“Sweet Nothing” just came out last week and is currently touring blogs all over the place!
Elliot Halloran is running away. Away from her privileged Manhattan upbringing and a promising future at business school. Away from her family, which plummeted from A-list to disgraced after her criminal father’s atrocities were exposed. Despite the guilt Elliot feels for abandoning her family, she has no choice. She is too recognizable to live life as the person she has always been. So when an old family friend offers her a position as an economics instructor at Miami’s elite Alford Academy, Elliot jumps at the chance to distance herself from her past. She cuts her hair, changes her name, and vows never to speak of her old life again.
Keeping her identity hidden is harder than Elliot expected, especially with a roommate who seems to be on the verge of uncovering her true identity. As she fumbles through the opening chapters of her new life, Elliot encounters an entirely unforeseen obstacle: photography instructor Luke Poulos. Luke is sensitive and spontaneous. An art lover. Smart. Everything Elliot has ever wanted. Luke and Elliot’s connection deepens when she learns that he lost his parents in a car accident when he was a teenager. Like Elliot, Luke understands that life can shatter in an instant.
Elliot knows that a relationship with Luke is impossible; that he would never love her if he knew the details of her past. But as she struggles with whether to open herself to love or keep her true self locked away, Elliot learns that she’s not the only one with secrets.
Although very busy with the holidays and working on her next book, Mia Henry was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions for me! Here’s what she had to say:
TCR: Could you tell me a little about yourself?
MH: I’m a Florida girl who loves reading and writing about love. I live with my puppy Lulu and spend most of my time dreaming up plot lines for new books!
TCR: What do you like to do when you are not writing?
MH: I love long walks on the beach (seriously, I doJ), hanging out with my dog, and reading. I read a little bit of everything—not just contemporary romance. I think reading a variety of voices/genres makes me a better writer.
TCR: As a reader, what do you like to see in a good book? What do you find trite or cliché? What makes you stop reading and discard a book?
MH: I like to see real people, and emotional reactions that ring true. Even if the storyline itself is a little “out there” or fantastical, if the characters feel flawed and human, and their emotional reactions feel real—I’ll stick with it. But even if the book I’m reading isn’t a favorite, I will usually keep reading. It takes a lot for me to give up on a book. J
TCR: Do you have a day job? If so, how do you juggle everything?
MH: I do, and it’s tough! I do my best writing in the morning, so I’m usually up very early. I do it because I love it, so it doesn’t feel like juggling.
TCR: When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
MH: I’ve been writing my whole life! Seriously, as long as I can remember. I finished my first book around 6 years ago, but SWEET NOTHING is the first book I’ve published.
TCR: How did you choose the genre in which you write, or did it choose you?
MH: It chose me, totally. I adore a good love story, and so this genre seemed natural.
TCR: Where do you get your ideas?
MH: Inspiration comes from lots of different places. I take some snippets from my personal life (and no, I’m not telling you whichJ) and the rest comes from a lifetime of observing—how people talk to each other, their mannerisms, how they move through the world.
TCR: Do you work with and outline, or do you just write?
MH: Gotta have an outline. I so respect writers who can just write freely and somehow their story arc works, but that’s not me. An outline gives me a bit of structure, which I desperately need when I’m knee-deep in the creative process.
TCR: Do you ever get writers block? If so, how do you knock down the wall?
MH: Absolutely! Usually, I knock it down by walking away from it for a while. I’ll take a walk, play with my dog, watch a movie—anything to distract me. And then I can start fresh.
TCR: Is there a particular author or book that influenced or inspired you in any way as a child or an adult?
MH: As a teenager, Judy Blume. She just understood the adolescent experience—and all the angst that comes with it! As an adult, I have so many favorites—Colleen Hoover, Monica Murphy, Melody Grace—the list is endless!
TCR: Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your book(s) published?
MH: Honestly, I think the publishing process is the least challenging piece. For me, the writing is the difficult part. Sticking with the story when it’s just not flowing, staying committed to your characters—that’s awesome and it’s hard. But if you’re really dedicated to telling the story, you’ll stick with it. J
TCR: If you had to go back and do it all over again, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
MH: Not at all. It’s been a really amazing process.
TCR: Have you written a book you loved that you have NOT been able to publish?
MH: I’ve written books that I haven’t published yet. But I haven’t closed the door on them!
TCR: Do you have a book coming out soon? If so, can you tell us about it?
MH: I’m currently working on the sequel to SWEET NOTHING, and loving it! I don’t want to give too much away, but in the sequel Luke and Elliot decide to spend the summer in Manhattan, but their plans change when Luke is offered an apprenticeship in Paris! When Elliot realizes that Luke’s mentor may not have the best intentions, their relationship experiences some real strain.
TCR: How did you come up with the title?
MH: I started with the word “nothing”—in the book, Elliot starts out feeling like she’s lost her everything—her family and her future—and is left with nothing. But she realizes that life can be much sweeter without all the things she thought she wanted… so the title just sort of flowed organically!
TCR: Is there anything in your books based upon real life experiences, or is it all imaginary?
MH: Some of it is based on my own experience. Even some of the naughty parts. J But my background is not at all similar to Elle’s.
TCR: What was your favorite chapter(s) or part(s) to write and why?
MH: I loved writing the scene with Luke and Elliot’s first date. I loved the setting—an old shipwreck—and had so much fun writing the tension between them. I hope your readers love that scene!
TCR: Are there certain characters you would like to revisit/further develop or a theme or idea you’d love to work with again?
MH: Absolutely—Gwen was one of my favorites, and I’m toying with the idea of giving her her own story. She’s such a complex, caring person, and I would love to spend more time with her.
TCR: How do you market your work? What avenues work best for your genre?
MH: I’m still figuring out what works best. I’m active on all social media, but honestly what I think works best is word of mouth. If you write a story that readers and bloggers can connect with, they will share their experience. I hope that’s what I’ve done with this book. I hope readers can really invest in Elle and Luke; can really care about them the way that I do.
TCR: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the greatest compliment?
MH: If criticism is constructive, I don’t even think of it as tough. I’ve gotten some really good feedback, and luckily, most of it has been positive! Whenever I hear that a reader just couldn’t put the book down—that’s the BEST.
TCR: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
MH: Write. Every day. Some of what you write will be great, and some not so great, but keep at it, because writing a little bit every day is the only way to finish a project.
TCR: Do you have anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
MH: YES! Thank you. Thank you for taking a chance on a new writer, and for investing in Elliot and Luke’s story. I am so incredibly grateful for your support.
These were just for fun!
TCR: Have you ever gone out with a shirt inside out or backwards, slippers instead of shoes, or two different shoes and either not noticed until it was too late to do anything about it, or simply said, “To hell with it”?
MH: Inside out shirt. Like, more times than I’d care to admit.
TCR: Is there any particular animal that makes you scream and run for the hills, or a bug that you just can’t’ kill?
MH: Roaches. I freak out. More than once (we have a lot in Florida) I’ve woken up in the middle of the night to find one, have been too scared to kill it, and then I couldn’t go back to sleep.
TCR: I live in Central Florida (yes, close to the theme parks) and road rage often erupts on our roads due to all the “WONDERFUL” tourists (I usually take the bus)! Have you ever had road rage? What pisses you off most about other drivers?
MH: Absolutely. You know what’s the worst—people cutting you off when you’ve been waiting patiently. Can’t stand that. J
Make sure to put ‘Sweet Nothing’ on your TBR, your e-reader, or in your hands! It is currently available for sale at the following:
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sweet-nothing-mia-henry/1117673212?ean=2940045500005
About The Author:
Mia Henry adores all things romance, from steamy stories to ugly cry-inducing movies. She lives in Florida, where she dreams up storylines during beach walks with her muse, a ferocious 8-pound pup named Lulu.
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