It is with great pleasure and great honor that I get to interview Carlene Love Flores for the Spicy Butterfly Garden. Carlene has a new Evernight Publishing Romance on the Go release, The Boss, and it is fabulous. I can say that because I read it. It has romance. It has sweet and tender love. It has steamy and spicy sex. And it has a rock star turned military as a hero, who sweeps in on his best friend’s younger sister. And Carlene wrote it beautifully.
Weclome Carlene. Can you give us the title and genre of your book and a quick 50 word or less tagline.
This is a contemporary, May-December, Romance on the Go (short story) with Evernight and it’s called The Boss.
Nick declares he’s leaving his singing career to enlist in the army. And the sexy yet stubborn man insists on a never before private meeting in Cherie’s hotel room before he heads out. When Cherie discovers he’s acting on promises made to her brother who died in combat, she can’t stand letting Nick go without showing him one last night of extraordinary pleasure.
Do you have an interesting and fun fact about your book and/or its characters. I always find there is something in every story that makes it unique.
Interesting: I wrote The Boss in about two weeks in response to an anthology call, something I’d never done before. The story was rejected for that call but I was asked to re-submit it to the Romance on the Go line. I did so happily and the rest is history! – I’m glad you resubmitted it. It is a beautiful and entertaining story. Sometimes a door closing in one situation is a door opening in another. Seems the rejection to the anthology still worked out to your benefit. Congratulations!
Funny: My critique partner can’t stand that I use the endearment “Sweet One” in the story so I of course drive her crazy now, calling her that whenever I get the chance! – I enjoyed the “sweet one” endearment. It’s not always easy to find a cute nickname that fits the characters. Once you get to know Cherie and Nick, sweet one seems to work perfectly.
As an author myself, I find one of the hardest parts to completing a story is coming up with a title that captures the true essence of the story. How do you come up with the title to your stories?
Knock on wood, so far I’ve been very lucky to have had editors who like the titles I come up with. Usually the title will come to me when I’m thinking about one of the main characters and what they symbolize to me. That’s how I ended up with Sidewalk Flower (because I see Trista as this beautiful person who grew up through the hard walk of life) The Boss was the same thing. Here we have Nick who literally is Cherie’s boss but it also symbolizes him taking his fate into his own hands when he makes the decision to give up music and become a soldier.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve received?
Dianna Love once suggested framing your short story around two people who have history but left off with unfinished business the last time they met. I used to be so intimidated to write a short story because I had no idea how I was going to introduce two people and then tell their story with a limited amount of words. Giving them a history that you can briefly allude to solves that problem so that you can get right into the meat of their conflict/story and not leave the reader feeling like they’ve missed something.
That is great advice, Carlene! Writing a short story is not easy to do because you do have to develop the characters and plot in much fewer words. I think short stories are a rare talent. Not everyone can do it with success. I’d say Dianna Love’s advice definitely benefitted you because “The Boss” is wonderful.
What has been your most rewarding experience since becoming a published author?
Earlier this year, the hero from my first book, Sidewalk Flower, was voted by my publisher’s readers as their favorite book boyfriend. My “trophy” was a coffee mug that reads “Lucky Mason, Evernight’s Favorite Book Boyfriend 2013.” It may as well be an Oscar and a Grammy all rolled into one. To have people fall in love like that with one of my characters is the ultimate reward. Now whenever I hold giveaways for my readers, I always pull the winning name out of my “Lucky” cup.
How exciting! I’m going to have to add that book to my TBR pile! I really enjoyed your writing style in the “The Boss” so I look forward to your other books.
What book (or books) are you reading now?
I just finished Love, Technically by Lynne Silver. The tagline on the front reads “He’s geeky and he knows it.” I wasn’t sure how Lynne was going to make it a sexy read but she did and I am now in love with the hero, Sark. Definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a smart yet sexy read.
I’m always looking for new book suggestions and new authors. I will check it out.
Favorites of all Time:
Favorite Number? 11:16 (This is my birthdate and I randomly see it nearly every day.)
Favorite Food? San Diego rolled tacos, nobody does them better than my hometown.
Favorite Song? “Why I’m Feeling Blue” unreleased as of yet by Casey James.
Favorite Movie? “Grease” – Me too! Me too! One of the best movies… EVER!
Favorite place on Earth? A concert. – That is an awesome answer. My husband and I are huge music people. We enjoy all genres of music, but nothing is better than watching and listening to music live!
Favorite memory? When my son was born, the sheet was pulled up so I couldn’t see him but the look on his daddy’s face said it all. – Children change us forever. There is something about being a mommy that cannot be explained but is certainly understood amongst us! 🙂
Before you go, can you please provide us with a tantalizing snippet from your book?
Absolutely! And before I go, thank you so much for inviting me here today. It means a lot. Here’s a bit from The Boss. 🙂
Lock by thick, shiny, cocoa brown lock, Cherie snipped large chunks of his hair until it was short enough that it wouldn’t snag in the clippers. She set the cut sections on the counter and stretched one out, pulling until the wave was straight. “Hey Boss, you’ve got about seven inches here. You should see about donating it.”
“That’s a good idea, sweet one, but it’s not long enough,” he said, not looking her way, she assumed because he was avoiding the mirror behind her. He didn’t look bad. Just different.
Cherie tried not to stare at his piercing eyes or his full lips, but she couldn’t help it. They were fascinating. When she forced her eyes away, they just betrayed her and latched on to his neck. It was thick and smooth except for the vein running up the side. A chill chattered her teeth and cooled her tongue as she gazed at how beautiful, thick, and smooth he was, even without all the hair. A sly little devil of curiosity made her wonder if he was that beautiful everywhere else. But of course he was. He had to be. Women lost their minds over him for a reason, didn’t they?
“You’ve looked into donating it already, haven’t you?” she asked, admiration and surprise growing in her heart.
He just nodded and gave her a half smile, like he’d rather not talk about it. But he didn’t look very happy. Man, she’d done a job on his poor hair. He was gonna be pissed if he saw this middle stage of the makeover. She turned on the unfamiliar clippers, making them hum and buzz in her clammy hand, sad to see his hair gone but anxious at how much hotter and dangerous-looking he’d already become.
Standing meagerly at his side, suddenly aware her heart was pounding, Cherie made herself hold the back of his head firmly in her hand. Warm puffs of his breath so close teased through her thin top, and she hoped he didn’t see what she felt. Her nipples hardened and ached to be his. She expected to breathe in a whiff of his usual freshly showered and soapy scent, but a wash of sweat and salt left her even more intrigued. She had to focus. With her free hand, she shaved a strip and then another until he looked like the typical new recruit.
By the time she was done, it was too much. She handed him the mirror while she looked away.
“Wow,” he said low and cool.
“No, don’t be. You did a good job. I like it.”
Her shoulders began to shake.
“Hey, really, you did good.”
Cherie sat down on the edge of the tub, still gripping the clippers that had warmed her hands, ignoring the tiny dark hairs dusting the floor, her fingers, their clothes.
“I didn’t realize how much you’d remind me of him like this.”
They stared into the mirror together for a few seconds while Nick ran his hands over his new ‘do. Well, she’d done the requested deed. His silence must mean he was politely waiting for her to get a clue and leave him be so he could clean up and be on his way. This was apparently his last night of freedom for a while. Who was she to delay the company he probably had waiting up in his suite?
“Well, I guess that’s it. Take care of yourself, Nick. Keep in touch.”
“Do you really think I’m ready to let you go yet?” he asked her.
“Um, yes, I did.”
“Well, you are wrong, sweet one.”
Where to Find Carlene: