I’m delighted to have Avon author Ruthie Knox with me today, talking about her new book About Last Night. I was privileged enough to read an advance copy of this book and it’s such a gorgeous, cute read. Was even more delighted with Ruthie agreed to answer a few questions about it…
Here’s the blurb:
About Last Night, coming from Loveswept (Random House), June 11, 2012!
Sure, opposites attract, but in this sexy, smart eBook original romance from Ruthie Knox, they positively combust! When a buttoned-up banker falls for a bad girl, “about last night” is just the beginning.
Cath Talarico knows a mistake when she makes it, and God knows she’s made her share. So many, in fact, that this Chicago girl knows London is her last, best shot at starting over. But bad habits are hard to break, and soon Cath finds herself back where she has vowed never to go . . . in the bed of a man who is all kinds of wrong: too rich, too classy, too uptight for a free-spirited troublemaker like her.
Nev Chamberlain feels trapped and miserable in his family’s banking empire. But beneath his pinstripes is an artist and bohemian struggling to break free and lose control. Mary Catherine — even her name turns him on — with her tattoos, her secrets, and her gamine, sex-starved body, unleashes all kinds of fantasies.
When blue blood mixes with bad blood, can a couple that is definitely wrong for each other ever be perfectly right? And with a little luck and a lot of love, can they make last night last a lifetime?
Rach - I loved the premise of the h&H seeing each other every day on the train and especially liked how Cath had nicknamed all the people she frequently traveled with. How did you come up with this idea? And, have you ever lusted after a fellow commuter?
Ruthie - Thanks! This is one of those art-imitating-life things. I lived in London for nine months back in 2001–2001, when I was doing research for my dissertation. I spent a ton of time on trains, commuting back and forth between my flat and various archives. Since I didn’t have any friends, and since I’m an inveterate people-watcher, I did a lot of observing, and I wrote a lot in a journal about what it was like living in London, what I was thinking and feeling, and what I observed. I don’t remember lusting after any specific fellow commuters (though I certainly wouldn’t put it past me), but I definitely saw my fair share of good-looking, suit-wearing Englishmen on my commutes into the city.
When I first conceived of Cath, I imagined her as a lonely expatriate, too. But because she’s a heroine, I made her both worse off and better off than myself. I saddled her with a great deal of life trauma, but I rewarded her with Nev. Poor Cath—but also, lucky Cath!
Rach - Like my June release JILTED, your book deals with some pretty heavy secrets. Did you set out to write a book about secrets or did you start with the characters and then discover the secrets?
Ruthie - The secrets just sort of happened, and they gave me fits! About Last Night was only the second full manuscript I ever wrote, and I didn’t know what I was getting into, writing a heroine with such heavy emotional baggage. I didn’t even know what Cath’s baggage was, at first. I just knew who she was and how she met the hero. In my first draft of the book, which I wrote in a two- or three-week frenzy, I don’t think I’d even figured out Cath’s full backstory until about 80 percent of the way through the book, when she and Nev had a big, poorly-thought-out argument. It didn’t work at all!
Luckily, I was exchanging work with my lovely friend Faye Robertson at the time (who also writes as Serenity Woods), and Faye was also in the middle of writing a novel about a difficult, secret-keeping heroine and her affair with a caring, understanding, patient man. So it was easier for me to see what wasn’t working in Faye’s book than in my own, and vice versa. I rewrote About Last Night completely from scratch, with a much clearer understanding of both my characters, and I like to think it came out better the second time.
Rach - Without giving too much away, I found the heroine’s tattoos fascinating and loved how you brought them into the HEA! Do you have a tattoo? If so, does it have meaning like Cath’s tattoos and if not, what would you get if you did get one?
Ruthie - Thank you! I do have a tattoo, of the tramp stamp variety (though, in my defense, nobody was calling them that at the time I got it), but it’s my own design, and it has meaning for me. It’s not like Cath’s tattoos, though, which are a record of her mistakes and a reminder to herself not to make anymore. My tattoo is very cheerful, see?
Rach - Nev isn’t a traditional romance hero – from his career (banker) to his name (Neville) and his hobby (painting). Did you create an almost anti-hero on purpose?
Ruthie – Sort of yes, sort of no. I think I just wrote the sort of Englishman I would fall for in one millionth of a second, should it have happened that he whisked me home from the train station and made me a bacon sandwich, and then I realized later that he was a bit…unusual. I did know that the name Neville was likely to make people’s lips curl, which is why I nicknamed him “Nev,” but I couldn’t resist it. Elizabeth Jane Howard has this wonderful series of books set in England in the 1930s–60s, about this big family, the Cazalets, who live in the countryside near London. One of the youngest boys in the first novel is named Neville, which I remember thinking was a perfectly horrible name for a perfectly horrible boy. But over the course of the series he really grew on me, and I ended up being very fond of him, which made me very fond of the name. I think when I named my hero “Neville,” I secretly wanted to do the same thing to as many readers as possible. Like, Ha! Now that he’s made your loins explode with lust, then prompted tears of happy romantic mushiness, you can never hate his name again.
Basically, I was just being evil.
Rach – haha, I’m ALL for evil I’d say ABOUT LAST NIGHT is almost an opposites attract story? Can you tell us some of your other favourite romance tropes?!
Ruthie - Yes, this is definitely an opposites attract tale — kind of a bad-girl, good-boy story, though of course it’s never quite so simple as that, is it? I also love friends-to-lovers, marriage in trouble, road trip, boy next door, fling / one-night stand, reunion romance, anything with cowboys or tanned farmers (which is why Jilted won me over immediately) . . . pretty much all of them, except I’m iffy on revenge plots, protector plots, and secret babies. Though I can be won over.
Rach - And finally, any big secrets YOU’D like to share? I promise we’re all good at keeping our mouths shut here!
Ruthie - Oh, yes, I’m sure you are! Well, I don’t know that it’s a secret, but I did sign contracts the other day for my next two books with Loveswept, a pair of single-title length romances that will be coming out in 2013. I’ve also accepted an offer on a novella, have two other novellas planned and one written, and I’m plotting out the sequel to Ride with Me in my head. So lots of excitement on tap!
Thanks for having me to visit, Rachael!
You are absolutely WELCOME Ruthie! Now folks, you can buy ABOUT LAST NIGHT online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks and many more fabulous stores. Check out Ruthie online at her website, Twitter and Facebook.