Today, I have fellow eXtasy Books author V.J. Allison in the interview chair. We’re discussing her upcoming holiday release Sweet Child of Mine, a short story that is part of the Feathered Tartan series, a contemporary romance.
1. Hi, VJ. First off, readers have an idea of the writer you, but what about the holiday season you? Can you share about how you prepare for the Christmas holidays?
VJ: Hubby and I take a “less is more” approach to the holidays. While some go all out, we prefer a quiet celebration at home. We put up a tree – artificial because I’m allergic to real fir trees, and the fake ones are safer – and outside, we have a kaleidoscope light that creates different colored ribbons on the front of our house. On either side of our main door, we put two of the giant light up candles. They are about 40 years old, and were Hubby’s grandmother’s. When we moved back here, she gave them to us. She passed away in 2010, so they are extra special to us.
We have our gifts, hope our insane Maine Coon cat leaves the tree alone, and yes, I do make Christmas dinner, but where it’s just the three of us, I don’t go crazy with a huge dinner. Turkey, potato wedges instead of mashed, some veggies and stuffing for me, and lots of pop for drinking. I make a cheesecake for dessert, and sometimes Hubby buys a pie or two. Our holidays are simple.
2. Your tagline at your web site is “small-town romance with a twist.” What’s the twist?
VJ: I like putting in some really smoking hot sex scenes. Most of the time, small town romances are on the sweeter side. I like writing the spicier stories.
3. Your upcoming release is Sweet Child of Mine. Can you tell me what inspired you to create this Christmas story?
VJ: I was talking with a few of my friends at eXtasy Books back in June when the subject of Christmas stories came up. I was told I had more than enough time to get a story written and have it included in this year’s Christmas collection – either a short story for the Stocking Stuffer line or a longer one for a general release.
I thought it over. I wasn’t sure what to write at first but after a few hours, I remembered that a few people had asked me to write a sequel to Stricken. In fact, I have a few fans who have read that book at least four times. Some wanted an update on Marti and Ewan, others want to know what happened with the child that Marti gave up for adoption 15 years before Stricken opens.
At the end of Stricken, Marti tells Ewan she’s expecting, and the baby was due around Christmas. That’s when I decided to give them a sequel, and how their child comes into the world. It was written in about 8 hours of writing time, in two days. Not bad considering it takes me at least a year to get a novel drafted.
4. Sweet Child of Mine is the sequel to Stricken, the first book in the Feathered Tartan series. Can you give us a peek into Stricken?
VJ: Stricken is a second chance romance, set in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It focuses on Ewan Campbell, and his journey to win back the heart of his former fiancée Marti, who broke up with him without any explanation. He wants answers, rightfully so, and she’s still unwilling to tell him anything at first. There’s a lot of turmoil between them, but it’s not hard to tell they still care about each other, no matter how hard they fight it. It has a Happy Ever After ending, which is what I strive for when writing romance.
5. What do you think makes a great small-town romance?
VJ: Interesting characters that have many facets, and they grow as the story progresses. There has to be real issues in there too, not just the romance. I like my stories to have depth to them.
6. Let’s talk about the main characters for Sweet Child of Mine. What do you love most about Marti and what makes you want to shake her?
VJ: Marti is stubborn to the hilt. She’s a sweet, kind, and easy going person until you tick her off. Then she’s a demon from hell. I really wanted to slap her silly when she refused to see that she still loved Ewan even though she was the one to end it with him eight years before Stricken opens. She’s tough, with a spine of titanium, and wise beyond her years. She was an interesting character to write.
7. The same for Ewan. What do you love most about him and what makes you want to shake him?
VJ: Ewan is bullheaded and a control freak. He tends to blow up in a millisecond if things don’t go as planned. But he’s also a sweetheart. He’s kind, loving and gentle, and will never deny Marti or their future children anything. He’s a true gentleman. Marti compliments him perfectly.
8. Without giving away any spoilers, what was your favourite scene to write for Sweet Child of Mine?
VJ: An interaction between Ewan and his best friend/second in command Jeff. Ewan makes a few jokes about something Jeff is wearing. It’s a great way to see how close the two men are.
9. What makes Sweet Child of Mine different from other small-town, contemporary, Christmas holiday stories?
VJ: It’s technically not a romance story. It’s a follow up to a couple a lot of people loved, and a springboard to introduce a few new characters, ones I’ll be exploiting in future books. It’s a feel good story, but also has a lot of sentiment into it. You see how strong Marti and Ewan’s bond is, and how much they adore each other. It gives you more insight to both of them, and rounds them out. It’s the perfect way for them to start the next happy chapter in their lives.
10. If a reader asked you why they should read Sweet Child of Mine, what would you tell them?
VJ: If they loved Stricken, reading Sweet Child of Mine is a necessity. If they never read Stricken, it’s still a sweet, feel good story that has a lot of sentiment and holiday fun in it. It’s a lighter story, with chaos playing a huge factor. It’s one heck of a wild ride in only forty pages.
11. You can only recommend one of your novels to a reader. Which one would you choose from the books you’ve written so far, and why?
VJ: I’ve been told that Under Your Scars (Tri-Town 2) is my best work yet. I’d be recommending that one to them because it’s not just a romance. There are several issues facing Seth and Alexis, and how tough it is to get over past abuse.
12. Which novel was your personal favourite to write, and why?
VJ: I love all of my books for different reasons. At this point, I’m going to say Stricken even though it’s not my best story. Why? Marti and Ewan were in my head for years before I finally got their story written right. They were my first couple to make it to print, and because of that, they will always hold a special place in my heart.
13. What can we expect from you in the future?
VJ: I have several projects on the go… The big one is I’m currently working on another novel for the Feathered Tartan Series. This one focuses on Ewan’s youngest cousin Dana. She’s a lot like Ewan but a touch more rebellious, and she’s a lot more open to various ideas. Her love interest is an Acadian man named Avery she meets while visiting her cousins at the family summer home in Annapolis Royal, NS. She isn’t looking for love at this point, neither is Avery, but the ocean air around the Bay of Fundy is compelling them to be drawn together.
I’m also in the planning stages for another Feathered Tartan short story. It is a prequel to another novel in the series, and takes place between Dana’s story and her cousin Joshua’s. There is also at least one more story in the series after that one, maybe two.
As for the Tri-Town Series, I’ve also begun the preliminary work for the third book in the series. I think it’s going to take place in Mahone Bay, NS, which is one of the more well-known and scenic towns on the South Shore.
I’m also in the preliminary stages of a Halloween story which I hope to see published in October 2021.
14. What do you enjoy most about writing?
VJ: Creating interesting characters and stories that people love to read again and again.
15. What do you enjoy least about writing?
VJ: The editing. It’s a necessary evil in my opinion. Yuck.
16. I enjoy doing random questions, so humour me:
- What’s your favourite Christmas movie, and why?
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. I love the insanity at the Griswold’s house.
- What Christmas story/novella/novel is in you TBR pile, and why?
I don’t read a lot of Christmas stories. I don’t think I have any in the TBR pile at the moment.
- What’s your favourite Christmas holiday song, and why?
I don’t listen to Christmas music. It makes me sad, because my father’s birthday was on Christmas Day, and he passed in 1997. The holidays haven’t been the same since.
- Do you open the presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, and why?
Christmas Day. It’s been like that in both mine and Hubby’s families for eons, so we carried the tradition to our house when we moved here.
17. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
VJ: No, I think that’s it. Thanks for having me, Maggie!
Title: Sweet Child of Mine
Series: Feathered Tartan, 1.5
Author: V.J. Allison
Word Count: 40 pages, 11,462
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Estimated Publish Date: December 25, 2020
Heat Level: 1
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance, Holiday, Short Story
In the city on the harbour, miracles happen.
Blurb: It’s Christmas Eve.
Ewan and Marti Campbell are hoping to have a quiet holiday season, their first as a married couple, and the last one before their new baby arrives.
A crisis at the real estate agency tosses a huge wrench into their plans, as does the sudden onset of Marti’s labour. As Ewan fights to get home before his child appears, more crises are flung at him. If he is to make it on time to help his wife bring their baby into the world, he’ll need a miracle…
A big one.
Ewan Campbell shoved his frameless glasses higher on his nose with his left hand and clicked on the file on his work computer with the mouse under his right hand. The gold of his identification bracelet, a gift from his parents upon his high school graduation, quietly gleamed in the overhead lights, and its links gently clattered as he shifted his hands to the keyboard in front of him.
His dark brown eyes narrowed in concentration as he studied the file contents. Their entire fiscal year was there, minus the last month. How did the statistics for December suddenly disappear from the entire network? He had saved the files himself only yesterday, before starting his vacation. It was going to be three weeks of enjoying private time with his wife of eight months, Marti, and their first Christmas as a married couple.
It was also their last Christmas before they became parents. Their first child was due around the New Year, and although Ewan was eagerly anticipating their son’s arrival, he was looking forward to some quiet time with Marti. Their lives had been so crazy lately, between his trying to wrap things up at the agency for a while, and Marti preparing to give birth. The arrival of his parents, as well as his cousins Dana and Joshua, with Joshua’s wife Sybil, hadn’t put any dents in his plans. His family was staying at the Atlantica Hotel on Quinpool Road, not far from his office, and were only at the condo during the daytime.
An image of his wife rose in his mind. Even though she was tired from carrying an extra fifteen pounds, she was still beautiful. Her big hazel eyes always had a spark of wisdom and humour, and her reddish-brown hair had become thicker and wavier in the last few months. Her extended tummy and engorged breasts enticed and aroused him. He loved feeling the baby kicking and rolling around. It had become part of their nightly ritual. After eight years apart, knowing they were finally married was still a shock to him. He had been without her for so long, and they were now expecting their first child.
He grinned as he pictured the look on Marti’s face when she told him about the baby.
“Aren’t you going to say anything, Daddy?” There was a hint of snark and so much joy in her voice. Her eyes had sparkled in the dim light from the back door of his parents’ house and there had been an almost secret knowledge behind her touch.
Damn, he was missing her a lot that morning, especially since she was entertaining his family while he was called in to work on a crisis. Unfortunately, Marti’s cousins, Miranda and Ralph, who had started the company, were not answering their phones. It was Miranda’s duty to find that damn file, not his. He was supposed to be off work. She wasn’t. She owed him big time for this one.
V.J. Allison was born and raised in southern Nova Scotia, Canada, and her work reflects her strong Maritime roots. She is a stay-at-home mother to a son on the autism spectrum, married to the love of her life, and “mama” to a rescued Maine Coon cat named Marnie. She has been writing various stories of novel length and short stories since her school days, and sees writing as a vital component to her life.
When she isn’t writing, she loves to read romance and science fiction novels (notably Star Wars); listen to music (heavy metal, rock, alternative); watch various crime and forensic dramas; watch science fiction television shows and movies; and spend time with her large family and many friends. This self-proclaimed geeky rocker chick is a warrior and advocate for various chronic illnesses including Occipital Neuralgia, Trigeminal Neuralgia, Diabetes, Migraines, and Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia. She is also an advocate for the prevention of animal cruelty and is a voice for Autism Awareness.