Today we have Mysti Parker as our guest. Hi, Mysti. Tell us a little about your new book. What is the main storyline?
Drive Me Crazy (releasing Jan. 19) is the first book in the City Meets Country 4-book contemporary romance series I’ve cowritten with MJ Post. It’s about a KY girl, Ellison, who moves to Brooklyn and meets Luciano, who has a big ol’ chip on his shoulder. Here’s the blurb for a better rundown:
Broken dreams aren’t always the pits.
Luke Martelli had one thing going for him: he knew racecars. But he didn’t get his thrills behind the wheel. Drivers wanted speed and handling, and he could make that happen. He’d been hours away from working his dream job with a pit crew when a freak accident took that chance away.
Now he works a crap job as a parade float builder in Brooklyn. Then Ellison Carlisle, a rich girl from Kentucky, has the nerve to tell him to accept his fate. What does she know about pain? But damn, she’s got the curves to match her smart mouth, and that’s a mouth he’s having a hard time resisting.
For Ellie, moving to Brooklyn was supposed to be a fresh start. She’s homesick, but getting away from painful memories in Lexington is worth the change. Until she meets Luke, the hotheaded city boy who’s entirely too sexy for his attitude.
Her track record for boyfriends is 0 for 3. Is it worth the risk to try to break that big chip on Luke’s shoulder, or is he another lost cause?
Wow! That sound like a good read. I know this isn’t your first book. How long have you been writing? How many book have you written?
I’ve been writing ever since I could hold a pencil and publishing since 2010. I think once this 4-book series is out, it’ll be 19 romance novels and novellas. Hopefully by mid-year, I’ll hit that 20 mark!
Oh, and I’ve published 4 children’s books as well. Not sure when I’ll get back to those, since I have so many other adult characters in my head clamoring for attention.
It sounds like you’re a very accomplished writer. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I started writing little fanfiction stories about characters I played in Everquest, an online multiplayer role-playing game, aka an MMORPG …. or something like that. They were pretty good, so I submitted one to a small press and they loved it. That’s when I thought I might be able to do this thing and make a career out of it.
Mind you, I had two little girls and a baby boy around that time. Sometimes I ask myself, “Self, why didn’t you start doing this when you were 20 and had a whole lot more time and energy?” Oh well, like most things in life, I had to learn it the hard way.
Interesting beginning. What inspired you to write Drive Me Crazy?
MJ and I had written a novella a few years back. We have known each other for years online. Anyway, we wanted to collaborate on other books, so we came up with the City/Country theme since MJ lives in NYC and I live in KY. We took turns writing the chapters, with each of us taking 2 male and 2 female character points of view.
It’s different writing with someone else, which has its own challenges and advantages. For one, you can’t have your way with everything, so you’ll have to compromise. But you get new ideas you may not have thought of before. Plus, we have different life experiences and locations, so it makes for a more accurate and realistic story.
Did it turn out the way you first thought it would? If not, what was different?
Yes, pretty much. We had to change some storylines here and there, but it’s what we envisioned.
You seem to write books fast. How long did it take you to write? Tell us a little about the process.
We started drafting the series in fall of 2015. We just finished the last book this summer, then began edits/rewrites, and started sending to beta readers. Then once it’s nice and polished, we send advanced reader copies (ARCs) to our review teams and cross our fingers, hoping it’ll do well out there in the big, scary book world.
Did you need to do any special research?
Most of it we found online (Google is your friend), but we did physically go out for some research. For instance, I took notes and made videos of a parade in downtown Lagrange, KY and a sea lion show at The Louisville Zoo.
I love Google, and I know what a great tool it is for research. Do you have a special place or atmosphere you like to write in best?
At home or at the Lagrange Coffee shop.
How are you like your main character?
We’re both from Kentucky and attended the University of Kentucky. Ellie’s pretty spunky like me and stubborn.
Did you learn anything new about yourself while writing this book?
I learn a bit with every book I write. In this particular series, it’s been a good test of patience. We decided to write them all first and then release them a month apart, which is different from what I usually do. So it was essential to work out a promotion and release schedule to keep us on track with what needed to be done.
What new project are you working on now?
I’m starting the 3rd book in my Beach Pointe romance series, which I hope to release in May/June. Also rewriting a Regency romance I wrote in 2015 for NaNoWriMo. I hope to have that out by early fall. Cross your fingers, toes, and eyes for me!
What advice would you give a new author?
Don’t expect to get rich quick. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Simply putting a book up on Amazon won’t make it a success. You will have to work long and hard to promote it. Grab your inhaler, some chocolate, a couple of Aspirin and take some deeeeeep breaths. If you haven’t the foggiest where to begin, ask other authors for their advice. There are also tons of marketing/book promo groups on Facebook. Go forth and find them!
How can we find your book(s)?
You can find them on my website: https://www.mystiparker.com/ or my Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Mysti-Parker/e/B0055LOTX8
Any closing comments you have for us today?
Thanks so much for the lovely interview! I want to wish everyone a happy reading and writing year.
Hmm, where did my shameless plug go? I could have sworn I put it by the illegible notes and the Christmas mug I’m still using…oh, there it is, the little stinker!
Hey romance lovers!! You must try our new series! Preorder Drive Me Crazy now on Kindle for just $0.99 or free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. It releases on January 19! The next book, High on You, will be available for preorder Jan. 19 and will release mid-February. Book 3 (Sealed with a Kiss) and Book 4 (Ace in the Hole) are coming out in March and April, respectively.
Stick with me, kid. I’ll keep your reading cravings satisfied all year long…
~Mysti Parker, Head Wordmistress and Kid Wrangler at Our House, Inc.