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Talking with Kristina Matthews
What started your interest in writing?
I’ve always written, whether making up stories and keeping them in my head, writing awful teenage poetry, or keeping a journal to get me through the high school and college years. But it wasn’t until I was about to leave for a four day river trip and I ran out of books on the way up that I got serious about finishing a book. In the last stop before putting in on the river, I stopped at a Rite Aid and grabbed a paperback by an author I’d never read because instead of a description of the story, there was only a glamor shot of her on the back cover. But hey, I was desperate. It obviously wasn’t her best work, there was so many things about the book that made me want to throw it in the river, but it was the only one I had left. When I got home, I decided I was going to write a better book. I wouldn’t make the mistakes that were so obvious to me as a reader.
What is your book(s) about?
Worth The Trade is about a baseball player and the team’s new owner trying to get to the World Series. They both have something to prove. He’s moved from team to team and is hoping to make a lasting impression, the kind that will result in a long-term contract. She’s trying to take the team her father built and turn it into a champion. Her first official act is to trade for the player she thinks will make all the difference in the game. What she doesn’t expect is that he will win the title and her heart.
What are you currently working on?
Book four in the series brings shortstop Bryce Baxter and reporter Rachel Parker back together. They’ve had several casual hookups, but they vow to keep their relationship off the record. After being named World Series MVP, Bryce signs the contract of his life. But the pressure of living up to his contract is nothing compared to finding out his on-again, off-again lover is pregnant. Rachel covers the San Francisco Goliaths and fears getting knocked up by a player could cost her her job. But getting involved with the notorious player with one failed marriage behind him could cost her her heart.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Think about writing. Worry about not writing. Even when I’m out and about, I’m always thinking about my work. I like to do things with my family. When not taking long road trips, we like to do day trips. Catch a ballgame in the city, take a swim in the lake, or ride the rapids on the river. Our fancy date nights are usually to a community fundraiser. This year I will donate a book basket to the Rotary Club, The Boys and Girls Club and the high school athletics fundraisers.
What genres do you write in?
I write contemporary romance. It’s my favorite genre to read, and my favorite to write. I tried writing historical romance about twenty years ago, but didn’t want to get bogged down by the research. Actually, it was the clothes that kept me from pursuing historicals. I have a hard enough time picturing modern clothes. That’s why I write sports romance. The guys either wear a uniform or workout clothes. The only designers I need to know are Nike or Under Armor. For the women, I just go online and pretend I’m shopping at Nordstrom’s or Neiman Marcus.
Is there anything you would tell aspiring writers?
Find a writing community. Whether you meet in person or online, having the support of other writers is so important. I would not be a published author today if I hadn’t joined RWA (Romance Writers of America). I belong to a local chapter and an online chapter. I recently attended my first annual conference in San Antonio where I met with so many amazing people in the publishing industry. I got to go up and thank authors who taught amazing online courses. I met with my publicist and fellow authors from Lyrical Press. I learned about how to take my writing to the next level and market my books without going crazy or sacrificing the writing. And I got to spend time with other writers who get what it means to have people living in your head.
What was the hardest part of writing your book(s)?
For me the hardest part is the middle. Especially after the first love scene. There is a delicate balance in showing the couple in a newfound state of bliss, but with complications still looming. They are happy, but they don’t yet trust the relationship to last. They have to fight off their old wounds and battle their self-doubt before they can get to the happy ever after. And then there is a crisis that forces them to choose between playing it safe and playing to win at the game of love.
Do you keep a notebook near your for when new ideas pop into your head?
I use the notes feature on my iPhone. Usually the next book crops up while I’m working on the previous one. I can’t write two books at the same time, so I jot down a quick GMC (Goal, Motivation, Conflict) for each of the main characters. Sometimes I go so far as to write a brief synopsis of the book, knowing it will change dramatically over the process of writing it.
If you write a series do you reread your previous books before you begin the new one?
I’m usually working on the books back to back. So I’m working on edits for one book while writing the next. I do go back and double check facts.
When writing, how do you keep track of timelines, ideas, inspiration and such? By notes on the computer, a notebook perhaps?
I keep a spreadsheet with names, dates, and any other important details. Especially with a series it is important to have a roster of all the players. I don’t do a lot of outlining or writing outside of the actual manuscript. Sometimes I envy authors who can create color-coded charts and graphs of their storyline. Other times I think I would spend too much time creating charts and never get to the actual writing.
Now discover Worth the Trade...
A ballplayer and a team owner would give anything for a championship—even their hearts…
After inheriting majority ownership of the San Francisco Goliaths baseball team, Hunter Collins wants to prove to herself—and the rest of the league—that she’s got what it takes to build a champion. Her first move is to trade for a hot left-fielder. He’s got it all, speed, power, and a desire to win. Not to mention undeniable charm.
Marco Santiago is tired of being the new player in town. After four teams in six years, he’s facing free agency at the end of the season. He wants nothing more than a long-term contract and a World Series win. Hitting on his new owner probably isn’t the best way to get it, but love may be the most powerful challenger either of them has ever faced...
Warning: Strong language, consummated love scenes, and some baseball clichés.
“Smart, fun, and sexy. A great romance read.” –New York Times Bestselling Author, Kat Martin
“I’m only interested in winning the division and making a strong run in the postseason.” She turned her head to look out the window as if to show she was unaffected by the chemistry between them.
“Aren’t you a rotten liar?” He chuckled softly. Oh yeah, he was definitely getting to her. “Don’t join in the poker game at the next owners’ retreat. You’ll be wiped out.”
She whipped her head around so fast the car shook. “I happen to be a very good poker player. I can hold my own against anyone. Anytime.”
Interesting. Her strong reaction told him two things. She was insecure about her place among her fellow owners. And yes, she was interested in him on more than a professional level.
“That explains your wardrobe.” He leaned back, not ready to leave her just yet. “You dress like you do to fit in with the old boys’ club. But you can’t hide the fact that you are all woman.”
“And you can’t hide the fact that you don’t want to be here.” She dared look him straight in the eye, but couldn’t hold his gaze.
“I’m starting to come around.” He gave her one last smile.
Kristina Mathews doesn't remember a time when she didn't have a book in her hand. Or in her head. But it wasn't until 2010 that she confessed the reason the laundry never made it out of the dryer was because she was busy writing romance novels.
While she resigned from teaching with the arrival of her second son, she's remained an educator in some form. As a volunteer, Parent Club member or para educator, she finds the most satisfaction working with emergent and developing readers, helping foster confidence and a lifelong love of books.
Kristina lives in Northern California with her husband of twenty years, two sons and a black lab. A veteran road tripper, amateur renovator and sports fanatic. She hopes to one day travel all 3,073 miles of Highway 50 from Sacramento, CA to Ocean City, MD, replace her carpet with hardwood floors and serve as a “Ball Dudette” for the San Francisco Giants.