Spotlight, Author Interview & Giveaway : Risky Return by Nicole Helm (CR)

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Book Blurb & Info

Blackmail never felt so right.

Celia Grant has spent the last ten years keeping her past at bay, building her Hollywood reputation as America's Sweetheart. When ex-boyfriend Ryan Harrington threatens to reveal her darkest secrets, she has no choice but to return to Demo, Kansas, and the people she left behind. In exchange for Ryan's silence, she will appear in a reality television show that promises to save his family's legacy.

Ryan Harrington knows an opportunity when he sees one, and using Celia to save his family is one he can’t ignore. But he didn’t count on the pull they still have on each other.

Celia reminds herself that she and Ryan were never destined to have a happily ever after ending like in the movies she stars in. But even as the ghosts of her past refuse to be suppressed any longer, she finds herself tempted by the hopes of a love she never thought she could have.
 Between secrets, fame, and love, Celia’s made the riskiest return of all.

Risky Return Links:
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Hi Nicole,

Thank you so much for sitting down with Toot's for an interview. If you don't mind, I have some questions for you about your new book Risky Return and your process for our budding authors as well as fans.

Thanks so much for having me!

So first off, Risky Return Questions.......

In your own words, what is Risky Return about?

Risky Return is about two people who lost themselves, and each other, along the way to finding their dreams and escaping some less than stellar childhoods, and then finding themselves all over again, with each other.

How did you come up with the title of the book and can you tell us its significance?

Well, the first book in the series had some alliteration to it (Seven Night Stand) and I wanted to repeat that in the title. Since the heroine, Celia, is returning to her hometown and risking a lot to do so, the title just made sense. Ryan, the hero, has also made a recent return and falling in love again is a big risk for both of them.

Is Risky Return a standalone book or will it be part of a series?

Risky Return is the second book in the Harrington Airfield Series. The first book, Seven Night Stand came out in February of last year, and the third book, tentatively titled Second Go will hopefully come out late this year.

What genre would you say Risky Return is and what sets your book apart for fans of the genre?

Risky Return is contemporary category romance. I like to think my stories are down-to-earth and about people you might a actually meet. Sure, Celia's a movie star, but she grew up in a small Kansas town, and both my characters kind of built themselves from nothing.

What was your favorite scene to write for either your hero or heroine in Risky Return?

I really love the opening scene. In fact, I actually ended up completely rewriting the book at one point, but it kept the scene where Ryan is waiting for Celia to land back in his life because the picture was so clear in my head.

What was the hardest scene to write?

All the rest? Just kidding! This was a challenging book for me to write. Celia and Ryan had a complicated and emotional past, and it was hard finding a balance of what was going on in the present with what they felt from their past.

That being said probably the most emotionally difficult scene to write was where Ryan and Celia visit Ryan's grandfather.

What's your favorite line or quote from this book?

Admittedly I'm a little perverse and my favorites are always when the characters are arguing. But the last line is one of my favorite lines of Celia's in the entire book.

"I’m not trying to hurt you.”

“Just because you’re not trying, doesn’t mean you aren’t. You haven’t changed at all, have you?”

He squeezed the handle of the storm door to keep from lashing out. He forced a smile. “And you changed everything, didn’t you?”

“Damn right I did.”


Do you recall how your interest in writing originated and what made you decide to pursue it as a career?

I still remember in kindergarten (!) when the room moms came in and we dictated stories to them, which they typed onto little book pages. We then got to illustrate each page, choose a fabric for our book cover, and have labels made with title and who it was by. I have been hooked on writing ever since!

What inspires you to put the pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard?

A very active imagination? Honestly, I always find myself wondering about people. What kind of person does x, survives y, thinks z, and so there are always a million ideas milling about in my head, just begging to be made into stories.

What are some of the elements in/of your writing process?

I usually come up with an idea from one of those "what kind of person" questions. The first thing I try to nail down is conflict, because that's something I always struggle with. Then, once I know why these two people can't possibly be together, I go about writing how they must be together. I try to write every day, linearly, until I'm done. Then I take a short break to read, work on something else, then come back, read through and edit and tweak, then send to editor or agent.

Are you a Plotter or a Panster?

I'm a plotster. :) I usually have a clear idea of the characters, the beginning of the story, and the dark moment and how it will resolve itself, and then I set about getting there any way the writing takes me.

Have you released anything under a different pen name, and if so, is there any difference between them?

Nope, all my books have been released under Nicole Helm.

What's next for you?

So much! :) In May, I will have FLIGHT DELAY, the second book in my Antiques in Flight series, come out with Samhain Publishing. In June I'll have two releases with Harlequin. The first a Superromance titled TOO CLOSE TO RESIST, the second, ALL I HAVE, will release in a box set and then on its own in September. In October I'll have another Superromance, TOO FRIENDLY TO DATE, and I'm hoping SECOND GO to finish up the Harrington Airfield series and ALL I AM, another HarlequinE title will be out by the end of 2014 as well.

Is there anything you’d like to add or say to your fans?

Hi! I love you and appreciate every single one of you! :)

Personal questions......

Now I know this is like asking you to choose between your own children, but out of all your amazing characters, who is your favorite and why?

Ack! That's so hard. I will say ONE of my favorites is the heroine in my book FLIGHT RISK. Callie is just this really strong, kick butt woman, and I loved giving her a happily ever after.

Are there any of your stories or characters that hold a special place in your heart?

ALL I HAVE, my book coming out in June, is about rival farmers. It holds a special place in my heart because my grandfather once told me that the farm he grew up on was his heart. It was such a piece of poetry, I wanted to give two characters that same heart.

If the book had to have a theme song, what would it be?

I actually have soundtracks for all of my books. Risky Return's is listed at the bottom of this page: I'd say of all of them, Cold as Stone by Lady Antebellum is the most fitting. It's all about wishing you didn't feel hard, painful emotions and there is certainly a lot of that in Risky Return.

Can you describe for the readers a perfect day or date for your couple from Risky Return?

Taking turns flying Celia's Cessna or one of Ryan's grandfather's old planes, and then picnicking in their spot. And, uh, you know.

Lastly, let's steal an idea from the magazines.....What 5 things do fans not know about you and 5 they don't know about the book?

About Me:

1. I am a history nerd. My best friend and I took a road trip to Springfield, Illinois to see Lincoln's tomb and presidential library.

2. I am extremely competitive when it comes to board games. I will NOT be defeated in Trivial Pursuit.

3. I will never be able to adequately express my love for the TV Shows Quantum Leap and Early Edition.

4. I actually don't really love to fly despite having two series centered around pilots/airports.

5. My mom is the awesomest even though I routinely make moms evil in my books. Sorry, Mom!

About the Book:

1. It's set in Kansas! (That's a selling point, right?)

2. The hero is an identical twin. (Hot identical twins).

3. There is a John Denver joke in the book. (You can blame my John Denver obsessed 4-yr-old for that one).

4. Aubrey, Celia's publicist, will be the heroine in book three.

5. If you read Seven Night Stand, you get some cute glimpses into Nate and Vivvy's future.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for taking time to answer some questions. Congratulations on the new book and I can't wait for everyone to read it!

Thanks so much for having me and asking such great questions!
Author Info

Nicole Helm grew up with her nose in a book and a dream of becoming a writer. Luckily, after a few failed career choices, a husband, and two kids, she gets to pursue that dream.

Nicole lives in Missouri with her husband and two sons, and writes her novels one baby's nap at a time. She's slightly (okay, totally) addicted to Twitter (@nicolethelm), loves watching the St. Louis Cardinals, and her dream is to someday own a barn.

Nicole’s Links:
Twitter: @nicoleTHelm 

Indulgence’s Links:
Twitter @IndulgenceBooks

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