Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Interview & Excerpt ~ CLAIMING HIS CHRISTMAS WIFE by Dani Collins


Claiming His Christmas Wife (Conveniently Wed!)
by: Dani Collins
Series: Conveniently Wed!
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Christmas
Release Date: December 1, 2018
Publisher: Harlequin Presents
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It’s just until Christmas...

Until he wants her — forever!

After their secret marriage ended in heartbreak, billionaire Travis Sanders never wanted to see Imogen again. Yet when Imogen faints in the cold New York snow, Travis is called to her very public rescue! To avoid a media scandal, they must agree to a temporary reconciliation—at least until Christmas. But with their intense heat still burning, Travis is tempted to reclaim his wife—for good!


Hi Dani. Welcome back to Read Your Writes Book Reviews. This is your second book in less than a month. How do you keep everything straight?
Ha! It’s a challenge, trust me.

First, I have two huge wall calendars showing 2018 and 2019. I mark down all of my deadlines, release dates and promotions plus other events that might impact my writing, like conferences or a daytrip out of town.

Then I keep a daily planner (Polestar Business Agenda) beside my keyboard. It shows a week at a time and I write everything in there from dentist to word count to ‘Send Kim Reads Interview.’

After that, it’s whatever comes up that day. If I get a cover from a publisher, I usually post it right away, then make a note in the planner to add it to my newsletter, things like that.

But I’m seriously thinking of hiring a VA for help. I seem to juggle a lot.

That definitely sounds like a lot. How do you get into the Christmas spirit to write a book, when it’s at least 80 degrees outside?
That was also a challenge! In fact, with this particular book, I wrote it first as a summer season. When my editor sent revisions, she noted that it was scheduled for December and asked if I wanted to make it a Christmas story.

It worked out well to make the shift, given Imogen’s past. She hadn’t had a proper Christmas since her childhood, so I was more than happy to make the switch and add that holiday sparkle.

Imogen Gantry and Travis Sanders seem to have a very contentious relationship. Tell me about them.
Imogen’s father didn’t want her, which impacted Imogen’s self-esteem. When Travis rejected her, she thought it was par for the course.

On Travis’s side, he’d seen the agony his father went through when his mother cheated and left. He’s very wary of deep feelings so he pushed Imogen away, not realizing they were made for each other.

Imogen seems to be very different from what Travis remembers her to be. Which version is really her?
I think she discovers herself in this story. They both made mistakes, but she is ready to rise from the ashes and does. It’s one of the reasons I adore her. But she also has to let Travis take care of her, which isn’t easy given no one has in a long, long time.

Both Travis and Imogen seem to not truly reveal themselves to others. What do you see as their biggest weakness or character flaw?
They’re both terribly defensive. Especially Travis. He’s so busy protecting himself, he doesn’t see that Imogen loves him. She’s so worried he’ll reject her again, she fears showing him her love. Ultimately, their biggest weakness is each other and how deep their feelings run.

What do you love about them, as individuals and as a couple?
Travis is a fixer. He’s used to taking care of people and doesn’t know how to express his feelings in words—which rings so true for me where men are concerned.

Imogen is sensitive and playful and so ready to love. I love that Travis sees that in her. He’s wary of it, feels she might topple his tightly organized life (#spoileralert: she does) but she feeds something he didn’t know he needed.

Tell me about one of your favorite scenes and why is it a favorite?
I love the epilogue, but it really is a spoiler if I tell you why. I also love that I was able to pull in some characters from a previous book (Bought by Her Italian Boss.) I love when I can check in like that and show past characters living out their HEA.

The epilogue...Oh my gosh. The epilogue brought tears to my eyes. How do you handle the emotional scenes? Do you cry while writing them?
I don’t full-on cry, but sometimes I feel very emotional. And it is not unusual for me to hear myself speaking dialogue aloud or making a face of outrage or some other reaction.

Can you tell me a fun fact or two about Claiming His Christmas Wife?
I started with her name, Imogen, which I loved. Then I had one other phrase in my head. “You are the only mistake I have ever made.” From that, I knew Travis would be a perfectionist and she would be a disaster. I ran with it.

Dani, thank you so much for answering some questions for me. I hope you and your family have a very enjoyable holiday season. I also hope it’s relaxing.
I expect it will be a lot of fun, but busy. My sister will be visiting with her family from Australia. They’re used to celebrating Christmas mid-summer with a barbecue and pool party. We plan to show her kids what a Canadian winter Christmas is all about. Might even tramp through the snow to get a real tree.

Thank you again for hosting me, Kim. Happy holidays to you and your readers.

Dani, I’m sure the kids will LOVE that!

“Why are you here?” she asked, voice still husky. She wanted to squirm. In her most secretive dreams, this meeting happened on neutral turf. Maybe a coffee shop or somewhere with a pretty view. She would have had a cashier’s check in hand to pay him back every cent she’d been awarded in their divorce settlement—money she knew he felt she’d conned out of him. Somehow, in her fantasy, she found the words to explain why she’d taken it and he had, if not forgiven her, at least not despised her any longer.

Maybe his feelings toward her weren’t that bad. He was here, wasn’t he? Maybe he cared a little. Had he been worried for her?

She heard a zipper, which made her open her eyes out of curiosity—

Oh, no.

“You went through my things?” She clamped her eyes shut against the small red change purse that had belonged to her mother. It held Imogen’s valuables—her driver’s license, her debit card, her room key, the only photo she had of her with her sister and mother, and the marriage certificate stating Travis Sanders was her husband.

“The nurse was looking for your next of kin.” Oh, this man had a way with disdain. It dripped from a voice which was otherwise deep and warm with an intriguing hint of Southern charm.

She was a connoisseur of disparaging tones, having experienced a lot of them in her lifetime. Neighbors. Teachers. Daddy dearest. Inured as she ought to be, this man cut into her with scalpel-like precision with his few indifferent words.

He didn’t care if he was the only person left in this world whom she had any connection to. He found his brief association with her abhorrent when he thought about her at all.

“It’s my only other piece of identification.”

“Birth certificate?” he suggested.

Burned after an argument with her father ages ago. So childish.

She wanted to throw her arm over her eyes and continue hiding, but her limbs were deadweights and the small twitch of trying to lift her arm made her aware of the tube sticking out of it.

She looked at the IV, the ceiling, him.

Oh, it hurt so badly. He had somehow improved on perfection, handsome features having grown sharper and more arrogantly powerful. He was clean-shaven, not ruggedly stubbled and human-looking the way she remembered him when she dared revisit their shared past—hair rumpled by her fingers, chest naked and hot as he pressed her into the sheets.

Whatever warmth she had ever seen in him had been iced over and hardened. He wore a tailored three-piece suit in charcoal with a tie in frosted gray. His mouth, capable of a sideways grin, was held in a short, stern firmness. Flat gray eyes took in what must appear like soggy laundry dumped out of the washer before it had even been through the rinse cycle. That’s about how appealing she felt. While he was…

Travis.

Just thinking his name made her throat flex in an agony of yearning. Remorse.

Why was she always in the wrong? Why was she always falling down and getting messy and driving people away when all she wanted was for someone, anyone, to love her just a little? Especially the people who were supposed to.

Oh, she really was a mess if she was going to get all maudlin like that.

Pull it together, Immy.

“Is there someone I should call?” Flat silver dollars, his eyes were. When she had met him, she had thought his gray eyes remarkable for being so warm and sharp. The way he had focused his gaze on her had been more than flattering. It had filled up a void of neglect inside her.

Today they were as emotionless and cold as her father’s ice-blue eyes. She was nothing to Travis. Absolutely nothing.

“You’ve done enough,” she said, certain he was the reason she was in this five-star accommodation. She flicked her gaze to the window. Snow was falling, but the view was likely a blanket of pristine white over a garden of serenity.

“You’re welcome,” he pronounced derisively.

Oh, was she supposed to thank him for saving her life by further impoverishing what was left of it?

“I didn’t ask you to get involved.” She ignored the fact that she kind of had, carting around their marriage certificate instead of their divorce papers. Where had those ended up, she wondered.

“Oh, this is on me,” he said with unfettered scorn. “I came here thinking—well, it doesn’t matter, does it? I made a mistake. You, Imogen, are the only mistake I have ever made. Do you know that?”

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Award-winning and USA Today Bestselling author Dani Collins thrives on giving readers emotional, compelling, heart-soaring romance with some laughter and heat thrown in, just like real life. Mostly she writes contemporary romance for Harlequin Presents and Tule’s Montana Born, but her backlist of forty books also includes self-published erotic romance, romantic comedy, and even an epic medieval fantasy. When she’s not writing—just kidding, she’s always writing. She lives in Christina Lake, BC with her high school sweetheart husband who occasionally coaxes her out of her attic office to visit their grown children.

Places to find Dani Collins:

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