Wednesday, March 23, 2016

[Author Interview]: Rebecca Hunter!


WELCOME TO THE BLOG, REBECCA! :) 





Rebecca is a writer, editor and translator who has always loved to read and travel. Though she has been involved in book projects for many years, she only recently branched out into writing her own fiction. Actually, writing her first novel was a birthday present to herself... her 29th birthday, in case you're wondering, though possibly not her first 29th birthday.

This first novel dissolved into a complicated mess, but out of its ashes rose a new idea, an idea for an entire series, in fact: Stockholm Diaries. The stories are born from the author's love of and longing for Stockholm as well as all the wonderful romance potential that the city holds for both visitors and long-time residents. And, as you may have guessed, it is also part of the setting for her own private Stockholm Diaries story.

Rebecca has, over the years, called many places home, including Michigan, where she grew up, New York City, San Francisco, and, of course, Stockholm, Sweden. After their most recent move from Sweden back to the San Francisco Bay Area, she and her husband assured each other they'll never move again.

Well, probably not.




Where to Find Rebecca:






TheBookQueen: Hi Rebecca! Let’s start off with a fun question: tell us 3 unique/wacky/fun things about yourself.

Rebecca: 
1. My husband and I have lived in Sweden twice, and our whole family is bilingual. The details about Sweden are from my own experiences as well as those of other ex-pat friends.
2. The setting for the first surfing scene in Stockholm Diaries, Caroline 2 is from my husband and my honeymoon on Kauai… though the steamy details are fictional, of course! We have our own, private Stockholm Diaries romance instead. 

3. The only continent my husband and I haven’t visited (yet) is Africa. Top dream destination there? I’d love the take a trip down the Nile.



TBQ: Have you always been interested in writing? Also, what is it that you love about writing in the romance genre?

R: I’ve always been interested in writing, but I suffered from a common English major’s worry: What if my stories are mediocre? After college, I published a little poetry and then quit for a long time. Except that the idea of writing a novel wouldn’t leave me alone.
            Then, for a birthday (the age will remain unnamed!), I decided to give myself the best present I could think of: I’d write a novel without worrying about how it came out. That was my best birthday present to date!
                I’m drawn to romance because I honestly believe that love trumps everything, both in romance stories and in life—this sounds little silly on paper, but I really believe it. Romance for me is about two imperfect people struggling to find each other as well as their better selves. These stories bring happiness and hope, and what I want most is for readers to find those things in my books!



TBQ: Your newest release, Caroline 2, comes out next month. Can you tell us a little bit about this book, and why readers are going to love it? 

R: The book features a rough-around-the-edges pro-hockey player and the beautiful photographer that he goes soft for. If you like this scenario, then both of Caroline’s books are for you! 
     The first book, Stockholm Diaries, Caroline, focuses more on Caroline and Niklas finding each other, just as Caroline has decided to branch out on her own and become more independent. There’s more focus on Caroline’s own story at the beginning. In this second book, their budding relationship is at the center: Caroline and Niklas are trying to turn a summer fling into something more. 
     I’m not a big fan of serials, so instead I’m experimenting with the idea of a second episode in their relationship. The book works as a stand-alone, but for their full journey, readers can start with Book 1.



TBQ: Why do Niklas and Caroline belong together?

R: The chemistry between Niklas and Caroline is clear from the beginning, but practically speaking, they have little in common, and their lives are pulling them in different directions. Stockholm Diaries, Caroline 2 is Caroline’s struggle to answer why they belong together, so I don’t want to answer to this question too specifically! 
     But in writing this book, I thought a lot about the question in general: Why do two people belong together for the long haul? For me, a good relationship means both people actively help each other become their better selves—though sometimes the act of helping isn’t even conscious. But sexual chemistry and intimacy are also musts, both in books and in real life!
     I just finished Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies, which, among other things, tackles the question of a “good match” in all its complexities. It’s not romance—more like a exploration of marriage—but it has this question at its center.



TBQ: In 5 words or less, describe Caroline for us. And let's not forget Niklas -- what's he like?

R: Caroline: photographer searching for her path
      Niklas: hockey player with a rough past



TBQ: Do you have a favorite part from Caroline 2?

R: Hmm… how can I choose just one? Do I pick a funnier scene or maybe a scene where emotions run the highest? No, I’ll choose a steamier scene, where Niklas and Caroline go skinny-dipping in the lake behind Niklas’s house one night.
     I like the shifts in mood through this scene, from anxious to intense to playful. It’s a window into some of the ways Niklas and Caroline fit together emotionally, and it comes just as the problems in their lives are beginning to build. 



TBQ: Ooooh! Scene tease! :D

I know we all hate this question, author and reader alike. :) But I have to ask anyway: What are a few of your all-time favorite books and/or authors?

R: Lots of answers, so I’ll just name a few off the top of my head: Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas—a great book that stretches the contemporary genre. In the historical category, I love Julie Anne Long’s Pennyroyal Green series, most notably What I Did for a Duke and her most recent book, The Legend of Lyon Redmond. My favorite erotic romance is definitely Willing Victim by Cara McKenna—gritty, a little disturbing, and very well done. In paranormal, I probably have to go with the first book in Nalini Singh’s psy-changling series, Slave to Sensation, with its compelling world and interesting romance. Time travel? Probably a tie between Outlander and Jude Deveraux’s A Knight in Shining Armor (reads a little dated now, but the book as some really fun twists and scenarios)



TBQ: All great books! I haven't read JAL yet, but have some of that series on my TBR pile. Actually, I haven't read Willing Victim, either, but really love McKenna's other books.

We've all fallen for a hero (or two, or three, or....ahem).  Tell us one hero that you've fallen for—who is he and what drew you to him?

R: Ohhh… Derek Craven. I think he makes the top of many readers’ lists, but for those not familiar with him, he’s the hero of Lisa Kleypas’s historical Dreaming of You. He’s the definition of rough-around-the-edges, so watching him struggle as heroine Sara breaks through his defenses creates a lot of tension. Something that really works in this book is the fact that the characters get together in the middle of the book, so we spend more time on the depth and intimacy of their relationship compared to many historicals. 



TBQ: Oh, Derek . . . Yes!

What's next-- Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming releases or WIP?

R: The next novel in the series is Stockholm Diaries, Veronica. Veronica is Caroline’s college roommate and best friend, and she’s the reason Caroline came to Stockholm in the first place. This next book will go back a few years in time and look at how she found her way to Stockholm.
But before that comes out, I’m going to finish a series of four novelettes that I began a while ago. The Stockholm Diaries, Alice series traces the course of an unexpected connection in four nights, three countries, two very different lives… and one possible future! I’m hoping to release these stories this summer.



SPEED ROUND:


A day on a secluded island OR a day at the spa?
Secluded island! Can I take my husband? [Of course! :D]


Reading a spicy romance novel OR a sweet “my-heart-skips-a-beat” one? 
Spicy. Definitely spicy.


Hot summer days OR cold winter nights?
Cold winter nights.


If you could live anywhere, where would your dream house be?
Here in California! We’ve moved around a lot, so hopefully we got it right this time.


Cover Lover OR Blurb Fan?
Cover Lover.


Quickie or Slow Build Up? Books, of course! ;)
Slow build-up.


Quick—name the one food that you cannot live without!
Is coffee a food? Joking… sort-of. Maybe blueberries. Or brownies. [Definitely fits the cannot-live without category. Also, I approve of brownies as your answer.]


And finally, what’s the last book that you read and can’t stop recommending?
Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies. In fact, I recommended it in a question above!!



TheBookQueen: Thanks so much for stopping by, Rebecca, and please know that you are welcome back anytime! Do you have any questions for our readers—something to spark a good discussion? :)


Rebecca: What do you wish you saw more of in contemporary romance books you read?





Caroline 2 by Rebecca Hunter
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Series: Stockholm Diaries, 2
Genre: Contemporary Romance



A beautiful photographer searching for her own path 
A pro hockey player trying to leave his rough past behind 
Do they have what it takes to make a real relationship work? 

This is a full-length, stand-alone episode in Caroline and Niklas’s relationship… but their journey is best enjoyed if you start from the beginning of their story, Stockholm Diaries, Caroline. 





Where to Buy*:
More Info:






Thanks so much for stopping by, Rebecca, and I look forward to reading this series myself! 

Don't forget Rebecca's question: 

What do you wish you saw more of in contemporary romance books you read?



Enjoy!



Until Next Time,

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  *TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!

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