Three words. Three. Little. Words. Nothing important.
Okay, so the three words were important. Massive, really.
“Congratulations, you two,” Velma Johnson rehearsed aloud to the vase of a dozen yellow roses gripped in her arms. With a reaffirming gulp of Denver’s crisp spring air, she hustled through the open-air parking garage to the security door of her apartment building.
Her sister, Claire, had big news. To be exact, Claire and her boyfriend, Dean, had big news. Velma had a feeling she knew exactly what their news would be—they were moving in together. The next step in their relationship. Tension in Velma’s neck strung tight at the thought.
A successful career and a posh apartment she could eventually rent out as an investment were steps one and two of Velma’s elaborate five-year plan. She had ticked both those boxes. Dean, three kids, and moving to a two-story house just outside of Denver had been steps three through seven.
Not anymore. Now, her sister was moving in with the man Velma had crushed on for years. The one Velma measured all others against. The one she sang Prince and Madonna songs with at the office.
Yes, they were moving in together. That’s why Claire had called yesterday and asked to take her to dinner. Velma had insisted they meet at her place instead. Her invitation had nothing to do with the fact she liked having Dean visit her apartment—even if he was with her sister. She’d offered because it made sense they’d want a private location for their big reveal. And when the announcement came that they’d be embracing that next relationship milestone…well, being on her home turf sounded pretty darn appealing.
Just as she reached the security door, the sound of a motorcycle that clearly had no muffler cut through her thoughts. She turned. The bike pulled up next to her car—into the parking spot meant for her guests. A super-muscled, badass-mother-trucker of a biker swung his leg over the side of the motorcycle and stood.
Her heart stopped with a thunk.
Vin-Diesel-biker-dude pulled off his helmet and—sweet mother of Mary, had the temperature jumped by ten degrees? She got the picture: he rode a motorcycle, hit the gym twice a day. The type she avoided because she did not do badass. She preferred the suspenders-and-slacks kind of man. Except, at that moment, she debated how important that preference really was to her.
An Interview with Christina Hovland
Christian Hovland’s debut contemporary romance, GOING DOWN ON ONE KNEE, was published on October 15th 2018.
Question - Please describe what the book is about.
Christina Hovland - Number-crunching Velma Johnson's perfectly planned life is right on course.
That's a lie. Sure, she's got the lucrative job. She's got the posh apartment. But her sister nabbed Velma's Mr. Right. There has to be a man out there for Velma. Hopefully, one who's hunky, wears pressed suits, and has a diversified financial portfolio. He'll be exactly like, well... her sister's new fiancé.
Badass biker Brek Montgomery blazes a trail across the country, managing Dimefront, one of the biggest rock bands of his generation. With the band on hiatus, Brek rolls into Denver to pay a quick visit to his family and friends. But when Brek's sister suddenly gets put on bed rest, she convinces Brek to take over her wedding planning business for the duration of her pregnancy.
Staying in Denver and dealing with bridezillas was not what Brek had in mind when he passed through town, but there is one particular maid-of-honor who might make his stay worthwhile.
Velma finds herself strangely attracted to the man planning her sister's wedding. Problem is, he ticks none of the boxes on her well-crafted list. Brek is rough around the edges, he cusses, and doesn't even have a 401(k). But trying something crazy might get her out of the rut of her dating life--so long as she lays down boundaries up front and sticks to her plan...
Q - Where did you get the idea?
CH - Well, the idea for GOING DOWN ON ONE KNEE came to me in early 2016 when I’d just finished writing my first novel—what would become The Honeymoon Trap. I was actually working on a royal series with chocolate and baking and handsome princes. I started percolating on some ideas for putting alpha men into unlikely employment and a biker named Brek blazed into my subconscious. I just knew he HAD to plan weddings. I only had to figure out how to make that happen. Knowing that he’d do anything for his family, the rest fell into place.
I also knew I needed to create the absolute worst love interest for his lifestyle… and that’s when Velma showed up with all of her spreadsheets and life plans. I had to table everything else and Write.
So that’s what I did. Now I have a series planned for all of Brek’s buddies—a florist, a cake decorator, and even a bridal shop owner—it’s going to be so much fun
Q - What’s the story behind the title?
CH - Originally, the working title was THE BIKER WEDDING PLANNER BOOK. Eventually, it evolved to a working title of THINGS I’LL NEVER SAY—after the Avril Lavigne song. I wanted something that fit the story and was a little edgy. That’s where GOING DOWN ON ONE KNEE came in. I loved it. The prequel is called ROCK HARD COWBOY. The sequel is called BLOW ME AWAY.
Q - No spoiler, but tell us something we won’t find out just by reading the book jacket.
CH - It’s a pretty sexy book. This wasn’t planned; it just kind of happened as the characters came to me.
Q - Tell us about your favorite character.
CH - Like my children, I love them all equally. J
Q - If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would it be and what would you do?
CH - I’d love to just get them all together and we could have dinner at Velma’s. That would be an amazing way to spend an afternoon.
Q - Are your character based on real people, or do they come from your imaginations?
CH - They’re all just from my head. There are certain bits and pieces of my life that I infuse into them, but they aren’t based on any one person.
Q - How long did you take to write this book?
CH - GOING DOWN ON ONE KNEE only took about three months to write—start to finish. I’ve been editing it ever since! Ha! It’s been through several versions, and I adore what it’s become.
Q - What kind of research did you do for this book?
CH - I had to do a lot of online searches about motorcycles. Otherwise, it was all already there in my brain.
Q - What did you remove from this book during the editing process?
CH - Ha! Oh my gosh. So much.
So many of the storylines/sub-plots changed throughout various edits. The biggest change was in the original version Velma was trying to stop the wedding. It was almost a relief when my agent and editor encouraged me to cut that out. It never did feel quite right.
Q - Are you a plotter or a pantser?
CH - I am a solid plantser. I plot. I pants. I can do it all.
Q - What is your favorite part of your writing process, and why?
CH - Holding the book in my hands at the end. That is, by far, the best part.
Q - What is the most challenging part of your writing process, and why?
CH - I tend to be a little plot heavy in my drafts. So in revisions, I end up having to revise the plot threads. Trim them. It takes a lot of time.
Q - Can you share your writing routine?
CH - I wish I had a routine. I have four kids, and they’re young still. So I take my writing time as I can get it. Late at night is often the best time for me to write—while the house is silent.
Q - Have you ever gotten writer’s block? If yes, how do you overcome it?
CH - I pause and write something else. That seems to always work for me.
Q - If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
CH - Relax. It’ll happen.
Q - How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
CH - I have two novels published this year and one novella—it’s been a busy debut year!
Q - Do you have any writing quirks?
CH - It takes me a dosage of two glasses of wine in order to write an open-door intimacy scene. ;)
Q -Tell us about yourself.
CH - I’m an artisan chocolatier by day and romance writer by night. Born in Colorado, I received a degree in journalism from Colorado State University. Before opening my chocolate company, my career spanned from the television newsroom to managing an award-winning public relations firm. I’m a recovering overachiever and perfectionist with a love of cupcakes and dinner I don’t have to cook myself. A 2017 Golden Heart® finalist, I live in Colorado with my first-boyfriend-turned-husband, four children, and the sweetest dog around.
Q - How did you get into writing?
CH - I’ve always written ad copy and business materials. Fiction writing only started a few years ago. I wrote a book to see if I could.
Q - What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
CH - Wrangling children, usually.
Q - Apart from novel writing, do you do any other kind(s) of writing?
CH - I used to write ad copy and business promotional materials, but I don’t do that much anymore—except for advertisements about my books.
Q - Share something about you most people probably don’t know.
CH - I once served soup to former President Carter when I was in college.
Q - Which book influenced you the most?
CH - BREATHING ROOM by Susan Elizabeth Phillips—it’s one of the first romance novels I ever read.
Q - What are you working on right now?
CH - BLOW ME AWAY—the second book in the Mile High Matched series!
Q - What’s your favorite writing advice?
CH - You can’t edit a blank page.
Q - The book you’re currently reading
CH - TOUCH THE SKY by Kari Cole.
Christina Hovland’s Biography
Christina Hovland lives her own version of a fairy tale—an artisan chocolatier by day and romance writer by night. Born in Colorado, Christina received a degree in journalism from Colorado State University. Before opening her chocolate company, Christina’s career spanned from the television newsroom to managing an award-winning public relations firm. She’s a recovering overachiever and perfectionist with a love of cupcakes and dinner she doesn’t have to cook herself. A 2017 Golden Heart® finalist, she lives in Colorado with her first-boyfriend-turned-husband, four children, and the sweetest dog around.
Links to Christina Hovland