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, J. Hughey, and her characters from Eruption. It’s a fantastic new adult contemporary romance with wonderful characters so without further ado here is the interview with Boone and Violet.
Today the interviewer welcomes Violet Perch and Boone Ramer, college students forced to part ways by the eruption of the Yellowstone Caldera right when their relationship was coming together. Rhyolite Drifts, the second book in their series, Yellowblown™, picks up at that point and covers the months they spent apart up to their emotional and hot reunion.
Oddly enough, they’re sitting across from me at the dinette of the pickup truck camper Boone currently occupies in the Perch’s driveway. Violet might seem average at first glance, but when she starts to talk you notice she is lively and engaging, with an easy smile and pretty brown hair waving across a toned shoulder revealed by an athletic tank top. She leans into Boone’s side with obvious affection, breaking into a soft smile when his arm comes around her. He is definitely not average, with the blond good looks of the college quarterback he used to be, hair trimmed tight to his head, green eyes that flick to her often, as if making sure she is still beside him, still okay.
Let’s get to know these two.
Violet, the books are mainly from your point of view, though we do get a few glimpses of Boone when he’s out on his own. Did you ever think that your life would end up being in a book?
Violet: Umm, no way. I’m just a normal, boring girl from Indiana.
What are each of your favorite scenes in your book: the action, the dialog or the romance?
Boone, smiling like the cutest all-American guy you’ve ever seen, which he is: That’s a no-brainer for me. It’s the scene where I finally see this girl again, get to touch her and hold her hand, hoping she never makes me let go. I guess that was dialogue and romance.
Violet blushes: That moment and what happened later are definitely at the top of my list, too. I also like the one where I confront Mr. Hollingshead. I finally show I can be strong and independent and take a bull by the horns. So I think I like dialogue most. (She turns to Boone.) Did you like the cattle analogy?
Boone rolls his eyes.
Did you have a hard time convincing your author to write any particular scenes for you?
Violet: Jill struggled with the scene where I almost have sex with another guy because she was really rooting for Boone, but also knows that some people in our generation are more casual about sex, and that I was really searching for a distraction or hope or…I don’t know.
I didn’t really like what was happening either, which is why I didn’t have sex with him (Violet gives Boone a focused, meaningful look), but it had to happen. I mean, I was trying to move on from Boone and trying to grow up, and here I was, a twenty-year-old virgin college sophomore trapped back at home because of the Yellowstone eruption. Everything about it sucked: trying to make myself be with someone who didn’t make me feel the way Boone did and who didn’t react very well when I changed my mind that night, and then having to accept that the only person I ever wanted, or might even be able to stomach, didn’t want me and wasn’t ever coming back.
Boone: You know I wanted you. (He reaches up to tuck a piece of her hair behind her ear.)
Violet: Well, I know that now.
If you could rewrite anything in your book, what would it be?
Boone, looking agitated: I haven’t been able read that scene, but I’d definitely delete the part where Violet almost has sex with Hot Rod. Damn. Did you know he wrote a song about her?
Violet smirks: Boone is like Pavlov’s dog when he hears it. My best friend Mia plays it on her phone and he immediately has to come find me, wherever I am.
Do you like the way the book ended?
Boone: Some readers were a little annoyed that book one ended with us apart, and neither of us were too happy at that point either. So, yeah, I was really happy that Rhyolite Drifts ends with us together. Still facing some challenges, but together.
Violet: Just little challenges, like the volcanic apocalypse, and your mother.
Would you be interested in a sequel, if your writer was so inclined?
Boone: There’s definitely more to come for us. Hopefully readers are interested enough in our future to want to see how it unfolds.
What is your least favorite characteristic your writer has attributed to you?
Violet: I’m not always as confident as I should be.
Boone: I’m not sexist, but I’m definitely a protector, so sometimes I’m…I dunno…bossy?
Violet: I’m not sure “bossy” is the right word. You make decisions you think are in someone else’s best interest without consulting. But we’re working on it. (She smiles indulgently.)
What do you wear when you go to sleep?
(Both pairs of eyes glance over my head to the sleeping loft that hangs over the cab of the pickup truck.)
Boone: Lately? Not much. (Looks decidedly pleased with the situation.)
Violet slaps his arm: In the house, in my own bed, alone, which is where I spend every single night, I wear whatever suits the weather. We don’t use the air conditioner any more, so if it’s summer, a tank top maybe, and if it’s cold out, I’ll wear sweats.
Boone snorts, then says: She looks hot in a tank top. (He looks at her—his turn for focused and meaningful.) We’re going to stop this sneaking around. I doubt we’re fooling anyone, anyway.
Violet: Trust me, our lives will be much happier if your mom and my dad don’t find out where I am from midnight to four AM.
What do you find most appealing in men/women?
Boone: I’ve been an athlete all my life, but I’ve mostly competed in boys’ sports and dated the girls jocks date, you know, pretty but not necessarily out on the field or the court tearing things up. The first time I ran into Violet out on a bike ride, it was like fireworks went off. She was sweaty, and sassy, and looked so good in her little biking skirt. I was rehabbing my knee and, when I told her not to take it easy on me, she kicked my ass on a climb, and I knew I wanted to get with this girl.
If you knew a zombie apocalypse was coming in one week, what would you do?
Boone sits up straight: See if we could buy more ammo. See what we had on hand to turn into weapons. Do some hunting to bring in as much food as we could. Maybe build a fence? If we enclosed the small spring along with the house we’d be able to hole up for awhile….
(The interviewer can tell his planning could go on for several paragraphs, and turns to Violet.)
Violet: I’d laugh. I mean, what are the odds of two apocalypses at once? The Perch—that’s what my family calls our house—is already set up for survival, and at least we can kill zombies, or rekill them, or whatever it would be. We can’t do anything to protect ourselves from Yellowstone. It’s going to keep erupting until it’s done.
Rhyolite Drifts: Yellowblown™ Book Two blurb
Abandoned by Hotness.
Held hostage by the Yellowstone eruption, I’m stuck at home instead of loving life at college.
Sanity is restored when my college roommate arrives, but I’m still trapped in my hometown with a bunch of people just trying to survive. Some of them are surprisingly interesting, like the HAM radio opera singer lady. Or the pop star who crushes on me while waiting for an air filter for his tour bus.
Unfortunately there’s also my roommate’s gangster little brother who pushes Grandma to her conservative edge, and the local entrepreneurs determined to capitalize on hard times. They tick me off.
Despite all this I’m determined to find a path to the fabled land of Adulthood even if my heart is broken and all the roads are ash covered.
And where the heck did that Nebraskan cattle rancher go, anyway?
Everything is changing but my heart and my hopes don’t want to change with it.
Rhyolite Drifts is book two in the Yellowblown™ Series by J. Hughey. Eruption: Yellowblown™ Book One is highly recommended to be read first, and was a BTS eMag Red Carpet finalist in 2014.
People on my self-imposed mail route—a loose knot of back roads strictly north of Route 50 and the tiny burg of Sycamore Springs—knew I wasn’t a government employee. If they wanted a letter carried back to the post office at Gardenburg, they put their little flag up on the mailbox but most also attached a note to their letter to ask politely or thank me in advance and tell me there was no hurry. I tried to watch for the flags though I did get distracted by the simple act of pedaling to the next stop as determined by my packet of mail to be delivered.
By some fluke, I noticed the flag up at a house I’d never dropped mail at before. It was mint green aluminum sided and appeared perfectly square from the street, single story, with green shingles lacking the right minty freshness to match the walls. “Bad choice,” I whispered to myself, breathing hard from the climb and kind of annoyed I had to stop in the middle of it. I dutifully opened the front of the rusting black box. Inside was a note written in flourishing script.
“Mail Lady, can you please come to my door? I have a message.”
Mail Lady? Is that what I was now? I looked like a Mail Lady out kicking ass on a Giant cross bike with my metallic purple helmet, cute black biking skort and fitted electric blue jersey? Is this what it felt like the first time someone called you “ma’am”?
I eyed the front of the house, already prejudiced against it. A weird antenna with right-angled fingers hung from an ancient, drunken TV tower relic from the days before satellite dishes and cable. (Cable had only come to Sycamore Springs three years ago so, to be fair, antenna towers weren’t actually unusual.) The yard was untended, with grass wishing it’d been mowed one more time at the end of the season. Thick waves of leaves washed up against evergreen shrubs mercilessly hacked into boxy shapes, as if the cutter had threatened And stay that way! when he finished. Their exposed branches reminded me of the victims found in the German concentration camps: stripped, humbled, resigned to their fates.
The windows in the house were dark, each framed by open curtains but not softened by blinds or sheers. A single bay window dominated the front like the eye of a cyclops. A cluster of Indian corn tied with an autumnal bow bedecked the door, and I thought seasonal decorations were just the kind of diversion tactic a serial killer would use. Look over here so you don’t see the door to my underground-bunker-slash-torture-chamber over there.
I left my bike by the road as a signal that Violet had been here. That way if the cell towers were down and my phone’s GPS failed, the homicide detectives might know where to find the blood spatter with their black lights. Were forensic scientists still employed? I wondered this as I shuffled through the dead leaves in the driveway. It would actually be a great way to evaluate careers. How would such a proficiency test question be worded? “Is it important to you your career remain viable through an apocalyptic event?” Perhaps if I survived the next quarter hour, or the next year, I would take a serious look at who still had jobs and then go get training for whatever they were doing.
A silent prayer moved my lips as my feet traversed the cracked sidewalk. I prayed for an empty house and for the strength to implement my deliver-us-from-evil strategy if not empty. I promised myself I’d stand far back from the door, ready to perform a ding-dong-dash maneuver if necessary to keep from being dropped into a pit in Hannibal Lecter’s apprentice’s basement.
Your will be done.
No tones sounded from the mildewed doorbell button so I knocked too, then shuffled back to stand on the bottom step of the concrete stoop, well out of reach from the grim reaper, presuming his reach was similar to a human’s. At the moment when I decided I’d waited long enough, I heard the faint voice of a woman call, “I’m almost there.” She sang the last word, going from a high note to a lower note in a slightly creepy fashion, like we were playing hide and seek. Ally Ally In Come Free.
Yeah, definitely in the deliver us from evil part of the prayer book.
The door creaked open. A tall, willowy figure wearing an exotic shawl-like sweater and brown velour pants peered through the storm door. Reading glasses hung from a chain around her neck. Her salt and pepper hair was pulled back into a tidy knot at her nape, the front smooth, with no softening tendrils at her ears. She assessed me quickly, giving the impression she was as apprehensive about my arrival as I was about her haunted house.
She pushed the door open. “Hello, my dear. Are you our lovely Mail Lady?”
Buy the Book:
J. Hughey knows what a girl wants. Independence. One or two no-matter-what-happens friends. A smokin’ hot romance. A basic understanding of geological concepts. Huh? Okay, maybe not every girl is into geology, but J. Hughey is, and in the Yellowblown™ series she combines her passion for a timeless love story with her interest in geeky stuff to help Violet Perch get a life, despite an ongoing global catastrophe.
J.Hughey also writes historical romance as Jill Hughey. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two teenage sons and works part-time as a business administrator. For pure enjoyment, she takes lessons and performs locally as a classical soprano.
Thank you for joining us today! I hope you enjoyed this round of Meet the Characters and will join us again next w