Hello and welcome to my blog for another round of Meet the Characters! Today I am featuring a guest blogger who has graciously agreed to let me do a character interview, which is my favorite kind of interview. Join me in welcoming author, Michelle Kemper Brownlow, and her characters from On Solid Ground. It’s a fantastic new adult/contemporary romance with wonderful characters so without further ado here is the interview with Jake and Gracie.
What are your favorite scenes in your book: the action, the dialog or the romance?
G: *blushes* The romance, definitely the romance.
J: Well, since Gracie stole my answer *reaches over and squeezes her knee* I will mention how much I loved the banter I got to have with my friends throughout this book. We had a lot of funny scenes this time around and that was a blast.
What is your least favorite characteristic your writer has attributed to you?
G: I’m not sure what it was but the way she described my hair made it seem a lot cooler than I really think it is. To me it always seems like it’s a mess, but when she mentions it in the book, I get the feeling it always looks adorable.
J: Her hair always looks adorable. For me, I think she really honed in on my abs and I’m not so sure they’re as hot as she has them written.
G: Um, yeah they are. Trust me. They’re even hotter.
What do you wear when you go to sleep?
J: Absolutely nothing. *winks and nods at Gracie*
G: I’m always cold. So when he lets me stay dressed, I’m usually in baggy sweats and a hoodie.
What do you think your greatest weakness is?
J: Gracie is my biggest weakness.
G: Coffee is mine.
J: Nice, Gracie.
What do you think is your strongest attribute?
G: Oh, this is a good one. I actually think my strongest attribute is also my biggest hurdle. Empathy. My heart breaks on a daily basis for something or someone. I’m not the turn-the-other-cheek kind of person. It’s good, I guess. But it’s tough to live that way and take on more hurt than you need to.
J: Integrity. My dad instilled in me the desire to be consistent and predictable in my moral and ethical standpoints. I want to be the man whose reaction to a dilemma doesn’t depend on who that dilemma involves.
What do you find most appealing in men/women?
J: A nice ass. *winces in expectation of Gracie’s reaction*
G: JAKE! *smacks Jake in the chest*
J: I’m kidding! Just kidding. I find quiet sexiness appealing. Gracie has no idea how freaking sexy she is, which makes her even sexier…if that’s even possible.
What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy Sunday?
J: What is this interview rated?
G: Jake. Geez.
J: I think I can answer for both of us when I say not getting up until late morning, ordering in and staying snuggled in a blanket watching movies together.
G: Yeah, ladies, he’s really that perfect!
J: *blushes and shakes his head*
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
G: He’s definitely the morning person and I’m the night owl. Which is why our sleep-ins end late morning and not mid-afternoon.
J: I can’t sit still that long. I need to at least get up and get something done before 11.
How do you react when people sing “Happy Birthday” to you in a restaurant?
G: Hate it.
J: Yeah, Noah kind of ruined that tradition for her. Jackass. *puts his arm around her and pulls her into his side*
Have you ever thought about getting a tattoo, what would it be and where? If not, what if you had to?
G: Oh my goodness, we were just talking about this!
J: Yeah, I’d never given it any thought until Ashley got hers. Seeing her tattoo as the last step to closure shed new light on the whole thing for me.
G: Jake and I would like to get one together.
J: But it needs to be perfect and we haven’t come up with what that perfect thing is yet.
G: It can’t be just words, either. It needs to be something artsy and symbolic of our story.
J: It will be the only one I get, which is symbolic of her being the only girl for me.
G: *kisses Jake on the cheek*
What’s the worst/weirdest thing you did as a kid?
J: *shakes his head*
G: He peed in his aunt’s plant.
J: She tried to teach a newborn kitten to swim.
G: We are both similarly traumatized by those decisions.
J&G: *laugh hysterically*
Gracie survived an emotionally abusive relationship that wrecked her. Her ex, Noah, systematically chipped away at her self-esteem through intimidation, humiliation and infidelity which left Gracie unable to trust her own perception of his intentions. But after falling head over heels for Jake, her best friend and the man who stood by her through it all, she is ready to experience life in the way it was meant to be lived. However, Gracie may find it impossible to simultaneously heal from the trauma of abuse while navigating a relationship with Jake. Can she put her heart on hold in order to heal her soul?
The sequel to the five-star debut novel, In Too Deep, chronicles Gracie’s steps toward healing as she falls deeper in love, reaches out for help, stands on her own, steps out of her comfort zone, faces her biggest fears, and reconnects with a sensual, talented soul from her past all in hopes of finding herself on solid ground.
“Gracie, please.” Noah Foster stood unwelcome in the doorway of my apartment. I tried to slam it shut, but his hand stopped it. With that one, sharp movement, panic seized my heart. The adrenaline kicked in, and I forced the door closed and turned the lock.
My lips parted, but only a small whimper trembled from my throat. I didn’t know which was faster, my beating heart or my spinning brain. I couldn’t let him in. I wouldn’t.
“Gracie…” I heard a soft bump and imagined his forehead hitting the door on the other side. Before the door slammed closed, we made eye contact, and his big brown eyes were sad. The kind of sad that had always grabbed my heart and squeezed. But feeling sorry for Noah was not going to happen anymore. All I felt was disgust. A flashback took over my mind. A paralyzing fear enveloped me. I could clearly see the seething anger in his eyes the night he physically dragged me from Mitchell’s and down the sidewalk against my will. That memory sent another shockwave of fear through my body. I wasn’t worried I’d cave to him; I was worried he’d hurt me.
I couldn’t move. My feet and hands tingled. I needed to call Jake. I rolled my body so my back pressed against the cool steel door. Instantly, my mind went further back to the night at Murphy’s, when Noah held the back door closed and kissed me deeply and forcibly for the first time, the night my heart was paralyzed by a love that threatened to unravel me.
“Gracie!” He knocked lightly, and my body jolted with the reverberation straight through to my spine. I looked down at my phone and, with shaky fingers, speed dialed Jake. But before it connected, I hung up. The last time I stood up to Noah, Jake was right there with me. This time I needed to do it on my own.
I threw my phone into the laundry basket by the door, swirled around, turned the latch, and opened the only thing keeping Noah at a safe distance.
“What the hell are you doing here? You’ve got a lot of nerve…”
“Gracie, wait. Please. Just. Wait.” His big, brown eyes were filled with hope.
With one hand on the edge of the open door and the other on my hip, I did my best to look fearless, but my insides shook, and I could barely stand still. My bones vibrated beneath my muscles. It was unsettling that he still had this effect on me. It pissed me off. I motioned with my hand for him to speak but kept my focus on his movements. One step closer and I was slamming the door again.
“Gracie. I…I just can’t…I’m lost, Gracie baby. I am so lost without you.”
“Noah, I am no longer yours. There is nothing here anymore.” I threw my hand into the space between us.
I shouldn’t have let any part of my body cross the threshold, but I didn’t think fast enough. He grabbed my arm and stepped toward me, knocking my other hand from the door and stepping back in. He was back in my life, even if only for a moment. By the time the door shut behind him, my heart soared back to the dark night I stumbled down the sidewalk, afraid the bones in my wrist would crush within his violent grasp. A wave of nausea hit me, but I wasn’t going to let him do this to me again.
“Gracie. I just need you to hear me out. I just want to talk, to explain.”
“Explain? There is nothing you could say that could erase all the scars on my heart, Noah. Scars you put there. Scars that will never go away.” I yanked my wrist from his grip.
“You have every right to hate me…”
“Damn straight I do!”
When I clenched my jaw, a tear fell from my eye and rolled down my cheek. Noah reached to wipe it away, and when I flinched, he stumbled back a little and leaned against the door. Our hands fell to our sides.
“Are you afraid of me?”
“Terrified.” As the word tumbled from my mouth, I wished I hadn’t said it. Admitting he scared me gave him the upper hand. And, like an idiot, I freely handed that card to him. Again.
I felt trapped.
I sat straight up in bed. Nauseous and sweating profusely. What had I done? Why was I here, in this bed?
“Baby what’s wrong?” His hands touched my shoulders and sent me over the edge.
“Don’t! Touch! Me!” I spun around, armed with an open hand, and launched my palm into the side of his face with a loud crack.
And that’s when I realized who I’d slapped.
Buy the Book:
Michelle Kemper Brownlow likes her music loud and prefers live concerts but will happily settle for the eclectic playlists on her iPhone. This Penn State grad and former high school art teacher is easily distracted by colorful art supplies and Eddie Vedder’s voice. When she’s not in her studio writing, she can be found putting off housework for a good romance novel that has her heart pounding and tears flowing. She is married to her very own “Jake” and is mom to three fantastic humans, a black lab and a Chinchilla named Wodney.
Twitter – https://twitter.com/MK_Brownlow
As a special treat Michelle is giving away two signed copies of ON SOLID GROUND or one set of the pair (IN TOO DEEP & ON SOLID GROUND) so be sure to leave your EMAIL address so we can contact you if you win!!
Thank you for joining us today! I hope you enjoyed this round of Meet the Characters and will join us again next week!