Untangle My Heart
by Maria K. Alexander
When her marriage ended in tragedy, Kate DiFrancesco rebuilt her life, but has never gotten over the pain of what she lost. Seeking the help of an ex-lover ignites feelings she’s promised never to have again. She’ll need to untangle herself from dangers in her past in order to break the hard shell around her heart.
Edward Weston has a lot to prove, both to his stuffy upper-crust British family, and to himself. Working alongside Kate, a woman he had a casual relationship with, stirs unexpected feelings. Helping her family makes him realize what he’s missing. For the first time, he wants more than a one-night stand.
When Kate is threatened, Edward must overcome feeling unworthy to protect the woman he loves and fight for the family he never thought he’d have.
“Privacy is a hard thing to find around here, so you may want to lock the door. Especially when you’re wearing only a towel and my sister is on the prowl.”
“I’ll have to remember that,” Edward said, taking a step toward her. “I knew she was smitten, but didn’t think she would be waiting in the room after my shower. I was struggling with a tactful way of getting her out.”
“I’m sure you’re not accustomed to asking a woman to leave your room.”
He gave her an unapologetic grin. “No, usually not.”
“I guess it’s partly my fault. I told her I don’t have any claims to you. Apparently she took that to mean it was open season to pursue you.”
“Yet you stopped by. Why?”
“I wanted to thank you again for your help today. You dropped everything to come and help my family and that means a lot to me.”
He took another step toward her until he stood directly in front of her. “You mean a lot to me. I’d do anything I could to help you.”
She nodded in acknowledgement, not sure she could trust her voice to speak with him all but touching her.
“And you’re wrong about not having a claim on me.”
His hands found their way to her waist. Her heart thumped and she knew she should pull back, wanted to pull back. But his blue-gray eyes held her in a hypnotic state and she couldn’t move.
It is my pleasure to welcome Maria K. Alexander, author of Untangle My Heart, to Room With Books. Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed.
What do you do when you are not writing?
When not writing, I spend the day as a project manager in the Information Technology field. Not a very glamorous job, right? I have a family and juggle balancing writing with the day job, my husband, my kids, my friends. When find the time, I like to do Jazzercise. I also love spending time at the beach, downhill skiing, and occasionally play the piano.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Growing up, I was a huge fan of Danielle Steel. Her books were instrumental in me falling in love with the romance genre. I’ve cried many a tear over her finely crafted stories. I’m also fond of Kristin Higgins, Jill Shalvis, Susan Mallery, Rachel Gibson, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Marie Force, and many more. As a published author, my goal is to engage my readers as completely as these fabulous authors have done.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
I submitted both blind queries to agents in addition to pitching to editors and agents at conferences. For me, the challenge wasn’t so much the actual rejection because I knew the industry and expected this rite of passage. The frustration was not always understanding the “why” of the rejection or getting reasons that seemed easy to fix (i.e. pacing). Or in some cases, feeling like I was so close, yet unable to have someone take a chance on me. I also entered writing contests, which in some cases provided very helpful feedback. In fact, Untangle My Heart won first place in two contests prior to getting published.
Do you ever write in your PJ’s?
My most productive writing time is early in the morning, before the family is awake. I’m writing this blog post in lounge pants and a T-shirt.
If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
The ability to clone myself so I could be writing while also working the day job. Or be signing at a book fair while the other “me” was at my daughter’s softball game. Oh, and the ability to eat whatever I want and not gain an ounce!
What was your first job?
My family owned a catering business and I used to waitress there. I’ve attended more receptions and heard more renditions of “Celebration” than I’d have thought possible. The hours were often long but we always had a lot of fun.
What types of books do you write?
I write contemporary romance. Untangle My Heart also has a light suspense secondary theme. I write relatable characters with real problems. My stories focus on the interactions between family, friends, and lovers. It’s important to establish strong connections with the secondary characters. It brings a smile to my face when I receive comments about the secondary characters and a reader’s desire to read their story.
Who’s your main audience?
Readers who like a sexy romance with a deep emotional pull/conflict resulting in a happily-ever-after.
Out of all of your characters, which is your favorite? Why?
Kate from Untangle My Heart was such a fabulous character to write. She’s a fiery Italian who isn’t afraid to speak her mind. She’s much more outspoken than me, which is why I found it fun to write her. She’s sensitive and hides her emotions behind her words. Part of her journey will be overcoming her trust issues, breaking down the walls she built around her heart, and opening her heart to love.
What does your writing schedule look like?
I start early in the morning, usually around 5:30 am, and write until 7:00 or 7:30. I’m not as productive from about 7 on, which is when my daughter comes down to get ready for school. I don’t get back to writing until around 9 at night and try to work until 11. Evening is usually the time when I try and catch up with email and social media. On a good day, I get in 4 hours. On a bad day, it’s only 1 or 2 hours.
Do you use your OWN experiences?
There’s a lot of my family heritage in Untangle My Heart, which I used as the foundation to develop the DiFrancesco family. There are scenes with tender family moments, food, and friendships. One of my favorite scenes is one where Kate is making cookies with a six-year old orphan she’s considering adopting. Lucas is a sweet boy and reminds me of making cookies with my own little guy.
Was it easy to pick the title for your book?
Finding the right title was a challenge. Every title I picked was similar to a title by a well-known author. There was also the added complication since I have multiple books planned in the series. I wanted to create a series name along with the names of the books in the series. Thankfully, I have a wonderful set of women I blog with who were helpful in brainstorming a list until we found one that worked.
Pick one profession you would choose if you were not an author. Why?
I enjoy being creative. I’ve always thought it would be fun to own a Hallmark store. I enjoy creating displays and opening merchandise. If not that, then I’d like to be a baker and make mouth-watering deserts.
What are you currently working on?
I just completed the sequel to Untangle My Heart, which centers on Kate’s sister, Vicky. Next up will be older brother Nick’s story. I have some plotting to do before I get started but hope to begin over the next couple months.
Any last words?
Thank you for hosting me today. I love to hear from my readers. What’s your favorite story theme (reunion/second chances, secret baby, etc) that you enjoy reading?
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Mint chocolate chip
Night owl, or early bird? Early bird
Red, or white wine? White wine
Roller Coasters or Water Rides? Roller Coasters
Swimming in the ocean or a pool? Swimming pool
Candles or spray air fresheners? Candles
Thank you again, Maria, for taking time to stop by Room With Books. I know your readers will appreciate the chance to get to know you!
AUTHOR Bio and Links
A romantic at heart, Maria K. Alexander spent hours as a young girl getting lost in and wishing to be one of the heroines in the stories she read. Books gave her the ability to go to another world where she loved meeting new characters, learning about their problems, and watching them fall in love.
Maria blogs and shares her writing journey with her critique partners at: http://thevioletfemmes.com.
When not writing, Maria loves to read, bake, downhill ski, visit the beach, and watch romantic comedies. Maria lives in New Jersey with her husband and children, and writes in her “spare” time between juggling a full-time job and her kids’ busy schedules.
You can keep in touch with her at: http://mariakalexander.com.
The Violet Femmes Blog: http://thevioletfemmes.com
Amazon Buy Link: http://amzn.com/B00GVKRLOG
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