Since this is the first time you are stopping by our blog, we would love to get to know you a little better. Tell us five things about you that may surprise us.
- I have a Brown-Black belt in Shito-Ryu Karate. I first became interested in Karate when I tried a Judo class at the age of nine years old. The instructor picked up a 250lb man and spun him round and round, like he was trying out for the hammer toss in the Olympics. Then he let him go. Guess where he landed? The next week I signed up for Karate.
- I have been forced to collect owls. Many years ago when I was out running at dusk, I was attacked by an owl. Yes, you read that right. Claws in scalp. Wings in face. Eventual escape. Instead of being sympathetic, my family thought it was hilarious and now they give me owl paraphernalia at every opportunity. Ha ha. They think they’re so funny.
- I need quiet to write. Ironically, we share an acreage with a family of owls. Life is funny that way. What is not funny is how the owlets (usually three each year) like to screech for food and thump all over the roof when I’m trying to write. A normal person might go out and chase them away. Cowards who have been attacked by an owl stay inside and curse. But quietly. Owls have very good hearing.
- Secretly, I like the owls. But don’t tell them that. And don’t tell my family. Please.
- Amongst the clutter of owl paraphernalia on my desk is the one thing I cannot write without, given to me by Munchkin#2: a “Coopon for a tausin hugs and kisis.”
How did the story of Makayla and Torment come to be?
One night, I got lost driving home through my own city (as you do) and was low on gas (of course) and my phone had died (always convenient when lost). I wound up in an industrial estate. The only building with lights on turned out to be an MMA gym. Yay!
I stepped inside and said I was lost. This triggered some kind of alpha male frenzy. Woman. Lost. Must. Help. Lost. Woman. Suddenly, I was swarmed by sweaty, half-naked men in tight shorts all desperate to help me (oh, the horror). Within a short time, my car was refueled, my phone was charged, my GPS was fixed, and I had an idea for a story. A naive innocent young woman (**waves**) finds herself in an underground fight club and is seduced by the enigmatic owner (oh, yes, there was a real Torment there and he was “all alpha all the time”) only to discover she isn’t the only one with a secret to hide.
Many authors get their ideas from everyday life. Do you have a story to share where your real-life experience has influenced your writing?
In one scene in Against the Ropes, Max takes Makayla to a fancy restaurant. A struggling college student, she isn’t used to fine dining and she tries to hide her discomfort with humor. However, at one point she takes it too far and accidentally launches a beet off her fork, causing the waiter to slip and fall. Cue: humiliation. And yes, it happened to me. Although it wasn’t a beet. And the restaurant wasn’t quite as fancy. Nor was my boyfriend at the time as accommodating as Max. In fact, I never saw him again.
What would you say is your favorite thing about Torment?
He is a man of action. He takes control of the situation, acts first, thinks later. This, of course, gets him into trouble with Makayla because her innocence means she requires a gentler touch. I enjoyed tormenting poor Torment, but in the end he gets his HEA!
Is there anything that you find challenging in your writing?
Everything is a challenge. If it wasn’t challenging, it wouldn’t be fun. Every book requires research into something new, whether it is how underground fight clubs work or what fighters wear under their shorts (ahem), or how long owlets take to grow up and fly away never to return to my house again.
And there is always something to learn about the craft of writing. It may be something as small as changing the meaning of a sentence with comma placement, or something more substantial like character development. A character may start out being afraid of owls, for example, but in the end, she grows to love them after all.
Please fill in the blanks:
Scene in your book that you love the most and would never cut:
Scene from Chapter Ten when Max is dancing with Makayla and tries to persuade her to engage is some very naughty talking (Excerpt is on my website at http://sarahcastille.com/books/against-the-ropes/)
Celebrity most similar to your hero:
Celebrity most similar to your heroine:
Thanks very much to Under the Covers Book Blog for hosting me today. I wish you all safe from owls.
He scared me. He thrilled me. And after one touch, all I could think about was getting more…
Makayla never thought she’d set foot in an elite mixed martial arts club. But if anyone needs a medic on hand, it’s these guys. Then again, at her first sight of the club’s owner, she’s the one feeling breathless.
The man they call Torment is all sleek muscle and restrained power. Whether it’s in the ring or in the bedroom, he knows exactly when a soft touch is required and when to launch a full-on assault. He always knows just how far he can push. And he’s about to tempt Makayla in ways she never imagined…
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Run. I should run. But all I can do is stare.
His fight shorts are slung deliciously low on his narrow hips, hugging his powerful thighs. Hard, thick muscles ripple across the broad expanse of his chest, tapering down to a taut, corrugated abdomen. But most striking are the tattoos covering over half of his upper body—a hypnotizing cocktail of curving, flowing tribal designs that just beg to be touched.
He stops only a foot away and I crane my neck up to look at his face.
God is he gorgeous.
His high cheekbones are sharply cut, his jaw square, and his eyes dark brown and flecked with gold. His aquiline nose is slightly off-center, as if it had been broken and not properly reset, but instead of detracting from his breathtaking good looks, it gives him a dangerous appeal. His hair is hidden beneath a black bandana, but a few tawny, brown tufts have escaped from the edges and curl down past the base of his neck.
A smile ghosts his full lips as he studies me. A lithe and powerful animal assessing its prey.
My finely tuned instinct of self-preservation forces me back against the ropes and away from his intoxicating scent of soap and leather and the faintest kiss of the ocean.
“Excuse me…Torment. I…thought you forgot to buy a ticket, but…um…I don’t think you really need one. Do you?”
“A ticket?” His low-pitched, husky, sensual voice could seduce a saint. Or a young college grad trying to supplement her meager salary by selling tickets at a fight club.
My heart thunders in my chest and I lick my lips. His eyes lock on my mouth, and my tongue freezes mid-stroke before beating a hasty retreat behind my Pink Innocence glossed lips.
He steps forward and I press myself harder against the springy ropes, wincing as they bite into my skin through my thin T-shirt.
“Are you Amanda?”
With herculean effort, I manage to pry my tongue off the roof of my mouth. “I’m the best friend.”
He lifts an eyebrow. “Does the best friend have a name?”
“Doesn’t suit you. Do you have a different name?”
“What do you mean a different name? That’s my name. Well, it’s my nickname. But that’s what people call me. I’m not going to choose another name just because you don’t like it.” My hands find my hips, and I give him my second-best scowl—my best scowl being reserved for less handsome irritating men.
His gaze drifts down to the bright white “FCUK Me” lettering now stretched tight across my overly generous breasts. With my every breath, the letters expand and retract like a flashing neon sign. I hate my sister.
He leans so close I can see every contour of bone and sinew in his chest and the more intricate patterns in his tribal tattoos. The flexible ropes accommodate my last retreat, and I brace myself, trembling, against them.
“What’s your real name?” he rumbles.
“Makayla.” Oh, betraying lips.
He smiles and his eyes crinkle at the corners. “Makayla is a beautiful name. I’ll call you Makayla.”
Heat roars through me like a tidal wave. He likes my name. “So…about that ticket—”
About the Author
Recovering lawyer, karate practitioner, and caffeine addict, Sarah Castille worked and traveled abroad before trading her briefcase and stilettos for a handful of magic beans and a home near the Canadian Rockies. Her steamy, contemporary romantic tales feature blazingly hot alpha heroes and the women who tame them.
Sourcebooks is giving away a copy of AGAINST THE ROPES to one lucky US/Canada winner