We are very happy to welcome Con Riley to the Smoocher’s Voice blog today. Riley’s fifth book, Recovery, releases today on Dreamspinner Press. This is the second book in the Salvage Stories series. Make sure you read to the end and enter Con's GiveAway!
Con Riley lives on the wild and rugged Devonshire coast, with her head in the clouds, and her feet in the Atlantic Ocean.
Injury curtailed her enjoyment of outdoor pursuits, so writing fiction now fills her free time instead. Love, loss and redemption shape her romance stories, and her characters are flawed in ways that makes them live and breathe.
When not people watching, or wrangling her own boy band of teen sons, she spends time staring at the sea from her kitchen window. If you see her, don't disturb her —she's probably thinking up new plots.
Check out her Web site at http://conriley.com
Jodi: The Salvage Series is very gritty and real. What was the inspiration for these stories and characters?
Con: My career supporting families in crisis has proven one thing to me: love can survive almost impossible adversity. The Salvage series highlights that amazing possibility, I hope, and how one person taking action can help love to flourish. For example, there is a scene in the first book, Salvage, where Gabe looks through a window to check on a new neighbor.
I’ve stood in Gabe’s shoes peering through similar kitchen windows.
In Gabe’s story, what he glimpsed helped him to see his own family from a brand-new perspective. In the next book, Recovery, Jamie recalls events in his own childhood kitchen. Shining a flashlight on a moment from his past helps Jamie banish long-term shadows — he just needs someone to hold that flashlight steady.
I’ve visited so many similar childhood kitchens where adult lives were molded.
Salvage and Recovery are as gritty and real as those moments that stayed with me for so long. I hope the conclusions to both stories do justice to the book titles. There’s little about love that can’t be salvaged, and recovery is a journey that’s so much easier with company.
Jodi: Was this book planned when you wrote Salvage?
Con: Jamie’s story was very clear in my mind before I started Salvage. I’d been thinking about him for a very long time. It was actually extremely hard to finish Recovery and I can now see that was because Jamie had been with me for so long. I’d go to sleep thinking about him, and wake up with his voice in my ear. I wanted him to experience real romance. That’s hard to give up.
Jodi: You mention on your blog that you love wood (no that is not a euphemism), and wood does make an appearance in a few places in Recovery. What does the wood represent to you?
Con: That’s a very astute question!
I like that wood, or woods, are a living reminder of how important roots are. I’ve used wood as a symbolic device over and over in my books: Sean fought to protect his forest; Peter learned to see value in repairing and restoring wood from his father; Paul Morse even builds a wooden fence around Aiden Daly, creating the secure home he needed.
In fact, Coop Cooper, Gabe’s dad in Salvage, started as a character in the Seattle Stories that I later cut. When I was first writing him I felt like he had a lot more to say. His woodshop became the warehouse. I’m glad I gave him a family of his own in Salvage. The roots he gave Jamie really grow in Recovery.
Jodi: Do you have a favorite book or character in your books?
Con: In the Seattle series, Ben de Luca is hard to beat, but I have an incredibly soft spot for Peter and Paul Morse.
In the Salvage series, Coop Cooper vies with Owen for my affection, but my heart belongs to Jamie.
Jodi: Do you have any new series planned?
Con: I have many more projects than time, but I’ll be working on a new book over the summer. I’m gathering images right now of potential characters on my tumblr. They are all so lovely. I wonder which ones will fall in love first…
Recovery, releases today on May 19, is available on Dreamspinner Press