I met Marina through another author friend, Jayne Hannah. I met Hannah Jayne through my publisher — we are both published with Kensington, Hannah in the Zebra line with her kick-ass urban fantasies and me, of course, in Brava. When I discovered Hannah lives in my direct path home from the day job…well, she was a target, because I am writer-starved where I live. Hannah brought along Marina Adair and Britt Bury, two delightfully hilarious ladies! And Marina has joined Hannah and I as part of the Kensington family!
I adore Marina. She is one of the most genuine ladies I know and I feel so fortunate to have met and gotten to know her. So I’m thrilled to share her with all of you as well, because not only will you love Marina, you’ll devour her writing. She has an authentic, unique and beautiful voice with so many stories to tell and a prolific nature that will thrill every avid reader!
Before we get to know Marina better, I want to tell you about her debut release, which is also a Christmas book — fantastic timing!! She’ll be giving away a signed copy of KISSING UNDER THE MISTLETOE, so be sure to enter!
KISSING UNDER THE MISTLETOE…
Regan Martin stopped believing in Christmas miracles six years ago when she lost everything—her house, her job, and her impeccable reputation in the wine industry—after she fell in love with a man she had no idea was married. Then Regan gets a chance for a fresh start in the Napa Valley. With her dream job, dream home, and her daughter enrolled in a wonderful new school, she starts wondering if holiday wishes really do come true.
But she soon tumbles back down to earth when she learns that her new boss is none other than Gabe DeLuca, the scorned wife’s brother. Gabe wants nothing more than home-wrecking Regan Martin out of his life, his sister’s world, and his family’s business. Mostly, he wants the lush beauty out of his head. Yet his attempts to run her out of town have him thinking twice, especially when he sees that Regan may hold the key to tracking down his sister’s stolen start-up capital. Even worse for Gabe, Regan might just be his Christmas wish and hold the key to his heart.
Pick up your copy of KISSING UNDER THE MISTLETOE: Amazon
Now, let’s learn all about the delightful Marina!
Hi Marina! Love having you! I also love this passage in your bio:
My romance addiction is a hard, bodice-ripping, half-dozen books per week. When I’m not reading it or watching it, I am writing it—or workshopping it—or editing it—or strategizing how my hands to get more of it.
This implies you’re a real-life romantic as well. True or not so much?
First off, thanks for having me today, Joan! And, oh my God, SO TRUE! I am such a real-life romantic there are times I feel bad for my husband. A few months after we got engaged he asked if “being in love” was everything I thought it would be.
ME: “Kind of.”
HUBBY: “Kind of?”
ME: “I thought there would be more dancing.”
HUBBY cracked a smile.
ME: “You know, like in Singing in the Rain when Gene Kelly sings ‘You Were Meant for Me,’ and sweeps Debbie Reynolds off her feet and they dance around the sound stage and life goes Technicolor. I thought there would be more of that.”
A week later he surprised me with a year of ballroom dance lessons and we have been dancing ever since, not in classroom anymore, but the kitchen, the front porch, the family room…and does the man have moves.
I know from being with you how much you adore your husband and what an incredible relationship you have with him. It always makes me smile to hear you talk about him. Can you share a little about your personal love story?
Our story actually started out pretty cliché: a guy and a girl meet over a keg of keystone at a drunken college party…you get the idea. But in one conversation it went from 90210 the College Years to Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds.
I approached a group at the party and this super cute guy stood to offer me his seat—even before he saw me—and I thought, Wow, they still actually make men like that? He got me a beer, admitted that he took his mom line dancing regularly and, well, the next thing I knew we were at his place. On the couch. And we stayed up all night—TALKING! Seriously, I was waiting for him to make his move, even just a little cop would have been nice, but he was the total gentleman so I figured he wasn’t that interested. Next morning, he walked me to my car and asked for my number. I questioned if he was really going to call. He said, “Oh, I’m going to call. I’m going to marry you.”
Not the thing to say to a woman who’d sworn she’d never marry. But he called the next day, charmed me into a date the following weekend, and it took him 6 years but he finally romanced me down the aisle. That was 13 years ago and every day he romances me somehow . . . even if it is just cleaning the litter box so I don’t have to.
I’ll never forget that evening in Los Angeles when you sat down at the table in the bar with me and first told me the story of your fabulous sales successes. Can you share that with everyone and tell us about KISSING UNDER THE MISTLETOE, your recent release?
At the end of 2011 I was an aspiring author with a kick-ass agent looking for a publishing house to call my own. Problem was: what I was selling and what they were buying didn’t quite jell. I had spent three years writing, polishing, submitting, getting rejected, only to rinse and repeat so many times I should have bought stock in Kleenex. So I set a goal, I would sell my first book in 2012. Seven days into the New Year and I got the call: I had sold my first novel to Kensington Books. I was so excited, only a week in and I had reached my goal.
Then everything went insane . . . In April I sold the ST. HELENA VINEYARD series to Montlake Romance and in May, Grand Central picked up THE SUGAR SERIES. I went from zero sold to 7 books at three different houses in 5 months. I couldn’t believe it and I still don’t know how it all happened, except to say that I just kept writing. I wrote in the morning, during my grad classes, while my family slept, on the bus, while cooking dinner—any second I could, I wrote. I listened to my agent’s feedback, my critique partners’ comments, took notes from rejecting editors, adjusted my craft, and went back to writing. I’d finish a book, my agent would send it out, and the same day I would start on a new one. And it paid off!
In August TUCKER’S CROSSING released and just this past week my first in the St. Helena Vineyard series, KISSING UNDER THE MISTLETOE released. This was one of my favorite books to write because it centers around two sworn enemies who can’t seem to keep their hands off of each other. Regan is a single-mom looking for a fresh start and Gabe DeLuca is a smooth talking vintner who can’t decide what he wants more: Regan out of his town or into his bed.
Where in the hell do you get your drive? (And how the hell can I grab some too?)
I’ve always been an all-in kind of girl. Whether it was being the best stalker the New Kids on the Block ever had, polishing off a dozen maple doughnuts in one sitting, or writing books, when I find something I love it literally consumes me. My therapist calls it Obsessive Compulsive, my husband calls it exhausting, I call it my super-ninja power.
I’m always so impressed with your warmth and positivity when I’m with you. Have you always been positive? Do you always stay positive? What are some tips you can give other struggling authors to stay positive?
I think it comes from the fact that I was sick A LOT as a kid. I developed rheumatoid arthritis when I was 3. By the time I was a teenager I’d had two major surgeries, spent more time in doctor’s offices than on the playground, and was told that at the rate the disease was attacking my body, by thirty, I would most likely end up in a wheelchair and lose the use of my hands (or have major joint replacement). I realized early on that it didn’t matter if I sat at home crying (and some days I did and still do) life was going to move forward with or without me. And since staying home crying was lonely and boring as hell, I decided to embrace life, crappy moments and all because playing Barbies with my friends was way more fun than watching The Price is Right with my grandma. The fact that I am 38, walking with my own joints, and using my hands to create stories is pretty freaking awesome.
So when I get stuck on a plot line or get a bad review or, even worse, an awful rejection letter, I remind myself that I can either sit at home and cry or get back out there and embrace the journey.
Your writing is smooth and sweet and flippant and funny. You have a unique and compelling voice that reaches out to a broad audience and one which I’m sure will bring success your way quickly (and already has!). Can you tell us a little about how your writing developed?
I want so badly to be the funny girl and in my head I am funny—really funny. Unfortunately, in reality my jokes fall flat and my witty banter usually comes off more perverse than profound. But when I write I get to be whatever I want: funny, sexy, smart, Tina Fey…
One of the hardest parts for me as a writer was finding the courage to embrace my voice. I tried YA, category romance, historical, children’s books, and it wasn’t until I gave myself permission to be me that I sold. I love emotionally deep and gripping romances that rip your heart out, but I’m the awkward girl who snorts when she laughs, gets toilet paper stuck to her foot on a date (true story), and spent a lot her youth playing cards with batty old ladies. I wanted to read about women like me who have crazy families and funny quirks, and still manage to find true love while remaining true to themselves. I like heart in a story but I also like humor, which is probably why I have a major writers-crush on screenwriter Aaron Sorkin. His characters are sexy, deep, wicked smart and funny as hell.
I know you’re swamped with all your upcoming releases and booked out into 2015(!), but as a writer, I also know that doesn’t keep our minds from spinning new ideas back in the shadows. Any thoughts of what you’d like to do once your contracts are fulfilled?
I love contemporary romance, but I know that at some point I want to go back and try my hand at young adult.
Tell us about your next release.
SUMMER IN NAPA, the second book in the St. Helena Vineyard series, follows the next to youngest DeLuca brother, Marco, and releases April 16, 2013. This book was so much fun to write because my hero and heroine are not only fighting the need to get naked every time they see each other, they are also fighting against their past—Lexi’s cheat of an ex-husband just so happens to be Marco’s childhood best friend. So finding a good reason for Marc to break man-law and fall for—and into bed with—his best-bro’s ex has been entertaining.
Where can we find you online?
Thanks so much for sharing with us Marina! Congrats on all your success. It thrills me to see such good-hearted, talented person reap the rewards of all their hard work! All I can say is…I aspire!
Thanks for having me here today, Joan!
Marina is generously giving away a copy of KISSING UNDER THE MISTLETOE. Enter below to win!