Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Chat With Out Of Eden Author, Beth Ciotta

I have the pleasure of welcoming Beth Ciotta to Over Coffee. Beth let me ask her a bazillion questions which I will share with you.

Imprint / Series:
HQN
Publication Date:
Apr 2010
Paperback
Contemporary Romance


Back Cover Blurb:


  • Sometimes paradise isn't all it's cracked up to be.
That's what I, Kylie McGraw, have discovered since sacrificing my dreams of traveling the world to run the family shoe store. But if I have my way, peaceful Eden, Indiana, is in for a major shake-up….

It all began on my birthday, when I got drunk and disorderly all over Eden's hunky new police chief (and my former high school crush), Jack Reynolds. Then I may have, in my Cosmo haze, witnessed a murder in progress. Now I'm almost certain I'm being stalked by the mob, while he-of-the-distracting-abs Jack continues to think I'm nuts. However, there comes a time when a girl has to kick off her sensible shoes (size 7, cushion insoles) and go after what she wants. So if I can just survive long enough to put on my sexy new red heels, that's exactly what I intend to do….




My Thoughts:

I loved this story. It was engrossing, funny, and sexy. Beth created such a real slice of Mid-Western Americana it feels like you only have to mapquest to go there. Her idiosyncratic characters of the town are memorable. Most small towns have their Max and JJ’s, their sleazeball Ashe, Boone and Wanda. I loved Kylie’s interaction with the townspeople especially when all are aware she has decided to *change* her life. Of course she announces it rather emphatically in her Comos induced bravado and in front of half the town at Boone’s Bar and Grill.

The premise of the story is Kylie is bored with her life, the same ol’, same ol’ and tradition. On her birthday she decides to effect a change. She’s tired of living up to the family business motto, Sensible Shoes for Sensible People. Kylie changes her motto:
“I will act out of the ordinary in order to attract and promote change. Change is exciting. Change is good.”


In the process of changing herself she shakes up the town and Jack Reynolds, her old crush and new Chief of Police. I love the way the sparks fly between Jack and Kylie. Oh very hot, my dears. Beth tosses in some twists you won’t expect, a bit of mystery to solve, which adds to the fun to this adventurous, must read, tale.

INTERVIEW:

  • I know you were in show business for many years, both as a singer and actress, correct? Any special highlights you’d like to share with us?

Hmm. Well, here’s the thing. I started singing professionally at age 14. At 17 (fresh out of high school) I joined a band and went on the road, performing fulltime in various nightclubs and hotel lounges across the country and continued to do so for the next eight years. After that, I settled in Atlantic City and for the next several years, performed in the casinos as a singer, character actress, and motivational dancer. There are so many highlights in my entertainment career, good and bad, I could, well, write a book. Some of the quirkier moments involved singing and dancing with a girl group on a ‘scaffold’ high above the dance floor at NYC’s famed Studio 54. Another quirky highlight… singing backup for Smokin’ Joe Frazier (yes, the boxer) in a showroom in Atlantic City. We (the backup singers) were called ‘The Knock-outs.’

  • Your own love story has a happy ever after. How did you meet your husband? Was it an easy romance or like some of the characters in your books, problems to resolve?

The story of how I met my husband is actually incredibly romantic… but long. Condensed version: We were both ‘on the road’ at the time, performing with different bands. We crossed paths and . . .I swear it was love at first sight. We started dating right away, a long distance relationship until I joined his band. We’ve been together for, wow, twenty-seven years. As to our romance, like every relationship we have our ups and downs. But mostly ups. Lots and lots of ups.

  • You mention, “I'm a restless spirit drawn to the creative arts.” You also admit you’re a bit of a daydreamer. How has writing calmed the restlessness?

I’m not sure I’ll ever be a calm spirit, but I do feel that, as an artist, I am most comfortable in my ‘writer’ shoes. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that at this stage in my life I am most comfortable in my ‘writer’ shoes. I get an incredible rush when I write and I’m always striving to better my craft. I feel ‘at home’ when I’m creating romantic adventures, hence not so restless.

  • Did being in show business help you in your writing? How?

I think my years in show biz totally prepared me for the publishing biz. As an entertainer I had to audition quite often. I endured my fair share of rejection and a lot of times it was face-to-face. Also, when an audience member didn’t care for a song I sang or maybe a club owner didn’t like my costume, I heard about that face-to-face as well. By the time I broke into publishing, I’d developed a pretty thick skin. Rejection letters and bad reviews sting, but they’re not quite as devastating or humiliating as in-your-face, in-person smack down. Or maybe it just that I’m older and wiser. Or the thick skin thing.

  • You started writing in 1994. How difficult was it for you to get published?

My first published novel was Scandalous Spirits, co-written with my friend and awesome wordsmith, Cynthia Valero. That was in 2000 so, it took awhile. Before that I received several rejection letters from agents and editors, but I learned a lot along the way. The key, I believe, is dedication to craft and perseverance.

  • What do you do to relax and recharge?

Relax? Recharge? Wait a minute. I have to look up those words in the dictionary. Seriously though… I work a fulltime day job plus write fulltime, so there’s never enough time in the day. Snatching moments to play with my dogs in the backyard always clears my mind as does power walking (although I don’t do that near enough). I also cherish the random evening I steal away to watch a movie with my husband.

  • You’re on Facebook and you are part of a wonderful blog called Sisters in Sync. How did you all come up with the format/content of the blog? You blog on what day?

About a year ago, my sister Barb, aka Elle J. Rossi, told me she was interested in writing a novel. Her background is in entertainment as well and she’s also an avid reader, so my gut said she’d have a talent for storytelling. I was right! I’m thrilled to be a part of her journey and thought a group blog would be a fun joint project. Soon after I learned my sister Brenda was dabbling in writing a thriller novel and that my sister B.J. was writing poetry. My sister Brandy is an avid reader and a marketing whiz. Except for Brandy and B.J., we all live far apart. Sisters in Sync provides us with a fun way to interact daily. Most recently, we adopted an honorary ‘Bro’. It’s fun to get a guy’s take! We generally blog about the arts, but we ramble about ‘life’ too. My featured day is Friday.

  • I thoroughly enjoyed Out Of Eden. You have the whole small town atmosphere down to a fine art with characters and scenarios. Do you live in a small town now? Or did you draw that Americana flavor from observation on the road?

I’m so glad you enjoyed Out of Eden, Sia! Thank you! I actually grew up in a small town in Indiana, one much like Eden. But instead of an Apple Festival, we celebrated Circus City Week! I also lived in another smaller Indiana town before that one. That town celebrated Old Fashioned Days. Although, I’ve lived on the bustling east coast for the last twenty years, I still have vivid memories of Midwestern small town life. I enjoyed exploring all the pros and cons via Out of Eden’s heartfelt characters.

  • This might be like asking a mother to pick her favorite kid, but do you have a favorite scene in Out Of Eden?

The water tower scene. Kind of a stock rescue scene, but there were so many elements at play. I love that scene. Oh, and the scene where the Max and his cronies give Kylie advice on dating! Oh, yeah. Great fun.

  • Tell me about, Jack, your hero—his looks, personality, and what makes him so appealing?
What I love about Jack is that he wants to save everyone and his vulnerability when he learns he can’t. He’s an alpha hero with a tarnished soul and a heart of gold. What makes him appealing to me is his strength and kindness.


  • What was the most fun about writing Kylie? I like her personality a lot by the way.



Kylie was a hoot to write! She always put everyone’s needs ahead of her own and when she finally addresses her own happiness—wham!—everything blows up in her face. I also enjoyed watching her wrestle with her attraction to Jack, the guy she’s had a crush on since she was a kid. Their relationship proved an interesting mix of sweet and sexy.



  • What’s coming out next and can you tell us a bit about it?


Up next is the sequel to Out of Eden. Into the Wild. It features Kylie’s brother, Spenser. He’s a celebrity treasure hunter who stars in a cable TV show. The mass-of-phobias heroine, River, is the daughter of an archeologist, a man who’s gone missing in the Andes Mountains. The story revolves around a legendary lost Incan treasure and the sizzling bond between Spenser and River. If I’ve ever lived vicariously through one of my heroine’s, it’s River Kane.

  • I remember the first time you blogged on Over Coffee. I was so excited to have you and you were so supportive to a newbie Blogger. In fact, you have been supportive since too and it’s much appreciated.



I remember the first time you asked me to blog at Over Coffee. I was so flattered! Speaking of supportive, you’re a true champion of the romance genre, Sia. Thank you for all your hard work! And thank you for today’s feature!

Thanks for taking the time out of your writing schedule to answer my questions and visit with us today.

My pleasure, Sia. Questions, anyone?

~*~*~*~*~*~

Storytelling comes naturally to longtime professional performer Beth Ciotta. Limiting herself to writing one subgenre does not. Dubbed “fun and sexy” by Publishers Weekly, Beth specializes in writing romantic comedy with a twist of suspense and is published in contemporary, historical and paranormal romantic fiction.

Born and raised in Indiana, Beth began performing professionally at the age of fourteen. At seventeen she was leading her own band and singing in nightclub venues across the United States. After eight years on the road she settled in Atlantic City, New Jersey, to perform exclusively in the casinos. Versatility proved Beth’s strength and the key to working as a full-time entertainer in this fiercely competitive industry. Over the past twenty years, she has performed as a singer, dancer, character actress and emcee. In addition, she has also worked as an entertainment and a public relations coordinator in two of the city’s top casinos, and written and directed for productions such as the Mr. Romance Pageant for Romantic Times magazine.

In 1994 Beth picked up a novel by Johanna Lindsey, reawakening her teenage love affair with romance fiction. She devoured the book in a few hours, and when she got to the end she thought, I want to do this. I want to write stories that will make people feel the way I feel right now. Happy and hopeful. The next day she started writing her first romantic adventure and she hasn’t looked back. “I can't think of anything more fulfilling than writing stories where everyone—except the villain, of course!—gets a happy ending,” she says.

Beth lives in New Jersey with her husband, two zany dogs and one crazy cat. Although writing takes up most of her time, she still performs occasionally. To support literacy, Beth also works at her local library. To learn more about her chaotic life, you can visit her Web site at www.bethciotta.com.

For a daily dose of madness, visit her blog at http://bethciotta.blogspot.com/

25 comments:

~Sia McKye~ said...

Welcome back to Over Coffee. Grab some coffee or tea off the coffee bar and pull up a chair, Beth.

I don't read too many Contemporary Romances although I have a few favorite authors. But I loved Out Of Eden. You're now on my auto buy list. :-)

Tonya Kappes said...

I will definitely pick up this book. I love when the author is down to earth and happy to be where she is. Beth seems like a really great writer. Plus I love contemporary!

Beth Ciotta said...

Thanks so much for having me, Sia. I'm over the moon that I seduced (so to speak) a rare reader of contemporary!

Beth Ciotta said...

Hi, Tonya,

Thank you for your kind words. I AM happy with where I am. A pretty darn cool place to be! Hope you enjoy the read!

VA said...

Sia there is an issue with the excerpt link, an extra http in there. :)

Be back after I read it.

Elle J Rossi said...

Big hugs to Beth and congratulations on anothe phenomenal book! I mean it. I absolutely adored Jack and Kylie from the get-go. And let's not forget Shy. Everyone loves a dog!

Even though I've also moved away from Indiana, I try to go back for Circus City Days as often as I can. There's just something about a small town. I think most of the time, they actually get it right. Life that is.

Big hugs and smooches!!!!

Beth Ciotta said...

VA if you still didn't find your way to the excerpt, try this:

http://www.bethciotta.com/outofeden.htm

Have a great day!
Beth

Beth Ciotta said...

Thanks for the shout of support, Elle!

I've always loved Circus City Days. And I, too, miss certain aspects of small town living... or perhaps I should say, midwestern living. Things move a little slower there, and I mean that in the very best way!

Mason Canyon said...

Thanks Sia for introducing another "new to me" author and a wonderful sounding book. This plot definitely sounds intriguing, I'm looking for this one at my B&N this week.

Chris Behrens said...

I've just started reading Out Of Eden and so far I have to say.....No comment :P

Thanks to Beth and sisters for having faith in me and inviting me to join the SIS Blog. I have no idea what possessed them to do so, but I am so glad they did.

I'm looking forward to finishing OOE and hopefully catching up with the other books before I get too far behind! Congrats to Beth and keep up the great work!

Kat Sheridan said...

Wow, this book sounds like lots of fun! And as for questions, what the heck is "motivational dancer"? And five siblings with names that start with "B"? Really? Wow! Best of luck with this book!

Beth Ciotta said...

Hi, Mason!

Out of Eden has a lot of interesting twists and turns. I'm nt sure what was more fun--the mystery angle or the romance. ;)

I hope you enjoy the madcap adventure!

Beth Ciotta said...

SIS, BRO Chris--no comment? Seriously? Not even an--I'm intrigued, but undecided? :-)

As you know, we love having you at SIS. Rock on honoerary Bro.

Beth Ciotta said...

A question! Thanks so much, Kat!

A motivational dancer (in my instance anyway) is a dancer who 'gets the party started.' The Atlantic City casinos have a lot of special event and high roller parties. Sometimes the Special Event dpts hired dancers to circulate through the room--costumed according to theme--and to get patrons on the dance floor. A lot of times we did featured routines as well. One of my favorite gigs was when I was hired (along with a male counterpart) to be a shill dancer at a Big Bad Voodoo Daddy concert. Swing dancing is one of my favorite things!

As for the 'B' thing. It gets crazier! I have a brother named Bob AND my mom is Becky, my dad--Bill.

Thank you for the good wishes regarding OOE. I'll take them!

Chris Behrens said...

Beth,

Since I'm only two chapters in at the moment all I can say is....So far, so good and I don't have anything I dislike about it. Oh wait, I can honestly say it's the best novel I've read all year! There, that's better :)

Helen Ginger said...

Enjoyed the interview. Beth has enough in her own story, there could be a book about her.

Helen
Straight From Hel

Beth Ciotta said...

Um, believe it or not, Helen, I weaved a lot of my real life expeirences into my prevous HQN trilogy. If you're curious, check out ALL ABOUT EVIE, EVERYBODY LOVES EVIE, and EVIE EVER AFTER. Just think of me as Evie... sort of. *g*

~Sia McKye~ said...

Beth,

I've been a terrible hostess. Been doing exciting things like, visiting the dentist. Oh yay.

I didn't mean I don't read contemporary romance, just...picky about those that I do read. The style of your book? Oh Yah, I devour those types.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Yay, SIS Bro stopped by for coffee! Hey Chris. I can see why the sisses see you as an honorary bro, you fit the role well with teasing and stuff, lol!

We give you a gold star for admitting to reading romances. Um, do you eat quiche too?

~Sia McKye~ said...

Mason, do look. I think you'll really enjoy it. Jack and Kylie are fun and I love the mayor and his cronies.

Can't say as I've ever seen a person talk to their shoe quite in this manner, lmao!

Alyson Reuben said...

I'm a day late... as usual. *sigh*

Beth is so awesome. I fell in love with her first Evie book before I even knew anything about her as a person. When I finished reading Evie, I immediately wrote up a review for it on the Harlequin website, then I ran out and bought all the other books she'd written. Each one is so different, yet they all bear her unique style. Beth's wit, intelligence, and knack for pulling the reader into the story is nothing short of brilliant. When I'm reading one of her stories, everything else goes to the backburner.

BTW, I'm waiting for my copy of OOE to arrive in the mail. Please hurry, Mr. Postman!!!

Beth Ciotta said...

Sia... Thanks so much for having me. I enjoyed the chat and coffee. Yes, I drank a lot of it!

Alyson... Wow! What a way to start my morning. Thank you kindly for your entusiastic words of praise! Have an awesome day!

Chris Behrens said...

Sia,

Not only do I eat quiche on occasion, I've actually made it once! And I cook and do laundry, too. So now you know why Beth and the girls have me around :)

And I have to admit that this is the first romance novel I plan on finishing!

Olga said...

Great interview, Sia! Beth's books are on my auto-buy list, but the interview put OUT OF EDEN on the top of my TBR pile. Can't wait to read this book! And, Sia, I love, love, love the title of your blog.

evision said...

I have gone through this blog.I found it very interesting and helpful.Now a days I am doing my work from my home only.
And this blog is really doing great for me.And got extra income from my home.

work from home