Above the Noise (In Too Deep #3) by Michelle Kemper Brownlow : Spotlight, Character Interview

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Book Blurb & Info

Becki Mowry’s journalism expertise keeps her busy as she spends her waking hours filling a calendar with gigs and public appearances for up and coming band, Alternate Tragedy. Radio interviews and TV spots result in sold out concerts and rowdy groupies hot for her lead singer boyfriend, Calon Ridge. But, as fame would have it, their time in the limelight also brings ulterior motives and false accusations. The rug is pulled out from under the band when they must make a decision they never dreamed they’d be faced with.

In this third book of the In Too Deep series, Becki and Calon struggle to find balance as they navigate their intense relationship while living amid the rock world’s nocturnal chaos. When life’s unexpected obstacles come out of nowhere, they focus on finding their own private solace Above the Noise.

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Book Excerpt

“Becki! Go! I don’t want you near this!” I turned back toward Max. I’d allowed my eyes off him for way too long.

“This? What is this about, Calon?” Max was a dumbass for challenging me with semantics. 

“You’re hands all over Becki. That’s what this is about, Max!” I motioned between us with my hand.

Just then the beat of “Tsunami” by Dvvbs and Borgeous bounced the floor. The music was so loud it’s all I could hear. Max’s mouth flapped, but I had no idea what he said. I didn’t need to hear anything to read his cocky swagger as he walked toward me or the two middle fingers he shot up when he got within reach. That’s when it all went down.

Max threw the first punch, seemingly in response to what he knew was coming his way. He caught me in the jaw, and I heard Becki shriek my name, but my head sprung back instantly, and my eyes locked on his. My fist connected with the side of his head right at his temple, and I felt something in my hand crack, but I felt no pain.

“Calon James! Knock it the fuck off!” Becki’s voice was garbled, like it was coming at me through liquid.

I wanted to just leave with her and keep her safe, but the cocky motherfucker in front of me needed to feel the line I was drawing in the sand. He came at me again, this time he ducked and ran straight into my chest with his head. I curled my arms under his and brought them up violently and made contact with his chest with a deep thunk. I could feel the hit reverberate through my forearms. He staggered back, but his feet caught up with his body and he kept his footing.

“You think you’re such a fuckin’ hot shot, don’t you?” He was calling me the hot shot?

I shook out the hand that hit him, and then ran it through my hair. I shoved the other hand in the pocket of my jeans. “Are we done, Max?” I had to yell over the music, and he was less than three feet from me. I drew my line. He needed to understand his boundaries if we were going on tour together, but I didn’t need to kill him. We could be done as soon as he got the point.

“Dude, we’re done when I walk out the front door with Becki.” His lip curled when he said her name, which sent a shock through my body I’d never felt before. I could only imagine what went through his mind as her name rolled off his tongue. We weren’t done.

I lost it and caught him in the head again with my fist. No doubt, I felt that one. I took another shot and made abrupt contact with his jaw then another. Becki was yelling, but I couldn’t make sense of anything she said, the music was too loud. Someone grabbed me from behind and pulled me back. “Dude, he’s not worth it, let’s bounce. C’mon, Cal, don’t do this.” Spider, always the voice of reason.

I nodded and wrestled my arms back from him. I took a deep breath and calmly walked back over to where Max was crouched, trying to get up.

“Max, you were out of line.” I crouched down in front of him and watched him wipe the blood coming from his nose with the back of his hand. I didn’t want to apologize. I wanted to continue smashing his head with my fist, but that wasn’t how I wanted people to see me. “Stay away from her. She’s not yours to take.”

“And I’m not yours to take either!” Becki’s voice was loud and clear as the song ended. I stood and turned to her. She didn’t say another word, but her eyes said it all. I’d disappointed her. That revelation stung way worse than if she’d just punched me in the gut.


Character Interview

Hi Becki,

Thank you so much for stopping by Toot's Book Reviews and congratulations on having your story put to paper.

Thanks so much for having me!

If you don't mind, may I ask you a few questions for your current and soon-to-be fans?

You bet.


First, for people who may not know you, Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Okay, so my name is Becki Mowry, I’m twenty-one and I’m a Communications major at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. Gracie, my BFF, and I transferred to Knoxville from the UT Martin campus in the spring semester of our sophomore year. Gracie is the main character in IN TOO DEEP and she and Jake star in ON SOLID GROUND (her story is kick-ass, so you’ll wanna check her out, if you haven’t already).

I grew up in Martin, Tennessee. I’m an only child in a single parent family, but it’s cool. My mom and I did okay. I’ve had the honor of being in all three books and living this whole story along with everyone else.

In your own words, tell us a bit about your book?

ABOVE THE NOISE is Calon’s and my story…hell, yeah, we get our own book. This is a good thing because there’s so much to our story, we really needed a whole book so we give you the whole picture. The book follows us from our first full day in LA (after his band, Alternate Tragedy, hires me as their manager) through some crazy twists and turns over the next seven months and trust me, some of those events will shock you as much as they shocked us. Now, I didn’t mention that when we got to LA, my relationship with Calon was still in the infatuation stage. We had only kissed once, with the exception of a couple quick stolen pecks on our non-stop van trek from Tennessee to LA. So, between the ramped-up getting-to-know-you phase, some bad press and sabotage and then all the other shit that came out of nowhere…our relationship is not your typical “dating” scenario.

How did you feel knowing you were getting your own book?

I’m pretty much a balls to the wall kinda girl, so having a book written about me and my hot rock star boyfriend is nothing less than effing awesome!

Have you read it or was living it good enough?

I’ve read it and I love it. Some of it is hard for me to re-live so I’ve skimmed those parts. Gracie will tell you the same thing about when she read the other two books that come before ABOVE THE NOISE. But, all the hotter-than-hell Calon-parts, yeah, I re-read those parts ALL THE FRIGGIN’ TIME!

What is your favorite scene in the book?

Without a doubt, the best scene in the whole book is the one that happens when the guys play The House of Blues on Valentine’s Day.

What's your least favorite scene?

I wouldn’t say I have a ‘least favorite scene’ but there are those few that I have to skip over so, like I said, I do have scenes I’m least likely to re-live. The one scene I have barely laid my eyes on is the one that plays out in the hospital cafeteria. Hold on when you get there!

On Alternate Tragedy....

For people whom don’t know, what is your relationship with the band, Alternate Tragedy?

Prior to our trip to LA, I didn’t really know the guys all that well. I knew their names and I could easily pick up on their personalities just in how they interacted with each other on stage. There was no doubt in my mind I’d love them all…and that’s exactly what happens over the course of the book. They’re truly amazing men and some of my favorite people on the planet.

Can you tell us a bit of your history with them?

For years I was that girl who pushed all the other girls out of the way at their shows so I could get to the front row and gawk at Calon. Like Gracie always said, that guy could read his grocery list and he’d have panties dropping all around him. Calon and I started hanging out mid-way through ON SOLID GROUND when he and Gracie got reacquainted and started spending a lot of time working on music together. But, “hanging out” is all we did, much to my chagrin…and I only started getting to know Bones, Manny and Spider when we were stuck in the van headed for LA.

What initially drew you to them and ultimately made you decide to work with them?

I was frustrated as hell because Calon wasn’t responding to any of my advances. I’m not shy when I’m attracted to a guy so I never held anything back. Calon is all sensitive and wordy and I started to think he was more talk than action but I was bound to find the action! So, when the guys announced from the stage at the UTK Summer Fest that they were leaving Knoxville to open for Smiling Turkeys, I was devastated…but only for a second. Because then they said they were looking for a publicist and/or manager. Without a second’s hesitation I was jumped up on a bench, flailed my arms and offered my services…pun COMPLETELY intended!

I was determined to dig into Calon a little more and spending 24/7 with him would guarantee me that shot.

Any special memories associated with the band you’d like to share?

So, the Smiling Turkey’s lead singer, Max, is a dick. We didn’t know that upfront but when his intentions became evident, the Bones, Manny, Spider and Calon made a mutual decision that I never expected. I knew then, they’d stop at nothing to assure me the dignity I deserve and they’d keep me safe. That’s a really good feeling. And they’re really good guys.

Would you like to add anything about your story or clear anything up before we get into the personal questions?

I wish there was a FRIENDSHIP category for books. Sure, there’s a ton of romance in this series… a ton of blistering hot romance…so it should be on the ROMANCE shelves. But at the core of this big three-part story is the importance of friendship. I walked through Hell and back with Gracie in IN TOO DEEP & ON SOLID GROUND, she was my sounding board from half-way across the country and what we learn about the bond shared by Bones, Manny, Spider and Calon in ABOVE THE NOISE is one to be envied. Friendship is what gets you through life.

Shit. That was reeeaaaalllly sappy. LOL!

On Calon....

While in working with Alternate Tragedy, you meet the lead singer named Calon Ridge, can you tell us about him?

One word. Yum.

But seriously, Calon has been dealt a couple shitty cards in life that would have sent many people with just ONE of those cards down a path of self-destruction. But Calon has shouldered the burden of multiple tragedies. Calon’s heart is huge but it needed to be to get him through all the things you’ll learn about him in ABOVE THE NOISE. He’s open and honest and wears his heart on his sleeve. And if his face and voice don’t melt you, the lyrics he writes will. He’s brilliant. He’s really beautiful, inside and out…but don’t get any ideas…he’s all mine! Well, I let Gracie close to him, but that’s it. Just Gracie.

For those who haven't read the book, how did you two meet?

Gracie and Calon had a “thing” a couple years ago. Just a quick thing. But when they reunite in ON SOLID GROUND, they get really close. And, being her BFF, I was along for the ride. I endured many blah-blah-blah-musician-talk conversations just so I could be near him. However, I always felt he was somewhat of an enigma…never in a million years would I have believed he’d fall for me. Me. Wow.

How long have you two known each other?

Gracie, Stacy and I have been Alternate Tragedy groupies for years so we “knew” them as a band. But it hasn’t been all that long since Calon and I got close.

What's your favorite thing about him?

Um. Can I say that here without offending anyone?

Just kidding…well, kinda.

I trust Calon with all my heart. And the fact that he can give me that security is my favorite thing about him.

Just between us and the millions of readers *winks*, what is the most annoying thing about Calon or something he might do that annoys you?

Oh, good grief. TMI WARNING! He sings while he’s on the toilet. He says it’s the acoustics but I think it’s just strange. When I’m on the toilet, it’s to get something done…not enjoy my seat. I have some amazing recordings of some of his unreleased songs I could play you from my phone…but they were all recorded while I stood on the other side of the bathroom door while he sang from his throne. Shit. He will kill me for telling you that!!

If he was Ice Cream, what would his flavor be?
Chocolate. Because he’s rich and deep and I can never get enough of him.

What would be your perfect date for the two of you?

A blanket in a big field. Calon and his guitar. And a bottomless picnic basket so we could stay there for days!

A few random questions....

Favorite Movie : 
Breakfast Club

Favorite Song : Favorite Calon song – Absolute.

Favorite Other Song :  The Who/Baba O’Riley

Favorite Quote : “Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be. That last of life for which the first was made.” ~Robert Browning

Favorite Food : Salad! I’m a vegetarian so I can make a killer, power salad.

Favorite Color : Red

Lastly, what are 5 things fans don't know about you or the book?
  1. I can tie a knot in a cherry stem with my tongue
  2. I’ve never seen the movie Grease
  3. I talk in my sleep
  4. I’m a cancer survivor
  5. This series wasn’t supposed to be a series. IN TOO DEEP was going to be a stand alone novel until people wanted MORE Jake. It was going to end after Jake was given a voice in ON SOLID GROUND. But while writing that book, Calon’s character became so intense, MKB realized people would beg for more of him (which they did!) so you get ABOVE THE NOISE to round out the end of our stories. 
Becki, I can't thank you enough for stopping by.

Thanks for having me! It was fun to be here!

Now everyone GO BUY THIS BOOK!!!!

Author Info

Michelle Kemper Brownlow has been a storyteller her entire life. Her debut was on the high school cheerleading bus granting requests to re-tell her most embarrassing moments for a gaggle of hysterical squadmates.

Earning her Bachelor’s degree from Penn State University in Art Education and then marrying her very own “Jake,” she moved to Binghamton, NY where she taught high school. After having two children she quit work and finished her Master’s degree in Elementary Education at Binghamton University.

The Brownlow family of four moved to Michelle’s hometown of Morgantown, PA while the children were still quite young. A few years after moving, her family grew by one when they welcomed a baby into their home through the gift of adoption. The family still resides in PA, just miles from where that high school cheer bus was parked.

Michelle has been an artist for as long as she can remember, always choosing pencils and crayons over toys and puzzles. As a freelance illustrator, her simple characters play the starring roles in numerous emergent reader books published by Reading Reading Books.

Stay connected with Michelle:
Follow me on Twitter: @MK_Brownlow
"Like" me on facebook: Michelle Kemper Brownlow/ Author


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