Hi Samantha and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Always My Girl!
Please summarize the book for the readers here:
Quinn and Anna have been best friends since forever. And she’s been harboring a crush on him for almost that long. Unfortunately, Quinn’s a little too oblivious to notice. Tired of waiting for what’s clearly never going to happen, Anna decides it’s time to move on and starts to make some changes. And suddenly, Quinn notices. Their transition from friends to lovers is met with a lot of bumps in the road but eventually to a very rewarding HEA.
Please share the opening lines of this book:
Faster. I need to go faster. The words were a simple chant in six-year-old Quinn Shaughnessy’s mind. Whether it was running, swimming or riding his bike, nothing felt good unless it was done really fast.
Please share a few Random facts about this book…
- When Anna starts taking some online auto repair classes and then uses that information later when she flirts with one of Quinn’s friends is based on an episode of The Big Bang Theory where Penny tells a really hot scientist that she’s “really into science”. Anna tells Jake how she’s really in to cars and even does her own repairs. When the truth is that she knows how to change a spark plug, an air filter and windshield wipers.
- Growing up I was always better friends with boys than girls. Some of my closest friends in high school – including my BEST friend – were guys. Too much drama with the girls! So writing Anna felt completely natural for me.
- I know absolutely NOTHING about NASCAR and even though that is Quinn’s former profession, I did ZERO research about it. However, I am going to tour Charlotte Motor Speedway in August as part of the Roadtripping with Romance book tour I’m doing with Sara Humphreys!
- This is quite possibly my favorite book out of everything I’ve ever written.
- I had promised one of the assistant editors at Sourcebooks that I would include a fight scene in Quinn’s book. Lol! She said how much she loved a good fight over a girl and so I made sure to have a scene where Quinn has to totally kick someone’s ass.
Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. As you wrote your protagonist was there anything about them that surprised you?
Quinn Shaughnessy is really the ultimate middle child in a large family – he does a lot to make sure he stands out. He’s super confident and everyone’s best friend but for the most part, he is completely clueless about pretty much everything – how people view him and how his action affect others. And even though I always wrote him as confident, it was his vulnerability that came as a surprise as the story went on. It just made me love him more!
As for Anna Hannigan, she was always the girl next door. She’s friends with everyone, she’d good at pretty much everything but no one sees her as overly feminine or girly. She plays sports, she works at a pub and pretty much always happy and confident. But we see early on that she really lacks some self-esteem and thinks that the answer to all of her problems is to become that girly and feminine person.
What, in your mind, distinguishes this book from other books out there in the same genre?
The family dynamic. Quinn and Anna aren’t only dealing with themselves and the transition from friends to lovers, they’re dealing with their families and how it really does change pretty much everything. There’s a lot of humor in it as well as heartbreak when you have to deal with other people having so much to say about your relationship.
Fave scene from Always My Girl
Okay, there are several in this book that tie for the title of favorite. It’s so hard to choose just one! But I will. So after their first real kiss, they’re interrupted with a family emergency and have to head out of town. Later that night almost all of the Shaughnessy’s are staying at Hugh and Aubrey’s house. Quinn and Anna are given the den to camp out in. No one knows about the kiss or about any change in their relationship – they’re just given the den because they’re friends and it wasn’t a big deal. Only Quinn and Anna knew that it was.
It was two in the morning and Anna was wide awake. They were all back at Hugh and Aubrey’s home and it had taken a little while to get everyone situated and settled. She was standing in the doorway to the den looking at Quinn who was shirtless in his well-worn jeans. Memories of what had happened between them earlier in the shop flooded her and she wondered what was going to happen now that they were alone.
“This opens up into a bed,” Quinn said when he saw her standing there. “Or we can use the blankets and pillows and camp out on the floor. What do you think?”
What did she think? Um…bed please! She tried to search for a way to say it without it sounding as if she was nervous – like it was the most natural thing in the world for them to be talking about sharing a bed or camping out on the floor together. Well…the camping out on the floor kind of wasn’t a big deal. They’d done it a ton of times while growing up.
“The bed should be fine – just as long as it’s not like the one at the beach from Aidan and Zoe’s wedding.”
Quinn chuckled and began to pull the cushions from the couch. In minutes he had it all unfolded and was sitting on the bed. “This is a pretty good mattress. You can’t even feel the bars.” He laid down and moved around a bit. “Nope. It’s definitely better than the other one.”
He jumped up and began making the bed. Anna walked over and helped him. It didn’t take long to do and once all the sheets and blankets were on and the pillows back in place, there didn’t seem like there was much to do except…get in the bed.
Looking around Anna saw a pile of blankets and some pillows still on the floor. She looked at them and then back at Quinn. He shrugged. “You take the bed. I’ll camp on the floor.”
Disappointment swamped her. So…they weren’t picking up where they left off earlier. Well…damn. Of course it made sense. The den of Hugh and Aubrey’s house was certainly not the place she wanted to get intimate with Quinn for the first time. But…still.
“Unless…” he began and Anna’s gaze instantly went to his.
Quinn cleared his throat and looked at the ground – very insecure and very unlike the confident man she normally knew him to be.
“Unless you wouldn’t mind…sharing.” He looked up at her, his blue eyes uncertain as his gaze held hers.
This was it. This was her chance to finally live at least part of the fantasy. “I…I wouldn’t mind,” she said softly and smiled when she saw his shoulders relax, as if from relief.
Suddenly shy, Anna looked down at the oversized t-shirt she was wearing. It was something she was comfortable in and knew Quinn had seen her in one just like it not too long ago, but suddenly she wished she was wearing something sexier. Her hand smoothed over the fabric and when she looked up, Quinn was standing right beside her.
His hand came up and caressed her cheek. “You’re beautiful,” he murmured, but he didn’t do anything else – didn’t touch her anywhere else, didn’t attempt to kiss her. Instead he stepped back and pulled back the blankets and motioned for Anna to lay down. Then he walked over and closed the door to the den and turned out the light.
Anna’s heart was racing. All of her senses were on high-alert. She heard him walking back over to the bed where he stopped. The sound of the zipper on his jeans going down seemed unusually loud and she found her breath coming in little gasps. Was he going to completely undress? She heard the jeans hit the floor and then felt him climbing in the bed beside her.
She went perfectly still – afraid to move, afraid to breathe. Quinn moved closer and she almost let out a loud whoosh of air when she realized he still had his boxers on. There was just a sliver of light shining into the room through the blinds, enough for her to see him lying on his side looking at her.
“Are you okay?” he asked quietly.
He chuckled lowly. “It’s just me, Anna,” he said and then he did reach out and touched her – just on her arm but even that light touch was enough to make her skin tingle.
“I know,” she said, finally letting herself relax. “This is just…new.”
“I know. But it’s not bad, right?”
Was it? Right now she’d have to say no but the timing was less than ideal. “No, it’s not bad. A little confusing, but not bad.”
Did any scene have you crying or laughing (or blushing) while writing it?
The opening scene in chapter one was really the BEST! I laughed all the way through it. Quinn shows up at the house on the beach for his brother Aidan’s wedding weekend. He goes into the yard and sees a sexy woman in a bikini sunbathing and goes over to flirt – not knowing that it’s Anna. And it completely freaks him out! I just had this vision in my head of him little falling on his butt in shock at what he was seeing – it’s that exact moment that everything changes.
Quinn sat down on the chaise Zoe had vacated and cleared his throat. “Hey,” he said smoothly. “I’m Quinn, Aidan’s brother. Zoe’s going inside to grab some drinks and I thought I’d come over and…”
Anna turned over, the large, floppy hat falling behind her.
Quinn quickly stood and stumbled and fell backwards over Zoe’s chaise. “Holy shit! Anna??” He slowly came to his feet. “What the hell?”
She shaded her eyes and gave him a sour look before looking over at Zoe. When Zoe started to come forward, Anna held up a hand to stop her. “I got this.” Once her friend was gone, she returned her focus to Quinn. “Is there a problem?”
Quinn helplessly looked around and grabbed the towel from Zoe’s chaise and threw it at Anna. “For crying out loud, what are you doing?”
“Um…sunbathing? Laying out? Getting a tan? Really, take your pick.”
He straightened the chaise and sat down but his eyes stayed focused on the ground. “Well, maybe you’ve had enough sun for today and should…you know…put some clothes on.”
A small laugh escaped before she could help it. It would seem she had finally managed to get Quinn Shaughnessy to notice she was a girl. Well…a woman. Great. It only took her being practically naked for it to happen.
When she stayed silent, Quinn slowly lifted his head but kept his eyes firmly on hers. “I’m serious, Anna. You need to go and get dressed.”
It was the tone that did it. Anna was used to him being bossy and condescending most of the time – it was who he was – but right now, all of her good humor and thoughts of teasing him went right out the window. “No,” she said firmly and made herself more comfortable by rolling over onto her back.
He said her name again. This time it was nearly a growl.
She turned her head and looked at him. “If you have a problem, maybe you should go inside. I’m staying right here.”
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters?
Think it would have to be the first time they kiss. Actually, they have two “first” kisses. The first time, Anna’s kind of half asleep and thinks she’s dreaming. The second time, they’re arguing about the changes in their friendship and Quinn’s fighting his sudden attraction for her and they go from friends to fighting to kissing to holy-cow steamy in a matter of minutes. I’d want to see the struggle and transition on the actors faces!
“Hey,” she snapped, slamming the office door closed behind her. “I asked you a question. Quinn’s blue eyes flashed with fire as he looked at her. Anna had seen that look before, normally directed at other people. It was the first time she was on the receiving end of it and she wasn’t sure if it scared her or just served to make her madder.
“Oh, yeah? Well I asked you one earlier and you didn’t answer. I guess we’re even.” Crossing his arms over his chest, he waited her out – a smug expression on his face.
“Seriously? Are we really going there? The whole I’m rubber, you’re glue thing? Aren’t we getting too old for this crap?” And then the fight started to leave her. This wasn’t getting her anywhere. The man clearly had an issue with her that he wasn’t going to share and she was just tired of the whole thing. “You know what? Never mind. Just…never mind,” she said wearily and turned to open the office door and leave.
“Did you kiss him?” he called after her and waited until she turned around and looked at him. “Did you kiss him, too?”
Slowly Anna stepped back into the office and looked at Quinn as if he’d lost his mind. “Are you high or something? Kiss him? Kiss who? Could you please explain to me what the heck you’re talking about?” She was completely confused by the turn in the conversation. Did he think she’d kissed Jake? She hadn’t even been out on a date in what felt like forever, so what was he even referring to?
He moved in close and kept going until Anna’s back was against the wall. “Is that your new thing? Just kissing guys to pass the time?” Quinn’s breathing was ragged as he looked down into Anna’s wide eyes.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I…I haven’t kissed anyone,” she said shakily as her tongue came out to moisten her suddenly dry lips.
“You kissed me.”
Those brown eyes got impossibly wider as she softly gasped. “No I didn’t.”
Wait…did I? Was that not a dream the other night?
“Yeah, you did,” he said lowly. “You fell asleep on the couch and then I carried you to bed and you kissed me.”
She shook her head no, unable to find her voice. But even as she tried to deny it, the image came to her mind that she would have sworn had just been a dream. Not that she was going to share that bit of information with Quinn.
He continued to watch her, his eyes never leaving hers. “Yes. You. Did.”
“I…I don’t believe you,” she stammered, wishing like hell she could just escape and die of embarrassment.
“Let me remind you,” he growled fiercely as he closed the distance between them so they were pressed together from head to toe. His hand reached up and anchored itself around her nape as his mouth crashed down on hers.
If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of the book, what would it be and why?
Ooo…that’s a toughie. I think I would tell Quinn to open his eyes! Lol! Anna’s been in love with him for so long and EVERYONE sees it but him! So I’d probably tell him and smack him in the head for good measure. And I’d tell Anna to be patient for a little bit longer – and to not change a thing about herself because she’s perfect.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned for 2016?
I am currently working on two novellas for two different Kindle Worlds. One is for Erin Nicholas’ Sapphire Falls Kindle World in October 2015 and the other is Roxanne St. Claire’s Barefoot Bay Kindle World also coming out in October. And I’m working on a new series that I’m writing with Noelle Adams that will come out in September AND just starting to plan my next book with Sourcebooks. Whew! It’s exhausting!
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: Print copy of Always My Girl (The Shaughnessy Brothers) – US/Canada
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: Hey, Readers!! So in Always My Girl, Anna tries to transform herself into the kind of woman she thinks would finally gain Quinn’s attention. She even starts to take classes on automotive repairs since cars are Quinn’s passion. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to get a guy’s attention?
Sometimes the love that’s closest to you is the hardest to see.
Quinn Shaughnessy’s two older brothers have found their true loves … but Quinn’s not about to join that parade. Nope, as he tells his best friend Anna, there’s a lot more to life than getting tied down to one person. He’s positive tomboy Anna will be on his side — except she’s inexplicably developing other interests — even dating! Suddenly Quinn is seeing Anna in a very different light.
Quinn has been Anna’s buddy since they were both five years old. She can tell him anything — except the one big secret she’s been hiding for years — that she’s fallen in love with him. Now Anna is determined to make a life for herself that doesn’t include pining for Quinn. Falling in love with your best friend? Easy. Telling them how you really feel? Impossible.
Meet the Author:
Samantha Chase released her debut novel, Jordan’s Return, in November 2011. Since then, she has published seventeen more titles and has become a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She lives with her husband of twenty-four years and their two sons in Wake Forest, North Carolina.