Spotlight, Author Interview & Giveaway : Her Secret, His Surprise by Paula Altenburg

Book Blurb & Info

Her Secret, His Surprise
by Paula Altenburg

Conflict of interest is an understatement…

Since being disowned by her strict father, Cass Stone has spent her adulthood trying to prove him wrong. Her drive has led to more success than her family ever thought she’d achieve, and life is looking great. Not even an incredible and mysterious one night stand that leaves her a single mom can trip her up...until the father of her baby stumbles back into her life, as sexy and unreliable as ever.

Logan Alexander hasn’t forgotten the night he spent with Cass two years ago, but he never expects to end up undercover as her assistant. His job saves lives—like it should have saved his brother—and he can’t afford complications. It’s difficult enough to maintain his cover as a carefree wanderer when he realizes his attraction to Cass hasn’t faded...and then he meets Cass’s daughter.

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Hi Paula,

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, Her Secret, His Surprise and your process for our budding authors as well as fans.

So first off, Book Questions.......

In your own words, what is Her Secret, His Surprise about?

Cass Stone is on a business trip and has a one-night stand with a gorgeous bartender. The bartender, however, is actually Logan Alexander, an undercover government investigator. Fast forward two years. Cass is now a working single mom. Logan shows up to investigate Cass and her company, although she believes he’s her new administrative assistant. Logan gets the shock of his life when he meets Cass’s toddler. Everyone has secrets in this story.

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

Sorry, no significance. We all agreed the working title I had was terrible. Entangled came up with Her Secret, His Surprise.

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

Right now it’s standalone. Time will tell. There’s room for more.

What genre would you say Her Secret, His Surprise is and what sets your book apart for fans of the genre?
Her Secret, His Surprise is category contemporary romance. I wanted to write a contemporary romance with depth, but also light and fun. I also stuck with a Canadian setting and characters. There are subtle differences between Canadian and American cultures, and it’s fun to try and capture that.

What are some of the elements of the world you created?

The story is set in Halifax, Nova Scotia, so I went for the small city/suburban/rural feel. Landwise, Halifax is quite large. Its population, not so much. Once you get outside the city, you’re pretty much outside the city. And if you knew the area, you’d be amazed at how lucky Cass was to find a decent daycare within walking distance of her house, and that her suburban/rural house is only about 20 minutes from her work. I’m pretty sure people have killed for less.

If you had to pick one thing, what is your favorite thing about the world you’ve created?
The neighborhood.

What was your favorite scene to write for either your hero or heroine in Her Secret, His Surprise?
I have to say, this was a fun story to write. I think every scene was my favorite. But if you’re going to make me choose, I think it’s the kitchen scene where Logan begs Cass for the chance to babysit his daughter, all while dancing around acknowledging he’s her father. He’s so desperate, and so conflicted, and he and Cass are both starting to see more sides of each other.

What was the hardest scene to write?

The love scene. Always. I don’t have any problem with the subject matter. I just want them to be deeply emotional scenes, not simply “Insert Tab A in Slot B.” From a technical perspective, I think they should have a bit of everything.

What's your favorite line or quote from Her Secret, His Surprise?

“I’m not going to ask why. I’m going to make assumptions.” When it’s placed in context, I love it.


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

I’m more of a reader than a writer. I honestly never wanted to be a writer. It looked like hard work, and it is. But there’s this little, perverse part of me that likes to tackle things that are too hard just to prove to myself I can do it.

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

Strength of will. Fear of failure. Curiosity. There are so many different reasons, on so many different days. Deadlines are a great motivator.

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

My writing process is total chaos, and different on any given day. Sometimes I need to work things through on paper. Sometimes I need to be sitting in my office. Sometimes I like to sit in the comfortable armchair in the living room, or in the sun on my deck. My process involves a lot of staring at the computer screen, and getting up and walking around.

Are you a Plotter or a Panster?

I’m both. Sketching out the entire premise of the story is easy. I pretty much know where things begin and where they end. The details of the middle are what trip me up as a plotter. That’s the majority of the story, and that’s a lot of detail, so this is where I compromise. I have a sort of plot outline, but it can change at any given moment. All I really know is where I start, and how I’m going to end. If I don’t have the day’s scene plotted out, though, my writing day is completely wasted. I try and do that at the end of the previous day so I know where to pick up. You can only stare at the screen for so long.

Have you released anything under a different pen name, and if so, is there any difference between them?
I wrote a paranormal romance/urban fantasy trilogy under the name Taylor Keating with a writing partner, published by Tor. That was my first published work. After that, I signed with Entangled under my own name for a trilogy that’s fantasy romance with dystopian elements. My fantasy romance/dystopians tend to be more angsty. I like the large, complicated plots and exploring new worlds. Having said that, what I loved about writing Her Secret, His Surprise was being able to concentrate 100% on the characters and having fun with them in a contemporary romance. Cass and Logan are great people.

What's next for you?

I’m not sure yet. My agent and I are still talking about that. We have a few projects we want to pursue.

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

I really hope you enjoy Her Secret, His Surprise. Cass and Logan are two of my favorite characters, and getting the chance to write about a Canadian setting is always a pleasure. (Proud Atlantic Canadian, here.)

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?

I’m going to say Cass, mostly because right now, she’s the one I’ve been working on and so I hold her a bit closer. However, it’s not really Cass herself, but the character traits she possesses. If anyone reads my fantasy romance (and please bear in mind that my fantasy and my contemporary romances are vastly different, so don’t pick them up expecting to get the same experience) the reader will know that I have a couple of characters who’ve overcome terrible pasts with amazing fortitude. Blade (Black Widow Demon) and Nieve (Demon Creed) are also strong characters who believe in looking forward, not back. I really admire all three of them, and wish I was more like them. They’ve got the most flaws in their stories, but are also the strongest characters.

Are there any of your stories or characters that hold a special place in your heart?
The Demon’s Daughter is my first book under my own name so I’ll always love it the most. Desire by Design, another Entangled Bliss book, was a Golden Heart finalist and one of the first contemporary romance stories I ever wrote, So it’s also special to me.

If Her Secret, His Surprise had to have a theme song, what would it be?

I Get Knocked Down, by Chumbawamba

Lastly, What 5 things do fans not know about you and 5 they don't know about the book?
Hmm. I’m pretty open on social media and my website. I don’t have a whole lot of secrets, but I’ll give this a shot.

5 things people don’t know about me (unless you know me, in which case, none of these will come as a surprise):

1. I have a hugely sarcastic sense of humor.

2. I find writing really hard.

3. I’ve put on 15 pounds because I sit at a desk all day.

4. I don’t drink nearly as much as my Facebook page would lead you to believe. Nobody could drink that much.

5. I can’t read a map. I wish I was kidding about that.

5 things people don’t know about Her Secret, His Surprise:

1. It has a Canadian setting (although I think I’ve already spilled the beans about that one).

2. Logan is a Canadian Security Intelligence Services (CSIS) officer.

3. It was hard to write. Some of the reviews (positive, mind you) have said it was an easy read, which kind of surprised me. It’s a lot of work to make a story an easy read.

4. The descriptions of Cass’s house have two inconsistencies. (And no, I’m not telling you what they are. I had to read the story about 5 times before I noticed.)

5. This was my editor’s first book! I didn’t know that either, so congratulations, Jessica. Readers can blame her if they don’t like Her Secret, His Surprise. (See? There’s that sarcastic sense of humor. Jessica’s lovely and did a great editing job. Please don’t blame her for anything.)

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!

Author Info

Paula Altenburg lives in rural Nova Scotia, Canada, with her husband and two sons. Once a manager in the aerospace industry, she now enjoys the freedom of working from home and writing fulltime. Paula currently writes fantasy, fantasy romance and category romance. Visit her at and follow her on Twitter @PaulaAltenburg.

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1 comment:

  1. Cute interview!! I actually am a little map-challenged as well. Thankfully, my husband LOVES maps--even though he has GPS.