Lisa: We’re so pleased to welcome author Felice Stevens to TNA today on the audiobook tour for Rescued, book one in the Rescued Hearts series.
Thanks for coming to hang with us today, Felice. Why don’t we start with the one question every author gets asked a jillion times in interviews: when did you start writing, and what drove and inspired you to take a chance on publishing your first novel?
Felice: LOL I’ve always wanted to write. Probably Nancy Drew made me fall in love with mysteries and though I don’t think I could write one worth a damn, they remain one of my favorite genres to read. My real foray into serious writing was in 2014. I joined some on-line Romance writing groups, joined RWA and took classes in craft. Then I started writing. I inherited my love of reading and writing from my father and I thinking about how proud he’d be was my inspiration.
Lisa: For my dad’s whole life he stood by the saying, “Never trust a man who doesn’t love dogs.” What is it about guys and dogs—or any pet, for that matter—that you think adds to not only your characters but to their story?
Felice: Oh it’s a tender side…like a man with a baby. I think we always see men going off into battle or struggling in the corporate world, or putting on a uniform. Its that need to put their game face on and be tough. But show a picture of a firefighter rescuing a puppy or a man cuddled up in bed with his dog, and you can hear hearts exploding all over the interne. It’s that vulnerability that men believe they can’t or shouldn’t show to the public.
That’s why I love writing romance. My guys are romantic; I’m not ashamed to say it or write it. They laugh, cry and run the gamut of emotions. To me it’s necessary. If we don’t allow them to show their real self, they become one-dimensional boring characters. Plus my husband is like that. Show him a puppy or a kitten and he’s mush.
Lisa: I think I’ve asked you this question before, but since it applies, I’ll ask it again: what are some of your favorite things that Charlie David brought to…not necessarily to your attention, but that his narration really made stand out to you?
Felice: You’ve listened to him, right? LOL I love Charlie’s voice. It’s smooth without being practiced or over-done. He evokes the true emotion for each character.
Lisa: Is there a favorite scene in the book that you were particularly anxious to hear narrated? If so, which scene and what makes it special?
Felice: Oh definitely. The confrontation between Jason and his brother Liam at the bar, when John the bartender calls out Liam for his behavior. It’s one of my favorite scenes I’ve written in any book and I couldn’t wait to hear it. And Charlie NAILED it.
Lisa: How do you go about deciding which narrator will best serve a book? Do you think about things like accents and characterization, or do you just have a few favorite voice actors you trust to bring your characters to life?
Felice: I agonize over this…seriously. Sooo many great voices out there. It all comes down to something intangible that clicks when I listen to them. It’s like when I’m writing and I don’t want to stop because the words are flowing. Listening to a great narration should be like that.
Lisa: Which of your books would you like to publish on audio next? Or, do you have another lined up for production now?
Felice: I’m planning on ALL THE BOOKS! lol. Next up is Kale Williams narrating the second Through Hell and Back Book, After the Fire. Charlie David is working on Reunited, the sequel to Rescued. And Derrick McClain is working on Learning to Love and the Way to His Heart with one of my favorite characters Gideon Marks, my chef.
Lisa: Thanks again for taking the time to chat with us, Felice. It’s always a pleasure. 😊
Felice: Thanks for having me!!
About the Book
Ryder Daniels is all too familiar with rejection. His parents cut off contact because he’s gay and his boyfriend left him, choosing drugs over love. Aside from his rescued pit bull, his only joy is hanging out with his younger brother. Then his mother does the unthinkable and forbids them to see each other, leaving Ryder devastated and alone. His friends urge him to date, but Ryder would rather throw himself into working at the dog rescue and figuring out a way to see his brother again.
When Jason Mallory’s girlfriend gives him an ultimatum to get married, he shocks everyone by breaking up with her instead. He believes he’s too busy for a relationship now that the construction company he started with his brother is taking off. When he discovers a group of abandoned pit bulls and calls the local dog rescue group to pick them up, an uncomfortable encounter with Ryder causes Jason to question feelings he’s hidden deep inside for years.
Jason and Ryder build a friendship, until an unexpected kiss sparks the attraction they’ve been fighting. Jason gives Ryder unconditional love and helps him reconnect with his brother while Ryder shows Jason the passion he’s always missed in relationships. Together they must battle through their family differences and ugly prejudices. Only then can they prove that once you find the right person to love, there’s no turning back.
Landon licked his lips. “Are you two together, like in a couple? The only reason I’m asking is that you looked so happy to see Ry today, and Ryder always talks about you so much.” His voice trailed off as he looked at both of them.
Jason quirked a brow. “Ry?”
Ryder cleared his throat. “I wanted to wait until things were settled between Jason and me, but now that it’s all good, yeah, Jason and I are together. You’re sure you’re all right with it?”
Jason stood by Ryder’s side, his hand resting on his lover’s shoulder. “You’re still okay working here, right?” He’d really hate to lose the kid.
Landon broke out in a big smile. “I think it’s cool. Jason’s a great guy, and I’m really happy for you.” Tears prickled in Jason’s eyes as the brothers hugged. This was the best of all possible outcomes. He pushed aside thoughts of Liam and his own disappointment.
“Landon.” He suddenly remembered Mrs. Daniels’ visit. “Tell Ryder about your mother.”
Ryder’s face turned dark as Landon recounted the afternoon visit.
“But honestly, I think she left being okay with me being here. Don’t worry.” He checked his phone. “Shit, I gotta go home and get ready for that stupid dinner.”
Ryder hugged him. “It’s okay.” His face fell. “Um, does Dad ever mention me or talk about me? Ever? Like even when Mom isn’t around?” Jason’s heart broke all over for him.
Landon shook his head. “He’s never home. I think this is the first time he’ll be home for dinner in over a month. The few times I did see him, he looked really sad and tired.”
“I’d be sad too, if I was married to your mom. No offense, but God, that woman is arctic.” Jason shivered. Astrid Daniels could freeze water with a look.
Landon agreed. “Yeah, tell me about it.” He hugged Ryder. “It was great to see you. Tomorrow too?”
Ryder nodded. “Yep, provided the slave driver you have for a boss doesn’t work you too hard.”
They all laughed, and Jason received a shock when Landon gave him a fierce hug good-bye, whispering in his ear, “I’m really glad you’re with Ryder. You’re the best.” He picked up his backpack and ran out.
Ryder’s arms slid around him. A warm breath drifted over his neck as Jason relaxed in his lover’s embrace.
“You’re the best.” Contentment spread through him, as Ryder nibbled on his ear, sending an electric shock directly to his groin. “I thought about you all day while I was in court.” Ryder’s husky voice set Jason’s blood on fire. “Instead of my case, all I could think of was how I wanted you in my mouth.”
About the Author
Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. While life is tough, she believes there is a happy ending for everyone. She started reading traditional historical romances as a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn’t until she picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth’s court that her interest in romance novels was renewed.
But somewhere along the way, her reading shifted to stories of men falling in love. Once she picked up her first gay romance, she became so enamored of the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion there was no turning back.
Felice lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Her day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. Although she practices law, she daydreams of a time when she can sit by a beach and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be some angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.