Readers, today I am one of the lucky ones. New York Times bestselling author Francis Ray has stopped by today to chat about her Grayson Friends Series. Please give a warm and inviting welcome to Ms.Ray and her cast of charming engaging and sexy characters from her latest St. Martin's Press A DANGEROUS KISS.
Wish I had read the article. It sounds as if one I would have truly enjoyed reading. As for the Legacy of Love, I’d have to say to look not only to the wonderful authors who wrote such memorable stories, but to the wise editors like Vivian Stephens, founder of Romance Writers of American and editor extraordinaire. Vivian came up with the idea of several romance lines including Intrigue at Harlequin. Then there is the incomparable Ellen Edwards, and no one will ever forget the no-nonsense Kate Duffy. Because of the sharp intelligence of these women, romance found a voice and an audience. Today that voice has mushroomed into different genres, but the heart of the romance story will always be the happily-ever-after between a woman we can root for and a man we can fall in love with. The Legacy of Love is here to stay, and I’m thankful to be able to write stories of women who might initially falter, but who get up and find within themselves the courage to succeed. A man who loves and respects them is a wonderful bonus!!
Francis: Yes, I never realized when I began writing the Graysons of New Mexico that I'd develop a spin-off series titled Grayson Friends. I had a lot of fun watching each of the Grayson siblings fall in love and prove that, in this case, their mother really does know what is best. However, along the way we meet friends and family members who need to find their soul-mate as well. Thus, the Grayson Friends series was born.
My original idea was to have seven books in the Grayson Friends series, but that number is now up to eleven. One reason for the increase was my desire to return to the closeness of the Grayson siblings, but this time they would be friends who were as close as brother and just as different. I lovingly refer to these books as the "Kiss trilogy" - a series within the Grayson Friends series. There's Alex (A SEDUCTIVE KISS) Stewart, an easy going, successful lawyer, C.J. (WITH JUST ONE KISS) Callahan, who owns a bar and has a quick temper, and Payton "Sin" (A DANGEROUS KISS) Sinclair, a gorgeous sports consultant.
A DANGEROUS KISS, the sixth in your Grayson Friends series you have given readers, once again, a powerful emotional love story with two of the most engaging protagonists that will rip readers hearts out all the while having them rooting for their happily ever after. Can you tell us more about it?
Francis: First, thank you so much for the wonderful compliment. When I was thinking of Payton “Sin” Sinclair’s story, I wanted him to have an unshakable reason for believing that love and marriage weren’t for him. I didn’t want love to be easy for him or for Summer Radcliffe, the woman he tries so desperately not to love. Yet, I also wanted to say that sometimes life isn’t fair – you get knocked to your knees through no fault of your own. However, when it happens you can come through those rough times much better if there is someone who loves you and whom you love in return beside you. Sin had to find this out for himself. In his personal storm I wanted to give Sin the unshakable love of a woman, and his friends, Alex and C.J.
Francis: I’d like to think it’s their determination to overcome obstacles and succeed. It’s all right to get down emotionally, but you can’t stay down or fault others. You have to pick yourself up and keep trying until you succeed. I have to admit, I’m a work-in-progress and remind myself daily to make each day count.
Did you have Payton (Sin) Sinclair’s full character arc in mind when you started the Grayson Friends series? Did you know what would happen to him in the end?
Francis: I had no idea about Sin when I began the series. His character developed as I plotted the Kiss series in 2011. He was fully developed by the time I completed the synopsis of all three books. I just had to find opportunities to place hints into the previous stories – A SEDUCTIVE KISS and WITH JUST ONE KISS – and pique reader’s interest about his secret. The ending kept evolving and changing since it was so emotional, and was the most difficult to write.
Francis: Once I finished the Graysons of New Mexico there were several people we’d met who needed to find that one special person to love. Matchmaker Ruth Grayson was on it with the first book, THE WAY YOU LOVE ME. Thankfully my editor and readers have embraced the Grayson Friends series and allowed me to continue. Three more books in the series are scheduled for 2013.
Okay, I want to give a warm welcome to, Summer Radcliffe and Payton (Sin) Sinclair (Waving franticly, trying to get the besotted couple’s attention). I know you two have gone through a lot to get to your happily ever after so I will try to be brief. (Blushes scarlet as she catches the intimate glance between the newlyweds, clears her throat).
Congratulations Summer on Radcliff’s receiving a Triple-Five Diamond review for food, décor and services for the third time in a row. Serious props to you girl. Okay, I have to ask, what is one of your favorite items on your menu? And could I get you to make it for me. =)
Summer: Thank you. As the owner of Radcliffe, I’d have to say that all of the dishes from the pasta to the fresh seafood to the aged beef are delicious. I invite you to come by the restaurant and sample the cuisine for yourself. I think you’ll find it difficult to select just one dish as your favorite. We have an executive chef, but for you, I’m on it!!
Sin as a sports consultant working with some of today’s biggest and most recognizable athletes what would you consider is one of your biggest strengths? Would this strength branch out into your personal life as well?
Sin: I think my strength is I’m tenacious. Everyone wants the best deal – you have to learn not to blink first!!!
Summer: I’m not sure actually. One day I looked at him and my heart literally skipped a beat. It was as much a surprise to me as anyone that my feelings for Sin had changed and deepened romantically. I fought and tried to change them back, but it didn’t do any good. I’m glad my heart wouldn’t listen. Sin is my only.
Sin: And you’re mine.
Sin, same question for you. When did friendship with Summer blossom in to so much more?
Sin: Like Summer, I’m not sure. I guess the morning I got back from LA and she was in her exercise gear and I noticed how great she looked. I fought it, but after the kiss I was a goner.
At any time Summer did you find yourself fighting your growing affection for Sin?
Summer: All the time until the kiss that made my toes curl in my Pradas. The man can kiss!!
Sin: You inspire me.
Okay, I know you two have known each other for some time now, but as an interviewer I am always curious to know what people thought the moment they met one another. Summer, what was your first impression of Sin? Sin, I would love to hear your thoughts about the first time you laid eyes on Summer. =)
Sin: Summer had recently lost her parents and grieving. My heart went out to her since I lost my father at the same age. I thought she was brave and I wanted to be there for her.
Summer: You were. You helped me through those dark days. My first impression: a gorgeous man with a killer smile, but he was also patient, kind, understanding. My grief didn’t make him uneasy. He was there for me in every way that counted. And he still is.
Summer, when was the moment you knew that Sin was for you?
Summer: The kiss. There was no way I was going to let him get away after we kissed.
Sin, name one thing about Summer that you believe changed your outlook on love.
Sin: She loves with her whole heart. Once given, it’s yours. She loves completely, deeply and makes me a better, stronger person because of that love. I’d be a fool to walk away from a woman like that.
Summer and Sin I absolutely adore getting to know more about you two. I have become addicted, lately with books about time travel. This got me to thinking. If I handed you my time traveling piece would use it to go back in time to change anything.
Summer did you have any apprehension about getting involved with Sin?
Summer: Yes, I didn’t want to ruin our friendship, but my attraction to him was too strong to ignore.
Sin, what about you? Did you have a sliver of doubt about becoming involved with Summer?
Sin: Try a boatload of doubts, but as my feelings grew, I pushed them aside and reached for the woman I’ll love through eternity and beyond.
Do you, Summer and Sin, believe that love conquers all?
Sin/Summer: We’re prime examples that it does.
One more thing before I let you go. Do you believe that everything you two went through to find one another, fall in love and finding your happily ever after was worth the price you had to pay?
Now back to Francis.
A DANGEROUS KISS?
Francis: Out to dinner to celebrate, and the next day working in my flower garden without feeling guilty.
What do you hope readers walk away with after reading A DANGEROUS KISS?
Francis: I hope readers will walk away realizing that life offers no guarantees, that you have to make the most of each opportunity, and never turn your back on true love. And always, always count your blessings, and make each day count.
You’re clearly very busy. What do you do in your limited spare time? Are you reading anything right now? Any reading recommendations while we wait until your next release in your Grayson Friends series?
In my spare time I like to work in my flower garden – another work in progress. I have another book due on my editor’s desk soon so no reading for pleasure at the moment. When I do finish the next three books, I’ll take great pleasure in finally reading Bette Ford’s CAN’T STOP LOVING YOU and Kimberla Lawson Roby’s THE REVEREND’S WIFE.
Francis, you rocked RCJR eZine blog and its readers. Thank you so much for stopping by to dish about Summer and Sin from your new St. Martin’s Press contemporary romance release A DANGEROUS KISS.