I’m delighted to welcome fellow New Jersey Romance Writers member RoseAnn DeFranco back here today for an interview and a look at her debut contemporary romance, Return to Audubon Springs.
Hi RoseAnn, so glad to have you here today. Tell us a little about Return to Audubon Springs:
Thank you, Babette for hosting me today! I’ve enjoyed reading your blog for so long, it’s a pleasure to guest. Return to Audubon Springs is a reunion story. Emma and Rafe grew up together as very close friends every summer while she and her wealthy family vacationed in Audubon Springs, his hometown at the New Jersey Shore. As they grew older, a special friendship blossomed into love, but the couple was separated. Emma is now back and sparks fly over the house and their history. Since they are soul mates, falling in love again is inevitable no matter the amount of fighting, but when he discovers the truth that they have a child together, only maturity and setting aside of pride on both sides will give them the HEA they deserve.
When Emma Grant returns to her family’s Audubon Springs beach house to fulfill the stipulations of her father’s will, she has every intention of forcing her former lover out of the house for good. She’s never fit into her wealthy family and would prefer avoiding her past, but with her brother threatening to reveal her young daughter, she has no choice.
Rafe Iuliano has other plans. The wealthy Grants tried to bribe him out of Emma’s life years ago, but he’s determined to prove once and for all that a master carpenter is worthy of Emma and the house.
Their ridiculous and steamy battle for the house reignites the love and passion that bloomed between them years ago. But when Rafe discovers she’s kept their daughter a secret for two years, can he overcome anger and pride to claim his family and the love of his life, or will the deception drive a final wedge between them?
What are you working on now? Do you have any releases scheduled for this year?
Return to Audubon Springs is the first of three books in the Brothers of Audubon Springs series. Its official world wide release is January 2014. I don’t have release dates for the following two books, Secondhand Romance and The Right Chord, but they are scheduled for 2014 as well. Right now I’m working on a Christmas Novella to wrap up the series. There is a character that has stood off to the sidelines for three books. It’s time she gets her own happily ever after. I need to have this on my editor’s desk by March, so tick-tock, tick-tock. I also have a Young Adult Fantasy that is complete and my goal is to self-publish it in the Spring of 2014.
Do you have any good news you’d like to share?
Yes! I just received the book cover for Secondhand Romance. I love it and I’m looking forward to sharing it. It’s hot, hot, hot!
What do you enjoy most about writing?
I love immersing myself in the world of my characters. Much like reading a book, it’s a bit of an escape. I think there is some satisfaction in being able to solve someone else’s problems within a story.
Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, character, or…?
I usually start with the characters. My background is in theatre. Having studied acting and singing for so many years it’s my natural tendency to create the character first and build the situation / problem while I’m getting to know them. I also tend to see the big moments in a manuscript first. I’ve been known to write the “black moment” first. I tend to see that moment and the other larger turning points while getting to know my characters, and then I write to each of those moments.
Do you have a favorite time of day for writing?
Like so many of my author friends who have children, I get up early in the morning and write for a few hours before going to work. This means the alarm goes off anywhere between 5-5:30am. While this is not my favorite time of day to write, it has become my guaranteed writing time. I am intrinsically a night person and prefer writing well into the night. I adopted this new schedule since I am now writing on deadlines. In addition to my early morning routine, I try to put in an hour or so each night. I have to force my inner night owl to shut it down at a certain point though. The reminder of the 5am alarm the next day is great incentive!
Do you have a favorite hero in your books and why?
With this Brothers of Audubon Springs series, it is hard for me to pick which brother is my favorite hero. I usually tend to love the one I’m with! At one point, I was working on Galleys for Return to Audubon Springs, Copy Edits for Secondhand Romance, and completing The Right Chord for Submission to my editor. I felt a little bit like a slut with all these men in my head at once. The brothers are all unique and had my head spinning. Rafe, the hero of the first book is the youngest. He’s really larger than life and commands attention in that he has no problems expressing himself physically and verbally. He also happens to be quite funny, something I fine immensely attractive in a man.
What is your favorite scene from this story and why?
Emma and Rafe have a pretty steamy food fight in this story. I love the scene because they have been waging war on one another within the house for several days and this is the first time they both let down their guard and remember what they once loved about each other which leads to emotional vulnerability. Plus the scene is sexy, funny, and emotionally packed. It’s really everything you want to see between your hero and heroine in a romantic comedy. From a writers perspective I was anxious about writing the scene because it’s really an action sequence and I write Romantic Comedy. I’m happy with the end result.
How do you balance writing and everyday life?
I work full time and my family has a rather active schedule. On any given day when I leave work, I turn right into Dance Mom or Soccer Mom. A friend recently asked me how I was able to juggle it all. I’m lucky to have such a supportive family. Right now my favorite meals are called TAKE OUT and LEFTOVERS. I’ve made a vow to my family that as long as the supermarkets sell rotisserie chickens, they will never go hungry, and the crock pot is my friend, unless it turns into a crock pot gone wrong meal, which has been known to happen. My traditional Italian upbringing is very much ingrained in me and taking care of my family will always remain my top priority. This tends to translate into making sure my little baby birds are fed! Fortunately, I have a very supportive husband who can cook!
Who influenced your decision to become a writer?
I had been dabbling with writing for a little bit, but I was very unsure of my ability. My father was a high school English teacher and he kept pestering me to let him read my work. He kept saying he wanted to be my editor. I write romance! The idea of my father reading sexy food fights or sex on the beach embarrassed me. Finally, I gave him a sampling of my writing. I will never forget the moment when he told me I had a voice in writing, something most writers work years to develop. Life got in the way – motherhood, family, job – and I never really got serious about writing. He remembered thought and every few months he’d ask if I was writing. Eight years ago he passed away from brain cancer and even in his debilitated state, he asked me if I was writing, reminded me I had a voice and encouraged me not to give up on my dreams. Within the last month of his life, I picked up Stephen King’s On Writing. My dad had been a huge Stephen King fan. I showed him the book and promised him I was going to get back to it. It was important to me at that time to make sure he realized he encouraged me. Even though he’s gone, he’s very much a part of this journey.
And now RoseAnn has a question for you all: Have you ever been part of a food fight? If so, who started it, and who was left on cleanup detail?
“This is your fault!” Emma shouted.
“My fault?” Rafe blinked through the thick coat of flour. “You’re the one who started this.”
“Yeah, you—Miss Macrobiotic Princess!” They used the barstools for support, and pulled themselves up from the slippery floor. “You’re immovable just like your mother.”
“And you’ve got about as much depth as a toenail. For the life of me, I can’t remember why I was ever with you.”
With a predatory look in his eyes and gait, Rafe advanced. In two long strides he pinned her to the counter, his hands grasping her hips. “Don’t!” His voice, low and dangerous, and his near proximity overwhelmed, charging her body with a jolt of electricity rendering breathing impossible. His gaze locked on hers for an eternity, then without warning, he dipped his head and licked lavishly at the syrup on her chest and neck.
Need and heat consumed her at his touch, fraying what was left of her nerves. She dropped her head back, shivered, and her knees buckled. He held her steady, fully pinned against the counter and continued to feast on her neck. Then with a shake as if waking from a dream, he stepped away, taking his heat with him.
Emma swayed and gripped the counter. Goose bumps rose on her flesh at the storm brewing in his eyes.
“Say or do anything you want to push me out of this house, but don’t ever say you don’t remember.”
You can find Return to Audubon Springs at: Amazon.com
RoseAnn DeFranco grew up in upstate NY with her nose in a book and a song in her heart. Following the pursuit of a musical theatre career in NYC, she turned her creative energy to writing romance. RoseAnn blogs about her writing experiences with her critique partners at the violetfemmes.com. A NJ shore transplant, she enjoys time spent at the beach with her family. She would love to one day live in a quaint shore town like the fictional town Audubon Springs from her BROTHERS OF AUDUBON SPRINGS series. More information about these Contemporary Romantic Comedies can be found at radefranco.com.
You can find RoseAnn at:
13 thoughts on “Interview With RoseAnn DeFranco, Author of Return to Audubon Springs”
Hi Babette! Thank you for hosting me on your site today. I really enjoyed answering your questions.
Hi Babette, Hi RoseAnn! The food fight scene in Return to Audobon Springs is one of my favorites–largely because these characters are so great and sooooo need this release! The banter is awesome, too! As for me, I remember total hilarity as a little girl when even my mom ended up throwing peas! : )
Glad that you liked that scene as well, Jenna. LOVE that you have a throwing peas memory. I don’t really remember ever throwing food, but I have been in some epic water battles.
Love Return to Audubon Springs! If you find a fictional town like it, take me. 🙂
You and me both, Barb! Thank you for stopping by!
Great excerpt!! I think I need to read this!!
Hi Lisa. Glad you liked the excerpt. If you do decide to read Return to Audubon Springs, I hope you enjoy. With such a rich history, Emma and Rafe were a really fun couple to write.
Wow, fabulous interview, and Return to Audubon Springs sounds like a fabulous ‘must have’ read! Your father was amazing. My deepest regrets that he’s passed away, but I know he’s watching over you and so proud. *Hugs* I wish you every success!
Hi Diana! Thank you for stopping by and for your kind words regarding my father.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BABETTE!!!!
Hi Babette & RoseAnn.
The food fight scene in Return to Audubon Springs was very funny. I still pictured them going at it after they finished destroying the kitchen, but that’s probably my twisted mind! No, I don’t have any experience being in a food fight. Although there were times when my kids were little that I can remember wearing whatever they ate.
Maria! You’re making me laugh! Thanks for your comment!