I'm thrilled to welcome to my blog today debut romance author Samantha Michaels. As a new author myself, I'm always keen to support others. Samantha joins us today with an interview and also an exciting excerpt from her debut novel called Leather and Lace which sounds really exciting.
Book Title: Leather and Lace
Author: Samantha Michaels
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Part of a series?: Yes, it's the first book in 'The Rock Star Quadrilogy'.
Purchase Link For Amazon.com: Leather and Lace
Purchase Link For Amazon.co.uk: Leather and Lace
Leather and Lace - Book Blurb:
Five years ago, Lizzie Gardner suffered a devastating heartbreak that almost cost her everything. Including her life.
Andy York is a guitarist for popular rock band Dark Horse.
When Dark Horse decides to embark on an anniversary tour, Lizzie, a reporter for an online music magazine, is hired to write a feature about the tour, with a specific focus on Andy. The assignment takes her to LA to shadow him.
Their close contact brings them both the love they've always desired, but Lizzie's dark past stands like an impenetrable wall between her and happiness.
When it shows it's ugly face, Andy proves to her that love isn't all pain. But will Lizzie be able to stand strong and finally move on? Or will her fears keep her from allowing love into her heart?
On a typical Friday night, Lizzie would have gotten into her pajamas. However, she certainly wasn't going to have a video call with her favorite guitarist dressed in pajamas. Instead, Lizzie opted for jeans and one of her many Dark Horse t-shirts. They had agreed to talk at 8 o'clock, so she clicked the link Andy sent her a few minutes before then, not wanting to keep him waiting. Lizzie had her dinner and a glass of wine with her. The wine mainly helped calm her nerves as she prepared to talk with one of her idols. Andy joined shortly after her and smiled when he saw her on the video.
Andy was wearing a black button-down shirt which, much to her delight, was completely unbuttoned. The sight of his muscular chest took her breath away, but she quickly composed herself, hoping he didn't notice. Just keep behaving professionally, she thought to herself. But damn, he was one good-looking man! Lizzie's mind started wandering, and dirty thoughts filled her brain. I wonder what he looks like naked, she thought to herself. His voice interrupted her reverie.
"Hi, Lizzie. I'm glad you had the time to talk to me tonight, although I do feel bad that neither of us has a date on this night of all nights. I must comment on your shirt! Thank you for supporting my band."
"Hi Andy, thank you for sharing your gift with the world. Your music has helped me through quite a bit in my life."
His smile grew wider, and her heart melted. She had to pull herself together. This was just another person she was speaking with for an interview. But why did it feel so different then, she thought to herself. Lizzie asked Andy what drove him to a career in music. Andy replied, "Even as a small child, I was drawn to music. I first picked up a guitar in music class and never looked back. My brother Alex and I always knew we wanted a music career. I'm fortunate that forty years later, I can still do the thing I love most. Touring and performing on stage is where I feel most at home."
Andy asked, "Why did you become a writer?"
Lizzie explained, "When I was a little girl, I didn't have a lot of friends. Instead, I spent all my time reading. My love of books eventually led me to a job as a writer. That, combined with my love of rock music, brought me to 'Rock World.' I have been able to meet so many of the rock stars I admire. Even better is that I will soon get to meet my all-time favorite, you!"
"Thank you, Lizzie. You are sweet for saying that. I must say, I find it hard to believe you didn't have a lot of friends."
"I had my entire puberty the summer between fourth and fifth grade. I grew to the height I am now, 5'7", and went right to an adult bra. The other kids made fun of me. Nobody wanted to be friends with the freak that looked more like a teacher than a classmate."
"Well, I'm glad we can be friends now, Lizzie."
"Me too, Andy."
Lizzie also told Andy that she understood how he felt about not having that special someone. Lizzie had won a few awards for her writing. She never had anyone to take to the ceremonies or share the good news with. When Andy asked her what happened with her marriage, Lizzie hesitated then respond, “It just didn’t work out.” Andy had a feeling there was more to it, but he didn’t want to push her.
After talking for a couple of hours, they were about to wrap up the call when Andy said something that caught her off guard. "Lizzie, I enjoyed talking with you tonight. Would you be willing to set up a regular time for us to talk every few days, or whatever works for you?"
"That is nice of you to say, Andy, but why would you want to waste time talking with a nobody like me. You're a big-time rock star."
"Please don't say that. I deal with so many fake people who only interact with me to get something out of it, but I don't feel that way with you. Not to mention, and please forgive me if this is inappropriate, but you are quite beautiful." She blushed, not quite knowing what to say to the compliment he just paid her, especially since she knew it wasn't the truth. Instead, she chose to focus on future video chats. They both agreed to talk once a week until it was time for her to head out to LA for their concert. After they disconnected the call, she found herself grinning from ear to ear.
Congratulations on publishing your first book Samantha! How did you come up with the Leather and Lace series idea?
I originally started out writing short stories about some of my favorite rock stars for a small chat group. One of the other women in the group quickly became one of my dearest friends, and she encouraged me to start writing books. I decided to build on the whole rock star theme, but using fictional characters and this series was born.
Describe your main characters, what are their flaws, main characteristics, and positive traits?
My male main character Andy York is a romantic at heart and throws himself fully into relationships, even when his woman doesn’t. He becomes so enamored, that he doesn’t see when he is being used and that has led to him suffering some pretty serious wounds. That is both a positive trait and a flaw, depending on if he’s with the right woman.
Lizzie Gardner is talented and strong, but she has a hard time believing it. Her ex-husband constantly belittled her and eventually cheated then went so far as to tell her the world be better off without her in it. His treatment caused her to build a wall around her heart, and left her struggling to believe she had any worth.
Do any of your characters reflect aspects of yourself or those close to you? Which characteristics are they? There are definitely pieces of me within Lizzie. I’ve always been a high achiever and I’ve run into my fair share of people who out of jealously, belittled me. Luckily never anyone I was in a relationship with like Lizzie, but some were family members. I’m still working to overcome those wounds. I sometimes struggle with hearing positive things about myself, but I’m a work in progress!
If you had to choose only one romance novel to read for the rest of your life, which one would you choose? Narrowing that to one is difficult, but if I had to limit it to one, I would go way back and choose Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
What’s the best romance series you’ve read or your one-click favourite romance author?
This one was an easy one for me. Helen Hardt and her Steel Brothers series. I’ve never read through a series as fast as that one. For me, once I start a book, I can’t seem to stop until I’m done. She definitely gives me something to aspire to.
Are your books ice-cream cool or chilli pepper hot when it comes to intimacy scenes?
Definitely chili pepper!! My mom asked to read my book, and I really wasn’t sure I wanted her to!
What have you learnt that you were not expecting to in the publishing of your first novel?
The marketing and self-promotion part of the process. It’s not something I ever need to do, so I was overwhelmed at first. Once I started joining author groups on Facebook and reading tips from other authors, as well as reading about their experiences, I started to get a better idea of what I need to do, and I am definitely doing things different ahead of releasing my second book.
Do you come up with the characters, plot or specific scenes first when thinking up a new novel?
So far, it’s been specific scenes. While I’m still finishing my second book, I already have the premise for my third and a scene for my fourth. In the case of the fourth one, as an example, I was listening to a song and the lyrics really spoke to me. As I was listening to the words, a scene practically wrote itself in my head and is now the premise that book four will be built around.
What was your favourite scene to write in Leather and Lace?
Definitely one of the intimate scenes between Lizzie and Andy. They were sharing fantasies with each other and subsequently acting them out. I had the most fun writing that one. The scene can be found in Chapter 16, but I certainly can’t post much of it here!
Describe the romance sub-genre of Leather and Lace and tell us what other sub-genres you might like to write in? For example dark romance, paranormal, contemporary, romantic suspense, rom-coms…
While I have it listed as erotica romance on Amazon because their categories are limited, I would actually classify it as steamy, slow-burn romance. I would actually like to try my hand at combining romance and mystery sometime. I wrote a short story for a contest and would love to take that story, expand on the mystery part and then add some heat as well.
If readers would like to learn more about your writing, do you have a blog or website where they can find you?
I have a website, Samantha Michaels Books and I’m in the process of starting up a newsletter. Signups for the newsletter can be found on the website or on my Facebook page.
What can readers look forward to in your next book and when do you hope to release it?
My next book, A Second Shot at Love is book two in the Rock Star series and features main characters Dean and Alexandra. They were together in their early 20s until Dean’s band was signed to a record deal. He chose fame and fortune over love, leaving Alexandra behind to move to Los Angeles. A couple of decades later, the music business becomes too much for him plus he never truly got over Alex. He moves back to Pennsylvania, where they both grew up and eventually met. He retires to a farm, and unbeknownst to him at the time of purchase, Alex owns the farm next to his. Will they find their way back to each other, or do the wounds run too deep? That and more will be answered on August 28, 2021.
Are you a kindle or paperback lady?
I was always an “I need a book in my hands” lady until I started having to travel for work. Carrying multiple books in the limited carry-on luggage allowed on a plane got to be too much and I had to switch to Kindle. I still do enjoy reading an actual hard copy from time to time, though and I love collecting signed copies from my favorite authors.
Finally, if your main characters had a favourite song to reflect their personalities, which song would each one choose?
Wow, that’s a tough one. I think for Andy, it would be Love of a Lifetime by Firehouse and for Lizzie, it would be Harden My Heart by Quarterflash, exactly what she had to do after what her ex put her through.
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer these questions Samantha, I wish you all the best with your next release in August.
Samantha Michaels was born in 1973 in the small town of Abington, PA and was raised and still lives in Hatboro, PA (both suburbs of Philadelphia). She is married to her high school sweetheart and they have a rescue dog, a beautiful Black Lab named Holly.
When she’s not writing or working at her full-time job, she enjoys watching her Philly sports team (hopefully) win, listening to heavy metal/hard rock music, reading, and spending time with friends and family.
Her love of reading began at a young age, thanks to her mother and Sesame Street. Her mom read to her constantly, and by three years old, she was reading on her own, and hasn’t stopped. This eventually turned into a love of writing. She was writing for herself and then for a small group of friends, one of whom told her she should be writing books. She took her friends advice and has since published her first romance book, Leather and Lace, released April 20, 2021.
Author website: https://samanthamichaelsbooks.com