What a week it has been so far! Thirty Nights is out, and you guys have stayed true to your awesomeness! Thank you for reading and reviewing on Amazon, Goodreads, etc. The most rewarding part about this is reading your words and seeing that I was able to make you happy for a while. No better feeling. Please, please, drop me a line on Amazon (I’ve got a bad addiction to it.)
But today is not about me. Today, I’m taking a break from Thirty Nights Craziness to introduce you to a new author that I love: Mia Hopkins. I met Mia on Samhain’s vast author base, and became instantly taken with her voice, her storytelling, her hot male pictures, and especially pictures of food. This woman does everything well. Her first full-length novel—Deep Down—comes out today, and she is sharing a teaser, an excerpt, a full interview, and order links. I was lucky to get an advanced copy and I LOVE LOVE LOVE Eve and Sam. They are real, and they teach that we don’t have to look to fantasy to find dream-fulfillment. It’s staring us in the face in the real people that surround us. My review will follow, but in the mean time, here is Mia:
Hi Mia! Welcome to my blog and thank you for all your support of Thirty Nights. Now, let’s talk about you! If you and I had not met on Samhain’s author space, but had met in a sushi restaurant instead, what would you have told me Deep Down is about?
I would try not to talk with my mouth full, because I love sushi, but I would say this—it’s about a female sushi chef named Eve and a commercial fisherman named Sam who team up to outsmart a dangerous loan shark. But it’s about a lot of other things, too: sex, friendship, California, the ocean. Oh, and food! It’s definitely about food. Just put all that stuff in a blender, blitz it up, and that’s Deep Down.
Deep Down is very different from your first novella, Cowboy Valentine. For one, it’s a full-length novel, but for another, it explores a different conflict. What inspired you to write Deep Down?
At its deepest level, Deep Down is about fighting for control of your life when there are so many uncontrollable forces working against you. In my early twenties, I was working whatever jobs I could get and not moving forward in any significant way. I took a gamble and applied for work teaching English in Osaka, Japan. That gamble changed everything. I learned so much about myself and I fell in love with Japanese culture. Years later, while writing Deep Down, I wanted to capture that feeling of taking a big risk and crossing an ocean to start over. That’s exactly what my protagonist Eve does, but in the opposite direction—she comes to California instead.
What would you say is Eve’s biggest conflict in the book? Why?
Eve’s biggest conflict in the book is her fear that she isn’t being true to herself. Sam is this larger-than-life, incredibly charismatic figure. The more important he becomes in her life, the more she fears she’s giving up too much of her identity in exchange for helping him work out his own problems.
What is Sam’s biggest conflict? (Other than the trouble he is in with the cartels?)
Oh, Sam. Sam was my whipping boy. I did horrible things to this man. In terms of personality, I see Sam as this Han Solo character, a lovable rogue with a beat-up ship and a lot of adventures under his belt (in more ways than one). He’s loyal to his friends and works like a beast, but he’s made a lot of mistakes he’s paying for now. His biggest conflict is himself—this deep, secret belief that he’s nothing but a screw-up, unworthy of love and unworthy of Eve.
As a wife of someone who LOVES fishing and sushi, I connected with both Sam and Eve. I loved that they feel real, rather than fantastical/escapist. Was that intentional and why?
Cool question! Like most romance readers, I enjoy novels about billionaires (like your Aiden in Thirty Nights, holy guacamole). I enjoy being seduced by that world. However, I absolutely love stories about working class heroes. I don’t want to romanticize manual labor—it’s difficult and thankless, it takes its toll on the body—but I do want to portray the dignity of people who do physical work and take pride in it. Sam is a commercial fisherman. Eve is a chef. They work with their hands and they operate at high levels in their respective industries—both are deeply respected by their peers. In my opinion, everyday heroes like them are worthy of epic love stories, too.
What are Eve’s and Sam’s biggest flaws, respectively?
In the beginning of the story, Eve is content to find loopholes in the system rather than to stand up against it. Sam’s biggest flaw is his self-doubt. It hamstrings him a lot.
If you could choose one word to describe their love story, what would it be?
Oh, man. What a good, meaty question, Ani. “Delicious.” [Ani: aren’t you hungry by now? I am.]
Like Deep Down, you have your own beautiful, interesting story. Can you tell the readers something about you? How did you decide to write romance and what brought you here?
Sure. Up until last year, I had worked as a teacher for thirteen years. In 2010, my husband and I were having some trouble starting a family. To help cheer me up, he’d bring me little gifts when he came home from work, just things from the drug store: a bottle of soda, a chocolate bar, a tabloid magazine with a particularly salacious headline. One day he brought me a Scottish highlander romance novel. I’d never read a romance novel before, but when I started reading it, I could not put that thing down. Soon I was living a double life. By day I worked with students on Shakespeare and Whitman and Steinbeck, but by night I devoured romance novels. Soon I started writing my own short stories and sending them out to websites and calls for submission. I sold a few, and in 2013, I started my first novel during NaNoWriMo. Slowly, my sales began to rise and in 2014, I decided to leave the classroom to write full time. My first novella, Cowboy Valentine, was published by Samhain this past August. And now Deep Down has been published by The Wild Rose Press. It’s been a really cool year.
If there were anything you could change about the current romance market, what would it be?
I’m a relatively new to publishing, and as such, pretty pathetically grateful to be working alongside so many talented, intelligent people. The romance industry is already so big almost any writer or reader will be able to find her place within it. In terms of a change I’d like to see, I can already see it happening—increased visibility for ethnically and culturally diverse authors and publishers. I follow the #weneeddiverseromance hashtag on Twitter. It’s a good place to start.
Finally, can you give the readers the links where they can find your book, and a short excerpt?
Sure! Thank you, Ani, for having me as a guest today. And a big thanks to your readers, too. I invite everyone to visit miahopkinsauthor.com for more information about my work.
A gust of wind blew sheets of rain against the side of the building.
“I’d like to make a push in the next few weeks,” said Sam. “Instead of three days a week, we’ll be doing four. It’s going to be nasty work. Do you think you’ll be up to it?”
“No problem. Whatever you need.”
Without thinking, Sam ran his fingers through her ponytail. Her hair was silky, heavy, and slightly damp from her shower. He stroked her hair for a few seconds before he realized what he was doing. At once, he withdrew his hand.
“I’m sorry,” he said, his voice rough. “My mind was somewhere else.”
Her smile was gentle. “Don’t worry about it.” She stood up and stretched. “I’m gonna change and get out of here so you can get some sleep.”
“Hell no,” he said. “It’s pissing rain.”
“It’s not that bad―”
“No way. No how.”
“Don’t make me use my captain voice on you,” he said. When she looked at him, something flashed in her eyes. Did she like it when he told her what to do?
“Fine,” she said with mock indignation. She went over to the closet where he kept the spare pillow and blanket.
He got to his feet and put his hand on the closet door, preventing her from opening it. “We’re past this. It’s cold downstairs. Just take the bed.”
“What about you?” Her eyes were wide.
“Oh, I’m taking the bed, too.”
ANI: Ok, doesn’t that make you want to know what happens once he gets in bed?? Let me tell you, it doesn’t disappoint. 🙂 Read more about Deep Down and Mia below, and why USA Today Bestselling Author, Samanthe Beck, calls her “one of the most exciting new voices in super-hot contemporary romance.” Add it to your next read, by clicking on the links below!
Sex, drugs, and spicy tuna rolls?
Resilient and disciplined, tsunami survivor Eve Ono moves to California from Japan looking for a position as a sushi chef. When she’s suddenly fired from her restaurant job, desperation drives her to find work on a fishing boat despite her fears of the ocean. To make matters worse, she’s stuck in close quarters with her new captain—a man whose raw physicality drives her out of her mind with lust.
Free-spirited and roguish, Sam Lamont is a commercial fisherman aboard his own dive boat, the Bravado. When he makes a bad deal with a deadly loan shark who threatens to take his boat, Sam is in danger of losing both his business and his way of life. On top of that, he’s got to train his new deckhand—a beautiful hard-ass who just so happens to be sexy as hell.
A female sushi chef with mad knife skills. A deep-sea diver who’s pissed off a Mexican drug cartel. Together, they’re in trouble, and the only way out is down.
“Mia Hopkins is one of the most exciting new voices in super-hot contemporary romance. Add her to your must-read list. Now!”
~Samanthe Beck, USA Today bestselling author
Buy Deep Down
Thank you for reading everyone!!! I’ll be back with more Thirty Nights stuff soon!