Monday, April 4, 2016

Catching Up With Contemporary Romance Author Brenda Margriet

Today I am thrilled to welcome Brenda Margriet to the blog for a chat! Brenda has brought us a peek at her brand new romance, When Time Falls Still. Check it out! 

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When Time Falls Still is set in winter in Northern British Columbia. What made you choose that location and season?

When I first started writing, I wanted to concentrate on character and plot, and figured that having to deal with an unfamiliar location would just add to the strain. So I set my first romantic suspense, Mountain Fire in my hometown of Prince George, and have continued to do so for four of my five finished manuscripts, including When Time Falls Still. One of the things I like best about the area where I live is we have four distinct seasons. Summers can reach 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit for you Americans ), Autumn is crisp and bright, and Winter is usually a snow-lovers paradise (Spring is probably my least favourite. I call it “The Melt” and it can be pretty ugly for a while.) We also get a lot of sun in the winter, which makes the short days bearable and beautiful at the same time. I wanted to celebrate all that.

What is your writing process like? 

As I have a demanding full-time day job, I can only write in the evenings and on weekends, yet in the last four years I have completed four manuscripts. I can only do this by being very efficient, which has led me to be a confirmed plotter. Each new manuscripts starts out as a list of scenes in an Excel (yes, Excel!) spreadsheet. As I’m writing, I allow myself to deviate from the spreadsheet, but it is very useful when I hit a “where do I go from here?” moment. I can go back, review what I thought I was doing when I first started writing, revise the spreadsheet, and use my initial notes to help me move forward. I’ve toyed with the idea of writing scenes out of order, like Jessica does, but I’m afraid I’ll just write all the fun ones and never have the incentive to go back to do the necessary-but-not-as-fun scenes. Writing chronologically, I have the carrot of an exciting scene ahead, as long as I can get there. 

What, aside from writing, do you like to do best? 

Well, reading, of course. I’m a bit of a speed reader, so I often go through two or three books a week, despite my busy schedule of work and writing. I also enjoy gardening, although I like the planning and planting part better than the maintaining and weeding part. Photography is something I like to do as well, especially when my husband and I are camping or travelling, two more things I love to do.

Justice Cooper had the all-Canadian dream in his grasp – a chance to play in the National Hockey League. Are you a fan of hockey? 

As a Canadian, I think I have to say yes or give back my passport! But in all honesty, I do love the sport. It’s fast and gritty and skillful, demanding partnerships with teammates and a commitment to hard work. Like most team sports, it’s a great way for kids to learn how to work together and to be unselfish in the pursuit of a common goal. The National Hockey League may be the golden dream for many young boys, but from the tiny tots to old-timers it’s a game that is simply part of our psyche as a nation.

What kind of research did you do for this book? 

Charlotte is a university professor, teaching medieval poetry. My main research, other than online sources, was to talk to my oldest daughter. She started out as an English/History major, and is now working on her Master’s Degree in History at the university where I set my story. When it came to the workings of the University of Northern British Columbia, how to get a doctorate, how professors are awarded tenure and things like that, she was my go-to girl.

I have a small confession to make about research. I’m still shy about approaching people outside my circle of friends and family. So for this book, I didn’t talk to any security guards about what their normal days and duties are like. Someday I’m going to have to break out of that insecurity. I know it will add another layer of credibility to my writing, even if I have to ignore some of the realities in order to write the story I want to write.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you so much for hosting me today, Jessica! I’d also like to invite people to join my newsletter. It will be a great way to keep up with what's new in my writing world, but I promise emails will only be sent a few times a year. As an incentive, all new subscribers will get a FREE e-copy of my short story, The Life She Had Before. You can sign up on my Author Page or my website.

And one more thing! I’m giving away 5 copies of When Time Falls Still.  Enter here by April 15th for your chance to win!
When Time Falls Still
by Brenda Margriet

Professor Charlotte Girardet is focused on one thing – securing tenure at a large, prestigious university. 

Her career is firmly on track, but her life is complicated by her attraction to rough and rugged security guard Justice Cooper. It isn't only Charlotte's heart in danger, however. Tensions blaze on campus after several students are viciously attacked. 

Struggling to balance her ambitions and her growing passion, Charlotte takes a leap of faith, and trusts Justice with her deepest secret. But when the assailant's attacks escalate to kidnapping, will Charlotte have the chance to decide between her long-held dreams or a new life with Justice?

Excerpt

Charlotte braced herself against the motion of the elevator, but not before her breasts, protected only by thin fabric and thinner lace, brushed Justice’s chest. He was standing so close she felt overwhelmed. Not intimidated—he didn’t scare her—just...swamped by his nearness.

Or maybe it was the heat in his eyes.

Ocean depths had nothing on the blueness searing into her, she thought wildly. Vertigo weakened her knees, but she couldn’t look away.

"I—" She broke off, swallowed, and tried again. "I don’t know what to say." He toyed with the end of her braid, and she swore she could feel the touch of his fingers fizzle up the strands, down her spine and into the soles of her feet.

"Did you honestly think I wasn’t attracted to you?" His voice rumbled, low and sexy.

The doors slid open. Thank God the hallway was empty. Her legs felt disconnected from her body, but she managed not to stumble. She unlocked her office, seeking refuge inside. Justice followed.

"Charlotte?"

He wasn’t going to let it go. Perseverance was his greatest strength—and his most irritating habit, she thought peevishly. "I threw myself at you and you walked away."

"I just about took you up against your front door." Frustration coloured his tone. He scrubbed his hands over his close-cropped head.

"Fine. Maybe you were right." She lifted her satchel off her shoulder and tossed it into a nearby chair. "Maybe I wasn’t thinking clearly enough."

"Maybe." He crossed his ankles and leaned against the wall, the casual stance belying the tension evident in the fists jammed in his pockets, the set of his shoulders. "Now what?"

"I don’t know." The collar of his uniform jacket had kinked up on one side. Without thinking, she stepped forward to smooth it down. He caught her hand and held it. Her fingers curled into his.

The connection felt good. It felt right. Maybe she should stop thinking altogether, and just go with her gut.
She never did that. She planned and researched and debated and planned some more. Trying to regain her equilibrium, she tugged away and escaped behind her desk.

"Let’s look at this rationally," she said. His scarred eyebrow arched and amusement flickered in his face, but she battled on. "We are both healthy, single adults. For some reason, we seem to have strong physical chemistry."

"Some reason?" The amusement was uppermost, now. His lips remained firm and straight, but she could see it in his eyes, as usual.

"Don’t take this the wrong way, but you are not the kind of man I ever thought I’d be attracted to."

​He lowered his lids and regarded her through narrow slits. "Right back at you."

She bristled, but took her own advice and let it go. "Regardless, we could take advantage of this mutual appeal."

"There’s the professor I know and...admire," he murmured.

She ignored the sarcasm. "I’m only here for a few more months." The exam today was the last she needed to invigilate. As soon as they were marked and the results submitted, she was flying out to spend Christmas with Sonny and family, returning a few days before the start of the winter session. "Are you in any of my classes next semester?"

He shook his head, watching her closely.

"Would you consider a short-term, exclusive relationship, with a predefined end date?" There, she thought. That sounded mature, sensible. No need to let emotions colour what promised to be a satisfying adult affair.
He straightened from the wall, looming to his full height. "Would this so-called relationship be strictly physical? Or could it involve social aspects as well?"

Once again, she sensed an underlying current of laughter, but she ignored it. "I can’t see why not."

"And it would come to an end the same time as your contract?"

"Or earlier, of course, should either of us find it no longer meets our needs."

"I thought English professors were supposed to be romantic."

Romance. Love. That’s what hurt you. Sex, on the other hand, was just sex. "Not all of us."
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Reviews

"If you're looking for a great contemporary romance, WHEN TIME FALLS STILL is the book for you. The romance between Justice and Charlotte was full of ups and downs but their connection, friendship and attraction a constant. A fantastic introduction to a new-to-me author, I will happily browse through Brenda Margriet's backlist." - The Romance Reviews 

"Margriet’s voice produces a smooth flowing narrative, intriguing sexual tension, and a well-plotted romance that takes it’s time developing as Margriet sets out to address and resolve the internal issues of the protagonists while flirting with a light suspense filled subplot." - Smexy Books 

Buy Links

Brenda Margriet writes contemporary romances with heroes you'd meet at the grocery store. And by that she means real-life men – sexy, smart and looking for the love of their life. Her heroines are bold, savvy and determined to accept nothing less than the man they deserve.

A voracious reader since she was old enough to hold a book, Brenda's idea of the perfect holiday involves a comfortable chair near the water (ocean, lake or pool will do), a glass of wine, and a full-loaded e-reader.

She lives in Northern British Columbia with her husband, three children (all of whom are taller than her) and various finny and furry pets. 

Join Brenda's newsletter and be the first to know about new releases and other exciting news! Plus, receive a free c-copy of her short story, The Life She Had Before.

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