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"Where did the inspiration for your latest release come from? "-  Author, Rebecca Norinne

I hope you're sitting down ... my latest release is about addiction! Shocker, I know.

The Row, which is my submission for the Just Breathe Anthology, is the story of two lost souls battling the mean streets of LA. Facing drugs, cops, death, and trying to carve out a little hope for the future.

Everyone's experience is different. With the Addicted Hearts Series, I showed one side. Kat and Chase were functional. They had families and jobs, a nice home to live in. They battled their demons in order to keep those things. 

In The Row, King and Trinity are addicts - period. Their whole lives and every choice they make is meant to serve that addiction. It's another take on how addiction ruins lives, not just your own but everyone around you. 

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"I see you have the purple ribbon on your cover. I take it this has a personal connection to your life. Care to share...?" - Author, Lauren Runow

 Without delving too far into my background, let's just say my interest in addiction comes from past experience - both mine and my loved ones. 

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 "Who was your favorite character to write?" - Author, Betty Shreffler

This one is so hard since I love all my characters! I guess I'd have to go with Kade. He was just so raw, so driven by testosterone, gritty and primal. There wasn't a lot of inner thought when it came to him, it was all action. It was really fun to channel that kind of aggression through my words. 

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 "What were you like as a teenager?" - Jackie V.

I was an outcast goth girl. Black clothes, black hair, big black boots - you know the type, I'm sure. ;)

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 "Who is your fantasy threesome?" - Rob W.

Oh, brother! Can they be fictional? I'm going to have to go with Liam F*cking Hayes from Between Lust & Tears by Dani Rene' and my Chase from Pretty Reckless. (yes, I picked my own character! I'm in deep smit with him!) Mmm.... 

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 "Are you coming to Texas anytime soon?" - Renee L.

HAHA. I wish! Honestly, I would love to visit Texas. My best friend lives in Austin and being able to spend a little time with her (as well as meeting an awesome loyal reader!) would be killer. 

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 "Do you see the characters in your head first, or do you happen to see a person (in person or online or in magazines) that comes as a muse for the characters?" - Misty.

Honestly, it's both! In addition to that, sometimes a character I've dreamt up in my head can be totally swayed by a real person. For example, in my most recent book, I had one clear picture of Chase in my head when I began writing, but the moment I laid eyes on Dawid Auguscik, I know I'd found my "Chase" for real.

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"What do you do, or how do leave the characters you loved in the last novel and then move on to develop and love the characters portrayed in the next story?" - Bobbi

It really depends. Sometimes, I'm happy to see the characters go. Take Kade for example. I loved Kade and Ainsley - their love story was epic - but by the time I reached the end, I KNEW it was the end. Their story just didn't have anything else. However, sometimes it is hard to say goodbye. After finishing Pretty Reckless, I had the most massive hangover ever. Kat and Chase wouldn't stop talking, even after I hit publish. I took a month a month to recoup and ended up starting part two of their story. 

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 "What is your dream destination and do you plan to make it the setting of one of your books? Is there a time of day when you are most productive and inspired to write? How do you sustain your creativity or what keeps you writing and creating stories?" - Regina  P.

This is a lot of questions! :)

I don't really have a dream destination, to be honest! Most of my books take place in NJ because it's where I'm from and what I know. So boring, I'm sorry lol. That being said, I have written my characters into places like Alabama, Texas and, most recently, California. 

I am the most productive in the morning after I've dropped the kids off at school. 

That's the magic question, isn't it? I have no idea how I sustain my creativity! lol Sometimes, the story just comes to me like a bolt of lightning and pours from my mind and out my fingers. Other times, I stare at the blinking cursor of death just waiting for it to steal my creative soul. It really all depends. I do find that reading has a way of getting the juices flowing when I'm feeling blocked. 

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"How long does it typically take you to finish a book and how do you feel when you're done with writing it??" - Nicole G.

That's honestly a really hard question to answer. I have a habit of "manuscript jumping". It's not unheard of for me to start a project then lose steam and start another. It usually leaves me with a surplus of beginnings with no ends in sight haha. I usually get to them eventually, but not concentrating on one singular work really lengthens the time it takes me to finish anything. That being said, if I had to guestimate, I'd say it would be roughly 3 months or so if I worked start to finish. 

A whole host of feelings takes over when I'm finally finished with my first draft. First, excitement. I can't want to get it out to my betas and get their feedback. (Sometimes I send it prematurely and have to pull it back and make changes! lol) Then once the dust settles on that, the fear sets in. Then the questions ... "What if they don't like it?" "Maybe I should have ended it differently." etc. 

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If you could date any one of your characters, who would it be and why? - K. Reese

 Oh, I LOVE this question! I want to date them all! HAHA.

Jameson Tate, because he's kind and considerate and will do anything for the woman he loves. It also helps that he's good with his hands ;) 

AJ Morello, because he's rough and tough but has such a sweet gooey center. He respects family values and has such a beautiful heart buried underneath his broody exterior. 

Kade Black, because HOLY COCK! HAHA 

Hank Lawless, because he's alpha and arrogant and would literally kill for the people he loves, but has such an amazing soul hidden inside his rock hard body.

And Chase, my sweet, sad, Chase. I think I might love him most of all. Chase is all heart, all the time. He's overcome so much, yet still stands true to himself. He roots for the underdog because he knows what it's like to be one. He's a rare find.

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How do you decide on a book cover, the idea for the look? - Cheryl N.

 Book cover design is actually tough for me. I do not have an eye for design whatsoever. I think I know what I want, but I really don't! I spend hours and hours looking at stock photography and images, trying to come up with something that fits my story. It's tedious and I hate doing it. So, with my last two covers, I gave my designer carte blanche to do anything she wanted. She read the stories (Pretty Reckless and Broken Lyric) then presented me with her design ideas and both were absolutely perfect! I'm really lucky that she and I work together so well. 

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What do you like most about writing? - Nuala

 The satisfaction of seeing my characters come to life. Witnessing their growth, their evolution as the story changes. I love putting them in crazy situations and seeing how they react. It's fascinating. 

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What inspired you to write The Addicted Hearts series? - Fiona

Kat and Chase were one of the first couples that came to me before I’d even started my writing career. Back then, it was just a crazy idea with not much of a plot line. Just two utterly broken people who found each other through their addictions. Not a very sexy theme, I realize. I threw down five chapters of Pretty Reckless (then called Punch Drunk) in one sitting two years ago, then walked away thinking it would silence them but, no matter how many books I wrote, Kat and Chase always resurfaced, always started chatting away in my ear asking me to write their story. I gave up, gave in. They needed to be heard.
Addiction may seem like a poor background to a romance novel, but Kat, Chase, Desiree, and the Andropoulos family poured onto the pages directly from my heart. They were modeled so closely after my own experiences that I found them difficult to write at times, I had to walk away to clear my head. Watching loved ones drink themselves into an early grave is something I’m far too familiar with. So many people I’ve cared about have lost their lives to drugs or alcohol, and it never gets easier. By the time I hit publish, I was strung out on my own words, the cracks in my heart oozing and festering for all to see. I left my soul clinging to the pages of that book. It was hard to write, and I was so happy when I finished, but the strangest thing happened. Kat and Chase wouldn’t go away.
When I wrote “The end” on Pretty Reckless, I swear I meant it. I hadn’t planned on continuing Kat and Chase’s story. The end was sweet and adorable and everyone cheered the victory that was their HEA, but it wasn’t finished. Not by a long shot. Chase had so much he still needed to say. Kat had so much growing left to do. They just weren’t done.
Anyone who’s read my stories will know that I’m set in reality. I don’t write a lot of unrealistic fluff or insta-love type scenarios. I thrive on the angst. I get off on the drama of real-life issues. Life hurts. That’s the sad truth. Addiction isn’t a one and done disease. It’s a daily battle that can easily get the best of you.

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"Did you hear about the housewife who writes at a tire dealership? Where do you find your quiet space to write?" - C. Royer

I do my best thinking in the shower. Those few lone moments of silence are where I come up with all the best plot twists and story ideas. As far as the actual writing goes, I do my best work first thing in the morning. After I've dropped off the kids, when I walk into a quiet house after the chaos of the morning, I take a deep breath and hit the keyboard. Unfortunately, at the current time, my desk is in a small nook of my kitchen, so I don't get much done when the family is home. 

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"How do you cope/respond/etc to low rates when it is a book you absolutely love or has gotten 4/5 star consistently?" - Tori P.

Great question, Tori! Honestly, I take all ratings/reviews with grace. Sure, I'd love if they were all 5-star raves, but I know that's just not reality. I can't please all of the people all of the time. I've been very lucky, however, that most readers have responded very well to my work thus far. I never respond to a reviewer, but I will read the review and consider what she did/didn't like and try to use that to help improve my work going forward.