Today I’m hosting Roxy Boroughs, who is speaking for herself and for her coauthor, Brenda M. Collins. Wait until you see what a great thing these two women have come up with to help those with breast cancer with their book STORIES OF CHANCE ROMANCE. But first, here’s Roxy.
|Roxy Buroughs, author and coauthor|
Roxy: Thanks for inviting us to visit with you and your readers today, Caroline.
I have to say, these questions really got me thinking and, even though I’ve known my co-author for more than fourteen years, I’ve learned a lot more about her through this blog.
|Brenda M. Collins, author and coauthor|
Caroline: Where did you grow up? Siblings? Locale? Were you considered a “bookworm” or a jock? Married, single? Children?
I was born and raised in Newmarket, Ontario (Canada). My dad moved there with his folks when he was a kid and played ball hockey on a dirt road that is now a busy four lane highway. So the place sure has grown. I have one, much older brother – by 13 years! He taught me to tie my shoes, ride a bike, how to Twist to the Beatles, and helped me with my homework. I couldn’t have asked for a better big brother.
|Roxy Buroughs and her big brother|
My pal and coauthor, Brenda M. Collins, grew up on the east coast of Canada in Newfoundland. And if you don’t have a Newfie friend, you need one. Talk about loyal. She’s one of 6 children. Obviously, her parents were much better Catholics than mine. Brenda was a total jock. Roxy soooo wasn’t.
|Brenda Collins, age nine|
Neither of us have children. Brenda exercises all her maternal urges spoiling her two dogs, Kipper and Benny.
|Brenda Collins's dogs Kipper and Benny|
Caroline: Love those dogs and cats. Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?
Roxy: My all-time favorite book is TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee. Love the movie, too, which I just watched again for the umpteenth time. Other than that, my tastes are fairly eclectic. I enjoy the Brontes, Wilkie Collins, Joy Fielding, Emma Donoghue, EC Sheedy, Lee Child, J. R. Ward and Alyssa Linn Palmer, to name just a few.
Brenda has three or four pages of authors she follows, most recently Lacey Weatherford, Madelyn Alt, Annette Blair, Arlene Blakely and Laura Anne Gilman. All write paranormal romance/ mysteries, much like Brenda’s book WITCH IN THE WIND.
Caroline: What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?
Roxy: Needless to say, we both read. I enjoy a trip to the mountains with my man. We live close to the Rockies and the scenery is spectacular. We might do some hiking, have a little lunch—that’s heaven to me.
Brenda’s very crafty and paints, makes pottery and gorgeous jewelry. (And yes, I have a few of her creations.)
|Brenda's jewelry designs|
Roxy: Mine comes from George Sand, the French female novelist and one-time lover of Chopin. “There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.”
Brenda’s favorite is from that much quoted guy Anonymous. “Everything you want in life is just one step away; all you have to do is decide in which direction to step.”
Caroline: And how difficult is that decision? How long have you been writing?
Roxy: My background is in theater, so I was writing plays long before I started writing novels. But we got the idea to write commercial fiction around the same time, first meeting when we joined the Alberta Romance Writers’ Association in 1998.
Caroline: Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?
Roxy: We both have home offices.
Classical music is usually playing in the background when I write. Mozart, at the moment. Though, if I’m working on an action scene, I’ll put on some hard rock. Generally, I prefer solitude, but I have been known to take my laptop to the mall and type in the food court. I put on my earphones and tune out the world.
Brenda, on the other hand, is very much an extrovert, energized by the people around her. She gets a ton of work done during girls’ road trips and writing retreats.
Caroline: I have to admit to being more like you. Are you a plotter or a panzer?
Roxy: We’re both plotters. Staring at an empty page with no idea about what’s going to happen next fills me with dread.
Caroline: Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?
Roxy: Absolutely. Though always fictionalized.
For example, in STORIES OF CHANCE ROMANCE, the forth tale, NEVER A BRIDE, draws from one of my past jobs as a bridal consultant in a department store. The idea for PICKING UP THE PIECES sprang from my less than stellar driving skills after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
Brenda incorporated her visit to the San Diego Zoo in TIME AND TIME AGAIN. Also, on her website, she recalls some astonishing incidents she’s lived through and used in her fiction.
|Brenda Collins and her husband with baby jaguar|
Caroline: I can imagine driving alone after learning you had breast cancer. My daughter did that. Do you set daily writing goals? Word count? Number of chapters? Do you get a chance to write every day?
Roxy: No. And I’m thinking I should. I’m sure I’d get more accomplished. Right now, I bounce between writing interactive murder mystery scripts and working on a couple of novels. I prefer to concentrate on one project, finish it, then move on to the next. Shifting gears, doing three or four things at once, isn’t optimal for me. But in this new world of publishing, where the author is the writer, publicist, etc., multi-tasking is the name of the game.
Caroline: Multi-tasking it is! What do you hope your writing brings to readers?
Roxy: For STORIES OF CHANCE ROMANCE, we want to give our readers a smile. And the hope that, no matter where you are in life, love is always possible.
Caroline: I love that idea. What long-term plans do you have for your career?
Roxy: To keep writing!
Caroline: Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?
Roxy: Brenda is writing a sequel to her WITCH IN THE WIND novella, which is part of the Bandit Creek series. She’s also working on a diamond laundering story.
I’m doing the final edits on a 100,000-word novel that’s been described as “Terminator meets werewolves.” After that, I have another shorter romance with the same light tone as CRAZY FOR COWBOY. It’s a twist on the secret baby storyline and incorporates a mischievous ghost that helps bring the couple together.
Caroline: What advice would you give to unpublished authors?
Roxy: Read everything you can, and never give up.
Caroline: So true. What’s a fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you?
Roxy: Brenda claims to speak three languages – French, English and Newfie. For those of you who’ve never heard an old timer from Newfoundland talk with their thick accent, English can seem like a completely different language.
As I mentioned, I was a performer before I became a writer. I once had a bit part on the short-lived series CAITLYN’S WAY. I spent the morning playing an eccentric sales clerk. That evening, I went to my part-time job in a teddy bear shop—being an eccentric sales clerk. You see, art really does reflect life.
Caroline: How funny. What’s something about you that would surprise or shock readers?
Roxy: In a previous career, Brenda once sat in a meeting with the CIA on one side of her and the KGB on the other.
As for me, I appeared topless on the TV series DEGRASSI JUNIOR HIGH. No body double for this girl. But don’t worry. It’s totally PG.
You can check it out on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dsv591A9o34
Caroline: My critique partner would love to talk to Brenda. Is your book a series? If so, how long? Family saga, other?
Roxy: STORIES OF CHANCE ROMANCE is, for now, all on its own.
Caroline: Tell us something you learned researching your book that surprised/interested you.
Not a surprise. A fact. And that’s the sheer volume of people who’ve been touched by breast cancer. Is there anyone reading this who hasn’t known someone who’s battled the disease?
Can you give readers a blurb about your book?
Roxy: Here’s a Blurb:
This collection of eleven short stories of chance romance reflect the hope that comes with the first bloom of romance, whether you find it in your youth, midlife, or the twilight years.
We dedicate STORIES OF CHANCE ROMANCE to all the women who face breast cancer and to the teams of family, friends and medical professionals who support them on their journey. All authors’ profits from the sale of this anthology are being donated to advance the research, education, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.
Here’s to finding love in any place, at any time.
Caroline: What a great thing for you to do. How about an excerpt?
Roxy: Here’s the entire first story…
A CLASS OF HIS OWN
Gina headed to the Big Ridge High gymnasium, thrilled to find herself back in Montana, and at her old alma mater, ten years after graduating. Amidst the bobbing helium balloons and dim lighting, she could still make out the sign welcoming everyone to the reunion.
Anticipation tickled her insides. Thanks to email, she’d kept in touch with many of her old buddies and couldn’t wait to see them again. Luanne, Conner, and Kirstin—the four of them had stuck together like honey on bread—done projects, endured gym class, and dreamed of a future when they’d grow out of their awkwardness.
And Gina had. Braces off, she’d opted for laser surgery and pitched the glasses, and her beanpole body finally had some curves. She’d been on her share of dates—even had a marriage proposal—but hadn’t found Mr. Right. In spite of all the years that had passed, she still measured men by her high school crush.
He sure had her heart.
Two years older, he’d been unobtainable at the time—tall and tanned, with curly brown hair, and boyish dimples that made him irresistible to the girls.
And he had a bright future. His father, who owned one of the local gas stations, hoped Adam would attend a prominent university.
Would she still feel the same magic when she saw him?
Someone tapped Gina’s shoulder and she twirled around. Ten years hadn’t changed Kirstin one bit. She still had the same mischievous eyes, and let go with the same contagious laugh as the two hugged.
Quickly, they caught up on the intervening years—Kirstin’s two children and Gina’s small catering business.
“Who’s all here?”
“The whole gang,” Kirstin told her. “Luanne...and Conner. You should see him now—just back from a tour of duty as a medic.”
Gina’s shoulders slumped when Kirstin frowned. “He didn’t come?”
“Oh, he’s here all right. Follow me.” Kirstin led her across the dance floor, as Say My Name by Destiny’s Child segued into Breathe by Faith Hill.
Through the parting crowd, she saw him—looking about as scrumptious as a man could. Maybe he had a little less hair on top but the sight of him still made Gina’s heart do a flip.
“Adam,” Kirstin yelled over the music. “Do you remember Gina?”
“I sure don’t.” Adam’s gaze wandered over Gina’s orchid-colored halter dress. A slow smile spread across his lips.
Having made the introductions, Kirstin turned to leave. Gina reached for her, nervous to be left alone with her teenage idol.
But Kirstin just winked. “Three’s a crowd,” she said, before disappearing into the dancing throng.
Squelching her nerves, Gina looked up at Adam and willed herself to speak. “The last time we met, you were heading off to university.”
“I did a year.” He gave a lazy shrug. “Why sweat it? I’ll inherit the gas station one day.” His eyes made another sweep of her dress.
Gina was starting to wish she’d worn a sweater. She crossed her arms over her chest. “So, you’re working there now?”
He laughed as though the idea was absurd.
“How do you spend your days then?”
Another shrug. “I hang out. Watch TV.”
Gina’s lips quivered, her smile cracked. She was proud of her achievements, her work ethic. What had Adam accomplished? Was this the man she’d wasted so much time dreaming about?
“So, Jenny,” he said, grabbing her arm with a clammy hand. “Wanna dance?”
She shook him off with a quick backward step. “The name’s Gina. And no thanks.”
Desperate for air, she fought her way to the exit. One moment, she was weaving through bodies.
The next, she was spun around, locked in a man’s embrace.
About to protest, she looked up, and into, the kindest eyes she’d ever known.
He laughed. “You recognized me.”
“Hardly,” she admitted. Connor had always seemed frail as a teen. Not anymore. This man was solid, his biceps firm. When he smiled, it lit up the room.
“How are you enjoying the reunion?”
Gina shook her head. “It’s...”
What could she say? Different than I expected?
“It’s been an eye-opener,” she told him, finally. “How about you?”
He took her hands in his. “Seeing you again has made my evening.”
Her cheeks heated. Was her old pal flirting with her? “You were always a good friend, Conner.”
“I wanted to be more than that.”
How had she overlooked him in high school? He was smart, caring and, through the passing years, had acquired the kind of confidence that made a man truly attractive.
“Gina, would you like to dance?”
“I’d love to.”
Three songs later, he held her tight and whispered in her ear. “Great reunion, don’t you think?”
“The best,” she murmured, right before he kissed her.
Caroline: What a sweet story, but it packs a moral. Where can readers find your books?
Roxy: STORIES OF CHANCE ROMANCE is available through Amazon at http://amzn.com/B009J2KCLM
To find out about our other titles, visit our Author Pages.
Caroline: How can readers learn more about you?
Brenda’s website is at: http://brendamcollins.com/
You can find Roxy at: http://roxyboroughs.com and
Caroline: Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you?
Roxy: We’re very happy you visited with us today. Thank you so much for hosting us, Caroline.
Caroline: Thank you, Roxy, for sharing with us today. And thank you for the compassion you and Brenda have shown for those with breast cancer.
Thanks for stopping by!