More Than This ~ Shannyn Schroeder
More Than This – Shannyn Schroeder
Learning her ex-husband is going to be a father, Quinn Adams is determined to have a baby of her own—without the partnership of a man. But her sister and friends believe she needs to focus on herself first, and step out of her comfort zone by completing a list of adventures. Challenge number one is to go on five dates within two weeks. After a few disastrous attempts, Quinn’s ready to give up—until sexy bartender Ryan O’Leary offers his assistance.
Ryan has always been the dependable one in his family, often at his expense. But lately, he’s been longing for a life—and a woman—of his own. The woman he has in mind is Quinn. Though it seems all she wants is friendship, Ryan can’t ignore the explosive chemistry he feels between them. In the hopes of becoming closer, Ryan offers to help out with Quinn’s list. But when she asks him for a serious favor, he’s afraid it will jeopardize his chance to become more than friends.
Shannyn will be awarding a 15″ x 12″ Pampered Chef flat baking stone (similar to the one her heroine uses) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour (US only). She’ll be awarding a Keeper Kase (to keep your autographed book cover flats in) with an autographed cover flat from “More Than This” to one commenter at every stop (US only).
She tugged her hand away and crossed her arms. Her eyes darted, as if keeping contact was a battle. Her voice lowered a fraction. “You don’t know how hard it is to find a normal date.”
“What makes you think that?” He pushed his palm against the wall next to her head and caught the soft, powdery scent of her perfume. Did it make him an ass that while she talked about dating other men, his thoughts focused on kissing her again?
She shifted and tucked her hair behind her ear. When she looked up again, her face had returned to the usual polite, impassive front. “Come on. I’m in here often enough to see you with all kinds of women. I’m not judging you, but you can’t compare picking the flavor of the week to dating.”
He didn’t address her comments. She was right—he liked women who required nothing from him but a good time. It wasn’t a concept she’d understand. She’d definitely require more. He hadn’t attempted anything more serious since Cassie. “So what’s your plan? Cast a wide net and see what you catch?”
She shrugged. “Indy said it’s all about numbers. I spent a bunch of money to join the stupid dating site. They guarantee I’ll meet someone special. It’s in my best interest to keep trying. Besides, I try to weed out the worst of the bunch.”
His burst of laughter made her jump, so he placed a hand on her shoulder. “Sweetheart, if you think you’re weeding out the bad ones, your radar is broken.”
Her lips pulled back, but it wasn’t quite a smile. “I was born without radar.”
When naming your characters, do you give any thought to the actual meaning?
I do spend a lot of time choosing names for my characters. I use a character naming book and I look up the meanings of first names and then pair them with surnames. The story behind Quinn’s name is in the book. It’s a source of amusement when she tells the story.
Do you use your OWN experiences?
I think most writers use some of their own experiences. That’s not to say that every hero in my books is crafted after my husband (only in his dreams). It’s more that everything I see and do gets filed away and when I have a character in a similar situation, I pull that information out as a point of reference. Once it slips into a book, though, it’s no longer the same as my experience. It becomes part of that character.
Did you ever think you would ever become an author?
Never. When I was in college, I was an English Education major, so I had friends in both the Education Department and in the English Department. I always clicked more with the English majors and when I asked them what they were going to do with an English degree, they said they were going to be writers. Part of me was jealous, because come on, how cool is that? But the bigger part of me thought they were nuts. What about a regular paycheck? How were they going to pay the bills?
It wasn’t until after I’d stayed at home with my kids for a few years and discovered romance that the writing bug bit me. I’d always been a writer, but this was the first time I thought about writing and publishing a book.
How long did it take you to publish your first book, after you started trying?
More Than This is the third book I wrote. I’ve been writing for about 5 years. It took me about 4 years to get an agent (for More Than This). I wrote another 2 manuscripts while querying More Than This. Once I got my agent, things happened kind of quickly. About 3 months later I had an offer from eKensington.
It took about 5-1/2 years from the time I first put pen to paper until someone could actually buy my book.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
More Than This is the story of a woman who wants a baby more than anything. Quinn has one failed marriage behind her and is reluctant to look for another. When she brings up the idea of becoming a single mom, both her sister and friend think she’s crazy. To prove that she can handle the upheaval a baby would bring to her life, Quinn agrees to take the summer and complete a list of adventures that will take her outside her comfort zone.
Ryan is the go-to man for his large family. He’s a nurturer who feels the need to take care of those around him, so when he sees Quinn struggling to complete her list, he offers his help. He has ulterior motives, however. He figures if Quinn can get through the list and the summer without finding a decent guy, she’ll give him a chance.
Ryan and Quinn become fast friends, which is unusual for Quinn. They both attempt to ignore the chemistry they have and they fail in that mission.
My story ideas always start with characters, so Quinn came to me first. I knew she was kind of mousy and quiet so of course I had to do something to break her out of that. I read some article somewhere that had a list of things everyone should do before they die. Then I started poking and found more articles—things along the lines of 30 things women should do before they turn 30. And the idea for Quinn’s list of summer adventures was born.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
I came to romance later than most. I was an English teacher and a bit of a snob when it came to the idea of romance. While at home with the kids, I found myself with time to read – there’s only so many hours of Dora you can watch during feeding time. I picked up a book by Nora Roberts, not knowing it was a romance (I had no idea who she was). I bought it because it was a two-for-one and I’m cheap like that. J Anyway, I fell in love with the genre. What I didn’t know was that I had already been reading some because I was reading Lisa Jackson, Tami Hoag, Allison Brennan, and Iris Johansen. I love a good serial killer. When I went to look for more books by these authors, I found them in the romance section.
When I started writing, my first two manuscripts were romantic suspense. Part of why those two books don’t work is that my writing voice is contemporary romance. I didn’t figure that out until I wrote More Than This.
What are you working on now?
Book 2 for my contract is in my editor’s hands and should be out this summer. (Starring Quinn’s sister Indy and Griffin, Ryan’s best friend). I have Ryan’s brother Colin’s story drafted and I have basic ideas for the rest of the O’Learys. I also have a couple of other things in the works.
What advice would you give aspiring writers?
If you believe in your book, don’t give up. I queried More Than This for a year and a half before I found my agent. I started querying at a time when everyone said the market for contemporary romance was “soft” or “icky” because people weren’t buying them. About six months later, I started reading different blogs about how it looked like contemporary romance would make a comeback. Although I continued to write other things, I believed in Quinn’s story. If you don’t have faith in yourself, no one else will.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
I have too many favorites. I love Jennifer Crusie, Victoria Dahl, Louisa Edwards, Jill Shalvis, Julie James – these are all auto-buy authors for me. A new author that I fell in love with this year is Ruthie Knox. She wowed me so quickly that she’s an auto-buy now too.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Without a doubt, promotion is the hardest part of being an author. I think most authors would agree that they hate self-promotion, but I know a lot of writers who are social creatures – you know, the authors who hang out at the bar at a conference just so they can chat with people. I’m not one of those. I’m really shy so I hardly ever strike up conversations with people. Trying to sell to them is even harder.
If you want to know that hardest part of the writing process, it would be revisions. I love the first draft phase, where I’m just getting the story down and getting to know my characters. It’s all fun and excitement as I fall in love with them. Revisions mean I need to take things apart and make them work. I have to look at structure and word choice. It also means that I’m reading the same darn book a ton of times and it gets boring.
Shannyn Schroeder is a former English teacher, who now works as a part-time editor while raising her three kids.
Even though she wrote from high school through college (mostly poetry), she’d never considered a career as an author. Writing fell by the wayside as she focused her energy on creating lesson plans and new and fabulous ways to torment her teen students. One group in particular dubbed her “The Torture Master,” a title she carried into motherhood.
After the birth of baby number two, Shannyn resigned from teaching and fell in love with reading romance novels. She read so many books so quickly that her husband teased, “If you’re going to read so many damn books, why don’t you just write one?”
So she did.
That first book is safely buried on her hard drive, but the process set Shannyn on the path to professional author. She came to reading romance later than many, but lives for the happy ending because real life can be depressing. She writes contemporary romance because she enjoys the adventure of new love.
In her spare time, she loves to bake cookies and watches far too much TV, especially cop shows. She is recovering from her Diet Coke addiction, fears putting her foot in her mouth on social media, and has a renewed appreciation for the bad girls of the world.
Web site: http://www.ShannynSchroeder.com