I'm so excited to have my friend Marika Ray on the blog this month! She's the author of the Beach Squad Series featuring California lifeguards and their equally fearless women. I can't wait for y'all to read my interview with her!
Can you tell me what inspired your latest novel? Where did the idea come from?
Handcuffed Hussy was born because everyone loved the best friend character from my first novel. And looking back, readers were so right...she was WAY more interesting than my main character! She's so sassy, I had to find a way for her to get beyond that tough exterior and open her heart. A hot detectives with a habit of not taking any crap from anyone was just who she needed.
What does your workday look like?
I just moved back to CA and now my kids are on summer break, so I don't have a "normal" routine yet. But my routine from this last year while writing the Beach Squad Series looked like this: Wakeup, get kids to school, train clients in the morning, squeeze in a quick workout, shower, each lunch, write for 2 hours, pick up kids, social media/marketing the books, dinner, play with kids, more book marketing, my bedtime. Crazy busy!!
If you could co-write a novel with anyone, who would it be?
Penny Reid. Her novels are just magic for me as a reader. The way her characters come alive, the crazy word usage, how her sentences flow, the unique heroine personalities....I love it all!
What’s a genre you haven’t written but would like to try?
Post apocalyptic dystopian! I have an idea for a trilogy in that genre and would LOVE to tackle it, but I admit: I'm scared!! lol The amount of world building seems daunting to me. I want it to be plausible but it can't be totally realistic because it's in the future, right??
If you could go on vacation with one of your characters, who would it be and why?
Oh man, that's like asking me to pick a favorite child! Honestly, I'd want to go to a resort island with all of my Beach Squad girls. They'd be a ton of fun and I wrote each of them to have a certain personality quirk/type that I also have. I know we'd get along because they are each an exaggerated facet of me! I could just picture the shenanigans now.... lol But. To answer your question, I would say Shasta. She doesn't have her own book in the series (yet) and I'd love to get to know her more, to really get a feel for her story and why she's the way she is.
What are your beach must haves?
A big, fluffy towel, my Sweet Minerals lip gloss to keep my lips from burning, 30spf sunblock, a supportive two piece bikini (hard to find one that straps the girls in sufficiently!), my Rainbow flip flops....and if I'm surfing: my longboard and my Roxy wetsuit.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
First book was totally pantsed. All other books have been plotted and character sheets have been written. I find this helps me keep the proper tempo throughout the book and really get a feel for my characters. Plus, I write faster because I know where the story is headed.
Tell me about your book and the two main characters.
Handcuffed Hussy is about Bailey, a feisty personal shopper, who grew up rough and tough, but yearns for a man strong enough to be her true partner. Jack is a police detective that sees a lot of ugliness at work and just wants someone soft and easy to come home to at night so he can forget about work. What they don't expect is a deeper level attraction that they just can't deny. But a secret Bailey's keeping will put the brakes on the relationship before it even really gets started. It's about what you're willing to compromise for love and what you truly need in life to be happy.
What’s next? (book-wise)
I'm starting a new series for 2019! It's new adult romance with a group of friends in southern California, navigating life as they splinter off to college and adult life. First book is a best friends to lovers trope while on a road trip. This series will tackle the melting pot that CA is: multiple ethnicities involved, some gay romance, a heroine who is obese, etc. I'm tired of "perfect" romances...I'd like to try a series where the main characters aren't what you'd expect from the romance genre. The second book in the series is a MM romance that was "born in the Korner" (a short story I wrote for the KU Korner Facebook page). People keep messaging me, asking when it'll be released, so I gotta get on it!
Where does your writing inspiration come from?
I grew up in Southern California, and I'm living here again, so that really influences the settings in my books. I've also had an interesting life so far, so that inspires some of the story lines. I think we all have a story to tell and it's easier to write it out when it belongs to a fictional character. It's cathartic. Plus, I'm always on the hunt to learn new things and this career path provides plenty of areas for growth and learning!
What does your writing space look like?
Honestly, I write wherever, whenever. Couch, desk in my kitchen, my patio, an airplane. I don't need a certain environment to write. Well, except I can't have loud talking while I'm writing because it messes with my brain and I can't think of the right words. I'd like to try dictation again one of these days too. I tried it once and it was super hard. I have to have a private room to myself...I can't be writing sex scenes out loud with people in the room!! lol
Y'all be sure to check out Marika's new book Handcuffed Hussy!
In my world as a cop, things were either black or white. Right or wrong. Then Bailey arrived, challenging all my principles. She had a mouth on her, the level of sass matching the exaggerated swing of her hips. I couldn't get her out of my head, even knowing she wasn't right for me. I tried to stay away, I really did. But once I had a taste, I kept coming back for more. Something didn't add up though, and I would figure it out even if it ultimately meant we couldn't be together.
The only thing sexier than his dimple was the set of handcuffs the hottie detective threatened to use on me. If only he'd give me a chance to show him I was more than the tough-girl exterior I'd carefully crafted over the years. Oh yeah, and if I wasn't engaged in criminal activity that would land me in handcuffs...and not in a sexy way. More like an orange jumpsuit way, and I can tell you now, no way in hell would I be caught dead in an ugly jumpsuit.
No matter which way this thing ends, I'll be in handcuffs. The question is, will Jack join me in the grey area? Or will I have to do the impossible and admit I was wrong?
Sweet Dreams - getBook.at/SweetDreamsSquad
Beach B!tch - myBook.to/BeachBtch
Barefoot Chaos - mybook.to/BarefootChaos
Beach Bum Billion-Heiress - mybook.to/BBBH
About Marika Ray
Marika Ray spends her time behind a computer crafting stories, walking the beaches of southern California scoping out the lifeguards, and making healthy food for her kids and husband whether they like it or not. Prior to writing novels, Marika held various jobs in the finance industry, with private start-up companies, and then in health & fitness. Cats may have nine lives, but Marika believes everyone should have nine careers to keep things spicy.
Marika enjoys writing all types of fiction novels, based on what inspires her. Right now she's working on stand-alone romances in the Beach Squad series, all about California lifeguards and their equally fearless women. Moderate suspense, a splash of humor, and lots of steamy romance...all with the beautiful ocean as a relaxing backdrop!
More information can be found at www.marikaray.com
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