Wednesday, April 30, 2014

[Blog Tour]: Interview with Tracey Alvarez + Giveaway!


Tracey Alvarez lives in the Coolest Little Capital in the World (a.k.a Wellington, New Zealand) where she’s yet to be buried under her to-be-read book pile by Wellington’s infamous wind—her Kindle’s a lifesaver! Married to a wonderfully supportive IT guy, she has two teens who would love to be surgically linked to their electronic devices.

Fueled by copious amounts of coffee, she’s the author of contemporary romantic fiction set predominantly in New Zealand. Small-towns, close communities, and families are a big part of the heart-warming stories she writes. Oh, and hot, down-to-earth heroes—Kiwi men, in other words.

When she’s not writing, thinking about writing, or procrastinating about writing, she can be found reading sexy books of all romance genres, nibbling on smuggled chocolate bars, or bribing her kids to take over the housework.

Where to Find Tracey:

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TheBookQueen: Hi Tracey! Welcome to blog – can I offer you anything to drink? And please, help yourself to something from the snack table. I just made a fresh batch of banana muffins, not to mention some chocolate peanut butter cookies!

Tracey: Thanks so much for having me! Did you say chocolate peanut butter cookies? Can I have a bag to go?

TBQ: They are addicting! *hands over a goodie bag full*

Alright, let's start out with an easy question -- Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

T: I’m a wife and mum first and foremost, and lucky enough to live in a beautiful part of New Zealand where the wind always blows fresh ideas for books into my head! I’m an unabashed travel fanatic with a special love of road trips. So far I’ve been on three cross-country vacations across the USA and can tick 38 states off my bucket list. Getting through my to-be-read shelf is also on my bucket list. Don’t see it happening any time soon though, as it keeps expanding. Strange, that.

TBQ: Oh, I envy you! I've always thought New Zealand to be pretty close to paradise, from the pictures I've seen! 

Your debut, In Too Deep, came out in December – congrats! Can you tell us a little bit about this book, and why readers are going to love it? 

T: In Too Deep is the first book in a series set on a remote New Zealand island called Stewart Island. Piper Harland is a dive cop—a highly trained diver who as part of her job brings drowning victims back to their families. She hasn’t returned to her childhood home on Stewart Island for nine years since her father drowned in a diving accident. Then her estranged elder brother needs her help. For her sister and mother’s sake, Piper agrees. Only it’ll mean working in close proximity with Ryan ‘West’ Westlake again—her brother’s best friend, her first lover, and the man she’s never quite gotten over. Or forgiven. Readers like me, who love small-town romances with the odd quirky character, plus a smoking-hot reunion between two old lovers, will hopefully get sucked into the Due South world.

West and Piper have a bit of a history, I see. But why do they belong together?
Piper and West never got over their obsession for each other, even though they drive each other crazy. They each have their own demons to conquer, but their knowledge of what makes the other tick helps them to heal their wounds together. Piper and West, as much as they deny it, are loyal to the friendship that developed between them as children and I believe friendship is the basis of a strong, lasting love.

TBQ: It's definitely going on my list! :) 

When writing each novel, do you listen to certain songs, like a playlist for the story? If so, what was the playlist for In Too Deep?

T: Actually I can’t write with music playing, but I find there’s usually one or two songs that resonate with me in each book. With In Too Deep it was Lady Antebellum’s ‘Dancin’ Away with my Heart.’ The yearning and nostalgia in the lyrics inspired me to rewrite Piper and West’s hurtful school ball memories into something beautiful nine years later. Something that changed everything between them.

TBQ: In 5 words or less, describe Piper for us. And let's not forget West—what's he like?

Piper: Volatile, tomboy, driven, remorseful, loyal.
West: Charming, competitive, stubborn, loyal, HOT.

TBQ: Hehe. They both sound like wonderful characters! 

Do you have a favorite part from ITD?

T: One of my favorite parts of In Too Deep is when Piper is in charge of reheating a special meal for a group of guests on her brother’s boat. She’s determined to prove to West and her brother that she has everything under control. Salad, check. Fish in the oven, check. Sauce warming on the stove, check. Then West has to go and distract her with that irresistible and infuriating charm, and suddenly their near kiss isn’t the only thing smokin’ in the kitchen.

TBQ: Oooh, I wouldn't mind a little kitchen distraction like that! *wink* 

How about a few quick facts or behind-the-scenes info on ITD?

T: I interviewed a member of the New Zealand Police National Dive Squad for this book, and I was completely blown away by the squad’s dedication, professionalism, and compassion. A couple of fast facts about Stewart Island where In Too Deep takes place: Stewart Island is the smallest and southernmost island of New Zealand. 85% is wilderness and part of Rakiura National Park. Oban, the only town, has around 400 year-round residents.

TBQ: It really does sound like paradise! If you tell me there are sexy men hiding out there, I'm catching a plane tomorrow . . . 

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

T: I love Jill Shalvis’s ‘Lucky Harbor’ series, and both she and Kristan Higgins are on my automatic-buy list. Nalini Singh’s Psi-Changling series is also on my shelf of favorites. Actually, I don’t have a favorite shelf, it’s more like ‘shelves.’

TBQ: *nods* Me, too! Many, many shelves. I so love Singh's books; I just started listening to the series via Audible, starting again with book 1. It's been helping me to walk more each day, because I don't want to pause the book yet! LOL

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?

T: One hero I swooned over well past the end of the book was Tom Barlow in Kristan Higgin’s ‘The Perfect Match.’ Apart from the seriously cute British accent (have I mentioned I love heroes with accents?) Tom initially comes across as a jerk when he insults the heroine at their first meeting. But then discovering through the course of the story just how much this man loves his unofficial stepson, a stroppy, embittered, sullen teenage boy, and the sacrifices he was prepared to make for this kid…my heart melted.

TBQ: Oh, I'm a HUGE sucker for a hero with a sexy accent. *nods* So I completely understand! 

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

T: I’m currently editing Book 2 in the Due South series, Melting Into You. It features Piper’s older, crankier brother, Ben, who’s thrust into instant fatherhood when his eight-year-old daughter is left with him for the school holidays. It’s a hell of a surprise to this poor, staunch bachelor. It also complicates his planned seduction of Stewart Island’s feisty Italian schoolteacher, Kezia Murphy.


A day on a secluded island OR a day at the spa?
Secluded island.

What's on your bucket list?
Touring Europe and visiting where my father was born in England are pretty high on my list. [Can I come with? Pretty please?!]

Which would you rather have an affair with: a sexy highlander OR a devilishly handsome English lord? 
Definitely a sexy highlander – remember the ‘thing’ for accents? [*smirks* Oh yes . . . ]

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

Where would your dream house be: in the city, where all the action is OR nestled in the mountain where you can enjoy the quiet and the wilderness?
In the mountains.

If you could live in any time period, past or future, which one would it be?
Turn of the 19th Century – as long as I was guaranteed a Mr. Darcy. [It's true -- that's a deal breaker!]

Cover Lover OR Blurb Fan?
Blurb fan.

Steamy Novella OR Sweet Novel? (aka, Quickie or Slow Build Up?)
Sweet Novel – I love the buildup and sexual tension. [Agreed -- when done well, it can be so, so satisfying!]

Quick—name the one food that you cannot live without?
Potato chips.

And finally, tell us 3 unique/wacky/fun things about yourself:

  • I’m an unabashed coffee-o-holic and my DH wakes me every morning with one—and knows not to speak to me until the mug is half empty.
  • I’m the co-owner of a British 1965 Sunbeam Tiger convertible in Capri blue. Think Maxwell Smart in the old TV series.
  • If a book or movie or TV show has zombies, I’m in. I love zombies. Not personally, but, you know. [LOL! Oh come on, you wouldn't leave DH for a nice zombie? :D]

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

Tracey: I’d love to know your readers’ thoughts on the importance friendship plays in a romantic relationship. Have you had a friendship with someone lead into something more? Is a lasting relationship possible without being buddies as well?

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In Too Deep by Tracey Alvarez
Publisher: Icon Publishing (December 19, 2013) 
Series: Due South, 1
Genre: Contemporary Romance

She vowed never to return.

To save her brother from financial ruin, Piper Harland must do the one thing she swore she'd never do—return to the tiny island hometown where Ryan "West" Westlake crushed her heart. Piper is tough, resilient and a little wild—much like the remote and beautiful Stewart Island where she grew up. As a cop who's part of the elite New Zealand Police National Dive Squad, bringing the dead back to their families still doesn't stop the guilt she feels over her father's drowning death. Now nine years later she's obligated to return to a hostile community as the outsider, and forced to work with the man who was once her best friend and first lover.

She's a risk he can't take.

West is an Island man, through and through. As owner of the local pub, he lives and breathes the local community, and sure as hell can't imagine living anywhere else. But most of all he refuses to ever fall for a woman like his flighty mother. He lost Piper once to give her the chance to fulfil her dreams of becoming a cop. But now she's back for an unexpected six week visit to help her brother—his best mate. Maybe West wants her a little bit, maybe he can't resist the temptation to tease and touch her, but can he fall in love with such a flight risk?

Saying goodbye for the second time might just destroy them both.

Where to Buy*:
More Info:

In Too Deep by Tracey Alvarez

“Hey,” she shouted. “I wanna talk to you.”

“Leave me alone, Piper,” West’s voice rose above the running water.

He hadn’t told her to “piss off” or “stop bitching at me and go back to the city.” Progress, right?

“Not this time.” Catching West in the shower meant she’d have a captive audience.

Knowing he wouldn’t have locked it, Piper walked inside and shut the door behind her. In her imagined scenario, the steam-filled room would modestly conceal West in the shower cubicle while she talked.

She hadn’t taken into account an extractor fan. No steamed up mirrors, no fogged up shower glass, just the whirr of the fan and the hiss of the water. Plus the tanned and very bare length of West’s body. She froze beside the door and gripped the doorknob, her heart hurtling into her throat.

Thank God he faced away from her. The sight of his toned ass turned her breathing into an asthmatic wheeze. She debated a quick, quiet exit, but tossed that idea out—West was on the back foot here, since she had clothes on. Besides, the tension etched across the muscles of his back indicated he knew she was already inside.

Just keep it above neck level, say what you need to say, and get out.

She cleared her throat. “That was a crappy way to talk to your mother, you made her cry.”

West pulled his head out of the spray and scrubbed water off his face. “The woman cries at a drop of a hat, it goes with her artistic temperament.”

Then he turned.

Holy guacamole. Piper nearly wrenched the doorknob off the door. Her brain must’ve missed the memo to keep her eyes above West’s neck because, hello—nicely shaped pecs, washboard flat abs, corded thigh muscles…and then her gaze skipped straight back up to his, er, expanding interest.

“True, buhht…” Her tongue unfurled to her knees when West rubbed a bar of soap over his chest, never taking his direct, blue gaze from her.

“So you barged in here to tell me I was rude to my mother?” Water sprayed over his shoulder, running down his body. His soapy hand slid from pecs to the trail of dark hair low on his belly. A happy, happy trail indeed.

“Well, I…” She licked dry lips, looked at anything other than where his hand headed, and found her mud-flecked, crimson-cheeked reflection instead.

So much for West’s awkwardness at being butt naked—she was the one exposed and vulnerable. Her excuses for being there suddenly seemed lame. Under the circumstances maybe his reaction to Claire was understandable, and though she told his mother she’d talk to him, nothing was so important the conversation couldn’t wait until after West had finished being all wet and hot and naked.

The creak of the shower door made her jump.

“Piper?” His voice, low and loaded with seduction, blazed through her.

West left the shower, water cascading off him and onto the tiled floor. She averted her gaze and turned her back, yanking on the doorknob again. It slipped through her damp fingers.

“Is this really about my mother or did you barge in here for something else?”

The spicy scent of his shower gel curled around her and the heat of his skin singed the fine hairs on the back of her arm, but still she grappled with the stubborn doorknob.

“Like because you’re very, very muddy,” he said.

His breath touched the back of her neck, droplets of water falling on her shoulder. “There’s a clean spot here, I think.”

A thumb traced the sensitive skin behind one ear and her vision blurred.

“And another here.” Warm lips trailed along the curve where the cords of her neck met shoulder.

“But on the whole—” his hand snaked around her waist, fingers spread wide across her lower belly.

Hot shivers arrowed through her pelvis and struck its target.

“—you’re a dirty girl who should hit the shower—” He pressed her hips back against his body, shifting so his erection wedged intimately between her Lyrca-covered cheeks, “—with me.”

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Thanks again for stopping by today, Tracey, I had a fun time with our interview! :) I've got In Too Deep on my list, and I look forward to hearing more about your books in the future! 

Oh, and don't forget your bag o' awesomeness! :)

Remember Tracey's question for YOU: 

What are your thoughts on the importance friendship plays in a romantic relationship. Have you had a friendship with someone lead into something more? Is a lasting relationship possible without being buddies as well?


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!

1 comment :

Tracey Alvarez said...

Thanks for having me, and I'd love to stop by again - those cookies were to-die-for! :)