Debut Author Interview: Felicia Grossman

Meet Felicia Grossman, author of the historical romance Appetites & Vices, which releases today from Carina Press

Felicia Grossman wanted to write stories ever since her father read her Treasure Island when she was four years old. The Delaware native never lost her love of words, earning both an English degree and a law degree. Felicia now lives in the northern part of the country with her spouse, children, and dogs. When not writing, she can be found eating pastries or belting showtunes in her living room.

Welcome, Felicia!

Tell us about your book.

Appetites & Vices tells the story of Ursula Nunes, the least popular Jewish heiress in 1840s Delaware, and Jay Truitt, a recovering opium addict hiding behind his rich playboy persona. What starts as a faux engagement to help Ursula’s social standing turns into actual love. The novel follows Jay’s struggle build a new life and Ursula’s struggles to fit into both Jewish and Gentile society, while discovering that everything is a little easier with a partner. The book explores of the difficulties of American Jewish identity, addiction, and interfaith romance.

Where did you get the idea?
Appetites is a faux engagement story and I love that trope (romance is all about the tropes). And I really, really, really wanted to write a heroine in a historical romance that could’ve been my ancestor (there’s no British nobility in my blood, I promise), who got to have a really big character arc because why should the heroes have all the fun screwing things up?

Tell us about your favorite character. 
Let’s be real, I usually put a little bit of myself in all my characters, especially my heroines, but there’s a TON of younger me in Urs. A lot of embarrassing things that I look back on and cringe, and a lot of the good stuff as well. Urs is spoiled, indignant, high-tempered, impetuous, pushy, bossy, and socially-awkward, but she’s smart, loyal, brave, determined, and ultimately very kind. She values fairness and justice and may say the wrong thing, but would never “punch” (or throw) down.

How long did you take to write this book?
I started writing Appetites in August of 2017. My heroine was originally a grandmother in a book I was querying so I gave her a backstory for fun. I finished editing around November of 2017 and did some initial test queries/pitching in December #pitmad. I really queried in February of 2018 and got an agent through a #kisspitch like. Appetites sold in July of 2018 so it’s been really fast.

What kind of research did you do for this book?
It’s historical so a ton of research. It’s set in my area of the country (Delaware and Philadelphia)—where I grew-up—just a few centuries earlier—so I kind of knew where to go, i.e., Rebecca Gratz’s letters and writings as well as Winterthur Museum and Gardens, etc.

What is your favorite part of your writing process, and why? 
I love editing, especially big edits. It feels like spring cleaning and because you are finally molding your clay. Drafting is throwing the clay down on the wheel, editing is where the fun begins.

Can you share your writing routine? 
I’m a mom and I have a full-time day job so I write whenever I can. In hallways, when the kids go to bed, anywhere and everywhere.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. You only grow and change if you learn and you can’t learn what you don’t know.

Which book influenced you the most?
One? I have to pick just one? I always I’m historical romance with a bit of a Jewish humorous women’s fiction voice. Like Joanna Shupe, Alyssa Cole, Beverly Jenkins, and Elizabeth Hoyt have been huge romance influences, while Nora Ephron, Susan Isaacs, and Jennifer Weiner have been huge voice inspirations. I read Heartburn when I was like ten and it was totally inappropriate but it also changed my life because I understood the tone, the humor, and the dynamics.

What are you working on right now?
Appetites & Vices has a sequel called Dalliances & Devotion coming out in August, so there are edits there. I’m also drafting something entirely new, but still American now, and there’s a Regency I’m editing.

Thanks for chatting, Felicia! We wish you success with your debut!

Debut Author Interview: Danielle Haas

Meet Danielle Haas, author of the romantic suspense novel Bound by Danger, which releases today from Entangled

Danielle Haas grew up with a love of reading, partly due to her namesake—Danielle Steele. It seemed as though she was born to write out the same love stories she devoured while growing up.

She attended Bowling Green State University with a dream of studying creative writing, but the thought of sharing her work in front of a group of strangers was enough to make her change her major to Political Science.

After college she moved across the state of Ohio with her soon-to-be husband. Once they married and had babies, she decided to stay home and raise her children. Some days her sanity slipped further across the line to crazy town so she decided to brush off her rusty writing chops and see what happened.

Danielle now spends her days running kids around, playing with her beloved dog, and typing as fast as she can to get the stories in her head written down. She loves to write contemporary romance with relatable characters that make her readers’ hearts happy, as well as fast-paced romantic suspense that leaves them on the edge of their seats. Her story ideas are as varied and unpredictable as her everyday life.

Welcome, Danielle!

Tell us about your book.

Special Agent Graham Grassi is on a quest to stop a sex-trafficking ring from infiltrating Chicago. His path keeps crossing with sexy redhead, Mickey O’Shay. The stakes raise higher when Mickey’s goddaughter is taken, and her connections to the case leave Graham wondering if she’s just another victim in a sick game, or if she knows more than she’s letting on. Together, they race against time to unravel a web of deception before it’s too late.

Where did you get the idea?
My initial idea sprang from wondering what would happen if a flight attendant had a blind date with a man she’d already met…a man she’d just told to stop trying to join the mile high club on a flight she worked. Then I realized this wasn’t very heroic behavior, and I had to figure out what situation could he possibly be in to take him from sleazy to dreamy. Of course NONE of this made the final version, but it led me to a great story I never expected to tell.

No spoiler, but tell us something we won’t find out just by reading the book jacket.
Although Mickey and Graham are in a high-stakes emotional situation, they still have a lot of witty banter between them. Graham even serenades Mickey—with a horrible singing voice—to one of my favorite songs by Journey.

What kind of research did you do for this book?
I did a lot of research into sex-trafficking. It was horrific! But it opened my eyes to this dark world that exists everywhere and I now have a passion for advocating against. I even ran my first 5k in support of raising money to help victims of sex-trafficking.

What is the most challenging part of your writing process, and why?
The most challenging part is just finding the time to sit down and write, and not feel guilty about doing so. I’m a stay-at-home mom and my son isn’t in school yet. It’s hard to balance.

Can you share your writing routine?
I normally write at my desk or at the island in my kitchen. I work better in the morning, so after I get my daughter on the school bus I give my son time to do his own thing (TV, Kindle, Puzzles, Play-doh) and I work on getting in my word count. My brain shuts off around 5:00 and it’s tough for me to get back into my writing at that point.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Be patient and find your writing tribe! The people in this community are amazing, and their support and advice have been life-changing. I wish I would have known they were out there sooner.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I have three unpublished manuscripts that are all under contract. One will be out this year, the other two will follow shortly. I also have two unpublished/uncontracted manuscripts out on submission.

How did you get into writing?
I’ve always loved writing. When my son was 6 months old, I thought I was going to go stir crazy with only focusing on my children and husband. I decided to sit down and try to write a book based off my hometown and I fell in love with writing! That book, a small-town contemporary romance, will be published later this year!

Share something about you most people probably don’t know.
I changed my major in college seven times! I started in creative writing, but the idea of having to read my work in front of other people scared me so bad I just keep changing majors and looking for something else I’d love to do.

What are you working on right now?
I just finished another romantic suspense, which is book two of a three book series. Each book focuses on a crime where a dating app is used by the villain/and or suspects in the novels.

What’s your favorite writing advice?
Keep writing, keep learning, and have an open mind. After I finished my first manuscript, I thought it was the best thing ever…until my paths crossed with my now critique partner who pointed out everything I did wrong! Instead of being defensive and offended, I listened to her wonderful advice and used it to improve my writing. I still do this daily!

Where can we find your book?
Amazon
Apple
Kobo
Nook

Where can we find you?
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Pinterest
Goodreads

Thanks for chatting, Danielle! We wish you success with your debut!

#Debut19Chat starts today!

After I sold my debut novel and got a 2019 pub date, I joined a group of other writers on Facebook whose debut novels are coming out in 2019. The writers in this group are all writers of adult or new adult fiction. They are men and women of various backgrounds writing in various genres — contemporary, historical, sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal, romance, and more. We’ve been holding each other up, comparing notes, reassuring each other, and answering one another’s questions for months as we’ve gone through the process of getting edits, seeing galleys, seeing cover designs, etc. It’s been an awesome resource and a great source of encouragement to all of us.

Starting today, you get to meet them!

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If you love to read and you want to be up on the up-and-comers, head over to Twitter and follow the #DebutAuthors19 and #Debut19Chat hashtags. Starting today and every day throughout the month of August, we’ll be introducing ourselves, talking about our books and our publishing journeys, and giving you an inside look at what’s coming to bookstores in 2019.

Hopefully, you’ll find several great new books to add to your Goodreads shelf and/or pre-order.

I’ve already added my post for day 1. Go see who else is tweeting!

 

Houston, We Have a Cover!

If you receive my email newsletter, this is old news to you. If you don’t, you should! Those folks all got entered in a drawing to win an Advance Reader Copy of the book months before it actually comes out. (Don’t worry. There will be more opportunities to enter giveaways. But if you’re on my newsletter list, you are automatically entered into every giveaway I do.)

ANYWAY, what I really want to tell you is that we have a cover!

AND the book is already available for pre-order from Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Indiebound, and CBD. Pre-ordering is an excellent way to support a new author. It helps a book gain visibility in an online marketplace of millions of titles. And it shows retailers that there is an audience waiting for your book, which encourages them to take a chance on stocking a book from an unproven author.

When you pre-order, you will not be charged until the book is shipped. It may feel silly ordering a book six months before you can actually read it! But if you know you’re going to check it out anyway, it’s a simple way to lend your support.

 

Here is what the book is about:

When Detroit Free Press reporter Elizabeth Balsam meets James Rich, his strange request—that she look up a relative she didn’t know she had in order to deliver an old camera and a box of photos—seems like it isn’t worth her time. But when she loses her job after a botched investigation, she suddenly finds herself with nothing but time.

At her great-aunt’s 150-year-old farmhouse, Elizabeth uncovers a series of mysterious items, locked doors, and hidden graves. As she searches for answers to the riddles around her, the remarkable stories of two women who lived in this very house emerge as testaments to love, resilience, and courage in the face of war, racism, and misunderstanding. And as Elizabeth soon discovers, the past is never as past as we might like to think.

Take an emotional journey through time—from the volatile streets of 1960s Detroit to the Underground Railroad during the Civil War—to uncover the past, confront the seeds of hatred, and discover where love goes to hide.

 

Here’s what a couple bestselling authors have said about it:

We Hope for Better Things has it all: fabulous storytelling, an emotional impact that lingers long after you turn the last page, and a setting that immerses you. I haven’t read such a powerful, moving story since I read To Kill a Mockingbird in high school. This book will change how you look at the world we live in. Highly recommended!”—Colleen Coble, USA TODAY bestselling author of the Rock Harbor series and The View From Rainshadow Bay

“A timely exploration of race in America, We Hope for Better Things is an exercise of empathy that will shape many a soul. Erin Bartels navigates this sensitive topic with compassion as she shifts her readers back and forth between past and present, nudging us to examine the secrets we keep, the grudges we hold, and the prejudices we may help create even without intention.”—Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of Perennials

 

Remember, you can pre-order through Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Indiebound, or CBD.

I can’t thank you enough for your support!