I am thrilled to welcome Lilah Suzanne to Book Reviews & More by Kathy. Liliah, thank you so much for chatting us with today. Could you tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book, Burning Tracks?
Could you describe your book to us?
Burning Tracks is the second book in my Spotlight series and continues the story of two L.A. stylists who find themselves entangled with two country music stars in Nashville. This book focuses on things getting complicated between stylist Gwen, her wife Flora, and Clementine Campbell, a dynamic country singer.
Have you ever read something that made you think differently about your genre? Can you tell us what it was?
I actually just today read an article on Book Riot about how a romance novel is like a sonnet. Essentially: There’s nothing limiting or stifling about having a formula. I don’t know that is changed my mind, necessarily, because I don’t have negative opinions about Romance as a genre, but it’s way of thinking about it that I hadn’t really considered.
Could you tell us about your character’s family life?
Gwen’s childhood was one of those “looks perfect on the outside” types. She grew up with privilege and opportunities, but that came at the cost of needed to be who her very strict parents wanted her to be, and constantly falling short of their expectations. In high school and college she rebelled big time, and now is settled down and content with her wife. For the most part…
Compare yourself to your main character.
I think Gwen is who I sometimes wish I could be! She is bawdy and out-spoken and driven. But I’m definitely more like Flora, who is quiet and thoughtful. Gwen and I do share a love of punk rock and chunky black boots, and I would totally wear her grown-up rebel-girl stye if I had the funds (and guts!)
Describe your past week as a type of landscape or a weather forecast.
Like my characters in the Spotlight series, I live in the Southeast, and summertime here is bright and sunny, and also oppressively hot and humid with the threat of afternoon thunderstorms constantly looming in the distance. My week has been pretty much the same.
Title: Burning Tracks by Lilah Suzanne
Spotlight Series Book Two
(Can be read as a standalone)
Publisher: Interlude Press
Genre: Contemporary, Lesbian, Romance, Comedy
Length: 224 pages/Word Count: 66,000
Gwen Pasternak’s got it all. Or so it seems…
In the sequel to RT Book Reviews’ Top Pick Broken Records, Gwen’s life looks perfect: She has a job she loves as stylist to the stars; a beautiful wife, Flora; and a house in the heart of Nashville. But the more she works alongside country music’s dynamic princess Clementine Campbell, the less Gwen is certain of her commitment to a life of domestic bliss.
Meanwhile, her business partner Nico Takahashi is happily settled down with reformed bad-boy musician Grady Dawson. But when Nico questions the permanence of their relationship, Grady retreats into some dangerous old habits. Will Gwen ruin the life she’s built with Flora for something new and exhilarating? Can Grady be convinced of Nico’s devotion before it’s too late?Burning Tracks is a story of tough choices, taking risks, and the pressures of living life in the spotlight.
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“There’s a reason you two aren’t allowed to hang out alone.” Arms crossed, one impeccable eyebrow raised, lips twisted, hair artfully tousled, and dressed to the nines: Alexander Wang black-on-black tropical-printed board shorts, a slim fit black-and-white chino and matching black lapel jacket, black boots, and a black and white scarf to tie it all together. “Nico,” Gwen says.
“Nico?” Grady is up in a flash. “You came?”
Nico’s face softens into his Grady look. “Of course I came. Did you really think you were getting rid of me that easily?” Grady comes closer, and Nico brushes a spiraled lock of hair from his face. “I’m sorry it took me so long. There were storms over Dallas, and I got stuck on the tarmac with a dead phone. I barely made my connection, and the clusterfuck of morons known as the United gate at JFK could not get its shit together, and I may be banned outright from Charlotte-Douglas International, can you believe they flag you as a security risk and hold you in a room with no phone signal or Wi-Fi just for threatening one person with shoving that goddam intercom up their—” He opens his arms for Grady; his look of annoyance slips away the moment they touch. “Anyway, I’m here.”
Grady sighs, crowds into Nico’s space, and tucks himself into Nico’s body. Much better, a perfect fit. “God, I love you.”
“I love you, too.” Nico sinks one hand into his hair, strokes the nape of his neck with other, breathes him in, and closes his eyes. “I’m so sorry. About the apartment and taking off and not being here yesterday, I tried to so hard to make it because I know how difficult it is for you. You shouldn’t have been alone.”
Grady sniffs and holds him tighter. “It’s okay. We’re okay. I’m sorry, too.”
Still ensnared in the sheets and duvet and barely awake, Gwen presses her hands to her cheeks and awws. “You guys,” she coos.
Grady lifts his head from Nico’s neck to smile at Gwen. “I wasn’t alone, though.”
“Mmm” Nico says. “And how much trouble did she get you into?”
“None,” Gwen says, defensive. Here she kept Grady safe and sound, searched all over Nashville and Las Vegas while he was off burying himself in work and what thanks does she get? None.
But then Grady smirks and says, “Kind of a lot.”
“Grady.” Gwen throws a pillow at him. “You’re such a tattletale, gosh.”
He bends to whisper something in Nico’s ear, and Gwen doesn’t miss the way his lips drag and linger on the shell of it, or the way Nico’s breath catches and his eyes roll back. When Nico lifts Grady’s shirt and traces around the tattoos with reverent fingers, Gwen takes that as her cue to extricate herself from the bed, put on some pants and a bra, and go fetch her luggage.
“‘Kay you guys have fun and make sure to change the sheets when you’re finished.”
“Wait.” Nico tugs Grady’s shirt down. Then he goes to the case he always has nearby. “You have trouble of your own, Gwen. Thought you might want to know about this.”
Gwen catches the magazine and folded-up papers he tosses her way: screen grabs from a few entertainment websites printed out in black and white.
Is This Clementine Campbell’s Girlfriend? Our source says, “It wouldn’t surprise me.”
Clementine and Gal Pal Definitely More Than Pals Sunning On Vegas Pool Deck.
Our exclusive source and close confidant of both says: Clementine’s married girlfriend “would cheat for sure. She was always touching her. There’s been an energy between them from the very beginning.”
There are pictures: her rubbing sunscreen on Clementine’s bare back, which looks far steamier in a fuzzy long-range picture than it actually was; a picture of them from the back at the store in the Venetian with their hands clasped and Clementine curled in close and her lips on Gwen’s cheek; and most damning of all, grinding together at the VIP club at the Bellagio just last night.
“I don’t—” Frantic and confused, she flaps the magazine and printouts in the air. “What is this? This isn’t— Nico, I didn’t, I swear.”
Nico holds both hands up. “Hey, I am well aware of the slander of tabloids. I get it.” He gives her a sympathetic look. “I’m just not sure Flora is going to.”
Lilah Suzanne has been writing actively since the sixth grade, when a literary magazine published her essay about an uncle who lost his life to AIDS. A freelance writer, she has also authored a children’s book and has a devoted following in the fan fiction community. She is also the author of the Interlude Press books Spice, Pivot and Slip, and Broken Records, which was named a Top Pick by RT Book Reviews Magazine.
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