Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Interview and Giveaway with Lauren Dane

Please join me in welcoming one of my favorite authors to Caught in a FAB Romance! Ms. Dane has written multiple series; her most recent release is Never Enough, Book 4 in the Brown Family series.

First of all, I loved Never Enough! One theme that runs through Never Enough, and all your books, really, is family, whether it be the family you’re born with or one you make; do you think this is one of the reasons readers love your books?

Thank you! I love to write about family and I’m always so thrilled my readers seem to love it too – LOL, one of those win/win things.

I think belonging is an important human craving. It’s one nearly all of us feels at one time or another, yearns for at one time or another. How those who love you feel about you, see you and perceive you is always a good way to show the reader integral things about any character. I can write a scene between my hero and his brother or best friend and show a far more detailed character insight than I could if I simply said, “Adrian was loved and trusted by his family.”

If you would, tell us a little about Adrian and Gillian: 

Adrian comes off as laid back, but he’s driven by his love of music. Driven to make it and to work to be successful at it. He’s also constantly under examination and the pressure of it, the way he’s so sure about the things he loves most but off balance in other areas has driven him to a place in his life where he took some time to step back and find his love of music again without all the stuff that comes with celebrity. But at the same time, he’s built a little bubble of reality for himself where he can be safe and trust everyone inside that. 

But he yearns for more. He wants a family like his brother and sister have. So when Gillian comes to him and tells him he has a son, the two parts of his world collide and he’s totally sent reeling. He’s a handsome, successful, charming and charismatic person and while he’s worked his butt off for the career success he has, he’s not very familiar with having to struggle with other things like being a father and falling in love with Gillian. He has to work for her in a way he hasn’t ever before.

Gillian is protective of her family. Sees family as integral to her life as Adrian does. She’s raw and honest but buttoned up and reserved. Creative, as he is. Artistic. I wanted her to understand music the way Adrian does. Creation is as important to her life as it is to Adrian’s. But I gave her some different twists in the road where she made other choices. Choices she made and does not regret. She’s got a sense of her path and is there fully and happily.

She’s a mother. A fierce, no nonsense mother and the scenes I began to understand her the most at first, were those with Miles. And I think for Adrian the same is true.

She does not love or trust easily, but once she does, she does deeply and forever. Like Adrian, she has a close circle. While not her biological family, they are the family she’s made with her friends. Miles comes from a large, close group just as Adrian does. Gillian has made this for their son and it’s something I felt quite strongly would be a necessity for a man like Adrian.

Was it hard to write two very closed-in characters falling in love? Is that why Adrian’s story was last – he needed extra help from his family, so we needed to know them already? 

It’s always tough, to me anyway, to fully convey the inner life of a very closed up character. But the challenge is a worthy one – both to me as a writer to expand my skills and to me as a writer to give readers that sense of who the character is with different sorts of scenes. To reveal their inner life as the characters themselves also confront that.

For Gillian and Adrian both, this was a big deal. They both have a close-knit group of friends and family and it’s often through them that we see the most honest glimpses of these two. But because of how this series was already constructed, it was a far more natural process to write that way than it might have been with a different group of characters.

Originally I’d planned to make Adrian’s the third book, but as I began to sketch it out, I realized he wasn’t ready but Cope was. Cope was open to love in a way Adrian just hadn’t achieved yet. He needed some more time to see what it was to be in love and in a working relationship. And also to begin to yearn for that.

So yes, in a sense I think he wasn’t ready until now to really get how important it would be to put his own needs and reactions under a microscope to really examine what he needed and also to be in a place where he could understand what other people needed.

You write very smart, strong female characters; which I love. Based on your blog and twitter posts, you appear to be a smart, strong woman yourself. Do you write yourself into your characters? 

Thank you! That’s a really wonderful compliment (two actually!) I think there’s a bit of myself in all my characters, LOL. But I don’t write them as me. I’m far more flawed and way less interesting than my characters are. But writing strong women is important to me. Because I grew up around strong women. Strong women are among my greatest heroes in life so it’s only natural, I think, to put them on a page because I admire them so much.

Music is a constant presence in Never Enough, more so than the other books in the series. How much of that was research vs. your personal taste? Do you have a playlist you listened to while writing Never Enough?

I love music. It’s as much a part of my work process as my desktop is, as my keyboard and character notes. Music sets my mood, helps me follow the flavor of a story arc. I have a tracklist for all my books (Berkley has put them in my Heat books, which is a fun thing and you’ll find the one for Never Enough at the end of the book).

Gillian and Adrian are musicians. To me, it’s such a big part of who they are that I can’t imagine having written a book where it’s not an important theme in the story. So in the scene, the first time in Gillian’s bedroom I was listening to my music on shuffle and those are the songs that came up as I wrote. In many key scenes across the series there have been songs or bands that I’ve felt have encapsulated those moments well. Kings of Leon for instance turns up in both Adrian scenes and Brody scenes. PJ Harvey for Erin and for Gillian. With Gillian, piano music was important and I found a lot of wonderful pieces I’d never paid much attention to before.

Music says a lot about a character. At least it does to me as I read and also as I write. So when these two would talk music, it was incredibly intimate. I loved that.

It’s the last book in the Brown family series…how does it feel to end a series as opposed to finishing a single book? 

Finishing a series is bittersweet. First I always want to look back and feel like I’ve ended the series on a high note, not “she really should have ended this series three books ago.” So when I sent in the final to my editor I felt like I’d given good closure to these people.

The story doesn’t end after the last page is turned. I know these characters will continue to live on, to have happy lives and so that helps. But I will miss them! It’s hard to say goodbye to characters who feel so very real to me. But I don’t want to carry stuff on after it’s time to say goodbye.

We’ll see glimpses of many of these characters in the next few books in my new contemporary series with Heat. Which is why there’s no epilogue at the end of Never Enough the way there is with the first three books. Gillian and Adrian’s wedding will be part of a storyline in Sway, the first book in the series (in Cherished duology with Maya Banks) and into Tart, the first single title in the series out next fall. Gillian’s friends are those heroines for that series, so there’ll be a connection. Not so much newcomers won’t get the story, but enough that those who do love the Browns can get a little glimpse.

You write so many different series in several genres – Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi: Where do you get your inspiration and how do you keep them separate while you’re writing? I imagine volumes of binders full of notes specific to each series…

I used to do 3x5 cards. But by the third Federation book I had over 200 of them and it was unmanageable. So then I discovered Scrivener via the most fabulous Larissa Ione and it’s been a lifesaver for keeping all that encyclopedia stuff in order. I can keep character notes, pictures, connections to other worlds, etc all in one place and it’s way easier than going through the cards.

I love writing across genres and heat levels. It’s like a cleanse of my brain palate to go from something like Captivated, which is a super erotic, ménage futuristic to Once and Again, which is a slower paced, sweeter small town romance. Keeps me on my toes. Helps me think about pacing and how a story unpacks. I think the challenge keeps me from being bored and also teaches me new things all the time.

As for inspiration – generally for me it comes from everywhere – music, movies, things I see when I’m out and about, etc. But my stories are often seeds of characters and how they relate to each other – which is not so much genre specific. That can be created around the characters and so it goes hand in hand in a sense. 

What’s coming next for you? Anything you’d like to spotlight?

In November I’ve got the first in a new PNR series with Berkley Sensation – Heart of Darkness (and my very first mass market paperback). This tells the story of a darker Seattle and insular world of clan witches, who are a lot like giant corporations. Meriel, the heroine and essentially magickal royalty meets Dominic, the hero, who is a bit of an outlaw and is stealing from them. Sparks fly. They both learn a lot about the other’s world and then of course, there’s a big bad threat to not only them personally, but their entire world.

Now for the giveaway:  
Ms. Dane has generously offered a signed galley of Never Enough to one lucky winner!!  To enter, leave a comment or question about the book or interview and a way to contact you.
Ends September 20; open to international entries.

Never Enough
 ~Lauren Dane

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Publish Date: September 6, 2011
ISBN-10: 0425243001
ISBN-13: 978-0425243008
ASIN: B0052RHF68

From the author's website: Gillian Forrester spent most of her life running from who and what she came from. Until Miles came along. From the moment she held the tiny newborn her older sister didn’t want, Gillian stopped running and began to build a life for herself and her adopted son. Now, thirteen years later, as Gillian’s sister lay dying, she reveals the father’s identity and makes Gillian promise to find him.
Adrian Brown is the epitome of the successful rock star. He’s seen and done it all, with few regrets. It takes a lot to shock him—but the bombshell that he has a thirteen-year-old son rocks his world. And Adrian is even more surprised when the buttoned-up, elegant woman who’s raising Miles snags his erotic and romantic attention.
The last thing Gillian expected was to find herself getting hot and heavy with a person like Adrian. But as much as she wants to open up and give herself fully to this amazing man, she’s afraid the secrets of her past and Adrian’s problems with trusting people may keep them apart for good. If love isn’t enough can they find the trust they need?
 About Lauren Dane:

The story goes like this: A few years ago, Lauren Dane decided to quit her job and stay home with her brand new second child. As a result, she had lots of conversations in a sing-song voice but no real outlet for adult thoughts and words. While on bed-rest with her pregnancy with the tiny monster, Lauren had plenty of down time so her husband brought home a second hand laptop and she decided to give that writing thing a serious go.”

Lauren had no idea how fabulously wonderful it would feel to actually make a go of her writing and she's thankful every day people actually want to read what she writes! She's well aware of her good fortune and loves every moment of it, even when she has to edit and put Barbie's dresses back on over and over again. She still hasn't managed to figure out how to shut out the sound of the Backyardigans so she can write a love scene, though.


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