Friday, July 24, 2015

Blog tour: Making A Comeback by Kristina Mathews

Making a Comeback
More than a Game # 3
By: Kristina Mathews 
Releasing July 7th, 2015
Lyrical Press

With a divorce in the works, Annabelle Jones heads out to Southern California, the land of sun and starting over. She wants to prove to herself and her young daughters that she still has what it takes to turn heads as a swimsuit model—that she doesn’t need a man to take care of her. Until an accident forces her to rely on the hunky, yet mysterious man next door…

Nathan Cooper is trying to revive his own career. Once a top left-handed relief pitcher, he tried to get over a hidden injury with the aid of banned substances. Not only was he caught and suspended, he was traded and missed out on winning the championship. Now he’s a free agent without a contract, and that means life is ready to play ball…

Kristina Mathews doesn't remember a time when she didn't have a book in her hand. Or in her head. But it wasn't until she turned forty that she confessed the reason the laundry never made it out of the dryer was because she was busy writing.
While she resigned from teaching with the arrival of her second son, she's remained an educator in some form. As a volunteer, parent club member or para educator, she finds the most satisfaction working with emergent and developing readers, helping foster confidence and a lifelong love of books.
Kristina lives in Northern California with her husband of more than twenty years, two sons and a black lab. A veteran road tripper, amateur renovator and sports fanatic. She hopes to one day travel all 3,073 miles of Highway 50 from Sacramento, CA to Ocean City, MD, replace her carpet with hardwood floors and serve as a “Ball Dudette” for the San Francisco Giants.

Hello Kristina! Welcome to Roberta’s Dreamworld and thank you for your time. First of all, tell us something about yourself, both as a writer and as a person.

I honestly don’t remember not knowing how to read. I also spent my teen years writing, mostly in journals trying to figure out my place in the world. When going on vacation, I used to pack my books before anything else. Now I have a Kindle so I don’t have to worry about running out of books like I did in the summer of 2010. I ended up grabbing a copy of a super famous writer (I won’t name names) on my way to a four day rafting trip. It was, hopefully, not her best work. It had many of my pet peeves. The first glimpse of the heroine was of her looking in the mirror and gasping at her own beauty. The hero’s most redeeming quality was that he was rich. He was also charming yet irresponsible, but also irresponsible and charming. I guess the charming part made up for the irresponsible part, yet he still managed to be a billionaire so he couldn’t have been that irresponsible. I decided I could write a better book. I had started a couple books and even bought a used copy of Writer’s Market. Some of the publishers had websites and I eventually found the Romance Writers of America.

How/when did you realize you wanted to become a writer?

I’ve always written. I don’t think I could have survived high school without dozens of blank books to get me through. I started a historical romance when I was first married but then life got in the way. Jobs, buying a house, kids. It wasn’t until I turned forty that I realized this was something I either needed to pursue or let go of. I am so glad I kept at it.

Let’s speak about Making A Comeback. We’ve read the synopsis but can you tell us a little more about what the book is about?

Both characters are battling their past. Annabelle was a perfect beauty and then she was a perfect wife and mother. She wants to start over and be a good example for her daughters. Cooper has made mistakes. The kind that nearly cost him his career. He’s battling an injury, but he’s also battling guilt over using performance enhancing drugs. Even though both main characters have glamorous jobs, we find out they are facing the same doubts and insecurities as the rest of us. Only theirs are on a bigger stage.

How did you come up with the idea and how did you create the characters?

Nathan Cooper was a very minor character in my first book, Better Than Perfect. He was suspended for steroids and Johnny Scottsdale had to fill in for him at a charity event that his ex-girlfriend was running. I knew Cooper was also a musician. Like former Giants coach Tim Flannery and former pitcher Barry Zito. Actually, there was a picture of Barry Zito with his guitar propped against the backstop that made me explore the musical side of my hero. His music gives him something to focus on while he considers a future without baseball.

Annabelle Jones was married to the business partner of Hunter Collins in Worth The Trade. Her husband was involved in a company that provided the steroids to Cooper and several other baseball players. The last person she should get involved with would be the man who brought down her ex-husband. And she definitely doesn’t want to have to depend on another man, but an accident forces her to rely on help from her neighbor. As her body heals, she learns to trust her heart and go after what she wants.

If you should describe your books in three words, what would you pick?

Irresponsible yet charming. Just kidding. I would have to say “Love always wins.”

Do you have any favorite authors and did they influence your choice of the genre?

My first favorite books were from H.A. Rey, Gertrude Chandler Warner, and Laura Ingalls Wilder. My high school English teacher turned me on to Margaret Mitchell and Wilkie Collins. She also encouraged me in my writing and my one regret is that I did not pursue a writing career while she was still alive. I also read a lot of Stephen King and my mother-in-law suggested I read Kathleen Woodiwiss while I was living with her for five months before the wedding. I read a few books that were, I guess literary fiction. The kind that disguise themselves as romantic books, but in the end someone dies or gives up on a marriage and has an affair because she wants to “find herself.” Didn’t work for me. I actually wrote a romance before I read my first Harlequin. I know, I know, doing it backwards. But I found the Superromance line, and got hooked on stories about realistic characters in realistic romantic entanglements. Love stories that rang true because they could have been mine or that of my friends. I started devouring Contemporary Romance. I took an online class from Shirley Jump and read several of her books. Brenda Novak is a member of my local RWA chapter and I love her Whiskey Creek series. Susan Mallery, Robin Carr, Bella Andre, Liz Talley, Tawny Weber, Sarah Mayberry, Jeannie Watt, Gemma Brocato, Stacy Finz, Kristina Knight, Arlene Hittle, Anna J. Stewart, Sara Walter Ellwood, Regenna Brewer, Cd Brennan, Allison Brennan, are just some of the authors on my Kindle.

What else do you enjoy doing, when you’re not writing?

I love baseball. I used to spend my Springs and Summers going to Little League games, but now my sons are too old. So I have to settle for San Francisco Giants games and the Sacramento River Cats, the Giants AAA affiliate. I also enjoy road trips, as long as I get dinner at a reasonable hour. I used to cook more, and do projects around the house. I tiled my kitchen floor and backsplash. I hope to someday install wood floors because dogs and carpet are just a bad idea. I enjoy whitewater rafting with my family. In twenty-five years my husband has only let me take an unintentional swim once. So I cracked my tailbone on a rock only ten days before my first writer’s conference. A year later I’m thinking I may be able to get back on the river.

As a writer do you get support from your family and friends?

I am amazed and truly grateful for the amount of support I’ve gotten from family and friends. I’m not all that surprised that my husband has been so supportive, he’s that kind of guy. But I am still astounded at how many people are genuinely interested in my books. Even men have told me they have enjoyed reading them. Or if they haven’t read them, they are curious about them. I haven’t had the experience of anyone really looking down on my choice of genre. Well, except for one woman who was conducting a ghost tour in my hometown, but if she doesn’t care for romance, that’s her loss, not mine.

What are your dreams and plans for your future as a writer?

I will continue writing as long as my brain keeps coming up with ideas. I have another contracted book in the More Than A Game series coming out in January, and am working on a fifth story that I’m hoping to get approved as well. I’ve also submitted a second series about whitewater raft guides that I’m hoping to get approval on soon. Still athletes, but not quite the same as baseball.

Would you like to say something to the readers to encourage them to read your books?

I started writing sports romance at a time when I was told athlete heroes wouldn’t sell. There were a few books out there, but they were all the same. “Arrogant jock who sleeps with anything in a skirt falls for a girl who doesn’t even like sports…” I wanted to write an athlete who was different. My first hero was known as “The Monk” because he had a nearly spotless reputation both on and off the field. Of course, Nathan Cooper is the opposite. He’s disgraced the game of baseball, and it forces him to take a good look at himself in the mirror and he doesn’t like what he sees. Annabelle Jones was beautiful, rich, and seemed to have everything handed to her. But an accident forces her to look in the mirror and find out who she is without her beauty. She has to find inner strength she doesn’t even know she possesses.

I write about baseball because I love the game. My own romance with my husband of twenty-two years has revolved around sports. We would go to games on dates, and later we’d take our kids to ballgames. We spent a good eleven years at Little League ballparks with our sons. We celebrate the day pitchers and catchers report to spring training instead of Valentine’s Day. For our anniversary, my husband bought me roses made out of baseballs with the titles of my books printed on them. For me, there is nothing more romantic than baseball.


Today was a good day. A glorious day. Sitting at the stoplight in the Southern California sunshine, Annabelle Jones did a drum solo on the steering wheel of her convertible Mercedes. She didn’t care if people stared at her singing along to “Don’t Stop Believing.” She hadn’t stopped believing, and look at her now, fresh off her first modeling job since filing for divorce. So it wasn’t the cover of Sports Illustrated, still, it was a job. Something she could be proud of. Her daughters could be proud of her.
It wasn’t about the money. The income she earned from this modeling job was more about pride. Having something to offer the world, even if it was just her face.

Annabelle wanted to show her daughters that a woman didn’t need a man to take care of her. She could stand on her own two feet, and return to the career she’d given up when she married Clayton Barry. She might not fly off to exotic locations or work with the world’s most famous photographers, but she was working.

She lifted her face to the sun, soaking in its warmth. It was as if the fog of the last few years had finally lifted. Nothing but blue skies ahead for her and her six-year-old twin daughters.

Today’s shoot was just the beginning. Her agent had two more jobs lined up for her before the end of the month. He’d also scheduled her to attend the televised celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. She hadn’t been able to make the photo shoot last fall in New York for the magazine, but he thought making an appearance on the live show would give her plenty of exposure.

Hopefully, she’d be able to juggle it all. Part of what appealed to her about today’s job was that it was close enough that she’d be able to shoot for a few hours and still get home in time to meet her daughters when they got off the school bus.

Annabelle glanced at the clock. If the light didn’t change soon, she wasn’t going to make it to the bus stop in time.

The song ended and Annabelle turned down the volume. She’d started listening to Journey during the Goliaths’ World Series run. So the song was five years older than she was, the message still rang true. It was about hope. Starting over. Believing.

The traffic light turned green, and she pulled into the intersection. A flash of yellow appeared out of the corner of her eye. She turned in time to see an SUV blow through the stoplight. Before she could react, the vehicle struck her Mercedes just behind the driver’s side door.

Her head slammed into the side window. Glass shattered and she looked down at the blood on her blouse. A thousand black pixels danced before her eyes.

And then nothing.

2 commenti:

  1. Thank you for hosting Kristina and MAKING A COMEBACK!