We interrupt our regularly scheduled ramble from me to visit with Clare Austin, author of "Hot Flash", her recently released novel from The Wild Rose Press. Clare is here on her tour via Goddess Fish Promotions and will be giving away the winner's choice of a "Hot Flash" coffee mug or T-shirt to one lucky commenter, so please leave her a note in the comments when you're done reading what she has to say.
Clare... take it away!
Thank you for having me on your blog today.
Hot Flash is a contemporary romantic women’s fiction. The hero is an Irishman, Brandon Sullivan and the heroine is Kate Aiello, first generation Italian-American. I love the combination: “Italian attitude and Irish temper.” It is a tender love story about second chances with a touch of humor to help us all remember to keep perspective.
This was a fun and challenging book to write. It was my third novel in a year and I needed a compelling theme. Horses, competition, danger, and the blending of cultures…I understand these things first hand. Loss, despair, yearning for a second chance to find happiness…we all have history we can pull up to spark our empathy for characters like Brandon and Kate.
I have ridden horses since as far back as I can remember and for many years I competed in the sport of Three Day Eventing. I used this as a background for Hot Flash for many reasons, but one was simply because it is a world I understand. Besides, who can resist a man with a nice bum wearing riding breeches? I couldn’t lose.
As far as heroes and heroines being less attractive with age. This is a commonly held misunderstanding that was my pleasure to correct. Brandon knows how to make Kate feel like the beautiful woman she truly is. He isn’t inclined to rush her and he cares about what she needs and likes in bed. I don’t know about all the readers out there, but, for me, there is something extra sexy about a man who can rock my world and still knows how to cuddle.
Both Brandon and Kate are mature adults, with grown children, parents, siblings and a complex past. They have experienced love, commitment and loyalty in very different ways. They have disparate life goals as well as flaws and insecurities. How does one start over? It’s not that easy to get naked, literally or figuratively. Don’t expect the family to make it a smooth transition or the cultural differences to fade because love is present. These are some of the barriers I wanted to explore in my novel.
I wrote Hot Flash for all the women who feel as Kate does……
It was impossible to grasp the fact that she was old, washed up, or that her life was over in any sense. She felt alive, young and physically unchanged by the years. It comes so gradually, she decided. It’s not like you wake up one day and your face is full of wrinkles and your butt has sagged to the backs of your knees. The metamorphosis from young woman to wizened crone snuck up on you while you were busy living life.
It seemed to Kate that women were meant to be like flowers: beautiful, growing, blooming, reproducing other lovely flora and then fading, and blowing away, as ephemeral as a dandelion on the wind. She wasn’t ready for that. She wanted to continue flourishing, even if she had to do it alone.
With Hot Flash my goal was to write a triumphant story of challenges, new strength, and a deeper appreciation for the value of a mature love relationship. I hope you enjoy it.
Thank you for dropping by this blog today.
My books are available in paperback and digital formats from most online booksellers.
Hungry for a little more? Here's the blurb and excerpt for Hot Flash:
Kate Aiello has spent her entire life trying to please others—her three brothers, her Italian mamma and her husband of twenty-five years. It isn’t insult enough she is turning fifty, and left at the side of life’s road by her philandering husband. Now she has to contend with her body’s betrayal…hot flashes!
The plain truth hits her with each thermostatic aberration—she has never been first in anyone’s life, including her own.
Brandon Sullivan has been on a downward spiral since the death of his beloved wife. Now he is a man desperate to save himself from impending financial ruin, loss of his farm and his life’s dream. He needs to get into the winner’s circle by spring or he’ll be just another poor, landless Irishmen downing his pints and bragging about the good ol’ days.
Sparks fly when Italian attitude meets Irish temper. Add two big crazy families, a barn full of horses and one woman’s menopausal hot flashes and the probability for combustion increases exponentially.
What will Kate and Brandon risk for a second chance at love?
“So, Katie, tell me…why riding lessons?”
“It’s Kate.” She corrected him.
“What?” He looked genuinely confused.
“Kate…my name…it’s Kate, not Katie.” She wasn’t sure why it bothered her he liked to call her that. Maybe it felt a little too personal. Jeffrey had never called her anything but Catherine.
“Ah and why not? Katie suits you well, a good name for a beautiful woman.”
Nervous laughter welled up in her. “You have that ‘charming Irishman’ thing down to a fine science don’t you? Go ahead, call me anything you want.” Obviously, the man had his own opinions. It was most likely fruitless to try and correct him. She should have resented it, but his arrogance fit him like those breeches he wore. From another man, his attitude would have felt patronizing, but coming from him it was...well…titillating.
He said nothing, just looked directly into her eyes and smiled a slow, lazy grin that made Kate shiver deep in her bones.
Remember ... leave a comment to be entered in her contest! Thanks, Clare, for joining us today.