Many a romance reader knows Lucky Harbor, the fictional town where Jill Shalvis has set (thus far) nine novels. All good things must come to an end, however, and Ms. Shalivs has penned the last three love stories she plans to set there. The first of these, It’s In His Kiss, was released yesterday.
We are happy to have Jill here today. Not only is she answering questions, and sharing an excerpt, she’s giving away a Lucky Harbor novel of your choice to three AAR readers. To be entered in the drawing, just leave a comment below.
Excerpt from It’s in His Kiss:
From the outside, the warehouse hadn’t looked like much, but as she stepped into the vast doorway, she realized the inside was a wide-open space with floor-to-rafters windows nearly three stories high. It was lined with ladders and racks of stacked wood planks and tools. Centered in the space was a wood hull, looking like a piece of art.
As did the guy working on it. His shirt was damp and clinging to his every muscle as it bunched and flexed with his movements. It was all so beautiful and intriguing—the boat, the music, the man himself, right down to the corded veins on his forearms—that it was like being at the movies during the montage of scenes that always played to a sound track.
Then she realized she recognized the board shorts, or more accurately the really excellent butt, as she’d only moments before watched it walk away from her.
Though he couldn’t possibly have heard her over the hum of his power tool and the loud music, he turned to face her. And as she already knew, the view of him from the front was just as heart-stopping as it was from the back.
Dabney: It’s In His Kiss is the first of the last of the three books in your Lucky Harbor series, is it not? When you wrote the first, Simply Irresistible, did you ever think you’d write twelve books set in that small sweet coastal town?
Jill: No it was a wonderful surprise each time. I wrote the first three, the sisters who inherited a dilapidated falling off its axis inn, and got such a wonderful response from readers. My publisher asked for another trilogy. So I wrote the chocoholics, the three strangers stuck in a diner late one night with a terrible storm outside, eating the last thing in the diner — a chocolate cake —as they decided their lives sucked and needed fixing. Readers again responded so positively so we went for a third trilogy, and so on. So here we are at the last Lucky Harbor trilogy, with It’s in His Kiss, He’s So Fine, and One in a Million. We’ve got Sam, Cole, and Tanner, three sexy guys running a charter company. They’re best friends, brothers really, and I love nothing more than writing a good bro-mance… Whew. Twelve. Hard to believe…
Dabney: I remember reading that your daughters were the inspiration for the series. Can you tell us that story?
Jill: When I began brainstorming the sexy contemporary romance series about three estranged sisters who get stuck together running a dilapidated beach resort, I decided I was out of my mind. I don’t have sisters. I have a brother, and we like each other just fine. Then at the dinner table one very night, my three teenage heathens started bickering and fighting, and I just stared at them in awe and wonder.
I had my fodder! “Keep fighting,” I told them — much to their utter shock, since I’ve spent the past fifteen years begging them to get along.
After that night, it was a piece of cake to write the sisters — Maddie, Tara, and Chloe — their claws barely sheathed, with resentment and affection vying for space, stuck together in the small Washington State beach town of Lucky Harbor.
So then all that I had left to do was find the three sexy guys who could handle them. I’m a big romance reader as well an author, and for me, it’s always about the hero. It doesn’t matter what he looks like, or what he does for a living, or even who his family and friends are — it’s about his heart.
It just so happened that at the same time, my neighbor was having an addition put on her house. For six glorious weeks, there were a bunch of guys hanging off the roof and the walls, in perfect line of sight of my office.
Which is really my deck. It’s a wonder I got any work done at all. I sat in the sun and wrote while in the background cute, young, sweaty guys hammered, and sawed, and in general, made my day.
And on some days, they even took off their shirts. Those were my favorite days of all.
Jill: Oh boy. That’s a little like asking me to pick my favorite child. And the answer to that is always whoever is standing in front of me. So in that vein, I would pick It’s in His Kiss, He’s So Fine, and One in a Million.There’s just something about the bro-mance between the three guys, Sam, Cole and Tanner, that grabs me every time.
Dabney: One of my favorite characters in the series is Lance, a young man with cystic fibrosis. What made you write a character with cystic fibrosis? (I worry about Lance.)
Jill: Lance is inspired by a dear childhood friend. The real life Lance didn’t get his HEA so in my make believe world of Lucky Harbor you have no need to worry about Lance. He’s going to outlive them all.
Dabney: Your characters use technology just like, well, real people. I love that in It’s in His Kiss, Becca (the heroine) Googles Sam (the hero). The people in your book Tweet, follow Facebook, ogle hotties on Pinterest, use Craigslist, and are hip to Tumblr. Is there a new technology you haven’t used yet but you’d like to?
Jill: I’m afraid I love it all. It’s a terrible distraction and some days keeps me from writing, but then I remind myself it’s all research, right?
Dabney: The heroine of It’s in His Kiss writes advertising jingles. Where did that come from?
Jill: Two And A Half Men and About A Boy. Both of those jingle writers are men so I put a little spin on it and had it be my heroine who writes jingles. And not always so successfully as you’ll see in the book. It’s not easy to jingle toilet paper and, ahem, men’s performance enhancers.
Dabney: Sam, like all your heroes, is a man deeply protective of women. When he realizes Becca is easily spooked by small spaces and sudden movements (by men), he changes the way he moves around her, all in an effort to make sure she feels safe. (I love this about him.) Sam is never a jerk. Do you think you’d ever write a jerk hero? (If you have, I’ve missed it!)
Jill: No I won’t ever write an asshole alpha. That’s what you mean, right? I just can’t do it. I want an alpha but he’s gotta know when to alpha and when to back off and be tender and gentle…
Dabney: I’ve always admired your deft touch with “guy-speak.” Where do you do your research for that?
Jill: Well I am married to my research. My husband, known as Alpha Man, talks, walks, sleeps alpha-ness. It comes out of his pores and certainly out of his mouth. As do his friends and family. So they’re my favorite path of research, just listening and observing (and sometimes shaking my head because Good Lord, alphas can be annoying in real life!)
Dabney: What’s up for you once you’ve left Lucky Harbor?
Jill: Working on that right this very minute, in fact. First up, more from my Animal Magnetism series. Still the One hits 4/1/15. And then next summer I’m starting a new series that will involve some very alpha, very sexy brothers. More to come.
Dabney: Thanks again for talking with us.
Jill: My pleasure!
Dabney: Here’s the blurb for It’s in His Kiss:
Becca Thorpe has uprooted her life and escaped to the beach. Now’s her chance to get away from city living, throw caution to the ocean winds, and live in the moment. Especially if the moment includes the deliciously sexy surfer she meets shortly after arriving in Lucky Harbor. Something about the dark intensity of Sam’s eyes and the thrill she gets at his touch convinces her to stay awhile.
Boatbuilder and investment genius Sam Brody is a self-made man who knows how dangerous it can be to mix business and pleasure. But he can’t resist offering Becca a job just to hear her laugh and have her near. Yet when her brother comes to town asking for help, will he tempt her back to her glamorous life in the city? Or do Sam and little Lucky Harbor have a chance to win Becca’s heart?
THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.