Sunday, February 16, 2014

Meet Elley Arden, author of 'Battling the Best Man'

What was the inspiration behind this book?
Kory Flemming, the heroine, appeared as the best friend to Book One’s heroine. Will Mitchell, the hero, appeared as the brother to Book One’s hero. I wrote a few scenes with all four characters, and each time, Kory and Will wanted to argue. They took over the scenes until I had to chop them out. That was when I knew they were going to get their own story.
Which characters spoke to you the most during the writing process?
It was an even split. That was odd for me. Usually one character is mouthier than the other. It stands to reason that Will and Kory demanded even time, though. They are the most driven, competitive couple I’ve ever spent time with.
What was one of your favorite things about this book?
I loved that Will, though rich and powerful, was turned on by a woman’s intellect and take-charge attitude.
This is Book 2 in a series, but can be read as a stand alone. How many more books do you anticipate there being? Do you have a timeline?
I just turned Book 3, Marrying the Wrong Man, into my editor. That is the last book in the Harmony Falls series. It will be published later this year.
May we have a preview of what's to come?
Certainly! This is an unedited peek at Marrying the Wrong Man, which stars cowboy boot-wearing chef Charlie Cramer:
Charlie Cramer’s pick-up truck guzzled oil the way he used to guzzle Jack…or beer…or any other alcohol that found its way into his hands. He shook his head as he detoured from Main Street and pulled into Becker Car and Truck, thankful for more than a thousand days of sobriety. He had his dream job as chef at Chargrilled Bistro and a happily married sister. Life as a once pitiful, laughable Cramer had taken a damn good turn. Finally.

But, maybe he’d spoken too soon.

A white Jaguar with Connecticut plates parked on Bryce’s lot. Charlie hit the brakes and rubbed his eyes until they burned. Apparently, there was a downside to sobriety—too many dry days caused hallucinations.

It had to be a hallucination, because that looked like Morgan Parrish’s car.

Charlie had spent the better part of a year in pursuit of that car and its driver so he could reclaim his heart and be a father to the baby growing in Morgan’s belly. But Morgan had made it clear she didn’t want the same thing.

With hands clenched around the wheel, Charlie drove straight at the figment of his imagination. At the last minute, he chickened out and turned the wheel. What if it was real? What if Morgan Parrish came back to town?

Son of a bitch. He parked alongside the only vehicle in the world that could test his declaration that life was good. He hadn’t heard a word from the woman in a little over two years. Not since the baby had been born and he’d received papers to declare paternity… so the child could be placed for adoption. Charlie scratched an itch over his heart. As a newly recovered alcoholic, he’d been the last person on earth who should’ve been a father. And Morgan, with her self-destructive parent-pleasing ways, was no prize, either.

He touched the gritty surface of the white car—just to make sure it was real—and then he headed straight for Bryce’s office. If she did have the nerve to show her face in this town again, he had a few things to say.
Please tell us about your other publications and upcoming works.
I have several books releasing this year. The most highly anticipated is probably the final book in my Kemmons Brothers Baseball Series. That book is titled Heal My Heart, and it releases March 10, 2014. I also am taking part in Crimson Romance’s first ever continuity series called The Emerald Springs Legacy. My book, Chad’s Chance, which is the third book in the continuity, releases in April. You can find a complete list of my books on my website.
What do you think are the ingredients of a successful romance novel?
For me, and readers like me, a successful romance novel has characters worth caring about…and strong sexual tension, which culminates in satisfying love scenes.
What about romance in real life?
In real life, a successful romance, one that stands the test of time, requires equal amounts of like and love. People forget the like part. We get caught up in those intense romantic love feelings that either show up only under specific conditions or burn out after the novelty wears off, and then what’s left? Like. I’ve been with my husband for twenty-three years, and he’s still my favorite person in the world.

Hands down. I like him. A lot.
What can you be found doing when not writing?
When I’m not writing, I’m usually redecorating my house or coming up with more renovation ideas. I live in an older home, and I love the process of making it perfect for me and my family. Home Depot and Lowes are my toy stores.
I like a variety of wines, depending on my mood. I'm partial to the pinots, cabs, and rieslings. What is your wine of choice?
I’m a cab girl all the way. Big and bold. If it’s hot, however, I enjoy a pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc. I’ll try anything once, though. If a grape went into making it, I’m game.
What is something readers may be surprised to learn about you?
Will Mitchell listens to and even sings Italian opera in Battling the Best Man. I can, too. I grew up in the theatre, and I took two years of formal Italian opera voice lessons in order to improve my stage singing. Since the voice is a muscle, and I haven’t used mine in ages, it’s majorly out of shape. But, when no one is home, I can still belt a tune.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Thank you so much for having me! Drop me a line after you read the book and let me know what you think. I love to get mail from readers.
Thank you so much for your time!


Contemporary Romance
Date Published:

A Harmony Falls Novel Book 2 (The book stands alone.)

On the cusp of a brilliant Chicago medical career, Dr. Kory Flemming rarely gets vacation, but she can't say no to maid of honor duties in her best friend's wedding. Home town or not, being in Harmony Falls, Pennsylvania isn't easy, especially when the only man smart enough to trump Kory's high school academic achievements turns out to be a sexy, accomplished adult up to his old, flirtatious tricks.

Will Mitchell has been destined for success since the day he was born. After spending his formative years racking up academic honors, it was only natural for him to be named the chief operating officer of his family's thriving company. He has it all-more or less-so when the target of his high school infatuation turns up hot and haughty at his brother's wedding, Will decides he wants her, too.

Old conflict gives way to new attraction, taking Will and Kory by surprise, until a failed merger and family tragedy threaten both their professional goals. Can they put aside their rocky past and ignore their titillating present in order to work together to secure the future for the people they adore?

Read an excerpt:

The same blast of incredulity that led Kory to call him a dick and walk away earlier prompted a sarcastic laugh. “Are you serious? We aren’t friends, Will! We haven’t been friends since high school calculus when your real friends harassed me to the point I got pulled from the class.” Each word had carried her a step closer to him until she was raging in his face.
He balked. “Come on, Kory.” But then recognition flashed across his annoyingly handsome features. “You got pulled from that class?”
“Yes, I got pulled from that class. What did you think happened to me? I disappeared.”
He snapped his fingers and nodded. “Yeah! Come to think of it I tried to ask you once what happened, but you walked away from me. You do that a lot, you know?” he added with a weak smile. “But apparently, you have reason to.” He shook his head. “I honestly had no idea.”
He didn’t remember what happened. Figured. All these years—all the energy—she’d essentially wasted. It wasn’t at all satisfying to swear revenge on someone who didn’t know how badly he’d hurt her.
“Forget it,” she said, dropping to the flats of her bare feet, suddenly surprised by their close proximity.
“No. This time, I won’t forget it. I’m very, very sorry for whatever part I played in you being pulled from that class.”
The seemingly heartfelt apology stunned her, stopping her before she could step back and put reasonable space between them. She stood there stuck in some strange mix of abhorrence and attraction. “It’s okay, Will,” she finally said. But the words weren’t accurate. If anything were really okay her heart wouldn’t be racing.
“It’s not okay. Whoever I was in that class, I can assure you it’s not the real me. If we had more time together, I could prove it.”
His head tilted to one side. His tuxedo shirt opened at the throat. And he studied her with dark sparkling eyes, causing a hot spot low in her belly.
This attraction didn’t make any sense, and Kory thrived on rationality. She hadn’t trusted Will Mitchell for years. What purpose did it serve to let her guard down now?
She’d be back in Chicago before her brain had time to process their interaction.
Then again, maybe that was the best part about it. Maybe that was why she allowed herself to maintain eye contact with him past the point of innocent interaction.
Will leaned closer, his voice just above a whisper. “So, would it ruin all our progress if
I kissed you?”
“Only if it’s a really bad kiss,” Kory said, lifting her chin to within a fraction of an inch of his, smelling the whiskey on his breath.
Will’s hands landed on her hips the minute his lips landed on her mouth.

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