Today, I have author Amy Aislin in the interview chair. We’re discussing her latest release Gingerbread Mistletoe, book two in the Lighthouse Bay series, a m/m contemporary romance. Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.
1. Hi, Amy. First off, readers have an idea of the writer you, but what about the everyday you? Can you share about your personal life?
Amy: Everyday Amy works a 9-5 day job as a fundraiser at an environmental non-profit. I used to commute 1.5 hours (each way!) to work every day, but since COVID, I’ve been working from home. Currently, I get my writing in before and after the day job.
I’m also an aunt to an energetic three-year-old, who is basically the light of my life. I’m a heavy tea drinker, I spend most of my free time reading or writing (when I’m not hanging out with my sisters and/or my niece), and watching way too many Hallmark movies.
2. I’ve been perusing your Goodreads page, and noticed you are drawn to the outdoors and sports m/m romance. Why?
Amy: That’s…an interesting question and not one I ever really pondered before. Well, the sports romance is easy: I just really love writing about athletes, these people that we often see as larger than life. I love giving my athletes real flaws that humanize them and helping them reach their happily ever afters.
As for the outdoors, I think it has a lot to do with my day job. My job is literally to raise money to protect outdoor spaces and I guess I developed a thing for writing about the outdoors and characters who work outside in nature. I also used to spend a lot of time outdoors growing up, and I think some of the magical aspects of nature stayed with me into adulthood.
3. What do you think makes for a great m/m contemporary romance for readers?
Amy: I don’t know about other readers, but for me it’s a combination of an interesting storyline and believable and relatable characters who develop and grow as the novel progresses.
4. Your latest novel is Gingerbread Mistletoe, book two in the Lighthouse Bay series. Can you tell me what inspired you to write this book and develop the series?
Amy: The inspiration for the book came earlier this year, in the spring when I was contemplating writing a holiday romance. I was brainstorming what kind of story I wanted to write and trying to figure out which books in my existing series needed follow-ups. The truth is, I’ve got several first books in a series that don’t yet have a sequel, but some of them I already had plans for.
But I didn’t have plans for Mika yet. Mika first appears in Christmas Lane (Lighthouse Bay #1), and I had intended for his story to be third in the Lighthouse Bay trilogy. But he popped into my head when I was brainstorming for Gingerbread Mistletoe and I figured, why not re-order my series a little and have his book second? No one would know except me, anyway!
Once I knew Mika was going to be one of my main characters, I started thinking about which other characters still needed their own book who could be a good partner for Mika. Enter Jeff, who was never ever introduced in any of my books, but who was very briefly mentioned in my freebie The Nature of Christmas (available on my website). Jeff was someone I never intended to write a story for, but here we are! As soon as I thought of him, I knew he’d be perfect for Mika.
5. Since Gingerbread Mistletoe is the second book in the Lighthouse Bay series, what can we expect from you in the future? Care to share about your current WIP?
Amy: In the future, there are at least two more Stick Side books, possibly more, plus I intend to write the third book in the Lighthouse Bay series. Eventually I want to go back to my cowboys, and I want to finally finish the young adult novel I started writing two years ago. There’s lots I want to do; I just don’t know what order I’m going to do it in yet.
My current WIP is a college romance between childhood best friends turned fake boyfriends. It’s sweet and fun and cute. It’s tentatively titled Keeping Casey. Look for it end of January/early February 2021.
6. When first developing Gingerbread Mistletoe, did the plot come first or the characters?
Amy: I think it actually went trope-character-plot. When I was brainstorming, back in the springtime, I started with tropes first, which led me to enemies-to-lovers (one of the tropes in Gingerbread Mistletoe). From there I started thinking about which of my characters still needed their story told, and then I developed the plot around Mika and Jeff after I decided on them as main characters.
7. Let’s talk about the main character Jeff. What do you love most about him and what makes you want to shake him?
Amy: What I love most about him is that he goes after what he wants without thinking twice about it. What makes me want to shake him is how he tends to hold on to grudges for longer than he probably should.
8. The same for Mika. What do you love most about him and what makes you want to shake him?
Amy: What I love most about Mika is his sense of goofiness. What makes me want to shake him is his tendency to dwell on past mistakes and hurts that don’t allow him to move on.
9. Without giving away any spoilers, what was your favourite scene to write and why?
Amy: There are two actually!
The first is a scene that takes place at trivia night at the local pub. It’s kind of an ensemble-cast sort of scene and was so much fun to write because these characters play off each other so well.
The second was a series of scenes where Jeff takes Mika on a special trip to [redacted]. These were so much to write because this is where we get to see Mika really stepping out of his comfort and taking a chance on Jeff.
10. If a reader asked you why they should read Gingerbread Mistletoe, what would you tell them?
Amy: It’s a Hallmark movie in book form! It’s sweet and cute and low-angst and full of cozy holiday feels.
11. You have an extensive backlist. If a reader was new to you, which book would you recommend that they start with, and why?
Amy: I usually recommend On the Ice, the first book in my Stick Side series. Not just because it’s the book I’m most proud of and that has a special place in my heart, but because it’s a favourite among my readers, and it would give a new reader a good idea of the kind of books I write.
12. Which book was your personal favourite to read, and why?
Amy: Of my own books? Hmm. It’s a toss-up between The Nature of the Game, which I love to read because of the push/pull relationship between Ash and Dan, and Home for a Cowboy, because my new adult boys, Las and Marco, are so incredibly sweet.
13. Again, drawing from the many books you’ve written, which was your personal favourite to write, and why?
Amy: On the Ice was probably my favourite to write. That book more or less wrote itself. Mitch and Alex are incredibly strong characters and right from the get-go I knew exactly who they were. Plus, because Alex is demisexual, it made the slow-burn romance between them so enjoyable to write.
Gingerbread Mistletoe takes second place. It was my first time writing an enemies-to-lovers romance, and man, it was so much fun!
14. What do you enjoy most about writing?
Amy: My favourite part of writing is actually getting to that scene. And by that, I mean that there’s always a scene I work toward when I start writing that’s so detailed in my head that it plays out like a movie. It could be in the first half or the book or somewhere near the end. For example, in The Nature of the Game I knew exactly how and when Ash and Dan’s first sex scene would take place. In Home for a Cowboy, I knew there’d be a scene where Las pushed Marco away. In Gingerbread Mistletoe, I knew there’d be a scene where Mika and Jeff enjoy a hot chocolate on the porch that would be a sort of turning point in their relationship. Getting to those scenes is so, so gratifying, and my favourite part of writing is finally writing those scenes.
15. What do you enjoy least about writing?
Amy: Edits. Not copyedits or proofread edits—those are easy. I’m talking edits that come back from my beta readers and developmental editor. Ones that require me to make changes to the actual story and characters. This is the worst part for me for two reasons. First, it means that sometimes I need to cut my favourite parts of the book because the story changed enough that I don’t need a certain scene or section of a scene. And second, making changes to story and/or character means ensuring that this change remains consistent throughout the whole manuscript, and that can be a challenge with 60,000-word-plus books.
16. I enjoy doing random questions, so humour me:
- What’s your favourite movie?
The Sound of Music
- What book is currently in your e-reader?
I’ve got about 300 unread books on my e-reader, but the two I just finished are Better Than People by Roan Parrish and The Happy List by Briar Prescott. Next up for me is Fable by Adrienne Young, Operation Makeover by DJ Jamison, or The Sea Gate by Jane Johnson. I can’t decide!
- Who’s your favourite musical group?
Don’t judge but…the Backstreet Boys! I grew up on them. I also love Imagine Dragons and Bleachers.
- What song puts a smile on your face?
“Someone to You” by Banners, “Wild at Heart” by Anthem Academy, “Brand New” by Ben Rector, “Here We Go” by Wild, “Me!” by Taylor Swift, and “Into the Unknown” by Idina Menzel (from Frozen II).
17. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Amy: Thank you so much for having me on your blog today! I hope everyone loves Gingerbread Mistletoe.
Book Title: Gingerbread Mistletoe
Series: Lighthouse Bay #2
Author: Amy Aislin
Genre/s: Contemporary Romance, M/M, Holiday Romance
Trope/s: Enemies to Lovers, Small Town, Forced Proximity
Heat Rating: 2 flames
Length: 62,000 words
Blurb: The last thing Jeff wants is to spend time with the man who totaled his car—the one he spent years restoring with his late father. But if he wants to resurrect his childhood town’s annual outdoor hockey tournament, he’s got no choice.
The last thing Mika wants is to work with the guy who took off right after the accident, without ensuring he was okay. And working together on organizing Jeff’s proposed tournament sounds like a complete nightmare. He’s got enough on his plate after surviving cancer.
Sparks fly as they’re forced to work together, but is that enough for them to set their differences aside and pull off the tournament in only two weeks? Or will they prove to be immune to the magic of Christmas?
Note: It’s book two in the Lighthouse Bay series, but can be read as a standalone.
Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited
Standing, he held a hand out to the man who was so much his type it was almost laughable. Three or four inches taller than Mika’s own five-ten height, dark brown hair that shone red under the warehouse’s lights, like the deepest shade of mahogany, with charcoal-gray at the temples and above his ears, and lines that fanned out from narrow eyes a dark shade of blue. A high forehead in a heart-shaped face and the physique of a footballer completed the package.
All of that wouldn’t have been a big deal on its own, but the way he held himself with the cool confidence of someone who knew his place in the world?
Yowza. Talk about Mika’s type wrapped in a black wool coat and a stubbled jaw more gray than brown. He’d have been giving Jeff his number if the guy wasn’t scowling at him.
Wait, that scowl . . .
Jeff stared at his outstretched hand. “No.”
“Uh.” Rearing back, Mika dropped his arm back to his side. “Excuse me?”
Zach crept up behind him, gaze swinging from Mika to Jeff. “What’s wrong?”
Jeff waved a hand at Mika. “This is the guy you want me to work with?” He put special emphasis on this, as though Mika were a criminal who’d steal his wallet when he wasn’t looking. Straightening his spine, Mika planted his hands on his hips.
Zach blinked once. “Yes?”
Holland Stone—Zach’s boyfriend and Mika’s ex—approached from where he’d been working on his float for the parade, clad in a dusty T-shirt and even dustier jeans. He squinted at Jeff before turning to Zach and Mika. “You two okay?” He held a hammer in one hand like he meant to wield it. Not that he ever would, but the image would’ve made Mika chuckle had he not been so confused.
And frankly? Kind of hurt. What the hell had he ever done to this guy?
“I can’t work with him.” There was no give in Jeff’s tone.
“Why not?” Zach stepped in close to Mika, butting in against his left side. “Mika’s the best.”
Aw. The ire in Mika’s chest faded a little at Zach’s words. It was nice of him to say, especially since Mika had made the worst of first impressions on him last Christmas.
The amount of disgust in Jeff’s scoff would’ve been impressive had it not been directed at Mika. “I’m not working with the guy who totaled my dad’s car.”
Mika’s head jerked back. “What?”
Zach and Holland swung their gazes his way.
“I didn’t!” Taking a step back, he raised both hands. “I’ve never totaled anybody’s car in my life.”
“Oh no?” Jeff argued, raising both eyebrows, and god, the sarcasm. “Not even a turquoise 1956 Chevy Nomad near the Bluffs in Pacific Palisades? About this time last year? Ring any bells?”
That was where Mika knew this guy from! Jesus, he was still holding a grudge? “Okay, first of all, I apologized, like, seven times. Second, I gave you my number. It’s not my problem that you didn’t call. Like I said—I would’ve paid to get it fixed. And third.” Leaning over the desk, he narrowed his eyes on a squinty-eyed Jeff Bellmoor. “Totaled?”
Jeff winced. “Fine. That’s maybe the wrong word.” Uttered so begrudgingly, it was a miracle he managed to say the words at all. “But like I said—it’s not about the damage.”
A huff of exasperation escaped Mika and he threw his hands up. “I don’t know what that means.” He hadn’t known then either.
“Never mind.” Rubbing his forehead, Jeff turned away. “You wouldn’t understand.”
Amy’s lived with her head in the clouds since she first picked up a book as a child, and being fluent in two languages means she’s read a lot of books! She first picked up a pen on a rainy day in fourth grade when her class had to stay inside for recess. Tales of treasure hunts with her classmates eventually morphed into love stories between men, and she’s been writing ever since. She writes evenings and weekends—or whenever she isn’t at her full-time day job saving the planet at Canada’s largest environmental non-profit.
An unapologetic introvert, Amy reads too much and socializes too little, with no regrets. She loves connecting with readers. Join her Facebook Group, Amy Aislin’s Readers, to stay up-to-date on upcoming releases and for access to early teasers, find her on Instagram and Twitter, or sign up for her infrequent newsletter.
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