Keira: Both, Cecily and Ian, the hero and heroine of The Longest Night, are battling trauma. In what ways, does this help and hinder them from getting together?
Kara Braden: Ian’s dependence on painkillers is rooted in his stubborn conviction that he can control everything around him, including his own body. As it turns out, his body betrayed him, so he’s second-guessing everything. Because of that, he takes things slowly with Cecily—and that’s exactly what she needs. If he’d come barreling into her life and tried to sweep her off her feet, she would’ve thrown him out to freeze in the snow. (Well, not really, but she would’ve been tempted!)
Cecily’s trauma was much more insidious, making her doubt herself. Ian’s growing faith in her was exactly what she needed to start regaining faith in herself.
Of course, they’re both iron-willed—meaning stubborn as anything—so actually getting them to admit they’re interested in more than a couple of weeks of snowy casual sex was something else altogether! Cecily was very happy living in the wilds of Canada, thank you very much, and Ian had no desire to leave Manhattan full-time. Finding a compromise was the real challenge!
Keira: Cecily is a Marine Captain, what inspired her to sign up and what encouraged her to thrive where other might falter?
Kara: Cecily’s defining moment was when she was a little girl attending her first Brownies meeting. When she discovered that Brownies—her chapter, at least—got badges for cooking and sewing, rather than climbing and outdoor survival, she did two things: She quit the Brownies and set off to prove that she was just as good as the boys. At everything.
She excelled in math and physical science. She was okay with computers, but her passion was structural engineering. At the time, writing was just a hobby. And when she joined the Corps, she went for officer training, with the intent of taking any hazardous duty post she could get, all because she wanted to serve her country.
Keira: What do you love best about “insular” romances, where the hero and heroine have time alone, secluded from day-to-day interactions and routines?
Kara: I love how genuine the dynamic feels. The hero and heroine get to know each other as they are, rather than the public faces they might present when surrounded by friends or family. And with no other distractions, they have to focus not only on each other but on themselves.
I touch on that a little bit in the sequel, The Deepest Night, when the heroine’s mother unexpectedly shows up to throw a wrench in the works. You can really see the impact of even one outsider.
Keira: You live in the heat of Phoenix, Arizona, but your story takes place in the Canadian wilderness… How did that come about?
Kara: Wishful thinking! I love the snow, so when one of my readers prompted me to write a story set in Canada, my muse took off running with the idea. The Longest Night is the perfect antidote to a scorching hot July, so it’s being released at just the right time of year, too!
Keira: How do you define love?
Kara: Love is tolerance and acceptance. It’s not just the willingness to tolerate your loved one’s flaws and quirks, but the deep-down acceptance that nobody’s perfect. That’s what Ian and Cecily have to learn, both about themselves and about each other. They’re not perfect, and they have edges where they just don’t match up—but the ones that do match up, like puzzle pieces clicking together, more than make up for the ones that don’t.
Keira: What makes a happily ever after “perfect”?
Kara: I’ll let you know when my husband and I hit our fiftieth anniversary! We’re each on our third marriage, so we’re bound and determined to try.
In a story, though, I think it all comes down to the foundation. Love between two characters is built one step at a time, creating a solid foundation. There might be bumps along the way, but when my readers reach the end of one of my romances, I want them to feel that foundation under their feet and say, “Yeah. These two can make it work, for the long term.”
Keira: If you were sent on a secluded retreat, where would you want to go?
Kara: The Isles of Scilly. It’s an island chain off the coast of Cornwall, England, and it’s the most gorgeous place you’ve (probably) never heard of. Snorkeling with seals, quiet beaches, a sky filled with stars, and all the time in the world to come up with new ideas, then write them down. There’s a reason I set my sequel novel there.
Keira: Which is your favorite scene in The Longest Night?
Kara: I absolutely love watching Ian Fairchild, super-suave criminal attorney, being utterly defeated by s’mores. I may or may not be channeling my own lack of cooking skills here, but I do remember lighting more than one marshmallow on fire.
Keira: What did you learn during the course of writing and publishing your debut romance novel?
Kara: It’s far easier to write than it is to edit! For me, writing feels almost like I’m chasing along in the wake of my characters, scribbling down everything they do and say. Editing, though… That’s actual work.
Keira: What’s next for you?
Kara: The Deepest Night comes out in December of this year, starring Preston’s Vice President, ex-Royal Marine Ray Powell, and there’s something awfully sexy about a British hero. After that, I have all sorts of plots cooking up around the other people who work for Samaritan International Security—and there’s still Cecily’s wedding to plan, with her Maid of Honor, Marguerite.
This could work, whispered the little voice in the back of her mind, the voice that had been silent for seven years…
SHE SOUGHT SOLACE IN SOLITUDE
Years ago, former Marine Captain Cecily Knight fled her dark past and the nightmares forever haunting her nights. Alone in the remote Canadian wilderness, she survives day to day…until Ian Fairchild comes storming into her life and shatters her protective seclusion.
UNTIL ONE TOUCH BARED HER SOUL
Aloof but intriguing, defensive but undeniable, Ian is everything Cecily shouldn’t want but can’t ignore. He watches her with shrewd blue eyes, as if determined to decipher her secrets…and for the first time in years, she finds herself coming alive beneath the hands of a man with too many scars to count.
As the hushed and harsh winter closes in around them, two lost souls find themselves on the precipice of a love that could save their lives…or destroy them forever.
Author Bio: Kara Braden makes her debut in modern romance with a story of love in isolation. She believes that engaging, romantic fantasy can be found everywhere in the world, even in the most unlikely places. With the support of her wonderful husband, cats, and dogs, she writes from her home office outside Phoenix, Arizona, where she spends her time hiding from the sunlight and heat.
Author Website: http://karabraden.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KaraBraden @KaraBraden
Giveaway: One print copy of The Longest Night by Kara Braden. Open to US and CAN. Enter by leaving a comments. Ends 8/5/14.