I would like to welcome Marie Astor to my blog today. Most people don’t know that my childhood dream was to be a dancer on Broadway. Yes, I was inspired by West Side Story, Fame, and A Chorus Line. I still watch ballroom dancing, love the Latin dances. And no I do not watch Dancing with the Stars. I still mourn the loss of Juliet Prowse. So when I got the chance to be on a blog tour with Marie Astor and her book about a tango dance teacher and his neighbor, I’m all in. Without further ado, here is Marie.
How do you research your books?
Hi and thank you for inviting me to Love, Laughter and Friendship. My name is Marie Astor and I am the author of contemporary romance novels Dance Me to the Stars, On the Rim of Love and Lucky Charm, and a short story collection, A Chance Encounter and Other Stories.
I often get asked about how I research my books, and my answer is that my research varied for each of my books.
In my latest contemporary romance novel, Dance Me to the Stars, the heroine Claire is an up-and-coming architect living in New York, and the hero is a tango instructor. When I decided on Claire’s occupation, I knew that I would have to research the nature of architect’s work in order to write about Claire’s professional life, so I went through as many architecture books as I could get my hands on. But that was not all – tango dancing plays a central role in the book, so I had to research tango music and ballroom dancing as well. I even took a tango lesson, which I might add was a lot more fun than reading architecture books.
My novel Lucky Charm takes places in Paris and in New York – since I was lucky to have visited Paris in the past, I was able to reconstruct most of this wonderful city from memory, and I know New York pretty well, so I got a pass on that one. There is a scene that takes place at a shooting range, so I had to do research for that – I even went to a shooting range myself and fired a small caliber rifle, which was both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. For Annabel’s and Lilly’s palm reading at Madame Aurora’s, I had to research the meaning of tarot cards in order to give my palm reader credibility.
For my contemporary romance, On the Rim of Love, which takes place in British Columbia, location became the inspiration, making research so much more fun! I visited Banff, British Columbia two winters ago and I was instantly smitten by its beauty – the vast open spaces, the towering mountain cliffs and the white, sparkling snow that seemed to stretch endlessly. An idea for a contemporary romance became to form in my mind: big city girl meets a big-mountain skier who is rooted in his small hometown. By the end of my ten-day stay at Banff, I had jotted down an outline and notes on the main characters, Maggie and Taylor, as well as Taylor’s best friends, Shawn and Hannah.
Thank you so much for inviting me to Love, Laughter and Friendship and giving me the opportunity to talk about my books. Wishing everyone happy reading!
Twenty-eight-year-old Claire Chatfield has everything a girl could possibly wish for: looks, a promising career at New York’s top architectural firm, and an engagement ring from one of New York’s most eligible heir-bachelors! Life should be a dream, but when Alec Brunell, a sexy tango dancer, moves into the apartment one floor above from Claire’s, he unwittingly awakens Claire’s old insecurities, making her question her life choices. Will Claire brave her fears and allow herself to take a chance on Alec, or will she continue to play it safe?
In order to secure his place as his father’s successor, thirty-three-year-old David Lawson must settle down with a wife befitting the future head of Lawson Enterprises – and who could fit the prerequisite better than the stunningly beautiful and incredibly bright Claire Chatfield? There is just one glitch – David Lawson is in love with another woman – a Hollywood Legend Claudia Block.
A successful tango instructor, Alec Brunell has never lacked for women’s attention, but he finds himself at a loss when faced with his downstairs neighbor, Claire Chatfield. Upon hearing of his occupation, most women swoon with desire, but Claire runs for the door. Still, her iciness only adds fuel to his fire, as Alec is determined to change Claire’s view of him.
Claudia Block has been basking in the limelight of Hollywood for more years than she cares to admit. While she still has her looks, she would much rather not mention her age, which makes her unconventional affair with young and handsome David Lawson that much more difficult for her to give up.
Dance Me to the Stars is a love story about finding one’s perfect match – sometimes following one’s heart is as convoluted as learning the steps of tango.
Dance Me to the Stars, has been selected in the first round of entries in the General Fiction category in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest this year.
Alec put down the paint roller and wiped his forehead on the back of his arm. Man, he was beat – he had forgotten how grueling physical labor could be. Sure, he worked out six days a week, not to mention daily dance practice, but painting walls made him discover muscles he did know he had. Every bit of his body throbbed, but at least he had gotten the job done – the south wall was painted red, and the other three were white. Now, all he needed was wait for the paint to dry so that he could add a silhouette of a tango couple against the red background – that ought to complete the ambiance. He opened the small fridge and reached for a bottle of orange juice. The cool liquid soothed his parched throat; holding the now half-empty bottle, Alec walked over to the window to check out his new view. All in all he was happy with his new digs: the rent was reasonable and the view was not bad either – from the top floor he had an unobstructed view of Second Avenue – not exactly the poshest of locations, but it would do.
One thing he had not counted on was fussy neighbors. Alec smiled, thinking of the unexpected visitor from the morning. “Claire,” he mouthed her name, remembering her tousled chestnut hair and hazel eyes – even that bulky bathrobe she had been wearing could not conceal the shapely outlines of her body.
Of course, a girl like that was bound to be a challenge. But he had always liked challenge, and the fact that he was a professional tango dancer usually played in his favor. Usually, but it might not be so this time. Alec winced, remembering Claire’s reaction to his innocent question about her music taste. What was all that about? he wondered – as far as he was concerned, no one could resist tango. Well, he would get to the bottom of Claire’s music idiosyncrasies in due time, but in the meantime, he needed to think of a way to become more neighborly.
“Think of the devil,” Alec murmured, taking another gulp of orange juice as he spotted the subject of his thoughts exiting the lobby. Someone must have a hot night planned, he thought, his eyes examining every detail of Claire’s outfit, which was far more flattering than the bathrobe he remembered from this morning. Now, she was dressed in a little black number that fitted her body to a T – his instincts had been right, from long, shapely legs to firm, flat stomach to wonderfully full breasts, her body was downright perfect, and the way her chestnut mane bounced down her back made Alec want to get to know his neighbor better. Heading out for a night on the town, Alec mused – it was Saturday night after all, and he was glad to remark the absence of a male companion by Claire’s side. Suddenly, his new building looked even more appealing.
More about Marie:
Marie Astor is a die-hard romantic who wholeheartedly believes in true love, which is why she writes in the contemporary romance genre. Marie is the author of contemporary romance novels Dance Me to the Stars, On the Rim of Love, Lucky Charm, and a short story collection, A Chance Encounter and Other Stories.
Marie’s latest novel, Dance Me to the Stars, has been selected in the first round of entries in the General Fiction category in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest this year.
Currently, Marie is working on her next novel – a first installment in her romantic suspense series. Stop by Marie’s website: www.marieastor.com to sign up for book releases and events. Marie can also be found on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/marieastorcollection and Twitter: @marieastor.
Books by Marie Astor:
Dance Me to the Stars – a contemporary romance about finding one’s perfect match.
On the Rim of Love – a contemporary romance about the unexpected power of love.
Lucky Charm – a humorous contemporary romance about love, luck and friendship.
A Chance Encounter and Other Stories – a short story collection about love and everyday life.