I'm thrilled to have the lovely and brilliant Dana Mason here today. Dana is a romantic suspense author whose books I can't get enough of. So I was thrilled when I was able to get an ARC of her newest release, Precious Embrace. It's available now. So below you'll find some info on the book, my interview with Dana and my review.
A second divorce and a new baby wasn’t the vision Alison Hayes had for her future. Now a single mother with two young boys, she wants to focus on her kids and what’s left of her stagnant career.
When Detective Johnny Rhay Bennett breezes into her life with his country-boy accent, she wants to run. She doesn’t need another man in her life, or another reason to make people talk. But when her worst nightmare becomes a reality, Johnny is the only person who can pull Ali out of her despair, forcing her to stay strong and not give up hope of finding her missing child.
Who falls in love after a one-night stand? Johnny Rhay doesn’t believe it’s possible until it happens to him. With Nashville in his rear-view mirror, he’s determined to convince Alison she loves him too, even if it means moving to the West Coast.
Ali’s not easy, and she’s living on just this side of bitter after her divorce, but Johnny doesn’t care. He’s up for the challenge. At least, he believes he’s up for it until baby Micah is stolen right out from under his nose. Now Johnny has to keep it together and get that sweet little boy home safe before his dreams of having a family vanish too.
INTERVIEW WITH DANA
1. When did you start writing?
I started writing about 4 years ago. I had this idea for a character and I couldn’t get her out of my head. I finally gave up and wrote her down. Once Sarah was on paper, I outlined every little detail about her and then her counter-character. Mark. They’re sort of like fire and ice, which made them fun to write. Mark was much easier than Sarah. I had no problem outlining what my own personal hero would be like.
2. Did you always write romance novels? What drew you to the genre?
I’ve always read romance novels so it was an easy choice for me. I like a happy ending. I read (and write) to escape the real world. I know, I know, I write romance suspense, which isn’t exactly a fantasy romantic world, but I can really dig a damsel in distress and a hero sweeping in to rescue her. Granted, I can also dig a damsel doing a little of her own a$$ kicking and saving too. This is why, in the opening scene of Dangerous Embrace, Sarah gets away from her attacker on her own, without the hero’s help. He gets to do some of his own rescuing a little later in the story.
3. Who are your favorite authors?
Nora Roberts, first and foremost. I also really enjoy a good Maya Banks romantic suspense story. I’m a huge Jennifer Crusie fan. She’s a romantic comedy writer. Her books are hilarious and full of ‘real’ people. I like a few Lisa Kleypas books and I love Janet Evanovich, she’s a little bit suspense and a little bit comedy.
4. What has been your best "author" moment?
My best author moment was the first time holding Dangerous Embrace in paperback. There is nothing like holding the physical proof in your hands. It was pretty cool the first time I signed a book too. I’ll never forget that.
5. What about getting and being published has surprised you the most?
Getting published surprised me. The author support surprised me. The writing community is full of really great people. In this day and age, it’s sad that I’m surprised by kindness, but still true.
6. Social media is all the rage in bookselling these days, especially for authors who don't have a huge publishing house behind them. Which social media site do you think is most effective in getting your name out there and selling books?
It’s really hard to say. I think Facebook works and really great, popular reader blogs. I love how Facebook brings readers and authors together. Twitter seems like one big constant promotion machine to me.
7. Where do you get your ideas?
So far, all of my stories are based on news headlines I’ve heard on TV or read online. Not the news story so much, just a well written headline. Also song lyrics are inspiration when I’m looking for ideas.
8. Do you have a favorite character from your own books? Who and Why?
Brian Hammel is my favorite character. Hands down. That’s an easy question.
He has a role in all three books, but book three is about him. Brian is such a defined character it makes him easy to write. He almost writes himself. Is that weird? Maybe, yes, but it’s still true. I love his honesty and his candor. He’s like an M&M, hard crunchy shell but on the inside he’s all soft and sweet…and he’s hot so that’s always nice too.
9. What can we expect next from you?
Book three in the Embrace Series. Book three, Broken Embrace, is Brian and Melissa’s story. I don’t have a release date yet, but I’m hoping for Spring 2014. First I need to find a way to kill off Brian’s wife Julie. Any ideas?
After that, I’ll be focusing on something outside of the Embrace Series. What the Heart Wants. You’ll get to meet Bailey and Ryan. They have a great story and it’s set in beautiful South Lake Tahoe. I’m excited to finish that project.
10. What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
I always feel awkward when asked this question. Even with two books out, I still feel like such a newbie at this author thing. I guess I would say to just keep writing. Keep working. Keep moving forward. Don’t count yourself out and support your damn friends even if they are more successful and less talented. (yes, there’s a story there)
Thanks, Lisa, for the wonderful questions and wonderful interview. I had a lot of fun.
It’s my turn. I have a question for you.
How deeply did you blush while reading the Dangerous Embrace and Precious Embrace love scenes?
Please. I read it in the dark with my little book light so no one could see the crimson flush on my face! Hot stuff!
Okay, two questions.
Would you ever consider writing romance now that you’ve found your guilty pleasure?
I might have a romance novel in me. I wouldn't count it out. BUT . . . I tried it a few times and it always turned into a crime novel.
Once again, Dana Mason brings the heat. Precious Embrace positively sizzles. If it is even possible, Mason has brought us an even more delicious male protagonist than the one we fell for in her last novel. A smoking hot guy with washboard abs, a southern drawl and a gun who changes diapers? It doesn't get better than that. In this novel, we're focused on Ali, the ex-wife of the main male character in Dangerous Embrace. Her second marriage has just ended because her husband did not want to be a father. Ali is a single mother of a 4 month old trying to piece her life back together when a one night stand she had a couple of months ago at a wedding in Hawaii shows up on her doorstep. Johnny Rhay Bennett has been unable to stop thinking about Ali since their night in Hawaii and when offered a job near her, he jumps at it, moving 3,000 miles in the hopes of a relationship. Just as things start heating up between them--and I do mean raging-inferno-heat--Ali's infant son, Micah is kidnapped in a particularly brazen abduction. With this crime, Mason initiates an underlying sense of menace that skulks throughout the rest of the book, setting you on edge even as you're rooting for these characters to come out on top and work everything out. Mason also gives us a villain who will make your blood turn to ice who is nicely juxtaposed with Ali, a female lead character who has all the single-mom-with-failed-relationships angst that real live women have as well as smarts and grit. I also love how the baby, Micah--the character the plot turns on--is a real character in this book and not just an abstract figure. This book was a wild emotional roller coaster ride. The perfect blend of hot romance and pulse-quickening suspense.
Dana Mason started writing to prove to her computer geek husband and her math & science geek kids that she actually has a brain; it’s just a right functioning brain instead of a left. She’s lived all over the country and uses that experience in her writing and character studies. Her debut novel, Dangerous Embrace, is the first in a contemporary romance series about a group of friends from Northern California who learn just how short life can be when you don’t hold on to what’s important. Second chances don’t come easy…but sometimes love is worth the risk.
When not writing, Dana specializes in professional development and training. She’s also a board member on the local Art’s Council and does what she can to support the art community.
As an avid reader and movie watcher, she always requires a happily ever after ending.
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