Heat It Up by Stina Lindenblatt
Sofia Phillips feels cursed. Her father cheated on her mother, her boyfriend cheated on her—she’s done with dating. A summer work-exchange program in Finland is the perfect escape. But instead of gaining experience as an athletic trainer, she’s cleaning toilets. Awesome. The trip is a disaster, and even better, she meets Kyle Bennett. In the sauna. Naked.
Sexy hockey player Kyle was the star right wing for an NHL team. But after an accident killed his wife and left him injured, Kyle has appreciated the “therapeutic” benefits of booze and puck bunnies. Now in Finland for the summer, he’s coaching in an elite hockey-training camp for teens. When Sofia's grandmother decides to set her up with a nice Finnish man, Sofia recruits Kyle as her make-believe boyfriend. Neither expects their first kiss to sizzle. And neither expects, while stranded on an island during a storm, to have a scorching night of passion.
But as their charade, and then their attraction, develops into something deeper, the past comes back, threatening to destroy them. They must decide if their feelings for each other are strong enough to survive—or it will be game over.
What made you start writing books?
Ever since I was nine years old and became addicted to the Famous Five series (Edith Blyton), I’ve wanted to be an author. But it wasn’t until I became a stay-at-home mom that I finally went for the goal of becoming published. I used to want to write historical romance (even though I sucked at social studies and history), but I knew I wouldn’t be able to write in that style. At that point, the early Harry Potter books had gained popularity and I tried to write a middle grade book. Except my characters were more interested in romance and sex than they should have been for that age. So I switched the book to YA…and eventually I went on to write adult romances.
How much of you and/or your surroundings is a part of your stories? Is the influence based on a conscious decision, or do you periodically recognize yourself in one of your characters and it wasn’t planned?
I think there’s a little bit if me in all of my main characters, but it’s a different piece of me each time. Usually it’s not planned; it just happens that way.
What author/actor or musician do you ‘fangirl/fanboy’ over?
I’ve been fangirling over Jill Shalvis lately. I love her books. They’ve become my latest obsession.
As for actor, Sam Heughan. I mean, have you seen him in a kilt?
What genre is the most intimidating when you think about writing in it? Explain why!
Horror. I would love to be able to write it, but not everyone can write like Stephen King, Dean Koontz, or John Saul. It takes skill to scare readers.
What is the most touching reaction you have ever received from a fan?
One of my fans brought a delicious cupcake to the Romantic Times Convention last year and surprised me with it. It made my month (and the acknowledgement of This One Moment).
In your opinion, what is the most important feature a book needs to have?
Characters you can fall in love with—or at least love to hate.
What is the most difficult part of writing a book, (including the preparations and after-publication-process)?
Definitely promotion. I love coming up with the teasers and being creative when it comes to swag, but beyond that, I quickly grow bored of it. But how about we don’t tell my old manager that from when I used to be a pharmaceutical sales rep. lol
The other tough part is balancing my writing with my family. I’m a full time writer, but I don’t get eight hours a day to just write due to family obligations.
If you had the chance to influence the questions people ask you in interviews, what question is the most annoying and you would love to never hear again? What question would you really like to answer that you have not been asked yet, and what is your answer to that question?
The hardest questions I’ve been asked that often make me cringe are the ones about my favorite characters that I’ve written. That’s like asking a mother which of her kids is her favorite.
I would love to be asked about my top writing influences. For that I would say Kylie Scott, Jill Shalvis, Colleen Hoover (among many others). Each has an element about her writing that appeals to me, be it emotion, sexiness, humor.
Which of your characters seems to be the most independent, and has taken on a life of their own?
I would say all of them, but probably more so Mason Dell from the Pushing Limits series. While working on the second book of the series (My Song For You), his personality took a life of its own. Fortunately for him he gets his own book (I Need You Tonight), which releases May 2017.
What do you want tell your readers at the end of this interview?
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’ll never succeed at whatever you want to achieve. My high school guidance councelor told me not to think about university because I would never succeed there. I went on to prove him wrong. I have a Masters of Science in exercise physiology. The ultimate revenge. LOL It’s why I have ‘believe’ tattooed on my wrist.
Thank you, Jeri, for having me here on your blog!