Today we have the distinction of welcoming resident wise (and witty) woman Jan O’Hara. Together we celebrate the release of her latest novel, Cold and Hottie, which was made available for your reading pleasure February 6, 2018. Thanks for joining us today, Jan!
A former family physician and academic, Jan O’Hara left the world of medicine behind to follow her dreams of becoming a writer. These days she confines her healing tendencies to paper—after making her characters undergo a period of delicious torture, naturally. She is known for writing love stories (and biographies) that move from wackadoodle to heartfelt in six seconds flat. While Jan lives in Alberta, Canada, she considers Writer Unboxed her online home.
Q1: What’s the premise of your new book?
She’s being sent to Jamaica for a team-building exercise. It will be led by a crazed psychologist and the man she done wrong…who is now her boss. Oops.
A decade ago, in a messy breakup with the only man she has ever loved, Olivia Prosser behaved badly. She has lived with the consequences since.
Then bad news comes in rapid succession: the company she works for has been purchased; her ex, Finn, is her new employer; and she’ll be reconnecting with him during a mandatory retreat in Jamaica. Five days filled with forced emotional intimacy and corporate-speak, not to mention memories better left in the past.
A white knight’s armor will rust in salt water.
For years, Finn Wakefield has known who to blame for his breakup with Liv. Then new information comes to light. Liv might be innocent, and the party who framed her might be lodged within Finn’s company, continuing their acts of sabotage.
But Liv shows no interest in righting the wrongs of the past. Is that for ominous reasons or because she is over Finn? Either way, for the sake of his company, Finn must push for the truth – even if the cost is a twice-broken heart.
Cold and Hottie was previously published as part of the Tropical Tryst box set, which became a #1 international bestselling ebook anthology (Aug. 1/17). See why readers call it “…a delicious page-turner set in an exotic setting.”
Q2: What would you like people to know about the story itself?
The idea was sparked during a trip to Jamaica with my family when I noticed the hotel staff bustling around, setting up for a grand event on the edge of a beach. I assumed they were preparing for a wedding. Then a sign went up, welcoming employees of a particular firm to a corporate retreat. It struck me as a tortuous to be faced with an ongoing invitation to play while being under an employer’s surveillance.
Later, when I joined a boxed set and needed a romance set in a tropical location, that brief moment came to mind, along with its comedic and dramatic potential.
Q3: What do your characters have to overcome in this story? What challenge do you set before them?
The central questions of the book are about how best to cope with the past. When is forgiveness earned? When does loyalty swerve into undeserved self-sacrifice?
There are conflicts around an employee’s right to privacy in the workplace, especially when said workplace is cloaked in palm trees and tropical breezes.
Lastly, I had great fun conjuring scenes of physical peril.
Q4: What unique challenges did this book pose for you, if any?
You might remember the misbehaving book I wrote about in my recent post for Writer Unboxed? Well, Cold and Hottie is the culprit. It insisted on being written in dueling first-person present tense rather than the third-person past I had intended.
Q5: What has been the most rewarding aspect of having written this book?
I feel I’m becoming a better writer from a craft perspective. From a personal perspective, I’m grateful for what it taught me about my writing process. I’m learning to turn my brain’s vulnerabilities into strengths, and to rejoice when what appears to be a throwaway idea actually becomes the book’s mighty engine.
It’ll be fun to see if readers agree.