Series: Marked Men #3
Published by Harper Collins UK on Jan 2nd 2014
Cora Lewis is a whole lot of fun, and she knows how to keep her tattooed bad boy friends in line. But all that flash and sass hide the fact that she’s never gotten over the way her first love broke her heart. Now she has a plan to make sure that never happens again: She’s only going to fall in love with someone perfect.
Rome Archer is as far from perfect as a man can be. He’s stubborn and rigid, he’s bossy and has come back from his final tour of duty fundamentally broken. Rome’s used to filling a role: big brother, doting son, super soldier; and now none of these fit anymore. Now he’s just a man trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life while keeping the demons of war and loss at bay. He would have been glad to suffer it alone, until Cora comes sweeping into his life and becomes the only color on his bleak horizon.
Perfect isn’t in the cards for these two, but imperfect might just last forever . . .
Hey peeps! I’ve been having a little homage this week to the Marked Men series by Jay Crownover and rounding it off with my review of the latest fab book ROME and Jay was kind enough to take part in a Q&A so check it out! <3
I seriously cannot get enough of this series and ROME, the third and latest has solidified my love and investment in these characters. The eldest Archer brother always intrigued me, steadfast, strong, loyal, the epitome of a hero and soldier, I loved his interactions with his brother Rule and honorary sister Shaw. When a shocking revelation about their beloved brother Remy came to light, Rome’s reaction intrigued me and I immediately wanted to know more about him.
ROME opens immediately after JET when spunky pixie Cora has enough of Rome 2.0, the newly discharged ex soldier who’s carrying a lot of pain, anger and aggression with him and has no problem dumping it out on those around him. Fiercely protective of her Marked Men and their loves, Cora may be small but she’s definitely the big sister and has no problem going toe to toe with the big brother of the group. Sparks fly and for the first time in months Rome’s bleak and grey landscape is splashed with colour. As the heat simmers between them can a broken soldier and a girl looking for nothing short of perfection find in each other what they desire most or will they crash and burn?
Cora is without a doubt my favourite female character in this series. I adore her straight talking and the love and support she dishes out to her friends without hesitation. Broken by her former fiancé’s cheating and lies, Cora has wrapped herself in cotton wool and convinced herself that nothing short of perfection will make her risk her heart again.
Rome is the furthest thing from perfection possible. Angry and lost, he’s come home to a world he doesn’t recognise. Everyone who relied on him for protection and advice has moved on and faced their demons while he struggles to cope with the constant reminders of just how truly horrific humans at war can be. The trauma he’s face coupled with trying to adjust is almost too much and a bottle of vodka is often a safer crutch than opening up to the people who only want to help.
I’ve never rooted for two characters more to let go of the past and embrace the possibilities in front of them. When the two finally take the risk and succumb to their passion it was awesome to watch their barriers fall away as they learned that neither of them needed to be the one always in control and sometimes it was them who deserved to be taken care of rather than always shepherding their wayward younger friends. There is a plot development that I wasn’t too sure about but quickly embraced it when it was clear it was something they could handle and were capable of broaching in a mature manner due to their ages and I loved how they cut the BS in order to truly take a chance on happiness.
ROME was definitely high on emotion and at least twice it made me sob and broke my heart. One thing I love about this series is how the characters always confront the poison and pain that invades their lives and there was a moment when the Archer family finally confronted their past that broke me, I loved how beautifully handled it was and it was one of my favourite moments of the entire series.
With tons of passion, steamy scenes, drama and leaps of faith ROME caught me up in a whirlwind of emotion and proved just how amazing it is to be able to care and root for characters on a page just as you would in real life and with the revelation at the end hinting at an awesome set up for book four? Roll on NASH!
Hi Jay thanks so much for taking the time to be on What Danielle Did Next!
1) New Adult is emerging as a hugely popular category. Was there a particular reason you wanted to write New Adult books and do you find there’s pressure to really stand out from the crowd or is it something you don’t think about?
I wanted to write NA because there are less rules. Right now as the genre is emerging and becoming defined we can still do whatever we want in terms of stories. Just recently the tropes and trends started to make themselves known as the genre gained so much ground. I picked the age group because that’s when life really starts to become your own. It’s really when you are figuring out your life plan and who you want to be…plus it’s when you start to really figure out how sex and intimacy works.
I don’t think about what I’m writing versus what someone else is writing. I just do my thing…I write from a very real place that at the heart of it reflects my life so I can’t really compare that to anyone else or worry if it stands out. It just is what it is!
2) Do you rely on the support of other authors or are you more of a solitary writer?
I’m pretty solitary. I have other authors I talk to and some I consider friends, but I only use a critique partner and really my editor to bounce ideas and thoughts off of.
3) I love that you include playlists with your books; Spotify always gets a workout 😉 You seem to be a huge music fan, are you into the same type music as your Marked Men?
All my playlists are right off of my I-Pod. I am a huge music nerd and kind of a snob about it. The playlists are all different because all the characters are different and the music is more to set the tone or vibe of each story.
4) Do you have a favourite couple from your books or do you love them all equally?
That’s like asking if I love one of my dogs more than the other…no way man! I love them all in different ways. They all reflect a major idea or ideal that really matters to me. They all have traits I admire and want to have in myself.
5) When you started writing Rule did you know that you would write books for Jet and Rome etc or is that something that just developed naturally?
I knew all except for Asa. He surprised me. I was going to have him die in Jet’s book but I just couldn’t do it. I felt redemption in him and decided to keep him around. Of all the upcoming stories I think I’m most excited to start his.
6) One of the things I love about writing myself is the fact that characters can really “speak” to you and make you realise things about life and yourself you never thought about before. Have your characters taught you anything?
I think for me I try and put all the little life lessons I’ve learned along the way into my stories. I made some epic mistakes in my twenties…but those choices led me to where I am now.
7) Is it challenging to write dual perspectives or does it come naturally? Do you ever stumble over making each voice distinct and unique?
I have a harder time with the girl than the boy POV. I think I understand why the men in my books do what they are doing better than I understand some of the choices the women end up making. I do have a hard time trying to make sure each character has their own voice and that they don’t all just sound like me!
For instance Nash’s lady is highly educated and in a very serious professional field. My editor had to go through and be like “Would Saint really say it like that?” She was right, her voice had to be more refined, more elegant. I also had to make Cora and Rome sound slightly older, less like they were in their early twenties than the rest of the crew…that took a couple revisions to get right.
8) Any weird quirks/superstitions when writing? What’s your process like?
Nope. I just write. I literally just sit down at the computer, start at the beginning and write through to the end. Of course I have to go back and tweak here and there (a LOT), but I just sit and write straight through. I don’t outline, I don’t brainstorm, I don’t discuss with my inner circle… I just write.
9) You have experience in both self-publishing and being traditionally published. What are the major differences?
Well I think the major difference I can think of off the top of my head is the deadline. When you self-publish you get to work at your own pace, decide your own release date and if life gets in the way you can move it around. In traditional publishing you have to have your MS done at a given time and the release date is pretty much set in stone.
Also when you self-publish all the final decisions are yours. The cover, what to change or not change in the MS, how the vibe of the book feels. With a publisher you still get input, still get to be heard but really the publisher has the ultimate veto power. I’ve been very lucky, as I love working with my editor and the team at HC. They totally get me… so I really feel like my input has a major value to them.
There are pros and cons to both. I think the stress level and the work level involved in creating a book for the market is the same whether you self-publish or go traditional… the key is to just do what you feel works best for you as a writer. There is no right or wrong way to publish as far as I’m concerned.
10) Publishing your work is a huge and brave step. How do you deal with criticism? Does it affect you or do you take on board what will help you and let the rest roll off your back?
At first it was terrible. It messed with my head and totally screwed with my mojo… now three books in I fundamentally understand no matter how good a book is, or how hard I worked, or how well received it is by the majority of readers – there are just people out there that won’t like it. It’s impossible to make every single reader happy and that was a very hard lesson to learn. All I can do is write the story the way I see fit, tell the character’s journey in the way it plays out… and readers can love it or leave it!
11) Are you planning to stick with the Marked Men for a while or do you have any plans to go in a different direction?
I plan on finishing the next three in the Marked Men series; Nash, Rowdy and Asa. I also just sold a whole new series that is TOTALLY different to HC, so that’s next on my agenda and then maybe later a spin-off of the Marked Men with some other characters that are being introduced. Who knows! I have four books coming out this year back to back so that’s what I’m focusing on right now.
12) Being a bartender means being the ultimate listener and shoulder to cry on; do you find that’s true? Has it helped with your writing and characterisation?
Being a bartender means you see people at their best and their worst. I think being a bartender helps me write the male POV pretty realistically because I hear how men talk to women and how they talk to each other about women. Once you’ve seen someone with all their inhibitions down it really does open your eyes to who they really are. Bartending really gave me a peek into the NA age group and how they interact that I think helps me keep my books on trend and current.
Thanks so much for being on the blog Jay!