MJ’s been a 5W victim before. She visited back in December and told us about her Crimson Romance release Taken by Storm. Now, she’s dipping a big toe into the self-publishing pond, and since I have a raft on it myself, I thought it was time she came back. I love hearing about how authors diversify.
Writers have to throw out a bunch of lines to stay on top. Movie stars just go out wearing hideous dresses if they want a fresh infusion of attention from the press. But romances writers? We have to be everywhere at once. We can wear ugly dresses if we want, but paparazzi probably aren’t standing to document it. Bummer.
So, let’s jump on the tour bus and see what Mary has to say about her rock star romance, Trapped Under Ice!
WHO are your main characters?
Chad Evans, rock star. Chad is frequently on edge, keeps himself apart from the others. Tall, lean, muscular, looonng legs, long, curly, dirty-blond hair, mustache and goatee. Leather strap at wrist, silver rings on long fingers. Long face that doesn’t contain your usual pretty boy features, but he absolutely oozes sex appeal. Anger always seems to bubble just under the surface, but he’s a good guy, just kind of lost.
Beth Donovan, lunch lady/romance writer. She’s the anti-Chad. Sweet, kind, smart, witty, sexy. Blonde with killer eyes. Shapely. Nice dresser. Loyal to her friends. Loving mother. Giving person. With all this, if you look hard, you can see hints of her sadness.
WHAT tropes do you utilize in the story?
Love at first sight. Two different worlds colliding (trope?) [Holley says, "That's a trope. I swear it is."]
WHEN is the story set and how long does it take to resolve?
Set in this general era. Takes place within a 6-8 month time period.
WHERE is the story set and why’d you choose that setting?
It is set all over the place, St. Louis, Chicago, Kansas City, New York, New Jersey, Bloomington, IL. These are locations that Chad is when he is on tour and Beth’s home town of Bloomington.
WHY did you write this story?
I am a huge rock music fan. This is sort of my fantasy put to paper. I like the idea of a tortured soul, or two tortured souls, finding redemption in love.
HOW is this story different than the last one you wrote?
My last book, TAKEN BY STORM, is set in a fictional country resembling ancient Persia. It is about a prince and a sheepherder’s daughter. So, as you can see, vastly different. But there are similarities between the main characters. Both heroines have suffered, in different ways, and have reason to distrust their hero. Both heroes have also suffered and are at a loss as to what to do with their unfamiliar feelings for their heroine. But Tahj is much more contemplative where Chad is a man of action. Actually Chad is more likely to act first, think later. Bashea is headstrong and determined where Beth is easy to get along with, though still, determined.
Thanks for having me on today, Holley! It was fun to really look at my characters here. Your questions bring out information that other interviews haven’t.
You got it, MJ! I’m intrigued by rock stars. Especially the ones that look a little dirty.
ABOUT Trapped Under Ice
Rock star Chad Evans’s tortured past hides just beneath the surface. Even fans screaming out his name in ecstasy can’t drown out the screams of his childhood. He can usually keep it under control, but not always. Tonight the alcohol doesn’t seem to soothe.
Part of the crowd, Beth Donovan smiles, really enjoying herself for a change. But her smile isn’t usually this bright. It is the kind of smile that masks sorrow. Three years just isn’t long enough to get over losing Paul.
When a vicious attack behind stage brings this unlikely pair together, something changes inside of them both. But can a jet-setting superstar and a Midwestern lunch lady ever manage a real relationship? And even if they can, will the person sending Chad death threats take it all away? Or is it their fate to remain forever trapped under ice?
FROM Trapped Under Ice
Chad rang the doorbell, nerves making him tug at his shirt sleeves to straighten his shirt. Everything had to go just right tonight. Beth opened the door and light fell on the porch. “Damn!”
She laughed. “My, you do have a way with words.”
“Let me see this!” He whistled, stepping in and circling around her so he could get the full effect. Beth had on a longer emerald dress, with four straps crisscrossing her upper back before plunging downward and long slits gliding up her legs. Again, her hair was swept up, making her neck seem so much more inviting. He returned to face her, admiring her from the front. He laughed. “I’m sorry, it’s just…damn!” He shook his head.
“Oh stop,” she mumbled, her face flushing as she hit him with her handbag.
“I love the way you blush.” Chad touched her hot face and gave her a kiss.
When he pulled away, she blurted out, bubbling over, “I’m so excited. So where are we going?”
“Ah-ah-ah. Not yet. You need to wear this.” He pulled a silky, black scarf from his suit pocket.
“Ooooh. What kind of kinky thing am I in for?”
“You little vixen!” Chad gave her a sharp swap on the derrière. He positioned himself behind his date again and brought the scarf over Beth’s head to tie it behind her as a blindfold.
“What are you up to?” she asked coquettishly.
Chad leaned into that tantalizing neck, annunciating each word in her ear with a seductive whisper, “Try not to anticipate.” Then, unable to resist, he kissed her there.
She squirmed with delight. “Oooh. That’s so much better when I can’t see you.”
“Uhhh…is that supposed to be a compliment? ‘Cause, it doesn’t sound like one.”
“Oh, silly. You know what I mean.” She tried to reach for him. “I can’t find you to kiss you,” she whined in frustration.
“That’s part of the fun,” he teased, his voice now coming from in front of her. “Okay,” he continued, leading the way, “you need to take a step down onto the porch. Where’s your key?”
“In my bag.”
He took her handbag and locked the door. As he moved her toward the steps, another arm supported her on the right. “Wow, Beth! You look fantastic.”
“Thank you, Pete. So he roped you into this, too?”
“No rope needed. I wouldn’t miss this for the world.”
Chad shot his usually tightlipped bodyguard a warning look, which Beth, of course, could not see. After the two men got her safely in the limousine and closed the door, Pete commented, “If you don’t propose to her, I will.”
“Just you try it, old man,” he returned with a grin.
ABOUT MJ Schhiller
I was born in the heart of Tornado Alley, and I’ve been a bit mixed up ever since. Not really, but I’ve always wanted to use that line. The medical community has established no solid connection between the place of my birth and my off-beat personality.
I grew up in St. Louis and graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a degree in English education. I left the workforce, however, when my kids were born. Unbelievably I now have an eighteen year old and sixteen-year-old triplets! Yes, I write to escape teenagerdom. Although I love them dearly. I also escape via rock concerts and karaoke. My first book, TAKEN BY STORM, was published by Crimson Romance last fall, and my next book, the second in the ROCKING ROMANCE COLLECTION, titled ABANDON ALL HOPE will be coming soon!