You’ve got to give props to the storyteller who can take you from the chilliest parts of the earth to the biggest summertime festivities…and have it all be sizzling. ^_^ Today, it gives me absolute pleasure to welcome author Natalie Anderson back to BLI. During the her last visit, we got a chance to talk about her release Melt, which was all about a steamy romance that took place in the icy plains of Antarctica. This time, Natalie tells us about her fictional foray into the Summer Olympic Games that took place most recently in London…for which she had not just one, or two, but three winning tales to tell. (Stay tuned after the interview for a chance to win the bronze, the silver, AND the gold–stories, that is!)
Alisha: Welcome back to BLI, Natalie!
Natalie: Thank you so much–it’s great to be back
Alisha: One of your previous Entangled releases, Melt, takes place in Antarctica. Now, however, your latest anthology of stories, Flirting to Win, takes place in good old England, UK, on the other side of the globe! What brought you to that particular location?
Natalie: I lived in London for a few years when I was in my twenties and absolutely loved it–I really do think it is one of the world’s greatest cities. I’ve set a number of my stories there–mainly because I do really love it and I’m familiar with it. I have a number of extended family members living there and they were all getting super excited and sending snaps over of all their Olympic preparations etc and I figured it would be such a dynamic setting!
Alisha: Since you’ve been: what do you like most about the city, the country?
Natalie: Oh boy–what’s not to love?! There’s so much history, the architecture, the art, sport and theatre scene, not to mentions the clubs and pubs… the pageantry of the Royal family and all that. Then the incredible diversity–all the different cultures and communities… it just rocks. It really does. When I was growing up here in New Zealand we still regarded the UK as the ‘Mothership’ – well, my family did anyway – that has changed a bit now but going to the UK is still such a big thing for many young Kiwis to do on their ‘OE’. I’m very fortunate to have dual citizenship, so I’m able to live and work in the UK and Europe–so I was in the UK for five years. I’d love to go back at some point in the future and live and work there some more once my children are grown up–for a while anyway–maybe a summer in Italy??!
Alisha: The Flirting to Win stories all somehow relate to the London Olympic Games. What is it about the Games that drew you toward writing not just one story, but a trio, a constellation of tales, involving the events?
Natalie: Well it’s just such a fabulous event, isn’t it?! I think its really inspiring. I thought it would be a vibrant backdrop to set some short stories that I’d been mulling–I think London really knows how to throw a party and figured it would be fun to have that going on in the background! Plus there are such different aspects to the games–from athletes themselves, to spectators, to supporters… toying with that was fab.
Alisha: Do you have a favorite Olympic sporting event? Was there an Olympian in particular you were rooting for?
Natalie: Well I’m a really big fan of the rowing (it helps that New Zealand has got some rowers that are so completely good at it! LOL), so that was super exciting to watch. And who doesn’t love the track and field events–they’re so awesome. Plus the swimmers… and the gymnasts. Actually I quite love all the events at the Olympics!!! Then we were focused on our Paralympic swimmer Sophie Pascoe–she comes from my hometown and is a super star so we were full on cheering for her!!!
Alisha: In one of the anthology stories, Seduction in Silver, there’s a scene in which the main characters get stuck on a train in the midst of a flash mob. I simply must know…have you ever witnessed one in the flesh? (It seems like it’d be so much fun! ^_^)
Natalie: Sadly no! I really wish I had!!! But I’m a Youtube addict and have watched a million flashmobs on there–and flashmob proposals and stuff. Not at all the same of course, I’d love to see one for real. Not sure that we have that many here in Christchurch–maybe I’ll have to organize one sometime!
You’ve got a robust body of books in category romance. Are there particular themes/tropes that are easier to write about, or any that you find more challenging than others?
Natalie: I’m a big fan of the sassy’n'sweet and hot(!) contemporary story and the variants of that–so the workplace set-ups, the fake fiancees, the frenemies, the one night stand that becomes more type thing. I do find the accidental pregnancies tricky–I’ve only written a couple of those. I’ve never done cowboy story either–as my books are usually in urban settings… but we can never say never, right?!
Alisha: Another hallmark of your books is that your stories are often very character-driven, and your characters feel accessible, authentic, identifiable. Do your characters come to you with stories ready to share, or is it the persona that comes first, the adventures to follow?
Natalie: Firstly – thank you! I really want to write characters who are identifiable and feel ‘real’ I think character does tend to come before the plot–though sometimes the initial idea comes with an opening scene or ‘cute meet’. But really, I need to find out as much as I can about the characters–because its the people that they are that drive the plot–their decisions/actions/reactions to the people they meet and events they’re put into. So I do work a lot on their backstories before writing the draft… but then usually my characters withhold something really important about themselves until I’m almost at the end of the draft… and then I have to go back and rewrite it in! Btu that’s ok–that’s just the process!
Alisha: Do you have a favorite character from your books? A favorite story?
Natalie: Oh no – this question is so hard. I do have a couple of heroines that I am so pleased got happy endings – lol. It’s crazy how ‘real’ your characters become to you and you really want them to be happy and stuff. But I can’t pick an absolute favorite, that’s just impossible!
Alisha: Can you tell us a bit about some of the kinds of tales we can expect in the future?
Natalie: I’m just finishing up another novella and then I’m back into a full length contemporary series that I can’t wait to get into. It’s going to be a trilogy and might just be even hotter than ever! I’m really looking forward to getting my teeth into something longer again as it’s been a while. For fun I’m playing with a story that I’m writing for my kids–obviously it is COMPLETELY different from my usual and won’t ever see the light of day, except here at home, but it’s a really cute change of gear.
Alisha: Thank you so much for your time, Natalie. It’s our absolute pleasure having you visit…again! ^_^
Thank you so much for having me!!!
Where to find Natalie:
Novella #1, “Bargain in Bronze”
If you can’t take the heat…
Entrepreneur Libby Harris’s specialty is making her famous muesli. So when an Olympic hopeful invites her to his flat to make her delicious cereal, she’s bewildered when his brother Jack walks in, accusing her of trying to ruin his brother’s career. Libby has every intention of staying single, but with Jack around, no way can she suppress the personal pleasure she’s long denied herself.
Investment banker extraordinaire Jack Barnes’s attraction to Libby is instantaneous, but he’s raised his two siblings after their parents died in an accident, and it’s been all work and no play for as long as he can remember. He can’t let down his guard now—not when his brother is so close to the gold. But keeping Libby busy and out of his brother’s life challenges every ounce of his self-control.
Neither wants a relationship, and though they can’t deny their incredible chemistry, Libby and Jack agree that what they have is temporary. So when things start to sizzle between them, will they be able to take the heat?
Novella #2, “Seduction in Silver”
A limited engagement…
For two weeks Nina Breslin had passed an enticing stranger when catching the Baker Street Tube to go to work. So utterly sexy, and enticingly foreign, she figures he’s eons out of her league—until the day he makes an outrageous proposal.
Dr. Eduardo Ruiz needs a break from the heart-breaking reality of his job. So when he finally introduces himself to the vivacious woman he’s been admiring, he quickly realizes they could help each other with their sticky situations…and have great fun in the process.
They agree to an outrageous plan. For one night only, she’ll masquerade as his girlfriend to appease his overzealous family members, and he’ll accompany her to meet with her ex-fiancé’s friends, pretending to be her attentive lover. Can they play by their own rules, or will they succumb to the pull of seduction?
Novella #3, “Gamble in Gold”
The one that got away…
Seven years have passed since shy Lexie Peterson had her heart trampled by her teenage crush. When she comes face to face with him in London, she vows to stay strong against his charms. But there’s something about the man who has always made the impossible seem possible.
When Luke Marchetti walks into his flat to find Lexie in a negligee, all he can think of is having a little flirt and fling. But sweet, caring Lexie is all grown up now, and her determination to keep him at a distance makes him realize she deserves more than he can offer.
One kiss when they were younger ignited a passion that lasted seven long years. But is it enough to entice the two to take a gamble on love?
One lucky commenter will win a copy of Natalie’s anthology Flirting to Win! That’s right: it’s a three-fer–and an amazing one at that–so you definitely don’t want to miss out!
All you have to do is leave a meaningful comment or tell us: Did you watch the Olympics/Paralympics this year? What draws you to the Games in general?
(You can read our full giveaway policy here)
Please be sure to include a valid email address in the comment form (need not be in the actual body of the comment).
This giveaway is open to all!
Giveaway ends on Saturday, October 20, 2012; we will announce the winner on Sunday.