Welcome to Sugarbeat’s Books – The Home of the Romance Novel!
Today we are welcoming Olivia Ventura to the blog to answer some questions and let us know about her book Miss Fix-It. She sent me a copy of her book to read and review. You can come back tomorrow to read my review, but I thought it was pretty cute….read more tomorrow!
Barb – Tell us a bit about yourself and your reading.
Olivia – I don’t remember a time before books! I started reading early, and devoured everything I could get my hands on. When I was about ten years old, my parents discovered that sending me to my room for bad behavior wasn’t a punishment—all my books were there. Instead, they restricted my reading time. With typical childhood drama, I remember declaring that if I could only read for a half hour a day, my life was over!
I started reading romances when I was about twelve. By then I’d gone through everything I could get my hands on in Science Fiction and Fantasy, and dabbled in Crime. One of my friends, very precocious, had a copy of You belong to me by Johanna Lindsey. We were having our Christmas gathering, and I was listening to everyone with half an ear while I paged through my first “real” romance. After that, I came up with a million different ways to sneak romance novels into my life.
Barb – Tell us about Miss Fix-it
Olivia – Miss Fix-It stars Veronica (always Vee, never Ronnie) an outgoing, girly, funky and fashionable woman. She has regular manicures, fabulous clothes, a shoe fetish, and a love affair with the color pink. And she’s a handyman—woman—person—I always get stuck with this word!
She’s on a job when her client’s husband gets frisky, and because Vee is soooo not into adultery, she threatens him with her (pink) hammer to make him back off. Next thing you know, she’s at the local police station, being questioned about the ‘attempted assault’.
Her questioner, sexy detective Cole Samuels, isn’t sure what to make of her, especially when she demands her right to a room with one-way glass. There are sparks between them from the beginning, just not necessarily romantic ones! Still, things heat up pretty quickly, and they’re well and truly into each other when the threatening notes start coming…
Barb – Were there any challenges in getting this book published?
Olivia – I think there are always challenges for a first-time author, especially if you don’t have a good support group and critique partner. I entered a lot of contests, and finaled in about half. I got a lot of great feedback that way, and it made Miss Fix-It a better story.
The hardest part is keeping positive when you get rejections. Miss Fix-It was rejected about a dozen times before it was accepted, and that definitely got me down. Perseverance is not just a word—it’s a state of mind.
Barb – Did you have support at the beginning and/or during your writing?
Olivia – My family is wonderful, even if Dad keeps telling me to write a “real” book, like David Baldacci. Still, since I started dabbling as a writer in my teens, they’ve always encouraged me. And Dad brags about Miss Fix-It to all his work colleagues, so I know he’s proud of me.
I’ve also been incredibly lucky with the support I get at RWA Online. I live in Australia, and it’s easy to feel cut off from the romance industry here. I know I can always get support and encouragement just by hopping on the boards.
Barb – What do you love about writing?
Olivia – Creating. I love telling stories, but when you make things up in real life, people don’t understand. What for me is a story, a snippet of action, is seen by society as fibs. Writing it down, developing those snippets, gives me an outlet for those “fibs” that doesn’t upset the people around me.
Barb – What’s the hardest part of writing a book?
Olivia – Sitting down and writing it. I’m a champion procrastinator. Once I actually get started I’m okay, but getting started is the hard part.
Barb – What is your favorite scene from Miss Fix-It?
Olivia – If I had to choose one, I’d say the scene where Vee takes Cole shopping for his niece’s birthday present. Cole is horrified—and perhaps even terrified—by Barbie dolls and accessories, especially the full sized Barbie furniture. To quote him, “How can there be so much crap for one doll?”, “How many houses can this chick have?” and, upon seeing the price tags, “Did you see that?” he exclaimed. “And it was just for the house! You have to buy all the little furniture separately!”
Barb – Who is your favorite character in your new release?
Olivia – In Inter-Office Relations, my upcoming release with The Wild Rose Press written as Louisa Masters, I have to admit Tim is my favorite. He’s (loosely) based on a guy I had a crush on while I was writing the story, and every time I read it, I get those crush-tingles again.
Barb – Do you see yourself in any of your characters?
Olivia – Bits and pieces. Vee loves online shopping, and I’m absolutely addicted to it. One of her favorite movies is The Princess Bride, and it’s on my top five list. Jeannie from Inter-Office Relations has a bitch-boss, and I had the same problem a few years ago. Karen, the heroine of One Night in a Bar, which is being shopped around now, has problems letting go of her inhibitions. I’m over that now, but it was something I used to struggle with.
Barb – Where do you get your inspiration?
Olivia – Everywhere. Miss Fix-It was born when I had to have a tradesman come and repair something, I don’t even remember what, and his attitude drove me crazy. He all but patted me on the head when I told him what the problem was, then spent twenty minutes establishing what I’d just told him—which he charged me for. Just because I don’t have the specific skills required to make the repair does not mean I’m too dumb to see what needs to be done! I was convinced that a woman wouldn’t have been so pigheaded (sexist of me, I know).
With Inter-Office Relations, I’d been watching two people at work flirting, and wondered what would happen if one of them seized the initiative and dragged the other off to somewhere private…like the conference room. Tim and Jeannie grew from that.
One Night in a Bar started with a concept. An almost-seedy bar, a conservative woman feeling sorry for herself, a dark, sexy man…
Barb – What’s your favorite all time book?
Olivia – I couldn’t choose. There are a few I’ll always go back to: Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Cruisie, The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss, Taming Rafe by Suzanne Enoch. The Chesapeake Bay series by Nora Roberts. These are the books I read when I need a pick-me-up.
Barb – Where can your fans find you ?
Barb – Where can readers find your books?
Olivia – Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Fictionwise, BooksonBoard. A full list of retailers is available at my website.
Barb – What’s your next project?
Olivia – I’m just finishing up Catch a Shooting Star, about social misfit Jessamy James, who pays the bills with a cleaning job so she can do what she really loves: tell stories to children. She meets NFL superstar Nathan Powell when she cleans his house. He’s intrigued by her reclusive attitude, and she’s drawn to his open personality and lack of defensive walls. It doesn’t take long for attraction to set in, and for a relationship to blossom.
When Nathan is accused of dealing drugs, Jess is caught up in the media storm and finds her own vocation slipping through her fingers. They struggle together to clear his name and rescue both their careers.
I’m also shopping One Night in a Bar, an erotic novella by Louisa Masters. Karen comes home unexpectedly to find her boyfriend cheating on her with her (male) boss, and another man. Can she really be blamed for pulling out the mace when they invite her to join in?
She mourns the loss of her job at a bar, gets a little tipsy…and somehow, she ends up having sex in an alley with tall, dark, and sexy Daniel. Something she’s never done before. Good thing they’ll never see each other again, right?
One month into a new job, she lands a fabulous new client, world-renowned sculptor Crogan. Except, Daniel Crogan turns out to be her one-hour stand. And professionalism is the last thing on his mind.
Barb – Anything more to add ?
Olivia – Thanks for having me, Barb! I love sharing with people who “get” romance.
Veronica, a self confessed girly-girl, often finds herself labeled a bimbo–and just doesn’t care. An ex-economist turned handy-person, Vee is not afraid to be female, period. If it happens to be in a male-dominated
industry, well – so what?
When Vee threatens a client with a hammer to ward off his wandering hands, she finds herself at the local police station facing charges of assault. There she meets Detective Cole Samuels, and the sparks thro
wn off by their mutual animosity soon become combustive. They quickly become involved in a hot and heavy relationship, leaping one hurdle after another, including Cole’s emotionally destitute mother and Vee’s deep-seated fear of being cheated on. Things finally seem to be working out when Vee’s workplace is vandalized, a message left…and suddenly that crank call and the near-miss with the crazy driver don’t seem to be harmless incidents any more. Vee’s stalker rapidly escalates in violence, leaving Cole determined to find him before Vee gets hurt….