Once Touched by Laura Moore – Review, Interview and Giveaway
Silver Creek #3
by Laura Moore
Release Date: November 24, 2015
Genre: adult, contemporary, romance
The youngest of the three Knowles siblings, Quinn has in her blood the love of the land and its beautiful creatures. Raising enough money to build an animal sanctuary is a dream Quinn lives every day—while fending off her family’s well-intentioned matchmaking schemes. Though harboring secret fears about intimacy, Quinn soon realizes she cannot fight her growing attraction to a man who has suddenly entered her life.
Scarred by his months in Afghanistan and the violence he witnessed there through his camera lens, photojournalist Ethan Saunders throws himself into hard ranching work as a prescription for healing. But falling for Quinn has given him the one thing he thought he’d lost forever: hope. Ethan discovers that Quinn, like the innocent animals she rescues, is shy, and afraid of entrusting her heart to a man. Passion soon awakens Ethan’s strength, and his tender seduction may be just what Quinn needs to believe in herself—and in his love.
Once Touched by Laura Moore is the third in her Silver Creek series. I read and loved the second one, still haven’t gotten round to reading the first book.
Quinn is the youngest of three siblings, and is the only girl, and being brought up on a ranch, Quinn learned to be tough, but for all her toughness she is totally clueless when it comes to men.
She brings rescued animals back to the ranch to heal, and usually keeps them, she has a bad mouthed bird, a dog, a cat, several horses, and a small herd of goats. She dreams of opening her own haven for animals one day.
She is told by the men she dates, how pretty she is, but she won’t let them too close, she is scared, and after a few attempts with a few of those men, she decides that sex is overrated, or there must be something wrong with her.
Then her parents ask Quinn to pick up an old family friend who is coming to recover from a severe injury, from the airport. She remembers Ethan, who was always at the ranch when she was a little girl and he would spend hours helping her to ride her favourite pony. But her childhood memories are soon turned to dust. The man Quinn knew, wasn’t there, and in his place was a broken man, a man so immersed in his anger and pain that she didn’t recognize him, sparks fly and not in a positive way.
Ethan is a photojournalist, and has just come back from taking photos in Afghanistan. After suffering from a bomb blast, all Ethan wants to do is recover and get on with life, and unsure if he will ever have the confidence to pick up a camera again, Ethan just wants to live day to day.
But little by little Quinn helps heal this scarred and damaged man. And in return he shows Quinn what a real relationship has to offer. They might just start out as friends with benefits, but it soon quickly turns into more.
But misunderstandings and mistrust drive a huge wedge between Quinn and Ethan, can they restore each other’s faith, and will their love survive? I love her interaction with her brothers Wade and Reid. Those books are one and two in the trilogy you get a nice glimpse of them too. Once Touched is another wonderful story by Laura Moore.
Reviewed by Julie B.
Copy provided by Publisher.
TRC: Hi Laura and welcome back to The Reading Café.
LM: Hi! (Waving across cyberspace). Thanks so much for having me here today at the Reading Café. Love hanging out with you all.
TRC: We would like to start with some background information. For those who do not know about you, would you please tell us something about your self?
LM: I currently live in the great tiny state of Rhode Island. I’ve been a romance writer for a while now–Once Touched is my tenth title–but I’ve also worked as a teacher and museum educator. I’m married to a wonderful man and we have two great kids. I love animals and I used to ride competitively. I pretty much always manage to feature a four-legged creature in my stories. In Once Touched, I hit the critter jackpot. My heroine Quinn Knowles not only lives on a cattle and sheep ranch, she raises dairy goats and rescues animals.
TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?
LM: I read my first romance when I was twelve and was hooked. I’d say the early authors I read–Nora Roberts; Catherine Coulter; Judith McNaught, and Jude Deveraux–inspired me. When I sat down to write my first novel, Ride A Dark Horse, my goal was to write as memorably as they. As time has gone by, the list of authors who inspire me has only grown. There are such wonderful and uplifting stories being told by today’s romance authors.
TRC: ONCE TOUCHED is the third installment in your Silver Creek cowboy romance series. Would you please tell us something about the premise?
LM: My Silver Creek series takes place in northern California, on a sprawling guest ranch owned by the Knowles family. Just so you know, all three books can be read as stand-alones. Once Touched is Quinn Knowles’s story. Quinn seems to have it all: She has a great job caring for the livestock at Silver Creek Ranch and rescuing animals she finds in need. She has wonderful friends and a supportive family. But no one’s life is perfect, not even Quinn’s. She’s guarding a secret fear, a deep-seated anxiety. She needs someone she can trust to help her overcome her problem. And that someone can’t be from her circle of friends or family.
Photojournalist Ethan Saunders comes to Silver Creek Ranch a wounded man. Haunted by his experience in Afghanistan, Ethan doesn’t want to deal with people. Most of all, he doesn’t want to feel. But Quinn Knowles sneaks past his defenses and, in spite of his determination to shut out the world, he finds himself caring for her.
For her part, Quinn can’t resist trying to heal both the visible and invisible wounds Ethan carries. As the two fall for each other, they have to find the strength to overcome the fears that bind them or risk losing the love they’ve found.
TRC: What challenges or difficulties (logistics, facts) have you encountered writing and publishing this story and series?
LM: What a great question! One of the challenges I had to face was incredibly prosaic: the weather. I’ve been writing this series as California faces an epic drought–kind of a bummer when you’re writing a romance, but an essential topic when your protagonists are tied to the land as my ranching family is. I had to find ways to talk about the impact the drought is having on the environment and people’s lives without letting it overwhelm the story.
In Once Touched I also address our military involvement in Afghanistan. My hero, Ethan Saunders is a photojournalist who was embedded with an army unit near Kandahar. I wanted to be sure I got the pertinent details right and treated the subject of our armed forces fighting overseas with the respect and sensitivity it deserves.
TRC: Are any of the characters or stories based in reality or a combination of reality and fiction?
LM: Kind of, sort of. Sometimes when I’m in between novels, I’ll read an article about a person and that will serve as a springboard for the hero or heroine in my next book. That happened when I read a profile of Sylvia Earle, a totally cool marine biologist. She was the starting point for my heroine Lily Banyon in Night Swimming.
With Once Touched, my characters evolved from a bunch of different things I’ve become interested in recently: rescuing and training animals as service animals; ways to help our returning soldiers, and sustainable farming and ranching.
TRC: How do you keep the plot(s) unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?
LM: Honestly, that’s always a challenge for me. I write small town contemporary romances and my patron saint is Jane Austen (along with St. Francis). My hope is that even without the pyrotechnics of romantic suspense or paranormals, I’m writing stories that grab both the heart and mind.
TRC: There is a fine line between romance, erotic, and erotica in many of today’s popular contemporary fiction. What do you believe accounts for the differences between the sub-genres in today’s romantic stories?
LM: We’re living in a post Fifty Shades of Grey era. I’ve always written sexy romances but since E.L. James came onto the scene, I’ve noticed that the heat level in a lot of contemporaries has gone from simmering to sizzling. I’m not sure whether my sex scenes have as well (I’m too busy reading other authors to read my own books). But just as there was a pendulum swing towards the scorching end in contemporaries, I think–hope–that we’ve returned to an equilibrium. Readers of contemporary romances are looking for all types of stories, some hot, verging on erotic, some not.
TRC: Do you believe the cover image plays a deciding factor for many readers in the process of selecting a book or new series to read?
LM: Yes–and thank you, Ballantine Books, for the beautiful covers you gave to Once Touched and all my titles in the Silver Creek series! There are so many books competing for readers’ attention. A strong and visually arresting cover is the first step in getting a reader to pick a book off the shelf or, increasingly, to click on the thumbnail image. And as we all know, it’s that tiny thumbnail image that is becoming ever more important so it’s vital to have a designer who understands how to make a cover work. The rest is up to me and my words.
TRC: When writing a story line, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?
LM: My characters are always there, reading over my shoulder and then tapping it and saying, “Nope, I don’t think so…”
TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writers fail in this endeavor?
LM: I think both questions can be answered by judging the strength and believability of the characters in the story. They have to be well drawn, with strengths and weaknesses, motivations and insecurities with which the reader can identify and relate. My ambition as a writer is to get better at telling stories with every book but that doesn’t mean it gets any easier. Sometimes we writers get lucky and a character comes along who has everything: the flaws, the scars, the charisma and the strength, sometimes we have to work really hard to find those attributes in our other characters.
TRC: Do you listen to music while writing? If so, does the style of music influence the storyline direction? Characters?
LM: I’m a music addict. I’m listening to Brandi Carlisle’s ‘Dreams’ as I type. A lot of my writer friends can’t write to music or have to listen to purely instrumental compositions. Me, I like a good beat, a soaring voice, and great lyrics. I think it’s a holdover from my days as a barn rat…I need music in my background. I don’t know whether my musical preferences affect the storyline per se (though I did sneak in a Marvin Gaye reference in Once Touched because it was just so perfect) but my characters often listen to the same music I like. My one exception was Gen Monaghan in In Your Eyes. She mixed classical music and operas into her playlist far more than me. In our house, it’s my husband who’s the opera fiend.
TRC: What three things would you like to accomplish in the next five years?
1. Write my new Beach Lane series
2. Travel to some cities and countries I’ve never visited. I have quite a bucket list. For instance I’ve never been to Australia or New Zealand. I’d also like to visit China and Japan.
3. Sort through the closets and remove all the clutter my husband, children, and I have accumulated over the years. That might take a decade.
TRC: What do you believe is the biggest misconception people have about authors?
LM: That we’re good at talking about our books and our writing process!
TRC: What is something that few, if any people, know about you?
LM: I may love rock and roll but I have the lousiest singing voice in the world. Sometimes when I’m writing and a favorite song of mine comes on I’ll get up and dance and sing. Our cat will run away, leaving just the dog who will look very worried but determined to save me.
TRC: On what are you currently working?
LM: I’ve just started a new trilogy–The Beach Lane Series–which is set in the Hamptons, the wealthy hamlets on Long Island, New York’s east end. The first book is entitled Making Waves and it’s about a woman named Dakota Hayes who runs a personal concierge service. I’ve never written a character like Dakota before, and I’m having a blast. And my hero, venture capitalist Max Carr, is one of those tortured alpha males you just have to love… Making Waves will be out in 2016.
TRC: What do you have planned for 2016?
LM: Celebrate the release of Making Waves with you all, I hope! And get cracking on book two in the series, Summer Fling. This writing business is a lot like the shampoo instructions: Wash, rinse, repeat.
TRC: Would you like to add anything else?
LM: First, thank you so much for having me here today and letting me talk about Quinn and Ethan and Once Touched.
I’d also like to give away a copy of Once Tempted Book One in the Silver Creek series to a reader who comments below. I’ll leave you with a question to get the ball rolling.
During the course of Once Touched my characters celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas. ==>Which is your favorite holiday and what makes it special?<==
TRC: Thank you Laura for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of ONCE TOUCHED.
LM: My website is www.lauramoorebooks.com. I have a newsletter that you can sign up for.
You can like and follow me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/LauraMooreBooks
On Twitter: www.twitter.com/LauraMooreBooks
Laura is offering a paper copy of ONCE TEMPTED -book one in her Silver Creek romance series-to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.
During the course of Once Touched Laura’s characters celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas.
==>Which is your favorite holiday and what makes it special?<==
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