Monday, February 17, 2014

Kame Interviews Alison Packard!


Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Alison now lives in Southern Nevada where she’s still getting used to the blistering summers and the slot machines in every grocery store.

When not working at the day job that pays the bills, keeps a roof over her head, and supports her book and chocolate habits, Alison spends most of her free time writing. But when she takes a break, she enjoys reading, watching movies, and spending time with her family and friends.

Where to Find Alison:

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Kame: I want to welcome Alison Packard to the blog today, thank you so much for stopping by.

Alison: Hi, Kame! I’m very excited to be here.

K: Catching Heat is actually the third book in a series. A series that didn’t have a name until recently, right? Can you share some background on the series?

A: You’re absolutely correct. My series was nameless until a few weeks ago. I have to take the blame for that. You see, when I started writing my first book, Love in the Afternoon, I wasn’t thinking of doing a series. Since I’ve always been a soap opera fan, I just set out to write a book where the main characters, who are soap opera actors, fall in love when their characters are paired on the show. But as I was writing it, I really started to enjoy the secondary characters, Matt and Kelly, and so the natural progression was to feature them in my second book, The Winning Season. And that’s where the series name issues began. The first book is set in Hollywood and the second is a sports romance and set in San Francisco—finding a series name that could encompass both was tricky.

As more and more readers started asking me for a series name, I knew I had to come up with something. Especially since I’d tied my Christmas novella, A Christmas for Carrie, into the series and my third full-length release, Catching Heat, features J.T. Sawyer and Angie DeMarco, two characters from The Winning Season.

After several cheesy attempts at a series names (Hearts Ablaze and Hearts Afire) I was desperate, but I still couldn’t think of anything. It was when I was trying to come up with a catchy phrase for my Facebook banner that Feeling the Heat popped into my head. So I immediately emailed my editor, Angela James, at Carina Press and suggested it. She loved it and ran it by the marketing team. They loved it as well and, finally, my series had a name!

K: What great timing, baseball preseason is starting. Catching Heat like Winning Season centers on characters that play for the Blaze major league baseball team. Why baseball, are you a fan?

A: I’m a fan of sports in general, but baseball and football are my favorites. My dad loved sports and he passed his love of them on to me. I chose baseball as the sport in my books because I understand it a little bit better than I do football.

K: I myself don’t follow the baseball stats and the standings, but I guess I would consider myself a fan. My son plays baseball and actually trains year round now (which is not common up here in New England) and my daughter is a softball player. I spend lots of time in the bleachers; I don’t know the rules as well as others. I get the idea – what draws me to baseball and any sport in general is the stories behind the game and its players. I think that is why I enjoyed your books so much.

A: Wow. Your son trains during a New England winter? I’m impressed. LOL. You know, I think you hit the nail on the head as to why readers enjoy sports romances. Behind the scenes, there are stories we never hear of—athletes who have huge egos, but also huge hearts and heartwarming back-stories of love and redemption. Or like in The Winning Season, they experience a devastating life event that causes them to spiral out of control and we come to realize they aren’t gods, just flesh and blood human beings who go through the same ups and downs we do.

K: Angie and J.T.’s story is a little different. It takes place in the off season, and it involves a marriage of convenience. Is this the only way Angie and J.T would have fallen in love?

A: Good question! I do believe that given Angie’s past her becoming pregnant and having to turn to J.T. for help was the only way they could have fallen in love. Angie needed to see that J.T. wasn’t anything like her father and that she was stereotyping all men (but especially professional athletes) because of her father’s actions. I’m not sure I could have come up with another plot that would have done that for her.

K: J.T. made me melt. His values were so refreshing; I enjoyed that he gave so much credit to his parents. We don’t see that much in contemporary romance. Was it important to you that his values were family deep?

A: I love J.T. too. He’s such a good man. And to answer your question, yes, it was very important. One of the things that make J.T. unique is how much he reveres his parents, especially his father. Joe Sawyer’s strong moral compass has influenced J.T.’s entire life and is one of the main reasons why he offers to marry Angie when she confesses that their one night stand has left her pregnant. Even if he wasn’t already half in love with her he still would have proposed. That’s the kind of man he is.

K: As some know I have twins – my son and daughter will be thirteen this spring. When we were thinking names we made it a point to avoid anything starting with the same letter, or rhyming names. The Sawyer family has a baby naming tradition. Gotta ask – so do you have a naming tradition in your family? 

A: Twins! Very cool. The novella I’m currently working on features fraternal twins—both girls and their names don’t start with the same letter and don’t rhyme. As for my family, all of our names are different. I do remember there were four sisters that I went to high school with (they were all a year apart and when I was a freshman, all four of them went to my high school) and their names all began with an L. I thought that was pretty neat so when I named the Sawyer brothers I decided to make it a family tradition.

K: I enjoyed how strong Angie was. She never faltered from doing the right thing, talking to J.T. about the baby right away, working right up to her last day, and helping Sharon. Was that Grandma Sophia’s influence?

A: It’s obvious that Grandma Sophia was a huge influence in Angie’s life. As Angie’s mom became more and more bitter, her grandmother was there to provide the unconditional love and sense of family that Angie’s mother could no longer give to her daughters—Grandma Sophia taught Angie to bake and how to make a nice home and, by example, instilled in Angie a very strong work ethic. After Grandma Sophia passed away, Angie lost that lifeline and began to go down the same dark emotional path as her mother.

K: I would categorize Angie as a Renaissance woman. Is there anything she can’t do? Some of the recipes she talked about in the book sounded amazing. Are they Packard family recipes or things that just sounded good?

A: Honestly, they just sounded good. I know a few people like Angie. They cook, bake, sew and decorate with ease. I don’t know how they do it…I think it’s some sort of gene they’re born with. I’m not like that at all. The microwave is my best friend. J

K: So what can we expect in the future for this series? Can I put in my plug for an installment for Jake and Melissa? Will we see Matt and Kelly get married? Maybe even a glimpse of Carrie and Nick? I will even give you a case that Justin needs love in his life! Can you tell I am enjoying these characters I just want to read more about them.

A: Thank you! I’m so happy you’re enjoying the characters. I definitely have plans for more stories in the Feeling the Heat series. Currently, I’m working on a novella that features J.T.’s brother Jake, and Melissa, whom you met briefly in Catching Heat. You’ll see Matt and Kelly get engaged, Carrie and Nick will probably pop up again, and I have ideas for future books with the other two Sawyer brothers (yes, Justin needs love and a woman who won’t put up with his crap), Livvie (Angie’s sister), Adam Logan (Nick’s partner), Trey Gentry (the Blaze star pitcher), Rick Taylor (he tries to make a comeback two years after the death of his wife and unborn child) and Tom Morgan (the Blaze manager who shares a complicated history with Katherine, Kelly’s boss in The Winning Season). Also, I’ve been asked several times about Lisa Harrison, Kayla’s publicist from Love in the Afternoon, so I might head back to Hollywood for Lisa’s story.

Kame: Alison, thank you so much for stopping by. This has been fun. I look forward to reading more of your work.

Alison: Thanks for having me. It’s been a pleasure. I know you have a busy blog schedule; I really appreciate you opening up a spot for me. 

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ 

Catching Heat by Alison Packard
Publisher: Carina Press (February 10, 2014) 
Series: Feeling the Heat, 3
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Life has taught Angie DeMarco that all baseball players are womanizers, and her incredible one-night stand with sexy San Francisco Blaze back-up catcher J.T. Sawyer seemed to prove it. Determined not to give in to their sizzling chemistry a second time, she’s kept her distance ever since, focusing on her accounting job with the team. But now she’s laid off…and pregnant.

J.T. was hurt by Angie’s rejection, but with one more year with the Blaze, he has no time for love. He needs to spend the off season training hard so he can negotiate a better contract with a new team at the end of the year. But when Angie shows up on his doorstep, he‘s overwhelmed by wanting to not just do right by her but pursue a relationship with her. Hoping for a second chance, he proposes.

Angie agrees to marry J.T. on one condition: the marriage will be purely a business arrangement. But as Angie spends time with him and his family, and J.T. neglects his training to spend time with her, what begins as a union in name only slowly grows into something more—something that looks a whole lot like love and friendship.

Where to Buy*:
 Kindle | NOOK | ARe
More Info:

Reviews of Packards' Other Books:

The Winning Season (#2) -- Kame
A Christmas for Carrie (#2.5) -- Kame

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ 

Thanks for stopping by today, Alison -- and thank you for the wonderful interview, Kame! :) 

I definitely need to pick up this series. Love the covers, and I trust Kame; if she loved them, I'm sure I will, too. 

Do you read sports romance? Are you a sports fan in real life? What draws you to this genre -- or to the sports in general?


Until Next Time,


  *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!


Pat Egan Fordyce said...

Thanks Kame, nice to meet you Allison. This book looks great and will go on my list. I'm a baseball fan also.
Great review!

Alison Packard said...

Thanks again for having me at TBQ's Book Palace, Kame. And Pat, it's nice to meet you too. I hope you enjoy Angie and J.T.'s story.

Janie said...

Looks like my kind of book. I am a sports fan. Hockey and baseball are my favorites.

shootingstarsmag said...

Nice interview. I always wonder how authors come up with names for their least when it's not obvious based on the titles or something like Harry Potter. haha
Lauren from