by Susie Warren
A filmmaker wanting to honor her family’s legacy approaches a reclusive billionaire for help
Isabel Neri’s innocence captures the attention of a well-known Italian marble mogul, Marc Santoro, when she approaches him against her family’s wishes. Wanting to honor her disgraced grandfather, Isabel needs Marc’s permission to produce a film about the Carrara marble industry.
Faced with honoring an old family obligation, Marc allows Isabel to travel to Italy with him but seeks to limit her exposure to his family’s tragic past. Isabel discovers the untold story and challenges Marc to reveal the truth. She is forced to expose her own secret as their desire sparks out of control.
Isabel felt a moment of panic as she watched the driver make a swift exit. She carefully walked up the stone path that led to the front door, being careful not to catch her black Manolo Blahnik heels in the stones.
The front door swung open and Isabel felt the oxygen leave her body. She wasn’t prepared for seeing Marc Santoro in the flesh again. She could feel his gaze rake over her in appraisal, apparently sizing her up. He looked every inch the wealthy business owner: he was dressed in an expertly tailored gray shirt with slightly darker gray trousers that were pressed to exactness. He was even more striking than she remembered, and she reminded herself to just breathe and focus on her pitch.
It was his intensity that she responded to; he seemed to be absorbing everything about her. Isabel hid her expression as she acknowledged to herself that while he may appreciate her outward appearance, he wouldn’t appreciate her damaged body.
Would he remember meeting her before?
She forced herself to reach out and offer her hand. As his warm fingers enveloped hers, she felt a spark of attraction travel through her body. She immediately pulled back, but not before she saw his eyes darken.
He merely smiled at her reaction, saying, “So you are not just a figment of Alberto’s imagination.” Guiding her inside, he added, “I was beginning to doubt that the old man had any relatives interested in the marble trade.”
Isabel felt her spine stiffen. Was he questioning her family’s loyalty?
“My grandfather speaks very highly of you,” Isabel said as she took in the luxurious setting, trying to get her bearings.
His voice was cool and didn’t give her any clue if he welcomed her visit. “It isn’t often that Alberto Neri asks for a favor.”
Susie Warren writes contemporary romance. Besides being an avid reader, she spends much of her free time crafting intense and complex stories about falling in love. When she is not writing, Susie works as an administrator in a small, independent school while caring for three teenagers and keeping tabs on her inventor husband. With the launching of her first book, The Forgotten Heiress, she has slowly begun to navigate the social media realm.AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Susie loves to hear from readers and responds to each email and Facebook post. Please reach out to her via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Susie-Warren/647556668647832 or Twitter @susiecwarren
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Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00N09UD32
Interview with Susie Warren
Did you do any kind of research to determine the details of your characters’ lives / lifestyles?
I often will get ideas for stories while traveling. But for Ruthless Perfection, I had come across a beautiful coffee table book with images from the Carrara Marble Quarries in a local bookstore. The images were so captivating that I purchased the book and began to consider setting a story in Italy. I spent time researching the history of the marble quarries and the background for the characters naturally evolved.
Do you have strange writing habits?
I have a tendency to write early in the morning as the sun is rising. The house is very quiet at this time and the phone seldom rings. As I get drawn deeper into the story, the house could go up in flames and I may not realize it as I keep putting words on the page.
Did any real-life political incidents or maneuvering make it into the book?
There is a tremendous amount of rich history surrounding the marble trade. I had to be careful not to let it overshadow the story. But I did allow small elements to be woven through the plot.
How did you get into writing?
I began writing stories in high school but when I went to college at seventeen, I worried that a writing career would be too elusive or risky so I gravitated toward more established career paths. I’ve used my writing ability in other pursuits, technical writing and business administration, and wrote reports, speeches, articles and technical documents until finally I decided to take a leap of faith and begin writing fiction.
What sacrifices have you had to make to be a writer?
I’ve sacrificed most of my free time and quite a bit of sleep in the last five years to pursue a writing career. I have a full-time job as an administrator in a small school and three growing children who are now teenagers. I get up early to write each day and then spend longer stretches of time on weekends and holidays to push a story forward.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
I think it is crucial. As a reader myself, I’ll glance through book covers in a store or online and I only stop to read a blurb if the cover catches my attention. There are so many options out there that you need a quick way to narrow your focus.
How did you come up with the title?
The title for Ruthless Perfection was difficult for me. I know that some readers may have a reaction to the concept of perfectionism. But I kept coming back to the idea because the hero was battling with control issues and the need to be perfect in his work. He doesn’t realize that the heroine is hiding scars from an accident and is reluctant to let her guard down around him because he insists on such high standards. She doesn’t realize that he applies those standards to himself and not others. Throughout the story, they both have to grapple with seeking perfection in their work and themselves.
What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your books?
It’s always surprising to me how the characters will take over the story. They become living, breathing entities that will drive the story in new directions and uncover issues that as a writer you couldn’t have predicted. As I writer, I create the framework for the story and then use the characters to keep digging deeper until there is a satisfying tale.
What do you consider your best accomplishment?
I consider my most important and greatest accomplishment to be my children. Each day brings new challenges but I’m so entrenched with their development and happiness that each step along the path brings a feeling of accomplishment and joy.
In my writing career, I think my best accomplishment has been to take the leap into indie publishing. I have a good friend who I met years ago at a writing conference, Christina Tetreault, who is a successful author and has offered advice and encouragement at each juncture. There is so much to know in self-publishing, you have to do so much more than just write. At times, it can be overwhelming but if you are able to push through then it can be enormously satisfying at the end of the day.
What is your favorite quote?
“If a nation loses its storytellers, it loses its childhood.” - Peter Handke. ()
I love this quote because it reminds me of the playfulness and sheer joy of telling a good story. As a reader, I love to sit down and escape into a new novel. It is one of life’s great pleasures.
THE AUTHOR WILL BE GIVING AWAY:
Susie will be awarding a $50 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour,
and a $25 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn host.a Rafflecopter giveaway