Cold Corona + a good book = perfect vacation day.
I recently went on an indie reading binge, and one of the books I absolutely devoured was Carter Ashby's The Closer You Get. As a personal friend of Carter's, I immediately had to pick her brain once I shut off my Kindle. She kindly agreed to answer a few burning questions for me about the new release, her writing process and—yes!—there's more Fidelity on the horizon!
From my review of The Closer You Get:
"Rye and Cash Holcomb are the stuff dreams are made of."
"Oh, and did I mention this book is also FUNNY. AS. HELL. I laughed out loud and a lot."
Carter: I’ve always written fiction, but I considered it a guilty pleasure. I’d intended to pursue other avenues in the book industry, but then I read my first romance novel (Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie), and it was like a heavenly light burst forth and illuminated the path to my future. Yes. You heard me right. I’m saying that God wants me to write smut. I ask frequently, “Are you sure God?” So far, he seems pretty certain.
JH: Tell us a little about Rye and Cash Holcomb from The Closer You Get. Were the brothers based on anyone in particular?
Carter: I’m sure they’re composites of people and ideas I’ve encountered throughout my life, but I didn’t have anyone specific in mind. To be honest, I have never known where my characters germinate from. Rye and Cash were born in my mind together, though. They were brothers from the very beginning.
JH: Any fun facts you can share about The Closer You Get?
- It’s actually the sixth book in the series in terms of chronology. It just happens to be the first one I finished. Is that weird?
- This and all the books in the Fidelity series are titled after country songs.
- Cash’s traumatic background is based on real events from my hometown back when I was in high school (not exactly a “fun” fact).
- TCYG was rejected by several literary agents who believed the strong male/male side story wouldn’t be marketable in contemporary romance.
JH: Cora has a habit of playing herself down, especially with her gorgeous, Amazon-like sisters. Aside from her peek-a-boo dimples, what specifically do you think Rye fell for first (or the hardest)?
Carter: I think he liked when she flipped him off in the restaurant before they go to the bar. She showed some attitude and it caught his attention. She also rejected him, which offered him a challenge. So from that point on, I think he was falling in love with her subliminally. He just had to dig his way out of his own issues before he could really see her and truly appreciate her beauty.
JH: Is there a song you associate with writing The Closer You Get?
Carter: Besides the title song by Alabama, my favorite one on the playlist I made is All Of Me by John Legend. (Jessica: I have John Legend on my Cityscape playlist too!)
JH: In your latest release, you explore two different relationships—Rye and Cora, and Cash and Adam. Since it was your first dip into M/M, were you worried about readers’ response to that?
Carter: I wasn’t worried. I had two goals. One was to write the story of these two brothers, one of whom was gay.
JH: Often, your heroes are the epitome of masculine, from Travis the mechanic (Not A Chance) to Wyatt the stoic widower (Without You Here) to Rye & Cash, the beer-guzzling, pool-shooting, construction-working duo (The Closer You Get). Do you think you’ll ever write the popular billionaire businessman or are you devoted to rough-and-tumble countrymen?
Carter: I’m not sure why, as many billionaire romances as I’ve read and loved, I haven’t found inspiration to write one. I possibly feel unqualified to do it? I’m not sure, I just know it’s not a deliberate choice. I do have a personal preference for the rough-and-tumble, though. Cary Grant is a dream, don’t get me wrong, but if you want a thorough spanking, John Wayne’s your man.
Carter: I’m the absolute last person who should answer this question. I’m a sloppy, undisciplined writer. When I get blocked on a project I either start a new project or lie around the house in a depressive state checking my temperature trying to find some physiological reason for my malaise. So no. I don’t have any tips.
JH: Can you share anything about what you’re working on now? (Any chance we’ll get more of Franny, Sully, Lyssa and the rest of Fidelity?)
Carter: Sully has caused me some problems. But I am pleased to say that I finally have him figured out and am going strong on his story. I hope to announce a release date in the next month. The title is Play It Again and it does directly follow The Closer You Get. Sully’s been keeping a very big secret for a very long time and, Franny is determined to uncover it. I’m so excited about this one!
JH: You and me both! Thanks for stopping by, Carter.
Want to pick up a copy of The Closer You Get? Find it on Amazon here. Visit Carter's website for more info & to sign up for her mailing list. Be a good groupie & stalk her on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.
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