Author Interview & Giveaway: Marina Adair ~KISSING UNDER THE MISTLETOE

I am excited that Marina is stopping by FBL to answer some questions about her latest book, Kissing Under the Mistletoe, her family and her writing style. If you missed my review of Kissing Under the Mistletoe, you can find it here.

Welcome Marina!!

Kissing Under the Mistletoe depicts a typical Italian family, I could relate to many of the scenes between the Deluca family. Being half Italian you were spot on with the "famiglia” bond, as a united front willing to do whatever it takes to protect the family. Can you explain how you built the plot for this story, is the strong “family” bond a reflection of your own family? 

First off, thanks for having me here today! Second, um…wow! You just totally made my day with the "famiglia” bond being spot on part. My big, sexy, Italian, husband, Rocco would be so proud that his French-Irish-German-English-Arkansonian wife did his family justice!

But back to the question, several years ago my husband invited his cousin to Thanksgiving dinner, who in turn invited her aunt, who invited another aunt, who invited an uncle and in the end I was responsible for roasting turkey for 13 Italians—let me clarify, I put the turkey in the oven and as soon as his family learned I was A) NOT Italian and B) a vegetarian, I was promptly kicked out of the kitchen and given a glass of wine. The dinner was loud and long and we consumed 25lbs of Turkey, 14 bottles of wine and I knew that someday I would have to capture this kind of crazy love on paper.

But the actual development of the DeLuca family came from a babysitter I had when I was in grammar school. She was the only girl in an Italian family of seven and her brothers were 100% alpha, extremely over protective, and, since they beat the crap out of anyone who looked at her twice, made dating virtually impossible for her. I merged the two experiences and came up with a series about a big, loud Italian family who were always in each other’s business and even though they irritated the hell out of one another, they were fiercely loyal.

When you started “Kissing Under the Mistletoe” did you know it was going to be part of a series? If so, do you predetermine how the stories will intertwine and what characters will have their own story?

I love reading series and I love writing them. As soon as I deemed the family Italian, I knew that there would be at least 5 stories to the series: each one dealing with a different DeLuca siblings as they came to terms with the death of their parents and, in turn, open themselves up to the possibility of love. Even their nonna, ChiChi, if she can get her nose out of her grandkid’s business long enough, gets her second chance at love.

Before I started writing, I lightly plotted out all five stories to make sure I had an idea of who everyone was and what their goals, motivations, and obstacles were. It was important that each book stood on its own but that the series, over all, worked as a whole with the characters and stories all intertwining.

What was the inspiration behind your Kissing Under the Mistletoe series?

Since KISSING UNDER THE MISTLETOE is a holiday story, I wanted the theme of family to be at its heart. But I also knew I wanted to contrast the holiday spirit of giving and forgiveness with an enemy-to-lover story. Who could be a bigger enemy to the oldest brother, Gabe, than someone who screwed with his baby sister? And since his family means everything to him, I paired him with a single mom who would do anything to give her daughter the best life. In order for one to succeed the other would have to fail…until they realize that what they really want is each other.  

At what age did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I didn’t know I wanted to write novels until I was 35, but I knew I wanted to be a storyteller when my dad took me to see Xanadu, staring Olivia Newton John. I was seven, she was Olivia Newton John, and loved it so much that I came home, strapped on my roller skates—the white ones with the hot pink wheels and matching laces—and danced around to the soundtrack (8-track, baby) reenacting the movie. At bedtime, I crawled under the covers with a flashlight and Rock Star Barbie, and created an elaborate story staring Kira (Olivia’s character) a magical muse who made her way in the world by singing in dive bars, roller skating and protecting the innocent ones with her mad karate skills.

Over the years, the plotlines shifted, the characters evolved, but there was always one common factor: they all ended with a Happily Ever After.

What are you currently reading?

I just finished NOT QUITE DATING by Catherine Bybee and loved it!

FBL Note: I just loved Not Quite Dating, and for those who are interested Catherine Bybee will be stopping by Monday,December 10th for a Guest Post and Giveaway... Love to see you come back by!!

How do you keep your characters fresh after so many books?

Motivation. Before I write even a page, I really think about what it is each character wants and how their goals can directly conflict with the proposed love interest. Once I know what motivates one character, what scares them, and what they are willing to do anything to obtain, then I pair them with someone who wants the exact opposite. For example, there are five DeLuca siblings who all, because of age, rank in family, and sex, experienced their parent’s death in a completely different way, shaping them into people with vastly different goals and insecurities. They may all fear love and loss, but how they deal with it and the kind of person they would fall in love with would never be the same.  

What is the hardest part of writing for you? What's the easiest?

I LOVE secondary plotlines. I think it is what makes a story fun to write and fun to read. It adds flavor, conflict, humor and depth to the main storyline. That said, I am a strong believer that, in romance, it always has to come back to the hero and heroine. Always.

So the hardest part for me is finding believable reasons for the secondary plotlines to work for/against the hero and heroine reaching their goals and their HEA. If I can’t tie it back to the romance plotline, then it gets cut—and sometimes that means cutting my favorite scenes and characters.
The best part of writing is when all the plotting and planning works together and the plotlines come to one gigantic clash at the darkest moment, and again in the story’s resolution.    

What do you love to do when you're not writing?

Reading, I know…I am a total geek. I also love eating Eggo Waffles and driving my husband insane—two things, which he will tell you, that I excel at.

By looking at your Book List, I find that you often write series/trilogies. Do you prefer that to stand-alone titles?

Absolutely! When I create a town and family I fall in love with them wholeheartedly, so I couldn’t imagine spending only one book with a town and its people. I also love the idea that the couple I connect with in the first book might be married or pregnant by the third and I get to experience them as a couple again, only through the eyes of another character. It is like revisiting old friends while making new ones. Julie Garwood is the master of this!

Can you give us a teaser from your upcoming book.

I just handed in the second book in the ST. HELENA VINEYARD series: SUMMER IN NAPA. It follows the next to youngest DeLuca brother, Marco, and releases April 16, 2013. This book was so much fun to write because my hero and heroine are not only fighting the need to get naked every time they see each other, they are also fighting against their past—Lexi’s cheat of an ex-husband just so happens to be Marco’s childhood best friend. Finding a good reason for Marc to break man-law and fall for—and into bed with—his best-bro’s ex was entertaining. Here’s a quick peek (unedited):

“Rise and shine, Creampuff.” Marc ripped the sheets back and Lexi gasped.
She was lying in a puddle of drool, next to a man who was very much dressed in shorts and a tee and sitting on top of the covers, while she was spooning his dog for all she was worth. She grabbed the sheets back from Marc and covered herself.
                  Wait! He was in different clothes. Maybe they did . . .
“Why are you dressed in,” sheets to chin, she eyed his new clothes, “those?”
Marc looked up from his laptop and the clicking stopped. “I could take them off but I think Wingman might get a little jealous. He’s not really into sharing. We’re working on that though, huh, boy?”
Boy barked, his tail thumping the mattress.
“No, I mean, where are your shirt and pants?”
“In the dryer. They got a little dirty last night so I went to my place and grabbed a few things after you passed out.”
She groaned, remembering just how his pants got dirty. Turning her head back to look at Wingman, who was panting happily in her face, she asked, “What are you even doing here?”
 “Holding your hair while you went to church for most of the night. Listening to you snore for the rest of it. I brought you some coffee. It’s on the nightstand.”
“I don’t snore. And,” she sniffed hazelnut and vanilla, “thank you.”
“Then there was the moment when you decided your jeans were too tight. That was a highlight. Almost as good as when the shirt went flying. But my favorite part,” Marc set his laptop aside and leaned in close, his lips grazing her ear when he whispered, “was when you shimmied out of that red thong.”
“I did not!”
“Really?” He held up his hand. A pair of red lace panties dangled from his finger.
“Give those back!” She grabbed the panties and, shoving them under the sheet, slid them on. He might not be able to see under there but she wasn’t taking any chances.

Thanks for having me here today! 

You can stalk Marina @:  Website   Twitter   Facebook

Marina is giving away a signed paperback copy of Kissing Under the Mistletoe to one lucky winner. All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form. Sorry this is open to US residents only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Loupe Duffy said... Best Blogger Tips

Just stop to say, good luck to all!
I just finished this audiobook, and it was a great listen, as I'm sure it's a great read too. I really enjoyed the story and the character.
A cute read/listen, just in time for the holidays :)
If you are an audiobook fan, you're going to love the way Renee Raudman brings this story to life.

Loupe Duffy said... Best Blogger Tips

Sorry! I also wanted to say:
Nice to meet you Ms.Adiar :)!
Looking forward to your new books.

Megan said... Best Blogger Tips

I love Xmas stories so much!! I don't really have a favorite memory, all my memories are cherished.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

My favorite Christmas memory was waking up to meowing coming from under the Christmas tree. I was in first grade and had been begging my parents for a cat for ages!

Eva said... Best Blogger Tips

Christmas was always the day I woke up early to see what was under the tree. We were allowed to open our stockings while our parents woke up. I loved it!

Marina Adair said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Loupe! I am so glad you liked the audiobook.I just got my copy and it is such an amazing experience to listen to my story. Thanks for stopping by!

Marina Adair said... Best Blogger Tips

@Loupe Duffy

Hi, Loupe! I am so glad that you liked the audiobook version. I just got my copy and it is such a neat experience to hear my story read. Thanks for stopping by!

Marina Adair said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi Kristen!

That would be the best Christmas ever! I am a huge kitty fan and would die if I found a cute ball of fluff under the tree! Great story. Thanks for sharing

Marina Adair said... Best Blogger Tips


Hi Eva!

We do the same thing at my house. My daughter gets to open her stocking and then she has to wait until we wake up to do everything else!

Thanks for stopping by!

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