Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Book Review: "Start Me Up"

Social media can be really awesome. I know a lot of my writer friends cringe at the idea of it, especially Twitter, but I think it's pretty awesome. Case in point: that one time when I saw this tweet:


Happiness is...
I quickly repled "me!" and the rest you can read about here.

Nicole Michaels (who just happens to be a lovely individual) sent me this book for my reading pleasure. I offered a blog post review in return and then promptly misplaced the book and then found the book and worried about a blog post about the book—what if I didn't even like it!?

Luckily, I loved it.

I don't read a lot of romance, but I do read a lot. I mean a lot. I read like it's my job because it is my job. And I'm very particular because when I read for pleasure, I need my words to sing. And this romance read totally made my day. I sent Nicole a few questions and she was gracious enough to answer them. Here we go!

Q:  Truth—I shy away from pop culture that references pop culture—such as a story that integrates technology, because it’s usually handled awkwardly. HOWEVER, you really handle it with a deft touch and the inclusion of blogging and Facebook are used well. What inspired you to feature a blogging heroine?
Nicole Michaels: First of all, thank you. I sometimes find myself cringing about pop culture references also, so I appreciate your compliment. To answer your question, I love blogs. I like to think of myself of somewhat of a renaissance woman. Over the years I’ve tried my hand at many things: Cake decorating, cooking, scrapbooking, collage art/paper crafts, home decorating and restoration, photography (which is my other job), and obviously writing. In all of these endeavors I have turned to blogs for information, instruction, and inspiration. I love that a blog is so personal and whether you stumble upon it one day and crash read over several hours, or you’ve followed it for years, you feel like you really get a sense of who that person is. Almost like your friends. My heroine, Anne, is a culmination of my many years of blog love.

Q:  Muscle cars, which play a big part in the storyline, are a great balance to the very female counterpoint. Do you have a love for muscle cars as well? I admit to a yen for a chromed-out black ’69 Nova, a car that featured prominently in my formative years, owned by a local business and driven in parades all over the county where I lived, and coincidentally later bought by my high school boyfriend. Do you have such a backstory relating to muscle cars?
That Nova sounds amazing! My personal fav is a ’67 Chevelle. The muscle car aspect was inspired by my wonderful husband who has loved them since he could drive and has owned seven total over the course of his life. If he could, he’d own seven right now, but currently there is a 70 Buick Skylark in mid-reno in our garage. I have three sons, so the five of us spend a lot of our summer and fall traveling to local car shows.

Q:  Thank you for writing a heroine that is real but not overdrawn. She has flaws and she may not be physically perfect according to society, but you don’t overwork that point by discussing all the ways she self-sabotages. Thank you for that. And was that a conscious choice?
I’m so glad you think so, and no it wasn’t a conscious choice. I can honestly say that I just wrote Anne from my heart, as corny as that sounds. To me, her insecurities are very realistic. It wasn’t something I thought over at all, it just came out naturally as the story—and their relationship—unfolded.

Q:  Who would star in the movie version?
Oh my, you’re the first person to ask me this. If I had to choose, it would be Taylor Kinney as Mike. I think his look is very close to what I pictured in my head. And I see Anne very similar to Reese Witherspoon, although she’d have to gain about 20 pounds for the role. Ha!  (note: I agree on Taylor Kinney but pictured a semi-serious Amy Schumer as Annie)

Q:  Whose storyline is featured in the next book in the series?
The next book is Callie’s book, and she happens to find herself in an interesting situation with the high school football coach. Needless to say, sparks fly as they tend to do in romance novels. It’s titled Win Me Over and will be out September 1st. We will also find out a little more about Lindsey and her history with Mike’s high school friend, Derek. They will then be featured in Draw Me Close, book 3 in the series, releasing next March!

Q:  Who are some of your favorite writers to read and why?
Oh there are so many! I’ve been an obsessive reader my whole life and love a wide variety of authors. Some that I always enjoy are Roald Dahl, Ken Follett, Jennifer Donnelly, Phillipa Gregory, and Diana Gabaldon. In romance the list is extensive so I’ll just name a few: Jill Shalvis, Elizabeth Hoyt, Lorraine Heath, Victoria Dahl, and Lisa Kleypas. I love a happy ending and also a dramatic historical with many character and plot lines. I so wish I could write one.

Q:  Do you consider yourself a romance writer? Why or why not?
I do consider myself a romance writer. My novels focus on a couple and their journey of falling in love which I enjoy making relatable but also fun. Like so many people, I enjoy the escape of romance novels. (While reading and writing.) My favorite part is the buildup of the relationship. The fun dialogue, flirting, and chemistry. Romance has so many smart and talented people writing right now in so many different subgenres. There really is something for everyone and I love the strong sense of community between romance readers and authors. I’m excited and honored to be a part of it.

I'm thrilled that Twitter brought me to Nicole and her books. Follow her on Twitter (@nicolemauthor), Facebook (NicoleMBooks), at her website (where you can also find an amazing brownie recipe that ties into the book), and—this is the best part—an entire Pinterest world created around the book's My Perfect Little Life website. Love. This! What a fantastic way to flesh out your book's characters and the world you create when you write. I'm totally going to do this (even though for me it would be a way to do all the things aside from writing; but that's another post.).

Thanks to Nicole Michaels for sharing her book and the world she created! I'm looking forward to the next book and highly recommend this read.

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