Jen: Today we welcome Marina Adair to Romancing the Book. Marina, will you share a short bio with us?
Marina: Marina Adair is a #1 National best-selling author of romance novels and holds a Master of Fine arts in creative writing. Along with the Sugar, Georgia series, she is also the author the St. Helena Vineyard series, and her upcoming Heroes of St Helena series. She currently lives with her husband, daughter, and two neurotic cats in Northern California.
As a writer, Marina is devoted to giving her readers contemporary romance where the towns are small, the personalities large, and the romance explosive. She also loves to interact with readers and you can catch her on Twitter and Facebook or visit her at www.MarinaAdair.com. Keep up with Marina by signing up for her newsletter at www.MarinaAdair.com/newsletter.
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Marina: Nearly every book I can point to a song and say, that is where I got the idea. My latest release, SUAGR’S TWICE AS SWEET, is a riches to rags to happily ever after story that came from listening to two songs. Stupid Boy by Keith Urban and Don’t You Want to Stay by Kelly Clarkson and Jason Aldean. I loved the idea of a whimsical girl who finds herself trapped in the expectations of others until everything that makes her special is silenced. Then when she loose it all she discovers the freedom to be who she is, and of course the man who sees the magic in her uniqueness.
There is a line in Keith’s song that says, “Well, she was precious like a flower
She grew wild, wild but innocent. A perfect prayer in a desperate hour
She was everything beautiful and different.” There was something about that woman that got to me. Then the chorus tells us what the Stupid Boy in her world did with that beauty:
Stupid boy, you can’t fence that in. Stupid boy, it’s like holding back the wind. She laid her heart and soul right in your hands. And you stole her every dream and you crushed her plans. She never even knew she had a choice and that’s what happens when the only voice she hears is telling her she can’t.
And I thought, Bingo. That’s my heroine. Josephina Harrington, a New York socialite whose “perfect” life is uprooted when she finds herself dumped, homeless, and broke—and the last remaining asset she has left is her great aunt’s old plantation house in Sugar, Georgia. When she arrives, the house is in worse shape than her life and she realizes she needs the one thing she’s sworn off—a man. Preferably one that wears a tool belt and knows a thing or two about renovations. Every broken board she replaces and beam she tears down get her one step close to finding her inner truth. But when the only person in town who’s willing to help her with the house is a sexy as sin PGA playboy looking to fix a whole lot more than her B&B, Josephina must decide if she’ll protect her heart for fear of trusting it with the wrong person again—or take a leap in hopes of finding her forever.
Three days later, Josephina shoved the last scrap of wallpaper into the trash bag and knew it was quitting time. Her arms were sore from scraping off glue, which was littering the wood floor, she had a big bruise on her forehead from running into Brett’s elbow—and sharing breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a man who made her motor hum only added to her aches.
True to his word, he had asked her out every day. And every day it became harder to say no.
Today had been the worst, she thought as she watched the play of Brett’s muscles while he supported a plank of rotted wood over his head. He was all rippled and gorgeous and flashing that orgasm-inducing smile. The one that curled up slightly at the corners, saying he’d caught her drooling. Again.
“A simple yes is all it would take,” he said in that southern-boy way that made her heart warm. Along with some other, more pertinent, parts.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” She stepped sideways, right into a bowl of nails, knocking them over. Then, blaming Brett for taking up too much damn space, she picked up the handsaw off the floor and reached into her back pocket for a pair of gloves—coming up empty.
“I’ve got an extra pair in my tool belt,” he said with humor in his voice as he jerked his chin toward his goodie bag, um, tool belt. “Right there in the center pocket. You see them?”
Oh, she saw them all right. She also saw how incredibly amused he was.
“Don’t move.” Eyeing him, she cautiously reached into the pocket, careful not to touch any of his tools. She grabbed the leather gloves and jerked her hand back.
Doing her best to ignore his laughing, she crawled up to the fifth rung of the ladder and sawed away the remaining few inches of beam. Between the sexy smiles and “accidental” brushing of bodies, Brett kept her in a constant state of unbalance.
“So to clarify, you’re saying you don’t want to go out with me,” he mused.
She sighed, sawing through the end of the beam and wondering why she kept repeating herself. “Dating wouldn’t be a good idea.”
“Why is that?” he asked, lowering the beam to the floor.
This time she was certain he was flexing his arms on purpose.
“Because we’d go out, have a good time, come home, and have sex. Only instead of just amazing no-strings sex it would be complicated by all this other stuff, which would make things weird. Eventually I’d be short one contractor, miss my opening date, and wonder what happened.”
Not wanting to look at him, she set the saw on the top of the ladder, ready to move to the next spot.
“First off, I’m in this for the long haul, I gave you my word on that.”
Josephina turned around to ask him if he was talking about the inn, but then she forgot how to speak. Brett blocked her descent, climbing up behind her to the second rung, which brought him eye level. He gripped her hips and backed her up against the ladder. “And, sugar, sex between us wouldn’t be amazing, it would be earth-shattering.”
That’s what I’m afraid of.
He sculpted his hands down her sides to her thighs, paying extra attention to her bottom on the trip back. She rested her hands on those biceps she’d been watching all week so she wouldn’t fall over as the air whooshed out of her lungs.
Hell, she’d suffered from severe oxygen deprivation since the minute she found him this morning, standing on the front porch, latte in one hand, a cheese Danish in the other, and the sun cresting behind him.
The man redefined “sexy contractor.” The faded college T-shirt clung to his impressive chest. And the hotter it got, the clingier the material became. Which was why four o’clock was Josephina’s new favorite time of day. It was when Brett shucked his shirt. And the tool belt he wore weighed down his jeans, giving her a prime view of chiseled abs and lean hips, and highlighting his yummy parts.
And that wasn’t even the most tempting part. Nope. The more she saw Brett as a normal hot guy, the more the never-going-to-date-him rule seemed to blur, and the harder he became to resist.
“I suck at relationships,” she rushed out, more for her than him. “I get so lost in the other person that Josephina goes MIA. I can’t do that again. Not now when people are counting on me. When I’m counting on me.”
“It’s just a date, Joie. I’m not down on one knee.” He sounded so sincere her heart pounded as if he were.
“Date implies the start of something, and you’re leaving.” And if I let you, you might take my heart with you when you go. “And I’m staying here, in Sugar.”
With a single nod, Brett let her slide past him on the ladder.
He wasn’t giving up, not by a long shot, she could see that in his eyes. But he was letting it go—for now.
Jen: Describe your writing in 3 words.
Marina: Flirty, funny, and always ends with the best kind of forever. Okay, I know that is way more than 3 words, but I am a novelist not jingle girl.
Jen: If this book was made into a movie, who do you see playing the main characters?
Marina: Luke Bryan as the hero for sure. In fact, I pictured Luke in his country butt-hugger jeans and ball cap the entire time I was writing Brett. Luke has that same easy-going playboy swagger that Brett emits, and come one, he has the best dimples and sweetest sugar shaker in the South.
Jen: Do you have a favorite character or one you most identify with?
Marina: Joie’s Great Aunt Letty for sure. She reminds me so much of my Grandma Stowell it was hard reading through the final edits of the book because she had passed by then. But Grandma Stowell was a strong, determined woman who was so independent for her time. She was a real Rosie the Riveter during the war, drove 18 wheelers, worked in a tire factor, picked whatever needed picking all around the south, moving when the seasons and crops changed, even owned her own diner, the Hot Biscuit, in a time where women owned businesses were a rarity. She did whatever she had to give her daughter a better life and never complained when it got hard. She graduated night school with her high school diploma the same year my mom did, and eventually became the president of her American Businesswoman’s of America chapter. She was also the best cook I knew, made a bumbleberry cobbler that could bring a man to his knees, cheated relentlessly at cards, and knew how to hug someone until the world felt safe. That is who I channeled when I wrote Letty—a real ball-buster with soft heart who doesn’t sugar coat the hardships of life but never gives up on the beauty of dreams.
Jen: What did you do to celebrate your first book? Do you do anything to celebrate a sale, new contract or release?
Marina: The first time one of my books broke into the top 100 on Amazon my hubby took me to our favorite Italian restaurant to celebrate. It is a cozy, 12-table-top kind of place where the owner see you to your table, wine is serves in tumblers, and your neighbor is so close you could fork a bite of mozzarella off their plate. We knew going into the restaurant that I was climbing fast, but when my phone rang at 9:30 on a Saturday night and I saw my agent’s number on the screen I knew something was up. She told me SUMMER IN NAPA had hit #1 on Amazon’s bestseller list and I started crying, then my husband started crying, which for a big, tattooed, Italian man can be an odd sight and brought the owner to the table. He congratulated us both, hugged us both, hugged us again, then asked if we wanted a picture to remember the night. It wasn’t until we were leaving, and everyone was congratulating us, that we figured out everyone thought we had just gotten engaged.
Jen: What do you do in your free time?
Marina: Read and binge watch television with my 13 year old. Lately it has been Teen Wolf and Brooklyn 99.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Marina: I am just finishing up the edits for book #2 in the Sugar Georgia Series, SUGAR ON TOP, which releases April 28, 2015. It follows the eldest McGraw brother, sexy single dad Cal McGraw. Between his ex-wife, live-in grannie, and boy-crazed teen daughter, Cal needs some estrogen free time—not another female in his life. So when he finds himself drafted into co-chairing the Miss Peach Pageant he looks for the nearest exit—only to run into his co-chair, the town’s beer-slinging, wild child, Glory Gloria Mann, who makes him wonder if a little wild might be what his life needs … A lifetime with Glory just might be what his heart needs.