Hi Robin and welcome back! I’m so excited to talk to you again. As with before, you’ve wowed me. I am really enjoying your Domestic Gods series. Loved Mike Flynn, who doesn’t? He cooks, cleans, and diagnoses!
Robin: Thanks for having me back to your wonderful blog. I love it here.
How tough was it for you to take side characters from a previous novel and flush them out to be main characters?
Robin: Not hard at all. Even my secondary characters are so real to me. They tend to try to take over the book, so taking a character and giving him or her their own book is somewhat of a relief. I can let go of the tight reign I’ve always had to use to keep my secondary characters from running away with the story.
What was some of the medical research you had to do?
Robin: I have an incredible doctor on speed dial. I schedule my appointments just before noon, and then I take him out to lunch and grill him. We had great discussions about partnerships, fellowships, and how much debt a person incurs becoming a doctor. He told me horror stories about some of the people he knew in nightmare partnerships and from our conversations; I came up with Mike’s conflict. When I’d write a scene like the interview for instance, I’d run it by him. I think that was actually during an appointment. LOL He seemed impressed that I understood both the business and the medical side on the interview.
He’s a wonderful asset and has been really great about it. He doesn’t even seem to mind that all his nurses suspect I’ve used him as the blueprint for Dr. Mike in my book. I haven’t, there’s way too much of an ick factor to do that, but I think he enjoys telling his wife I have. The only time he has a problem with helping me out is when I forget to tell him the person in need of medical care is a fictional character.
This story features some heavy emotional issues. How difficult was that to balance?
Robin: The emotional issues were a challenge. In Romeo, Romeo Annabelle wasn’t a very sympathetic character. At the time, I had no idea she’d be the heroine in the second book or I probably wouldn’t have made her so…difficult. I knew going in I had an uphill battle but even when Annabelle came to me in Romeo, Romeo I knew she had a lot of baggage. The trick was getting it out there in the very beginning without an info dump. I hope I succeeded. After that, everything seemed to flow.
What are some of the themes in your book you feel readers should know about before they start reading?
Robin: Wow, that’s a hard one. I’d love for people to open the book not knowing the theme and discover it as they read, but since I have to give you an answer, I guess the thing I discovered while writing Too Hot to Handle, is that when people grow, their definition of love changes. Annabelle loved her first fiancé, Chip, but looking back, they were both young and their love was immature. It probably would have died a natural death if Chip’s illness hadn’t made their relationship problems seem inconsequential. Two years later, when Annabelle falls in love with Mike, she’s a mature woman who lived through loss and overcame it. The love she shares with Mike is a mature love, one that will last.
In your opinion does love redeem or does it absolve and how does that idea play in Too Hot to Handle?
Robin: You really make my work sound so deep! I love it. LOL
I think love does both. It redeems and absolves. When you truly love someone you accept them, warts and all. Everyone comes into a relationship with baggage and the one thing I’ve learned is that if you love someone, you are able to see their true essence even when no one else can. From the get-go, Mike knows there’s more to Annabelle than meets the eye. He might not be exactly sure of what it is, but he sees it.
In every loving relationship each person has to learn to forgive and accept his or her lover throughout the relationship. That’s something both Mike and Annabelle learn by looking at the situation from the others point of view. I hope that answers the question. I don’t know a way to explain it better without giving the conflict away.
What do you think are Mike’s and Annabelle’s biggest flaws are as characters/people?
Robin: Mike’s biggest flaw is trying to control everything. He’s always been very responsible and tends to take responsibility for everything and everyone. In some respects it’s a quality, but every quality taken to the extreme is a flaw.
Annabelle is very closed and repressed. In a way she’s taken the easy way out, she’s just refused to deal with the hard stuff, the hurt and the loss. She’s really good at avoiding her feeling until she’s forced to when she meets Mike. She’s spent the last two years sleep-walking through life, allowing her family to push her into situations she would never have accepted if she were more in touch with her feelings.
Meeting Mike forces her to overcome the loss of her first love—two years too late. She grows up a lot during the course of the book. She learns to experience both the pleasure and the pain that love brings to a life. She also learns to stand up for herself.
In Too Hot to Handle, you’re really building the world around the characters. There are several who’ve come back to make a reappearance. Will they be in future books?
Robin: Yes, I love my secondary characters. In Too Hot to Handle, we get to see Nick and Rosalie (the hero and heroine of Romeo, Romeo) Vinny, Aunt Rose and the rest of the Ronaldi clan. They also play a part in Breakfast In Bed, my next book in the Domestic Gods series.
Speaking of future books, who’s next? Rich, Becca, Ben? Tell me Benjamin Walsh is getting his own book! I do love a marriage of convenience romance, especially when it blindsides the guy!
Robin: Breakfast in Bed is Rich Ronaldi’s book. And rest assured, Ben will get his own book too. I’m going to start working on the fourth book of the series just as soon as I finish the revisions of Breakfast in Bed. I can’t wait!