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Today we’re talking to Deirdre Martin about the latest edition to her Blades series, Icebreaker.

This wildly popular series has fans coming back again and again for Deirdre’s sexy hockey players — Icebreaker is the tenth book in the series.

So sit back and enjoy while we chat with Deirdre about her heroes and plenty of other fun stuff. If you’ve got a question you’d like answered, don’t be shy, shout it out and Deirdre will be along today to appease your curiosity!

Now let’s chat!

DUCK CHAT: Deirdre, welcome to The Good, the Bad and the Unread. Instead of the usual tell us about yourself question, what’s that one tidbit, that secret nugget, that even your most loyal fans don’t know about Deirdre Martin?

DEIRDRE MARTIN: One of my jobs in college was posing nude for still life classes.

DC: If you could retire any interview question and never, ever have it asked again, what would it be? Feel free to answer it.

DM: I’m sure I’m not the first writer to give this answer, but the question I’d most want to retire is “Where do you get your ideas from?”

DC: I’ve heard writers often say their stories take them in surprising directions, or dialogue flows from some unknown place. Is it the same with you? Do your characters surprise you sometimes?

DM: I agree that dialogue sometimes flows from some unknown place. Dialogue is what I like writing best, and there are times when it’s like a light switch has been flicked on in my brain, and off I go.  I always feel really amazed when that happens. And lucky.

My characters do sometimes surprise me when I’m revising. I’ll hear a character’s voice in my head saying, “HEL-LO, maybe this scene would work better if you had me do X, Y or Z.” Most of the time I listen.

DC: Do you ever argue with your characters while you’re writing? Who usually wins?

DM: Nope, we never argue. They know who the boss is.

DC: I read on your website that ice hockey is only sport that you like to watch. Is this is impetus that put you on track for writing sports as a backdrop for your romances? Or was it something else entirely?

DM: Hockey was definitely the inspiration to write romances since hockey players are so damn sexy. These guys are the perfect romantic heroes, because they’re warriors on a quest: the quest for the Cup.  Such figures, from King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table on down, have always been attractive. They’re fearless. They’re willing to sacrifice, whether it’s physical, mental, or spiritually, to achieve their goal. They’re not afraid of physical pain; that blood running down a hockey player’s face is real. And let’s face it:  a lot of athletes, no matter what the sport, are hot. They have great bodies. One of the things I find particularly attractive about hockey players is that they’re down to earth, too. They’re approachable in a way some of these mega athletes in football and baseball are not. And the sport alone is so exciting, so fast and often rough. (We’ll try to ignore the sexual subtext there). It seemed the perfect world to set a romance in.

DC: What is sure to distract you from sitting down and working/writing?

DM: Waiting for my best friend to arrive when she’s visiting. No matter what her ETA, I’m constantly looking out the window for her car, and I’m so filled with anticipation I can barely keep still.

Book CoverDC: What has been your favorite book cover from all of your releases and why?

DM: My favorite is the cover of Straight Up; you really get a sense of what the book is about and where it’s set: the red-headed woman sitting atop a  pub sign, her long, sexy legs clad in shamrock covered wellies. It’s also my only cover so far that features a woman alone, which to me makes it even more intriguing.

DC: How about your least favorite book cover?  Why?

DM: Asking me my favorite book cover is like asking someone who their favorite child is! I’m taking the Fifth on that.

DC: Would you tell our readers a little about the Blades series as a whole, how it began, has it evolved as you imagined?

Book CoverDM: The books are a series of interconnected novels that center around a fictitious hockey team, the New York Blades. All of the books can stand alone; meaning, you don’t have to read them all or in a particular order to understand what’s going on, though I’ve found that most of my readers prefer to do it that way.

I never imagined there would be a Blades series. When I sold Body Check in 2001, the purchase was considered a huge gamble on my editor’s part. The widely held belief at that time was that “sports romances didn’t sell” unless you were SEP or Rachel Gibson. Obviously that wasn’t true! Readers liked Body Check so much that they wanted another hockey hero…then another…then another…

The best part of the evolution of the series is that it’s allowed me the opportunity to challenge myself by exploring other worlds while still keeping connected to the world of the Blades. For example: my Wild Heart series is about a large, loving, Irish American family named the O’Briens who own the Wild Hart, a pub in the heart of New York City.  But the pub is also where the Blades hang out, so there is a lot of crossover between the two series in terms of characters. Icebreaker is actually a melding of the two: the heroine is a member of the O’Brien family, while the hero is a hockey player.

I really love writing interconnected books, because it’s a chance for both me and my readers to visit again and again with beloved characters. When you write connected books, the characters really begin taking on a life of their own; they evolve. This is going to sound weird, but they start to feel like family. That’s the only way I can explain it.

Book CoverDC: How do you feel your male or female characters have evolved over your career? Do you think you write them differently now than you did when you started?

DM: Most of my heroines have been very strong women; so strong, in fact, that some readers have found two of them—Aislinn McCafferty from Straight Up and Theresa Falconetti from Fair Play—unsympathetic. Readers felt they lacked a soft side ( I find this really interesting, since they’re two of my favorite heroines.) I think I’ve gotten much better at balancing a heroine’s inner strength with her vulnerability. I hope so.

As for heroes, I think I’ve always written male characters who were highly evolved emotionally. I understand why readers want heroes who will fulfill their fantasies (Who doesn’t?), but it’s important to me that my heroes be sexy as well as real, and by real I mean multifaceted and flawed.

DC: Is there a genre you haven’t tackled but would like to try?

DM: I’d like to write a film script, actually.

DC: What advice would you give to your younger self?

DM: Stop procrastinating, stop doubting yourself, and keep your ass in the chair until you’ve written the best book you can. Also keep in mind that most of the people who look down on you, asking why you’re writing “trash,” have never read a romance novel in their lives.

Book CoverDC: The latest book in the series is Icebreaker. Would you tell us about the hero and heroine and give us a look inside their story?

DM: The heroine, Sinead O’ Brien, is a high powered Manhattan attorney (She’s one of the siblings featured in the Wild Heart saga) who has a rule about never dating clients—that is, until she meets Adam Perry, the newest star of the New York Blades who is also her newest client.

Adam has been charged with assault after a borderline hit on another star player. But off the ice he’s a private, no-nonsense guy who knows the Blades are his last shot at Stanley Cup glory. Assembling her case, Sinead at first assumes he’s some bone-headed jock. But as things progress, she quickly discovers that there’s a wounded man under that jersey, and she’s starting to fall for him hard—so hard, in fact, that she’s tempted to break her ‘no dating clients’ rule. As for Adam, he’s having trouble focusing on the goal with Sinead in his sights. But true love prevails…

Adam and Sinead were interesting to write, because they’re both highly driven and highly guarded, but inside, they’re completely vulnerable. I enjoyed taking them on the journey from cautious regard to love, trust, and passion. And, of course, it was great to be back in the Blades locker room with the guys.

DC: If you were a book, what would your blurb be?

DM: “Temperamental, quick witted, and loyal to her family and friends until death, Martin enjoys the challenge of balancing her endless curiosity about the world with her frequent need to pretend she’s a cloistered nun.”

DC: What would your “voice’s” tagline be?

DM: A refreshing blend of heartfelt romance and fast-paced comedy.

Book CoverDC: What romance book would you recommend our readers pick up during their next bookstore run? (Yes, in addition to any Deirdre Martin  novel!)

DM: It’s probably the biggest cliché in the world, but I would recommend Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. The book’s hero, Heathcliff, is handsome, dark, brooding, tormented, and willing to do anything, good or bad, for the woman he loves. It gets me every time I read it.

DC: If you had never become an author, what do you think you would be doing right now?

DM: I know what I’d want to be if I wasn’t a writer: I’d want to be an actor. But in all likelihood, I’d probably be teaching college English.

Lightning Round:

– dark or milk chocolate?     – Dark
– smooth or chunky peanut butter?     – Smooth
– heels or flats?    – Flats
– coffee or tea?    – Coffee
– summer or winter?     – Winter
– mountains or beach?     – Beach
– mustard or mayonnaise?    – Mustard
– flowers or candy?    – Candy
– pockets or purse?     – Pockets
– Pepsi or Coke?    – Coke
– ebook or print?    – It’s a tie.

And because we still enjoy the answers we get:

1. What is your favorite word?   – Banjaxed

2. What is your least favorite word?    – Vitreous.

3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?   – Music

4. What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally?    – Pretension and snobbery

5. What sound or noise do you love?    – The sound of my dog’s nails clicking on the tile floor

6. What sound or noise do you hate?    – Vacuum cleaner

7. What is your favorite curse word?    – Fuck.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?    – Actor.

9. What profession would you not like to do?    – Embalmer

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?    – “You done good, kid.”

DC: Thank you for taking time to be with us today, Deirdre!