**Welcome Xandra, so great to have you here with us. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Thank you for allowing me to visit! Right, I'm a multi-published, British author of paranormal and contemporary romance. I'm married with cats, and have been writing 'properly' (i.e. trying not to slack off and pry myself from the internet everyday to get word count!) for the last 3 years or so.
**Do real life events find their way into your stories?
Funny you should say that, because up until my last book – Dirty Tricks – I've have said not so much. But there's one particular scene in the book that's inspired by my husband. It's the scene in Chapter two where Cat scares Jay out of his sleep. Yes, this is inspired by a real life event, LOL. (and I've included it as an excerpt, below!)
**Do you ever mimic family members or people you know when you choose characters?
I find the best villains in books take aspects you dislike about the people around you. I've been inspired to write some real…nasty people in the past. And yes, all thanks to those I've come in contact with over the years, LOL.
**Do you find yourself going back to the same inspiration for each story or is it always something different?
I'm not a very visual person, but I have a picture of Hugh Jackman that I use for most of my heroes… I just change the appearance to suit the character and plot! But yes, there's always something different to be inspired by and I try to mix it up a little every time.
**When do you write? Early morning? During the day sometime or all day? After the kids go to bed?
I used to be a nightowl. My most creative was late at night or throughout the night. Now? I'm old, LOL. If I'm writing into the early morning, I'm dead for the whole of the next day. I prefer to get up early and work through the morning. After a cup of caffeine, of course.
**How do you feel about marketing your book?
It's a necessary evil. I dislike pushing my books on all and sundry and prefer just to put my head down and writer another one. Unfortunately, I have to attempt to be social!
**What social sites do you feel work best for marketing?
For marketing? Probably facebook. It has a much higher engagement ratio, in my experience. But my favourite social outlet is twitter because you can do as much or as little as you want and still give your followers bite size chunks of you.
**Do you like to pitch stories to your publisher or do you wait until you have written the story and have a final manuscript to turn in?
In the past I've always written the manuscript then submitted it. But I wouldn't be adverse to pitching then writing, although I am more of a punster so an outline may go a little awry!
**Is there any other genre that you would love to try writing? If so, what is it?
Horror romance. There's something about scaring the pee out of someone and still having a happily ever after that appeals to me! Or maybe I'm just odd…
**Do you always/ever see yourself as the heroine/hero when you write a story?
No, not really. I usually envision my heroine with a trait or two of mine, but apart from that they're totally unique.
**Just for fun, I have a few personal questions,
1) Favorite Male Actor - Hugh Jackman or Leonardo DiCaprio
2) Favorite vehicle – Ooh, an Aston Martin DB9
3) Favorite way to relax – Spending it with my hubby and cats. Having a laugh, with some nice food – bliss!
4) Favorite ice cream – I love a good, soft, creamy vanilla ice-cream. I don't think you can beat it.
5) Favorite outfit – Jeans and something. I love to be comfortable and would happily go everywhere in them if I could!
**And for a bonus: If you could pick any place in the world to live, besides where you are now, where would it be? (Of course, without the hindrance of jobs or money needed)
Venice is one of the most inspiring places I've ever visited so that would be up on my list of places. Also, I'd love to give somewhere metropolitan a go, too. Maybe Paris or New York.
Where can our readers find you??
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B006OKABMW
Is there an upcoming or current release you would like to share with us today and where can we find it?Dirty Tricks is my current release and it's a contemporary, romantic comedy novella. And you can currently get it Free at most vendors.
She wanted revenge. He wanted her.
Cat was desperate, but pretending to be a ghost to stop the renovation on the neighbouring manor house was a new low even for her. All she needed to do, though, was slow down the renovation and figure out a way to make the owner pay for stealing her family home years before. Simple.
Everything was perfect until a new guy arrived on site, turning her plans for revenge upside down, and her body to a puddle of lusty mush. But when she finds out the secret he's been keeping, will their attraction be strong enough to hold them together? Or will family ties tear them apart?
Warning: This story contains a large orange cat called Elvis, a fake ghost called Cat, a sizzling hot romance, and may cause you to crack a smile.
(Setting the scene - Cat wants to scare Jay the way she's been doing everyone else at the old Manor House… but she doesn't count on his reaction!)
Cat closed the small door firmly but quietly, and switched to a tiny peephole located next to the door so she could still keep an eye on him, and stay hidden from view. Cat grinned, almost laughing as she prepared herself for what she was about to do. She counted to three, took a deep breath in, and screamed as loud as she'd ever done in her life.
Jay shot out of his sleeping bag, momentarily getting his feet tangled in it’s confines, then he was out and sprinting in the direction of the bedroom door before she'd even been able to draw breath again. It was all she could do to clamp her jaw shut to stop from laughing out loud. He flung open the bedroom door, then he stopped dead. Turning to look back at where he'd come from, his eyes were frantic and his face white.
Cat almost felt sorry for him. Almost.
"I know it was you." His voice was shaky and she muffled her laugh again. Jay coughed and she watched as he clenched and unclenched his fists about ten times. "You caught me unawares, very funny." He took a couple of steadying breaths.
"I'm going over to your house. If I don't find you, I'll be calling the police." Now that made her quit laughing. He wouldn't dare, would he? She watched him closely as he peered around the room, checking behind the door.
Cat scrambled away from the peephole and down the tunnel whilst she had the chance. Knowing the place like the back of her hand, she took the steps down to the ground floor two at a time, the damp smelling stone walls barely registering. Cat didn't even make a sound as she ran smack-dab into a cluster of webs, resisting the urge to squeal at possible spiders clinging to her hair. His footsteps pounded against the wood above her as he ran down the stairs and she knew he was gaining ground. Damn it.
The last leg of the tunnel was pure damp blackness at this time of night, and she had to force herself to keep moving forward as quickly as she could. Her hands grazed the rough, stone sides as she run fast, not slowing until she saw the small opening. Pushing through, she found herself in front of the old oak tree in the garden.
Looking around, she was still alone. She climbed through the small, broken fence and into her garden. Cat had barely shut her back door and picked up Elvis, who was yowling for food while clawing at the kitchen cupboard, when the banging started at her front door.
"Shit," she said, frightening the cat. He dropped from her arms and scarpered up the curtain to perch precariously on the lounge door, watching her with wide eyes.
Cat tried slowing her rapid breath for a moment. She was wrecked and proclaimed herself too old to be running. Her legs felt like jelly and the intense pinching pain in her side made her want to curl up in a heap on the floor and die. Instead, she switched on the hallway light, illuminating the long narrow throughway. Cat ran her shaky hands down her old vest and shorts, rubbing off small particles of house dust and grime she'd accumulated in her trek. Finally, she stepped to the front door and opened it.
His hands gripped the door frame and his large physique filled the doorway. He was livid. Two splotches of red sat high on his cheeks and his t-shirt clung to his chest. Cat's eyes lingered a moment too long on that chest before she remembered her manners and made herself look up into his face.
"I suppose you think this is funny?"
Cat caught the aroma of his aftershave and tried to dampen down her unwanted excitement. "I don't know what you mean."
"Like hell, lady." Jay pushed his hair back away from his face. Beads of sweat gathered at his temple. "I know what you've been doing. And it's stops. Now."
"As I said, Mr., call me Jay, I don't know what you're talking about. Now if you'll leave, it's very late." Cat tried to push at the door, but Jay held his hand against it to stop its progress and pushed back, stepping inside the house, and glaring down at her from over six feet to her five foot four inches. The perspiration that had started with her running, now felt like a river down her spine and the valley between her breasts.
His face relaxed and his blue eyes, once dancing with ice, were now the colour of the Caribbean sea. It made her uncomfortable and she stepped back slightly, completely aware of how sexually attracted she was to him, despite the situation.
"So how come," Jay bent down towards her face, his lips mere inches from hers, "You've got more spider guts in your hair than any sane woman should have?"
Cat's eyes widened. She did the spider dance; running on the spot, shaking her head, and altogether embarrassing herself. She couldn't help it after, psychologically or not, feeling her scalp crawl.
A smug smile flashed back at her after bearing witness to her mini spider seizure.
"I'm still denying it," Cat grumbled, knowing she'd been had.
"Yeah." His arms were around her waist in seconds and his lips found hers in a crushing kiss that made her knees wobble.
His tongue zoned in on its target and zapped her mind clean of any thought. Before her brain started working again, she was kissing him back. Man, she'd been too long without a man. Strong arms held her against him and she definitely wasn't resisting.
If her legs felt like jelly before, they were positively mush now.
Her fingers crept into his dirty blonde hair, the silkiness making her shiver in delight. Pushing herself against him, she couldn't quite get as close as her body commanded. They were both breathing heavy as her hands finally found the hem of his t-shirt and lifted. She didn't stop, taking it all the way over his head.
Cat realised that shirtless he was sensational. She would’ve given thanks to the god of pecs if she didn't want to chew on him so bad it hurt. Her hands explored his chest and his mouth kept on devouring her own.
She didn't want it to end—ever. His touch was bliss, his hard body divine, and those eyes? She could lose herself forever and never want to escape.
Jay lifted her legs to hug his waist and she barely wasted a moment in thinking she shouldn't have eaten those extra three Oreo cookies. He was hard against her and she was totally ready for him.
He had her pushed against her hallway wall, his hands exploring her breasts under her t-shirt, his tongue doing amazing things to her neck when he stopped.
It took Cat a few moments to notice that everything had halted as she was so far into him. And then he was gently pulling her top down and lowering her to the floor.
He grabbed his t-shirt and hesitated at the still open doorway. "Quit trespassing," he said softly, not looking around at her, before stepping out into the night and disappearing down her driveway.
Catching her breath and straightening her mussed up hair, she willed her wayward heart to slow down.
Well, shit. That definitely wasn't part of the plan.