C.M. Albert - Sexy and Flirty Romances
USA Today Best Selling Author C.M. Albert writes heartwarming romances that are both "sexy and flirty, sweet and dirty" Her writing infuses a healthy blend of humor, inspiration, and high-heat romance. She's a sucker for a good villain, but is a die-hard believer in everlasting love. As our Author of the Day, Albert tells us all about her book "Faith in Love" and talks about soul mates, dark romance and more.
Please give us a short introduction to what Faith in Love is about.
Faith in Love is a story about two people who want nothing to do with love, who tumble head first into an unexpected romance when “fate” brings them together unexpectedly. Celeste is an energy healer who is very secure in her spirituality, while Egan is still furious with the universe for taking away two important people in his life. It’s a story of healing, a deeply intimate connection between new lovers, and challenges that stand in their way. It’s about finding and putting your faith in something higher than yourself, and what takes more of a leap of faith than love after heartache?
What inspired you to write this book?
When my characters want to be written, they’re pretty vocal about it. :) I’m also a Certified Medical Reiki Master, so this idea of Celeste, an energy healer and spiritual author, moving from the big city of New York to the small town of Arden’s Glen appealed to me—especially since so many people don’t understand what energy healing even is. It was a way for me to share my bigger connection with god in a way that others can hopefully relate to no matter what faith they follow. But, don’t let the title or storyline fool you. I believe that it’s completely natural for people to accept both their intensely passionate sides and their spiritual connection to something bigger than themselves. The two aren’t mutually exclusive, but I haven’t read many books that successfully marry the two. They’re either inspirational and clean or steamy romance without the depth and struggles that we all face at some point when we’re at a crossroads and need to grow and evolve as humans.
Tell us more about Celeste and Egan. What makes them such a great couple?
Celeste is just deeply rooted and connected, very sure of herself. Yet she still attracts creeps – don’t the best of us at some point? So she’s over relationships for a while and decides to throw herself into a new energy healing center she is opening in a new town very far away from her ex. And Egan . . . he is hurting after the tragic deaths of two very important people in his life. He questions everything and has no idea at all how to heal. But the two of them together? Fated romance. Fireworks. Soul mate kind of love. They just work in such a beautiful way.
Why did you title this book "Faith in Love"?
Because that’s precisely what I was asking Celeste and Egan to do—open their hearts despite broken pasts and have a little faith in love. I’m a big believer that love always wins, so no matter what I put my characters through, I will always root for and give them a happy ending.
Do you believe in True Love and soul mates in real life?
Absolutely! My husband and I shouldn’t have met. We grew up on different continents, have vastly different upbringings and education, and lived in a fairly large city where our lives just didn’t intersect much . . . until they did. Despite two painful engagements that I ended in my early twenties, I never gave up believing that my person was out there. When I met my husband, it’s cliché, but I really just knew he was the one. It took him a little longer to “know,” but we eventually got there. I know for certain he’s my soul mate; and although Celeste and Egan are very different people than we are, he is an inspiration for many of my books, including Faith in Love. He’s one of the good guys, and he was worth the wait.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
Well, I’m a Certified Medical Reiki Master, which means I practice and can teach others reiki (energy healing); however, I’m also one of the few who are certified to accompany clients into medical settings such as an emergency room, hospital, or doctor’s office and perform reiki on them while they’re being treated by their regular doctor or surgeon. Reiki is a beautiful, relaxing, healing modality that compliments any other western medical treatment they may be receiving.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Pretty much. In my pre-author life I did many other things (banker, communications manager, marketing manager, book editor), but I always found ways to incorporate writing into my life. Which is why I chose to major in Organizational Communications in college—it was heavy on the written communications side. I also enjoy editing books and did that for a few years before realizing my heart was more invested in telling my own stories, so the transition was pretty easy. However, to give other writers hope, I started my first book in 2006 when my son was born. It was a Young Adult paranormal trilogy that I still hope to publish one day. My first book was published ten years later in 2016 and became an Amazon bestseller. I was 43 when I first published Faith in Love (it was rereleased in 2018), and I’m now a USA Today bestselling author. Never, ever give up on your dreams.
Have changes in your own life affected any of your characters?
Not necessarily, but it did help shift my genre and realize what kind of story I was meant to share with the world. I have always loved Young Adult stories, ones with magical/fantastical elements. But so many of these stories are ultimately a battle between good and evil. It takes a lot to tap into the psyche of someone disturbed to write their character truthfully, even if there is a happy ending and love ultimately wins. It was just too heavy and draining for me. So I actually pulled an international bestseller from my catalogue of available books; it was a steamy, dark fairytale retelling and just didn’t feel like me anymore. I wrote it many years ago, before I’d done a hella lot of personal healing in my life. After that, it was just harder to “go there,” and keep writing in that genre. Don’t get me wrong, they are still some of my favorite books to read, but I learned pretty quickly my message and skill are in contemporary romance and not dark, paranormal, fantasy ones.
In your mind, what happens to the characters after you write their final chapters? Do they continue to "live on" in your imagination?
Absolutely, which is why I love my Arden’s Glen Romance series. Even though I only have two books published in it so far, I have a third nearly finished and the next five couples/stories mapped out. I love this series because it gives me the chance to show readers (and discover for myself) what characters are up to after we’ve said goodbye to them. Celeste and Egan play a big role in Dez and Mitch’s love story, Proof of Love. I’ll just leave it at that.
When working on a new book, what’s the first thing you do?
Ideas usually come fast and complete for me in terms of the characters. So much so I am usually furiously writing their first chapters as soon as I’m inspired. I can’t tell you how many first chapters were written on my Notes app on my iPhone! After I start the story, one of the first things I do is create a play list that is inspired by the characters in that book. Every book has one, even those that have not been published yet. It helps me really get into the character and uncover their motivations, dreams, challenges, and desires. When I’m writing a book, I will have their playlist on any free chance I get to connect with my characters more deeply. And all of my playlists are available via iTunes under @colleenmalbert. It’s a fun way for readers to immerse themselves more deeply into their favorite character’s worlds, too.
Do you stick to a working routine? What is a typical writing day for you?
I am also a stay at home mother, so I write mostly while the kids are in school. On a good day this gives me a full six to seven hours of writing, editing or marketing time. We recently moved to the lake because of how beautiful and inspiring the location is. I am usually in my “Reiki Room” looking out at my favorite Japanese maple and all the green that surrounds our home. I’ve seen deer, hawks, raccoons, fox, and all kinds of song birds while writing. It’s very peaceful. And my cockapoo Beau is usually my sidekick, sitting on the couch across from me and keeping me company.
What was your greatest challenge when writing this book?
Probably the suspenseful side of the story when Celeste’s ex re-emerges into her life in a very dramatic and scary way. It’s mostly a love story, but it took a turn when he confronts Celeste in her art studio in the converted barn. I was worried that true romantic suspense readers would think it wasn’t suspenseful enough throughout, and romance readers would think it wasn’t necessary. But it felt true to Rhy’s character, and was one of the conflicts Celeste had to overcome. But it was definitely the harder thread for me to weave in.
What are you working on right now?
I just released my first reverse harem novel, The Stars in Her Eyes, in a limited edition anthology called Forbidden Desires. This is a complete 180 from Faith in Love, but all my stories have the common elements of humor, heat, and hope. TSIHE has these too—just with a LOT of heat. ;) Even though writing steamy contemporary romances is my favorite, I didn’t ever see myself writing a reverse harem. But fans asked, and it’s now one of my very favorite books I’ve ever written. I loved it so much it became book one in my new Love in LA Quartet! So I’m now writing books 2-4 so they can roll out every few weeks from April-May to complete the set. It’s a really fun series to write.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I am on Facebook and Instagram the most. My author page on Facebook is C.M. Albert and I’m @cmalbertwrites on IG. I’m most active in my Colleen’s Angels VIP Reader’s Circle with my Beta readers, ARC readers, and street team. And right now most of my books other than Faith in Love can be found on Amazon because I just recently moved them all over to Kindle Unlimited so more readers could read them for free! I also send out newsletters from time to time, and am getting ready to release an exclusive, for-newsletter-subscribers-only, short story called The Warlord’s Surrender. So if you have readers who like it hot, they can join my newsletter for this free short story. (http://eepurl.com/b6jIsz)
Thank you so much for having me! I’ve had a lot of fun reminiscing about Celeste and Egan and hope your readers can find something they relate to in them.