The girls at Book Crush Reviews had a chance for a little face to face time with author Nicole Edwards and Country music star from Chasing Dreams, Cooper Krenshaw. Kara, Caryn and Karen met up at the The Rusty Nail with Nicole and Cooper. Because Kara is a wee bit excited to hang out with Nic and Cooper, we let her handle most of the interview.
Cooper: Hey y’all, thanks so much for coming. *Cooper stands up in true cowboy form*
Kara: *blushing* Thanks for inviting us, it’s nice to meet you.
After a round of handshakes, it’s down to business.
BC: Nicole and Cooper, how did you two meet one another?
Cooper: You wanna take that one? I’m sure I can’t be held responsible for all that stuff that flies around in your head.
Nicole: *glances at Cooper* Sure. *smiles like Cooper isn’t there* I met Cooper about six months ago. Although he claims he can’t take responsibility, I solely blame him for Chasing Dreams. I do have to admit that I met Tessa first, and between her sheer determination and her hidden vulnerability, I knew she needed someone who was strong enough to handle her.
*Cooper flexes and grins*
Nicole: Not that kind of strength. *laughs at Cooper* He just showed up unannounced and as the saying goes, the rest is history.
Kara: Yes it is, and we loved the ride *winking at Nicole*
BC: Both of you being artists, what inspires you?
Cooper: Ladies first. *nods at Nicole*
Nicole: Thanks. Let’s see… inspiration comes from all things. Honestly, most of my characters are spawned from hours and hours of thinking. I can find myself walking through a store, completely oblivious to everything around me and then all of a sudden, I’ve got a new character in my head. And of course, when there is one, there has to be two. Oh, all right, so sometimes there has to be three. *blushes* And the rest is usually determined based on those characters’ individuality. Where they grew up, where they would be now, what occupation they have, even what type of car they drive. It all comes together, and that’s how a plot is formed for me. And as for what keeps me going during the book, it’s usually music, pictures, even the book cover. The book cover is like putting a face with a name for me. During the time that I am designing it, I’m forming the characters in my head, which helps. So, if I get locked up on a scene, I stare at the book cover to remember what it all comes down to.
Cooper: Well, hell, I don’t have an answer quite as complex as that. *glances at Nicole and then back* My songs come from my heart, they’re based on real life situations. And now, see that beautiful lady over there? *nods his head in the direction of the bar where Tessa is currently serving a customer* She’s all the inspiration I need.
Kara: *sigh* *whispers to Karen and Caryn* Do you just hear that…can I have one?
BC: We love the idea of a country singer as we can just hear his twang and picture him in his wranglers…how did the stories of Devil’s Bend come to mind?
Nicole: Oddly enough, it started with The Rusty Nail. I came up with the idea for the bar and then, of course, I needed a really strong woman who could own it. And Tessa needed a strong, secure guy. So, my next question was how does she meet this guy? Would he be a customer? Another business owner in their small town? Then it came to me… a performer. And what better than a country music singer who would fit right in here. As most people know, I love country music, and I love small towns like the one I live in. From there, it came to fruition.
BC: How will the Devil’s Bend series be different than the AI or Club Destiny series?
Nicole: Well, Devil’s Bend will be different in many ways. As for AI and CD, those are based on sex clubs and kinky sex.
Cooper: *clears throat* Umm… I’m not sure this series is much different in that aspect. The last comment anyway.
Nicole: *laughs* Ok, so maybe Coop is right in that sense, but as I was saying… All of my books are based on family and friendships, deep love and affection for one another. So, in that sense, Devil’s Bend is remarkably similar. It’s just a different atmosphere. From the beginning, Chasing Dreams felt different to me. I knew the sparks would fly between Tessa and Cooper because that’s just who I am as a writer. But as you can see in Chasing Dreams, it’s about real life. The unthinkable that happen to real people and the love they search for – whether it be from family, friends or a significant other. These characters, unlike in CD and AI, don’t have the means to do grandiose things, the money isn’t plentiful, but their core values are just as strong and they are survivors.
BC: How many Devil’s Bend books are you thinking there may be? We see on your website: http://www.nicedwardsauthor.com/ that you have Dalton’s, Jack’s, and Adam’s stories under coming soon…and we absolutely cannot wait!!
Nicole: Honestly, when I started writing Chasing Dreams, I thought there would only be three books. One for Tessa, another for Jack and one for Adam. But, somewhere along the way, I fell in love with other characters like Dalton. And that’s what happens when I write a book. Another character is introduced, and their complex life makes me fall in love with them. I want to know more, so I give them the opportunity to tell their story. So, to answer the question, at this time, it is not determined. I’d love to have another open-ended series like Club Destiny.
Kara: Well I think it’d be safe for me to say that we as your fans would also love an open-ended series like Club Destiny.
BC: What inspires you first and foremost?
Nicole: My husband and my children. They are the reason I live and breathe. I wake up every morning and go to bed every night thanking God for allowing me to have them in my life. I’m blessed in so many ways. If it weren’t for their ability to make me smile, make me laugh, and even make me mad, I’m not sure where I’d be. Writing is my passion, but as with anything I’ve done in my life, I give 150% because that’s what my family deserves. They deserve for me to do the best that I can for them and that’s the true inspiration behind anything that I do.
BC: What motivates you/keeps you going?
Caryn:*smiling* Preach it !! As far as I’m concerned, coffee is the nectar of the Gods
Karen: Haha Amen!
Nicole: Wait, that wasn’t the answer you were looking for. *grins* Ok, seriously, I receive my daily motivation from the amazing readers that I encounter. The emails, posts and tags on Facebook, private messages, and the comments on my blog give me a huge rush. I love hearing from people and learning that what I’ve done has in some way affected them in a positive way. And the ladies of Nicole-Nation (my Facebook group) keep me on my toes in the best of ways. So, yes, it’s the readers who keep me going every single day. Well, that and lots and lots and lots of coffee.
BC: What’s a current goal you’re working towards?
Nicole: Right now? Like today? Hmmm, another cup of coffee, then a shower…
Kara: Ummmm *gives a side look to Karen and Caryn and whispers* is she joking?
Nicole: You’re shaking your head. That wasn’t what you meant again? *glances at Cooper who is shaking his head and laughing* What are you laughing at?
Cooper: You. It’s all about the coffee with you, isn’t it?
Nicole: Yes, it is. Never underestimate the power of coffee. *smiles* But seriously, each and every day I have one goal: make it through the day and live in the moment. However, in the grand scheme of things, my overall objective is to continue doing what I love. And that means I have to write a book that readers will love with characters that readers will fall in love with and connect with. That’s always my goal. As I’ve said before, the characters tell the story, I’m just here to translate it to a readable version.
BC: Who’s your favorite author, your favorite genre, and your favorite book?
Nicole: My absolute favorite is J. R. Ward. I fell in love with her when I started reading the Black Dagger Brotherhood years ago. I do not normally read paranormal romance, but I will forever be addicted to J.R. Ward’s books and will read anything she writes. My favorite genre? Well, that would be romance. Any kind of romance from sweet to spicy and everything in between. I would love to tell you what my favorite book is, but truthfully, I don’t know. In the past week, I have read books by Kristen Proby, Olivia Cunning, J.R. Ward, Laura Griffin and every one of them has stuck with me. That happens whenever I read a new book, and they are all my favorites. You know that question, “If you were stranded on a deserted island with one book, what would it be?” Well, I’d truly be screwed. I’m not sure I could pick. Not to mention, if I had the option of being stranded on a desert island or not, I’d definitely opt for not.
Kara: I’ll agree with you there, about the deserted island *smiling*
Karen: My two cents; if I were on an island, I say I’d want my Kindle (which has about 700 books on it), and maybe some kind of solar charger. I wouldn’t want to be on a deserted island, but if I wouldn’t mind an island in the Caribbean.
BC: Do you have a preference for Indie or Traditional publishing?
Nicole: This is a question I see all the time and one that baffles me honestly. Publishing is publishing. Yes, the ability to self-publish has transformed the book industry, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have it.
I hit “publish” on my first book just over a year ago, and I sat back thinking, “Now what?” I had no idea what was going to happen, but I knew that I had a story to tell, and I did that with Conviction (Club Destiny, #1). The next thing I know, one person bought it, then another, and another and here I am today continuing to do what I love. I have never sent out a query letter to a literary agent asking them to read my book. Would they? I have no idea. Does that make me less successful than a traditionally published author? I personally don’t think so.
But truthfully, whether you publish independently or traditionally, it’s all about the story and the delivery. Did the author put their blood, sweat and tears into the story? Did they spend hours and hours with characters who both frustrated them and also made them laugh? Did the author take time away from their family at some point because the characters were speaking to them and adding just one more chapter seemed like the most critical thing to do at the moment? Did they scramble through edits to ensure that the reader received a polished, professional version of the story? Did they work with a cover designer to come up with what they felt told the story visually? Well, I can tell you, whether you are independently published or traditionally published, I’m pretty sure all authors have been through that. It’s a process and a journey and some choose to go the independent route, not because we have failed at being discovered by traditional publishers because I can tell you, I have never even tried. *drops mic*
Kara: *picks up mic and wipes peanuts off it* AAAAAAmen!!
BC: What inspired you to be a singer/songwriter?
Cooper: I guess you could say I’ve always loved it. Since I was in high school, I loved to sing. Writing songs just came naturally to me, and why that is, I have no idea. *grins sheepishly* I just go with the flow.
Kara: *whispers to Karen and Caryn* I’m picturing a younger Cooper singing in the shower, is that bad?
Karen: *whispering back* Now I’m just imaging Cooper in the shower! *smiling*
BC: Cooper, tell us what it’s like to spend a day in your life…
Cooper: Now? Or then? *laughs* How about I tell you about now since it’s exactly where I want to be. I get up early, which sometimes isn’t as easy as you think when I spend nights here.*gestures to surroundings* Since we’ve acquired several horses at the center, they don’t care how much sleep I get either. I recently hired a trainer, and we’ve got a couple of high school kids who volunteer to help with their care, but I’m still up early to make sure they get what they need. After that, it’s a lot of the same since Tessa and I both spend a lot of time at the center. Havoc and Harmony, our dogs, like to hang out with us while we’re there. And after the day is done, the best part begins. I get to fall into bed with my wife.
Kara: Awww, how perfect, especially after such a hard-worked day.
BC: What is your idea of a perfect date?
Cooper: I happen to be kinda partial to dinner on the back porch. Throw in a sleeping bag and I’m happy.
BC: What’s your favorite drink?
Cooper: I’m just an old-fashioned guy. Give me a decent beer any day of the week and I certainly won’t complain.
Tessa: *walks up and interrupts* Just be sure it’s in draft and not bottle. He might be old-fashioned, but he’s picky.
Cooper: Hey, darlin’. Glad you could join us. *Leans over and kisses Tessa sweetly*
Tessa: Looked to me like you were doin’ just fine.
BC: What’s a secret no one knows about you?
Cooper: I’m a mama’s boy.
Tessa: Cowboy, that’s not a secret. Everyone knows that. *winks* But, I can tell y’all that he’s particularly fond of foot rubs.
BC: What drives you Cooper?
Cooper: Well, if I took a page from Nic’s book, I’d go with coffee.
Nicole: Hey! No reason to beat up the author now.
Cooper: *grins that sexy lopsided grin as though asking for Nic’s forgiveness* Ok, no, it’s not coffee. Seriously, *pretends to look serious* something deep down inside of me, maybe it’s a competitive gene, I don’t know. I’m just driven. No matter what I do, I go after what I want.*Glances over at Tessa* And I make sure I get it.
BC: Okay we have 4 questions we want to ask and give the first answer that comes to mind…
Do you prefer coffee or tea?
Cooper: Easy one. Tea. Sweet tea.
BC: Beer or hard liquor? And what label?
Cooper: Beer. Plain and simple. Bud Light.
BC: Do you prefer kissing or spooning?
Cooper: Kissing when spooning. Doesn’t everyone prefer it that way?
Kara: *chuckles* I think maybe it depends on who I’d be doing said kissing and spooning with*winks at Cooper*
BC: Boxers or briefs….or dare we say, commando?
Cooper: *actually blushes and glances around at the ladies* Briefs.
Caryn: *laughing as she holds out her hand*…Pay up girls…I win the bet! *Karen and Kara smirk while shaking their heads*
BC: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Cooper: *an enormous grin lights up his entire face* I’m thinking oh, maybe, two or three kids by then. I plan to continue with my music, maybe dabble a little more in the song writing side of it. And of course, my biggest plan is for the equestrian center – Dream Chasers – to be thriving. Tessa’s got some amazing plans, and I can’t wait for her to get the chance to implement them now that the center is running smoothly.
BC: What was going through your mind when you and Tessa were eyeballing one another while you were singing that first night at The Rusty Nail?
Cooper: I’d say she stole my breath, but that’s cliché and not to mention, I was singing, so it would’ve been untrue. However, when our eyes met, there was a spark, a connection that immediately tethered me to her. I wanted to know her. I wanted to know every single thing about her. And I knew right then that she was the one woman who had the ability to reduce me to a puddle at her feet. And I was right.
BC: Cooper, you would get, is it safe to say fairly angry when those around you commented or asked you why you’re running from Nashville several months ago. Now that lots of time has passed, how would you respond to them now?
Cooper: *glances down at his hands for long seconds and inhales deeply* I’d like to say that it wasn’t true. I wasn’t running away from Nashville, and I wasn’t running from my singing career. But, yes, I guess it could be considered running. However, I’d like to think I was running to something and not away from it. My life in Nashville could never be compared to this. *slides his hand into Tessa’s* Singing is something I do, it’s something I enjoy, but it never completed me. Not the way she does.
BC: Cooper, are you writing anything new? If so, where’s that inspiration coming from?
Cooper: I’m working on a few things. I’ve got another album in the making, and I’m working on my own songs for this one. Not sure where that’ll lead from here, but it seems like the right thing to do. My father, also now my manager, is supportive and likes the direction I’m taking things. And just like “Angel in Blue Jeans”, *Cooper’s eyes dart over to Tessa* she is my true inspiration. In everything that I do.
BC: Are you planning any gigs right now?… maybe Iowa, we do have lots of farms there.
Cooper: Y’all do have a lot of farms up there, don’t you? *insert sexy, crooked grin here* Right now, Dalton and I are working on some farm tours. After the one Dalton threw together, I think it’s something people will enjoy.
BC: Could we put you on the spot for a minute? Would you like to write a little ditty that we can share with your fans?
Cooper: I’d love to help you out there, but I have to say I’m fresh out right now. *laughs*Considering the late night last night *shoots a grin at his wife* and the early morning, I’m not firing on all cylinders at the moment.
BC: What did you first think (unedited) when you met Cooper, excuse me…fell into his arms?
Tessa: *ducks her head down and smiles* My first thought? Really? *shoots a look at Cooper* I was wondering just how much baggage he came with. Being that good looking, that successful, with a voice so sinfully sexy… I knew he was probably hell on wheels.
Cooper: Surprised you, didn’t I?
Tessa: Yup. He surprised me all right. Turns out, I’m the one who was collecting suitcases full of stuff and keeping it stored up tightly. Thankfully, this one, *gestures to Cooper* he’s a persistent one.
BC: Why have you decided to stay in Devil’s Bend all this time?
Tessa: *eyes widen* Wow, no one has ever asked me that. I think it has always been just a given. This is my home. The place I grew up. And no matter what happened in all that time, it’s where my roots are. My family is here. I couldn’t imagine myself living anywhere else, even though at one point, I didn’t think I had much of a choice.
BC: What’s a secret no one knows about you?
Tessa: *leans her head back and laughs* Why didn’t I even consider y’all would ask me that one?
Cooper: So, what’s it gonna be, darlin’? What little secret are you willing to share with these fine folks?
Tessa: Hmmm… I’d have to say one of the secrets no one knows is that I put my socks on in a specific order. Left one first. Then the right. Oh, and I put my boots on the same way.
Kara: *laughing really hard* ‘scuse me, I’m sorry, but I’ve never heard anyone say that before.
Karen: What Kara? Do you think there something is wrong with that? *shrugs* I get it, Tessa!
BC: What’s a fantasy you have that maybe even Cooper doesn’t know about?
Tessa: A fantasy, huh? *Tessa’s cheeks turn pink* Originally, I would’ve said *Tessa lowers her voice* sex in my bar. *grins* But it’s no longer a fantasy. So, I guess next on my list will be skinny dipping in the pond.
Cooper: Well, hell, woman. Why didn’t you mention that one before now? It’s warm enough.
Tessa: *chuckles shyly* Not quite warm enough for all I want to do. *face turns crimson*
Kara: *fanning herself and turns to Karen and Caryn* Do you two think it’s warm in here?
BC: Tessa, when you were pondering whether you wanted Cooper to stay in Devil’s Bend you mentioned not wanting anyone to know how vulnerable you are. What were you referring to being vulnerable about?
Tessa: I’ve always seen depending on someone else as a vulnerability. I’ve had my heart cracked wide open a few times in my life and giving it away freely to someone else wasn’t an easy thing for me to do. And, as you know, I made Cooper work for it, even if I didn’t mean to. I’m just thankful that he managed to put up with me for all that time.
BC: Tessa, you’re a youth counselor at your church, do you mind us asking what got you interested in this?
Tessa: As y’all may have heard, I was a little rebellious as a teenager, and it took me a while to get my life in order. I figured one way I could give back was to talk to kids, spend time with them. I’m not saying that I would’ve done things differently; however, I think I might’ve not blamed myself so much for the things going on in my life if I’d had someone to talk to. I want to be that someone for these kids who might be walking a fine line between being a teenager and being reckless.
BC: Do you have any advice to give those who live their lives full of guilt and regret?
Tessa: I’d love to say put the past in the past, but it’s not always that easy. I still have guilt and regret, but I’m learning to move forward. Living in the past never got me anywhere. And, *nods her head toward Cooper* thanks to him, I’m finally learning what it means to do that.
BC: Tessa, what were your personal thoughts when Cooper informed you that he’d written Angel in Blue Jeans about you?
Tessa: I remember the exact moment. I think I managed to successfully hide some of my reaction. I was speechless. I love that song. In fact, it’s my absolute, all-time favorite. And that was even before he told me it was about me. I truly had no idea. But to know he wrote me a song, I was emotional, but I was scared to let him see all of what that knowledge did to me.
BC: Did you keep The Rusty Nail or is this someone else’s bar we’re meeting in?
Tessa: I did keep it *grins as she looks around* Dalton was actually the one who convinced me to hang onto it after he brought me the For Sale sign the day that Cooper proposed. And I’m glad we did because I think it’s good for us. We need to get out sometimes, and this offers the best escape from the daily chores at the farm.
Kara: Of course, and how could you get rid of the place where you first met when it’s yours*grinning*
**Thank you so much for having us. We love the space and are so happy to see that y’all are doing so well.
Kara: Coop, let me know if you’re interested in touring at a farm in Iowa.
Karen: You can come back to Chicago anytime!! Caryn and I will show you around and maybe take you to Lou’s.