Hey y’all! (I like to “y’all” a little when I blog about southern romance.)
Yesterday was the big release day for the third book in one of my favouritest every contemporary romance series, Kelsey Browning’s Texas Nights series. I have written reviews for both of the other books (Personal Assets and Running the Red Light) here on my blog, and I was so excited for Beck and Eden’s story! Without further ado, I present to you… Problems in Paradise!
Rating: 5/5 Stars (and 5 chili peppers)
About the Book
Title: Problems In Paradise (Texas Nights, #3)
Release: July 14, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy
Tags: Texas, sexy, small-town, contemporary romance, romantic comedy, southern, Kelsey Browning
Eden Durant hasn’t always been Eden Durant. She’s made a fresh start in Shelbyville, Texas, far from her mother’s notoriety. Running the Paradise Garden Café is as much excitement as Eden wants—or it was, until she meets Beck Childress. Although he’s the one man who could expose her past, she’s willing to open up enough to see if he might be her future.
Chief Deputy Childress is determined to get to know the real Eden, when he isn’t busy cleaning up after the sheriff and running in the election to replace him. When several men fall sick after eating in Eden’s café, he investigates even as her mysterious past raises both his suspicions and his protective instincts.
As their relationship heats up, so do the pressures of Beck’s campaign. When Eden’s secrets are revealed, jeopardizing his dream of becoming sheriff, he’ll need to choose: serve and protect the town he loves or the woman who makes it home.
This is my favourite book in the series so far. It has a different feel than the last two books (which I absolutely loved as well), and I think the little bit of mystery, the load of drama and the extreme heat have a lot to do with it! I’ve always liked Eden’s character, but this installment of the series brought her into a whole new light for me, and I appreciate her so much more. I definitely underestimated Beck in the previous books though… his determination, his passion and his extreme hotness!
Eden goes through hell with her business and personal life in this book. She can’t seem to catch a break in any department, but she also can’t help herself when it comes to Beck Childress. He’s like a decadent dessert that she just can’t resist…
When things start to go south for Eden, she leans on the law… and in Shelbyville, the law is Chief Deputy Beck Childress. Of course Beck would do all he can to help out any of the citizens in need in his town, but when it comes to Eden Durant, he goes above and beyond. That woman drives him crazy in the best and worst way.
And as we all know; it never rains in Shelbyville – it pours. So of course, just as things start to really take off for Beck and Eden, everything else in their lives starts to fall apart. Will it be sugar and spice, and all things nice? Or will things between Beck and Eden sour and lose their appeal?
About the Author
Kelsey Browning writes sass kickin’ love stories and cozy Southern mysteries. Originally from a Texas town smaller than the ones she writes about, Kelsey has also lived in the Middle East and Los Angeles, proving she’s either adventurous or downright nuts. These days, she hangs out in northeast Georgia with Tech Guy, Smarty Boy, and Bad Dog. She’s currently at work on the next book in her Texas Nights series and The Granny Series.
(I just need to add a little thing of my own here about Kelsey. Not only is she a great – and totally hilarious – author, she’s also a phenomenal person and a wonderful friend. Take the time to reach out to her and let her know if you like her work. She will really appreciate it, and you’ll be doing yourself a massive favour by getting to know her a little.)
Kelsey is going to give away one digital copy of the first book in the Texas Nights series to one lucky commenter at each stop on the Problems in Paradise Blog tour. I’ll keep my giveaway open until next Monday, giving you guys plenty of time to comment for a chance to win, and because I’m also kind of awesome, I’ll give away a copy myself. That’s two copies up for grabs here on my blog, and one at all of the other blogs on the tour.
Here’s a list of the stops:
July 14, 2014
July 15, 2014
Gonna Need More Books (You’re already here! Yay you!)
July 16, 2014
July 17, 2014
July 18, 2014
Because I love the Texas Nights books, and because I love chatting with Kelsey, you’re all in for a little treat… a late morning coffee with Kelsey Browning.
Hey Kelsey! How’s it goin’? Thanks for taking the time to hang out here on my little blog. It’s great to have you!
Thanks for inviting me! But tell me something, if I’m on your blog, does that mean I’m in Canada today? And if I’m in Canada today, is the weather good? ‘Cause you KNOW I like warm weather. J
The weather is practically perfect today. Sunny and warm with no humidity. Maybe after this we’ll head to the beach! 😉
You and I have had a few chats about the stigma that goes along with writing/reading romance, and what a complete load of you-know-what it is. Did you run into any judgment when you decided to really let writing become your career focus? What would you say to wannabe writers who are struggling with where to put their energy?
Hmm…I haven’t had much overt blowback on my career choice if we don’t count a few friends and family saying they don’t read “that kind of book” and a few other friends and family simply ignoring what I do for a career. I actually relish telling complete strangers that I write hot romance ;-). As for folks who want to write…just tell everyone—if only in your mind—to piss off. Write what you love. I have had one family member mention the whole “when you write a real book” thing to me. Told her I would stab myself in the eye with a butter knife if forced to write literary fiction. Do. Not. Apologize.
(As an aside, I was sitting in Chicago Midway airport when I was drafting these answers. The woman beside me was reading a Nora Roberts book so I rudely interrupted her and asked which one. After answering the crazy gal beside her, she went back to reading but later pulled off her headphones and asked me if I was a writer. I told her yes, and that I write hot romance and cozy mystery. It was a fun conversation, and I honestly have no idea how she figured out I was an author because I wasn’t even carrying my tote with my book cover splashed all over it!)
You write off-beat, sassy heroines and cheeky, charming heroes who find themselves in some steamy situations. Which comes more naturally to you, the characters or the story line?
Definitely the characters. I’m a verrrry character-driven writer. Sometimes I like to tell people I can’t plot my way out of a paper bag. But I’m learning. Contemporary romance, by its very nature, is character-focused. My paranormals (currently sitting on my hard drive because I don’t have time for them) are more plot-driven, but it still starts with the characters for me.
You know I adore all of your characters. They’re so well written that I can’t believe they aren’t real people. Who inspires their personalities, and where do the back stories come from?
Oh, that’s a great question! And when you get the answer, let me know ;-). I think every character has at least something in common with the author. Might be a tiny nugget, but it’s there. Their back stories are sometimes hard fought for me. I may know how they are, but not know why for a while. Sometimes the why doesn’t come until the middle of the first draft. For example, in Problems in Paradise, Eden has a HUGE secret. I thought I knew what it was until I wrote the scene where it’s revealed to the reader. And I was like “Holy $hit, I didn’t know this was the secret!”
One of the things I love about the Texas Nights series is that we get to meet so many interesting characters, and that each book focuses on a new pairing. I’m also a fan of how we get to hear about what’s new with characters from past books in each instalment. Do you ever find, as you’re writing, that the past couples have more that they want to say? If so, do you ever wish that they would just shut up and stay in their own book? I would imagine that that’s one of the more difficult parts of writing a series.
I love for the characters to come back and have a little more airtime. My editor, on the other hand, doesn’t always agree. LOL. I use the other characters when it makes sense for the current story’s progression. If they don’t advance the current story, then I have to nix them from the scene. Painful? Sometimes excruciating, but I have to keep my eye on the prize—which is the romance between that book’s hero and heroine. Um…did I answer your question?
It’s pretty obvious that you’re a gal who likes to laugh; it’s reflected in your writing. I know that I’ve woken my sleeping husband with laughter many times reading the Texas Nights series. Does it come easy to you, the one liners and sarcasm? What do you struggle with when you’re writing?
Some days nothing comes easily. Other days, I’m a zinger factory. It can depend on mood, the character I’m writing, all kinds of things. But I’ve taught myself to keep putting words on the page even if they seem flat at the time. I struggle with emotion—hitting the right chord with the relationships, not only between the hero and heroine but the other characters as well. I struggle with setting some. I’m not a patient person, so my characters rarely wander around in a field of daisies, sniffing them and describing them J. In Problems in Paradise, I actually struggled with the humor some. Beck and Eden are both serious people at their core. When my edits came back, my editor told me they weren’t quite three-dimensional yet, that I needed to round them out more. All the redneck jokes Eden cracks at Beck? Those came in the revisions.
Do you listen to music while you write? Can you share a Texas Nights playlist with me that might give me a soundtrack for a drive around Shelbyville?
Yes, I’m pretty much addicted to my playlists. Early on, I needed silence to write. Now, I feel paralyzed without tunes. In total, the playlists for the four Texas Nights books (including Designed for Love out in November 2014) include 51 songs. I won’t list them all here, but if I had to pick a handful, I’d suggest:
Storm Warning by Hunter Hayes (Designed for Love, #4)
That’s My Kind of Night by Luke Bryan (DFL)
Whatever She’s Got by David Nail (DFL)
Black Tears by Jason Aldean (Problems in Paradise, #3)
Give a Little More by Maroon 5 (PIP)
Love is a Long Road by Tom Petty (PIP)
Feelin’ Way Too Damn Good by Nickelback (Running the Red Light, #2)
I’m Just Talkin’ About Tonight by Toby Keith (RTRL)
Jamie’s Cryin’ by Van Halen (RTRL. Even though the song is actually about a girl J )
You Wreck Me by Tom Petty (Personal Assets, #1)
Fight for All the Wrong Reasons by Nickelback (PA)
Power of a Woman by Lee Brice (PA)
Readers can find the Spotify playlist for Problems in Paradise here – http://www.kelseybrowning.com/books/problems-in-paradise/. Just scroll to the bottom and hit play.
Let’s talk Problems in Paradise. One of the things I like most about Eden is that she’s a transplant to Shelbyville. I love her quirks! What was different in the writing process when it came to developing her character? Was she more of a challenge to get on paper?
Oh, dear Jesus, yes! Some days, that woman didn’t even want to talk to ME. Occasionally I had to threaten her with the line my mom often used on us kids: “I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it!” Although Eden has some fears, she also has major backbone. She wasn’t scared of me. But she slowly revealed her true self not only to me but to Beck. And that was a HUGE leap of faith for her.
I found Problems in Paradise to be a little different than the first two Texas Nights instalments. Probably my favourite so far, actually. I guess the setting change contributes to that, as well as the interesting back story. Was it a different feel during the writing process as well? Did you find it more difficult to colour outside the lines, so to speak?
Overall, PIP was more challenging to write. Every book (even so-called “simple” contemporary romances) have multiple plot threads, but with Paradise it was more challenging to keep everything moving in the right direction because of those many threads. It also had a slightly larger suspense-y thread, which isn’t my normal wheelhouse. I learned a great deal about handling more serious characters.
Can you give us a taste of what to expect from the fourth (and final! *SOB!*) Texas Nights book, and maybe an idea of what we can expect to see from you on our eReaders in the future?
Designed for Love is Mac and Ashton’s book. Those who’ve read Running the Red Light may recognize Ashton as the antagonist from that book. Well, she grew on me by the end of Red Light, and that’s when Texas Nights became a four-book series instead of a trilogy. No book is easy to write (don’t want to give people the wrong impression), but Designed for Love was significantly easier than PIP in some ways. The themes just aren’t as dark.
Now I want to talk about your reading habits a little bit.
Who are some of your favourite romance authors? Dare I ask you to name your top five titles? (Yep! I went there! I’d ask you to pick a favourite child too, if you had more than one. I’m nice like that.)
Oh, yeah, this ain’t fair at all. I’m not making promises these are my top-top-five. They’re simply some really good ones.
Sherry Thomas – Not Quite a Husband. (and I’m not even a huge historical reader)
Ruthie Knox – About Last Night and her entire Camelot series.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips – uh…everything, but especially Bobby Tom Denton’s story, Heaven, Texas.
JR Ward – the entire Black Dagger Brotherhood series, but I probably loved Wrath and Beth’s story the most.
Tamara Morgan – The Rebound Girl and The Derby Girl.
And often, my fav child is my dog J.
What else do you like to read, besides romance? What’s on your summer reading list?
I read a good bit of nonfiction, much more now than I did before I began writing. I like a little Dean Koontz, Lee Child, and Harlan Coben on occasion. I read some of my son’s YA—like Divergent and some others—but we normally read those aloud. Summer reading list, what is that? J Seriously, I’m going to try like crazy to read one book a week, mainly contemporary romance. I just need to get a better feel for what’s out there right now.
What was the last book you read for fun? Do you always have your author hat on, or can you just lose yourself in a book without thinking about how you would do things?
Over Memorial Day, I read—gasp!—four whole books. I totally binged. Two of the Not Quite Series by Catherine Bybee, High-heeled Wonder by Avery Flynn, and Don’t Let Go by Sharla Lovelace. I’d would recommend them all. I have to say, I have a girl-crush on Sharla. She’s from Texas and is the nicest gal. I’m so glad I met her when we threw that 8-day Texas Facebook party a few months back.
And now… The rapid fire round.
Cats or dogs? Dogs, for sure.
Beer or wine? Both.
Sweet or salty? Salty.
Day or night? Depends on what I’m doing ;-).
Bad boy or gentleman? Bad boy for fantasy. Gentleman to marry.
Eat in or take-out? Eat-in mostly. But I do love me some Chipotle and Your Pie (pizza).
Ocean or lake? Lake. But honestly, I’m a little freaky about water varmints.
Sunrise or sunset? Sunset.
Bacon or sausage? (You knew I’d do it.) Damn you! LOL. Bacon for breakfast. And sausage for…um…breakfast in bed. 😉
To wrap it up, can you tell me what your favourite thing is about being a writer?
The people. I’ve met such cool (and many times sarcastic) people over the past seven years. I’ve made great friends with other writers and readers. The reading/writing community is smart, savvy, and just a helluva lot of fun.
Uh…but a close second? Working in my Hatley moose pajamas (or if I’m writing in Sacha-speak, pyjamas).
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me and let me pick your writer-gal brain. You popped my author interview cherry, and I’ll never forget you! Seriously though, I always look forward to chatting with you, and I can’t wait to see what kind of shenanigans wait for us lucky readers in your future work!
Thank you! I’m always humbled at the time people put into their interviews. It’s tough to ask questions that fit the interviewee. You did a fab job!
Before you go, please tell all of the lovely people where they can find you around the web! I’m sure they’ll want to keep tabs on what you’re writing once they get a taste of your sass-kickin’ romance!
Gladly! Your best bet in keeping up with my new releases (and shenanigans) is via my email newsletter. I send the newsletter once a month and promise never to do anything illegal, completely indecent, or overtly immoral. J
Praise for Texas Nights Series:
Problems in Paradise:
“Starring a sexy lawman and a woman with a scandalous secret, a deliciously fun read.” – Shannon Stacey, New York Times bestselling author
“A hot man, a headstrong woman, and sizzling chemistry set against a homey Texas backdrop—Browning’s contemporary debut has all the assets that count!” -Ruthie Knox, USA Today bestselling author of Flirting with Disaster
“Sinfully hot, sassy, and laugh-out-loud hilarious—everything a southern romance should be!” -Macy Beckett, author of the Sultry Springs series