Happy “Taken by Storm” release day!!! I’m having a MEGA-release giveaway (FIFTY e-books provided by the publisher – Forever Romance – to 50 winners!!!) plus an awesome look into Kelli Maine’s her alpha male heroes in her sexy (and a bit scary) series, her choice of writing style for book #1, and what’s coming next!
About “Taken By Storm”
Maddie Simcoe knows the devastation that comes from keeping secrets. Now she’s desperate to move on from the heartbreak that almost destroyed her. But before she can start over, she must return home to put the past behind her once and for all. When Maddie blows back into MJ Rocha’s life, nothing will stop him from proving to that walking away from him was the biggest mistake of her life—not even the engagement ring she wears. The fire that once raged between them still burns hot, and MJ won’t give up until Maddie gives in to the inferno.
Maryse: I was hooked immediately upon starting your book, Taken (Book Review). It has that taboo-ish “Stockholm Syndrome” thing I love to read about, along with the sexy tortured billionaire genre that has taken readers by storm. <– LOL! Wow I didn’t even intend on that but i’m keepin’ it. . Can you tell me what inspired you to write this story?
Kelli: I had a novel, my first ever written, lingering on my laptop that I’d always planned to revise. I took one scene from that manuscript – a kidnapping scene – and the two main characters, Rachael and Merrick, and started writing Taken. I wanted it to be more about a man and a woman overcoming trust issues due to Merrick, this flawed man who, because of his past, has no idea how to have a relationship, and Rachael who never takes what she wants or needs. The kidnapping is the inciting incident, but at its heart, Taken is a story of learning to trust and love when your destiny is in the hands of another person.
Maryse: Were you concerned about reader reaction over potentially falling in love with, essentially… the “bad guy”?
Kelli: You know, I didn’t really think about reader reaction. I wrote a book and characters I love and put it out there without expectations. But, I think we all fall for the fictional bad guys. It’s safe when these hot, controlling men stay confined to their pages and our fantasies. In real life, we’d stay far, far away from most of our fictional heart throbs!
Maryse: Yes!! Agreed. I’ve been known to have a soft spot for the book bad guy. Did you know where you were taking the story all along, or were there surprises along the way?
Kelli: There were definitely surprises along the way. It’s rare that I outline and know all the details ahead of time. I have an idea of where I want the middle and end to be, but how I get there is typically a mystery until I’m there writing it.
Maryse: What about Merrick’s suggestion to Rachael to get her more comfortable with him that ended up… making her very upset. Tell us about that. Many intense reader reactions over that one!
Kelli: What I wanted to show with that scene is Merrick’s struggle with changing, how he continued to do desperate—normally stupid and misguided—things without thinking them through. He knows what he wants and will have it one way or another. He doesn’t take no for an answer. Rachael had a choice at that point. Turn back and accept that you can’t change people, or stay and try to work through Merrick’s flaws.
What I love most about writing Merrick is that he’s not the typical alpha male. Some would say he’s not an alpha male, but I would argue that it takes a lot of strength for a man who is used to being powerful and getting his way to give all control over to the woman he’s trying to make his and owning up to the mistakes he’s made to earn her trust. It takes a lot of courage to make yourself vulnerable to another person.
Maryse: The POV narration is quite different. What inspired you to write it like this?
Kelli: After reading Lucy Christopher’s award-winning, young adult novel, STOLEN, I knew I wanted to try it. STOLEN, because of the use of second person POV was addicting to me. It had a cadence and flow that was hypnotic. Written like a letter, the narration pulled me deeper into the story—placed me in the story—and I loved it and decided I wanted to use second person in Taken. (Note: Taken by Storm is written in third person for anyone who isn’t a fan of second person point of view! The “MJ” novels will all be in third.)
Maryse: Oh yessss, I recognized that, and I LOVED STOLEN! I did enjoy that “letter” feel as the main character takes us on her journey. While Taken ended nicely and had a “complete” feel, your short story after it… left your readers desperately hanging. Sneaky!! Did you intend to follow up the first book with an evil cliffhanger?
Kelli: I knew when I ended Taken that Rachael and Merrick’s story wasn’t over. I had a million questions and sat down and wrote No Takebacks. I didn’t plan to have it end on a cliffhanger, but Merrick did what Merrick does best, and left me uncertain of what was going to happen next as well!
Maryse: LOL!! Ahhhh ok, cliffhanger forgiven considering the next installment is out today. Tell us what we can expect in your upcoming book, “Taken by Storm“. I know this is MJ’s story (very excited to see what kind of man he is in comparison to Merrick), but will Merrick and Rachael (and their current situation) make an appearance?
Kelli: Yes, Merrick and Rachael are in the entire book. With the way No Takebacks ended, I wanted to shift into MJ’s head to introduce his character and show what happens next from his POV. This part of the story and Merrick’s reaction to learning about MJ has a big impact on MJ that was impossible to convey through another character’s POV. So, this is the second novel in the series, but it also serves as the first in what will eventually be a series with MJ—you’ll find out in the end of Taken by Storm what the future may hold for him and Maddie, his ex-girlfriend who shows back up in the first chapter of Taken by Storm right when his world has been shaken by Merrick. Taken by Storm is also told in Maddie’s POV, because she has a big secret that tore her and MJ apart. Her secret is also a huge reveal to Merrick’s past.
Maryse: I love surprise reveals!
Dream cast of characters?
Kelli: There are several different actors who would be great for any of these characters, but this is, visually, what they look like in my mind.
- Merrick Rocha – Joe Manganiello
- Rachael DeSalvo – Rachel McAdams
- MJ Rocha – Tyler Posey
- Maddie Simcoe – Alexandra Daddario
- Beck Tanner – Chris Hemsworth
- Joan Bennett – Scarlett Johansson
- Enzo Rocha – Robert Downey Jr.
Maryse: Ah yes… I heard Joe was your Merrick. Nice choice! Any absolute favorites that you’d like to recommend?
Kelli: I have so many favorites in the adult romance genre that it’s impossible to list them all. Because I write YA under my real name, Jamie Blair, I’m going to list a few of my favorites in that genre instead.
- Stolen by Lucy Christopher
- Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
- Perfect Chemistry series by Simone Elkeles
- Anything John Green and Markus Zusak write!
Okay, one adult romance series – it’s historical, and I rarely read historical, but nobody should miss out on Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. AMAZING! Jamie Fraser is my ultimate, hot alpha male fantasy!
Maryse: I LOVE Jamie. What an infuriating, swoon worthy man! What’s next for Kelli Maine?
Kelli: Next up is Take Me Back, June 4th, another novella in the Give & Take series. We’re back to Rachael’s POV and this one has a paranormal vibe! To round out Rachael and Merrick’s part of the series, there will be GIVEN and another, untitled novella. Then, before moving on to more MJ novels, I will be writing a novel for Beck, because he’s hot and plays the cello and puts up with Joan, so it’s the least I can do for him. I love all of these characters and plan to spend a long time with them.
Maryse: Thank you so much, Kelli. I can’t wait to read MJ’s story.
—-> Check out the series reading order
Wanna know more about Kelli?
- Kelli Maine’s website: http://kellimaine.blogspot.com
- Kelli Maine’s Twitter: @KelliMaine
- Kelli Maine’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kellimainebooks
Now for the giveaway!!!
How to enter for a chance to win a “Taken By Storm” ebook? Just leave a comment below, and by Wednesday (Wednesday, May 8th 2013) by 11pm EST, I will randomly select fifty winners.
The winners will be contacted and will have 48hrs to respond confirming that their email address works, so if you are picked, do not delay or you will lose your chance. This is a giveaway direct though the publisher via NetGalley and the winners will receive non-expiring widget of the book. This is a open to US and Canada only!