Friday, July 17, 2015

Blog tour: Once And Again by Elizabeth Barrett

Once and Again
Return to Briarwood # 1
By: Elisabeth Barrett  
Releasing July 14, 2015

For readers of Shannon Stacey and Susan Mallery, the heartfelt new Briarwood series begins with a tale of forbidden love, broken promises, and second chances.

Growing up in Eastbridge, Connecticut, Carolyn Rivington was a young debutante who did whatever her parents asked. So when her father demanded that she break things off with the boy from the wrong side of the tracks or else, she did. Now Carolyn’s family is deep in debt. She’s no longer a member of the Briarwood Golf and Yacht Club, she’s an employee. And the tanned, tattooed, dangerously handsome stranger who saunters into her lobby isn’t just her new boss . . . he’s also her first love.

The last time he saw Carolyn, Jake Gaffney was in the back of a police cruiser, handcuffed and humiliated. But seeing her again stirs other memories: a blanket on the beach, the moon above their heads, and the most expensive bottle of wine he could afford. Now the tables have turned. As a real-estate magnate and Briarwood’s new owner, Jake doesn’t have to answer to anyone. But now that he’s back home, he’s finding it hard to live down his old reputation.

Before they can move forward, Jake and Carolyn must face their pasts. But it’ll take more than sizzling chemistry for them to heal old wounds and return to the love they once shared.

Elisabeth Barrett lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and spends her days teaching, editing, writing sexy contemporary romance, and enjoying time with her sometimes-bearded husband and three spirited children. She is constantly perfecting her home-work-writing juggling act, but in her free time she loves to hike open-space preserves, grow orchids, bake sweet things her husband won’t eat, and sing in grand choruses. For more about Elisabeth, please visit her website.

Hello Elisabeth! 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.

Hi, Roberta! Thanks so much for having me! I’m very glad to be here today! Let’s see…both as a writer and as a person? One thing that weaves itself through most aspects of my life is creativity. I started writing fiction seriously only a few years ago, but before that, I had many other outlets for my creative side. For example, I love music, and I sing and play several instruments. I definitely got a lot of joy out of singing in choruses (I still do!), but lately, my writing has taken up a lot of my free time!

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

I didn’t grow up thinking I wanted to be a writer. I majored in biology and ended up in law school. After that, writing was a central part of my work as an attorney, and I frequently drafted legal motions and composed clear legal arguments. People were always telling me that my writing was excellent, but I still didn’t think of myself as a writer. I viewed writing as only one part of my job as an attorney.

I started writing my first manuscript while still working as an attorney (the manuscript eventually was published as Long Simmering Spring, book #3 in my Star Harbor series), but even once I had completed that manuscript, it still wasn’t real for me. Only after publishing my first four-book series could I begin to think of myself as a writer. In retrospect, I think I always was a writer, I just didn’t realize it. Now, after eight books under my belt, I’m starting to believe it.

Let’s speak about Once and Again. We’ve read the synopsis but can you tell us a little more about what the book is about?

Short answer: Once and Again is a super sexy second-chance romance with a double reversal-of-fortune twist.

Long answer: Once and Again is the story of Jake (a caddy) and Carolyn (a debutante), who 15 years earlier spent one idyllic summer at Briarwood, a Connecticut country club. Her father did not approve, and tore Carolyn away. Years later, Carolyn is forced to return to Briarwood to take a job after her family loses everything. And who becomes the club’s new owner and Carolyn’s new boss? You guessed it—Jake, who initially can’t stand the sight of her. Needless to say, these two have a lot to overcome in order to find their happily ever after.

The book also features a great cast of characters, and the club itself plays a starring role.

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

Jane Austen’s Persuasion (also a second-chance romance with a double reversal-of-fortune twist) was one inspiration for Once and Again. In many of my books, I enjoy exploring class and status and whether (and how) people can overcome their life circumstances. It’s more than just the poor-to-rich trope (and vice versa). It’s a study of how people work with the hands they’ve been dealt. Do they rise to the challenge? Or do they sink? (One of my earlier books, Slow Summer Burn also explores the issue of social class).

As for the setting, I’m from Connecticut and many of my books are set in New England. I thought that these class/status issues could play out very well in the setting of an aging golf club. And the characters just came to me. I wanted a bad boy and a good girl, but there’s much more to Jake and Carolyn than these labels. They’re complex characters who’ve made both good and bad choices, and I think their struggles reflect that.

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

Sexy. Emotional. Underpriced. :)

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

Great question! My first job was in a bookstore, and I think I read everything that Nora Roberts and Jayne Ann Krentz had written up to the mid-90s. They really influenced my writing. So did a lot of British authors, such as Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy. As far as other favorite authors, I love books by Marina Adair, Jennifer Ryan, Jennifer Probst, Lia Riley, Maggie McGinnis, and Claudia Connor.

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

I love spending time with my family, hanging out with my friends, and playing the piano. I am also an avid reader (not a huge surprise, I’m sure!). :)

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

Oh, gosh, yes. My husband is my biggest fan, and my entire family has given me incredible amounts of support. So have my close friends. And of course, I have tons of writer friends who ride this crazy train with me. I’m very fortunate that they are as generous with their time and help as they are amazing writers.

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

To keep writing, of course! I feel like I have the best job in the world—to create worlds and characters that draw readers in and let them escape from real life…at least for a little while. So long as readers want to keep reading, I will continue writing.

As far as future plans, I have two more Return to Briarwood series books in the works, The Best of Me and Anywhere You Are, both of which will be released in 2016, and at least one more book in my West Coast Holiday series coming up later this year. I also have some super-secret plans for future books!

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

If you like sexy, emotional, well-written contemporary romance, you will probably enjoy my books!

Thanks so much for having me! It was a pleasure to join you today!

The conference room was bustling when she arrived. After grabbing a cup of coffee from the sideboard, she took a seat at the enormous table in the center of the room, next to Eric Lefoute, the head chef of Waves, the club’s restaurant. Unsurprisingly, the handsome Frenchman was scowling. Eric hated answering to authority and made no bones about the fact that attending such a meeting was going to take away from the prep time he needed for this afternoon’s luncheon.
Sinking back into one of the slightly worn but still functional chairs, she glanced around and took a bracing sip of black coffee. Everyone was seated now, impatiently waiting for the new owner to appear. Orwell Tippett, the athletics director, tapped a pen over and over again on his notepad. Even Summer Lawrence, the spa manager who’d found a seat on Carolyn’s other side, looked less-than-Zen as she twisted her straight, light brown ponytail into a tight corkscrew.
Summer leaned over to whisper in her ear. “What kind of changes do you think the new owner will make?”
Carolyn shrugged. “I’m not sure. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Do you think everyone will get fired?”
God, I hope not.”
Getting canned was her biggest worry right now. Despite the fact that members and staff seemed to like her—both personally and professionally—her family’s reputation and the fact that she was the new kid on the block both weighed against her. Now that the family fortune was decimated and the Rivington name was mud, it didn’t matter a whit that her maternal great-grandfather had been one of the club’s original investors.
Just as everyone’s anxiety was reaching a fever pitch, the door to the conference room opened. Her heart skipped a beat just before Richard stepped inside. Beside her, Eric emitted a sharp breath. He was just as worried as anyone else about the changes that might come.
She’d almost collected herself before he stepped in.
Tattoo Guy.
Everything kind of slipped sideways for a minute while she sat there, barely breathing. He belonged here, didn’t he? And she’d tried to kick him out! It was impossible for this day to get worse.
And then it did.
He removed his sunglasses, and familiar deep-blue eyes swept the room, sizing up everything and everyone. When his gaze finally met hers, his lips curled into the merest hint of a smile and his eyes narrowed.
Hello, everyone,” he said in a deep voice. “I’m Jacob Gaffney, Briarwood’s new owner.”
At that moment, her heart stopped. Actually stopped, just like her dad’s had last week when he’d suffered a massive heart attack brought on by the huge amount of stress he was under. But Carolyn wasn’t having a heart attack, because her organ kick-started up almost immediately.
It had been the best summer of her life—until everything had come crashing down. As she stared at him, trying to morph these new, hard, masculine features onto the boy she knew, Jake stared back. A complicated mix of emotion passed over his face—awareness, desire.
Sure that her cheeks were turning a furious crimson, she looked down at her fingers, now twisting in her lap. For a long time, she’d put up a wall to stop the ache, telling herself it was for the best. That she had been too young. Too inexperienced. But she was just fooling herself. Regret, sadness, and not for the first time, the intense desire for a do-over coursed through her in a wave of emotion. But in life, there were no do-overs, were there?
This hardened, transformed-to-the-point-of-unrecognizability Jake wasn’t going to give her one. Why would he, considering what she and her family had done?
Jake was now introducing himself and laying out the game plan for the staff for the next couple of weeks. The words, the room, even the walls were a blur. She was screwed, utterly and completely.
Because as soon as Jake got her alone, he was going to fire her ass, and then she’d be back where she started: a former socialite with crippling debt and a family on the brink of collapse.
Not that Jake would care, given that the last time she’d seen him, he’d been handcuffed in the back of a police car.
And her father was the one who’d put him there.

1 commenti:

  1. Thank you for hosting Elizabeth Barrett today!