Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. First, let me apologize to our guest for not having this up at the agreed time (just after midnight). There was a glitch on my part. Second, it is my extreme pleasure to introduce the lovely Empi Baryeh to Word-Slingers. It’s an honor to host her. She’s my first international guest! And third, she’s hosting ME today on HER blog here.
1) How long have you been writing?
Since I was about 13 years old.
2) How many balls do you juggle on a daily basis, and how do you manage to keep them all in the air (usually), (ball = work, writing, family, etc.)
Balls (*sniggers*). (ok, serious face) I work full-time, so I can only write in the evenings and weekends, and I can tell you, it isn’t easy to sit down to write when I’m already tired from working all day. Writing doesn’t pay the bills yet, so that tends to suffer a little more than the rest of my life. I don’t have a family yet, but planning on it soon. Wish me luck!
3)Your most recent release came out February 3. Can you tell the audience about it?
Absolutely! It’s called Most Eligible Bachelor and it started at a short story for a writing prompt. It’s a contemporary romance, about a magazine columnist who’s been burnt by love and is afraid to risk her heart again. She meets the hero, a reputed playboy, on Valentine’s Day, and despite her best efforts, she can’t help falling for him. The story is set in Accra, Ghana, which I think gives it a unique flavour.
Here’s the blurb and excerpt:
Magazine columnist Chantelle Sah doesn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day—not since her fiancé’s betrayal three years ago—and after botching her first assignment as a feature writer, she’s more than willing to put in a hard day’s work this Valentine’s Day; even if it means going on a date with gorgeous construction Tycoon, Lord McKenzie, and opening herself to an onslaught of all things love.
When Lord—his given name, not a title—sets his sights on Chantelle, it isn’t just work he has on his mind. But even he couldn’t have predicted the magnetic attraction between them when they meet, nor the evening ending with more than an interview. Now he has to convince Chantelle that their one-night stand wasn’t a mistake. Can he win her love without revealing a secret from their night of passion, which could prove fatal for both their hearts?
He seemed amused by her lack of a response as he took her hand and led her back to the dance floor. The music had turned slow.
She hesitated. Slow music meant being in his arms, their bodies touching. She shouldn’t do this. Yet for some ridiculous reason, she wanted – needed, even – the closeness, to feel like a woman again. Just for a moment. Even if she was certifiably insane for wanting all this in the arms of Lord McKenzie.
He pulled her gently, bringing her body flush against his. A tremor rushed through her. His warm breath on her face sent tiny tingles running over her skin. Heat radiated to her from each part of his body touching hers, his powerful thighs, lean hips and firm abdomen, his hand, pressed firmly on the small of her back.
When was the last time she’d been this close to a man? Her breath quickened as raw need surged through her. Far too long. Not since Martin.
Tears stung her eyes as the familiar loneliness accompanying Valentine’s Day closed in. Old love songs always got to her. She turned away from his watchful gaze, focusing on other couples huddled close together on the dance floor. Yearning pierced her heart. She gave herself a mental shake. She couldn’t entertain such thoughts. Once she did, there would be no salvation.
As if sensing her distress, Lord pulled her closer, his hold tightening around her. Every thought flittered out of her mind as soon as their gazes locked, and she began to drown in the deep pools of his dark eyes.
“Happy Valentine’s Day, Chantelle.”
Was it stupid that she liked the way her name sounded on his tongue? She opened her mouth to say something – about how Valentine’s Day had been commercialized to the point of triviality, an occasion for errant lovers to feel better about neglecting their significant others, a day to buy enough credit for another year, one day to make the unloved feel even less loved – anything to hide how hard it was to hear those words, but nothing came out.
His face hovered just inches away. Her heart stutter-stepped;her breath snagged. Without explanation, she wanted to know the taste of his lips. She wanted to erase it all from her mind, her pain, his reputation. She wanted to simply believe he really was just the most eligible bachelor in town, and he had her in his arms.
He smiled, really smiled,not the movie star grins he’d been flashing earlier. His gaze emitted pure heat wrapped around a hint of sadness. What in the world could make a man with his looks and popularity melancholic? Surely Lord McKenzie didn’t have the same kinds of problems as mere mortals.
His fingers feathered her cheek, sending another wave of tremors through her. When his hand reached her chin, he lifted her face. Her mind barely registered what was happening before the space between them vanished. His searing kiss was nothing she could have imagined. It scorched her, inside and out. A soft moan escaped her throat before she could stop it. She melted into him, curling her fingers around his nape.
When he pulled away, her breath came in fast, shallow bursts. In stunned reflex, her fingers came to her lips, which felt swollen, having not been used for this purpose in a while. Weak-kneed and aroused, she sensed she only remained standing because of his strong arms around her.
One of the couples dancing bumped into them, jerking her back to reality.
Shoot. This evening would be more difficult than she could have guessed. How was she supposed to conduct a professional interview when she’d just kissed the interviewee, and now her mind insisted on dancing around words like ravished?
4) I notice both books you have out/coming out feature interracial/multicultural romances. This is a growing field. What is it about multicultural romances that interests you?
I’m African and, while I love all kinds of romance, I wanted to also read about people like me, and settings I’m familiar with. I think multicultural romance brings a whole new culture and flavor to the romance genre, and the fact that readers are increasingly seeking multicultural romance says that I’m not the only one who feels that way.
5) Do you think you’ll move to another genre, and if yes, what to and when?
Funny you should ask. I actually started out with a YA story, which I never completed. I also have a few mainstream novels in the works. I’m currently writing a femoir (fiction memoir) alongside the sequel of Most Eligible Bachelor. Romantic suspense is something I’d like to try my hands at. Whatever the genre, though, there will be some elements of romance in there.
6) Silliness 1: Sweet or sour?
7) Silliness 2: Chocolate or vanilla ice cream?
Neither. Coffee’s my fav flavour
8) Do you have any other WIPs in the hopper? If so, what are they and when are you hoping to get them out?
Yup. As I mentioned, I have a femoir in the works, but I’m also working on the sequels to my two books. I’m hoping to get the out soon, so there isn’t too much time between releases. I know how I am when I get my hands on a series – I usually want to read them in succession. So I have my work cut out for me. Wish me luck. J
How can people contact you (email)?
I can be reached at the following destinations”
– Book cover attached to the email.
– Buy links (I’ll update the buy links on Friday when they go live)
Do you want to do a contest of any sort?
I’m giving away a copy of Most Eligible Bachelor to one commenter on this blog post.
And there you have it! The contest closes next Thursday with the winner announced on Friday the 24th.