Interview with Bella Andre
about her best-selling series, The Sullivans1. You create characters beautifully and are an absolute master of plot twists. It seems like you could write in almost any genre and do a bang-up job of it. What made you decide to devote your efforts to the romance genre in particular?
Thank you so much for the compliments! I've always been a huge romance fan - I've been reading nearly a book a day since I was a teenager - so it was a natural fit for me when the characters starting appearing in my head one day. :)
2. How did the idea for this interconnected contemporary romance series first come to you? What was your inspiration?
I love the family series that have always been popular in historical romance - like Julia Quinn's Bridgerton series and Nora Roberts MacGregors - and I was also inspired by my husband's large family. It seemed like a natural fit to combine the the funny and sweet family dynamics into an overarching series of sexy contemporary romances with the alpha heroes that I love so much.
3. Everyone seems to have a favorite Sullivan. Now I know this is like asking you to choose between your own children, but who is your favorite? And who's most like you?
I'll have to plead the fifth and pick Mary Sullivan - the family matriarch - as my favorite Sullivan. She's the heart that keeps the family together and I get emotional whenever I write a scene with her. In fact, in COME A LITTLE BIT CLOSER (Smith Sullivan's story), the scene where he calls his mother to ask for love advice is one that so many readers have told me is their absolute favorite scene in any Sullivan book. As for who is most like me - maybe Sophie Sullivan from I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR YOU. She loves to read (and is a librarian) and when she wants something (in her case: bad boy Jake McCann), she goes for it! Of course, I'm also a lot like Lori Sullivan (aka "Naughty") with her big mouth and constant laughter.
4. In your opinion, what ingredients are needed to make up a good love story? Is life the same as fiction in this respect? Why or why not?
I love to love my characters and when I write a story I need two heroic, nice, good people (and why not gorgeous, too?!) who deserve love and have a lot of love to offer in return, but who are flawed partially because they haven't found that perfect someone who compliments them like no other. I like my fiction to be a little bigger than life - the Sullivans are extraordinarily hot, sensitive and attentive - but at their heart, they're all very real.
5. How has your own love story with your husband informed the Sullivan series? Are there any scenes that are directly taken from your own life?
I have the best husband in the entire world. Sweet, loving, sensitive…and super hot! He's always supported me in everything I've ever done and I think his strength and capability to love is at the core of every hero I write. With that said, none of the scenes are ever taken directly from my own life. I have a very active imagination. :)
6. Let's pretend for a second that you are a single woman living in the world of the Sullivans, which of the six brothers would you be most likely to fall in love with and why?
Ohhhh, now THAT is a fun fantasy! I would fall in love with each and every single one of them - and do, while I'm writing each of their stories! If I had to pick one, I might have my eye on Marcus (FROM THIS MOMENT ON) - because while all of my Sullivans are sweet, sexy and sensitive - Marcus is the only one with his own endless supply of wine from his winery. And there's just something about the oldest brother…. Then again, Zach Sullivan is such a great combination of cocky and sweet. And Ryan Sullivan has all those muscles. And Gabe is such a hero as a firefighter (and I love his dirty talking between the sheets). And Chase is so sexy and protective. And then there's Jake McCann (who falls in love with Sophie Sullivan) with his tattoo's and big muscles. Not to mention Lori's hero in the upcoming ALWAYS ON MY MIND which will be out this spring. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Lori's hero just might be the hottest hero I've ever written. See, what did I tell you earlier? I'm no good at picking just one. So let's just say, yet again, ALL OF THEM!
7. The Sullivans and their beaux have some pretty interesting careers. From photographers and sculptors to professional actors, musicians and ball players all the way to firefighters, librarians and business owners, they lead very exciting lives! What type of research did you have to do to capture these jobs so well? Do you have any interesting research anecdotes to share?
I've written firefighters and athletes in previous series which helped with my firefighter, Gabe (CAN'T HELP FALLING IN LOVE) and my baseball player, Ryan (LET ME BE THE ONE). I also live in Sonoma and have a lot of experience with wine and wineries which was ideal for winery owner Marcus (FROM THIS MOMENT ON) and as a writer I've been blessed to work with many librarians who served as information points for Sophie (I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR YOU.) For books where I need inspiration, the internet has been amazing and when needed, I also call on the help of professionals. Even though I'd written firefighters before, I still sent all my firefighting scenes to a professional and for Smith's book (COME A LITTLE BIT CLOSER) I sent all the acting-set sequences to a local film producer.
8. I was very touched by the inclusion of Yorkie puppy, Cuddles, and Great Dane rescue, Atlas, in book five, If You Were Mine. Are you a dog person yourself? If you have pets, I'd love to know more about them!
I *love* animals. I had the best time writing the two dogs in IF YOU WERE MINE. They had their own little love story in that book, which pleased me to no end. There's a cat that plays a very important role in ALWAYS ON MY MIND (Lori Sullivan's story, coming Spring 2013). My whole family loves animals, and we've recently adopted a beautiful cat. Or more accurately, the cat has adopted us, smart little minx.
9. The Sullivan series is currently seven volumes long. How many more books do you have planned, and which other family members will get the spotlight in their own books?
Lori's book (ALWAYS ON MY MIND) is up next, and there are 5 Seattle Sullivans who are ready for love - I will start with Rafe Sullivan's book this summer! Plus, I have something *very* special planned for Mary Sullivan, their mother, planned to release for the holidays in 2013.
10. And lastly (for a bit of random fun), what has been the most amazing/ touching/ validating interaction you've had with a fan of your books?
Everyone who has ever written to me on Facebook or Twitter or Goodreads or via email to tell me how much they love my books and that the Sullivans have moved them in some way has touched me. I love my fans, so, so much! I have the very best time in the world writing about my Sullivans… and knowing that I have so many absolutely wonderful people waiting to read them as soon as they're released is a total thrill every single day.
The Sullivans are on tour with Novel Publicity. Follow along for your chance to win amazing prizes. We've got special romantic swag baskets for each book, an iPad Mini, Kindle Fire, Nook Color, and Kobo eReader, and Amazon and iTunes gift cards. WOW! You'll also get introduced to this amazing contemporary romance series via excerpts as well as interviews with and guest posts from New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, Bella Andre. You'll definitely want to learn more about the family that has captured the world's heart. All the info you need to join the fun and enter to win amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win!
To Win the Prizes:
- Purchase any of the Sullivan ebooks by Bella Andre for just $4.99 (optional)
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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Bella Andre has always been a writer. Songs came first, and then non-fiction books, but as soon as she started writing her first romance novel, she knew she'd found her perfect career. Known for "sensual, empowered stories enveloped in heady romance" (Publishers Weekly) about sizzling alpha heroes and the strong women they'll love forever, nearly all of her novels have appeared on Top 10 lists at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple and Kobo.
Her books have been Cosmopolitan Magazine "Red Hot Reads" twice and have been translated into nine languages. Winner of the Award of Excellence, The Washington Post has called her "One of the top digital writers in America" and she has been featured by NPR, USA Today, Forbes, and The Wall Street Journal. She has given the keynote speech at Book Expo America on her self-publishing success and has sold more than one million books. If not behind her computer, you can find her reading her favorite authors, hiking, swimming or laughing. Married with two children, Bella splits her time between the Northern California wine country and a 100 year old log cabin in the Adirondacks.
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