Tuesday, August 13, 2013

One on One with Author Nicole Green of Otherwise Engaged

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Introduce yourself.

My name is Nicole Green. I write contemporary romance/new adult that
can also be considered interracial romance. I published my first book,
Love Out of Order, with Genesis Press in February 2010. I published
two additional titles with them and have been self-publishing my work
since February 2012. My seventh and latest novel is Otherwise Engaged.


 What do you want the reader to learn about the characters?

That no one is perfect and that love is not perfect. But that if you
are willing to work for it, and take the good with the bad in someone
you really care about, love can be worth it in the end. I really try
to focus on how my characters change by the end of the story and how
the journey of falling in love makes them hopefully a little wiser and
better. One of my favorite things to do is to take a character who's
already a little wary of love, put him or her through the ringer in a
way that would test even the strongest believer in love, and have him
or her come out on the other side full of faith in the whole idea of
love.


 What came first the characters or the idea?

Usually the characters, but the idea isn't far behind. The two are
pretty well tied together for me. I either heard or read somewhere
that character is plot, and I like that because I think it's true. The
best books are about interesting people doing unpredictable things.
And so I try to start with interesting people. I find that the better
I know my characters and the more intrigued I am by them, the more I'm
able to put them in situations where crazy and unexpected things
happen.


 How often do you write?

Ideally, I'd like to write every day. I don't always find the time
(although I really should and I'm working on it), but that's always
the goal. I do find time to write most days, though, even if it's only
a few pages. That way, it's easier to stay in the world of the story.


 When you're not writing, what do you like to do?

I try to do as much reading as I can. I do have a full-time day job,
so that takes up a fair amount of my time. I go to the gym pretty
regularly. All that doesn't leave much time for other things, but I do
enjoy spending time with friends and family and traveling when I get
the chance to do so.


What are some of your favorite authors and books?

Such a long list! I'm really enjoying Daughter of Smoke and Bone by
Laini Taylor, which I'm currently reading. It's a fascinating read,
and I'm pretty sure it's going to become an all-time favorite. One of
my all-time favorites is I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya
Angelou. J.J. Murray is a favorite. Ruthie Robinson is another
favorite--especially Reye's Gold, but I love her writing style and
thus anything she writes is a must read for me. The Scorpio Races by
Maggie Stiefvater is a truly excellent book. The Hunger Games
trilogy--the first one way more than the second two although I do like
the second two as well. The Twilight books. Anything by John Green or
Sarah Dessen. Just about anything by Stephen King. And I'm sure I'm
leaving a ton of people out, but that's the list off the top of my
head.


 What inspires you to write?

The people who believe in me and I can do this writing thing. The
readers who email me and leave comments on my Facebook page and
otherwise contact me or who leave reviews saying how much they loved a
book of mine. The characters I dream up who just must tell their
stories.


 How do you feed your muse?

It varies. Music. Reading. Google images. Pinterest. Sometimes
research or listening to the news. If I'm stuck, I try getting away
from the computer and doing something else for a while. Sometimes, the
best ideas come to me when I'm doing things totally unrelated to
writing.


 What books are on your shelf to read?

Again, so many! Will Work for Food by Ruthie Robinson. The Summer I
Turned Pretty by Jenny Han. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire.
Several non-fiction books that are research for one of my future
projects. The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I want to re-read The Great
Gatsby before I see the movie. The Stand by Stephen King. And there
are a ton of others I've been meaning to get around to. Those are at
the top of the list, though.


 What would be your best advice to aspiring writers?

Write often and write the kind of story you'd love as a reader. Also,
get some really good critique partners who are helpful without being
unnecessarily negative. You have to make sure you're working with
people who really "get" your work. If you find critique partners like
that, they're invaluable.


 What's next for you?

I'm self-pubbing my next book this fall. I don't have an exact date
yet, but the title is Soft Shock.

How can readers get in contact with you?

My website: 
www.nicolegreen.webs.com or Facebook: just search for
Nicole Green author. I'm also on Twitter @nicoledgreen. You can find
me on Goodreads as well. Or just email me: 
niki.g82@gmail.com

Contact info: niki.g82@gmail.com

Book bio for Otherwise Engaged:

Playboy Rain Foster is nowhere near ready to settle down, but if
there's one woman he would make that sacrifice for, it's Carolina
Perez. When Carolina tells Rain she's getting married, he decides he
must find a way to stop that wedding.

Overly cautious Daphne Moore has had a thing for Rain Foster since she
first saw him at college freshman orientation. However, she's learned
to be careful with her heart when it comes to guys--especially guys
like Rain. Besides, Rain has always had his eye--and more--on their
other friend, Carolina. When Rain asks to be Daphne's date to
Carolina's wedding, Daphne knows saying yes will lead to big trouble.
Still, she's never been good at saying no to Rain.

After Daphne makes a huge mistake with Rain, she avoids him for the
sake of her own sanity. She shouldn't have done what she did because
she knows Rain is and always will be a womanizer. Rain can't get
Daphne out of his system. For the first time in his life, Rain is
turning into an absolute mess because of a woman. Then comes another
first for Rain: he finds himself chasing a woman.

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

With his eyes still closed, Rain raised his arms above his head and
stretched. He stopped short when his arm hit someone else’s. His eyes
flew open.

Oh crap, he thought. One slipped through. He had a rule against this
sort of thing. Letting them sleep over tended to give them the wrong
ideas. He sat up in bed and looked down at the blonde lying next to
him. Sure, she was cute—round, perky breasts—but he could get another
one just like her tonight if he went out looking. That was the fun
part. The not-so-fun part was falling asleep before remembering to
kick them out of bed.

She blinked and smiled sleepily at him. “Hi.” Running a hand through
her curly blonde hair, she sat up next to him in bed.

How was he going to get out of this? “Uh, hey.” If you let them stay
the night, it was tricky getting rid of them—so much more awkward. If
you got rid of them the night of, it was kind of expected. They knew
the deal.

“Last night was amazing.” She tickled his arm with her fingernails.

Of course it was. “Oh, um, thanks.” He slid out of bed and spotted his
jeans halfway across the room. Walking over, he grabbed them and
tugged them on. “Yeah, you, too.” What was he supposed to say? See,
this was another good reason to get rid of them before any sleeping
happened. He never knew what to say the morning after. He didn’t want
to encourage them, but he didn’t want to be a total ass, either. It
was all in good fun. Everyone got something they wanted out of the
deal.

“I love this bed.” She fell backwards and burrowed deep in his sheets.
Well, it was a high quality bed. Only the best for him.

Yeah. Don’t get too attached. “Well, it’s—a bed.” Yeah, dumbass.
That’s exactly what it is, he thought. He looked around the room for
his phone as he spoke. He scratched the back of his head, having no
clue where he left it.

This was why partying with Skylar was a bad idea. No matter what they
were doing or where they were, Skylar managed to get him in trouble.
From getting arrested in Montreal, to hitchhiking in Brazil, to
blow-out parties Rain couldn’t remember later, Skylar was usually the
common denominator in the bad situations Rain ended up in. The thing
was, Skylar was usually involved in the most epic of Rain’s
adventures, too.

“…Breakfast?” she was saying.

“Huh?” Rain looked up, startled. That was not a word he wanted to
hear. Breakfast implied they would be in each other’s company longer.
He couldn’t even remember her name. The name thing was another problem
with allowing them to spend the night. He rarely bothered trying to
retain such details. It wasn’t like he planned on seeing these women
again.

A new voice made Rain jump. He’d forgotten there were two. A woman
walked out of his bathroom wearing only one of his shirts. “Yeah,” she
said. “I’m hungry.” This one was a redhead. Her bright red hair
couldn’t be natural. Now he remembered. He suppressed a grin. Last
night had definitely been a good time. No wonder he’d been so tired he
passed out afterward. He still didn’t remember either one’s name,
though.

“I think breakfast is a great idea,” he said. He finally spotted his
phone on his desk. Walking over to it, he said, “You two can get to
know each other better…” Or crap. Were they already friends? He
couldn’t remember that, either.

“Wait, aren’t you coming with us?” the blonde asked with a frown. She
got out of bed and stretched her gloriously naked body.

“I can’t,” Rain said. “I have this thing…I have to do…it starts in—”
He stared down at his wrist before realizing he’d taken off his watch
last night and left it in some location he couldn’t remember at the
moment. He glanced at his phone and pretended to study its face.
“Whoa. Starts really soon. I have to get going, ladies.” Hm. He had a
new message from Carolina. He hadn’t heard from her in a while.

“Oh yeah?” Red’s expression told him she wasn’t buying his story. “And
what exactly is this ‘thing?’”

“It’s for my grandma. She needs me to feed her cat.”

“Oh? That can’t take long. We can wait for you.” Her look went from
incredulous to scrutinizing.

He coughed. “In New York. I have to…cat sit. I’m cat sitting for my
grandma. Yep. That’s right. You know. I forgot. I gotta take this
train. I’m already late. It leaves really soon. I have to get out of
here like…now, ladies.”

The blonde and Red exchanged glances. Then the blonde asked, “Don’t
you have to pack a bag?”

He was sweating over there even though he hadn’t put on his shirt yet.
Couldn’t they give him a break? “I have clothes there,” he said, fully
aware of how lame he sounded. “I visit Grandma a lot. And…her cat.
Very hungry cat.” He nodded. They stared at him for a moment, and he
interjected a “Yep,” into the uncomfortable silence.

“Don’t you get it?” Red said to the blonde. “He’s trying to get us out
of here.” She yanked off the shirt of his she wore, popping a few
buttons off in the process, and pulled on her jeans and top.

“Oh yeah,” the blonde said. “I get it.” She bent to grab her dress
from the floor, and he couldn’t help but appreciate what he’d enjoyed
last night. She pulled her mini-dress over her perfect bubble butt.
“He’s doing a shitty job of it, though.”

Red snorted. “Asshole.”

“No, it’s not like that,” he said, but he was dancing a jig of relief
on the inside. “I had fun last night.”

“Yeah,” they said. “We bet.”

“Let me walk you two out.”

The blonde pushed past him, followed by the redhead.

Red tossed him an ugly sneer. “Don’t bother,” she said.

The two of them walked out together, slamming the door after them.
After they left, Rain looked down at his phone again. He smiled.

Carolina. They’d met in college and dated for a while, but Rain wasn’t
the serious relationship type. They’d stayed friends for a long time
and were sometimes more. Rain hadn’t heard from her a lot in the past
few months or so, but life got busy. He assumed they were both tied up
with things and hadn’t thought any more about it. Hopefully, this text
meant she was in town and wanted to get together.

He opened the text and read it. It said that he needed to call her
whenever he woke up because she had some huge news for him. He
grinned. She knew him so well. She never called before noon on the
weekends because she knew chances were he wouldn’t be conscious yet.

He pulled up her number and pressed the send button. A few moments
later, he heard her sexy, throaty voice. He could hear music and loud
voices in the background. It sounded like some sort of party was going
on.

“Rain!” Carolina said. “Oh, it’s so good to hear from you. How’ve you been?”

“Good. I’m glad you called. I miss you,” he said.

“Let me walk outside. We’re having something at Tia Rosa’s house and
these people are so loud. Hold on a minute,” she said, talking so
quickly that her words ran over one another the way she usually did.
He heard her moving around. When she stopped, it was quieter. “There.
That better?”

“Yeah,” he grinned. His grin faded. If she was at her Aunt Rosa’s,
that meant she was in Brooklyn. New York. Nowhere near D.C. But maybe
she was coming down to visit soon and wanted to make sure he would be
in town. He wouldn’t give up hope yet. “So what’s up?” He sat on the
corner of his desk. He scanned the room, continuing a visual search
for his watch, as he waited for her to answer. He couldn’t lose
another Piaget. Those things were pricy to replace. Not that he
couldn’t afford it, but he hated throwing money away.

“Gosh, it’s been so long since we talked,” Carolina said. “We have so
much catching up to do. Are you seeing anybody? Or you still breaking
hearts?”

He grinned. “You know me.”

She laughed. “Don’t I?” Her voice took on a faraway tone for a moment.
Before he could put his finger on what was strange about it, she
continued, “Anyway, how’s the job? How’s life? Come on, talk to me.”

“Everything is good.” Rain was a partner in a small venture capital
firm. He’d started the business with a couple of people he knew from
business school. He used to work with Skylar—he’d helped Skylar start
his company—but they made much better friends than they did business
partners. He’d left the business to save the friendship. Carolina had
heard plenty of his griping about that, though. “How are things with
you?” He was ready—more than ready—to get to the good part of this
conversation. “Coming to D.C. any time soon?”

“No, not really,” she said distantly. “So. Remember this guy I was
telling you about? Manny?”

“Sounds familiar,” Rain lied. “He a boyfriend?” He didn’t care to
learn anything her boyfriends. He saw them only as nameless, faceless
guys standing between him and good times with Carolina. The only
things he ever felt toward them were ambivalence or a vague sort of
jealousy.

“He was. Now he’s a fiancĂ©.”

“He’s a what?” Rain pulled the phone away from his ear, stared at it a
moment, and held it back to his ear.

Carolina squealed, and he held the phone away again. He put it back to
his ear again just in time to hear her say, “I’m getting married!”

“You are?” He couldn’t have been more shocked. “I’m so happy for you.”
He was pretty sure that was the right thing to say in this situation.

“Yes! January first. We’re starting off our New Year with our new
marriage. Isn’t that beautiful? It’s going to be in San Juan, Puerto
Rico.” She chattered on with more details—destination wedding, family
in Puerto Rico, blah, blah, blah. He didn’t catch most of it. He was
still busy trying to comprehend the fact that Carolina was getting
married.

She stopped talking, so he assumed he was supposed to say something.

“Oh. Great,” he said woodenly.

“Don’t you think it’ll be beautiful?”

“Yes.”

“You’ll love Manny.” Her tone of voice changed when she said the man’s
name. He’d never heard her say anyone’s name like that.

“I’m sure I will.” He was still on auto-pilot.

“My family adores him. He’s here now because Tia Rosa insisted on
throwing us an engagement party. I put it off for months, and I kept
trying to tell her we didn’t need one, but you know how that woman is.
I think she thought I would never get married. She is so excited. You
would think she’s the bride.” Carolina went on about her aunt.

Rain laughed in all the right places, but he couldn’t really
concentrate on her story about her aunt. He was trying to remember the
last time he’d seen her. What had they done? What had they talked
about? Suddenly, it seemed so important, but that last visit melted
into all the others in his mind. He’d had no idea it would be the last
time he’d see her while she was a single woman.

“I hope you don’t have plans for New Year’s already. I didn’t get
around to sending you one of those save-the-date cards,” she said. “I,
you know, things get busy.”

Hm. That sounded like the sort of lame excuse he might give her. “Nah,
nothing yet.” Rain wasn’t the type to make plans that far in advance
unless they were work-related plans. New Year’s was over two months
away.

“I know it’s a lot to ask for you to fly all the way to Puerto Rico
for my wedding, but it’d mean a lot to me if you were there,” she
said, her voice sounding a lot more solemn than it had been when she
was gushing about Manny a moment ago.

“Yeah, I mean, of course I want to be there. For you.” He still
couldn’t believe he was having this conversation. He was talking about
Carolina—his Carolina—getting married. How was that possible? She’d
never even mentioned anything about wanting to get married. And
weren’t they too young for this? They’d just graduated college. Wait.
Had it really been five years ago that they graduated?

“Okay, thank you so much! Give me your address so I can make sure I
have the right one. I need it for your invitation.

He rattled off his address while thinking that something felt out of
place about this whole thing. Something seemed really wrong. He
finished his conversation with her while still kind of zoning out and
not able to focus on what was being said. All he knew was the next
time he saw Carolina, it would be in Puerto Rico. And he would be
there to see her getting married to some other man.

No more Carolina? No, that couldn’t happen. Could it? All through
college when they’d been off and on, he’d never imagined this. In all
the times she’d visited him in D.C., he’d never imagined this. They’d
driven each other crazy in good and bad ways, and they’d driven each
other away, but they always somehow managed to come together again.
She’d teased him about this very thing sometimes, and sometimes the
words had taken on an angry tone: some day, you’re going to realize
you missed your chance. That’s going to be a bad day for you, she’d
said.

Carolina was a beautiful woman. There was no doubt about that. And
spending time with her was mind altering incredible. She was the only
one he’d found worthy of repeat sex since his only serious girlfriend
in high school—not that high school really counted. He remembered the
first time he’d seen her. Tight jeans over lovely hips, a tiny tank
top, and a smile a mile wide on her beautiful golden face. He’d felt
his lips tug into a matching smile almost of their own accord. Her
smile had always demanded a matching one from him. Always. Right from
the start.

He guessed he’d assumed they’d end up together. He should have had
plenty of time to get to that end, though. He wasn’t interested in
settling down yet. Other things were priorities right now—taking over
the telecom industry, seeing the world, just enjoying the single life.
Relationships and all that didn’t go with his brand of ambition, and
they didn’t seem like enjoying life to him. That sort of thing seemed
stifling. Like a trap. He’d seen it suck the life right out of friends
of his that had fallen prey to the marriage trap. Friends he rarely if
ever saw anymore. He wouldn’t mind putting that whole thing off for a
few more years. He needed more time.

But.

He didn’t have more time. He was getting closer and closer to losing
Carolina forever every moment. In fact, the date had been set for The
Loss. New Year’s Day.

He put his phone down on the desk and stared at it for a moment before
it hit him. It bothered him not because of jealousy. Or not only
because of it. It didn’t even bother him that she was getting married.
Not really. What bothered him the most was a combination of those
things.

Carolina was getting married, and he wasn’t going to be the groom.

“My God,” he said, shocked and horrified with the realization as it
entered his brain. “I think I’m in love with her.”

Yeah, he’d go to that wedding, but not to smile and nod and throw rice
at her and whoever this Manny jerk was.

He was going there to get his Carolina back.