She’s a survivor of the front lines of politics. He’s a wounded soldier returning home from the battlefield. Can they place their trust in the power of love?
Nobody plays the role of perfect politician’s daughter better than quiet, respectable math teacher Brooke Ellstein. But she won’t be caught swimming with the sharks again, not after the son of a wealthy donor sinks his teeth into her and gets away with it. Still, political connections have their perks, such as heading up the governor’s “Support Our Troops” pen-pal initiative—and getting first dibs on the smoking-hot sergeant whose picture shakes her right down to her goody-two-shoes.
When corresponding with sweet, classy Brooke, Shane Develen instinctively hides his commando tattoos and blue-collar roots—and he can tell that she’s hiding something, too. But Shane knows he’s gained her trust when Brooke gives him a blisteringly sexy photo. Then he’s injured in an ambush and a fellow soldier posts the snapshot online. Overnight, Brooke’s reputation turns to ashes. Even though he’s totally wrong for her, Shane shows up on Brooke’s doorstep, determined to set things right—and discovers that right or wrong has nothing on the chemistry they share.
Loving You is Easy is one of my favorite books of the year. When I was given the opportunity to interview Brooke and Shane, I was SUPER excited. Please join me in welcoming Brooke Ellstein and Shane Develen to Read Your Writes Book Reviews.
Hi Brooke and Shane. Thank you both for joining me today.
Brooke: Thank you so much for having us.
Shane: Happy to be here.
My first question is for you, Brooke. Why did you decide to write to Shane?
Brooke: I was in charge of the governor’s Support Our Troops initiative that matched U.S. soldiers serving overseas with pen pals from back home. The program focused on matching New York State residents serving in the military and/or soldiers stationed at New York military bases with school classrooms across the state. Unfortunately, other soldiers somehow got included on our lists. And once I became aware of them I didn’t want to exclude them. So, with their approval, I distributed their names amongst some friends who agreed to serve as pen pals.
Shane: She kept me all to herself because I was the best looking of the bunch. And don’t give me the stink eye, honey. You know it’s true.
This question is for both of you. I loved this scene by the way. What was it like seeing each other for the first time in person?
Brooke: To be honest, I was worried I wouldn’t recognize Shane in person. We’d only Skyped a few times and the Internet connection wasn’t very clear. But as soon as I figured out which soldier he was, the excitement I’d felt about meeting him for the first time got pushed aside by an overwhelming sense of relief that’d he’d made it home safely.
Shane: When I saw Brooke standing there in the airport I felt an immediate jolt of shock. She’s even more beautiful in person and I’m not gonna lie, seeing her had me grinning like some lovesick fool, which I kind of was, not that I would have admitted it at the time.
Okay... Time for those lovey dovey eyes... I know what makes each of you special. What do you think makes the other special?
Brooke: Shane’s a hero. For years he put his own life at risk to protect the lives and freedom of others, to serve his county. He’s strong and caring and thoughtful. I couldn’t ask for a better partner in life.
Shane: Brooke is beautiful, inside and out. She’s so smart. And she’s a lot tougher than she looks. I thank God every day that she’s a part of my life.
Sadly to say, you guys aren’t really real. I know, pretty hard to believe. But I have no doubt that there are real people like you guys in the world. Your story is different from what your creator, Wendy S. Marcus usually writes. Did either of you guys challenge her to write your story yourself, or were you easy and just followed the story she wanted to tell?
Brooke: I hate to admit it, but I gave Wendy some trouble. My quiet, inner strength was difficult to write. A quiet character can be misread as weak, and I am not weak. It’s just I’ve had good manners and proper etiquette nagged into me from a very young age. But some early readers felt I was too naïve and today’s women wouldn’t be able to relate to me. So a major part of Wendy’s first edit was re-writing my character. But I’m very happy with the way I turned out.
Shane: So am I.
You guys experienced some pretty bad things throughout the book. From your experiences, what is it that you want people to understand and/or realize?
Brooke: That anyone can find themselves the victim of online defamation of character and everyone shouldn’t be so quick to believe everything they read on the Internet. People are, after all, innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Oh, and it’s never a good idea to give someone indiscreet pictures of yourself, even if they promise to keep them private.
Shane: I can’t apologize enough for what happened. All I can say is I’m happy things turned out the way they did. And for all you guys out there, if you’re lucky enough to earn the love of a special woman like Brooke, don’t push her away because you think you’re not good enough or because you don’t think you can give her the kind of life she deserves. Even though your girl seems to have it all, she may be missing the one thing that only you can give her.
Christmas is coming up soon. What do you guys have planned?
Shane: Since Brooke celebrates Chanukah, we’ve already started celebrating our extended holiday season.
Brooke: During Chanukah we light the menorah at sundown. Shane insists on giving me a little something each night, even though I told him he didn’t have to.
Shane: On Christmas Eve we’re planning to attend midnight mass with my parents then joining them for a big brunch on Christmas morning.
Brooke: Where I’ll be giving Shane a very special present this year!
Do you guys know if Wendy plans on telling the stories of some of your friends?
Brooke: I am so happy that Wendy will be telling Neve’s story next. And there’s so much to tell. Neve’s got a tryout with Cirque du Soleil. It’s something she’s dreamed of since she’d started in gymnastics and dance back in elementary school. She’s such a wonderful person and a fantastic friend. I can’t wait for readers to learn more about her.
Shane: Jeez honey, take a breath. The book’s not only about Neve, you know. Rory’s a great guy. Dependable. Close to his family. She’d be damn lucky to have him if she can get over being mad long enough to see that.
Brooke: Sorry. Of course you’re right. I’m so excited for the both of them. So be sure to look for Neve and Rory’s story, titled Loving You Is Everything, coming October 2015. I know it seems like such a long way off, but Wendy has assured me it will be worth the wait.
Thank you again guys. I really did enjoy reading Loving You is Easy. I think it’s the perfect title for your love story.
Brooke: We love it too!
Shane: Loving Brooke is easy. A helluva lot easier than loving me, that’s for sure.
And now a word from Wendy:
Thank you for having all of us here today, Kim! I love Brooke and Shane and am always happy to spend more time with them. You asked some great questions but I’m wondering if there’s anything else about Shane and Brooke that readers would like to know? If so, write your questions in the comments and I’ll have Brooke and/or Shane answer them. If you haven’t read Loving You Is Easy yet, let’s talk about military heroes. What do you think of them? Do you prefer stories about soldiers from specific branches of the military or any soldier will do?
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Wendy S. Marcus is an award-winning author of contemporary romance. A nurse by trade, Wendy holds a Master of Science in Health Care Administration, a degree that does her absolutely no good as she now spends her days, nights, and weekends mucking around in her characters’ lives creating conflict, emotion, and, of course, a happily ever after. Wendy lives in the beautiful Hudson Valley region of New York. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, which includes her dog Buddy, and blogging/e-mailing/tweeting/facebooking with her online friends.
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