1--What’s the name of your latest release?
2--What is it about?
Flying Gold is a second-chance romance centered on Tiffani, a mechanic in her family’s classic car shop, and Matt, a cinematographer fresh off winning an Academy Award who is back in his home state of Georgia to shoot a television show. They were high school sweethearts, but he blew it, and this may be the only chance he has to make it right.
3--What word best describes your heroine, Tiffani?
Impulsive. Tiffani is one of those people who is a little terrifying to love because you never know what she’s going to do next. She’s got a great heart but she follows it without necessarily thinking through all the consequences.
4--What makes your hero, Matt, irresistible?
Matt is one of those guys who’s kinda nerdy and self-deprecating, but he’s also really compelling because in spite of his natural humility, he’s always driving forward, taking what he wants out of life, taking chances, and taking down obstacles that get in his way—including owning up to past mistakes. He’s humble and hungry which I think is a powerful combination.
5--Who are the people your main characters turn to when they need help?
Tiffani turns to her family and friends. Her sisters are frequently a source of affirmation and strength, and family-friend Mac is always helping to get her out of scrapes. Matt really turns to Tiffani more than anyone else. It’s not that he doesn’t have a support system—he has great friends and colleagues—but Tiffani is his gravity. Being around her again after years apart, he naturally falls into orbit (and in love) around her.
6--What do you love about the setting of your book?
Royal is home. It’s a fictional town, but it’s based on the area where I live in North Georgia, and I get to show the sides of it that people might not see otherwise. Not whitewashed or straightwashed, not frozen in time, but moving into a future that acknowledges the diversity that has always been here and celebrates it.
7--Are you a plotter (follow an outline) or a pantster (write by the seat of your pants)?
I am a plotter mostly. I do follow an outline, but when it doesn’t work, I change it. If the story isn’t working according to the outline, that’s usually because there’s a better path for it to take, I just didn’t see it when working on the outline.
8--What is an ideal writing day for you?
A run in the morning, followed by writing in 30-minute blocks with breaks in between to do other work-related tasks or household stuff. I was working full time when I wrote Flying Gold, which meant I didn’t have many of my ideal writing days, I just had to grab moments on my lunch break or in the evening after work to write what I could.
9--Do you listen to music while you write, need total silence, or do you have the TV on?
I actually listened almost exclusively to Bleachers’ Strange Desire album when I was writing Flying Gold. The song “Like a River Runs” especially had a vibe that worked really well to get me into Matt and Tiffani’s story.
10-- How do you approach research?
We are blessed to live in a time when we have a wealth of information at our fingertips. I watched endless clips of drag races on YouTube, I used the Maps app on my phone to plan road trips, and I looked at So. Many. Car. Photos. There are things you can’t know about a car unless you see the interior, like the fact that you need to squeeze the shifter in an old Chevelle. And maybe some of those things don’t matter to most readers, but they would be part of the experience, and I want to be true to that.
11--What is your publishing journey story?
I started writing in 2011 when I was home all day with three-year-old twins. I had just moved to Georgia and didn’t know anyone, so I wrote during their naps. By April of 2012, I had written a 3-novel series and two or three novellas. I sold them all within two weeks of each other and never looked back.
12--Do you have critique partners/writing groups you want to give a shout-out to?
Liza Gaines is always here for me—she’s an incredible writer in her own right, and she’s always got great thoughts about where I can go with a story. She also encourages me to follow the drama all the way down a rabbit hole, and not to be too cautious in my storytelling. And this series, this book especially, would not be here if I didn’t have Julian Winters here in Atlanta to meet for day-long, caffeine-fueled writing sessions. I am very blessed in my friends.
13--What’re the most frustrating things about being an author?
I have more ideas and plans for stories than I have time in the day to write them. Having to pick and choose which stories are right for the market means making difficult choices about which characters and which stories are going to get my time.
14--What’s your favorite scent?
Baking bread. I love it.
15--What movie will you watch no matter what if it’s on TV?
Empire Records. It’s so fun and it makes me nostalgic because I was in college when it came out.
16--Do you like breakfast, lunch, or dinner best?
I don’t think I have a favorite. I like to savor breakfast alone while I plan my day, have a lunch or brunch with friends, and I always eat dinner with my family, and it’s the only time all four of us sit down together and share a meal.
17--What’s one thing you wish you knew more about?
Just one? Music, probably.
18--What’s the silliest thing you’ve recently done?
I danced around the kitchen with my greyhound the other night, which is pretty ridiculous, but with being on lockdown for Coronavirus, I don’t have much opportunity to indulge in shenanigans outside the house.
19--What can readers expect from you next?
My next book will be very queer, also set in the rural south, and will have a strong hurt/comfort element.
20--How can readers reach you?
Twitter (@byvanessanorth) and Instagram (vanessanorth) are your best bet for catching me on social media—I love when readers reach out!
American Heavy Metal #2
American Heavy Metal is Tiffani Ellis’s sanctuary, or at least it was before her dad died. Being in charge means her own dreams are firmly on the back burner. Now she spends as much time fixing problems as she does the cars she loves. She’s already struggling to find her feet; the last thing she needs is the man who broke her heart showing up at her shop with a car he doesn’t deserve to touch, much less own.
Matt Adams left town, moved to the west coast and became a big shot. But his passion for cars never waned, and neither did his regret over how things ended with Tiffani. Now he’s back, his dream car in tow. He’s gearing up for a big race, he needs help and he knows exactly where to find it.
Tiffani won’t turn down a paying job, but working with Matt stirs up feelings best left buried. What was left behind them is irresistible, but it doesn’t take long to realize that a few hot nights will never be enough. Sex is easy, but forgiveness is not. . .
Romance Contemporary [Carina Press, On Sale: April 27, 2020, e-Book, ISBN: 9781488053924 / eISBN: 9781488053924]
Vanessa North is a romance novelist, a short fiction geek, and a knitter of strange and wonderful things. Her works have been shortlisted for both the Lambda Literary Award and the RITA© Award, and have garnered praise from The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Publisher’s Weekly. She lives in Northwest Georgia with her family: a Viking, twin boy-children, and a very, very large dog.
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