Blog Tour: Live: The Burnside Series by Mary Ann Rivers, spotlight, interview and giveaway

Live: The Burnside Series by Mary Ann Rivers Loveswept Release date: January 21, 2014 Blurb Mary Ann Rivers kicks off a new contemporary rom...

Live: The Burnside Series by Mary Ann Rivers
Release date: January 21, 2014

Mary Ann Rivers kicks off a new contemporary romance series—sure to please readers of Ruthie Knox, Kristan Higgins, and Jill Shalvis—where love can be found unexpectedly.
If there’s an upside to unemployment, Destiny Burnside may have found it. Job searching at her local library in Lakefield, Ohio, gives her plenty of time to ogle the hottest man she has ever laid eyes on: the sexy wood-carver who’s restoring the building. But as the rejection letters pile up, Destiny finds an unexpected shoulder to cry on. With his rich Welsh accent, Hefin Thomas stirs Destiny so completely that, even though he’s leaving soon, she lets herself believe the memory of his scorching kisses will be enough.
 Hefin can’t help but notice the slender, confident woman with ginger hair who returns each day, so hopeful and determined. So when the tears start to fall, his silence—penance for a failed marriage—finally cracks. Once he’s touched her, what Hefin wants is to take her back to Wales and hold her forever. But Destiny’s roots run too deep. What they both need is each other—to learn how to live and love again.

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 What does Mary Ann Rivers want us to know about her?

The rules are simple. There are 20 questions but you only have to answer 10-15:

As a writer, what drives you?
Risk, story, trying things, pushing myself, having fun, challenges, dares. Writing is a way to play, as a grown-up.  Which makes it irresistible, difficult, and hard to stop doing. I also really love collaboration, which is deeply motivating. 
As a woman, what drives you?
The idea of finding my voice, and getting my voice heard. The idea of any woman getting her voice heard and taking up as much space as possible. 
Can you tell us about Live: The Burnside Series?

Destiny Burnside is the youngest middle sister and at a serious crossroads in her life – she’s unemployed, has recently suffered the loss of her father, the major peacemaker in her large family, and yearns to find her passion. To distract herself, she harbours a secret crush on a man she sees at the library. 
He’s harbouring a secret crush on her. 
Hefin Thomas is a Welshman  -- an impulsive marriage brought him to the United States, but when the marriage ended, he got stuck. A passionate man, he’s also reserved and this reserve has left him in a holding pattern. However, rediscovering his creative passion (woodcarving) that connects him to his father and Wales, he’s ready to move on, and move back home to Wales. 
Except, he finally approaches Destiny, the determined and lovely woman who he’s admired coming into the library. 
This is the first of a series of four novels about a large family in a close-knit neighbourhood. It’s a series close to my heart, and explores home, family, relationships, and what motivates us to act in our own lives. 
How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in your books?
My characters reflect how much I have observed and been exposed to in life – though both experiences and encounters with art, education, people, and writing. They also reflect how I have processed those experiences from my own position of  knowledge and ignorance, empathy and privilege. My imagination, as well, is another overlay and is what weaves and knits and patches and sews all of that together. 
Writing is a life of the mind, and comes from my own life,  from many, many difference directions. I know my characters, because I know those parts of myself and my  ideas about those parts of people I have known or imagined. 
It’s such a complex matrix, but also, what makes it so rewarding to write, because it’s a way to process where I am at with how I think about myself and others. 
Describe yourself in five words…
Sensitive, fierce, creative, vulnerable, unfinished.
Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?
I write something before I do almost anything in the morning. It helps me to get my brain in a track of thinking and creating even if life intervenes and I don’t get to what I wanted to that day, writing-wise (I’m  a mom and I also work outside the home, so this happens). 
I usually, then, plan what scenes I would like to write that day. I’m a scene by scene writer. I may look over what I have so far, make a little map, see where I have to make things clear. I usually have a kind of rough map or outline for the whole book. 
Then I may let my critique partner know what I’m planning to do that day, because those scenes are ones she is likely to see. If I have time that day, I’ll revise per her comments. I have other writers I work with, that I may give different pieces to at different times. 
That said, every book is a different process, and sometimes you have to patient with that. What I’m writing right now, for example, required a great deal more planning. Also, I have to work in time for research, interviews, and revisions of larger pieces of a book. 
These things also depend on having time, space, resources – so writers get support from other people, and have to negotiate support with others. It’s very difficult. 
If you were a character in your book you would be…
In the current book, LIVE, I think it would be really fun to be PJ (Paul is his given name and he’s Destiny’s little brother). He’s stylish and talented and young and desperately in love with his big sister’s best friend. I think it would be a lot of fun to be PJ for the day. 
Time for favourite: song, color, book, TV series, movie, food, drink…
Favorite song: This is so difficult, and I know that it changes, all the time. I listen to music a lot and I play music. Though I find myself edging back to the band Neutral Milk Hotel over and over. 
Color: Green
Book: Another impossible choice. A few I have re-read more than once over my life are LONESOME DOVE, 1-800-HOT-RIBS, ARIEL,  A SUMMER TO DIE,  THE BLUEST EYE, ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT’S ME MARGARET,  BOSSYPANTS,  MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN,  GRAPES OF WRATH, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD,  and about 10,000 more.
How (or when) do you decide that you are finished writing a story?
I know how my stories are going to end, as far as the action and narrative. As far as getting to that last line, it’s something I know when I’m about five to ten pages away from it, and it always feels pretty intuitive. 
People are always asking me this so I’m paying it forward. Where does your inspiration come from?
All kinds of things. Music, art, my job, conversations, people watching, parenting, books. Even though I am not a visual artist, myself, I feel like I get a lot of ideas from visual artists. Also, daydreaming.
What are you working on right now?
I can’t say too much, but --- a Robin Hood retelling.
The good guy, the bad boy and the right guy…could they be one and the same? 
Most definitely. One and the same, and at different times, and for different reasons.  Humans are nothing if not surprising. 
If you could have a power or ability what would it be?
I’m a little bit afraid of superpowers, but I’ve said before it would be nice to have a kind of Deanna Troi-like empathy to assist in navigating relationships. 
How do you develop and differentiate your characters?
I free write and write test scenes – it’s like a more active kind of daydreaming. I also talk about my characters with writer friends, and do a lot of thinking about how they speak and what they do and who they care about. I’ll often to a great deal of research or interviews with other people, too, to get a sense of the kinds of things that would concern or affect my character in life. A lot of test scenes, though, just playing. 

Author Info

Mary Ann Rivers was an English and music major and went on to earn her MFA in creative writing, publishing poetry in journals and leading creative-writing workshops for at-risk youth. While training for her day job as a nurse practitioner, she rediscovered romance on the bedside tables of her favorite patients. Now she writes smart and emotional contemporary romance, imagining stories featuring the heroes and heroines just ahead of her in the coffee line. Mary Ann Rivers lives in the Midwest with her handsome professor husband and their imaginative school-aged son.
Connect with Mary Ann Rivers: Facebook | Twitter | Website

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