Please help me welcome author Elizabeth Harmon to the blog! Today Elizabeth is taking a comfy seat and answering a few questions about herself and her book Turning it On!
At the end of our chat there is a link to enter her wonderful giveaway!
Let’s get started…
Tell us three random facts about you :)
I love lakes, cats, and prefer winter to summer.
What color is your house?
My house is dark green w/red roof and cream trim.
What’s your favorite holiday and why?
Thanksgiving, because the emphasis isn’t on what we want, but appreciating what we have. It’s also a time to spend time with family, share memories and an excuse to make all of the complicated, fattening dishes I love.
What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
Going from the second draft to third, because now the story and characters are set and it’s fun to add all the touches that make it shine. This is when I incorporate details about setting, work in the theme, and ramp up the emotion and romantic/sexual tension between the characters. I also get to drag out my thesaurus and find all those perfect words I wouldn’t allow myself to spend time searching for, when the whole scene might end up being cut.
I love choosing my character names. How did you go about choosing your hero and heroine’s names?
It’s funny because Hannah originally had a cutesier name, and about halfway through the first draft, I decided it didn’t fit, so I changed it. The name Hannah suggests a woman who is noble, courageous and stronger than she realizes. It’s classic, connects to her heritage, and is a name I’ve always loved. For Vlad, I came up with his stripper name first—Vlad the Bad, only to discover that Vlad isn’t the correct shortened form of the name Vladimir. But since most Americans don’t know that, everyone just calls him Vlad, and because he’s buried so much of who he once was, he just rolls with it.
How come you write the genre you do?
I write both contemporary and historical, but my first sale was for the Red Hot Russian contemporary series, so that’s where I’m focusing my energy right now.
What’s one of your favorite lines in your book?
“Even after he’d confided his deepest shame, she was responding with acceptance and passionate kisses, not condemnation. Hope filled his heart. Though he’d been with other women, for the first time in his life, Vlad was about to make love.” For me, this line captures the essence of what I love about Vlad and Hannah. Both have gone through life feeling as though they are less in some way. When they come together, each finds the love and acceptance they’ve longed for, but thought they would never find. Vlad is a hot male stripper a lot of women have wanted, but until Hannah, no one really cared about. Hannah has never felt confident about her looks, but Vlad finds her beautiful.
Describe your hero through your heroine’s eyes.
The fact that he’s very handsome, and is kind to her intrigues Hannah right from the beginning. Though the reality show has positioned him as the villain, that doesn’t jibe with the person he seems to be. She also sees a tarnished dignity in Vlad, and even imagines he might have once been a ballet dancer, before he became a stripper. Though she dismisses it as a silly fantasy, the truth isn’t that far off.
What three words best describe your heroine?
Big-hearted, self-conscious, determined
Do you feel your writing is most productive in the morning, afternoon, evening…or anytime?
Morning is my ideal, but life doesn’t always cooperate. When that happens, packing up my laptop and heading out to Starbucks or Panera can cut down on distractions.
What makes your book stand out from other books in the same genre?
One thing is that it’s a lighter story featuring a Russian hero, who are more often seen in romantic suspense, or as uber-Alpha billionaire oligarch types. Vlad is sexy, yet also a down-to-earth, kind-hearted beta. And because Hannah is engaged, the relationship between her and Vlad builds slowly. They’re drawn together as allies and friends, falling in “like” and building trust, before they fall in love.
What’s your favorite part of any book to write…beginning, middle, or the end?
The end, because I feel a huge sense of accomplishment, and it means I finally get to read the whole thing straight through. Since I draft my books multiple times, it’s also when I start to think about all the ways I can make it better.
Care to share with us what you have coming up?
I’m currently writing the third Red Hot Russians book “Getting It Back,” which is due out next March. The hero is a sexy, charming male figure skater, determined to make a comeback after a devastating injury. The heroine is a beautiful American athletic trainer who goes to Moscow to help him…and is equally determined not to fall in love.
Thank you so much for answering my questions, Elizabeth. I enjoyed getting to know more about you, your writing process, and her latest book!
Turning it On
Red Hot Russians # 2
By: Elizabeth Harmon
Releasing June 29, 2015
Book editor Hannah Levinson couldn’t be happier. This “Nice Jewish Girl” is ready to marry the man she’s longed after for half her life. When her fiancé suggests they audition for Last Fling, a steamy new reality show for engaged couples, she lets herself be swayed. Maybe she’ll learn a thing or two.
Vlad Shustov’s fall from a once-bright career as a competitive figure skater was swift. Now trapped by a shameful past and an uncertain future, “Vlad the Bad” strips for cash. Joining the cast of Last Fling could earn him a fortune—or at least enough to finally leave stripping. But to win the show’s prize, he must seduce an engaged woman, something he can’t even bear the thought of.
Hannah’s not like any woman Vlad’s met before. Betrayed by the man she thought she loved and relegated to the ugly-duckling role she’d worked so hard to shed, can she trust there’s more to Vlad than meets the eye? With sleazy TV tactics shattering the last shreds of the contestants’ confidence, they’ll have to believe true happiness is not only possible…it may be looking right at them.
Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/05/turning-it-on-red-hot-russians-2-by.html
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25021974-turning-it-on
Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/141555-red-hot-russians
Hannah sighed and shook her head. “I’m not usually such an emotional mess. It’s just this show. This whole situation! Back there…” she flung her arm wide, in the direction of the mainland. “I’m successful. Accomplished. I have a great job. I live in New York City. Here, all anyone cares about is how hot I am. Or more to the point, how hot I’m not!”
Vlad nodded sympathetically. “It’s TV. Unfortunately, sex sells better than other good qualities.”
“Exactly! I can’t compete. I’m not like those other women, and I don’t even want to be. But I have no choice. Not unless I want to lose my fiancé to a scheming bimbo and have the entire nation talking about what a pathetic loser I am. It’s humiliating.”
“You can always learn to be sexy.” Vlad looked her over. “You’ve got the right equipment. All you need is to learn to use it. I am around sexy women all the time. I could coach you. You know…sexy lessons.”
“Sexy lessons?” She had to laugh at that. “I’ve never thought of sexy as a learned skill.”
“It is, though. All about how you carry yourself.” He adjusted his posture and the set of his broad shoulders conveyed a confidence that was undeniably hot.
“And who better to teach me than a guy named Vlad the Bad who takes off his clothes for a living?”
“As Uncle Ivan used to say, it pays to work with best coach you can find.”
She laughed again, but didn’t entirely dismiss the idea. Putting a little strut in her stuff held surprising appeal. Yet what was the catch? A guy who willingly signed on for a trashy show like Last Fling must want something. “And in return?”
He thought a moment and Hannah tensed, afraid of what he might ask. Then he gave a decisive nod. “I want you to read my book. Not just query, synopsis, “sorry not right for us,” but the whole thing. You don’t have to buy, but I want honest, professional critique of how to make it better.”
Honest and professional? Yikes. What would she say if the book was god-awful, which it likely was? He’d pinned so much hope to it, she couldn’t bear to be the one to discourage him. On the other hand, at least she would be gentle and constructive. And if it was good, this was a chance to help him achieve his dream. She imagined taking the book to her boss. Sales and Marketing would drool over this hot Russian male stripper–turned-literary sensation. As would everyone else. And if it kept Jack from Robynne’s clutches, it was worth the risk.
Vlad narrowed his eyes. “So do we have a deal?”
A bit more certain, Hannah laughed and stuck out her hand. “Deal.”
I love stories that give a fresh take on classic themes, and feature characters and locations not often seen in romance. Give me a lovable, if less-than-perfect heroine, a gorgeous hero with a heart of gold, take them a little off the beaten path and I’m a happy girl.
I read a variety of genres– romance to horror and just about everything in between. I am a member of Romance Writers of America. I have worked as a freelance journalist for a number of local publications and am a contributing writer to Romance Writers Report.
When I’m not writing, I love to ice skate, bike ride, hang out at the beach or on my front porch. I love vintage homes, adventurous cooking, spending time with my family and traveling.
Elizabeth will be hosting a Tour Wide Giveaway of Two Prize Packs including: Ebook of TURNING IT ON and PAIRING OFF and $10.00 Amazon eGift Card