Rad-Reader:  What made you want to tell this story?

Barbra:  Thanks for reading my story and inviting me to do an interview!
I went to my first hockey match recently and immediately got sucked into the idea of hockey romance. I HAD to set a romance around a hockey game. Sam and Connor’s story kicked it off in PLAYING HIS GAME, but I needed to get a hockey player involved, and that’s where I found Eric, the hero in STRIPPING HIM DOWN.

Rad-Reader:  Where did the idea for this book come from?

Barbra:  As I mentioned in the previous question, the first hockey match I attended a couple months ago gave me some ideas. I’ll never tell if there was a guy in the level above me, but there was a very wiggly pre-teen girl in the seat behind my husband! She was definitely the inspiration for the guy that got punched in the face. 😉

Rad-Reader:  Can you give us the backstory on Alex and Eric?

Barbra:  Alex had a celebrity crush on Eric, but those don’t generally get a chance to blossom. As a couple, Alex and Eric don’t have more backstory because they literally met in the security area in the story.

Rad-Reader:  How long did it take you to write this?

Barbra:  The two stories in this duet are between 10K and 13K. I can easily draft 2K in a day, but when I’m really inspired, I’ve routinely cranked out 4K-5K in a day. I don’t recall how long these took, but it was under a week to draft. Of course, editing, getting critical reads, re-editing, and proofing adds days, but it came to me pretty quickly.

Rad-Reader:  Did you self-publish or go the traditional way?

Barbra:  These are self-published as with all of my other stories. Although, I have a curvy girl short story coming out with Riverdale Avenue Books soon!

Rad-Reader:  Why was Alex so upset when Eric fell asleep?  She was the one who chose to play the part of a puck bunny that night?  When she knew how tired and spent he said he was.

Barbra:  Right! He warned her! Alex has a bit of an ego, so she’s not used to being anything but the center of attention. Eric had warned her he wanted to relax, but his accidentally toxic cocktail took it to a new level. SO, while he’d said he was tired, he hadn’t appeared THAT tired.

Rad-Reader:  She is a prima ballerina which for sure an athlete (my daughter took ballet for years I get it totally)  Knowing how it is after a performance would she, be on her game right after?

Barbra:  Ballerinas are definitely athletes. Rehearsals and performances can be exhausting, but adrenaline and determination are beautiful things! 

Rad-Reader:  The lengths Eric went to get another date was sweet but for him to get all machismo was not a great move on his part.  What caused him to take that route?

Barbra:  I’m a sucker for the macho guy who has the soft side—tell me I’m not alone!

Rad-Reader:  This causes Alex to, bring out the Diva she knows she can bring, to show him he will break before she will.  Why is it so important to her to keep this power ego or something bigger?

Barbra:  The Diva! People with hard-core dominant personalities intrigue me. I had fun writing her as one of them. Mixing her strong personality with a chance at her celeb crush, she pulled out her A-game. Driven people can be quite powerful.

Rad-Reader:  Eric’s reactions are bordering on possessive.  Are her senses saying you have a stalker, problem on your hands?

Barbra:  In general, people seem to give tons of leeway to celebrities. But as we know, fame doesn’t take away the fact that we’re all people with quirks and faults. Possessive…you’ll have to be your own judge as to whether he went too far. Alex let me know she liked it!

Rad-Reader:  There is one thing of role play in the bedroom where you use a form of control, how does she handle it now when it crosses over to everyday life?

Barbra:  Control can be a role plaything, but for some people it’s in their core, it’s who they are all day every day. Sorting this out is vital in a relationship because both parties have to be on board for whichever dynamic, they engage in. I’m not saying a couple has to have a sit-down discussion, but they could. More likely, if control is a normal lifestyle for one member in the couple, the other person will know very quickly if they enjoy that or not.

Rad-Reader:  I was glad to see Eric pulled it together, but it took Alex being even a stronger woman to not allow his macho BS.  Why didn’t you have him answer why he left her at the gala?

Barbra:  I see a lot of relationship problems come from couples insisting on having every question about missteps answered. Obviously, some problems need to be hashed out, but sometimes letting go of the issue is an acceptable way to resolve it. If one person realizes the other person ‘freaked’, there’s really not a need to dive into exactly what happened, unless it’s going to be critical to avoid the situation again, but that’s a different conversation.
In this scenario, Eric tries to make good with the flowers and dancing with her in front of people…he’s stretching himself for her and she recognizes that he’s out of his comfort zone. Basically, an indirect answer and an admission that he’ll try to do better in the future.

Rad-Reader:  Was it because of the pain and he had hit that point where he knew with her, he wasn’t going to win she had dug in her heels?

Barbra:  Honestly, I was irritated with Alex for staying at the gala, but she was pissed and hurt, and it was a way to get back at him for the comment she overheard.
The gala was his event and he was done. He made it clear he wanted to leave, and she ignored him, even taunted him as part of their mini-argument. He went home to regroup which was probably the best choice. His physical pain was only going to get worse, and she seemed set on breaking him. At this point, he had to decide how much he was willing to give in order to have her.

Rad-Reader:  In front of the restaurant Eric finally lets himself go with it and he gains insight as to who Alex is.  Why is that moment so important to this story?

Barbra:  Even when he makes a plan to show how much he cares, she takes over. Her dominance is going to be a factor, always. When he detours his plan, not only to let her take the lead but to do something he’s uncomfortable with, we see how much he’s willing to do to please her. She will always need to be in control.
In addition, he’s assessed himself and realizes how much of his façade is not true to his core. When he admits who he is and what he wants, he can attempt to have a life with her.

Rad-Reader:  The epiphany he gains at that moment shows, him who he can become with her and it allows him to see that she is a benefit in every bit of his life.  What is it that gave you this idea to take that simple act and make so poignant?

Barbra:  So often we go through life and don’t give any thought to the why or how…and we don’t need to. Every once in awhile, we encounter something that has the capability of rocking our world. We can ignore it and move on with blinders. Maybe we’re on an old path that doesn’t interest us anymore. Maybe we let other people push us a direction that doesn’t fit who we are. There are countless scenarios, but if we are honest with ourselves, they can be pivotal moments.
Some people find it easy to embrace these moments, others have a harder time, perhaps with change in general. I love these moments, and I’ve experienced a crapload of them in my life. They can leave you feeling vulnerable and uncertain, but they can also open your eyes to your personal journey!

Rad-Reader:  Does Connor play hockey?

Barbra:  Connor messed around with it as a kid, but his dad considered him the smarter one and had other plans for him. That’s touched on in PLAYING HIS GAME. 

Rad-Reader:  Do Connor and Sam become a couple also?

Barbra:  I couldn’t get these characters out of my head…dare I say I’ve forgotten they were fictional on more than one occasion! Anyway, they were supposed to be a duet of short stories, but when they wouldn’t stop pestering me, I decided to continue their stories. It turns out Connor and Samantha’s little romp in the stadium led to a pregnancy…oops. After all, that happens! Their story will continue in BECOMING HIS WORLD which is part of the LEAVE ME BREATHLESS: MOONFLOWER COLLECTION I’m doing with other authors, coming out Nov. 5. For now, it’s available for pre-order…8 stories for 99 cents! And since I write romance…you’ll get the HEA!

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

Alex:  Julianne Hough

Eric:  Gabriel Landeskog

Sam:   Brit Robertson

Connor:  Garrett Hedlund

Barbra:  Oh my! I said a couple expletives when I opened your suggestion for Eric! Let me summarize with YES! Actually, you made excellent picks on all of them. PLEASE make a movie so I can drool over these choices! And I want to see these guys trying to win their women…can’t get enough of that!

Rad-Reader:  What song or songs best describes the feel of your characters or book the best?

“One Good Reason – Hunter Hayes”

It was only supposed to be a one and done night with a puck bunny/fan.  He tried to forget he got jabbed in the ribs with a hockey stick.  With the promise of a massage from a hot fan.  But between the stadium and home, he already knew she was different.

“Badass Woman – Meghan Trainor”

When their first date crashes and burns Eric tries for the second by tracking down her sister at Connor’s.  The second date was not much better although, he found out she was not going to dictate to or order her around.  The third date nearly ends him for good.  But after he’s brought to his knees there’s a change that occurs for the best.

Barbra:  You nailed it! Alex is definitely a Badass Woman you can’t ignore. And Eric can’t find One Good Reason not to love her. SO PERFECT!

Rad-Reader:  When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Barbra:  I suffered a brain injury several years ago and had to relearn myself! During my recovery, I wanted to write and started putting words on the page. Getting enough courage to share those words with other people was hard, but I sensed it was necessary. I had to swallow hard a few times when submitting my work to critique groups, but every bit of feedback taught me something. As people started telling me how much they enjoyed my work, they also started telling me I should enter contests. I did, and I finalist in several. Getting peer and professional applaud gave me the confidence to move forward.

Rad-Reader:  Do your friends and family know you are a writer?  Do they know you write erotica? 

Barbra:  Everyone knows I write and that it’s really hot. I write under my own name and freely talk about it to anyone who’s interested even if they aren’t likely to enjoy my content. I’ve found wonderful support from friends who will never crack one of my covers, and I’ve discovered which of my friends love the heat! Even more fun has been finding so many readers who subscribe to my newsletter and not only read my stories, but pre-order them!

Rad-Reader:  Has your mother read it?  I know I had my aunt read my first real book, but she did share with my mother. (Not published) But it was a nail biter after that.  Not with the erotica but the writing itself/product overall.

Barbra:  My mom has read everything I write. Short and steamy isn’t her thing, but she incredibly supportive. My first stories weren’t steamy, but it was just as nerve-wracking to put them in front of her as my current ones are.

Rad-Reader:  What three things can’t you leave home without?

Barbra:  I’ve been focusing on getting my health in check since I’m having a weird problem that the doctors haven’t figured out, so I would say my Fitbit, but I lost it yesterday. Guess I’m leaving home without it.
I’m currently working on an opera, Elixir of Love, as one of the cellists. Heading to rehearsal is one of the few reasons I leave the house, so MY CELLO!
Another reason to leave the house…grocery shopping…because I love food, so I’ll say my grocery bags. My stepmom gave me some big sturdy bags for Christmas a couple years ago and I love them. The baggers at the store love them too…I get comments all the time. Yep, I’m the lady with the good bags!
I’m sure there are other reasons to leave the house…does my deck count? I love to sunbathe, so my bathing suit, towel, and Kindle App!

Rad-Reader:  Your favorite dessert?

Barbra:  Flan and fudge…or pudding, anything creamy really…or wait...you say dessert…I say yes! I’m easy to please when it comes to dessert, just no coconut!

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

Barbra:  I have a ton of projects in the works. I’m releasing short stories every week. There’s firefighter and doctor series coming up.
I also have an itch to do some super short stories with the whole Storm Area 51 thing…not paranormal, but events surrounding the hype. Although who knows, maybe I won’t be able to resist the temptation of an alien baby!
As I mentioned in a previous question, I’m doing a sequel to PLAYING HIS GAME…BECOMING HIS WORLD releases in November. I’m also doing a Christmas Wishes set with 15 other authors.
Riverdale Avenue Books has one of my stories in a curvy girl set. It comes out in August but I don’t have the cover or date yet.
Also, one of my novels is with an editor right now. I don’t have a date yet, but it will be out later this year, along with four more novellas!
And there’s a sci-fi short story in the mix…because I wanted to try something new! Guess that Area 51 thing is taking hold!
Did I mention a fractured fairy tale…that too!

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

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

Thanks for being with us it was great working with us.  Congrats on your first book it was a pleasure to read.  We look forward to working with you again.  Thanks also for the great writing tips also.  

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