Published on November 19th, 2012 | by BookCrack2
‘On Dublin Street’ author Samantha Young talks Alpha men, Scotland,and Braden!
Haven’t read ODS? Gasp. How is that possible? We’ve only been talking about ON DUBLIN STREET and its brash, cocky, smexy, but oh-so-generous- in the bedroom and out-Scottish hero Braden Carmichael since early summer in our What We’re Reading, Friday Reads AND added it to our What to Read After Fifty list. We’ve talked about this book in a million posts to the point where I’d sworn we’d reviewed it. And guess what? Nope. *covering face in shame*. Our review is WAY overdue.
So if you haven’t read it yet, we’re even. And, we know you’re gonna LOVE it!
Before we launch into the interview with Samantha, you need to know what we’re gushing about. Here’s the set up:
Jocelyn Butler has been hiding from her past for years. But all her secrets are about to be laid bare…
Four years ago, Jocelyn left her tragic past behind in the States and started over in Scotland, burying her grief, ignoring her demons, and forging ahead without attachments. Her solitary life is working well—until she moves into a new apartment on Dublin Street where she meets a man who shakes her carefully guarded world to its core.
Braden Carmichael is used to getting what he wants, and he’s determined to get Jocelyn into his bed. Knowing how skittish she is about entering a relationship, Braden proposes an arrangement that will satisfy their intense attraction without any strings attached.
But after an intrigued Jocelyn accepts, she realizes that Braden won’t be satisfied with just mind-blowing passion. The stubborn Scotsman is intent on truly knowing her… down to the very soul.
Me, personally, I gave ON DUBLIN STREET 5 STARS on my Goodreads back in July. So I’m very excited to have landed an interview with the lady that created one of my Top Ten Smexy Alpha/Dominating Men of 2012!
The Samantha Young Interview:
First off, Ms. Young, we have a lot to congratulate you on!
Not only does ON DUBLIN STREET top our Best Books of Summer and upcoming Top 20 Best of 2012 lists, but ODS has become a USA Today, Amazon and NY Times bestseller. WoW! And it only gets better. We’ve recently read that you’ve been picked up by Penguin/NAL for a two-book deal and ODS, your first adult contemporary romance, is a
2012 Semi-finalist on Goodreads for romance of the year!
Congrats, Congrats, Congrats all around!
We are so excited for you that you’d think it was one of us. Really.
We’ve chatted up ON DUBLIN STREET countless times since July when the Bc Gals and I did our first mini-review, and why wouldn’t we? -Sexual chemistry from the very first meet up between Joss and Braden in the taxi, then there’s the setting-Scotland! -plus rich secondary characters we care about, a plot that reads more like a play (love that!) and hellooo?
B-R-A-D-E-N: a dominant/alpha-ish hero who is rich (without it being a major plot point), but even better he’s well rounded and complex without it involving a ton of baggage or damage or owning a secret red room of pain.
Not that we would object to the red room. If he secretly had one, that is.
Let’s face it, in ODS- witty sparks fly and innuendo abounds whenever Braden Carmichael is on the page. Even Joss would agree to that, right? I mean, sausage anyone? Gotta read the book. So. Worth. It.
And, Braden’s a guy who can deliver quotes like,
Joss: “Are you kidding?”
Braden: “Babe,” he gave me a look that suggested I was missing the obvious, “I never kid about blowjobs.”
Or this gem:
“I know you love me, Jocelyn, because there’s no fucking way I can be this much in love with you, and not have you feel the same way. It’s not possible.”
and, ladies, we believe him whole-heartedly.
Samantha, the Gals and I at Bc are romance writers on the side and in the month of NaNoWriMo we’re finding that we all seem to be craving writer connections and inspiration, so forgive me, but I have to ask this even though you must get this a lot:
Bc: After writing over ten YA books in a multitude of genres (paranormal, urban fantasy, fantasy) what inspired you to write outside what some readers would say is your “norm” to create what became ODS? Was it a song, another book/series, an author/crit partner, an image, an idea for a character?
<————-David Gandy? (Kidding. Sort of.)
Samantha: Lol! Although I’m sure David Gandy has inspired many fantasies—erm I mean romance novels, he didn’t inspire this one. I had been planning on branching into adult fiction for a long time but was waiting on the perfect story to hit me. I had written up concepts for an urban fantasy/dystopian series but knew that would need time to plan out, time I was currently dedicating to my YA series. However, I started to read more and more contemporary fiction last year, and my readers kept telling me how much they enjoyed the romantic subplots of my YA books, and I couldn’t help but think writing a contemporary romance for adults would be a great challenge and the best way to debut into adult fiction. I love writing characters, and a contemporary romance, without the fantasy world-building I was used to creating, would have to be extremely character driven. I was excited about that and began to draw up ideas in between writing my YA stuff. I attempted to write a number of contemporary romances but ended up dumping them in the little trash bin at the top of my desktop before I’d even hit chapter two. None of them felt right, real, or ‘me’. I think it was at the beginning of this year I was driving home, passing beautiful countryside, and I just decided that I wanted to write a romance set in Scotland. I’d lived in Edinburgh, it was a beautiful city I knew well, and I realized it was the perfect location for a romance. As soon as I realized that ‘writing what I knew’ would inevitably be best, the character of Joss came to me, quickly followed by Braden.
Bc: What was it like writing ODS? Are you a plotter or a pantser or both? Was it different from writing your other UF/Fantasy/SF series ?
Samantha: I am definitely a plotter. I wish I could just sit down at a computer and start writing but my characters and plots would quickly unravel if I did that. No, I have to get to know my characters before I can even think about writing their story, so I sit down with my notebook and I write out their bio—name, age, physical appearance, family history, personal history, romantic history. All the things that make them tick, basically. Once I know them, I can begin to plot their story, which is exactly what I did with On Dublin Street. It was different writing ODS in that I was free of the limitations that come with writing YA. My characters could say and think what they liked without me feeling that I had to constrain those thoughts in order to keep the language or situations appropriate for a younger audience. In that way, and because the characters are quite personal to me, I wrote ODS much more quickly than any of my YA books.
Bc: At BookCrack we like to discuss the heroes and what sets them apart. You wrote Braden as a very successful, wealthy, self directed and grounded hero. But, there’s more to him than meets the eye. That brings us once again to one of the main reasons we love ODS…Braden. Holy Hell in a Hand basket, woman, how did you come up with him?
Samantha: Haha. Honestly I don’t know! Braden was a revelation. He kind of wrote himself. Going into it, I knew what kind of man Braden was. To meet the needs of Jocelyn’s character he had to be intuitive, smart and stubborn. In addition to that I knew he’d be blunt, straightforward and a bit of rogue, because I know a few Scotsmen like that. I also want him to be a modern alpha-male. Too many times I’d read about an alpha-male hero who I liked but who would inevitably annoy me with his inability to compromise.
I wanted to write an alpha-male who was strong and possessive, but also willing to remember that we live in the twenty-first century and Joss is perfectly capable of making her own decisions. He would make his displeasure known about some things but in the end he wouldn’t manipulate her into seeing things his way.
So all of this I knew about Braden before I got started, but to my surprise as I began to write ODS, Braden evolved into one of my favorite characters. His one-liners just came to me as I wrote each scene. I began to learn instinctively as the story went on what Braden would say or do in a certain situation and it was always slightly outrageous.
He made me laugh at lot.
Bc: One of the things we LOVE about ODS is that instead of making your hero, Braden, face some sort of commitment phobia or hidden demons you chose to lay the “baggage” with your heroine, Jocelyn, and in doing so you bucked the “tortured hero” trend that is always popular, but even more so with romances these days. Plus, you put Joss’s issues, loss and coping mechanisms right out on the table at the on-set of the novel. We really appreciated that aspect of ODS. This leads me to my next question.
Throughout the book Joss is dealing with and avoiding her issues wrapped around lost loved ones and getting attached; was it then a conscious decision to make Braden so well-rounded or did his character develop organically?
Samantha: That aspect of Braden’s character was a conscious decision on my part. Joss is not great at dealing with her own issues, and I knew if Braden came to their relationship with his own problems, the two of them would make a complete muck of it. Braden had to be the one driving their relationship to somewhere real and committed; he had to be thick-skinned to deal with Joss’ attitude,e and he had to be perceptive so he could see past the attitude to the real reason behind it. Only a man confident in himself, and not embittered by his past experiences, would be able to handle Joss. All the other stuff… his dirty-talk and cockiness developed more organically. As I wrote ODS it became apparent Joss, with all her self-possession, would really need a guy who unsettled her, threw her off-balance, and Braden certainly did that with some of those one-liners.
Bc: What is it about alpha(ish) men? We’re curious about your opinion on this because you created such a smart, sexy, funny and enjoyable hero in Braden. Why do you think we smexy romance readers love alpha men SO MUCH?
Samantha: A number of reasons, really. At the very core of their allure is the caveman principle. No matter how capable and strong you are, many women are enticed by the alpha hero because he’s a man who screams strength, power and capability. He’s someone you can trust to look after you if you ever find yourself in need of being looked after. Their confidence is sexy.
Moreover, they’re a challenge. They’re pretty immoveable in their opinions and beliefs. They tend to want things done their way, which can be infuriating and definitely a test of patience for a heroine. However, in the end it makes taming them that much more satisfying and I think to a certain extent makes readers believe more deeply in their love for the heroine.
–Not to mention alpha heroes tend to say deliciously naughty things that good boys would never dream of saying
Bc: Here’s a question from Lynn, a fan on FB: “What else are you writing? I LOVED this book!” Doing research for our interview it’s like you’ve nearly taken a vow of silence surrounding your book deal- LOL. Is there anything you can tell us about the rumors that you’re writing another book in the ODS series?
Samantha: Lol! A vow of silence or a promotion from writer to torturer? I admit to teasing readers mercilessly about book two… talking about the book without ever really saying anything. I will come clean soon! For now, readers should know I’m working hard on book two and it’s proving to be emotional and extremely hot inside the pages.
Bc: Most of us at Bc are women in transition, working on YA and Adult romance novels as a second, third or even fourth career. Do you have any parting words of wisdom or a tip/trick you wish someone had shared with you for your fellow indie/self publishing romance authors?
Samantha: Concentrate on getting a number of quality stories out there. The more books you have out there, the greater likelihood you’ll have of increasing your readership at a good pace. I’d been self-publishing my YA books for eighteen months when I self-published ODS. The readership I’d built up in that time—my older readers of course—shot ODS into the top 100 on Amazon on its release, introducing me to a whole new level of readers. Readership is everything and the best thing you can do is talk with your readers as much as possible. Let them know you care what they think, that you appreciate them, and get to know them a little. It makes the job that much more enjoyable.
Finally, thank you so very, very much for this awesome interview. Before we go, can we grovel for any scraps about ODS #2…a teaser…anything?
My lips are sealed for now… although my characters’ lips definitely aren’t
Oh well. Can’t blame a girl for trying. Especially if it involves one Braden Carmichael.
Many, many thanks and kudos to Samantha Young author of ON DUBLIN STREET and the FIRE SPIRITS series (DARKNESS, KINDLED Book 4 due 2013). We can’t wait to read ODS #2 and more of Samantha’s work.
In celebration of her “official” paperback release with Penguin/Berkley we’ll be giving away a copy of ON DUBLIN STREET in December. In the meantime, Samantha continues to tease us about the upcoming sequel at her website www.samanthayoungbooks.com and on twitter @SYoungSFAuthor