Monday, July 9, 2012

Author Interview & Giveaway: Jennifer Bernard

Hello, My Sweets! Today we have author Jennifer Bernard on My Secret Romance. She is the author of the sweet and sexy fireman series, The Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel. 


Jennifer's first two books have already gotten great reviews. Hey- when you have firemen who are described to look like this, how can you not like them? ;p



Ok...ok..ok....simmer down! Jennifer has taken the time to do an interview with us so you can learn a little more about her and her books. Oh, there is also a sweet giveaway too. So please welcome Jennifer to My Secret Romance!



Hey Jennifer! Thank you for taking the time to stop by My Secret Romance to answer our questions. Please, tell us a little about yourself.
Thanks so much for having me! A little about me … I write contemporary romance about sexy, single firemen. I live in Alaska with my husband and stepdaughters and try to escape the snow whenever possible. I love reading, yoga, tropical climates, long walks on the beach … wait, this isn’t a date, scratch that last one.

Tell us about your current book release.
I have two books out now in the Bachelor Fireman series, THE FIREMAN WHO LOVED ME and HOT FOR FIREMAN. Each book follows a different member of the possibly cursed San Gabriel Fire Station 1 as they tumble along their rocky road to romance. In San Gabriel, no one gets their happy ending until they’ve earned it! THE FIREMAN WHO LOVED ME is about Captain Brody and a local news producer, Melissa, whose matchmaking grandmother decides to meddle with her love life. HOT FOR FIREMAN is about Ryan, the sexy, daredevil station heartbreaker who took one risk too many. After some time off the force, he takes a job at a local dive while he tries to win back his position. He didn’t count on the adorably distracting Katie, whose family owns the bar and who desperately needs his help, whether she realizes it or not.

What was the inspiration behind the Bachelor Firemen series? Are any of the fireman inspired by real people in your life?
The original idea came to me during a firehouse dinner to which I’d been invited by a friend. I was so charmed by the firemen – their graciousness, their sense of humor, the bond they shared. It’s fascinating to see how quickly they switch from relaxed playfulness to action heroes risking their lives to put out fires. I thought they’d make wonderful romance heroes. None of the firemen in my books are exactly like any real life people, but bits and pieces of people I know do end up as part of the characters.

Do you happen to have a picture of what Captain Brody looks like to you?
That question is so hard for me!! To me he looks entirely like himself, not like anyone else. I had a hard time picking an actor to play him when someone asked me that question! I asked the question on Facebook and got wildly different answers, which is great because everyone should be entitled to form their own image. But … hmmm … this picture ought to work.

While writing the Fireman Who Loved Me, what scene was the hardest to write? Which scene was the most emotional to write?
All the scenes with Nelly had a special poignancy to me because I knew – and she knew – that her time was running out. I think I cried every time I worked on some of those scenes, even during the final copy edit round.

For readers who are romance addicts like me, they’ll probably want to know this- Is there romance in The Fireman Who Loved Me? Is it steamy? And will there be a Happily Ever After?
Um, yes, there’s romance and it’s definitely steamy in certain parts. And what would a romance be without a Happily Ever After? You have to have that! (Or at least a “happy for now” …) I’m a dedicated believer in happy endings.

Whose book will be the next book in the series? Do you have an idea when it will be out?
The next book is called SEX AND THE SINGLE FIREMAN and it will be Two’s story – she’s one of the station’s female firefighters (her name is Sabina Jones) and she’s about to fall hard for the tough, devastatingly sexy new training officer from New York. It will be out in February 2013, but before that, in December, will come ONE FINE FIREMAN, an e-novella that goes back a few years to tell the story of how Stan the dog joined the firehouse thanks to former San Gabriel fireman “Thor” and his crush on a waitress named Maribel.

Do you have a sneak peek from your current work in progress you can share with us?
Sure! Here’s a scene from ONE FINE FIREMAN: 
The door opened and three firemen walked in. Maribel nearly dropped the Lazy Morning Specials in Table Six’s lap. My goodness, they were like hand grenades of testosterone rolling in the door, sucking all the air out of the room. They wore dark blue t-shirts under their yellow firemen’s pants, thick suspenders holding up the trousers. They walked with rolling strides, probably because of their big boots. Individually they were each handsome, but collectively, they were devastating.
Maribel knew most of the San Gabriel firemen by name. The brown-haired one with eyes the color of a summer day was Ryan Blake. The big, bulky guy with the intimidating muscles was called Vader. She had no idea what his real name was, but apparently the nickname Vader came from the way he loved to make spooky voices with his breathing apparatus. The third one trailed behind the others, and she couldn’t make out his identity. Then Ryan took a step forward, revealing the man behind him. She sucked in a breath.
Kirk was back. For months she’d been wondering where he was and been too shy to ask. She’d worried that he’d transferred to another town, or decided to chuck it all and sail around the world. She’d been half afraid she’d never see him again. But here he was, in the flesh, just as mouthwatering as ever. Her face heated as she darted glance after glance at him, like a starving person just presented with prime rib. It was wrong, so wrong; she was engaged. But she couldn’t help it. She had to see if everything about him was as she remembered.
His silvery gray-green eyes, the exact color of the sagebrush that grew in the hills around San Gabriel, hadn’t changed, though he looked more tired than she remembered. His blond hair, which he’d cut drastically since she’d last seen him, picked up glints of sunshine through the plate glass wall. His face looked thinner, maybe older, a little pale. But his mouth still had that secret humorous quirk. The rest of his face usually held a serious expression, but his mouth told a different story. It was as if he hid behind a quiet mask, but his mouth had chosen to rebel. Not especially tall, he had a powerful, quiet presence and a spectacular physique under his firefighter gear. She noticed that, unlike the others, he wore a long-sleeved shirt. 
His fellow firefighters called him Thor. She could certainly see why. He looked like her idea of a Viking god, though she would imagine the God of Thunder would be more of a loudmouth. Kirk was not a big talker. He didn’t say much, but when he spoke people seemed to listen.
She certainly did, even though all he’d said to her was, “Black, no sugar,” and “How much are those little Christmas ornaments?” referring to the beaded angels she made for sale during the holidays. It was embarrassing how much she relived those little moments afterwards.
Tossing friendly smiles to the other customers, the three men strolled to the counter where she took the orders. They gathered around the menu board, though why they bothered, she didn’t know. They always ordered the same thing. Firemen seemed to be creatures of habit. Or at least her firemen were.
Scoffing at her own silliness – “her firemen” indeed – she left table six, ignoring their pleas for extra butter, and rounded the counter. Trying to look efficient, she pulled her order pad from the pocket of her apron and plucked her pencil from above her ear. Nervous, she used a little much too force on the pencil and it went flying through the air like a lead-tipped missile. Kirk caught it in mid-flight just before it struck Vader in the temple.
He handed the pencil back to her. Their fingers brushed. Her pulse skittered.
“Something he said?” he asked mildly.
She turned scarlet. Even her eyelids felt hot. “I’m so sorry,” she gasped.
“What?” Vader asked, having missed the whole thing.
“Don’t worry, Maribel,” drawled Ryan. “It could have gone in one ear and out the other and he probably wouldn’t notice.”
“Notice what?” An ominous frown gathered on Vader’s jutting brow.
Maribel had a thing about honesty. “I almost stabbed you with my pencil. Well, not stabbed, because that’s more of a deliberate thing, like Psycho, you know.” She demonstrated with the pencil, jabbing it up and down in the air. It accidentally hit her pad and the tip broke off with a loud crack.
From behind her she heard Mrs. Gund snort. The firemen looked … well, she couldn’t tell because she was afraid to look at them.
“That’s okay.” She shoved the pad and useless pencil into her apron pocket. “I don’t need to write your orders down. I know what you want.”
“Are you sure?” Ryan said, a wicked twinkle in his eye. His body gave a jerk, as if one of the other fireman had shoved him. Some kind of inside joke, maybe. “I mean, let’s hear it. I didn’t know we were so predictable.”
“Hazelnut quad shot with a Red Bull for Vader, coffee, black for Kirk, espresso with lots of sugar for Ryan, and a dozen muffins of all varieties except bran.” She nodded proudly.
“Good job. High five.” Ryan reached up a hand and she slapped it. Ryan was the certified dreamboat of the group, but for some reason he didn’t make her feel nearly as shy as Kirk did. “How’s Pete?”
 “He’s good. He keeps bugging me about getting a ride on your fire engine.”
“Open invitation. We’ll roll out the red carpet for him.”
She smiled delightedly, thinking of how thrilled her nine-year old son would be at the prospect of hanging out with the firemen he idolized.
“Order up,” called Mrs. Gund.
“I’ll have your drinks ready in a minute,” she told the guys. “Be right back.”
Kirk spoke, so softly she nearly missed it. “I like the new photographs.” He indicated the series of three abstract shots of jacaranda trees Mrs. Gund had allowed her to display.
This time her face went pink from pure pleasure. The photographs were her attempt at art, even though they were nothing compared to Duncan’s.
 “Thanks.” She beamed at Kirk and, as she hurried off to deliver orders, she felt as if she were floating across the scuffed linoleum of the Lazy Daisy. A single compliment on her photography could keep her going through a whole shift. Especially one from the Viking god known as Thor.
***
As always, the teasing started as soon as they left the Lazy Daisy.
“Eight words. Anyone have eight?” Ryan climbed into the engine and picked up the onboard cell phone. “He said eight words. I had five. Anyone get closer than five?”
The sound of cheering came over the phone.
“All right, Stud, my man. Eight on the nose. Someone owes you a soda. Not me, but someone.”
Kirk let the teasing roll off him as he fastened his seat belt. Let the guys joke. After what he’d been through, he couldn’t get upset about a little ribbing. Besides, they had a point. Around Maribel Boone, he got tongue-tied. “They were good words,” he pointed out. “She liked them.”
“They were okay,” said Ryan as Vader steered Engine 1 into the stream of Monday morning traffic. “Not the words I’d recommend. Nothing resembling, say, ‘would you like to have dinner with me’.”
“Or ‘I’d like to bone the sweet bejeesus out of you’,” added Vader.
“Or ‘I’m leaving San Gabriel and wanted to declare my undying love before I got on the plane,” said Ryan.
“Or ‘I’d like to lick you like a cherry popsicle.”
“Cherry?” Ryan objected. “Why cherry? She’s got a kid, you know.”
“She’s got red hair, is all.”
Kirk finally spoke up. “It’s not red. It’s Titian.”
Vader, not the station’s most dexterous engineer, turned the wheel hard as they veered around a corner. All three tilted to the side. “Titian? What’s that? Some fancy word for “tit”? I’m not talking about her boobs.”
Ryan let out a hoot of laughter. Kirk shook his head. “Vader, have you ever read a book?”
“What does that have to do with Maribel’s rack?”
Ryan was now laughing too hard to explain, and Kirk didn’t care enough to. He’d come to blows with Vader in the past over his occasional crudeness, and it never sank in. “It’s a shade of red. More like auburn.”
“Huh.” Since the conversation had veered away from boobs, Vader appeared to lose interest.
From the backseat, Ryan, once he’d gotten over his laughing fit, said in a lowered voice, “I’m serious, Thor. You need to talk to her. Are you going to move away without ever telling her how you feel? You’ve been crushing on her for years.”
“I haven’t been crushing.”
“Right. More like drooling. I heard you muttering her name in your sleep during our Big Bear campout.”
“She’s engaged.” It hurt like hell to say it, but he’d learned the hard way that you couldn’t run from the truth.
“So you’re just going to let it go? Disappear into a freakin’ glacier? Seize the day, dude. Take the leap. Follow your bliss.”
“One more affirmation and I’ll shoot you.”
“You don’t have a gun. And she deserves to know.” Ryan sat back with a disgusted air. “For such a tough guy, you sure are a pussy. Strong, silent type, my ass. You’re afraid.”
 “Stay out of it, Hoagie.”
Ryan shrugged. It’s not like he was saying anything Kirk hadn’t told himself a million times, lying awake, sick from chemo, his surgical wounds throbbing. He’d formulated the words many times. “Would you please meet me after work? I have something important to tell you.” But as soon as he’d seen her today, with that delicious Titian red hair in an unruly pile on her head, her dreamy hazel eyes widening with surprise at his compliment, the telltale color coming and going in her apple-round cheeks, he’d gone mute, as he always did.
Maribel left him speechless. Which didn’t give him much of a chance to bare his heart to her.

 
SPOILER ALERT

For me, knowing that Nelly was going to pass on before her plan fully fell into place what hard. How did you feel while you were writing it?
The most important thing to me was that Nelly be happy at the end, which she is … but that meant letting go and trusting a higher power to work things out. Her desire to manage Melissa’s life stems from her love for her, but really, Melissa has to take charge of her own romantic destiny. Also, Nelly doesn’t entirely go away. She’s too stubborn for that. I think Melissa is still getting a little bit of guidance, whether she realizes it or not.


Lightening speed round!
Vanilla, Chocolate or Strawberry? 
Vanilla with chocolate sauce and sliced strawberries. (Is that cheating?)
Pumps, Sandals or Sneakers? 
Sandals
Beer or Fruity Girly drink? 
Fruity Girly

Boxers, Briefs or Commando? 

Boxers
Book or ereader? 
Book
Vampire, Demon or Shifter? 
Shifter.
Soft and Sensual or Up Against the Wall?  
Up against the wall
Beach or Snow? 
Beach
Jeans or Pearls? 
Jeans
Tattoos or Piercing? 
Piercing


Where can we find out more about you and your work? 
My website’s a good place to start:
I also do a lot of fun stuff on my Facebook page, Fireman Fridays, giveaways, contests. http://Facebook.com/JenniferBernardBooks.
And you can often find me on Twitter, where I’m @Jen_Bernard.


Thank you so much for taking the time out to be here today. We really appreciate it, Jennifer!
It was my pleasure, thanks for having me! 

You can check out Janna's review HERE.


Released April 24, 2012
The Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel Series  Book 1

Fearless, smoking hot and single: meet the Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel. These firemen might be heroes, but it's their bad luck in love that makes them legendary.

News producer Melissa McGuire and Fire Captain Harry Brody couldn't be more different, though they do have one thing in common: they're both convinced they're perfectly wrong for each other.

But when Melissa's matchmaking grandmother wins her a date with Brody at a bachelor auction... Sparks fly. Passion flares. Heat rises. (You get the picture.)

Add a curse, a conniving nightly news anchor, a stunningly handsome daredevil fireman, a brave little boy, a couple of exes, and one giant fire to the mix and Melissa and Brody's love may not be the only thing that burns.

The Fireman Who Loved Me
BUY THE BOOK:
BUY THE eBOOK:




Released May 29, 2012
The Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel Series  Book 2

Ryan Blake got suspended from the San Gabriel firefighters a year and a half ago for a daredevil act that nearly killed someone. Now he’s back in San Gabriel, fighting to return to the force. He takes a job at a local dive, the Hair of the Dog, while he studies for the test that will get him his job back.

But the real test comes in the form of Katie Dane, bar manager. Katie got stuck running the family bar when her father had a heart attack. The place is losing money like crazy and the insurance is about to lapse. Her desperate solution? Burn the place down, collect a million dollars. The only problem--little does she know, her new bartender is actually a firefighter.

Can a professional fireman and a wannabe firebug ever manage to get along? More importantly, can they stay away from each other and/or keep from ruining each other’s careers? Not likely. This is San Gabriel, after all

Hot for Fireman
BUY THE BOOK:
BUY THE eBOOK:


Would you like to win a SIGNED copy of The Fireman Who Loved Me? I knew you would! To enter the contest, please leave a comment with YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS and you will be entered in the drawing. The contest will run for one week. Thanks and good luck! 
 

39 comments:

Soft Fuzzy Sweater said...

My local firemen never looked like they do in your pictures. NOT FAIR!! Anyway, your books sound hot and fun and I'd love to win one so please enter me in your giveaway. Thank you!

annfesATyahooDOTcom

Eileen said...

This series sounds good! great excerpt. I would love a chance to read your stories.
edor628@verizon.net
Thanks!

amandakgc said...

Books look hot! Covers are hot! And the firemen pics...CALIENTE!!!

amandakgc@hotmail.com

P.S. PICK ME!

Mrs Condit said...

Wait. There were words on this page? I need to go back and look again. I didn't get past the sigh-worthy pictures.
Looks like a great series.

Lee Anne said...

I'm with Soft Fuzzy Sweater, my local firemen do NOT look that hot! hee hee! I've had your first book on my to read list but I think it just got bumped up in line!

leeanne.garland@gmail.com

Di said...

Those pictures were a nice way to start the week! Who wouldn't want to win this book?! They both look like the perfect summer read!
sallans d at yahoo dot com

Jennifer TheBookNympho said...

This is great timing. I just picked up book 2 this weekend and need book 1.

Thebooknympho. AT gmail DOT com

Jennifer TheBookNympho said...

Stupid auto correct on my phone....

Email is thebooknympho AT gmail DOT com

No . after thebooknympho

Alex said...

If all firemen looked like this, then I'd walk pass the fire house more often! Whew! They are hot! I want to read those books now.

sankofa0509@yahoo.com

Nikki said...

Great post! Hi Jennifer! I can't believe how long the wait is until tne next fireman installment! That's TORTURE!! LOL

Nikki
Stormgoddess 925 @ yahoo. com

Buffy Kennedy said...

Great interview and awesome excerpt, I'm so anxious to read the books now!

Thanks for the generous giveaway!

BK
buffykennedy[at]gmail[dot]com

Maria pronounced Mariah said...

I have only ever seen one fireman that look that good and he was outside my office window working on the fire hydrant. I tried to take a picture but he was gone before I could get my camera! It was a shame!

Thanks so much!
mmafsmith at gmail dot com

Na said...

Firemen do make awesome romance heroes. If they have a sense of humor that's even better.


Cambonified(at)yahoo(dot)com

Olivia Tan said...

thanks for the great excerpt

i have not read any fireman theme, looking forward to read this series. thanks for the chance to win ^^

sunshine_pinkystar(at)yahoo(dot)com

Tammy said...

Thanks for the contest

pademe_lee@yahoo.com

Evelyn said...

I love firemen!!! Thanks
evelynmoly@yahoo.com

Erika said...

Wow! Hot! Would love to win! Thanks!
saltsnmore at yahoo dot com

Dian Aesha said...

whoa...i love the cover..make me speechless..wish i win..
thanks for the chance ^^

icha09 at gmail dot com

Donna said...

oh i like this pic thanks for the giveaway

donnasing777@yahoo.com

Jess said...

nice pic!!! thanks

jessharrison78@yahoo.com

Krystal Larson said...

Thank you for the chance to win! I love the sound of this one. edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOtcom

Carol said...

Wonderful contest, thank you so much! I loved reading the post!!!!

carol.byles@yahoo.com

Kim B said...

I would love to win a signed copy! Thanks so much Jennifer and Taryn! I love firemen!

Juniper Bell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
karla said...

Great interview, as always! I've heard great things about this series!

I love firemen with big hoses!!

kparks823(a)gmail(dot)com

Jennifer said...

Thank you so much to My Secret Romance for having me on the blog and thanks to all you lovely people for the nice comments! I sure love seeing so many fans of firemen. :-)

angel said...

I love this series. Since im married to a fireman i love this series even more.
Thank you for the contest.

angelbiker82@gmail.com

amy said...

These were awesome books... Can't wait for the new one

Kim B said...

I forgot my email!

krlinger@aol.com

Sue P. said...

Jennifer, so good to learn more about you. I agree with most of your answers to the quicky round (does that mean we'd be BFF's?). Except, I would pick boxer briefs, a happy marriage of boxers and briefs! Have not atsrted the series yet, in my TBR pile. But sounds pretty HOT, every pun intended!

Amy2read said...

This is my new fav series, I love a man in uniform and I can't wait for the next book with Kirk to come out, love the strong silent type :)

Amy2read89@gmail.com

Amy Valentini said...

Hi Jen and Taryn,

First of all, thank you for the Giveaway, I would love a signed copy of any of Jen's books. ; )

Secondly, the excerpt - WOW! I am already hooked and needing to know what happens. Thor, oh my, I want to hug him so much. Going on my TBR list right now. Thanks for sharing it with us. Jen, I love your firemen!

amyvalentini(at)aol(dot)com

Sara said...

Your books are great, I can't wait for the next one. The excerpt that you shared already has me hooked and wanting more. Thanks for the great reading :0)
sara.gallagher@rocketmail.com

Kelli Jo said...

I love Firefighters! The fictional ones are sexy - and it is in my blood - my grandfather was a firefighter and my mom is Director of our city's Ambulance Department. I always say to a girl I grew up with that is on both departments, why don't ours look like...and show a picture like the ones above. Can't wait to read this series!!

Kelli Jo said...

And, like always, I forgot to put my e-mail - it is:

Kellijo23@gmail.com

Jody said...

I love the lightening round in your author interview. It is very interesting and things you might not get to know. I haven't heard of this series so I am really putting in the TBR now!!!
iteachfl@aol.com

Jenn said...

If only our firefighters looked that good. *sigh*
jennirv4967 at gmail dot com

Taryn @MySecretRomance said...

I want to thank everyone for taking the time to read the interview with Jennifer. I hope you all enjoyed it and found a new author to read. Using Random.org, the winner for the signed paperback is Olivia Tan!! Olivia I will be emailing you shortly.

Thank you everyone!! xoxoxo

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