Throughout the month of April, I’m featuring fellow eXtasy Books/Devine Destinies authors. In the interview chair for today is author Marie Howard who writes for the imprint eXtasy Books. She’s here to talk about her latest release Melody’s Crescendo, an erotic, contemporary romance.
Marie on Writing:
1. First, what’s your favourite scene in the book? Not in regards to writing, but reading, and why?
Marie: My favorite scene is the protagonists’ leisurely, uncomplicated love before everything hits the fan. They’re both so hopeful and utterly smitten with each other.
2. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Marie: If I had taken the time to delve more into other characters’ backstories, I wouldn’t have minded. There’s a lot more to some of these folks and I’d love to be able to spend more time with them.
3. Share a “side story” about the characters.
Marie: Melody likes to practice her trumpet while dancing in her living room. She is certain that jumping around just a little strengthens her embouchure, and her cat Rocky always hides under the couch while she does this.
4. If you could spend time with one character from your book, who would it be? And what would you do during that day?
Marie: Renny, for sure. He’s a lot of fun and is down for adventure at all times, and sees adventure in everything–even just getting a sandwich. He also loves dancing and knows exactly when and where Big Freedia will have her next show.
5. Did the characters hijack the story or did you feel like you had control of your book?
Marie: A little of both. Chelsea was so bossy that she demanded more from the story than I’d anticipated, but it worked out for the best.
6. How did you come up with the title for your book?
Marie: The title actually came before the book was written. I just wanted to have some fun with a story about a young musician growing and developing into a more independent and sexy woman, so “Melody’s Crescendo” seemed like a natural fit.
7. If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the leads?
Marie: I’d say Hailee Steinfeld for Melody, Robert Pattinson for Phillip, and Mila Kunis as Chelsea.
8. If your book was a candle, what scent would it be and why?
Marie: Magnolia, and maybe a little coffee and fresh beignet scent as well.
9. If your book had a theme song, what would it be and why?
Marie: Down in New Orleans by Dr. John.
10. If your book was a colour, what would it be and why?
Marie: Green and purple and gold.
11. What did you edit out of the book?
Marie: A whole reminiscence from Phillip about his time studying under Miretti. Even with all of his charisma and talent (or maybe because of it), he had a difficult time.
12. What can we expect from you in the future?
Marie: I’m currently writing a paranormal romance set in Los Angeles.
All About Marie Howard:
1. What is something unique/quirky about you?
Marie: I play the tuba pretty well, and I’m on a quest to bake a perfect ciabatta.
2. What are some of your pet peeves?
Marie: I get really frustrated with people who are unkind to others. You really never know what other people are going through, so it’s best to give people the benefit of the doubt. Also, chewing gum, the word “moist”, and really high-pitched noises.
3. Where were you born/grew up at?
Marie: I was born in New York, but I grew up in a tiny Midwestern town that didn’t even have a stoplight. There were three stoplights in the whole county, and two of them were in the town next to ours. There were more cows that people.
4. Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Marie: Focused, fun-loving, positive, reticent.
5. Who is your hero and why?
Marie: Katherine Johnson. She was a humble woman who didn’t let any of society’s barriers stop her from using her smarts to become one of the most pivotal figures in NASA.
Marie Howard on Reading:
1. What book do you think everyone should read?
Marie: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.
2. What do you think about the current publishing market?
Marie: It’s an interesting time. So many people are reading more than ever before, but it’s in quick bursts on phones and tablets rather than physical books. I live in Los Angeles, so I spend a lot of time in my car, and I hear so many people listening to audiobooks during their commutes. The way people read is so different and more accessible than any other time in history, but I do love the heft of a good hardback myself.
3. If you could have been the author of any of your fave books that you’ve read, which book would you choose and why?
Marie: I would have loved to be the author of The Name of The Wind. Those characters are all so engaging and wonderful and the world is built beautifully.
4. Share your favourite character from a book that you’ve read, and why they are your fave.
Marie: Speaking of The Name of the Wind, there’s a character named Auri that is so ethereal and fascinating. I have a hard time picking favorites of anything, but she’s definitely up there.
5. On average, how much do you read every week?
Marie: I’ve set myself a goal of reading a book a week this year, but I got behind when I picked up Chuck Wendig’s 800-page Wanderers. That took a little more time to read!
Title: Melody’s Crescendo
Series: Love Notes, #1
Author(s): Marie Howard
Genre(s): Contemporary erotic romance
Heat Rating: 3 Flames
Publication Date: August 23, 2019
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Book Length: 135 pages
A recently-heartbroken musician moves to New Orleans to join a new orchestra but finds herself swept up in romance, intrigue and sabotage.
Blurb: Melody leaves her one-note Midwestern life behind to join a new orchestra forming in the Big Easy. She falls head over heels in love with the concertmaster, Phillip, but his past comes back to haunt them both as his former lover, Chelsea, tries manipulation and sabotage to tear them apart. They must navigate the competitive New Orleans musical world and their own desires to discover if they can make beautiful music together. Can they find a way to live in harmony, or will there be only discord?
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After practice, Melody nearly ran out of the building, mortified by both Chelsea’s admonishment and her own unprofessional actions. Stupid, Melody, stupid! Recovery is the key to performance. This is your chance to be taken seriously, and you’re blowing it!
Her vision swam as tears ran down her cheeks. Her head lowered, she rushed toward the bus stop where she sat on the bench. Her sniffles echoed off of the plexiglass around her. It was hot and humid, and she felt like a fool.
Footsteps grew louder as someone approached. She stared resolutely at the pavement in front of her, until a pair of well-worn shoes strode into view. She looked up into Phillip’s beautiful dark brown eyes. He stared into hers, and without a word, he extended his hand to her. Her heart pounding, she took it.
He drew her to her feet and wrapped her in a gentle embrace. She slid her arms around his torso. His breathing was steady and deep, and she felt safer than she ever had in her entire life. Like a dam had burst within her, she sobbed into his soft cotton shirt. He rubbed her back with his palm, and with every movement, she felt warmth trailing behind his moving hand.
When her sobs subsided, she clung to him, breathing in his warm, spicy smell. There was a tiny hint of cologne, but the scent of his body alone was intoxicating. Melody became aware of his whole body, his broad shoulders, and taut stomach. She pressed against his athletic legs and, as if she was magnetically drawn to it, a bulge in his pants. A sigh escaped her lips, and he smiled. He put one of his large, strong hands on her cheek and drew her face toward his. Their gazes locked. She thought she might faint.
“We make emotion for a living,” he said. “It can overwhelm us sometimes.”
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