Please help me welcome romance author Michelle Miles, author of the Coffee House Chronicles. Her latest release, The Coffee Wars, is #5 in this hot contemporary series, and one of you lucky readers is going to win a copy!
Thanks for joining us today, Michelle! Tell us about the Coffee House Chronicles. What are they about? How do the individual books in the series relate to each other?
Thanks for having me! All the books are set in and around a coffee house – The Bitter End.
TALK DIRTY TO ME (Samhain, 2006) is about Claudia, who is a phone sex operator, and Blake, a lonely doctor looking for love on the other end of the phone. A chance meeting brings the two together and Claudia realizes the hot doctor could be the sexy voice on the other end of her phone.
NICE GIRLS DO (Samhain, 2007) follows ex-stripper, Cara, on her journey to reinvent herself and gets a job at the local coffee house, The Bitter End. But things go awry when she meets bad-boy Mark and son of the coffee house owner. Especially when he and his brother, David, vie for her affections. When Cara and Mark learn the coffee house is in danger of closing, they team up to keep the doors open and rescue the coffee house.
TAKE ME I’M YOURS (Cobblestone Press, 2009) goes in a little bit different direction with Graeme, whose love is painting but whose bread and butter is designing adult websites. When Marion, the jilted bride of his ex-best friend, comes back into his life, he sees it as a chance to get the woman of his dreams—and paintings. Marion is encouraged by her fashionista best friend, Delilah.
SEX, LUST & MARTINIS (Cobblestone Press, 2010) picks up where TAKE ME I’M YOURS left off, but this time Delilah is in the driver’s seat. Meeting up with her ex-husband after a long separation makes her realize she still has feelings for him, but he’s never been the responsible type. Sam does everything in his power to make her see he’s changed…and he wants her back for good.
THE COFEE WARS is a short novella where David finally gets his turn in the starring role. He meets Lily but there’s definitely more to her than meets the eye.
All the books have one thing in common—love conquers all. Oh, and lots of hot sex.
What inspired you to write contemporary romances revolving around a cafe? Did you set out to write a series?
It was all sort of an accident. I wrote TALK DIRTY TO ME in about six weeks and at the time, a friend encouraged me to submit it to Samhain, who was new and looking for submissions. On a whim, I did and about two weeks after submitting, I was offered a contract. The actual coffee house came from a NaNoWriMo novel I wrote in 2005 (which was dreadful). I threw everything out but the coffee house. *grin* I had so much fun with TDTM, I started writing a second one. And then a third…and the rest, as they say, is history.
Do the books need to be read in order?
Not at all. You can read them in any order. They’re all written as stand-alone.
Is The Bitter End based on a real cafe?
It’s one I made up. I wanted a place to sit and drink a latte.
How about a blurb or a summary for The Coffee Wars?
Get ready for a throw down!
Lilly owns the new up and coming, Java Perks. She’s determined to be the number one coffee house in town, crushing her competition down the street, The Bitter End.
Meeting a mystery woman in his coffee house, David immediately wants her for himself. After a hot encounter on his desk, he can’t stop thinking about her. Until he learns she’s the owner of the place trying to put him out of business.
When David confronts Lilly accusing her of using him, she throws down the gauntlet. Now the two are at war and may the best woman win!
What’s your favorite moment in The Coffee Wars?
All the sexy fun on the desk!
Do you plan to write more in this series?
I haven’t quite decided yet. I thought I was done with Delilah’s story but then an opportunity presented itself and I ended up writing THE COFFEE WARS in four weeks to submit for the Christmas line. I may have more stories to tell at The Bitter End.
I have a magic lamp, and I’m going command the genie inside it to bring one of your Coffee House Chronicles heroes to life for a night. Tell me about each of these sexy men, so I can decide which one I want to meet.
FUN! Okay. Let’s see…
Blake (TDTM). He’s a hot, suave doctor who likes to tease. He knows what words to use to turn a woman on and how to get her right where he wants her.
Mark (NGD). Total bad boy. Knows what he wants and how to get it. He won’t let anyone get in his way (even his brother) to get what he wants. Tall, dark, seriously good-looking.
Graeme (TMIY). Mmm. I love Graeme. He’s the epitome of a passionate guy. He’s a painter, after all! He loves women. He loves loving women. But there’s only one that can turn him into the monogamous guy he’s always wanted to be.
Sam (SLM). He’s the strong silent type who tries to do the right thing. He suffers in silence and pines away for the woman he loves. He goes out of his way to do nice things for her and woo her.
David (TCW). He’s a lot like his brother, Mark, except without the bad boy attitude. He also knows what he wants and this time, he’s not going to let his brother take her away from him.
What are the key elements of a Michelle Miles story?
Sarcasm and a lot of hot sex. I really want my stories to be entertaining and fun.
What’s your favorite thing about writing contemporary romance?
Even though there’s still worldbuilding, it’s not as intense as writing fantasy. When I want to bang out something quick, it’s a nice change.
How do you balance the erotic and the romantic in your stories? How do you see those two aspects conflicting or working together in fiction?
I really think they work well in fiction together. I like to let the story dictate how much “erotic” and how much “romantic” there should be. It just depends on the characters and the storyline.
How old were you when you read your first romance, and what was it?
Oh, I remember this vividly. It was Victoria Holt’s The Road to Paradise Island. It’s the story of Annalise Mallory who finds the diary of her long-dead ancestor with a map to a mysterious island. Her brother set sails to find it, but never returns. Annalise decides to find him and is drawn to an island in the South Seas where there is lots of action, adventure, and a bit of romance. It’s a wonderful story.
What was the first story you ever wrote? What was it about?
Well, the very first thing I ever wrote was fan-fiction (Star Wars/Star Trek/Indiana Jones). The first full-length novel I ever wrote was a fantasy romance and clocked in at nearly 100k. It’s a story that’s still near and dear to my heart but needs a lot of work to be publishable. Maybe someday.
How long was it between when you first started writing fiction seriously and your first publication?
I got back to writing fiction seriously when I was on maternity leave with my son. That was in the fall of 2001. My first novella was released with Samhain in the summer of 2006. Before that, though, I wrote two serials for a now-defunct online magazine called Keep it Coming. One of those serials was actually how my time travel series was both (both books are available in print and ebook from Samhain, A Bend in Time and A Break in Time).
How does your family feel about the fact that you write romance?
My man thinks it’s awesome. *grin* He loves that I’m a romance writer and he gets to be the subject of “research”.
Who inspires you?
In the big-name world, Nora Roberts. To put out the volume of books she writes is amazing. In the real world, there are several people who inspire me. For one, my fabulous critique partners. I couldn’t function as a writer without them.
I love to read. I also cross-stitch. I find it very meditative. And when I’m not doing any of that, the Man and I like to watch sports: football, hockey, baseball.
What are you working on now?
Honestly, nothing. I’ve been wrapped up in getting a wedding/honeymoon out of the way. *grin* By the time this posts, it will all be behind me. I’ve got plans though! I’m going to finish edits for a book I’ve been working on way too long and trying to sell, plus finish writing a time travel. I also have an idea for something that has cowboys in it. That idea is definitely still in its infancy. I have big plans for 2011!
The Coffee Wars is available from Cobblestone Press: http://www.cobblestone-press.com/catalog/books/coffeewars.htm