Jen: Today we welcome Crystal Perkins to Romancing the Book. Crystal, will you share a short bio with us?
Crystal: Crystal Perkins has always been a big reader, but she never thought she would write her own book, until she did. She lives in Las Vegas, where you can find her running author events and selling books at conventions when she isn’t reading, buying too many Sherlock t-shirts online or finding a place to put all of her Pop! figurines. A mac and cheese connoisseur, she travels the country looking for the perfect version, while attending book conventions and signings as a cover for her research. Her first series, The Griffin Brothers, came out in 2014 and all of the books were international bestsellers.
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Crystal: Fielding Her SECRET is the first book in the Corrigan & Co. series. I like to call the series “Charlie’s Angels with a secret society of women.” The first book features Ainsley, who grew up beating boys at sports and is now a computer nerd and head of technology for the Society. She goes undercover to find out who is sabotaging the new football team in Las Vegas. She didn’t count on falling for football god Zack Taylor. He’s used to women wanting him for his fame, and is clueless on how to handle the sexy genius who isn’t impressed with him. So, there’s a little mystery and A LOT of steamy romance!
I grew up with Nancy Drew and Charlie’s Angels, and then moved on to Veronica Mars and Alias as I got older. I loved the idea of writing women who could go undercover and fall in love. The series, which will be ten books, also gave me the chance to write about all kinds of guys I like in romance–athlete, chef, fighter, royal, etc.
She’s talking to Mr. Squeaky Clean, aka Kevin Donaldson, the team quarterback. I guess it makes sense since she’s dressed conservatively for this crowd and slapped me. But I don’t like it. I want to storm over there and claim her for my own. I don’t know what’s going on. I haven’t been jealous over a woman in years. I mean, I haven’t even talked to her. All I know is I want her and if that means pissing off my quarterback to get her, so be it.
I walk over and stand behind her. Kevin gives me a curious look, but I don’t care. “Who’s your friend, Donaldson?”
She turns at the sound of my voice and glares at me. Kevin looks like he doesn’t want to answer, but he’s too nice a guy not to. “This is Ainsley. Her mom is friends with Lindsey. Ainsley, this is one of the guys who supports me on the field. His name is Zack.”
I hold out my hand and although she hesitates, Ainsley takes it. She has small hands, but a firm handshake. I hold on a little too long and she narrows her eyes before pulling her hand away. I smirk at her. I may be making her nervous, but at least it’s something. She’s feeling something for me. It’s a start.
Kevin can see it, and he’s not liking it at all. He tries to steer the conversation back to him. “I can explain to you what he does. I know this can all be a bit confusing.”
“He’s a running back. He rushed for over 800 yards last year and was picked up on a trade deal for the Legions. He was a Heisman finalist in college and is considered one of the best on the field.”
Well, well, well. Very interesting. “So, you’re a fan, huh, Ains?”
“My name is Ainsley, and I just happen to love football.”
“Are you sure it’s not just me?”
She looks at me and then proceeds to spout off facts about the entire team. She also analyzes our play from the special exhibition game we played and points out where we did great and where we could have done better. The entire room has gone quiet and everyone is listening to her. She’s pretty spot on with her observations. It is, without a doubt, the hottest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. If I didn’t already want her, I sure as hell would now.
Jen: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Crystal: I’m definitely a pantser. My first book started with two things: a pool scene, and a dress. I usually know my characters’ occupations and how things will start, but I feel like I’m reading the book as I write it. I think that’s why I write so fast. I want to see what’s going to happen. In Fielding Her SECRET, I wasn’t sure who all the bad guys would be until late in the book.
Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Crystal: For all of my books, I almost always choose real clothes and real places. I have a folder full of pictures of clothes that I pull outfits from. And for hotels or restaurants, I look online to see what they look like before I use them. It’s important for me to have those visuals correct in my mind. I put the pics in a folder, and then put them on Pinterest (when I remember) so the readers can see them, too. Since my books take place mostly here in Vegas, I try to pick places that my friends and I like to go instead of the ones that always get mentioned because it’s where the tourists go.
Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors? What are you reading now?
Crystal: I love Tracy Wolff, Tera Lynn Childs, Jay Crownover, Codi Gary, Laura Kaye, Jen McLaughlin, Lauren Blakely, Monica Murphy, Laura Simcox, Christina Lee, Christina Lauren, Christa McHugh, Julie Brannagh, Katee Robert, Jessie Evans, and the list could go on and on. I read so much that I use Goodreads to keep track, so all of my favorites will be on there. After I finish a book, I take a week or two off just to read. When I’m writing, I still try to read at least 2-3 books a week as well.
Jen: How do you come up with characters names?
Crystal: Many of the side characters are named after my friends. For the main characters, I choose names I like, and also go through baby names to look for something different and unusual. With this series, I matched the names up before I even started writing, because I wanted ones that would sound good together!
Jen: Do you have a favorite character or one you most identify with?
Crystal: My favorite characters are Reina and Matt. I introduced them in my other series, and have been obsessed with them since those few lines. I purposely made their book the last in this series, but it’s torturing me. Although I don’t plot, I spent an entire six hour car ride thinking about them. So, now I know pretty much their whole story and even the last line of their book. My early readers are in love with them, too, so now I’m torturing everyone else, too.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Crystal: I have a Valentine’s novella for The Griffin Brothers series coming out in the next month as well as the second Corrigan & Co. book, Devouring the SECRET. I’m currently writing a YA book featuring Ryan and Chloe from Building Our Love. They fell in love when they were teens, so I’m taking readers back to the time before it fell apart and they had to find their way back to each other.