE SUN by Riss M. Neilson


To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: If you had to choose one romance trope to read for a whole year, what would it be?

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Excerpt from A Love Like the Sun:

The first thing that pops up is a video… Issac’s walking through the airport with Bernie and holding a green smoothie in his hand. The reporter says something to him, and Issac stops walking despite Bernie’s background protests.
“What was that?” Issac asks.
“Is it true that you and Laniah Thompson are a couple?” the reporter repeats.
Issac gives the reporter a nervous laugh. “Yeah, Laniah’s my girl. We’re together.”
I pause the video to stare at the sloppy smile on his face. He looks…happy? And he told me what he said earlier but hearing it out loud hits different. Laniah’s my girl.
Goosebumps cut across my skin. Something stirs in my chest. I click play again and lift one of the couch pillows to my face, shielding myself like someone can see me smiling.
Good lord, why am I smiling while listening to him lie?
“How long have you been together? Did you date at all or straight to a relationship because she was already your friend?” the reporter asks.
Issac shakes his head. “The details are between me and her. But just know she’s my person.” He points a finger to the camera, not exactly at the reporter but to the world. “And I’ll know it if you get out of line with her.” Then he flashes that famous smile everyone swoons over and walks off with Bernie and his bodyguards.
Just as the video ends, Issac texts me: I’m still working but call me as soon as you wake up tomorrow, no matter how early it is for me. I want to hear every detail about your day at the shop, and I want you to hear my voice when I say I told you so.
I sink further into the pillows re reading the message again and again. He’s always been my person too, and that is enough to know this plan will work. It just might require me to allow myself a temporary lapse of good judgment so that I’m not beating myself up each time I wonder what his voice would sound if he were whispering sexy things in my ear instead.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Book Info:

Lifelong best friends spend a fateful summer discovering what might happen if they were to be something more in this radiant, heart-clenching adult debut.

Laniah Thompson is a homebody who craves privacy. Issac Jordan is internet famous and spends his days followed by paparazzi. She runs a small business with her mom in her hometown. He runs an international brand.

And they’ve been best friends since childhood.

When Issac comes home to Providence for the first time in months and discovers Laniah’s dream is slipping out of reach as she and her mom struggle to pay the bills at Wildly Green, their natural hair store, she refuses to take a dime from him. And so, he does what any self-respecting best friend would do: tells the world they’re dating.

Suddenly business is booming, and Laniah agrees to his ridiculous plan to pretend to be lovers for the course of the summer. Just long enough to catch the eye of an investor and get her dream back on track, like she helped him do so many years ago, he reminds her.

Too soon, though, Laniah knows she’s playing with fire, because for as long as they’ve been friends there’s an undeniable pull they’ve never given in to. And as the lines between art and life—real and pretend—blur, it becomes harder and harder to see where friendship ends and something else begins….

Told over the course of three sizzling summer months, A Love Like the Sun is about shared history, those who make us our bravest selves, and love in its many forms.
Book Links: Amazon | B&N | iTunes | kobo | Google |

Meet the Author:

Riss M. Neilson is a magna cum laude graduate of Rhode Island College, where she won the English department’s Jean Garrigue Award for creative writing. Her debut young adult novel, Deep in Providence, was a 2022 finalist for the New England Book Awards. She has two daughters, a cat, a dog and a bunny named Michael Myers. She was born and raised in Providence. When she’s not writing, she’s watching anime or playing video games with her kids. A Love Like the Sun is her debut adult novel.
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21 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: A Love Like the Sun by Riss M. Neilson”

  1. Laurie Gommermann

    I would choose the tension of forced proximity. Could be instant attraction or instant dislike. Love it when they realize they want to be together!

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