Lisa: Hi, Riley, welcome to The Novel Approach. I’m so pleased to have you here with us today on the tour for your latest novel, Shifting Gears.
Before I get to the questions, though: readers, be sure to check out the Rafflecopter giveaway below to enter for the chance to win an e-book from Riley’s backlist!
Okay, Riley, I’m going to start with a question that doesn’t pertain directly to the book, though, but to your cover art. Who designs your covers, and where do you, or they, find the gorgeous images for all your books?
Riley: Thank you. I feel so blessed with my cover art. My covers are done by X-Potion Designs. I supply the images though. All of my covers except RETURN TO BLACKCREEK and SHIFTING GEARS are images taken by Jackson photografix. He’s a wonderful photographer from Canada who I love working with. We have a great working relationship and have become friends. The image from SHIFTING GEARS is an image from another private photographer. He’s based out of Mexico.
Lisa: Tying into that question, then, what do you feel makes for a really good cover—one that stands out from the rest? Do you fully collaborate on all of your covers?
Riley: I’m always the one who chooses the image. I have a pretty consistent style, I think. I love black and white images. It’s hard to say what makes a good cover. I just know what I like—sexy, passionate, and kind of elegant, in a way.
Lisa: Do you have a favorite romance trope? What are some of the ones you find most fun to write?
Riley: I’m a huge, huge, HUGE fan of friends to lovers. I think that will always be my favorite. There’s something special about falling for someone who you have a close friendship with. My husband and I have been together since we were teenagers, but he was one of my best friends for two years before we started dating. I also think fake relationships are fun. I’d love to write one. Or opposites attract.
Lisa: If you were to consider writing a book that would really test you creatively and stretch your skills as an author, what sort of book would that be: fantasy, sci-fi, horror, mystery, etc.? What would challenge you most about writing in that particular category?
Riley: Oh wow. Tough question. I wish I had it in me to write fantasy or paranormal. I like paranormal quite a bit but all the world building and such just aren’t my strong points. I consider myself a character writer. I love dissecting people—how they feel and why. What they’re thinking and how they react to things. World building would be a huge challenge for me.
Lisa: This is a question I ask fairly regularly, but I like it, so I’m going to throw it in here. If Shifting Gears were being made into a movie, who would you cast to play Rod and Landon?
Riley: OMG, I suck at this question. LOL. I always feel so boring because I don’t know. I’m not good at putting actors with my characters. I don’t know why.
Lisa: Are there any characteristics or qualities about these guys that really endeared them to you as you were writing them? What made them sympathetic to you?
Riley: I think Landon and Rod both have really big hearts. They care about people, and that’s always important to me. They’re real in that they’re flawed and screw up, and don’t always do the right thing. That always endears me to a character.
Lisa: Without giving any spoilers away, what was one of your favorite scenes in the book to write, and what makes it a fave?
Riley: This is probably cheating but I just loved any scene with Rod in it. He made me giggle through the whole book. He would make these random, crazy comments. I loved writing his banter with Landon and how Landon reacted to him.
Lisa: Have you ever read a book, or even a passage in a book, and thought, “Damn, I wish I’d written that?” If so, what book was it, and what moved you so?
Riley: Yes. Absolutely. One of those would be TWO BOYS KISSING by David Levithan. It’s YA but it’s my favorite book in the world. I’ve never read a book that made me FEEL as much as that one did. It made me think, and cry and has always stayed with me.
Lisa: Would you like to share a little information with readers about your current WIPs and when we can expect your next release?
Riley: After SHIFTING GEARS, should be the third book in the Crossroads series. It’s tentatively titled TEST DRIVE. The characters are a surprise though! I also have an angsty book sitting at 33k on my computer I would love to revise and finish. It’s my goal to try and get past my block on Rock Solid two this year.
Lisa: Thanks so much for taking the time to be here with us today, Riley. What are the best places for readers to find you on the internet?
Riley: Thank you so much for having me!
Blurb: Rod Nelson is used to being someone’s good time, and that’s fine with him. Spending his days at his adult toy store, Rods-N-Ends, he never knows who he’ll meet. The second Landon Harrison walks in, he has Rod’s full attention. It seems as if Landon wants him too, so why won’t the man jump in the sack with him already?
Landon never thought he’d return home to the town where memories lurk around every corner. He has to admit, Rod makes the adjustment a lot easier. He keeps Landon laughing. Despite the fierce attraction between them, he’s not willing to risk his newfound friendship to get laid.
Neither man wants something serious, but the more they’re together, the harder it is to keep their hands to themselves, until eventually they stop trying.
But flings between friends are never simple, and as they attempt to shift gears, diving into their first relationship, they’re slammed with setbacks. If they want to truly move forward, before they hit the open road together, they’re going to have to let go of a past that could make them crash and burn.
Excerpt: Landon pulled softly on his arm again, and Rod got the hint. He kneeled between Landon’s legs, with his knees on the floor. “You’re determined,” Landon told him.
Yes, yes he was. At least when it came to this. “Is that a bad thing?”
Landon smiled. “Hell no. You’ve had my dick hard since the first time I saw you. Easy Ride comes in the mail too, ya know?”
“Aww, so you came to see me?”
“Shut up so I can kiss you.” The look in Landon’s eyes turned dark, hungry, urgent, and he pulled Rod closer, covering Rod’s mouth with his own. His tongue went straight for Rod’s lips, demanding entrance, and Rod gave it easily. He tasted like a mixture of coffee and mint, like maybe he’d had a drink right after brushing his teeth.
Rod slid his hands up Landon’s thighs until he got to the bulge at the apex of them and rubbed his hand over it, feeling the large bump beneath his jeans.
Landon growled into his mouth, making it vibrate through him.
He leaned back, grabbed the bottom of Rod’s shirt and pulled it over his head. “I’m so damned hungry for you. This won’t be slow. It’ll be fast and hard.”
“Were you under the impression that I wanted it slow?”
Grinning, Landon reached around and swatted Rod’s ass. “Let’s go to the room.”
“Why move when we can do it right here?” He didn’t want to give Landon the chance to change his mind. Rod reached under the couch and grabbed a bottle of lube, before pulling a condom from his wallet and tossing both to the couch.
“You keep lube under your couch?”
“I live alone. I can jack off wherever I want. Are we going to talk or do this?” But really, he liked talking to Landon, and if what Landon said was true, he liked talking to Rod as well.
“Fuck now, words later.”
Hell yes. Definitely what he wanted to hear. Rod stood up to take off his jeans. As he worked the button, Landon traced a path across his stomach with his tongue. He nipped at the skin next to Rod’s belly button, just enough to sting before he sucked the skin into his mouth again.
“Oh fuck.” Rod’s bones melted; his knees went weak.
“Get out of those pants before I rip them off of you. Want your ass.”
Rod looked down at him and nodded, letting Landon know he was good to go. Finally, his goddamned fingers started to work and he got his pants unbuttoned and unzipped. Blood rushed through his ears. His cock ached as he pulled down his jeans.
Landon leaned in. “Jesus, you’re leaking like crazy. Look at that fucking wet spot. I want your taste on my tongue again.” And then he nuzzled his face between Rod’s legs, his mouth against the growing spot of pre-come in Rod’s underwear.
“Damn, I’m going to fucking kill you if you make me come too soon.” Even as he spoke, Rod had his hand in Landon’s hair, pushing his face closer to his aching cock.
Landon smacked his ass again, before pulling back. “Get them off.”
There was a slight tingle in Rod’s cheek from the smacks. “You’re naughty, aren’t you?” The thought just made his balls even more heavy and tight.
“For some reason, I doubt I have anything on your level of naughtiness.”
Rod shrugged. “It gives you something to strive for. You can practice on me if you want.”
“I’ll consider it, now get your ass out of your underwear and on my dick.”
Rod’s cock pulsed behind the tightening fabric. “Don’t have to tell me twice.”