Rad-Reader:  How did you come up with this story of the rockers and bikers becoming a wedding planner?

Christina:  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. 

Rad-Reader:  How did you come up with the Velma character?

Christina:  Once I had the concept of Brek down, I knew I had to create the perfect heroine who was his absolute opposite. One who would challenge him, and vice versa. So, Velma showed up with all her spreadsheets and life plans. I knew she was perfect. 

Rad-Reader:  Was I reading to much into the story or was Velma comparing all men to Dean?

Christina:  She was, in the beginning. Velma had decided early on that Dean was perfection, and she wanted that for herself. Knowing the character of Dean, he has his own challenges. He’s not perfect, by any means. He and Velma also would’ve made the dullest of dull couples.

Velma didn’t understand that though—she just felt that Dean was the perfect man. When he got together with her sister, Velma decided to go search for her own Dean. And that’s why she had the comparison to him on her spreadsheet.

Rad-Reader:  The way Velma and Breck meet for the first time in the parking area, was that always the way you had the two, meeting?

Christina:  No. In the early drafts, there was a large dinner party happening to celebrate the engagement and Brek showed up at her door with the beer and “wine.” That first scene had so many characters introduced, it was hard to connect with any of them. So, I scrapped it. Rewrote the scene so it was just Velma and Brek before Dean and Claire showed up. In the original, the entire family was there, including Pops. Brek’s mother even made an appearance. It was just too much to follow for a reader. 

Rad-Reader:  When you came up with the story was it always your plan to put Velma and Breck together?  Not like a couple but her helping him out by renting her a room?

Christina:  In the original first draft, Velma actually didn’t have a job and she was really down on her luck. So, she needed Brek to rent her room to help her with her mortgage. As she evolved as a character, I realized that this just wasn’t who she was—she wasn’t down on her luck at all. So, yes, in every draft he moved in with her, but for different reasons.

Rad-Reader:  Was it easier to write any of the characters in the book over another one?

Christina:  Surprisingly, Brek was the easiest for me to write. He’s so upfront with everything! I don’t personally cuss too often, but I found when I was writing his scenes I would cuss a lot more often. My husband would give me some side-eye and he’d know I was working on a Brek point-of-view scene.

Rad-Reader:  As someone that has been married 39 years, do brides really care what stamp is on the outside of the envelope?  It did make for a funny scene.

Christina:  Ha! Yes. The look of the invitation can be important to a lot of brides and those darn love stamps are imperative. I was also a bit surprised, but it’s part of the whole “package” of the wedding. Everything must be perfect and must match.

Now, Brek? He wouldn’t care at all about love stamps. We’re just lucky he didn’t pick Snoopy stamps.

Rad-Reader:  Breck pinning on Pinterest and then using the phrase bride #1 and #2- How were you able to go from funny to then sounding like a guy?

Christina:  I knew as soon as Brek rolled into the story that he’d have to be on Pinterest. And he’d hate it. I also knew the brides would drive him nuts with it. So that scene was pretty easy to put together. Numbering the brides was actually harder for me as a writer because then I had to keep track of who brides 1, 2 and 3 were. So when he talked about them, it was the right bride. It would’ve been easier with names, frankly. But Brek insisted that they are numbered, so I did that. I had a cheat sheet beside me of which bride wanted what so when I wrote the scenes I made sure he referenced the right bride/wedding.

Rad-Reader:  Velma and her algorithm rhythm that she does after every date.  Is that something you came up with or do you know people that do that?

Christina:  I wanted Velma to keep a list to track her dates, similar to a man’s little black book. But she was VELMA, so I knew it had to be more than just a written list. She was always a money manager, so I knew she’d be amazing with spreadsheets. (I happen to be married to a forensic accountant and he’s exceptional with spreadsheets.) She created the algorithm and the spreadsheet. It was just SO Velma. 

Rad-Reader:  Was Breck’s mom always in your story or was she added?  If so, was she always a matchmaker or did you add that part to go along with Velma’s online dating?

Christina:  Brek’s mom, Pam, was always part of the story and she was always a matchmaker. I expected when she popped in that she’d have a bigger role. I actually considered cutting her subplot at one point, but I really wanted her to stick around. So, I kept it, and it worked out. 

Rad-Reader:  Do you write with an outline or do you just sit down and write and see where this story leads then add characters as you go?

Christina:  Both. I write an outline. Scrap it. Write another. Then I just write the darn story. I do hang onto an outline (yes, a spreadsheet ;) ) of the scenes to make edits easier. Then I have a note of what is mentioned in various scenes, so I don’t miss anything when the edit letter comes from my editor.

Rad-Reader:  When you introduced a new character, Wayne, Velma’s friend from childhood was there any reason for him being a police officer or just biker (bad guy – good guy)?

Christina:  In the original draft, after Brek decks the guy at the bar, he’s actually arrested. Velma had to bail him out. That’s when Wayne showed up. He was a cop, and I think eventually I’d like to write him his HEA. He was a bit misguided in his feelings for Velma, but I think he’s a fantastic character. I’d love him to find the right woman.

Rad-Reader:  Are you able to write the books or stories you want to or do you have a contract that says what you have to write?

Christina:  I get to choose. Even with my traditionally published book, I got to choose what I would write. Going Down on One Knee was independently published, with the help of my literary agent, so I had a bit more control over the storyline. That said, I did listen to my editor and I worked through her suggestions to make the story a better story. No contract to tell me what to do, but I make it a point to listen to the people who know more than I do. ;)

Rad-Reader:  Was there something behind the scene with Breck tying the ribbons on the invitations and not getting them straight?  That you had to put it in the story?  I know my fingers can’t do those little things.

Christina:  My literary agent asked me to add more wedding details to the story early on. So I made a list of all the parts that go into a wedding—invitations, flowers, catering, etc. Then I went through and brainstormed how those individual segments would be a challenge for Brek. He has clunky hands, so I knew tying ribbons would not go well. I also remember, when I got married they had these little tissue paper inserts that were SUCH a pain to get straight. I figured he’d struggle with the folding and the typing and the tissue and all of that. It turned into such a fun scene!

Rad-Reader:  This may sound strange but is it possible to come up with the ending first then write back to the beginning?

Christina:  Not at all. I actually knew early on the dialogue that happened at the end before I started writing. The location and the timing changed, but the dialogue was written in chicken scratch on a Post-It note in my office early on, just waiting for me to get to that point in the story. It still gives me goosebumps when I re-read what they said to each other at the end.  

Rad-Reader:  The emotion at the wedding really before then, after I was expecting something but not then, why then?  (I will understand if you don’t want to answer this one.)

Christina:  Honestly? Because it made it harder on the characters. As a writer, it’s my job to make things as difficult for them as possible. To throw up as many roadblocks as I can. So, I knew, in those scenes, it had to be hard for both of them. I couldn’t cut them a break. 

Rad-Reader:  Was there anything special for you as a writer to come up with that ending or did it just happen for you?

Christina:  I touched on this above, but the ending is one of my favorite things. The epilogue came later, and I knew we had to see the total growth arc for both of them. But the actual ending of the story—man, it gets me every time.

Rad-Reader:  Do you remember your first royalty check and if so what if anything you did nice, for yourself?

Christina:  My first book came out in August, and there is a lag time between the publisher getting the check to my agent and then the agency getting it to me. Authors get paid quarterly, so I… actually, haven’t been paid yet. ;)

Rad-Reader:  If you book was made into a movie who would you want to play…

Velma:  Francesca Eastwood

Breck:  Mark Callaway

Claire:  Julie Gonzalo

Dean:  Steve Lund

Christina:  Wow! You did really good with your picks! I like them all. I have a Pinterest inspiration board for characters, but mostly the way I see them in my head is unique to them. Here’s a link to the inspiration I used while I was writing. Not all of it made it into the story: https://www.pinterest.com/hovlandwrites/brek-velma/

Velma:   Think a young Kate Winslet. That’s how I see her in my mind.

Claire:  I like who you picked for Claire! In my mind she was just so perfect, I don’t know that I ever had a movie star or actor picked out for her. 

Dean:  A young, Thomas Gibson, was who I had modeled him after. But, again, I like your pick!

Rad-Reader:  What song or songs best describes your couple or your book as a whole?

“You If I Tell You I Love– Beth Hart”

“Start of Something Good – Daughtry”

Christina:   I actually have a playlist that I used when I was writing. Here are the songs I had on repeat:

Hold On Forever - Rob Thomas

The Great Unknown - Rob Thomas

Things I’ll Never Say - Avril Lavigne

It’s Not Over - Daughtry

Far Away - Nickelback

Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol

Look Heart, No Hands - Randy Travis

Rad-Reader:  What are three things you can’t leave home with every day?

Christina:   My cell phone. The diaper bag. And my almost-toddler. ;)

Rad-Reader:  Where is the one place you have always wanted to travel on vacation?

Christina:  A European cruise—I love cruising. We’ve done several, but haven’t made it to Europe yet. 

Rad-Reader:  What is your favorite food or dessert?

Christina:  I love cake and cupcakes. 

Rad-Reader:  What is your next project and when is it coming out?

Christina:  Jase and Heather’s story! It’s called Blow Me Away and it’ll come out in early 2019—no date set yet, but hopefully before Valentine’s Day! These two have been SO much fun to write.

Rad-Reader:  Where can our readers buy your books?  Links

Going Down on One Knee:

Available here: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B07G1WNBLK/ 
& in Kindle Unlimited.

Rock Hard Cowboy 
(A prequel to Going Down on One Knee—part of the Christmas with a Colorado Cowboy Boxed Set.)

Available here: 
& in Kindle Unlimited.

The Honeymoon Trap
Available here:

Barnes & Noble:

Apple iBooks: 


Rad-Reader:  Where can our readers find you on the Web?  Links



Thanks so much for giving your time to be with us and taking away from your writing schedule and your toddler.  I really enjoyed your book and can't wait to read another.  Make sure to let us know when your next book drops so Char can put it on our Shout Out: An Author's Place page to let our readers know when it comes out.
Thanks again,
Pat & Char

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