Welcome! Today is a special day for me, because I have romance author, Joan Chandler, here with me to talk about her second novel, No Regrets. It was released July 11th by Siren BookStrand Publishing as a mainstream romance story. It has been in the top 5 bestsellers for the last week, including the #1 spot some days. She has been on the Top 10 best-selling authors list, as well. Let’s get started with our chat.
Kate: Hi, Joan. It’s so good to have you back to talk about No Regrets. How does it
feel to be at the top of the list with your new story?
Joan: Like uncharted territory! I made the top 100 with Perfectly Imperfect, but to see single digit numbers has been more thrilling than I can even say. Hopefully, it is because the readers connect with the story. Or maybe it’s because of that good-looking guy on the cover! But I’ll take it either way.
Kate: I’ve read your new book and loved it. It is very different from your first book,
Perfectly Imperfect. I understand you have an unusual story about the way
this story evolved. Will you share that with us?
Joan: The most obvious difference is that the first book was an erotic romance, and No Regrets is a mainstream sensual romance. What is interesting about this book is that – while it is the second work I’ve had published – it was actually the first book I ever wrote. I started it twenty years ago when I was pregnant with my first child. I couldn’t sleep, and one of my best friends subscribed to Harlequin Romance. She had box after box of paperbacks at her house. So she put together a grocery sack full for me and told me that if I couldn’t sleep at least I could be entertained. After several months of “romance immersion”, I felt like I could attempt to write one myself. I had already done a lot of creative writing by that point, and had been on the school newspaper staff in high school, so it seemed a natural progression. Of course, I only made it about three-fourths through the manuscript before my son’s birth, and after his arrival I didn’t have time to write much. It was several years before I dusted it off and finished it, at the urging of my sisters, son, and two nieces.
Kate: Did you find that you had to make many revisions after so many years?
Joan: As MaDea would say, hell to the yeah! Twenty years are like eons in terms of technological advances. In the original version, they called each other, emailed and sent faxes. It was much less common to have a cell phone then. Now, everyone has one, and texting is the main way to communicate. I took out most of the references to a traditional landline (except in hotels or offices), and had to add some text messaging. I chose not to completely remove the other modes of communication from the story line, but I made them much less predominant.
Kate: Tell us what No Regrets is about. It is a bit of an “international” love story,
Joan: Yes it is. It’s centers around a professor named Maggie Blake who takes a short assignment abroad to Bremen, Germany to help an entrepreneur start up his international shipping office. Once there, she meets his dashing son, Robert Douglas, who happens to serve as Corporate Counsel for his father’s business. Inevitably, they fall for each other. But it’s complicated by the fact they both know they only have a short amount of time to be together, and then she’ll go back to the States. While he’s only too willing to mix business with pleasure, Maggie has reservations about entering into a relationship that has a short expiration date. But as they spend more time together, their feelings become impossible to ignore.
From start to finish, the story makes stops in Germany, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Miami and Denver.
Kate: Did you have a particular person in mind as the hero and heroine
while you were writing No Regrets?
Joan: No, they were purely fictional. However, I took inspiration from my own sister-in-law who taught at university, but also worked short assignments outside of the classroom. In her case, she went first to Hawaii, and then later to Thailand, which is where she met my brother. I chose to set it in Germany because I worked for a German company at the time. Nearly all of the people I reported to were German nationals, and I liked talking with them about their home country. I didn’t have anyone specific in mind for the hero, either, but tried to figure out who would be a logical person for her to cross paths with frequently enough to spark an interest, without it crossing the line of the taboo office romance. Since most of the companies I work for have their own attorney on retainer, I decided that was the perfect choice for my hero.
After I’d pitched the book to Siren BookStrand and they accepted it, I realized I needed to come up with someone who physically matched the descriptions of Maggie and Robert. To me, the best fits were Kate Beckinsale for Maggie, and James Scott for Robert. Kate has been in several movies, including one of my favorite romantic movies, Serendipity, and all the Underworld films. James Scott plays E. J. DiMera on the soap opera Days of Our Lives. He’s gorgeous!
Kate: You know I love music as an inspiration for my writing. What song comes to
mind when you think of No Regrets?
Joan: I can’t pick just one! I’ll have to give you a short list:
1. Bruce Springsteen’s “Secret Garden” – it’s one of my all-time favorites. To me, it’s about a love affair that isn’t perfect, but it’s become addictive. Maggie and Robert have circumstances that seem to make a full-time romance an impossibility, but they find that no matter the distance between them, they are always trying to find a way to be together.
2. “Stutter”, by Maroon 5, about when you meet that certain someone and it just seems different from everything before. And it seems too good to be true but you want to make it last forever.
3. Puddle of Mudd’s “We Don’t Have to Look Back Now”, which pretty much plays to the concept of having no regrets, and the idea of looking forward to your future.
4. “Your Arms Feel Like Home”, by 3 Doors Down, which is fitting since Robert travels all over the world.
5. Finally, “Dance Inside” by All American Rejects. There are several passages where Maggie and Robert dance together in the book and I couldn’t help but think of that song as I worked on the edits.
Kate: Thanks for being my guest today. Would you mind selecting a “slightly
juicy” passage from No Regrets to leave as a sample of what readers can
expect from this romantic, new novel?
Joan: Sure, I’d love to. But first, before I leave you with an excerpt, I wanted to say how much I appreciate you inviting me to stop by. I really enjoyed my time here. And now, here’s a little hint of what you can expect in No Regrets.
“Care to dance, Dr. Blake?”
Maggie readily accepted his offer, and they walked hand-in-hand out to the floor where he pulled her close. As they began to dance, she rested her head on his shoulder, and he gently stroked her bare back, brushing his thumb back and forth in a fluid motion. Even though they were scarcely more than strangers, there was an instant rapport between them, and she felt completely comfortable as he held her. They didn’t speak as they danced, and Maggie enjoyed the feel of being wrapped up in his arms.
She contemplated how non-pressured it seemed. It was as if he had made known his desires, but that he respected that the decision was hers to make. As one song transitioned into another, they continued to dance in silence. Then she looked up at him, mentally dissecting the sudden realization that she found herself now very attracted to him. She had no way to know what he saw in her eyes, but somehow he must have read her mind. Without a word, he lowered his head until his mouth met her slightly parted lips. At first he kissed her softly and gently. When he detected no resistance, he deepened the kiss and swirled his tongue around hers.
“Damn, you taste sweet. Like nectar of the gods,” he murmured, and she felt him stir where their bodies met. She moved her hands up to his neck, entwining them in his thick hair, and kissed him back until she was nearly breathless.
“Let’s get out of here,” he whispered in her ear.
His warm breath feathered across her skin, and she nodded in agreement. They walked outside to find his car and make their getaway.
Kate: That is a favorite scene of mine from the story. Thank you for being with me
today. Thank you readers for stopping by to check out my interview with Joan
Chandler. No Regrets is a book you will have “no regrets” about adding to
your personal library. Just click on the link below to go straight to Siren
BookStrand and start reading today! Have a great week!