Most times when I inform an author I've reviewed one of their titles here at Budden Book Reviews, they get back to me within a few days. Sometimes we correspond and, later, become friends; other times, it's a one time message and thank you note and we go on our merry way.
With Vicki Crum, I was amused a couple of months ago when she touched base, thanking me for the lovely review I posted of her title, Loving Luc - over a year earlier! Of course, I had to search my memory banks because I've read and reviewed so many books and only a few make it to my personal finish line, being granted a spot at Budden Book Reviews.
Lo, and behold, I realized Vicki had responded to my initial message. We both shared a laugh.
I am pleased to present to you a wonderful woman and author who meets new heroes to fall in love with all the time. Come along and hear what Vicki has to say about the subject.
Maggie McAllister’s short, troubled marriage ended in tragedy the night her husband splintered his sailboat on a submerged reef. Remnants of David’s bloody clothing were found in the wreck, but his body was never recovered.
Now, six months later, Maggie has come to terms with her shock and grief, but guilt over the contentious state her marriage was in at the end still haunts her.
When a beguiling stranger from David’s past shows up on her doorstep, then manages to insinuate himself into her life, Maggie is forced to deal with an intense, unwanted attraction to the man, and worse, she can’t shake the feeling Luc is hiding something, that he knows a lot more about David’s fate than he’s willing to admit.
Despite Maggie’s best effort to remain indifferent to Luc, she finds herself falling in love with him. Little does she know that the very act of loving Luc sets Maggie up as a pawn in a battle between good and evil - a battle being waged by entities from another world - with Maggie as the ultimate prize.
Casey Montgomery’s lifelong addiction to “bad boys” has brought her nothing but heartache. Just as she swears off alpha males forever, a brief, torrid encounter with one of the hottest, Harley-riding, leather-jacketed hunks she’s ever seen leaves her reeling - and worse, jeopardizes her carefully laid plans to meet and fall in love with a nice, dependable nerd.
Jake Benedict has been around the block enough times to recognize his mate when he meets her, a gorgeous werewolf with a case of latent genes who doesn’t have a clue about her true identity. Jake is just the were to teach Casey about her ancient heritage and coax her feral side into revealing itself.
While Casey can’t resist the intense physical attraction she feels for Jake, she’s determined to freeze him out emotionally. Can Jake break through Casey’s defenses and prove to her once and for all that he’s one bad boy who’s playing for keeps?
Reed Montgomery’s life is perfect. With a flourishing business, a condo by the sea, and a social calendar any red-blooded bachelor would envy, he can’t imagine anything that could make him happier—until Marin Sawyer walks into his office in search of investment advice. He’s immediately smitten with the dark-haired beauty, and determined to have her at any cost.
A serious relationship isn’t on Marin’s radar right now, but a fling with a handsome man like Reed might be the perfect way to let off a little steam. The charming and oh-so-sexy human is impossible to resist, but when Marin settles down with a permanent mate it will be with a werewolf, like herself. Her father, the powerful Alpha of their pack has decreed it should be so and Marin is nothing if not the dutiful daughter.
But things get complicated when Reed starts playing for keeps. Suddenly he’s making plans for the future, plans that include Marin—until he discovers the devastating secret she’s been hiding. Can Reed overcome what he sees as the ultimate betrayal? Will he fight to keep the gorgeous werewolf for himself—or forfeit the only woman to ever succeed in capturing his heart?
Like so many other romance authors, I suffer from what I call the “falling in love with my hero” syndrome. Since the stories I write revolve around…well, romance and a whole lot of it, my vision for these stories often begins with an enticing view of who my main protagonists will be. My books tend to be more character-driven than plot-driven, so my characters are very important to me. Over the course of writing the book, they become almost like family members in that what they do and say, the events that occur to shape their lives, affects me on a highly emotional level. And the hope is that my readers will be affected on a similar level.
Most often, my main protagonist, the one we meet first in the story, is the female. I start by crafting the plot around her, then I introduce “he who shall become the love of her life…her happily ever after”. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. In my current werewolf series, the first book, Once in a Blue Moon, begins with the female protagonist because the story essentially belongs to her. In the second book, Casey’s brother, Reed, is the main protagonist. I was determined to create a love story just for him. I’m writing the third book now, and it also begins and ends in the hero’s point of view.
I find it both interesting and enlightening to write from the male perspective, and also rather freeing, in a way. While I love my female characters and need to identify with them in whatever stage they happen to be at in their lives, it’s definitely the most fun—and the most challenging—to create appealing and endearing heroes. Of course, they come with various physical attributes, their own strengths, weaknesses, personal talents and occupations but, deep inside, where character truly counts, my heroes have a lot in common.
It’s all too easy to fall for a gorgeous hunk with big strong shoulders, a pair of smoldering bedroom eyes and a macho swagger, but if that delicious outer layering doesn’t support a heart of gold and some pretty strong ethical qualities, that man isn’t likely to hold our affections for long.
My very favorite hero is one with a bit of mystery surrounding him…a little something extra to tantalize the senses. Like, oh I don’t know…like maybe his hidden werewolf heritage? Maybe he’s a vampire, a demon hunter, or comes from a planet far away in another solar system, like Luc, the hero in my first book. Maybe he’s CIA, an undercover cop or Black Ops. Maybe he’s suffered a great tragedy in his life, or has a terrible secret he’s trying to outrun. What female doesn’t relish the idea of “fixing” her man, of being the one woman in all the world who can soothe his troubled soul and heal his wounds, whatever they may be?
I think that’s one of the most appealing things about romance novels. The sky is the limit as far as letting your fantasies run wild. You can fall in love over and over and over again without ever having to leave the safety of home, give up your actual beloved spouse, or do any of the really hard work it takes to make a relationship succeed. It’s an adventure, an escape into an alternate reality and if I, the author, am doing my job, you’ll get so caught up in the fantasy you’ll feel like you’re right there in the thick of things, experiencing everything along with the heroine. You can be the damsel in distress, the counter-spy, a vampire slayer or the fairy queen—about to fall madly in love with the dreamy hero, who’s going to help you save the day, or the ranch…or the universe.
I’ve fallen in love with every hero I’ve ever written. And not just for a strong chin, a stunning pair of baby blues, his heady skills as a lover or a chiseled set of six-pack abs. Not that any of those characteristics hurt, mind you, but my affections are just as likely to stem from his valor, great sense of humor, integrity in business and kindness to others. Oh, and let’s not forget his irritating and endearing flaws. Any hero worth his salt has to have a few of those.
Immersing oneself in a good book is always a grand adventure, and the same is true for writing one. I can travel the world and visit amazing places, learn a new skill, recover stolen artwork, or shape-shift into my alter ego and run wild and free across the land. And you know what’s best of all? I’ll have my own personal hero to share it with!
If you’d like to check out one of my very favorite heroes, Once in a Blue Moon, is on sale through April, 2017, for $.99 on Amazon.
Vicki Crum writes contemporary and paranormal romance, creating tales full of love and laughter and discovering one’s soul mate in the most unlikely places.
Her published works include Loving Luc, a contemporary romance with futuristic elements, as well as the first two books in her sexy, light-hearted werewolf series, Once in a Blue Moon and Moonspell.
Vicki resides with her husband in a charming seaside community in Southern California. She has two grown daughters and two adorable grandchildren who light up her world.
You can find Vicki in several places across the web.
Also, you can e-mail her at any time; she would love to hear from you.
To date, Budden Book Reviews has published one review featuring a book Vicki Crum has published. You can read it by clicking the link below:
I love hearing what readers value most, what really makes them fall in love! What kinds of qualities does your ideal man have?