Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Tracy Wolff & Nina Croft Interview - Star Bringer

Photo Content from Tracy Wolff and Nina Croft

Tracy Wolff is a #1 New York Times, #1 International, and USA Today bestselling author as well as a lover of vampires, dragons, and all things that go bump in the night. She collects books, English degrees and lipsticks and has been known to forget where—and sometimes who—she is when immersed in a great novel. A one-time English professor, she now devotes all her time to writing dark, action packed, romantic stories with tortured heroes and kick-butt heroines. She has written all of her seventy-plus novels from her home in Austin, Texas, which she shares with her partner, her sons and their three dogs.

Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia, which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of nine-to-five work. She's since then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary), and has settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain. Nina writes all types of romance, often mixed with elements of the paranormal and science fiction.

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
Nina: When I ran out of books to read and decided my only option was to write one myself.
A long time ago (way before ebooks existed) and in a faraway place, I spent four years working as a volunteer in a remote village on the banks of Lake Kariba in Zambia. It was a beautiful place and a great life-changing experience but with one huge drawback. No books for miles and miles. I read a lot, so this was really painful. The only thing to do was write one myself. So I did. It wasn’t very good, but it did start me off on a lifelong passion.

What were your feelings when your first novel was accepted/when you first saw the cover of the finished product?
Tracy: I cried buckets when my first novel was accepted—which thrilled the editor who called. She’d “never had a crier before” and had always wanted one. Harlequin bought my first book after I’d entered a contest they were holding. I placed in the contest and was asked to submit the final manuscript. Several months later, they asked for revisions, which I did while caring for my very premature newborn. Several months after that, I was walking out the door to take my baby to the doctor when the phone rang. It had a Canadian area code, but I’d been fooled by that before, so I kept walking. And then the editor—her name was Beverly Sotolov’s voice came over the answering machine and I freaked out. To this day I thank God my ex was standing beside me, because I shoved the baby into his arms and dived for the phone. Thirty seconds later my lifelong dream came true and I burst into tears.

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
Nina: I have so many favorites. But I think maybe my all-time favorite is The Lord of the Rings. I read the Hobbit when I was quite young, and it was a complete revelation that there could be whole worlds and fantastical beings inside the covers of a book. I moved on to Lord of the Rings and got lost in that world and never wanted to come back!

The other genre I read a lot in (other than romance I mean) is thrillers, and if I have to pick one, then I’ll go with The Bourne Identity. It’s such a fabulous complex plot and a great conflicted lead character.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
Tracy: The evolutionary answer to that question is it is important for survival. Before writing, stories were passed down by mouth and many of these stories dealt with things like don’t eat those berries, they killed my uncle or stay away from that gorge, a giant saber tooth tiger lives over there and he’s really fast. But beyond the safety aspect of storytelling, I think storytelling is important because it bonds people together. It gives us a way to connect with other people and share common experiences. Even if I’ve never been lost with a dogsled in Alaska or floated down the Mississippi on a raft, I can relate to the feelings expressed by Jack London or Mark Twain. And I can empathize with the characters, and hopefully, other people who had similar experiences as those characters.

Plus, storytelling—being the one who tells the story or the one who listens to/reads it—is a lot of fun and I don’t think the importance of fun can be discounted.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to have a life in writing?
Nina: I think, write the sort of books you love to read. It’s not an easy life, writing can be incredibly hard, and you have to enjoy the process and love what you’re writing or there’s a good chance you’ll never get to the end.

Tracy: Understand that a career in writing is a marathon not a sprint. There will be ups and downs your entire career, so keep your eye on your goals. And don’t be discouraged in the difficult times, because if you work hard and stay the course, something really great will be coming soon enough.

Can you tell us when you started STAR BRINGER, how that came about?
Nina: For me, it all started with an email from my agent. She told me Entangled publishing had approached her—they were starting a new imprint: Red Tower Books and wanted to know if I was interested in co-authoring a book for the new line—a book inspired by Firefly—with Tracy Wolff. Tracy is a fabulous writer and Firefly is my favorite TV series ever so, yes—I was very interested. And that’s how it all began.

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
Tracy: I like to say that I’ve wanted to tell stories since I understood that letters made words and words made sentences I could use to entertain people. My father was a fabulous storyteller and I grew up listening to his stories and practicing off prompts he would give me from a very early age.

But I can also pinpoint the moment I decided I wanted to be a writer. I was seven years old and we were living in San Francisco and my parents had gone into the bank to do the paperwork for a car loan and I had a book I wanted to finish so I elected to stay in the car and read. I finished my book before they were done and I was bored so I looked around for something to do. All I had was a notebook and an aquamarine marker (I still remember the color) so I wrote my very first short story—it had a princess, a rainbow, a pot of gold, and an HEA. By the time I finished, I knew I wanted to write for the rest of my life.

What were your inspirations for the character development?
Nina: The inspiration for the character development came firstly from Firefly, we wanted the forced proximity of a spaceship and a group of strangers thrown together by fate. But we also decided early in in the planning process that we wanted to incorporate the sort of character interactions found in the Breakfast Club. We wanted to capture that sense of camaraderie and unlikely friendships amidst a backdrop of cosmic chaos.

What chapter was the most memorable to write and why?
Tracy: I think the chapter in the cafeteria, where we get to see the first moment of the characters beginning to bond. It’s at this moment where they figure out, first, that they really do need each other to survive and secondly, that they have more in common than they’d ever imagined. It’s funny and sweet and plays so much into what we were trying to accomplish with this book that it’s impossible not to love it!

Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from STAR BRINGER
Nina: I always think that the first kiss scene in a romance helps us understand so much about the characters. So here are two first kiss scenes from Star Bringer.

Tracy: I agree!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! First kisses are THE BEST.

Rain and Beckett

“Tell me something,” Beckett murmurs, and her fingers go from stroking my hair to stroking my cheek.

A strange, devastating heat flares inside me. “What do you want to know?” I whisper, afraid to speak too loud in case she moves her hand.

But she doesn’t stop. In fact, her fingers keep moving, sliding along the sensitive skin of my jaw until they’re dancing along the nape of my neck. “Have you ever been kissed?”

I gasp as shock runs through me, along with another delicious flare of heat.

She laughs in response, then licks her lips. And just like that, my gaze is glued to her mouth. I couldn’t look away if the fate of Senestris rested on it.

I swallow hard but don’t answer her. I can’t.

Which I’m fairly certain is an answer in and of itself, even before she murmurs, “I’ll take that as a no.”

I shake my head vehemently.

“Well, I guess that leaves me with just one more question.”

I wait for her to ask it, and when she doesn’t, a low, keening sound works its way up my throat. It echoes in the silent room, and I’d be embarrassed if I wasn’t so…hot.

She laughs again, a low, wicked sound that makes my stomach flip even as it slides along my every nerve ending. But she still doesn’t speak.

“What—” My voice cracks again. “What do you want to ask me?” I finally manage to get out.

“That’s easy.” She smiles even as she leans closer to me. “Do you want to be?”

Oh my goodness.

It’s not easy. It’s not easy at all. In fact, the answer to that question is the very opposite of easy.

I know what it should be. What it has to be. I really, really do. But for some reason I can’t make my mouth form the word. Instead, all I can do is nod.

Beckett seems as surprised by my answer as I am. But she doesn’t let her surprise stop her. Instead, her direct yellow gaze holds mine as she moves closer, her hand cupping around my neck. And then slowly—so slowly that it barely appears she’s moving at all—she leans forward and brushes her lips against my own.

I can’t breathe. I can’t move. I’m burning up.

“More?” she whispers against my lips.

My head nods without any command from

Ian and Kali

He leans in closer then, and I go entirely still. There’s a look in his eyes, half calculating, half fascinated. And all of a sudden I have this bizarre idea that he’s going to kiss me.

My breath wedges in my throat as I tell myself that I’m mistaken. That I’m absolutely, positively misjudging his intent. After all, I’ve never been kissed before. How would I know what a guy looks like before he does it?

But then Ian’s rough palm is sliding around the back of my neck, and I decide that, never kissed or not, at this point his intent is pretty hard to mix up. Even before he tilts my head up so I’m gazing into his dark eyes and I can see the intent plainly written there.

But there’s a reason I’ve never been kissed. People do not just kiss a princess of Senestris.

Unless you’re Ian, in which case you do anything you want. And as unbelievable as it might seem, it appears that what Ian wants is to kiss me.

This close, I breathe in the scent of him, hot and rich and like nothing I’ve ever experienced in my life. For just a second, his gaze goes vacant, almost like he’s thinking about something a million kilometers away from here. Then he’s back as he lowers his head until his lips touch mine, and all rational thought vanishes.

I close my eyes and lean into him, hoping that he’ll kiss me again. Harder and more thoroughly this time.

Except he’s already pulling away.

I blink, fighting the urge to drag him back to me. But there’s a little frown line between his eyes that says he wouldn’t come even if I tried.

“You act like you’ve never been kissed, Princess.”

What was your favorite subject when you were in school and why?
Nina: English – because even back then I loved making stuff up!
Tracy: English—because writing and reading have always been my favorite things to do!

What is your most memorable travel experience?
Nina: I once spent three months travelling around India with my husband. We just booked a flight into New Dehli and then travelled around the country. We visited some wonderful places; it’s such a fascinating country with so much history.

Tracy: The three week European tour I went on for the Crave series. It was so incredible visiting so many cities and getting to meet fans from all over as well as the publishing houses that work so hard on my books all over the world.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
Tracy: True love with guarantee of heartbreak. Love is incredible in all its iterations and I wouldn’t miss any of them for the world. The pain comes because you had something that matters, and I can’t imagine missing out on that.

At a movie theater which arm rest is yours?
Tracy: None. My children sit on either side of me and take both armrests every time.

What were you doing the last time you really had a good laugh?
Tracy: Playing Chameleon with guests and my family a couple nights ago. It’s such a fun game!

When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought?
Tracy: There isn’t enough hair product in the world to tame the mess.

When was the last time you told someone you loved them?
Nina: This morning.
Tracy: An hour ago

Most horrifying dream you have ever had?
Nina: I occasionally have really vivid dreams about plane crashes!
Tracy: Sometimes I have dreams that something awful is happening to one of my kids and I can’t get to them. I just have to watch it happen ☹

Which incident in your life totally changed the way you think today?
Nina: Working as a volunteer in Africa in my twenties. It was such a life-changing experience (including setting me on the path to being a writer) giving us a view of a completely different way of living. It made us realize how little you need in terms of material things to have a good life but also left us with an urge to see more of the world. Which we did!


The sun is dying...and it's happening way too damn fast.

With the clock ticking, the Nine Planets' only hope of survival rests on a fancy space station and the alien artifact it's carrying. Which is why it really sucks when some jackass doesn't want the universe saved and blows that station up-while you're still on it.

So if your only choices are flaming death or stealing a flying hunk of space junk-you pick that busted-ass spaceship. Even if it leaves seven strangers with deadly secrets trapped together: a princess, a prisoner, a con artist, a warrior, a priestess, a mercenary, and an asshole in charge of us all.

Now every faction in the galaxy is hunting this ship-from the Sisterhood to the Corporation, and the rebellion's joining in on the fun, too. We just need to stop drinking, fighting, and screwing long enough to evade them all and save the freaking universe...somehow.

Because apparently the only thing standing between a dying sun and ultimate salvation is seven unlikely misfits...ahem, heroes.
You can purchase Star Bringer at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you TRACY AND NINA for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Star Bringer by Tracy Wolff and Nina Croft.

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