I am pleased to introduce fellow Mid-Michigan RWA member Constance Bretes! Connie is a relatively newly published author but she has been quite prolific, putting out three books in a relatively short time. I read her most recent book, Love Songs, and asked her a few questions. She very graciously agreed, so I’ll let her tell you about herself!
PK: What do you do when you're not writing?
CB: I spend a lot of time researching for my next book. I also spend some time with my husband and our family of felines and extended family members. But, I like to write, so I just mostly write.
PK: What would your fans be surprised to know about you?
CB: I’m really a loner, and tend to stay by myself. I live life peaceably.
PK: What's your idea of an ideal vacation?
CB: Going out west, specifically, to Montana. Haven’t been there in two years and I miss it.
PK: How did you choose the genre you write in?
CB: At one point in my life, I owned over 600 Harlequin Romance books and I read every one of them. So, when I started to write, I had them in mind.
PK: Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
CB: Finding someone to critique my work and do line edits and finding someone to publish me. I gave up on finding critique partners and an editor. I submitted my book to several publishing companies before Beachwalk Press responded back to me that they like the story and wanted to publish it and they were willing to help me with the line edits. Grammar is not my strongest point, and I’ve learned a lot from them.
PK: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
CB: I was trying to get my first book published, and a friend and author referred me to their editor to review my work, and she sent me a scathing reply, telling me that I had major, major problems with my story, and was nowhere near the point of being able to publish, and that she just didn’t have the time to go through and work with me on it. She said the story had merit, but I needed two years of English in college to learn the trade. My husband kept encouraging me to continue and try, despite the negative feedback I received.
PK: What has been the best compliment?
CB: An author wrote a review that said, “Constance Bretes books are always an education of culture and place. ‘Love Songs’ is no exception and is thought provoking and intense. Constance adds her usual grit into a story that is as suspenseful as it is sensual.” This made my day, because it is what I try to do in my books.
Excerpt from Love Songs:
“Hmm, that water looks inviting,” Jake remarked. They walked up to the edge of the pool. He reached out to pull her into his arms, but she managed to escape his grasp.
“Oh, no you don’t.” She darted away from him.
“What?” Jake gave her a fake look of shock and a mocking smile.
As he reached for her again she gleefully squealed and ran from him to the other end of the pool. Jake came up fast behind her, chuckling as she put her hands up in defense. He grabbed her and drew her toward the pool.
“Don’t you want to take a nice dip in the pool, Jenn?”
“I think we need swimsuits on to do that,” she said.
“Oh, I don’t know about that,” Jake retorted.
He finally got his arms around her and started kissing her. She responded to his kisses breathlessly. As his hands moved up and down her back, each touch set off a barrage of tingling excitement and sensual feelings within her.
Slowly, he edged her toward the pool until they stood right next to it. She turned so that Jake’s back faced the pool. She gingerly brought her arms around to his chest and gave him a shove. He fell backward into the pool and came up from the water sputtering. He swam to the side of the pool to get out then made a beeline toward her. She laughed as he caught up with her.
Grinning wolfishly, he said, “It’s your turn now.”
“You asked for it, Jake, trying to toss me in the pool. I know you too well.” She giggled as Jake picked her up and hoisted her over his shoulder.
Just as he tossed her in the pool, she grabbed him by the neck and they both went colliding in. They came up from the water breathless and laughing. He lifted her up on to the side of the pool and she bent down to kiss him on his mouth. He responded by claiming her lips as his own.
Constance has two other books out so far, Delayed Justice and The Last Dig.
Love Songs is available at Beachwalk Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other ebook outlets.
You can find Constance at her website, on Facebook and on Twitter.