Melanie Hunt’s job working for the Delta racing team means she is constantly rubbing shoulders with Formula One superstars in glamorous locations like Monte Carlo. But she has already learned that keeping a professional distance is crucial if she doesn’t want to get hurt.
New Delta team driver Aiden Foster lives his life like he drives his cars – fast and hard. But, no matter how successful he is, it seems he always falls short of his championship-winning father’s legacy. If he could just stay focused, he could finally make that win.
Resolve begins to slip as Melanie and Aiden find themselves drawn to each other –with nowhere to hide as racing season begins. But when a troubled young boy goes missing, everything is thrown into turmoil, including Aiden’s championship dream.
Before You was released on 21st of June, 2016. Can you tell us a bit more about it?
Kathryn: It features Formula One racing driver Aiden Foster, who’s just joined a new racing team, the Delta’s. He sees it as his final chance to win a championship, his final chance to rid himself of the spectre of his father’s five times championship winning legacy. All he needs is a year with no distractions. Of course he doesn’t count on meeting Melanie Hunt, Delta’s press officer. Or on the arrival of a troubled young boy.
What inspired you to come up with the storyline for Before You? Are you a fan of motorsport yourself?
Kathryn: I am a fan of motorsport. I started as a Jenson Button fan, but was lucky enough to go to Spa and Silverstone and soon became swept up with the excitement of the racing itself. As for the inspiration for Before You, my husband’s company are sponsors of McClaren and one day he brought me home a life size cardboard cut out of Jenson. It sits next to my desk and it’s impossible to have JB’s handsome face looking down at you and not be inspired to write a romance featuring a racing driver 🙂
What is the Spark of Formula 1 for you?
Kathryn: Watching it on television gives you the all round track view, the precision timing, the edge of your seat moments when you think they can’t possibly overtake there. At times it can feel like being on a white knuckle ride at a fair ground. Watching it live gives that incredible sense of power and speed which you don’t get on the television. And the noise! When I went to Spa several years ago, you couldn’t watch it without ear plugs. Now it’s much quieter which in some takes away the edge, though it makes conversations easier!
More women are watching F1 than ever before, what do you think helps this?
Kathryn: I think women are becoming more interested in sport generally which is such a good thing because there is nothing like sport to break down barriers, to give you those moments of nail biting drama, of seemingly impossible wins (Jenson Button winning the Canadian Grand Prix in 2011 – unbelievable!). As for F1, sexy drivers like Jenson certainly don’t harm the cause, but I also think many women are thinking – all these men love the sport. What are we missing out on?
Have you always wanted to be an author?
Kathryn: As a child I wanted to write, but then real life took over and I settled down to get a ‘proper job’. The reading continued though, especially of romances, and six years ago I decided to see if I could actually write one. I did – it was awful, but I did it. Of course the rejections flooded in, but by then the bug had taken hold.
On Twitter you told us Jenson Button is your inspiration for Aiden Foster. For me he is clearly the best looking driver in the paddock. Why him and not anyone else?
Kathryn: Oooh, he’s definitely gorgeous to look at, but when you hear him interviewed he becomes even more attractive. There’s that twinkling smile, his fabulously dry wit, his modest, likeable, down to earth, charming manner, his sense of style…sorry, I might be getting a little carried away.
When creating your characters, what do you normally focus on most? Appearance? Mind-set? Do you ever find it difficult to really nail a character’s personality?
Kathryn: I start with their personality. Are they laid back, hot-tempered, cocky, insecure, quiet, outgoing? What are their hopes and fears? What experiences have helped form their characters? Then comes their likes and dislikes, the smaller things that make them come to life. After that I think about height, eyes, hair colour, build. I live with them in my mind for a month or so before I start writing their biographies, so by the time I start to writing about them they’re quite real to me.
As an author, what would you say you find most difficult about bringing together a plot?
Kathryn: For me, it becomes difficult if I stop and worry about it too much early on. I find it better to steam through the first draft, even thought there may be elements that aren’t working, because the more I get into the book, the clearer it all becomes. I can fix the issues on the next draft. The hardest book to edit has been this one, because it was based round a racing calendar, so much harder to chop things around.
While writing a romantic scene, which is your favorite part? The first meeting? First kiss?
Kathryn: I most enjoy the verbal interactions between my hero and heroine. That’s the greatest buzz I get from writing – the dialogue.
Who are some of your literary inspirations? Any authors who have inspired you in the past?
Kathryn: Nora Roberts is my greatest inspiration. I love her strong, witty heroes and I think a lot of why I fall for them so much is because she writes their point of view. That’s something I’ve made a conscious decision to do, too.
Who is the first person who you make read your books?
Kathryn: My husband! He doesn’t enjoy fiction, even less romantic fiction, and he isn’t afraid of telling me what he thinks so it can be a harsh judgment. At least I know I’m getting an honest opinion though – and I have the joy of having the last word 🙂
Lastly, have you started work on your next novel? If so, can you tell us anything about it? Can we expect more romance books set in motorsport?
The next project I have is to edit my Christmas novella. It’s the first one I’ve written so I’m very excited to be diving into mince pies and snowmen even if the sun is beating down outside (which is unlikely with the British summer, but we can dream). The story is about a divorced mum and her shy son and his tennis coach…and a second wish. I would love to write another book set in motorsport – the drivers lend themselves to being romantic heroes, and the sport adds the glamour and excitement. I don’t have an idea for one yet, but I’d like to think I will dip my toes back into that world, both in real life and in my head 🙂
Thank you so much for answering all my questions! I wish you loads of success with Before You. I can’t wait to read it myself and be part of the blog tour in August!
Thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog and for your good wishes. I thoroughly enjoyed answering your wonderfully varied questions and I’m thrilled you’ll be part of the blog tour.
I was born in Wallingford but have spent most of my life living in a village outside Windsor. After studying pharmacy in Brighton I began working life as a retail pharmacist, quickly realising that trying to decipher doctor’s handwriting wasn’t for me. I left to join the pharmaceutical industry where I spent twenty happy years working in medical communications. My life long love of reading romance often led me to wonder if I could write about it, too. If only I had the time.
In 2010 I made a New Year resolution to make that time, and started my first book. It was surprisingly easy to stick to, because I enjoyed writing so much. In 2011, backed by my family, I left the world of pharmaceutical science to begin life as a self employed writer, juggling the two disciplines of medical writing and romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero…
With two teenage boys and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to bother buying a card again this year (yes, he does) the romance in my life is all in my head. Then again, my husband’s unstinting support of my career change goes to prove that love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes can come in many disguises.