Erin Brockus - Dive Into a Romantic Escape
Erin Brockus writes contemporary stories set in exotic, tropical locales. She features mature, realistic characters, romance, and adventure, with a focus on the ocean--especially scuba diving. Erin was born in 1969 in Washington state. She had a great love of creative writing as a child, but the expectations of Real Life got in the way and she went to college to become a pharmacist. After practicing pharmacy for over 25 years, it was time for a change. So she reduced her hours as a practicing pharmacist to devote more time to writing. She was introduced to scuba diving in 1998 by her husband. They have since traveled worldwide enjoying scuba diving, and the exotic locales they visited formed the ideas for her characters and stories. Erin has even been known to don a drysuit and explore the cold, murky waters of the Pacific Northwest. She is also an avid runner and cyclist. Erin lives with her husband (a PADI scuba instructor) in eastern Washington state. Finding Hope is her debut novel. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about this.
Please give us a short introduction to what Finding Hope is about.
Finding Hope is a slow-burn contemporary romance set at a scuba diving resort in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. Hope Collins unexpectedly wins a raffle and finds herself the new owner of Half Moon Bay Resort. She arrives to some big surprises. Alex Monroe is the enigmatic dive guide/instructor who works there. Neither of them are interested in a relationship, but fate has other plans for these two.
What inspired you to write this story? Was there anything that made you want to tackle this?
I started this book in the summer of 2020, when my work hours were curtailed, like so many other people. I had always thought about writing a novel, and the timing was perfect. The story really resonated with me during that time (and continues to). My books offer a fun escape. They are a way for the reader to check out of our difficult existence right now. I have been scuba diving for over 20 years, and I thought it would be a fun twist to set the series at a tropical dive resort. t's a beautiful setting with fun characters. There are dramatic moments, danger and tense situations, but readers can count on a happy ending.
Tell us more about Alex Monroe. What makes him tick?
Alex is a man hiding deep pain. He is friendly and affable when discussing his favorite passion--diving, but becomes very uncomfortable when talking about himself or his past. But Hope's arrival and events that happen thereafter force him to confront the issues he's been avoiding. Alex acts with honor and integrity in everything he does, and doesn't suffer fools gladly. He is very protective of what he cares about.
What makes Hope Collins so special?
Hope also has a painful past. She has dealt with it by closing herself off and seeking safety in all things, but realizes shortly after the book starts this has resulted in a very unsatisfying life. Events conspire that make it obvious she needs a change, which her little sister Sara is happy to provide. Hope is smart, feisty, and determined. She is also extremely independent. Many of these qualities take time to show as she gets immersed in her new life and finally lets her walls start to come down.
Why did you pick the Caribbean Island of St. Croix as the backdrop for your story?
I chose St. Croix because it's a US territory, which makes it approachable with minimal headaches for a character looking to relocate. English is the main language, and US dollars the currency (but they drive on the left!) I've also been there and it's well known for scuba diving.
Both Alex and Hope struggle with their pasts. Why did you write them this way?
Readers want characters with depth--people who have overcome difficulties and who are still struggling. In addition, Hope and Alex's story continues over several books, so they need complexity to carry the overrarching story arc without excess repetition. As a reader, I LOVE getting invested in the characters over multiple books, so this was a natural path for me to take as a writer.
Do any of your characters ever take off on their own tangent, refusing to do what you had planned for them?
Oh my goodness, yes! They are very unpredictable, and sometimes scenes shoot off in a completely different direction than I had intended. I've learned to let this happen--it usually ends up being better. Toward the end of Finding Hope, one of the characters has a massive attack of self-doubt and insecurity that was totally unexpected. But it gave a real depth to this character and readers have told me they love the scene.
What was your greatest challenge when writing Finding Hope?
My greatest challenge was knowing when the book was finally "done" and ready to go to my editor. I can't count how many revisions I did! It's a big leap of faith to publish something and I'm very grateful that it has been well received by readers.
What is an average writing day like for you? Any interesting writing habits? Best time of the day to write, etc.?
I am a morning person. I get up and drink my coffee and get in a workout. Exercise helps get me going, plus my mind starts to wander to my writing, further preparing me. After breakfast, I sit with my laptop wherever I feel I'll be most productive. Sometimes it's the back patio, others it's on the couch in our great room or my makeshift office. Sometimes I only write for a short while, but at other times I can really get into it and write all day with several breaks thrown in.
What are you working on right now?
Defending Hope, book 2, is releasing at the end of next month, so I'm putting the finishing touches on that. I'm also knee-deep in book 3, which is coming along wonderfully. I recently finished a novella that serves as an introduction to Half Moon Bay.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
The best way to interact with me and discover more is to sign up for my Beach Read Update. As a bonus, you'll receive Tropical Chance, the novella I just mentioned--free. You can sign up on the homepage of my website: www.erinbrockus.com. I can also be found on Facebook, Goodreads, and Bookbub.