It is no secret that I fell hard for a specific tattooed (albeit imaginary) bad boy a few weeks ago. I happened upon a book while searching for a new “rock star” romance to read, and found “Brian”. I quickly realized that he was not a musician (well, not as far as I know, anyway) however, he did have a knack for a particular instrument. A “rough around the edges” tattoo artist, leading the bad boy lifestyle, and yet, he had the heart of a hero. My fascination with Brian proved that I’m not necessarily just a “rock groupie”, but that I’m actually just a sucker for a story about a bad boy needing to be understood.
And understand him I did. It’s been a long time since I’ve connected so perfectly to a character, and this fact alone, had me seeking out his “creator”.
Maryse: Hi Cherrie!! Do you know what frenzy and “squee-fest” your “Brian” caused amongst my reading friends? Since I already can’t get enough, I wanted to know…
How many more books do you intend on writing for the “Unleashed/Rock Me series” (and does this series, as a whole, have a name?). Any hints on what’s coming?
Cherrie: The series doesn’t have an official name, mainly because when I wrote and published Unleashed, I never planned on giving Brian a book. It never even occurred to me to do so until after Unleashed was released and I was wondering what to do next.
It also never occurred to me to give Ghost and Macy a book until they got such a good reception after Rock Me’s release. So, basically, I’ve been winging it the whole way through! I just call it the Ross Siblings Series, but of course that won’t really apply to Ghost and Macy’s book–it’s more of a spin-off. The important thing to me is that they can all stand alone, but include enough of the other characters that it will hopefully entice readers to pick up their books, too.
After Ghost and Macy, I have some fun ideas for Gabriella, the lone Ross sister. And that will most likely be it for these guys. I also hope to write Brian and Candace a short free read, but it’ll have to come after Ghost and Macy’s book.
Maryse: I’m so glad there will be more! Are there any muses that helped inspire Evan, Brian and Ghost (either in personality or looks)?
Cherrie: I don’t have any muses that inspired their characters, but I have muses, all right. I get inspiration from a lot of different sources. I love bromance movies, which comes in handy when I’m writing scenes with the guys–sometimes I find that way more fun and less stressful than the romantic scenes. I think plenty of rock stars are hot, so that’s always helpful in spurring me to get back to writing my pierced, tatted up dudes. But as far as my characters looking or acting like anyone in particular, no, they are just themselves, at least in my head. I always love hearing readers’ ideas of who they look like.
Maryse: I get that. In this case, even for me, Brian doesn’t *match* a particular celebrity (as I’ve occasionally done with other characters in the past). Despite that, somehow I was able to make him up perfectly in my head. So… which brother do you relate to most?
Cherrie: Brian, totally. The music, the ink, the piercings (ohhh, the piercings)…*sigh*. Writing his book I was totally in love with him; could you tell? Evan is brilliant and gorgeous and awesome…but we wouldn’t have nearly as much in common. He’s someone who would intimidate the hell out of me! That said, I love both brothers dearly and, well, if I had both those guys standing in front of me vying for my affections, it really would be a hard choice.
Maryse: I could tell. That’s actually along the lines of what I told my friend Lily, when I recommended the book. When a book is this detailed, and paced this way, the reader can feel that the author really LOVES her characters. And because of this, Rock Me is one of my absolute favorite books of the year. But it is significantly different in feel from the first book in your series, “Unleashed” (which I also enjoyed). Considering how different the brothers are, this makes complete sense. Since your next book is about Ghost, the other tattoo artist (yay!), do you intend on turning this series into more of a bad boy/rocker feel?
Cherrie: I’m so glad it’s one of your favorites of the year! Awesome!
It’s more that I’m just going with it. I didn’t really intend on turning the series into this, since as I stated earlier I didn’t even plan on there being much of a series in the first place! Now that I’ve gone in this direction, I’m thinking there might be some expectation that Gabby’s man will also be a bad boy/rocker–and who knows, he just might. I haven’t really sat down yet to consider what she needs. It might be that she needs more of an Evan-type, and if that’s the case, that’s what she’ll get. Above all else, I’ll stay true to character and what will work best for him and her.
Maryse: Well, if her love interest was another “Brian” type, I’m sure we wouldn’t object All the turmoil, resistance and adjusting is so much fun! Brian felt so real as a character and captured so many readers hearts. He had the perfect mix of arrogant “bad boy” attitude along with his internal (and somewhat insecure) good guy. Nothing felt fake or contrived about him. While he had a little game playing persona going on at first, his emotional side was so raw… and real.
I even jokingly mentioned to my reader friends that he must be real, because you wrote him so perfectly (not in the “perfect” guy sense, but in the “real” guy sense). So is he? Real I mean?
Cherrie: Hehe. Is he real, and am I perchance married to him? LOL!
Brian is just more vivid in my head than any other hero I’ve written. I don’t know why. He’s the one who still keeps me up at night, coming up with scenes I should have included in his book, or scenes I could include in his upcoming free read, or funny scenes in Ghost and Macy’s book. I suppose if he came off that real in Rock Me, that’s the reason for it. He’s just more real to *me*.
But as far as him being real or based on someone I know personally, unfortunately that isn’t the case. But! One scene in his book is based on a real-life experience. Several years ago my friend and I went to a tattoo parlor to get piercings. I was getting my belly button done, she was getting a tongue ring. The guy who was piercing us was pretty hot, full ink sleeves, pierced–yowza. But I’m married so I was behaving (honest!). My very single friend, however, was flirting with him like crazy. She started looking through the books on the counter, going through the pictures of work they’d done. She came to the Prince Alberts. For some insane reason, she commented on one of them–I can’t even remember what she said. I wasn’t really looking (honest!), I just remember what he replied: “Yeah, that one’s me.”
Talk about two girls turning beet red and wanting to crawl under something. Later, after we left, of course we laughed like lunatics. I thought, I MUST use this someday. But I didn’t really want Brian to have a picture of his junk out for the world to see, so I just turned it into a little joke between him and Candace.
And I suppose that’s Brian’s only brush with reality.
Maryse: LOL!!! I love that little tidbit with the piercing pictures! I can imagine I would have had the same reaction in real life. And I’m so happy to hear that Brian is still active in your brain. Means more of him for us!
However, Candace was a point of contention for many readers. I understood where she was coming from and appreciated her need to be independent, but I struggled with what she put Brian through, while she tried to “find herself” (mind you, her indecisive character brought out Brian’s heart so beautifully, which made us love him that much more). How difficult was it for you to write her that way, and did you anticipate the readers would react so strongly to her?
Cherrie: When I was considering what type of heroine to give Brian, the exact phrase he uses in the book popped into my head. “A sheltered virgin princess.” I felt like Brian didn’t need someone like him. He needed someone to shake his world up. He needed a challenge, someone who made him want to fight and be a better person. I love the line at the end, where he talks about her being the eye to his hurricane. While it might not be apparent throughout the course of the book, that’s how I see their relationship going from now on–him being the whirlwind, her being the calm center holding him together. She’s changed a lot, and I think that’ll become apparent to everyone as they see their relationship progress in future stories.
It was actually very, very easy for me to write Candace–not because I’m ANY of those labels Brian and I put on her (lol), but there is so much of me in her, especially when I was around her age. Maybe I shouldn’t admit that since so many people had a problem with her, but there it is. I also knew as I was writing her that a lot of readers weren’t going to like her–though, funny enough, I worried more over everyone’s reception of Brian than over their reception of Candace. I was afraid people weren’t going to get him. Like, at all! But I still pressed on and told the story the way I wanted. It’s hard to see her take such a thrashing by some reviewers (because I read them all), but I can’t complain when I knew going in she wasn’t for everyone.
Maryse: Not like Brian!? Preposterous! Hehe. You wrote a winner there ;) And another “winner” was the Korn chapter, and the chapter after it – WOW. Those were some of my favorite moments, down to very last detail. You really seemed to put your heart and soul into bringing these characters to life. It’s as if I was there, amongst his friends, at the concert, seeing Brian and Candace reach a whole new level in their relationship. Can you tell me what it’s like to write something so personal,emotional and intimate and making it come to life, the way you did?
Cherrie: It’s pretty nerve-racking to write that stuff. You finally get it all out there, and you don’t know if you pulled it off or not. I wrote their “first time” scene three different times. First from his POV, then from hers, and finally deciding his worked better but needed rewriting. It was pretty grueling, actually–one of those moments when you want to find everyone who says writing is an easy job and tie them down and make them watch the sweat bead on your forehead as you work. And watch you damn near call family members by your characters’ names because you’re so entrenched in their story!
Other than those scenes, Brian and Candace flowed so easily. But writing the post-concert lovin’ was basically a matter of “write and pray.” I never like reading my own stuff but I *can’t* read those scenes now that they’re out there. Just can’t do it.
Maryse: Funny! You won’t read the scenes now that they exist, and we re-read them! I have recently discovered bad boy/rock star books, and I’m addicted! I was wondering if you intended on any future books or series in that genre?
Cherrie: I would love to. I usually don’t plan too far beyond what I’m working on at the moment, but these are the books I want to write, and I didn’t realize as I was writing Rock Me that, apparently, these are books that a lot of readers want. So I hope you’ll be seeing more of them from me!
Maryse: You’ve made my day with that bit of news! Do your books have a “sountrack”?
Cherrie: Absolutely! Each book has a playlist on my website. Music is a major, major influence in my writing. I’ll always list the songs that were in heavy rotation for each book I write. Some of them have lyrics that relate to the story or inspired me in some way; some of them are just songs I was obsessed with at the time of writing. I also add to the playlist from time to time if I hear something that fits. I listen to a lot of Korn when I write, which is probably obvious since there are Korn songs on every list. Not only are they my favorite band but I’ve never heard another vocalist who emotes like Jonathan Davis. Dude sings like his soul is being ripped out. It’s not pretty, and I *love* it. Really helps me dig down deep.
Maryse: Oh YES!! One of my favorite songs right now is that they did with Skrillex (Get Up). I love the sound so much, it just *reaches* me, and you’re right., he is quite intense. So it’s obvious I’m a HUGE rock fan, but I’m also a huge fan of the paranormal genre, and see you’ve ventured into that territory too. I can’t wait to read them! How difficult is it for you to go from writing about true-to-life humans, to angels and demons?
Cherrie: It’s more like, how difficult was it to go from writing angels and demons to real life humans? When I began to seek publication, I wanted to write paranormal. That’s what I set out to do. At first, that’s what I did. I have a ten-year-old mammoth vampire novel sitting on my hard drive right now! I never thought I could write a contemporary. Unleashed was actually my first crack at it, my first completed contemporary manuscript. I was surprised by how much I liked writing it, and by some miracle, it sold.
So it was fairly easy to switch gears back into the paranormal. I would definitely like to keep doing it from time to time. But I think (and my editor agrees) that hot contemporaries are where I should be right now.
Maryse: Well, you certainly seem to have a bit of magic for it For those who want to get started on your series, where can your books be found, and where can they find more information about you?
Cherrie: All of my books are available in electronic formats from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, direct from Samhain Publishing and other major distributors. Rock Me and Unleashed are also available in print. You can always find information about me, my books, release dates, etc. at http://www.cherrielynn.com, and find me hanging out on Twitter (@CherrieLynn) and Facebook (cherrielynnauthor). Or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll tell you whatever you need to know! I love hearing from readers!
Thank you so much for having me, Maryse!
Maryse: And thank you so much, Cherrie for joining us today, and letting us get a little more of a glimpse of the world that created Brian (and Evan, and all of the others that we love to love, and also get a little angry at After all, what’s a little anger and perturbation between friends… or readers and characters, right? Umm… is perturbation even a word? I may have been reaching, there )
Interested in the series? Yeah you are!!
- Barely Unleashed - the prequel – a free read!
- Unleashed - about his conservative, hottie brother, Evan)
- Rock Me (Brian’s story)