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Thursday 5 April 2018

ℚ♫ Totally Devoted - E.M. Bannock

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author a member of the Romance Writers of America, to talk about her first novel, Totally Devoted (first published 28 October 2013; this new edition , 5 Prince Publishing, 282 pages), a Western Contemporary Romance.

"...what a wonderful insight into hope strength and forgiveness with a hint of karma. The plot was amazing and welcoming yet exciting, the characters give the story an edge that had me hooked from start to finish." ~ 4 stars from NN

"A well written story filled with heartache, romance, and rediscovery. [...] With Totally Devoted, E.M. Bannock shares beautiful descriptions of Oregon, dysfunctional families, and strong characters. Happily ever after can happen even after the pain if you find your special totally devoted someone." ~ 
5 stars from WH

|| Synopsis || Teaser: KCR Preview || Author Q&A || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||

A very warm welcome to Esther Bannock; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

Here at BooksChatter we love music; do you have a music playlist that you used in Totally Devoted, or which inspired you whilst you were writing it?

"First of all I want to thank my host, Flora, and BooksChatter for having me here.

Flora, I don’t really have a play list but you made me think about the music that would best suit my book. I think anything by the Eagles would be perfect."
Classic! Here's a little selection - enjoy!

What was the inspiration for Totally Devoted ?
"I’m inspired by life. It’s never the same and very unpredictable. I believe in the Scout motto “Be Prepared” because you never know what life is going to through at you. Sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t. What’s important is that you keep a positive attitude and learn from the experience. Above all I believe in love. Without it, life means nothing. I try to incorporate these philosophies into my stories. That’s my basis.

I live in a very beautiful part of Wyoming and just walking out on my porch and looking around is inspiring.
  • mountains
  • Winter
  • Double-Rainbow
The actual inspiration for Totally Devoted came to me in a dream a few years after the death of my sister, Cheryl, from Breast Cancer. That weekend I was, like my main character, Marie, a project manager flying around the country, in a plane, circling to land in Detroit to spend the weekend with my sister, Annette, and her family. The plot popped into my head in an instant. It was only a brief outline but it laid out the basic storyline.

Writing the book was a great diversion from the grief of losing my sister. It was therapeutic. I like to think that Cheryl had something to do with that."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"I’m a firm believer in writing what you know. As I mentioned above, I was once a project manager like my character. Consequently, a great deal of the personality of my characters is based on me, my family, or people I’ve known. I also have a vivid imagination and do take creative license to embellish here and there to make the character more interesting.

I’ve lived in several places around the country and travelled even more so I can describe the local flora and fauna, landmarks and local activities. I want my readers to feel like they are really there."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for Totally Devoted - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"I’m very happy with cover. This my first book published with 5 Prince Publishing. I gave them the basic idea for the cover, the sexy black bra hanging over a pair of well worn cowboy boots. I thought it encapsulated the personality of my main characters. It also tells you that the book has a western flavour and some spice.

Marie, the lead, is a sophisticated professional who is in touch with her feminine side. Wil, the supporting male role, lives in rural Oregon and is dirty and scruffy like the cowboy boots he wears. It was the art department’s creative idea to add the embracing couple on the front, frosting on the cake.

The colours are important, too. The cover has a subtle pinkish hue to it, which I think adds a feminine quality. I wrote this book for women, but I welcome men readers as well. My name is in red. I thought this might give a hint that it’s a hot book."
Why should we read Totally Devoted and what sets it apart from the rest? What makes your book unique?
"I like to think that my style of writing is fun, realistic, and easy to read. Marie Trousdale and Wil Townsend, the main characters in Totally Devoted, are not super heroes or anything out of the ordinary, just regular folks put in extra ordinary situations. They are real down to earth people. Both have been touched by sorrow, something we can all relate to and they deserve happiness, just like everyone else.

Totally Devoted is a love story. But it’s not your typical love story. The lovers in my book are in their 40’s, older, more mature, and experienced. The characters are more relatable with the more mature reader. It’s about serious love.

It’s also a western adventure. There are horses and mountains and small town atmosphere. The big city villain adds a touch of mystery and suspense.

I have written in an interesting sub plot involving Marie, her sister, and her deceased sister’s husband. It peeks in and out throughout the book and has in itself, quite a surprising ending.

My book will have you laughing, crying, longing for the kind of love Marie and Wil have. It will have you rooting for the good guy, who in this instance wears a black hat."
Can you tell us something quirky about Totally Devoted, its story and characters?
"I usually incorporate the names of my family and friends into my stories. The last name of Marie’s sister’s family, McBain, is a nickname our family has for my real-life sister’s oldest son. Wil is a spin on my husband’s middle name, William, although in my book Wil is short for Wilbert. When I lived in Oregon, I had a horse named Rex and he looked just like my book Rex. Wil’s son, Duke, is named after my son, who’s middle name is Duke.

When I was a project manager I frequently had to go to Kalamazoo, Michigan to see a customer. While driving downtown I always passed by a funeral home called Trousdale’s. The name was big and bold but not tacky in a large ground sign close to the road. The name always stuck out in my mind, I don’t know why. I passed several businesses on the way to my customers, all displaying their names prominently in front of their place of business. Trousdale, I loved the way it was spelled and sounded, feminine, elegant, but with strength. I had already had the revelation about the book and it struck me that this was the perfect last name for Marie. So, if anyone out there is from Kalamazoo, thank you."
Who would you recommend Totally Devoted to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"Although I wrote Totally Devoted with women in mind, I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a realistic, but not run of the mill, love story. It’s a story with an unusual story line and lots of twists and turns, love and passion, adventure and suspense.

I would warn that it does have some pretty juicy, explicit, tastefully written, sex scenes but they are written so that a reader can just skim past these if they want to. I’d put money on the fact that if you do, you’ll be tempted to sneak a peek anyway."
If you could / wished to turn Totally Devoted into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"I’ve been asked this question before and it’s actually a very hard one to answer, at least for the Marie part. It has to be a brunette and someone who is not too fragile looking; a woman who exudes confidence, a woman who is beautiful but doesn’t realize it. Recently I’ve been thinking that Famke Janssen would do the part right. After all, she was an X-Man. I’m open to casting an unknown.

Timothy Olyphant would make a perfect Wil Townsend. He’s got the attitude and the look. When I saw him on Justified it sealed the deal for me.

I think Kevin Costner or Clint Eastwood would make great directors for the movie version. They seem to do well with western/love type movies.

Famke Janssen Timothy Olyphant in Justified Kevin Costner on the set of Open Range Clint Eastwood on the set of 15:17 to Paris
As far as location, obviously part would have to be a home in suburban Detroit and a duplex in a Los Angeles suburb. For Wil and Marie’s houses I have my choice of beautiful, rural, mountain locations in and around the Grants Pass, Oregon area where most of the story takes place. I’ve lived there, I know."
Grants Pass, Oregon

What do you like to write about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"All of my books so far have strong female lead characters. That’s not to say that I won’t ever write something with a male lead but since I know how a woman thinks, and for the life of me, can’t understand why men think the way they do sometimes, I’m more authentic as a woman. All of my lead characters have strong values and loyalty.

I like to involve nature and rural areas. I find nature so incredibly beautiful. I’m trying to plan a trip to England and Scotland for a real change of scenery. I hear it is also beautiful and I can work that into one of the books I’ve got in mind. I have a Scottish friend who has been trying to get me to take a trip to Scotland with her for years.

I love romance and don’t see myself doing anything else but steamy romantic adventures with suspense and intrigue thrown in for good measure. There will always be sex scenes. That’s just part of life. My characters are usually older and you can’t have love without sex. I like to write about the time period just before and just after the turn of the millennium since that’s what I’m most familiar with.

I like to depict characters that have flaws and must learn to overcome them. A good story should make people think. My stories make a statement and I think that’s important."
What is your writing process?
"I’ve been fortunate in that ideas for books just come to me; little snippets at first that mesh into a story. I’ll get an idea and it mulls around in my head for a while until it becomes so complex that I need to write it down.

Then I start filling in the details and create the main characters. Eventually I need a time line or outline and character list to keep everything straight.

I read and reread over and over again. When I think I’ve got a chapter done I send it to my sister for review.

Writing comes easy for me and I really enjoy it. Finding the time is a factor. Writing the book is the easy part. Finding a publisher and the marketing are the hard parts. This is my first book tour and although it’s taking me away from writing, I’m enjoying the experience and hope to be able to interact with new readers."
What is in store next?
"My books are stand alone. My next book, Zoey’s Place, begins as a passionate love story but after a travel accident takes the life of Zoey’s husband, she must readjust her life to be a life without the her soul mate.

Because she and her husband had enjoyed a very unique and robust sex life, Zoey has a hard time adjusting to a sexless life. She believes that other women must have this same problem and resolves to open a spa/brothel for rich women. But just as her business begins to prosper, something goes wrong that threatens her entire operation. She must figure out whom or what is the cause.

Will she find love again? Most likely, but I haven’t figured out how yet."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"Thoughts and actions carry certain vibrations, whether positive or negative depends on the situation and you. It’s always in your best interest to create and surround yourself with positive thoughts and actions.

I am very superstitious by nature. I believe that certain objects may attract healing or positive vibrations. I have always had lucky charms, be they stones, or objects.

Someone very close to me was into Oriental culture and had a little jade Buddha that I was always attracted to. I would rub his Buddha belly for luck every time I was there. That person has now passed away and the Buddha now sits in my house in a place where I can rub his Buddha belly several times a day." 

Love him! Thank you for sharing your little Buddha with us. We've loved having you with us today :-)
"Thanks for this opportunity."
No one would have ever guessed that Marie Trousdale and Wil Townsend would ever have anything in common let alone fall in love. When their differences test their love, danger calls. Can their love conquer all?

Totally Devoted
Available NOW!

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

E.M. Bannock said...

Thank you for having me. Wonderful site. Looking forward to meeting your readers.

Rita Wray said...

Sounds like a good book.

Unknown said...

Nice interview. It's really good book. The kind you read from cover to cover and just can't put it down. I can't wait to read the new edition.

Barbara Phillips said...

Great read. Kept me coming back for more.

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