Please enjoy this Q&A from Lori Foster, who recently published No Limits (reviewed here).
Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release, No Limits?
This is Cannon’s story, a character that readers met in my last series, Love Undercover. From the second Cannon showed up on the page, I knew he’d get his own story. He’s that kind of guy, the guy who steps up and takes notice and gets a lot of notice in return.
In No Limits, Cannon reunites with Yvette, another character from the previous series. They parted under strained circumstances, with Cannon just heading into professional MMA and Yvette young and traumatized from a horrific threat. Cannon saved her then, but he was noble because of her age and what she’d been through.
Now she’s older, more independent, and he’s ready to make up for lost time.
What was it like getting inside the mind of a mixed martial arts fighter?
I’ve interviewed a few fighters over the years, chatted with others while getting promotional photos and during before and after “meet and greets” while at live events. Every single fighter I’ve met has been extremely nice, unassuming, dedicated to fans, and (though it sounds silly) very sweet. It took only a few questions to see how much they give to the sport they love, the discipline it takes to stay in training, and the confidence they gain from having extreme ability.
Since I’ve never asked a fighter about his love life, that part of the story is pure imagination on my part. But then I only write good guys, and talented lovers.
What is your process for choosing names like Cannon Colter?
I’m a terrible cheat when it comes to names. More often than not I see a name on Facebook or Twitter that I like. I never, ever use a first and last name together, but I do pick and choose and mix and match. When I see a unique name, or a name that resonates with me, I grab it up.
When I’m writing, I’m far less focused on names than I am on personality. Names for me are an afterthought, so stealing from my social media sites makes it easy.
What music did you listen to while writing No Limits?
I have a long playlist of about 150 songs. Much of it is from KORN and Kid Rock and Marilyn Manson, but I’ve also really gotten into Disturbed, The Pretty Reckless, Papa Roach, Skillet and Puddle of Mud. Oh, and Cage the Elephant. I like loud, strong music that I can sing along with while I’m writing.
Can you tell us about the process behind the cover artwork?
Ooooh, I LOVE getting new covers. So exciting. The way it works is that I give my editor an idea of what the characters look like. Usually this means emailing her my own character sheets – notes I keep on the characters to detail (and help me remember) height, eye and hair color, body type, etc… I usually include any and all info like the car he/she drives, job description, age and any other pertinent information that I might need to recall from book to book.
My editor also asks for a synopsis, but since they usually start working on covers long before I know what the story is about, it’s a guessing game on my end. I know there’ll be a hunk, a heroine, some suspense, hot sex, lots of emotion, and a happy ending. The how’s and why’s are often not clear to me at that point.
Then the publisher has a meeting with the art department and they all brainstorm cover ideas and come up with a concept that I get to see.
The concept is just an idea. It’ll show a model, but not THE model. It’ll show a pose, but not THE pose. I see where the placement of my name and the title will appear, along with any quotes.
Once that’s approved, the art dept does a photo shoot and from those images they choose the once they like best. I weigh in with pleas of chest hair.
Chest hair is always my #1 requirement if they show the model with his shirt off.
Understand, this is for new novels, not novellas or reissues. For those they generally use stock art.
It’s all very fun and I can honestly say I’ve loved the artwork so far.
Have you written an outline for the No Limits series or do you make it up as you go?
I totally make it up as I go along. Or I should say my characters make it up. I never try to figure things out in advance because as sure as I do, the characters will have a different idea and they’ll rebel, making it difficult to write until I give them their way. Fighting it is futile. But since they’re seldom wrong, it works for us. (And yes, I’m nuts. I don’t fight that either.)
Usually the characters will give me enough clues along the way to keep the writing flow steady. For instance, while I was writing No Limits, Denver stepped up and talked about Cherry and made it clear his book needed to be next. Now while I’m writing Holding Strong (Denver’s story) Stack is giving me nudges, saying, “Me next, me next. And I’m going after Vanity… whether she or I know it yet or not.”
So that’s how I know Stack’s story will be after Denver’s.
Armie has said he wants to wait, stew on things a while, come to grips with his future… so I’m letting him get used to the idea of what is to come.
What are you working on next?
I’m writing Denver’s story right now, titled Holding Strong. It’s due out in spring 2015 and I’m loving Denver and Cherry together – and them as a couple with the rest of the fighters around. It’s a very fun dynamic.
After that I’ll do another benefit novella for June 2015. It’ll be part of the Buckhorn family and all proceeds from sales of the book will go to a charity. I’m not yet sure which of the Buckhorn clan will be featured, but I’m sure it’ll all come to me in plenty of time.
And then I’ll jump into Stack’s story. He should be ready by then – which means I’ll also be ready. Luckily the characters keep me writing. In fact, if there were more hours in the day, I’m not sure they’d ever let me stop.
Lori is kindly giving away a copy of No Limits to one lucky winner (US only)! To enter, use the Rafflecopter below: