We are SO excited to have Book Country member Alex Rosa and author Cora Carmack on the Book Country blog! Cora is the New York Times and USA best-selling author of the LOSING IT, RUSK UNIVERSITY, and MUSE series. Alex Rosa released her debut New Adult novel, TRYST, in March, and Cora wrote a wonderful blurb to promote the book:
“Brother’s hot best friend? A steamy friends with benefits arrangement? What more could you want? Tryst is a fun, tantalizing read!”
Below, Alex and Cora discuss Cora’s new RUSK UNIVERSITY series, book boyfriends, writing, and cats.
Alex Rosa: Antonella DeLuca (a.k.a Nell) is the third girl you’ve introduced as a main character in the RUSK UNIVERSITY Series. All of your leading ladies have had incredible, strong-willed personalities. Dallas in ALL LINED UP has the will to find herself and get out of her father’s shadow, and Dylan in ALL BROKE DOWN is a passionate activist who tries her best to do what she believes is right and fair. Now we have Nell in ALL BROKE DOWN. What does she bring to the table for this series? What makes her a standout? Is there anything that makes Nell a personal favorite for you?
Cora Carmack: Nell is one of my favorite heroines I’ve written to date. She’s incredibly smart and more than just a little anti-social. Her focus is on her education and accomplishing her goals as quickly as possible. And now she’s about to graduate from college early without ever having what’s considered a “normal” college experience. I love Nell because she just says what she’s thinking, and it’s often quirky and out there and awkwardly honest. I think a lot of book nerds will be able to see themselves in her.
AR: Mateo Torres in ALL PLAYED OUT seems like quite a character (and a hot one). I’m eager to find out what demons this possibly perverted (in a good way) hunk have. What’s your favorite thing about Torres, and what do you think makes him book boyfriend material?
CC: I love that Mateo feels like a real guy that I could know. Yes, he’s sexy and sweet, but there’s something so down to earth and genuine about him. He’s the class clown, the shameless flirt, the funny guy who’s always the center of a party. I think we’ve all known guys like him. But by getting into his head, we get to see the fears and insecurities that fuel his outlandish personality. And it just makes him incredibly human.
AR: As a writer, you’ve created these great leading men in your books. But who is your ultimate book boyfriend as a reader? The one who made you swoon first.
CC: The one who made me swoon first? The first time I remember being truly obsessed with a book boyfriend was with Jace from MORTAL INSTRUMENTS. He was so snarky and funny with a bad boy edge. Sexy + funny will always hook me.
AR: I love the covers in your RUSK UNIVERSITY series! They have an awesome, consistent look to them. I saw that you got to be present during the photo shoot for the cover of ALL PLAYED OUT, which took place in a fraternity house. Talk about really immersing yourself into the book’s setting. How was that experience as an author? Witness anything hilarious on set?
CC: Thank you! I love the covers, too. Beyond the typical couple on a cover, I think they have a really strong sense of place, and that’s what ties them together despite the different settings and situations. The ALL PLAYED OUT cover shoot was a blast! We did it at a fraternity’s party loft (because apparently those exist). The whole place reeked of beer and bad decisions. It really was like walking into the world of one of my books. Probably the most hilarious thing to happen was when the shirtless guy came out to look for his phone. Or the time a bedroom door opened and an eyebrow-raising number of people walked out for the morning after walk of shame. Or maybe the fact that when looking for cleaning supplies to clean up some questionable sticky areas, the only cleaning supplies they had was one almost empty bottle of Windex. College, am I right?
AR: We met at an author event in San Diego, CA (I might have dorkily fangirled), and I see you attend a lot of other author events throughout the year. What is the author convention/event you are most looking forward to this year?
CC: Yes! It was so nice to meet you! I do love author events. Writing is such a solitary journey and to meet readers at events is the most humbling and uplifting experience. I’m looking forward to so many events this year, including RT in Dallas, Toronto, Melbourne (Australia, OMG!), Chicago, and more!
AR: What’s one of the coolest, most fun, or most bizarre experiences you’ve had attending one of these author events? Personal or a fan experience? Anything goes.
CC: Well, it’s always a little bizarre to get recognized. Events are the only time I walk into a hotel or step into an elevator and hear someone whisper “That’s Cora!” from somewhere behind me. But the coolest thing about signings is just to meet people and hear the stories of how they connected with my books. Like the woman I met last weekend who loves FINDING IT because she and her husband met while backpacking around Europe. Or the mother and daughter I’ve met at multiple signings. At the first one, I talked to the daughter about her dreams of writing. At the most recent one, the mother told me that her daughter had placed in a writing contest. It’s incredibly powerful to see first hand the way books connect with people’s lives.
AR: You spoke at a couple panels at the RT Booklovers Convention in Dallas this year. What do you do to prepare for such a large convention? Is there anything you’re specifically looking forward to?
CC: Usually, I’m just talking about my experiences and opinions on publishing panels. So luckily, I don’t have to spend an incredible amount of time preparing. RT is one of my favorite events because it’s just a full week of talking and celebrating books. The discussion and community really refill my creative well and get me excited for the business again.
AR: I always hear that writers need to be in the right mindset and have their own routines to get in the writing zone. Is there anything specific you do to get your “writing-zen” on?
CC: I’m not as consistent as I would like to be. But whenever I’m having trouble getting into the zone, I switch to a journal and write by hand. I ask myself questions and write the answers until something clicks and I can start writing. Or I take a shower. Haha. Those always work for clearing my head.
AR: Recently, you self-published your New Adult Paranormal novel, INSPIRE, and you are also releasing the RUSK UNIVERSITY series with HarperCollins. What is the best part about being a hybrid author in this continuously evolving literary market?
I love the freedom of our current market, that there are a variety of ways to reach readers. It allows me to make the choice for each individual book about the best way to introduce that story to the world. I think it also opens up room for different, unique, and hard to classify books that never would have made it to the shelves a decade ago.
AR: Lastly, but definitely the most important question: You have a cat named Katniss, and I see her modeling your paperbacks on your various social media outlets (I only kind of stalk). Can you show us her best glamour shot with your new release, ALL PLAYED OUT? 😉
CC: Sure! Katniss is a big fan of Mateo Torres. 🙂
AR: Thanks so much for your time, Cora! I really love your novels. I can’t wait to read ALL PLAYED OUT, and I’m looking forward to the release of INFLICT. I wish you the best with all of your endeavors this year (and forever)!
TRYST by Alex Rosa is available for $0.99 for a limited time!
About Cora Carmack
Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. Cora is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the LOSING IT, RUSK UNIVERSITY, and MUSE series. Cora is represented by Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary. Connect with Cora on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
About Alex Rosa
Alex Rosa lives in San Diego, California. When she isn’t scouring city parks or cafes to write in, she is more than likely trying to convince her friends to join her on her next adventure.
She self-published her first romance novel, EMOTIONALLY COMPROMISED, in November 2013, and while continuing to get feedback from peers and readers from sites like Book Country, she was able to snag the attention of an editor at Penguin. Alex was offered a book deal with their digital imprint, Intermix, in June 2014 for her New Adult novel, TRYST, which was released in March 2015. Alex also signed with Erin Niumata of Folio Literary Management. Connect with Alex on her website, Twitter, Facebook and Book Country.