Andie Marks, known as “Party Girl” in her college days, is now a whip-smart lawyer on the fast track to success. Determined to move on from a bad break-up, she joins her girlfriends for a wild bachelorette weekend in Las Vegas, promising to let her hair down just this once. Vegas is a blur of cocktails and blackjack, and in the middle of it all she meets Mack, a real-life cowboy with a winning hand and an irresistible body. They get lucky in the casino and luckier back at the hotel, a hot night of passion that was definitely not part of Andie’s life plan. By dawn Mack is gone and all she has to remember their one-night romance is a hangover and a pile of casino chips. Or so she thinks…
Rad-Reader: How did you come up with your storyline?
Elle: I went on a trip to Scotland and the Isle of Skye a few years ago, for my daughter Skye’s 16th birthday, and I learned about the MacKenzie clan there. When I saw their motto Luceo Non Uro (I shine not burn), I knew I was going to write a romance with that in there somehow. Some of what you see in Shine Not Burn is a mix of my own personal experiences (I was a lawyer in West Palm Beach, my first husband is a cowboy from Baker City, Oregon) but otherwise it’s just completely made up. I have characters in my head and they write the story for me. I just take dictation!
Rad-Reader: I noticed you didn’t give Andie the obvious gift (baby) that most girls who would take it as far as she did and especially with being so drunk to black out why?
Elle: I didn’t have Andie end up pregnant because to me, that’s an overdone storyline. I wanted to make it less predictable, I guess you could say. You were expecting it, though, weren’t ya? :)
Rad-Reader: Mack knows more about Andie then she does about him. What made you not have Mack not track her down? In the end, how it was all played out, I was frustrated I have to say.
Elle: Mack is a patient man who deals with what he feels is rejection by walking away. That doesn’t mean he shuts his emotions off, though. When Andie never contacted him, he took that as confirmation that she wasn’t interested in following through with a real marriage … at least not at that point. But being that they were married, he knew she’d have to come back eventually. I also believe the marriage allowed him to remain distant from all the women who were after him in Baker City. He’d found the woman of his dreams and he wasn’t going to settle for anything less. He was also working on creating a career and life for himself and his eventual family. A man living at home with his parents on a ranch isn’t exactly doing that. But eventually, when he was ready financially, he would be able to buy his own place and be ready for a wife and family. When Andie showed up years later, he was in a much better position to provide her a home.
Rad-Reader: What made you allow Andie to continue to have a backbone to come home and get rid of Luke the “Puke” as Ruby called him.
Elle: Actually it was Bradley that Andie got rid of. Luke dumped Andie at the beginning of the story when she was on her way to Vegas, and she was sad about it. She didn’t have much backbone then, really. If you recall, one of his gifts to her was something designed to change her appearance, but she didn’t break up with him over that! But I think love from her man Mack and her friends and her new family helped her finally get the backbone she needed to make the right decision and follow her heart.
Rad-Reader: Why did Andie keep picking guys that the people she said she loved the most hated, especially when she had no family to speak of?
Elle: Because she’s a normal girl who does stupid things like go out with the wrong guy. I myself was guilty of doing that plenty of times (too many times to count!) and so are many other women. I think we’re guilty of hanging onto bad guys because we see their potential but not who they really are … which is very wrong for us!
Rad-Reader: Then when she does get back she is willing to give up her friendship with Kelly and Candice as well as Ruby for the new guy she’s dating. Why?
Elle: Girls do that all the time. I suppose it’s because they take their friendships for granted and don’t value them as they should. And maybe some girls are just a little too desperate for love from a man, so they sacrifice too much to get it. I have seen in reviews that some readers don’t like these aspects of the story, but for me, they are very true to life. I have experienced these faults Andie has both personally and through watching friends and family. Perfectly intelligent women make terrible decisions involving men every day. For me, it’s important that my books have real women in them. Imperfect, but lovable and intelligent.
Rad-Reader: Do you know anyone like this who keeps going in a circle, relationship wise that may have given you some insight to these characters state of mind?
Elle: Sure. I did it for years! Don’t we all at some point? Well, most of us, anyway. I’ve met maybe two women in my life who didn’t make mistakes with men.
Rad-Reader: Mack was willing to allow his brother to be unhappy without telling him the whole truth or did his brother know? Especially when Andie showed up at the ranch.
Elle: Mack is not a “sharer”. He’s also not a coddler. He and his brother have a relationship like many men do, where they just let things go and don’t talk about things that are bothering them. I think those two would probably rather wrestle one another than have a meaningful conversation. Recall that when Ian was begging Mack to go to his bachelor party, Mack kept insisting he was too busy, all the way until he showed up at it. He had to man up and deal with his heartbreak with Andie, so I’m sure he expected his brother to do the same. That’s life on a ranch … you’ve gotta be tough!
Rad-Reader: Had his mom caught on right away that Andie was more to Mack than just a person doing the family genealogy research? If not when do you think she caught on?
Elle: It’s hard to say. Maeve kept her cards pretty close to her chest, but I’d say a mom just knows some things. She knew something happened in Vegas to fundamentally change both her boys. Then this woman shows up out of nowhere and is very curious about their family. I think she had her suspicions, but like a smart mom, she sat back and let things play out, giving little bits of advice where needed but not getting nosy.
Rad-Reader: Loved the Casino scene. How did you come up with the whole table scene? Because that would so be me.
Elle: I’ve played blackjack in Vegas and Reno a few times, and the first couple times, I was like Andie. A mess! My husband taught me how to be cool after I embarrassed myself. He thought I was cute, though, so it turned out okay.
Rad-Reader: What song reminds you of Shine, Not Burn or best describes it?
Elle: There is no song, but the Scottish Highlands remind me of the story. Mostly because of the men who came from there, the way the families there worked so hard and dealt with tough climates and so on. The Scots are great people, much like Mack’s family is.
Rad-Reader: What does Shine, Not Burn mean?
Elle: As Mack says, “it means that I have a choice. I need to balance the good with the bad, make sure to avoid the things that could burn or scar me but get close enough to the heat that I feel life and really experience it.”
Rad-Reader: Where can our readers find you? Website, etc…
Elle: The best place to start is my website, www.ElleCasey.com. You can also find me on social media: www.Facebook.com/ellecaseytheauthor and www.Twitter.com/ellecasey.
Rad-Reader: What do you have coming out next? When?
Elle: My next release is Wrong Number, Right Guy, Book 1 in a 3-book contemporary romance series called Bourbon Street Boys. Wrong Number, Right Guy comes out in ebook, paperback and audiobook on September 22nd. Readers can pre-order their copy on Amazon. Here’s the link: http://amazon.com/dp/B00VJ4IDVY/
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