Interview w/ Leah Braemel, Author of I NEED YOU FOR CHRISTMAS

Coming December 3, 2012 from Carina Press as part of their 2012 Red Hot Holiday Anthology, edited by Angela James.

Title: I Need You For Christmas
Leah Braemel
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, Holiday, Romance
Length: 34k words
Pre-order: Carina Press | Kindle | Nook | Apple

Ryan Porter is a sculptor, and beneath his callused hands, even the most rigid metals bend to his will. So, too, does his girlfriend Megan—a confident, strong woman who delights in submitting to Ryan’s dominance in the bedroom.

Megan is a Mountie, and she’s spent the past few years in the arctic following her career dreams. Family obligations kept Ryan at home, but their love survived the distance thanks to several hot visits. A Mountie always gets her man, and Megan is bound and determined to keep Ryan.

Now Megan’s with Ryan for the holidays…but how long will this visit last? She’s always been willing to do anything Ryan desires, but will he finally tell her that all he needs for Christmas is her?

What or who inspired you to write?  And how long have you been writing?

I can’t remember anyone inspiring me to write-it’s just something I’ve always done. But I’d also always been told that everyone had a book in them and it was useless to hope that one day I’d get published. So the person who inspired me to actually submit my work is a lady I’d met online and learning that she was a writer, finally admitted to someone that I wrote too. Becky pushed and nagged and challenged me to submit until finally I gave in and the second story I submitted was contracted.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Probably when I got my first contract. And even then I get moments where I am holding my head in my hands wondering what makes me think I’m a writer.

What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 30 or less words, what would you say?

The name of my most recent book is I NEED YOU FOR CHRISTMAS. A short summary? When you love someone, you’ll  do anything for them. Or, artists can be very creative in the bedroom as this kick-ass Mountie can tell you.

I love reading the warnings on the blurbs for many books. If you could write a warning label for yourself as a person or an author, what would it say?

Warning: Anything you say to me may be written into one of my books. Probably appended with several four letter words.

If you gave some of your characters an opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say?

They’d say “damn it Leah, just let us get naked and into bed and stop with piling all this angst on us, will you?”

What does your protagonist think about you? Would he or she want to hang out with you, the author?

link* Wow, that’s a new one. If you mean the protagonists of I Need You for Christmas, being an artist, Ryan totally gets me, and yeah, he’d hang out with me. For my other books? The guys would probably hang out with me, as long as I promised to never use whatever they said in one of my stories. They give me the longest sighs and so many rolled eyes when I do.

Which character speaks the loudest, to you? Do any of them clamour to be heard over the others?

Usually my heroes speaks the loudest in any of my stories.  Unfortunately if I’m halfway through a manuscript, he’s usually the hero of a DIFFERENT book.

Do your characters try to make like bunnies and create ever more convoluted plots for you? Or do you have to coax them out of your characters?

Oh good heavens, YES!  Especially my Hauberk characters. The guys don’t want to do all the touchy feely emotional stuff, they want to track the bad guys and blow stuff up. They’re the most unco-operative characters you can imagine. Luckily Ryan and Megan kept it simple since they were so focused on being together.

Have you based any of your characters on someone you know, or real events in your own life?

Constantly!  There’s a scene in I NEED YOU FOR CHRISTMAS where Meg is talking about the first Christmas she was with Ryan and how when they’d gone out to cut down a Christmas tree, Ryan had slid his car into a ditch. My husband and I started a tradition of going to cut our own tree our very first Christmas that we only changed a few years. The second year we were together, the first year I had an apartment, my husband put his car in the ditch as we were driving down a great big slippery hill to the tree farm.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Basically, I write the way I think, the way I talk. And then I clean it up, LOL.

How did you come up with the title?

I didn’t.  Generally either I have a title going in, like Texas Tangle, or the title is the last thing to come to me. With I NEED YOU FOR CHRISTMAS, I didn’t really have one, and submitted the story with a working title of The Art of Love (since Ryan is an artist), which I also sometimes referred to as The Gift of Love (since it’s a play on the theme from The Gift of the Magi.)  But I wasn’t thrilled with either. My editor, Angela James, asked me to fill out a re-titling sheet where I gave descriptions of the story, buzz words, important words and themes, and other suggestions, but eventually she came up with the title.  

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I’ll borrow O. Henry’s words from his story The Gift of the Magi, as they express it best:

I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the Magi.

Do you have plans for a new book?  

PRIVATE DECEPTIONS, a print anthology containing PRIVATE PROPERTY, book 1, and DELIBERATE DECEPTIONS, book 3 of the Hauberk Protection series. Out January 1, 2013

HIDDEN HEAT, book 4 in the Hauberk Protection series, now available in digital, available in print April 2013.

Is this book part of a series?

My Christmas story is a stand-alone and I have no plans to make it into a series.  Otherwise, I have three books on the go at the moment – the next and final book in the Hauberk series, a follow-up to the Tangle series, and a secret project that I can’t talk about yet.

Where do you see yourself in five (5) years?

Hopefully I’m still sitting at my desk, writing, and still enjoying it.  My husband often says to me when we buy a lottery ticket, “even if we win, you’d keep writing, wouldn’t you?” And my answer is always, “yes.”

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I’d love to live in England. Or if I could split my time, somewhere like Banff Alberta in the summer, and somewhere warmer like the Virgin Islands in the winter.

Is there an Author that you would really like to meet?

A living author? I’d love to sit down and talk with Patricia Briggs. I adore her writing.

What books have most influenced your writing most and why?

Oh wow, there have been so many that have influenced my writing. But I’d say since I started writing erotic romance, any book by Maya Banks or Lorelei James. They set the standards so high and make me dig deeper in my own writing, because I’d love to be able to write like them “when I grow up.”

Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?

I prefer to read digital books these days – I like that I can read them on my phone in bed without disturbing my husband by having to have a light on, and that I can enlarge the font where I can’t with a paperback. But I still like paperbacks too, though I buy them less often these days.

Are you a self published (Indie) Author or big trad published?

I’m both. Some in the publishing industry say Samhain is not a “big trad publisher” but considering they are getting books on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists, I think they’re up there. And Carina is owned by Harlequin and that definitely qualifies as a big trad publisher.  But I also have self-published PERFECT PROPOSAL, a short story that’s a follow up to PERSONAL PROTECTION, of my Hauberk series with Samhain.

I would have to agree with you. Love that you do both! What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?

I’m moving away from romantic suspense – it just doesn’t work easily with the erotic genre.  I am concentrating more on western contemporaries these days.

What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ?

For me reader as a reader, I think it’s the author’s ability to write a character that the reader can connection with. We’ve all seen books that people claim is badly written hit the bestseller’s list. Obviously the writer has successfully found something that connects with the reader, that draws them in. From there a good will gather steam from word-of-mouth as a reader tells their friend about it, who tells their friends, and so on. You can’t buy that type of endorsement.

Have you ever suffered from a "writer’s block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?

I always have ideas, but the type of writer’s block I have is more of a “confidence block” where I question everything I do. And that can stop me from moving forward. And has.  I get past it because I have to. Because I have deadlines, contractual or self-imposed, along with people waiting for the next book in a series. I can’t let myself stand still.

What was your favourite chapter (or part) to write and why?

My favorite part of I NEED YOU FOR CHRISTMAS was the scene over top of Ryan’s foundry. It’s in a barn, it’s lit only by moonlight, and there are some very interesting…creations he’s made.  I loved twisting the stereotypes that people have of artists, that they think artists are beta characters. A man who can bend steel, change it from something very plain to the image of a dragon about to take off from its perch, or swooping in to grab its prey, is not a beta. Maybe they’re more introverted, distracted by their art, but, showing Ryan sure about himself, sure about what he needs to create, with Meg as his “sculpture” and his muse, was really fun.

What do you do to unwind and relax?

I watch television with my hubby and kitty cat Turtle, take my shih tzu Seamus for walks, make my own jewelry…and of course, read!

Have you ever read a book more than once?

Often! I’ve read all of Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson books and her Alpha and Omega books multiple times, same with most of Jill Shalvis’ books.  There’s just something about their characters that draws me in and lets me lose myself in their worlds. The same with Diana Gabaldon’s entire Outlander series.

Is there a particular movie that you preferred over the book version?

It’ll probably be sacrilege to some but I much preferred the film version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (both movies) than I did over the book version.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (ebook/ paperback/ hardcover)?

I’m currently reading Jill Shalvis’ Rescue My Heart in paperback, because the paperback was several dollars cheaper than the ebook which I would have preferred to buy.

Are there any new Authors that have seized your interest and why?

There are two that jump to mind.  The first is Anne Calhoun – I read her LIBERATING LACEY and was wowed by her ability to write emotion and make sex scenes so erotic as well. The other is Lauren Gallagher who also writes as LA Witt. I read her OUT OF FOCUS (written under her LA Witt pseudonym) and loved it. There was just something about her writing that drew me in.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Sit your butt in the chair, put your hands on the keyboard and write. And then write some more.

What is the best advice that you have ever been given when it comes to writing?

LOL, see above.

Cats or dogs?

I own both – and I’ve learned it really depends upon the individual animal which one I favor on any particular day. At the moment I’m leaning toward CAT.

White wine or red?


Coffee or tea?

Coffee in the mornings, tea in the afternoon, and sweet tea in the summer.

Favourite food?

At the moment, red velvet cake. But I reserve the right to change my answer if someone offers me cheesecake. 😉

Vanilla or chocolate ice cream?

Chocolate of course!

What are 4 things you never leave home without?

Hmm, depends if I’m just walking my dog or going somewhere else. If I emptied my coat pockets, you’d find a set of house and car keys, my cell phone, a lip balm, and a roll of “doggie” bags, but they’re not for food if you catch my drift.

Laptop or desktop for writing?

Laptop, though I generally work with it plugged into a docking station.

Where and when do you pre
fer to do your writing?

At my desk in my office, during the day. Preferably when it’s quiet. It doesn’t usually work out that way though.

List 3 of your all time favourite books?

A really tough decision…


  1. Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander
  2. Patricia Brigg’s Moon Called (though any of PB’s Mercy Thompson or A&O books could be slotted here)
  3. JR Ward’s Lover Eternal (Rhage’s story)

List 3 of your all time favourite movies?

  1. Lord of the Rings, Return of the King
  2. Stranger than Fiction
  3. This one was really tough because I have so many favorites  but for this time of year, While You Were Sleeping

What is a movie or TV show that you watched recently and really enjoyed?

My hubby and I just discovered White Collar and are devouring it as fast as we can. I really adore Matt Bomer (and his character Neal Caffrey), along with his on-screen buddy Mozzie.  The writing is crisp and fun.

Leah is giving away a back list copy of one of her books to one lucky winner per blog. Just comment with your email below to enter! How great is that?

Also, Leah is having a tour wide giveaway of a Kindle Fire—To Enter to win, visit the I Need Your For Christmas giveaway page!

Good luck on both giveaways!!!

Growing up in rural Ontario, Leah Braemel (pronounced Bray-mel, with the emphasis on the mel) learned to lose herself in the make-believe worlds in her books. Once she realized she could write her own stories, charts and maps to keep track of her fantasy worlds littered her bedroom. In her early teens she discovered her love of romances and soon all her stories revolved around giving her heroes and heroines their Happy-Ever-After.

[pullquote align="right" textalign="justify" width="30%"]Leah Braemel is an amazing talent!
~ NAL Heat author Red Garnier

Married to her college sweet-heart and the mother of two sons, Leah is the only woman in a houseful of men—even their dog is male. She gained some varied and interesting insights while working with a security firm liaising with Toronto’s Emergency Task Force and bomb squad and later teaching computers to women escaping abusive relationships.

After a conversation with her eldest son about how he needed to follow his dreams, Leah decided to follow her own advice and make her dreams of getting published come true. She was thrilled when her first sizzling romance, Private Property, was published by Samhain Publishing in 2009. In January 2010, the reviewers at The Romance Studio nominated Private Property for a CAPA award for “Best Erotic Romance.” Leah was also nominated in the “Best Erotic Romance Author” category. Reviewers have since awarded her books numerous Top Pick and Recommended Reads designations along with another CAPA nomination for Deliberate Deceptions as “Best Contemporary Romance of 2011″ and her historical erotic romance, Tangled Past, was nominated as “Best Erotic Menage and More of 2011″ by the reviewers at The Romance Reviews.

Leah is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Toronto Romance Writers, Kiss of Death Mystery & Suspense writers, as well as Sisters in Crime.

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    • Maria D. on November 28th, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Fun interview – I too have a weakness for Red Velvet Cake lately…lol..I love Leah’s “Hauberak Protection” series and kinda hate that it will end but I’m definitely going to give her western’s a try:)

    • Lori Meehan on November 28th, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    That was a great interview. I loved it. The trailer was really good. I can’t wit to read this book. Leah is a great author.
    Lorimeehan 1 @

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