Get a head start on the holiday spirit by reading for a great cause! Nearly twenty of today’s most entertaining rom-com authors have teamed up to sell #Books4Boobs. This collection of holiday shorts ranges from sweet to steamy and promises to entertain. 100% of proceeds will benefit the Young Survival Coalition, an international organization focusing on women ages 40 and under who are diagnosed with breast cancer.
You’ve been focused on more suspense-oriented romance –was writing Last One Gets the Booby Prize, your story, like putting on comfortable shoes?
It’s always fun to revisit characters to see where they are after a book ends. In some ways, the happily ever after I put in their book (their moment of big commitment to each other) is just the beginning of their story. I’ve been with my partner for twenty years, and most of our best times came years after we started our relationship. There’s so much that comes after early love. It’s really fun for me to write the deeper moments after a couple has been together for a while.
This isn’t the only thing you’ve got coming out this month: your second Leffersbee book lands just a couple of weeks after this collection. Was that project on the go at the same time as your story, A Trivia Pursuit?
Yes, I’m so excited about my second installment in the Leffersbee Series! It was so fun to write Adam and Bria’s love story while launching the official countdown for Before and After You‘s release!
When you write a story like Two Nights to Believe to include in an anthology, are there things you do to set your story apart?
I wouldn’t say I make any specific plans to set my story apart, no. Honestly, I think that’s a natural element of writing. Like any art, even when everyone is given the same set of directions—the same guidelines—the results will be different. I always think of the tree example: place a group of painters around the same tree and they will each produce a very different painting. So while everyone in this anthology was writing a holiday story that had to include a gala and a competition, how we approached doing that varied. When I began planning my story in the anthology, my focus was less about the what and more about who. I knew I wanted to feature characters who were secondary in a previous book and let them take center stage. For Two Nights to Believe, Penelope and Vijay from my summer 2021 rom-com Too Good to Be Real felt like the perfect fit. It doesn’t hurt that they work at a resort designed to provide guests with a rom-com experience! It meant I got to play with how the resort would be offering guests a holiday version of that. (I mean, who wouldn’t want to live in a Hallmark holiday movie for a weekend?) Since this is a short story, one of my biggest challenges was packing in as much fun as possible in a short amount of time. But I also wanted to keep things interesting, so even though we have some of the classic holiday movie experiences like building snowmen and gingerbread houses, things go awry and the characters are forced to get creative. I also had a great time adding little extras (strippers in Santa suits, anyone?) that would spice things up a bit. All in all, when I set out to write a story in an anthology, my primary goal is to make sure everyone has a good time. I want devoted fans to feel like they got a little something extra special, and new readers to get hooked and seek out more of my work.
Because it’s such a good title we have to ask: what came first, the title for Tits the Season, or the plot?
Tits the Season might be my favourite personal title ever! And in this case, the name came first. Last year, after the success of Jingle Balls, I was with my oldest daughter and granddaughter, walking around a Christmas light display. I told my daughter that the unifying theme for 2021 anthology was breast cancer awareness, and she began spouting off possible titles. Tits the Season was the clear winner. After that, I started brainstorming tropes and characters for the story. Once I knew that Celeste owned a lingerie shop in small-town Burton, Georgia, that led to what is probably my favourite personal first line of a story, too: “Boobs are my business.”
Would you recommend readers read Mixing Merrymas as preparation for your Whiskey Wars book coming out later this year –or as a chaser?
Mixing Merrymas does take place in my upcoming Whiskey Wars series, but it’s a full story that can stand on its own. My goal was to give readers a hint at what’s headed their way when the first book in the series, Drinking Deep, releases after the first of the year. I’ve been planning the Whiskey Wars series for quite a while. The series follow a generations-old feud between the Bishop and Stewart families who happen to co-own the oldest whiskey distillery in Tennessee. I’ve also written another short story in the series called Sipping Seduction that will be landing in my newsletter subscriber’s inboxes soon! If readers want to make sure they’re on the list, they can join at www.dylanncrush.com/signup.
If a reader, who for some reason hasn’t read your books before, reads Rock, Paper, Santa and wants more Piper Rayne, which of your series would you send them to?
If you enjoyed Rock, Paper, Santa check out the Mancini brothers in our White Collar Cousins series. Enzo is a sexy alpha boss who falls for his new assistant in Sexy Filthy Boss. Carm is an arrogant Manhattan realtor who can’t stop flirting with his competition in Dirty Flirty Enemy. Dom is a powerful Wall Street trader who finds himself married to his childhood sweetheart the morning after a drunken Vegas night in Wild Steamy Hookup. Plus, you’ve got an Italian mama who only wants her boys to be happy!