Sometimes A + B = O. Yes. Oh, yes. Just like that.
Gabriella Evans’s life exists in terms of logic and definitions. She’s holed up in Portland, Maine, for the summer to work on her PhD thesis, but something is screwing up her concentration: the rumble of a motorcycle every time the embodiment of her rough-and-tumble fantasies rides down her street.
When her best friend talks her into a blind date, she finds herself out with the opposite of her fantasy. He’s polite and well-mannered, yet something behind his crisply tailored shirt doesn’t add up—a rebellious gleam in his eye that piques her curiosity.
Orphaned at fifteen, Connor Starks has finally put the years of failing grades, breaking laws and breaking hearts behind him. The only holdover? His penchant for getting down and dirty in public places. But Gabriella makes him want to prove he’s become a better man.
Nothing intrigues Gabriella more than a problem she can’t solve. But the more Connor tries to bury his past, the more determined she is to uncover it. And what she finds makes all her trusty logic begin to fail her…
Warning: This book contains a summer romance, dirty talk, dockside kissing, motorcycles and tattoos. Features a rebellious nerdy girl with an appetite for outdoor sex and light spanking, and a bad boy who’s turned good…or at least he’s trying.
Please start by telling us a little about yourself (education, jobs, significant other, children, pets, etc.)
First of all, thanks so much for inviting me! I’m excited to be here. A little about me: I have a Bachelor of Arts in English with a double concentration in Creative Writing and Literary Comparison, as well as a Master of Science degree in Elementary Education, both of which seemed like good ideas at the time. After stumbling through careers in entertainment, publishing, law and teaching, I’ve returned to my first love: writing. I’m a caffeine addict and a gym rat, and I live in upstate New York with my husband, two parakeets, and a cat with a very unusual foot fetish.
Tell us about your latest New Adult book and what inspired you to write it.
The best description of my debut novella, The Duality Principle, is that it’s about math, sex and motorcycles. It’s about Gabriella Evans, a PhD candidate who is trying to tell herself she can’t be a career-driven, focused mathematician and still long for hot sex with a careless, rough-and-tumble bad boy, and Connor Starks, an orphaned son of two drug addicts who spent years breaking laws and breaking hearts. He’s tried to put his past behind him, the only holdover being his penchant for getting down and dirty in public places, but meeting Gabriella makes him want to prove he’s become a better man.
My inspiration for the book came a few years ago when I was going to a local street fair. I was crossing the street and noticed that a man on a motorcycle very subtly watching me. There was just a hint of his helmet turning as he followed my moves. From there I was imagining a world where a man and woman had an encounter like that – if he followed her back somewhere and took off his helmet, how sweaty his face would be underneath it and what would happen between them. It inspired the first scene in The Duality Principle, and a very smutty one near the end. ;-)
The New Adult genre is fairly new. What's your definition of it? How does it differ from Young Adult or just regular Adult books?
The NA genre actually didn’t even exist yet when I first started this story! I suppose my definition is that it’s a transitional genre wherein the characters are moving into making the first important decisions of their adult lives. One thing I particularly like about this genre is that because the characters are younger, the love story doesn’t have to end in a proposal of marriage, as is the typical in the adult romance novel. In NA, readers are often left with a “happily for now,” which is sometimes a much more satisfying and realistic ending.
Do you belong to any critique groups and/or do you have other people read your work as you're writing it? Who's brutally honest and who's a cheerleader? Which do you prefer?
I spent a year workshopping a different novel with the Writer’s Collective critique group, and found it an incredibly valuable experience. From there I formed a group of friends, both readers and writers, and I absolutely rely on their feedback. To be honest, I need both brutal honesty and cheerleading, especially when both kinds of feedback come together. Sometimes something isn’t working and you need someone to tell you that. Then you need someone to help pick you up off the floor, wipe your tears and get your butt back to the computer!
What are your all-time favorite authors/books?
In regular fiction, some of the stories I have loved are The Distance from the Heart of Things by Ashley Warlick, A Separate Peace by John Knowles, anything Shakespeare and of course Harry Potter. My long time YA favorite author is Maggie Stiefvater, and my favorite NA book is The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay. As for romance, I could go on and on, but I’m a big fan of Charlotte Stein, Ruthie Knox, Katie Porter, and Kit Rocha.
Do you outline before you write or just dive head-first into a manuscript? Do you maintain a schedule for writing, or is it more haphazard?
I love my label maker, so that should tell you how organized I am! I always outline before I start writing. I need to know where I’m going, although I don’t always stay on that path. Sometimes the best ideas come when I veer off what I’ve planned, but I need to know that where Point A and Point B are. My writing schedule is pretty consistent, since I balance it with other things I’m doing part time. It’s like working out – if I only fit it in where I can and don’t make time for it, I won’t do it!
Where do you do your best writing? (Ex: desk in your office, public library, under a tree in the park, in front of a Real Housewives TV marathon, etc.) Do you like music or some other background noise, or do you need quiet?
I have a home office and do most of the work that needs deep concentration in there. It’s got purple walls and a hammock chair, and is generally my happy space! But it is sometimes hard to work in a vacuum, and I’m always surprised at the ideas I get when I venture out. I will people watch when the weather is nice, generally at coffee shops, and will jot it down whenever I get an idea. Sometimes I get the best ideas at the gym though. There’s something about having my mind freed up and my concentration completely in my body that helps some really great little tidbits bubble through.
What are the best and worst parts of writing a book?
For me, the best parts of writing a book are when you get that great idea, and when it’s finally polished and ready to go. The worst, or maybe most difficult part, is when you get stuck. I don’t mean writer’s block. I mean when something is wrong, either the characterization or the plot, and I can’t see my way out of it. I just hit that with my current manuscript, and that’s when it’s great to have critique partners that can look at my work objectively and help me figure out what to do next.
When you're driving and you have a sudden, brilliant idea for the new manuscript you're working on, what do you do? (Ex: pull over and fire up the laptop, keep driving while scribbling on a McDonald's bag, tell Siri, etc.)
I use the Notes app on my phone for that, and I’ll try to pull over or at least wait until a red light. I’d hate to be writing down that amazing idea while I’m driving and end up rear-ending someone in the process!
Imagine you have a whole day free for shopping. Where do you go? (Mall, unique boutiques, flea market, antique shops, bookstore, home improvement store, etc.)
The day might be free, but who is paying for it? Hah! Well, I do have a shoe fetish, so I’d probably head over to the department store and try on a ton of gorgeous shoes. Next would be Barnes and Noble, because there is just something about being surrounded by books and the people who love them that is so inspiring. I’d have to hit Bed, Bath and Beyond on the way home because I always have a gazillion coupons and there’s usually some great knick-knack I didn’t know I needed there. And once I’m home I might spend a little time on TheStockroom.com or DeTailsToys.com to add to hubs’ and my collection. ;-)
What are the top 5 titles in your Netflix queue? (Be honest.) Or if you don't have a Netflix queue, which books are on your bedside table? (Again, be honest.)
I don’t have Netflix! (I know, I’m in the Stone Age.) My nightstand has all the copies of Women’s Health magazine that I haven’t read yet, because they are much more likely to put me to sleep than the latest racy novel I’ve got in my kindle!
Do you prefer to read ebooks or print?
I prefer ebooks because I like the instant gratification of hearing about a book, clicking “buy” and having it appear in my e-reader. That being said, there are times I will buy a book if I know the author, or if it’s a special book that I’d really like to have a hard copy of. I take a lot of notes when I’m reading and it’s much easier to highlight in my kindle than it is to put sticky notes in a regular book. I hate underlining – I like leaving my books pristine!
Where is your favorite place in the world?
I grew up spending my summers on the seashore of southern Maine. There is a spot at the Footbridge Beach in Ogunquit that is my favorite. It’s at the apex of a bridge that crosses the sand dunes, and you can hear the seagulls, the rushing waves and the kids playing as you’re climbing it. As a child, there was so much anticipation in me as I ascended that bridge, knowing how much fun waited on the other side. Now I find the ocean very calming. It centers me, grounds me, and reminds me there is a world out there so much bigger than myself. Whenever I take a trip out there, I make sure to stand in that spot for a few minutes and just breathe. (And then, well, there’s always the sexy lifeguards!)
Do you have any advice for people who want to write a book?
Learn your craft, don’t be afraid of constructive criticism, and don’t give up!
Rebecca Grace holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a double concentration in Creative Writing and Literary Comparison, which seemed like a good idea at the time. After stumbling through careers in entertainment, publishing, law and teaching, she’s returned to her first love: writing. A self-admitted caffeine addict and gym rat, she currently lives in upstate New York with her husband, two parakeets, and a cat with a very unusual foot fetish.