Saturday, July 20, 2013

Ava Miles talks about NORA ROBERTS LAND, the Dare Valley Series and family...

Hello everyone,

Today, I’m thrilled to introduce you to a new author, Ava Miles. Ava has just released a novel called Nora Roberts Land. Isn’t that a great title?  As a long time reader of all things romance, Nora Roberts Land grabbed hole of my attention and I had learn more it and Ava.  I can’t thank Ave enough for being here with me today. So on to  her interview… 

Welcome Ava. I read that ever since your great-great-grandfather won a newspaper in a poker game in 1891, your family has had something to do with words.  When did you start writing?

It seems as if I've been penning stories for fun forever. Like most writers, I had a spiral notebook in grade school and wrote whatever came to me.  In high school, I wrote my first few chapters of a romance novel and got hooked. One of my best high school gifts was a Plot Journal from a former English teacher, which I still write in.  It wasn't until my characters wouldn't get off my back that I finally finished a full manuscript. It wasn't easy--especially with a full-time job--but after that I couldn’t stop.

Is NORA ROBERTS LAND your first book?

It's the first of my books to go out into the world, but not the first I've completed.  I've written three complete books and started several others, but this is the first one that spoke to me this strongly and pulled me into my characters so fully that I simply had to write until I knew what was going to happen to them.

Can you tell us a bit about the plot?

Absolutely.  My heroine is Meredith Hale, a journalist who's a huge fan of Nora Roberts' books, and whose ex-husband blames them for their marriage breaking up.  He insists that Meredith had unrealistic expectations of their marriage because she read Nora's romances. She even stopped reading Nora's books for a time thinking he might have been right.  But when she's called home to Dare Valley to help her family, she packs a hidden agenda--to write a piece about a divorced woman who goes back to her small home-town to find Mr. Right, and to prove her ex wrong at the same time.

Meredith's ready to put herself out there like a Nora Roberts heroine, determined to find what her mother calls "Nora Roberts Land," a.k.a. her own  "happily ever after."  Of course, that's much easier said than done, especially when Meredith's efforts to uncover the mystery surrounding the death of a family friend require pretending to go out with Tanner McBride, the only man who sets her heart racing--and the only one who is totally off limits.

Is Tanner totally fabulous?

I think readers will be the ones to decide, but...ummm...hard body, great lover, handsome, intelligent, a terrific flirt... Did I mention he's being blackmailed? He is. 

Have you based any of your characters on people you know?

My characters are their own people. I don't sit down and model people after ones I know as I've heard Madeleine L'Engle used to do. However, they often have characteristics of people I know and seem familiar to me. There's probably a little bit of each of my three sisters and me in Meredith. And, of course my family's newspaper and writing background informs several characters as well as the plot, especially Grandpa Hale, who is what I imagined my great-great grandfather to be like. Tanner has lots of his own personality and is definitely blessed with the physical, mental and emotional traits that attract me to a man, be it romance or friendship. It's funny though, with him being a former war correspondent, he resonates with a lot of what I felt and experienced when I was working in similar places.

It seems that family is also very much at the heart of NORA ROBERTS LAND. Is that because of your own upbringing?

Yes, I come from a big family. I was born in the Midwest and lived in small towns until we moved down South to a bigger city. My parents both grew up on farms so we were raised with family and community coming first. I'm the oldest, and have three sisters and two brothers. We are very close even though we span the U.S. now.

Everyone does their best to support each other. From day one, everyone supported me with this new passion, especially my sister, Michelle, my Nora girl.  When her personal experience of having her ex-husband blame their divorce on her reading Nora Roberts novels (something that shocked us all) crystallized into the story idea that became NORA ROBERTS LAND, I knew I needed her permission to write it. She wholeheartedly agreed, wanting to inspire people to believe in second chances and happily ever after since she's found her own.

You pluck Meredith from the center of Manhattan and send her to her small hometown in the Colorado mountains.  Why is it important that Meredith's journey takes place in Dare Valley, rather than a big city, or even the suburbs?

Returning home seemed critical for her story. She has an incredible sense of family and tradition with her family's newspaper.  When her dad has medical issues, she immediately heads home to help run things while he's out.  Also, coming from a small community to the big city, I could see how it's easy to lose yourself in a large city and to not feel connected to your neighbors. Meredith needs to reconnect to the parts of herself she lost in her marriage and while living in the New York City. Going home to Dare is a reminder of all that's made her who she is.

Have you ever lived anywhere like Dare Valley?

Yes. I spent my childhood in two small Midwestern communities and then my summers in the same town as our family newspaper. I cherish those times.  Having people simply stop by for coffee or to drop off a meal if someone has a crisis or a new baby arrives.  Walking into people's houses because the doors aren't locked. Talking about the various events in town, how people are related and, of course, any mischief that's going on. Since much of our big family also lived in Colorado, where Dare Valley is located, we also spent a lot of time there.  Additionally, I lived in a small university town in Utah for grad school.  Dare is an amalgamation of these experiences, and a place I would love to live.

What's next?  Are you working on something new?

I am working on a new series involving another intriguing family, but I'm also still tweaking my next book, FRENCH ROAST.  It's Meredith's sister Jill's story, who readers will have gotten to know in NORA ROBERTS LAND. Readers revisit the action at Don't Soy With Me, Jill’s coffee shop, and find out what's next for her and her ex-best friend, Brian. It's the second of three books set in Dare Valley.  It goes on sale August 13th.  THE GRAND OPENING is about Tanner's sister and a mysterious man who arrives in town with an agenda she's determined to stop. It will be out on September 24th.  It's the last book in the Dare Valley Series.  At least I'm saying that now.  I'm not completely certain I'm finished with Grandpa Hale, Meredith and Jill’s grandpa.  If he were forty years younger, he'd make a hot and charming hero.

How can readers find out what else is going on with you?

I'll always post updates on my site about what's out and what I’m working on.  And I'll be sharing news on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.  I'm also collecting some fun visuals for Pinterest, along with who knows what else.  I'm looking forward to meeting up with everyone.

Excerpt of Nora Roberts Land
Meredith dropped her gaze from Tanner’s face and studied the strong arms filling out his gray dress shirt. She remembered what those muscles looked like dripping wet. Whimpering would be totally inappropriate, but she wanted to. God, the man was as intoxicating as Valrhona bittersweet chocolate.
He put his hands on either side of her, brushing their bodies together in a wildly tempting caress. “Maybe we could go out for breakfast after our next swim.”
The idea of going out for breakfast with this man fired up her imagination about other things…like wild sex and a sleep over. She leaned back for breathing room, but there was nowhere to go. He surrounded her. She couldn’t smell anything but him, and the counter was biting into her back.
He had her body purring, but that damn wounded part of her was sounding the alarms. Her lack of confidence—courtesy of Rick-the-Dick’s hurtful parting words—clanged like a train trolley.
And Tanner was a journalist. Just. Like. Rick.
She pushed him back with a hand to his hard, muscular chest, needing space. She searched for the caramel apple pie Jill had brought home from the coffee shop and raced over to it. Her hands shook as she took out the plates and dessert forks. Deep breaths seemed like a good idea to clear out Tanner’s musky smell, but she couldn’t seem to take in a full one. Her lungs had deflated like balloons after a disappointing party.
“I can’t…have breakfast with you,” she rasped, frantically touching her bustier. Even that wasn’t doing much to restore her confidence. Damn it.
Tanner’s boots scraped across the tile floor. She could feel the heat of his body behind her, and she imagined him gazing at that mole he’d mentioned. She wanted to lean back against him, but was suddenly afraid of how much she wanted him and where it could lead—especially with her family in the next room.
“Why can’t you?”
“I don’t date journalists. Ever.”
He turned her around. She stood stiffly in his hold.

“Neither do I…usually. But I don’t want to talk about journalism with you, Meredith.”

Ave, thanks again for visiting me today. I hope your new debut novel sells off the shelf.  For more information about Ave and how to find her book, you can find her here: 

NORA ROBERTS LAND, Book 1, Dare Valley Series, by Ava Miles
Contemporary Romance/Fiction/Original
July 2013/On Sale 7-2-13/$5.99 (eBook), $14.99 (print)/ISBN: 9781301307210 • • • •

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