Welcome to the Finding Paradise Blog Tour, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!~
Title: Finding Paradise
Author: V.P. Ortiz
Publication Date: Sept 24, 2016
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Mila Quinn is ready to finally move out of the college dorms into an apartment with her longtime boyfriend, Ethan Lowe. But when Ethan reveals a big secret, her world is suddenly turned upside down, stirring up old memories of love and loss. Completely torn apart, she boards a plane to Hawaii to escape for the summer.
Even though Mila wants to spend her time in paradise in isolation, fate has other plans when it drops sexy local Gage Madden in her lap. Hesitant at first, she agrees to let him take the reins on her island exploration. As Mila discovers the wonders of Oahu with Gage, it becomes harder for her to fight the budding attraction between them.
But behind the curtain of island adventures and undeniable chemistry, trouble is brewing where Mila least expects it. Secrets begin to bubble to the surface that could destroy her all over again. Will Mila find her paradise? Or will she leave Hawaii with another broken heart?
Hi! Welcome to Between Printed Pages, we’re so happy to have you here today.
Thank you so much for having me, Alicia! This is actually my first author interview, so I’m super excited that I can have it here at Between Printed Pages!
Before we start, would you like to tell us a little bit about yourself?
Sure! I’m a long-time reader, first-time author. I fell in love with reading at a very early age – say, around first grade or so. Unfortunately for me, writing novels isn’t my “day job.” I actually work in the legal field as part of a litigation support team. I’ve been asked why I write romance novels instead of crime or lawyer drama novels if I know the legal field so well. The answer is simple: to escape! Haha! Who wants to work all day, then come home and write for a few more hours about work? No, thank you!
Aside from being a reader and a writer, I’m a mother to two awesome kids and a wife to a very loving and supporting husband. They are really the reason why I feel so inspired to follow my dream of being an author and to never give up!
What was the inspiration for Finding Paradise and what about the story called to you?
My husband and I eloped on the island of Oahu in Hawaii over ten years ago. He had grown up on the island (his dad was in the Army and was stationed there for a few years) and we decided to have a wedding/honeymoon in one. The minute I stepped foot off the airplane, I fell in love with Hawaii! From the culture to the food to the scenery to the lifestyle, it was all so mesmerizing. Fast forward nine years, we went back to Oahu for a family vacation with our children and, as expected, I fell in love all over again. There is just something about Hawaii that is special and I wanted to share that with others so they can see and feel the same things about Hawaii that I do.
It’s interesting because a few months after we returned from our Oahu family vacation, I decided to write and publish my first novel. I wrote about six chapters worth of another story, but always had the Hawaiian islands in the back of my mind. They were haunting me in the most beautiful way. So I pushed that novel aside and mapped out a new idea that transformed into Finding Paradise. I wrote Finding Paradise in a way that the love story of Mila and Gage were almost secondary to Mila discovering Hawaii in the same awestruck way that I did so many years ago.
Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
JUST DO IT! No, I’m not plugging the Nike brand, though if they paid me to, I wouldn’t turn it down. My advice is to just do it! Go for it! I know it’s a scary concept – to open up your heart and your work to the world. And I will tell you right now: not everyone is going to love your novel. But that’s okay! You’re not writing for everyone else. Not for your significant other, not for your neighbor, not for your frenemies (though I get the innate urge to rub your accomplishments in their face). Write the novel because it’s your dream, not theirs.
Like Gage says in Finding Paradise, “You have to leap if you want to know how it feels to fly.” It’s so easy to find a million reasons why you can’t do it, but you will never know the amazing feeling of being a published author if you don’t try.
Finding Paradise is a self-published book, which is a whole new ballgame when it comes to writing novels. You are now not only the author, but you are also the publisher and the marketing team. I’ve started a blog on my website, www.vportiz.com/confessions, called Confessions of a New Author. This blog is a series of my adventures in writing that I hope can calm some fears and maybe even inspire some aspiring writers to take the next step and publish their novels. I’m hoping to put up some new content on the blog after my next novel is published this spring.
Within Finding Paradise, which character was your favourite to write and why?
Honestly, I would’ve thought it would be Mila because we share so many of the same personality traits. But it turns out that I loved writing Aunt Sophie and Baylee! Probably because I based those two characters on two people that I know personally. Aunt Sophie is based on my best friend’s mom, who is witty and sharp while having the gentlest heart I’ve ever known. And Baylee, oh Baylee, she is based on one of my work besties. A crazy, fun soul who is just as vulnerable as anyone, even though she tries to hide it. It’s so funny because the inspiration for Baylee was one of my beta readers and after she read Finding Paradise, she said she LOVED Baylee. I told her, “Well, of course, you did. You two are the same person!” Both Aunt Sophie and Baylee were such fun characters to write. I loved their dynamic together and separately with Mila. They were a big part of Mila’s journey.
And yes, readers, Baylee will have her own story coming soon! That will be a fun book to write!
What are three songs that describe Finding Paradise?
I have a Spotify playlist specifically for Finding Paradise at https://open.spotify.com/user/vportiz_books/playlist/3loOrvQKy3c6XXStWk4zVj. I listened to this playlist pretty much non-stop while I was writing Finding Paradise. Most of the songs are sung either by native Hawaiians or are sung in the Hawaiian language. Such beautiful melodies that take you to the islands and make you never want to leave!
I love all the songs on the playlist, but if I had to pick three, they would be:
- Simple Love Song by Anuhea: This song is what I consider to be the anthem for Finding Paradise. The words accurately describe everything that Mila felt for Gage and I love Anuhea
- Falling by Keahiwai: These Hawaiian singers capture what it feels like to fall in love in paradise in this song.
- Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole: This song is so important to me. Not only does it appear in a great scene in Finding Paradise, but it is also the wedding song that my husband and I chose. It’s a gorgeous rendition by a Hawaiian legend.
I heard that you have some ideas for your next book! Can you tell us anything about them?
YES! YES! YES! I am so excited to exclusively announce my next book on your blog!
Damaged Property is slated to be released this spring, though the exact date is currently tentative. It’s the story of a broken woman, Talia, and her chance meeting with a ridiculously hot Albuquerque Police Officer, Dante, who has demons of his own. Even though they fight it, fate throws them together and they learn to work together to fight their pasts before it catches up with them.
Where Finding Paradise was bright, fun, and sweet, in contrast, Damaged Property is much darker and sensual. The heat between Talia and Dante is unimaginable and you’ll find yourself caught up in their sexual tension, biting your nails and waiting for them to give into each other. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions with an ending that you’ll need to read to believe!
What are three books you believe everyone should take a chance on?
I read across all genres of novels, so my answer to this may seem a bit odd. But there’s something for everyone.
Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover: This book BLEW ME AWAY! I wasn’t so sure about it when I first cracked it open, but I was stuck on a six-hour flight home and that was the only book on my Kindle. By the time my final plane landed in my hometown, I was literally in tears. So perfectly written by my favorite author. My goal in life is to bring Colleen Hoover to tears with one of my books as she did to me with her book.
The Project Eden series by Brett Battles: The first novel in this series, Sick, captured my attention and refused to let it go until the conclusion of the series six books later (seven books total). I’ll admit, I’m a secret lover of doomsday and apocalyptic novels, but many books I’ve read fell short of what I was looking for. Project Eden was what I was looking for!
The Pact by Jodi Picoult: Oh my gosh, this book was incredible. It was the second book I ever read by Jodi Picoult and it was the one that turned me into a lifetime fan. I love that Jodi Picoult can make you question your own morals that you thought were set in stone before opening the book. What you thought, in the beginning, is never what you think about in the end.
Aside from reading and writing, what do you do in your spare time? Any unusual hobbies?
Most days, I share the same hobbies as my three fat cats: sleep, eat, and complain. But, when I can actually talk myself into it, I love to go running outside when the Colorado weather allows for it. I’ve run two half-marathons, a few 10K’s, and an obstacle course race.
But if we’re being honest here, I love to dance and lip sync. I’m not talking about professionally. I’m talking about acting out my own music video when no one is around. Sometimes in the mirror. Sometimes in the kitchen (best place to spin in my socks). Sometimes in my office at work when the door is closed and no one is watching. It’s weird, I know. But it’s fun. In my head, I’m a superstar!
Last, but not least, what is your favourite word?
Peculiar. I like the way it rolls off your tongue, especially if you have some sort of accent. Everyone says it just a little bit differently and I love that. Plus, I tend to describe myself as peculiar and whenever I do, no one ever disagrees with me. Sort of peculiar, isn’t it?
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions! Congratulations on your debut release! We’re extremely excited for Finding Paradise, and we’re looking forward to reading Damaged Goods!
V.P. Ortiz lives, works, and breathes in sunny/snowy/beautiful Colorado with her loving husband, their two beautiful children, and their three fat cats. While her home may be in the Rocky Mountains, she left her heart somewhere on the island of Oahu, where she plans to retire someday in a tiny house with an avocado tree and free-range chickens. Besides reading any book in sight, her hobbies also include eating, dancing, lip syncing, and occasionally running until her husband has to pick her up eight miles away because she got lost and has a leg cramp.
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