Connie L. Smith has a new book out today, November 18, 2014. Tail Lights, a New Adult clean romance that fans of the genre might want to have a look at. Connie answered a couple of questions about her new book and writing in general.
MBR: Welcome to MBR’s Realm of Romance Connie. And happy release day! So let me move onto the first question. Where did you draw the inspiration for writing Tail Lights?
Connie: I read a lot of contemporary romance these days, and I guess that sparks ideas here and there for my own books. Some of my favorite reads here lately have been in the genre, so I was interested to try my hand at it. And, for the record, it was a little different than writing fantasy 🙂
MBR: Is the first person POV your chosen writing style? If so, why?
Connie: This is first person, from Preston’s POV. In the past, all of my published works have been third person, but there’s something simple and fitting about telling a person’s love story from his or her perspective. In fact, I have a YA Romance that’s expected to be released around May of next year, and it’s first person as well.
MBR: How did you come up with the title Tail Lights?
Connie: It’s based off of a song. The plan is for each book of this series to have a title related to a song. Basically, Nick and Preston broke up years ago, and Preston has taken to calling her ex “Tail Lights” because the breakup is so similar to Hinder’s song, “Red Tail Lights.” That’s another piece of inspiration I had for this book, and it’s a nickname (and kind of a theme) that persists through the story.
MBR: What was the most challenging aspect of writing Tail Lights?
Connie: Switching gears from fantasy! I didn’t completely realize how different the two styles are. What might be appropriate in a fantasy story could come across as boring or too wordy in a contemporary romance. It was a bit of a learning process!
MBR: Are there any quirky characteristics to either Preston or Nick that you love? If so, do share!
Connie:I like the way Preston dresses. She’s a rock star who dresses like a hippy in cowgirlboots 🙂
MBR: Is there a hidden message in your novel that you want readers to get once they are done reading your book?
Connie: Oh, wow. Well, first off, I want people to know that I want to write more books for the series! Beyond that, I guess I would say that things aren’t always what they seem, sometimes home is the right place to be, and if people matter, then don’t forget them if possible.
MBR: What about writing romance is the hardest part for you?
Connie: I’m so self-conscious about it! It feels way more personal than writing battles scenes or something less emotional. All of my romances are clean, but even with the sweet moments, I feel so on-display, sharing things and words that I think are heartwarming or tender. It’s like, “Here world! Gawk at what I think is romantic!”
MBR: According to your Goodreads profile, you tend to write Young Adult, Fantasy and Romance. Are there any other genres that you might like to explore one day and if so why?
Connie: I’ve considered writing a historical piece about pirates, but that’s not really on the immediate menu. But, most likely, it would have a romance element to it 🙂 As far as why… Maybe a POTC obsession? History nerd? Who really knows!
MBR: Are you currently working on any books? If so tell us a little bit about them?
Connie: I’ve actually had to write scenes for different books for a graduate program I’m involved in, so there are at least four books that have some part of them already written! There’s one in particular that I’m thinking I might tackle early next year. It’s a Sleeping Beauty retelling set in an epic fantasy world. Besides that, two other characters in Tail Lights are planned to have a book written for them, and Jivin’ Tango could easily end up with a sequel.
MBR: Who is your favorite author, why and which book(s) of his/her would you recommend?
Connie: I won’t say that she’s my favorite, but Becca Fitzpatrick definitely caught my interest with her Hush, Hush books. I loved that series, and Patch is my #1 book boyfriend!
MBR: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer the questions.
Preston and Nick endured the breakup of all breakups when Nick accused her of cheating on him. He insisted, and she denied while the rain pounded against her driveway and thunder roared in the distance. Then they both ran – Preston to a life of Rock and Roll, and Nick to a career in the Army.
Over four years later, they’re damaged and broken almost beyond repair. He’s carrying baggage from his military days, and she bears the scars of living a lifestyle she’s grown to hate.
When Preston’s label forces her to take time away from music, their paths cross in a parking lot not twenty-four hours after her hometown return, anger and sparks flying in a confusing blend. But regardless of the feelings neither has been able to shake, too many lies and secrets stand in the way of the one thing they need in order to recover.
Purchase Links: Amazon
Surprisingly, he was leaving his apartment when I reached his floor, and he smiled at me like no animosity existed between us. “Hey, Preston.”
“Hey, Preston,” I mocked, then held up the figurine and fastened a glare on him. “Take it back.”
He had the nerve to smirk. “How do you know I gave that to you?”
“Who else would leave a dolphin on my doorstep besides the guy who knows I love dolphins and wants to suddenly fix four years’ worth of betrayal?” His smirk disappeared, and I shoved the object closer to him. “Take it back.”
He shook his head. “I don’t want it back.”
“Well, I don’t want it ether.” When he arched a brow, I rolled my eyes. “Okay, it’s cute. It’s absolutely adorable, and it would look fantastic on my end table, but I can’t take this.”
“Because I know what it means! You made a mistake, and you’re trying to make up for it. But it’s too late, Nick. And if I take this, it’s like saying that you have a chance to make things right, and you don’t.”
His brow again lifted. “You sure about that?”
I frowned. “Which part?”
With a grin, he shrugged in an almost casual manner, far too comfortable in a conversation that made me anxious. Evidently he’d meant what he said about mending things between us, and he wasn’t about to let my reservations ruin his determination. “You’re absolutely right about what the dolphin means, but are you sure I can’t make things right?”
“I’m so far beyond sure that sure isn’t even in my line of sight anymore.” I held the dolphin farther out, hoping that he’d take it. “I can’t keep clinging to things that weren’t good for me in the first place if I want my next four years to be any better than the last four years.”
Then he scowled. “And you think I wasn’t good for you in the first place?”
“I know you weren’t. If you were, you wouldn’t have believed Dad and dumped me, and…” Sighing, I waved the figurine in his direction. “Take it.”
“Your sentence trailed off,” he pointed out, a small smile forming on his lips. “That’s a good sign for me.” Eyes on me, he stepped closer, completely invading my personal space and causing the hand holding the dolphin to fall back against my stomach. After a moment of silently looking at me, so intense and needing, he pointed a finger at my face.
“That’s exactly why I can’t take it back,” he whispered. His finger moved to brush my hair behind my ear, trailing along my jaw before tracing my lips. I knew I should move, slap his hand away, something. But I couldn’t. I just stared, my mouth gaping in shock, my mind consumed with Nick and his caresses. “That was the biggest mistake of my life. And you are my life.”
His index finger exchanged for his thumb, outlining my bottom lip over and over. “I should’ve fought for this, and I’m not making the same mistake twice. I’m getting my life back.” Then he stepped away, gesturing at the dolphin. “That’s only the first step.” Turning, he walked to the stairway entrance at the other end of the hall, leaving me standing – still gawking where he’d been and suddenly holding the dolphin figure much tighter.
Connie L. Smith spends far too much time with her mind wandering in fictional places. She reads too much, likes to bake, and might forever be sad that she doesn’t have fairy wings. And that she can’t swing dance. Her music of choice is severely outdated, and as an adult she’s kind of obsessed with Power Rangers. She has her BA from Northern Kentucky University in Speech Communication and History (she doesn’t totally get the connection either), and is currently working on her MA.