My friend and sister author, Gemma Brocato, is roaming the blogosphere, celebrating the release of HEARTS IN HARMONY, her hot new contemporary romance—book two in her Five Senses series. She’s got a fab giveaway going on too, but first, I’d like to introduce you to this bubbly supportive author. This girl is a gem! 🙂
Gemma, please share a bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing.
Most of the jobs I’ve had have some sort of writing involved in them. Mostly marketing and advertising types of writing. Although one job I had as a sales trainer required me to conduct a training session in a prison (for the inmates, I was not incarcerated LOL). That might be my most memorable experience. Ten convicted felons and me discussing the best ways to telemarket. I’ve dedicated myself solely to writing since 2010, when I quit my full-time job to be a writer full-time. In that time, I’ve completed three manuscripts and started work on two others. And the ideas just keep flowing.
Congrats to you on being able to step into the writing arena, full-time. I think that is every author’s ultimate dream. And wow, a training session with inmates—that definitely sounds memorable!
When it comes to plotter vs. panster, I think even plotters veer from their outline to a degree during the writing process. When you finish a novel, how closely would you say the end product resembles your original concept — 100%? 50%? Something else entirely?
I’d say close to 90%. Although the third book in the Five Senses Series surprised me. I didn’t expect one of the characters to develop the way he did. But during the course of writing a crotchety old man, he kept revealing his sweet loveable side. What’s a writer to do when that happens?
I love when characters surprise you like that. I’ve had several do that to me, including someone I had pegged for a villain in a series I’m working on. He Intrigued me so much he’s actually the hero of the second book, LOL. My favorite part of starting a new novel is coming up with character names. What is yours and how do you go about it?
I love crafting the opening scene. I’ll let ideas percolate in my imagination for a while, put some basic concepts on paper (inner and outer journeys, physical characteristics, settings, etc) then wrap them all into a killer opener. My journalism education won’t let me write anything that won’t grab the reader right away.
Good for you. Openings are so crucial! Please tell us about your newest release.
Hearts In Harmony is the second book in the Five Senses Series. I’ve been writing the series so you do not have to read the first one, each one can stand alone. I first mentioned the heroine, Pippa in Cooking Up Love and offered a bit of her backstory. Since then, she’d been whispering in my ear to pay attention to her. She has twin six-year olds who try very hard to steal the show. Pippa is a war widow, grounded in her family and life in Granite Pointe, unwilling to admit she is lonely. When she meets Clay Mathers, she’s attracted, but hesitant to act on it. His mother, Seeley, is her client and he is only in town until she recovers from a stroke. But he wants Pippa while he’s there and wages a military-style campaign to turn her into his temporary friend with benefits. Throw in a scoundrel hiding behind a protest group and a growing love between Clay and Pippa and you have a symphony worth reading.
I can’t wait to read it and see how it all turns out. Was there any research involved in this novel? If so, what was the most interesting item you discovered?
When I first started writing the series, I based it on the five senses; this one is sound. I’d heard so much about music therapy when Congressional Representative Gabrielle Giffords was recovering from a traumatic head wound that I’d decided Pippa should work in the field. I reached out to the local Association of Music Therapists and they were extremely helpful.
I’m not familiar with musical therapy, but I’m definitely intrigued. Please share a few short sentences from your book to hook us.
As days went, this one was made to order. Misty. Gloomy. A perfect day…for a funeral.
That does the trick. Great impact. When you’re not writing, do you have any guilty pleasures to distract you?
I love watches and clocks. In fact, I own around ten watches right now that need to have the batteries replaced. I have two favorites, one a 20 year-old Timex with a large, readable face and a simple black band. The other is my mother’s dressy, vintage watch. It runs on a spring you wind, and has a gorgeous mesh band. The face is almost too small to read, but it makes me feel closer to my mom when I wear it. I know she still wears her mother’s watch for the same reason.
Lovely. And I have a secret . . . I’m a clock and watch fanatic too. I’ve got oodles of watches in need of batteries, and I love walking into a clock shop, being surrounded by the soft ticking and musical chimes. Clocks in my family have a unique and somewhat strange history, especially the grandfather’s clock.
Now, that I’ve established we both love clocks, let’s find out what else you’re fond of. 🙂 Please share your:
Favorite musical group or singer: Mumford And Sons or ColdPlay
Favorite social media platform: Facebook
Food you never grow tired of: Coffee counts as food, right?
Owl or lark: Both – I’m not sleeping much lately
Mountains or beach: Mountain
Coffee counts! How could writers live without it, LOL? Hopefully, if you’re not sleeping it’s because you’re courting characters in your head or busy at writing. Otherwise no sleep, is no fun! 🙂 It was great having you here today, Gemma. I wish you much success with HEARTS IN HARMONY. I know it will be an engaging read!
Gemma’s favorite desk accessories for many years were a circular wooden token, better known as a ’round tuit,’ and a slip of paper from a fortune cookie proclaiming her a lover of words; some day she’d write a book. All it took was a transfer to the United Kingdom, the lovely English springtime, and a huge dose of homesickness to write her first novel. Once it was completed and sent off with a kiss, even the rejections addressed to ‘Dear Author’ were gratifying.
After returning to America, she spent a number of years as a copywriter, dedicating her skills to making insurance and the agents who sell them sound sexy. Eventually, her full-time job as a writer interfered with her desire to be a writer full-time and she left the world of financial products behind to pursue an avocation as a romance author.
Her gamble paid off when she was a 2012 Finalist in the prestigious Golden Pen contest for Romantic Suspense and she received contracts for her first and second book.
CONNECT WITH GEMMA AT THE FOLLOWING HAUNTS:
Sometimes life’s most simple melodies become songs of love.
Pippa Sanders’ life is filled with songs of leaving, longing and loneliness. Since the death of her husband, her children have been her world. She’ll do anything to protect them, including encasing her heart in ice until they’re college age. She’s made a practice of shying away from any relationship that could break her heart when it ends. And it’s worked so far.
Clay Mathers has made a temporary move to Granite Pointe, Massachusetts to help with his mother’s Christmas tree farm while she recovers from a stroke. Although his long-range plans don’t include staying in the small town, a little female companionship during his short residency would be welcome. While on duty as sentry against protestors at a military funeral, he finds Pippa visiting her husband’s grave, and begins a campaign to make her into a friend–with benefits.
What starts as a simple affair evolves to something more, something that changes the soundtracks of both their lives…the beating of two hearts in harmony.
CONTENT WARNING: Contains strong language, hot sex and a spicy hero.
A Lyrical Press Contemporary Romance
Pippa opened her mouth to retort, when the irony of his words hit her. Yes, he did have a right to speak his mind. It was a privilege her husband had fought and died for. She just wished he wasn’t so crude about it.
Clay eyed her and crossed muscular arms over his chest, daring her to respond, waiting for a chance to chastise her again for her stupidity.
She swallowed the words she’d intended to use to put him in his place. “You’re right. Thank you for helping me.”
Shock and confusion rippled across his strong face, and laughter tickled the back of her throat. She’d managed to shut him up. The same way she might have with one of her kids when they needed to listen to reason. It was a little fun to take the wind out of his sails this way. She’d done it all her life with her brothers and had seen the same look of consternation floating on their faces.
But she’d never wanted her brothers to keep arguing with her. If this green-eyed hunk wanted to go another round with her, she’d relish it—welcome it. There was something about him…
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Great interview, and brilliant excerpt 🙂
Thanks so much for stopping by Harliqueen.
Thanks for checking it out. Always nice to have you drop by!
Good morning Mae. I’d like to thank you for having me over today. I love to read your blog and can’t tell you how delighted I am to be on it. I have to work at a part-time job today (I’m in it for the socialization and the free gym membership) but I’ll be checking in frequently.
Hi, Gemma. It’s awesome to have you here! I’ve got my copy of HEARTS IN HARMONY and am looking forward to reading it.
Don’t work too hard today…although the socialization and free gym membership sounds like a good trade-off 🙂
It takes guts to quit the day job and commit to writing full-time. Well done, Gemma.
I remember the cover reveal for Hearts in Harmony – I thought the artwork was gorgeous.
It is a lovely cover, isn’t it? I think the models are especially appealing and the tones are warm. Given Gemma’s drive, energy, and dedication it’s easy to understand how she can commit full-time to writing. Thanks for visiting, Emma!
Here’s a fun little story for you about the cover art. A family friend asked if I knew the model, because he thought his heart could be in harmony with hers. He asked over a month ago and I’m still laughing about it.
Gemma, that is so cute! And I bet a lot of women would say the reverse and ask if you knew the male model for the same reason, LOL!
Encouraging post, and a beautiful cover! Good luck, Gemma!
Thanks for visiting, Jessi!