Today, I have author Rae Marks in the interview chair. We’re discussing her latest release Sweet Hart, book one in the Hart Consulting Series, a m/m contemporary, action romance. Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.
1. Hi, Rae. First off, readers have an idea of the writer you, but what about the everyday you? Can you share about your personal life?
Rae: I’m an extroverted-introvert. I prefer deep, one-on-one conversations to light chit-chat. Throwing posts out on social media is not something that comes natural to me even though I love to connect with people.
My days are filled with numbers. My job is to work with data and I’m a bit of a computer nerd — so is my husband, so we get each other.
My evenings are filled with superheroes, dare-devil stunts, and My Little Pony, because I have a four-year-old.
Nighttime is my time. When the house is finally quiet, I have time to read and write. I’ve always been a voracious reader. Romance is my go-to, but when I discovered gay romance, I was hooked. I have a rich fantasy life that I put to paper and now, hope to share with other readers.
2. I’ve been perusing your Goodreads page and see this is your first book, and you’ve chosen to write a paranormal/action romance series. Why this genre?
Rae: There’s no paranormal, just action/adventure. I like the excitement of adventure even though my life is pretty quiet. And I love to write action — both in and out of the bedroom. The honest truth, though is that the characters came to me this way.
3. Can you tell me what inspired you to create The Hart Consulting Series?
Rae: Writers are funny creatures. We all have different ways of finding our stories. What comes to me first are conversations, I love writing dialogue. For Hart Consulting (HC), the conversations that came to me first aren’t actually in the first book. It was Mase who came to me first with the heartbreak and anger of his father turning away from him upon finding he was queer. Then the other brothers’ conversations with their dad came next.
4. Can you share your writing process through Sweet Hart?
Rae: I started with building the world around the Hart brothers. It’s unusual that three men from an affluent family would all end up in the military. They each had reasons for joining the army that are both individual and tangled together. Before I even started writing the words of Sweet Hart, I knew what would happen to all three brothers and even some of the other men of HC.
5. How much research goes into your novels?
Rae: It’s a lot of research. I was never in the military, so I interviewed people who were, trying to find out how military call signs are created, what boot camp is like, etc. I’ve also done a lot of research on topics and places that weave through each story.
6. Let’s talk about the main characters for Sweet Hart. What do you love most about Brayden and what makes you want to shake him?
Rae: Brayden is Sweet Hart and it’s an apt description. I love how he longs to pull his family back together and his capacity for forgiveness. I respect his tenacity, but it’s also what makes me want to shake him, because it gets him in some pretty precarious situations. Then again, it’s how he meets Sam in the first place.
7. The same for Sam. What do you love most about him and what makes you want to shake him?
Rae: I get Sam. He closed himself off after being hurt and taken advantage of too many times. It’s hard for him to trust people who haven’t earned it. I love his protective nature. It’s also his self-protection that makes me want to shake him because it blinds him to how perfect Brayden is for him.
8. Without giving away any spoilers, what was your favourite scene to write for Sweet Hart and why?
Rae: I love writing the sex scenes almost as much as I love reading them, and I love the sexual tension that builds between Brayden and Sam from the first scene. But if I had to choose one scene, it would be a particular confrontation between Brayden and Sam, where Brayden confronts Sam about something in such a sweet and gentle way. Sam realizes Brayden has guessed the truth of his past, but doesn’t care and is even trying to make things easier for Sam.
9. What makes The Hart Consulting Series different from other action romances?
Rae: I think what makes The Hart Consulting Series unique is the deep ties the men have to each other, that they’ve found a place of belonging and acceptance with each other.
10. If a reader asked you why they should read Sweet Hart, what would you tell them?
Rae: Bray wanted his story told for a reason. He kept showing me the way. He wants his family back together, he wants Sam, and just might become your new book boyfriend along the way.
11. What can readers expect from you in the future?
Rae: More from Hart Consulting, for sure. I’m knee deep in book three, which is Mase’s story. I wish someone would love me the way he loves, completely and unrepentantly.
I have other characters trying to push to the front of the line, so there are many more books to come.
12. What do you enjoy most about writing?
Rae: The characters must start in my subconscious because sometimes they pop into my mind fully formed. I like being able to tell their stories. I love giving them a happy ending.
It’s a good feeling when I read something and think, damn (can I swear? If not then dang), I wrote that. That’s pretty good.
13. What do you enjoy least about writing?
Rae: Revisions. I know it’s needed and that the book ends up better because of them, but I’m usually on to the next story and it’s hard to pull my focus away from that.
14. I enjoy doing random questions, so humour me:
- What’s your favourite movie?
These questions are so hard for me, because it’s hard to narrow it down to one. I love books and movies and music and I lean toward classics. I love movies from the 1940s and 1950s, but here are my top three:
Princess Bride (I’ve been known to throw quotes out) My husband hadn’t ever watched it before meeting me — it’s a tad before our time — but it’s now one of his favorites as well and good thing too.
Love Actually. I know it’s sort of a Christmas movie, but I can be found watching it at any time of year.
Desk Set. Most of you probably have never even heard of this movie as it came out in the 1950s and stars Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. It’s a movie about a computer nerd who falls in love with a book nerd. I laugh every time I watch it.
- What book is currently in your e-reader?
Fandom by Eden Finley
- Who’s your favourite musical group?
The Beatles, I love classic music. (I’m going to sing along too)
Billy Joel, again, classic. I love his soulful voice and think he’s an amazing songwriter.
Garth Brooks (don’t judge). His song, We Shall Be Free, has been my anthem for years.
- What song puts a smile on your face?
Oh my. I love music as much as I love reading. Lots of Beatles songs do this for me.
- What’s your favourite movie?
15. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Rae: Thanks for letting me ramble. It’s hard to talk about myself.
Book Title: Sweet Hart
Author: Rae Marks
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance (Action/Adventure)
Trope/s: Fake boyfriend
Themes: Finding belonging, Moving on from the past
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 79 900 words/ approx. 300 pages
What happens when pretending becomes too real?
Blurb: When Brayden stumbles into a covert operation, Sam has to keep him alive. Together they navigate their unexpected attraction and the world of the Ukrainian mafia.
Brayden Hart needs to find his older brother Mason and time is running out. Mason disappeared after being discharged from the military two years before. While on leave from the army, Bray follows a lead his friend has been able to find. When he knocks on the door of a dingy apartment outside Miami, the last person he expects to meet is the gorgeous but grumpy Sam Wheeler.
Sam denies knowing Bray’s brother and turns him away. But Sam is Bray’s only lead. Luckily, Bray’s childhood friend is one of the best hackers in the country and helps Bray follow Sam to Ukraine.
In Kiev, Bray falls blindly into the fray of a covert operation and Sam steps in to keep him alive. While navigating the choppy waters of the Ukrainian mafia, Bray and Sam fall into the bedroom. But what happens when the mission ends?
Note: This is the first book in The Hart Consulting Series, but can stand alone.
“I’ll let you relax,” Sam said as he stood.
“Don’t go. You said I couldn’t sleep. I want to relax, but if you keep me talking, I won’t fall asleep.”
With a nod, Sam backed away and sat on the closed toilet. From there, he could only see Bray from the shoulders up. Much less of a temptation.
“This feels amazing. The warmth is seeping into my bones. Today definitely didn’t turn out how I thought it would.”
Sam snorted. “Ditto. I thought I was in for a fairly mundane business trip.”
Bray reached for the little soap provided by the hotel but flinched. Sam jumped up to get it for him. He tried not to look at Bray’s lower half, but his eyes caught on the bruises.
“Are they getting worse?” Sam asked.
“I’d only worry if it hurt to breathe. You’re quite the mother hen, Sam Wheeler.”
Sam looked up at the sound of his alias. The last name sounded so wrong coming from Bray’s mouth, but the kid was smiling like he was proud of himself. Sam found himself smiling back until his gaze fell once again to the black-and-blue marks on Bray’s abs.
“I feel responsible,” he murmured as he returned to sit on the toilet lid.
“You couldn’t have stopped me. I did my best to hide the fact I was following you.”
“Next time I’ll remember to have one of my men sit on you.”
Bray’s eyes went wide.
“Not like that. Don’t get all offended. I meant trail you, make sure you don’t leave the States.”
“I want to apologize,” Bray said. “I’ve caused you a lot of trouble today with your…associates and I didn’t mean to. You don’t know how relieved I was to see you walk into that room. I knew you’d come for me.”
Sam wasn’t sure how true that last sentence was, but he was sure the rest was true. The look in Bray’s eyes made Sam uncomfortable.
“Don’t look at me like I’m some hero, Bray.”
“You’re a good man, Sam Wheeler. I knew it right away, and today, you proved it.”
“I didn’t prove anything. My business is about as dark as you can get. I’m not a good man.”
“You are to me. I might be naïve, but I think that counts for something.”
“Don’t see pixie dust where there is none. It wouldn’t behoove me to have left you there at their mercy. I had selfish reasons for getting you out of there.”
“I’m sure you did.” Bray smiled.
Maybe he was getting too into his role, but that smile was one of both indulgent patience and dirty little nymph. It was a smile one boyfriend would give another and Sam hated how much he loved looking at it.
Rae has been secretly penning romances since high school. It started with short stories that grew into full-length novels. When she received her first Kindle and had thousands of books at her fingertips, she became a little distracted from writing. Then one day she read a book that she would have written a different way. She began writing again and hasn’t stopped since.
When she’s not writing, Rae can usually be found reading, walking along the beaches of Half Moon Bay, or taking her geriatric dog to the vet, yet again.
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