Interview: Samantha Gentry
Canadian Cravings by Samantha Gentry
Passport to Pleasure 1
Addie Burton has a successful career as a photojournalist for an international travel magazine. When her new assignment in Canada brings her in contact with a friend from college she hasn’t seen in twelve years, the attraction is instantaneous. She’s ready to mix business with pleasure.
Knox Mallory is shocked to discover the photojournalist doing the magazine article on his company is a woman who had sparked his lust during his college days. Family circumstances had prevented him from acting on his desire, but he’s hoping to resurrect what might have been.
Can two weeks satisfy their Canadian cravings or will it lead to more?
Can you tell us about your inspiration for writing “Canadian Cravings?”
The Wild Rose Press announced a new series, Passport To Pleasure. This particular series is specifically for their Scarlet Rose erotic romance line rather than submissions for any of their lines being accepted for the series. So you could say the requirements of the series were my inspiration: novella length, set in a foreign country, the traveling character has to be American, must be a romance with happily ever after or at least happy for now ending. While the story is erotic romance, a sub-genre can be whatever the author wants, i.e., contemporary, historical, paranormal, fantasy, etc. And the romance must be “hot.” The publisher also asked that the author try to use an alliterative title, i.e., Passion in Panama, Dominating Dublin, Igniting Italy.
What made you choose Canada as the setting for this particular book?
I chose Canada (specifically Vancouver and Vancouver Island) because I’ve been there several times. My heroine (Addie Burton) lives in Seattle, Washington, where I’ve also been several times. I know how long it takes to drive from Seattle to Vancouver, the process in going through the Vancouver airport, taking the car ferry to Vancouver Island from both Vancouver and Seattle. My familiarity with the locations cut down on the research I needed to do, information that may or may not have ended up in the manuscript. My hero, Knox Mallory was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Canada also allowed me the convenience of everyone speaking English. However, if I had set the story in London (where I’ve also been several times), I could have played with some of the differences between British English and American English (“two people separated by a common language”).
How would you describe the main characters? What challenges do they face throughout the story?
Addie and Knox met in college, she was a freshman and it was his senior year. When he graduated, he returned to Vancouver where he worked in the family business. When his father died a couple of years later, he had the responsibility of running the family business. During that one college year, they became good friends, albeit platonic. Knox’s father was ill and didn’t have much time left which made it imperative that Knox spend as much time as possible learning everything he could about the business—a corporation providing luxury vacation train excursions, the largest and most successful in Canada. His personal situation had prevented him from seriously pursuing Addie in college and monopolized all his time after he graduated. His thoughts often went to Addie and what might have been.
After college, Addie pursued a career in photojournalism and went to work for an international travel magazine headquartered in Seattle which was her hometown. She often thought about Knox, but as time passed did not dwell on what might have been. She had two broken engagements to two very different men and neither of them worked. She resigned herself to concentrating on her career rather than making a third attempt at a committed relationship.
Several years later (where the book begins), Addie is given an assignment from the magazine that takes her to Vancouver to do a feature article on Knox Mallory’s company. Is a feature article in an international travel magazine important enough for the president and chairman of the board’s personal involvement? Will she actually be able to see him while she’s there? She’s both excited at the prospect and apprehensive about what would happen after such a long separation.
Knox has no idea who the magazine is sending to do the article. After the initial contract negotiation with the magazine, he turned over working out the details to his director of promotion and assumed he wouldn’t have any more hands-on involvement other than approving the final draft of the article before publication. At the last minute, Knox decides to sit in on the initial meeting between the photojournalist and his director of promotion. He is shocked, and very pleased, to discover it’s Addie.
One of Addie’s two engagements was to a man who had constantly cheated on her. As a result, trust and honesty are very important to her—no relationship can work without it. Even though Addie tells Knox about her two ill-fated engagements, he doesn’t tell her about his one bitter broken engagement to a woman who turned out to be a gold-digger who had constantly cheated on him. She soon realizes she had been falling in love with him when they were in college and now was totally in love with him. But Knox has not offered her any commitment.
Knox realizes the same thing, he was enamored of her in college and now has fallen in total complete love but doesn’t know how to tell her. The impact of his bitter broken engagement is still very strong in his mind and emotional make-up. He’s allowing the emotional baggage from the past to control the here and now.
What themes or messages do you hope readers will take away from reading your book?
Trust and honesty are imperative to a committed relationship, and it’s never too late for a second chance at love.
As part of the Passport To Pleasure series, how does Canadian Cravings fit into the overall narrative or themes explored in the series?
It fits the criteria for the line. It’s definitely a romance as in happily ever after (a marriage proposal). It’s certainly a Scarlet Rose story with sex and frank language, but sex is part of love rather than gratuitous sex for the sake of sex. There is a story and not just a series of sex scenes strung together. My specific book has the two main characters with a backstory—a shared history, rather than two strangers who instantly fall in bed together.
Could you share some insights into your writing process? How do you develop your characters and plotlines?
First, I only write contemporary and not historical. I need to know who my characters are—their backstory, their jobs, their connection to each other, how they first met if they knew each other prior to the beginning of the book, and I need to get their names right (can’t continue until I have them named). I need to determine the setting for the story, more than just geographic location. Then there are their individual goals and the type of conflicts standing in their way. The conflicts sometimes change as I get into the actual writing of the story. And the situation that almost ends their relationship. The resolution can’t be as simple as they each say ‘I’m sorry’ and live happily ever after. They need to work out the conflict. Once I have this in mind (or at least a vague summation), then I can start writing. Nailing down the opening sometimes takes several rewrites before I’m satisfied with it, on rare occasions, I actually get it right on the first try.
Are there any specific scenes or moments in the book that you particularly enjoyed writing or that hold special meaning to you?
I enjoyed their weekend getaway to the romantic bed and breakfast on Vancouver Island away from work and responsibilities. The real-life location I used as the model for my fictional inn is a favorite of mine. I also enjoyed writing the ending when they need to take what has become a disaster and return it to the happily ever after ending.
How do you balance the elements of romance and erotica in your storytelling?
A romance, by the nature of the genre, is a character-driven story. I need to always keep in mind that erotic romance, first and foremost, is a romance. Regardless of either character’s past, it is a monogamous relationship that moves toward that happy-ever-after ending. Some of the scenes are blatantly sex but within the boundaries of two people falling in love. And others are the emotions of making love. Erotic romance is NOT just a series of sex scenes as recreational sex.
Can you give us a glimpse into what readers can expect from the other books in the “Passport To Pleasure” series?
Well, to tell you truthfully, I haven’t read any of the books that have been released in this series. I’m currently working on another submission for this series and don’t like to read in the same series while I’m in the process of writing a submission for that series for fear of having something I read stick in the back of my mind and inadvertently ending up in my book without my realizing it.
Is there anything else you would like readers to know about “Canadian Cravings” or your writing in general?
My writing includes romance, erotic romance, mystery, and romantic suspense. Some of my books are novella length and others are novel length. I enjoy mystery—working out the twists and turns of a plot, creating the characters including supporting characters and red herring characters, making sure the ending is plausible and not some incredible coincidence that’s been pulled out of thin air. Romantic suspense adds more to the mystery by putting something extra at stake for the hero and heroine—the need to protect each other from danger in addition to solving the mystery.
I have a novel-length mystery/erotic romantic suspense scheduled for release from The Wild Rose Press on November 27, 2023. The title is “Sins From The Past.” I don’t have a cover yet but am expecting to see it any day now.
Visit Samantha online at www.samanthagentry.com.