Friday, April 9, 2010

Interview with Laura Breck

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Laura Breck. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a release out called Secret Vegas Lives. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous book?

Thank you for having me here today. It's a privilege to have the opportunity to talk about my book. In Secret Vegas Lives, Dr. Valerie Kane is an eminent psychologist who is at the wrong place at the right time, and is mistaken for a blackmailer by fiction crime-writer Antonio Daniato. They both swear they’re not the blackmailer, but their suspicions keep them from exploring the intense attraction between them. When they learn to trust each other, the passion is red-hot. But there’s a reason they’re being blackmailed, and when they learn each other’s secrets, their perfect romance is torn apart.

Secret Vegas Lives is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Three times is the charm! The first name I had for the book was The Dance of Love, and under that title, it finaled in the More Than Magic contest. Then, with a lot of advice from writers, I changed the name to Las Vegas Strip. But when I contracted the book with Red Rose Publishing, they had a book with a similar name, and my editor and I worked together to come up with the final name. From what I've heard from other authors, name changes are common at publishing houses.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I write contemporary romance/mysteries because I love telling a story that will sweep a reader away, take them completely out of their life and immerse them in whichever city they choose to visit; Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, San Antonio, Chicago. And I write a sweet/spicy romance. Sweet, because I believe in a physical relationship between two loving, committed adults, and that’s what I promote in my books. Spicy, because I like to write a detailed love scene, something to steam up a reader’s windows.

Are you a plotter or a pantser and how did it affect the writing of this book?

I'm a hardcore plotter. I write huge outlines, complete with entire scenes as they pop into my head, and dialogue that I want to remember to include. It's sometimes fifty pages, single-spaced, before I actually start writing the book. As an exercise, I started writing my work in progress without an outline. I made it through a few chapters before the compulsion overwhelmed me and made me write a complete outline. Old habits are hard to change!
Did you have to do a lot of research for the book? What are your favorite research books or sites?
I lived in Vegas for three years. The places in the book are real, and I’ve visited them, so my research consisted of remembering what restaurants looked like, and doing a little online research to make sure they were still in business. is a wonderful site for research, and a great place to book a trip, too!

My heroine in Secret Vegas Lives volunteers at a shelter. Since each of my books is partnered with a charity in the city in which it’s set, in Las Vegas, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to The Shade Tree Shelter, a shelter for women, children, and their pets.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

After a wild Vegas bachelorette party, a friend said, "You should write a book about this." We talked about it on the cab ride back to the hotel, and a few months later, I had an outline. If you've ever been to Vegas, or want to learn more about the unique lifestyle there, you'd enjoy reading Secret Vegas Lives.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

I love Antonio. He has such fascinating character flaws! He’s angry because he’s hiding a decadent secret, he feels unworthy of a good woman’s love because he can’t control his addiction. And he’s as hot and spicy as any character I’ve ever encountered. Yum!

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research affect your character development?

I have a 130 question backstory list for each character, which I've compiled over the years, and add to quite often. If anyone is interested in receiving a copy, please feel free to e-mail me through my website and I'll be glad to send it to you. I also use an archetype book to determine who the hero and heroine are, and how they interact. Then, as I create the outline and research the plot, I make changes to the characters' backstories. It's a very fluid style of development, and things can change at any time during the process.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Absolutely. Two great authors from my home state of Minnesota are LaVyrle Spencer and Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. I've met both of them, and was so excited to tell them how their writing has influenced my life.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

Wonderful blog opportunities, such as this one, are a fabulous way to get my name out to to readers, and a fun way to share my journey as an author. I love chatting and answering questions on the blog, so please leave a comment for me.

What do we have to look forward next?

Antonio, from Secret Vegas Lives, is an Italian native, and his brother, artist Dante, is the hero of my second book, Scandalous L.A. Desires. Dante is notorious in L.A. for dating the most beautiful, famous celebrities. Lindsey Beauden is the president of her family’s charitable foundation, and when she gets an anonymous letter telling her she’d funding a project taught by an infamous womanizer--Dante--she wants to decide for herself if Dante is as bad as everyone says he is. Scandalous L.A. Desires is scheduled for a 2010 release.

Thanks, Laura!

Thank you for the fun interview.

To celebrate spring, Laura is offering a goodie bag of her promo items, and delicious Italian chocolate to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see who won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

One of the primary goals of my writing is to give readers a world into which they can escape the stress of life. And a fun read for lounging on the beach or cuddling up with a blanket and a cup of tea. ~Smart Women ~Sexy Men ~Seductive Romance.

Another goal is to make a difference in the world. That is why each of my books will sponsor a community program, and a percentage of my proceeds will be donated to that organization.

I live in Saint Paul, Minnesota with my family, and although I work a full-time job as a financial analyst for a professional sports team, I write every evening and weekend.

I am a member of Romance Writers of America's Speakers Bureau, and I enjoy leading workshops on E-publishing, Public Speaking for Writers, Group Blogging, and Marketing.

I hope to be a full-time writer one day soon, and I take classes in every aspect of writing, marketing, and publishing. I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, Midwest Fiction Writers, Wisconsin Romance Writers of America, ESPAN, and Elements of RWA.

I invite everyone to join my mailing list, which includes a monthly drawing for a great prize, at
Secret Vegas Lives is available at and in Kindle version at


Anonymous said...

Good morning Laura. I hope you're enjoying your chocolate flavored coffee today. Thanks for stopping by. Hmmmm. Las Vegas. What happens in Vegas......needs to come out in the open;). I wish you many sales, and for such a great cause, too. Let me know if you need anything else today. Have fun.

Linda Andrews said...

Hi Laura,

What a great interview. I am in awe of your 180+ character questionnaire and 50 page outline. Sounds like it really pays off in your books. And any story that is based on events at a bachelorette party has got to be good.

Laura Breck said...

Hi Kim, thank you for letting me blog with you today. I'm excited to give away a fun goodie bag to one commenter. Happy Spring, everyone!

Laura Breck said...

Linda - thanks for stopping by. Yes, I love my questionaire and mega-outline. It's just how I write best. And the bachelorette party - wow. It was a wild one!

joder said...

Great interview and great sounding book! And I love that you mention Kathleen Woodiwiss. She's the author that brought me to reading romances. At the age of 12 I picked up The Flame and the Flower and A Kiss in Winter and never looked back.

joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

Laura Breck said...

Joder - Ms. Woodiwiss was a great writer, and a really nice person. The few times I ran into her she was gracious and helpful. Her books are definitely timeless.

julieann said...

Hi Laura
I enjoyed the interview! Loved the bachelorette party! Wish mine was that fun

Estella said...

Great sounding book! I love romance/mystery books.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading the comments. I am always looking for new authors to read.
You named 2 of my all time favorite authors in Spencer and Woodiwiss. If any of their influence is in your books, they will be good.
I have added it to my TBR list.

Laura Breck said...

Julieanne - it's never too late to throw YOURSELF another bachelorette!

Estella, thanks for the kind words. I do love a mystery, and a big, hunky Italian hero makes it even better!

Joye, thank you for your comment. I read a lot of new authors too, but I can't help but go back to my old Minnesota favorites.