Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Interview, Review and Giveaway: Samantha Grace

Please join me in welcoming Samantha Grace to Debbie's Book Bag today. Samantha is her promoting the release of her book, One Rogue Too Many. I got the opportunity to ask Samantha a few questions, enjoy! The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of One Rogue Too Many, see details at the end of the post. 


DEB: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
SG: I’m a mom of two (16 & 11). My husband was my co-worker at a community mental health center when we met. Now I’m a part-time hospice social worker. Some day I hope to be a full time writer, because creating stories is my passion. I’ve been writing for six years, but I’ve wanted to be a writer since third grade when I read my first Trixie Belden book. (Girl sleuth)

DEB: What was your inspiration for One Rogue Too Many?
SG: The idea for a younger sister/brother’s best friend romance came from watching the interactions between my daughter and her older brother’s friend. Sometimes he would play games or watch a video with her. Then other times he would reject her in a mean way when she asked him to do something with her. One day I was very irritated with him for hurting her feelings and I thought, ‘Some day she is going to grow up to be a beauty and you’re going to want her attention, but she won’t care a thing about you.’ Then my imagination took over and created a story about two neighbors who grew up together and fell in love as adults, but their shared past creates obstacles to trusting one another. But I needed more conflict and what better way to do it than to add competition for her heart? Only another rogue would do.  

DEB: Is this a single title or part of a series?
SG: One Rogue Too Many is the first book in a new series. Rival Rogues is about two men who have been friendly rivals since their days at Eton, but the competition heats up when they begin competing for the same woman. Of course only one rogue will win her heart, but both men will have a story. I couldn’t leave one broken hearted.  

DEB: It is not often the main hero goes missing. What made you decide to use this as a plot point for this book?
SG: Anthony goes missing before the story begins, which sets the stage for Lady Gabrielle to be back on the marriage mart when she has already agreed to marry him. They made a secret agreement to marry since her brother was on his honeymoon, and Anthony couldn’t ask his permission or negotiate a contract at the time. 

Anthony is called away on an urgent family matter of a sensitive nature before her brother returns, and it takes him longer than expected to complete his business. He doesn’t make it back to England when he said he would, and he doesn’t send word to Gabby, but he is distracted. Given their history, she has good reason to doubt his intentions when he doesn’t return or write to her.

I decided to use this as a plot point because the family matter plays into the story, and it sets up the conflict between Anthony and his rival. The hero and heroine are not apart much during the story, however. I love to see the hero and heroine interacting. It’s my favorite part of romance.  


DEB: What are the comparisons and contrasts between Anthony and Sebastian, as far as writing these characters goes? Who was harder to write and why?
SG: Anthony is more guarded emotionally, whereas Sebastian is open and direct, even though both of them had troubled childhoods. Both men are confident, handsome, and have a strong sense of family loyalty. 

Anthony was definitely harder to write, because he isn’t like me. I tend to be more open and honest, although I don’t spill all of my secrets. Boundaries are good. I really had to make an effort to understand his reluctance to open up, but once I thought about his background, it made sense.  

DEB: Do you have a favorite author or genre you read for pleasure?
SG: I enjoy a variety of genres. I like to browse bookstores or libraries and pick books that jump out at me from the shelves, which doesn’t work as well with e-books. I don’t get that gut-level experience that comes with choosing physical books. On the other hand, it is nice to get books instantly on an e-reader and to have the option of reading a sample before I purchase it.      

DEB: What has been your experience with the publishing industry? Getting your work in the hands of publishers etc. Good, bad, easy hard?
SG: I feel fortunate to be with a publisher that is easy to work with. I’m on my third editor and that can be devastating to an author, but the transitions have been smooth. 

The hardest part is accepting criticism of my work knowing how much it takes to write a story and the challenges involved. But that’s not the readers’ problem. They are just looking for a story they love. 

I was lucky to get my work in front of Deb Werksman at Sourcebooks. She held an online pitch session, I posted my blurb and tried not to pass out from fear, and she was interested. Her call was one of the most exciting moments in my life. 


DEB: Do you have advice for new writers?
SG: I think it’s easy to get caught up in what other authors say you should be doing. For example, you’ll hear a lot about building your social media presence. I agree that is an important component, especially since networking was how I found out about the opportunity with Sourcebooks.

But what I think has been working best for me is building my craft. I’m always on a quest to improve my writing. It’s truly the only thing within my control. I can’t make readers or reviewers love me. I can’t control what my publisher offers me or even if they want to publish my next book. The only thing I can do is to write the next book to the best of my abilities, and that improves my chances of writing a book readers will love. 

I’m not suggesting anyone ignore social media. It is important. But writing should be an author’s first priority, in my opinion. 

   
DEB: Tell us one thing readers may not know about you.
SG: That I’m opinionated? LOL

DEB: What are you working on right now?
SG: I’m currently working on revisions for the second book in the Rival Rogues series, In Bed with a Rogue. I’ve also proposed a third book, and I’m very anxious to begin writing it. I do love rogues! 

I’m curious if readers love rogues, too, and what they love best about them? 

SG: I’d like to thank Deb’s Book Bag for allowing me to share One Rogue Too Many, a book that is dear to my heart. I’m looking forward to chatting with everyone!



One Rogue Too Many (Rival Rogues - Book 1) by Samantha Grace

Publication Date: 01/07/2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Imprint: Casablanca
Genre: Historical Romance
Pages: 352
ISBN-10: 1402286589
ISBN-13: 978-1402286582

(Received for an honest review from Sourcebooks Casablanca)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound

Samantha Grace on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads

Excerpt from, One Rogue Too Many, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.

Synopsis:


From the Betting Book at Brook's Gentleman's Club:
Wager: £2,000 that Lord Ellis will throw the first punch when he discovers Lord Throne is wooing a certain duke's sister.
All Bets Are Off When the Game is Love
Lady Gabrielle is thrilled when Anthony Keaton, earl of Ellis, asks for her hand in marriage. She's not so pleased when he then leaves the country and four months pass without a word. Clearly, the scoundrel has changed his mind and is too cowardly to tell her. There's nothing to do but go back on the marriage mart...
When Anthony returns to town and finds his ultimate rival has set sights on Gabby, his continual battle of one-upmanship with Sebastian Thorne ceases to be a game. Anthony is determined to win back the woman who holds his heart--but he's not expecting Gabby herself to up the stakes...

Thoughts:

Samantha Grace brings readers the first novel in a new historical romance series. The Rival Rogue's series will feature two leading men who have known each other for years and have made it a game to best each other in any kind of competition. In One Rogue Too Many that competition ends up being Lady Gabrielle Forest. Readers will enjoy Grace's ability to write compelling and interesting characters who are three dimensional and easy to relate to. Grace's attention to detail is seen in everything from the cut of the men's suits to the pet name that Anthony has for Gabby. This book is a feast for the senses and a great happy-ever-after tale.

What I liked: 

One of the first things that appealed to me about this book was the somewhat friendly rivalry between Anthony and Sebastian that started many years before the story begins. Grace did a great job of adding a lot of back story for these two characters and creating a sense of a love-hate relationship that was needed for the conflict element of this story. They were constantly trying to one-up each other and that's essentially where the idea for the entire series comes from. Can Sebastian get one over on Anthony by marrying the woman Anthony is in love with?

I also liked the fact that it is obvious from the beginning of the book where Gabrielle's heart lies. She loves Anthony without question and has since she was a child. But life has a way of getting in the way sometimes and their timing was just way off in the beginning. Anthony was the best friend of her brothers, he was older, had some obligations that he didn't make readily known to Gabby and just basically screwed up and lost her trust. How realistic does that sound? I know, right! When Anthony finally gets his ducks in a row he finds that Sebastian has moved in for the kill himself. He needs Gabby for more than one reason, and it's an added bonus that he will be taking her from Anthony. 

All three of the main characters are so well written that readers will be reminded of this person or that person they knew that did that very same thing. It might be historical romance, but it's definitely a scene out of any romantic movie of today. Boy and Girl meet, become friends, fall in love, fall out of love and eventually fall back in. However, what sets this one a part from the masses is the character development over the course of the entire book. At the end each character has evolved and changed so much that readers will find the ending very satisfying and just right. 

Sebastian definitely deserves his own book. Grace showed readers what he wanted and what he had to offer in this title, but there was just no way he could have won out against true love. I was glad that Grace allowed readers to see him as a true rival, but not for the heroine of this one. I can't wait to see where Grace takes his character. I think I liked him best out of all three leads. The love triangle angle in the story was well done and felt both compelling and believable.

What I didn't like:

There were some moments in this one where I really wanted to give the heroine a good shake. Now I know that she had to remain staunch in belief that she could not trust Anthony for the entire story to work, but it was a bit frustrating watching Gabby ignore Anthony's efforts to explain himself and why he didn't come back when he said he would. 

Bottom Line: 

That bit of criticism was certainly not enough to hinder me or any other reader from loving this book. It was great love story and the hero and heroine were certainly made for each other. The addition of a second hero made for a lot of drama and was a brilliant plot device. 

One Rogue Too Many is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!




About the Author:


Historical romance author Samantha Grace discovered the appeal of a great love story when she was just a young girl, thanks to Disney's Robin Hood. She didn't care that Robin Hood and Maid Marian were cartoon animals. It was her first happily-ever-after experience and she didn't want the warm fuzzies to end. Now Samantha enjoys creating her own happy-endings for characters that spring from her imagination. Publisher's Weekly describes her stories as "fresh and romantic" with subtle humor and charm. Samantha describes romance writing as the best job ever. 

Part-time hospice social worker, moonlighting author, and pilates nut, she enjoys a happy and hectic life with her real life hero and two kids in the Midwest



Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of One Rogue Too Many by Samantha Grace.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, January 28th.

1. Please leave a comment answering Samantha's question: I’m curious if readers love rogues, too, and what they love best about them? 
2. Please fill out the FORM.

14 comments:

traveler said...

Rogues are always interesting. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Samantha Grace said...

Yes, they are! Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

jmcgaugh said...

I've always loved rogues in my romances (not so much in real life!). What I love best (in fiction) is that, when they fall in love, they fall hard.

Di said...

In my opinion you can never have too many Rogues - all are welcome!

CrystalGB said...

Love rogues. They are naughty, dangerous and keep you on your toes.

Nancy Luebke said...

I do a bit. I think most of them just haven't found the right one yet.

bn100 said...

sometimes; they're different

catslady said...

This sounds like a great new series!

catslady said...

oops forgot to answer the question - rogues - the bad boy in historicals. Bad boys are exciting and you always want to be that woman that can somewhat tame them lol.

Elizabeth Schroedle said...

Rogues in romance novels are always a challenge that the heroine cannot resist.

Texas Book Lover said...

Yes I like Rogues. They are great because they are naughty and dangerous which make for a great read!

Anita Yancey said...

I love Rogues because they always seem dangerous and sexy, and all of the women fall for them. Thanks for having the giveaway.

ayancey1974(at)gmail(dot)com

Natasha said...

I love Rogues!
I love that they are dangerous and always up to no good!
Thanks for the chance to win!

Michelle F. said...

Rogues and rakes are sometimes interesting to read about.