Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Interview with Gina Ardito

Today’s Avalon Authors Blog is happy to welcome Gina Ardito and her latest contemporary romance, Nobody’s Business, the second book in three Raine sisters a trilogy. Gina uses her word-weaving magic to blend her laugh-at-life humor with the seriousness of those wounded in Iraq to create a story that will have you believing in the healing powers of love. And a special bonus today, anyone who leaves a comment by November 16th will be entered to win either a copy of Nobody’s Business or Nobody’s Darling (the first book in the series.) So two chances to win with one comment!

Before we get on with the interview, let’s learn a little bit more about Nobody’s Business:

After the death of her husband, professional competitive skier Brooklyn Raine has shunned the press. Living as Lyn Hill, bed & breakfast owner in a quaint Vermont mountain town, Brooklyn keeps a low profile and avoids any link to her former celebrity status. Now, her famous older sister has arrived with her children and fiancé in tow, and the spotlight threatens to burn bright on Brooklyn once again.

Sports reporter Douglas Sawyer sustained a devastating loss in Iraq and no longer cares about his career, much less his future. At the insistence of friends and family, he becomes the first civilian participant in Ski-Hab, a winter sports rehabilitation program for war veterans and amputees. After he discovers that pushy Lyn Hill is actually former ski star Brooklyn Raine, his instincts sense the perfect storyline to thrust him back into the journalism world. Despite interference from other skiers, the local cab driver, and Brooklyn herself, Doug is determined to chronicle the life of the former ski champ.

But when their secrets are revealed, each will face a hard choice. Will Brooklyn and Doug abandon the easy trail to take a chance on the more challenging slope to love?

Gina, you’ve created the persona of an author who mixes love and laughter. Is Nobody’s Business written in that same style?

Absolutely! I'm known for taking very little in life seriously. So even when my stories involve serious subjects (like my hero's missing limb in Nobody's Business), I can't turn off the funny. And I'm a card-carrying, eternal, hopeless romantic.

Brooklyn was an Olympic downhill skier. Any chance you have a few Olympic medals hanging in your writing space that you’d like to tell us about? (In other words, what experiences did you draw on for this setting and premise?)

Hahaha! If there were a Klutz Olympics, I'd be on the podium in every event. My husband and children, on the other hand, are avid skiers. Nobody's Darling (Book I of this series) was actually inspired by an event from a prior ski trip so it was only natural I return to that source for Book II. Since I hung up my skis years ago thanks to physical limitations, I spend most of our ski trips in the lodge with my laptop. One particular trip, I was near the ski school and happened to observe a class for skiers with special needs. I was so moved by the courage and determination of the students, I knew theirs was a story that had to be told.

What’s your favorite scene in Nobody’s Business?

Probably when Doug and Lyn first meet. I'm a "stream of consciousness" writer, meaning I have little or no idea what my characters will do chapter by chapter. Their actions are based solely on the personalities I've created for them. When I completed that particular scene, I sat back, stunned by Lyn's actions. And yet...she was right. My characters usually are.

I feel honored to have been give a sneak peak at the scene and all I can say is WOW, I didn’t see that coming! It was very powerful on many levels. While Doug’s challenges are obvious from the beginning, it wasn’t until they met that I realized Lyn comes into this book with a lot of deep emotional scars. I have to say that all of your characters are very well developed. Do you do deep character sketches before you begin a book?

While I tell other authors they *should* have character sketches and details before they start writing,'t. I have a general idea of what holds them back, but their fears and flaws tend to unfold in greater detail as I write their stories. This means I constantly revise and edit as I go along. I honestly don't advise anyone else to follow me off that cliff because, using this method, most people will wind up losing track of the plot. Since I have very little plot to work with when I start, the story unfolds as just as much of a surprise to me as it does to the reader.

After reading Nobody’s Darling (Avalon Romance, April 2011) I had a craving for Beef Bourguignon (I’ll probably fix it this weekend.) Does food play a role in all of your stories? If so, can you give me a grocery list so I can have all the ingredients on hand when I get hungry for the spotlight food in Nobody’s Business?

Meals do play heavily in my stories because I'm such a foodie myself. I have one book, A Little Slice of Heaven (published with The Wild Rose Press), that takes place entirely in a pizzeria. For Nobody's Business, you're going to want some seafood bisque and a panini. And just so you're ahead of the game, there's a family barbecue in the upcoming Nobody's Perfect (Avalon Romance coming February, 2012) with marinated turkey London broil (as well as a big wedding with some yummy, yummy sweets!) Shop now. :-)

I’m hungry already! Seafood bisque would be perfect for a chilly fall day here…but back to the interview. In addition to the Nobody series, you have two other Avalon romances and a Wild Rose Press romance on your list of publishing credits. What’s next for you?

I have another historical, Echoes of Love, set for a 2012 release with The Wild Rose Press under my Katherine Brandon pen name. Currently, I'm working on another "sisters" story, this one about twin sisters who live in a quaint seaside resort town on Long Island (think Montauk, if you're familiar with my little part of the world). I hope to have the first draft finished by this coming January.

Since you mentioned that you also write historical romances under the nom de plume Katherine Brandon, can you tell us why the pen name? Are you hiding from the IRS?

Nothing quite so glamorous. I just always felt the name Gina Ardito is more of a contemporary name and didn't fit the historical genre. Katherine Brandon is derived from the middle names of my children.

You’re a wife, a mother of two, a caretaker for a menagerie of pets (who we’ll talk about in a minute), you work, and were a founder and president of your local chapter of Romance Writers of America. When do you find time to write?

I'm an expert juggler of many tasks. I honestly believe the more "stuff" I have to complete, the more time I actually schedule to get things done. If I only have one or two things to take care of, I tend to procrastinate. My writing is like Jell-O. There's always room for writing! I only work part-time, and my children are old enough to be fairly self-sufficient (ages 20 and 14), which gives me a lot more writing time than most other moms. A good thing because I'd rather write than just about anything else--except maybe speak about writing (which I also do on a regular basis!)

What advice do you give to aspiring writers?

Read, absorb, write, learn. Never give up your dream.

In your bio, you mention that in addition to having two cats, you also have a “bionic dog”…does that mean he can knock the refrigerator over to get at the leftover roast beef? Seriously, what makes him special?

Ah, my sweet Kismet! She's a Labrador retriever (13 years old now): active, eager to please, and always up for a game of fetch. Several years ago, she tore her ACL (a ligament in the knee, often torn by athletes...and apparently, Labrador retrievers!) and required surgery. Her follow up care included canine physical therapy, several days a week for about six weeks. For some reason, while I watched Kismet working with her physical therapist in a treadmill filled with water, the old Six Million Dollar Man opening would always run through my head: "We can rebuild him. We can make him stronger, faster..." She's been my bionic pup ever since.

It’s going to take me all day to get that Bionic music out of my head!

One last question for today. After all of your writing successes and all the interviews you’ve done, is there one question you wish an interviewer had asked you but never has? If so, what is it and what would your answer be?

"How does it feel to be on the NY Times bestseller list?" I've probably never been asked this because it hasn't happened...yet! But I'm betting my answer will be, "It feels fantastic!"

Great question! And great answer! And when you get there I’ll get to say, “I knew her when!” Thanks for your time today. I’m on the waiting list at the library for Nobody’s Business and I can’t wait to read it.

If you’d like to know more about Gina and her books, you can read her previous Avalon Authors blog by clicking here. To find links to her blog and how to follow her on Twitter or contact her, visit her website at

And don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the drawing for your own copy of Nobody’s Business or Nobody’s Darling.


Sandy Cody said...

Love this interview. Gina, I think you've hit on the best way to shine light on a serious subject. Humor makes anything bearable. Mixing in food doesn't hurt either.

Kudos to you too, Jayne, for asking all the right questions.

Luebbertcircus said...

You've caught my interest. Thanks.

Jane Myers Perrine said...

This was so much fun! I love the questions! Thank you!

Gina/Katherine said...

Thanks, ladies. Jayne was definitely a fun interviewer!

susan said...

What an awesome article and I think your idea of being busy is mine altho you put it in words better than I ever could. I love a full day of to dos' and thought I was crazy. Now I see the point in it all and now I am sure I am not crazy..just love to be busy and to do something worthwhile at the same time. I love your style of writing and feel we all need to be less serious at the young folks say..CHILL OUT. I find myself getting too serious and losing a touch of humor and trying harder to do better in that respect. Love to have a chance to win a book of yours..I am sure that will help me to..CHILL OUT..more. Happy Thanksgiving if you celebrate and if not have a great day anyways. susan Leech

Maggie Van Well said...

I had no idea that's why you called Kismet "bionic" :)

Great interview! You know I love your books and your humor

Patricia said...

I love it that you've incorporated a disabled vet into your romance story. It shows real life and the "nobody's perfect" theme which is refreshing. Good luck in your career.

Sheila Claydon said...

Gina, you have such a distinctive voice. The way you answered Jayne's questions reminded me so much of some of your sparky heroines. I loved the interview.

Beate Boeker said...

Very lively interview! It sounds as if you two had been chatting over coffee!

Anonymous said...

Great article! Being 1 of 3 girls, I LOVE stories about 3 sisters. Something about that "power of 3". It sounds like you had a lot of fun writing this book. Can't wait to read it! :)


Marianne Stephens said...

Great interview - I now know more about you, Gina! Food in books always seems like a great idea...there's something sensual about a hero an heroine dining; the taste and texture of food - and how they react to each other while eating.
Serious subjects make stories more real to readers.
Vermont - wonderful place!

Loretta C. Rogers said...

I know where the term 'Super' woman's comes from -- You! Enjoyed getting to know you, Gina. I wish I could write comedy, but I don't seem to have much of a funny bone. Your books sound wonderful.

Bernadette Walsh said...

Wonderful interview Gina!

Carolyn Hughey said...

I'm definitely late coming to this party, but I enjoyed this interview so much, not only your comments, but Jayne's as well.

I agree with Susan, most of us do take life way too seriously, so being able to remain calm and take it for what it's worth is, I'm sure . . . the best way to handle stress.

I'm about to read the two books you mentioned and I can't wait. As one of your critique partners, I haven't read these two books, and I'm really psyched and chomping at the bit to finish what I'm reading now.

You're one of my very dear friends. I love to watch people flock around you like you're the Pied Piper. LOL I love spending time with you because you're warm and loving, and the fastest kid on the block with the humorous come backs. Your writing is is a reflection of you in real life, and I feel so priviliged to call you friend. :-)