Kristina Mathews, author of Better Than Perfect, stopped by The Library to chat with us as part of her virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kristina will be awarding a $10 Amazon GC plus a digital copy of the book to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. You can see the other stops on the tour here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2014/02/virtual-nbtm-book-tour-better-than.html.
Welcome to The Library, Kristina. What is the favorite book you remember as a child?
I loved Curious George books and later the Little House series. I also loved the Boxcar Children and Cheaper By The Dozen. Something about big families who relied on one another struck a chord with this only child.
What is your favorite book today?
That’s like asking me to name my favorite child. I just can’t.
Do you have any bad book habits?
I forget to return library books. I had a book from fourth grade, The Schoolhouse Mystery, that I accidentally took with me when I moved mid-year. When I was teaching, I attended a multi-day workshop through the County Office of Education. Two teachers from my old school were there, so I brought the book to the next class and they returned it to the library all those years later.
Congratulations on finally being "legal" with your school library! E-Reader or print? and why?
I resisted getting a Kindle. I figured it would be too easy to buy every book I wanted. But my husband thought I had too many books taking up space. There are a few authors I will buy the paperbacks, and if I get an autographed copy, I prefer paperback, too. I do like the convenience of having an entire library at my fingertips.
One book at a time or multiples?
Sometimes I can read more than one book, usually a novel and a craft book. But lately I’ve been spending more time on writing and promotion that I don’t have a lot of extra time to read. I do make a point of reading for pleasure for at least a half an hour a day.
Dog-ear or bookmark? (don't worry—Librarian Judith won't hold it against you—much)
If I’m reading a print book, I use whatever is handy as a bookmark. Playing card, receipt, even a square of toilet paper if I’m desperate. I really don’t like to fold down a corner of the page.
You have just redeemed yourself from keeping your library books too long :-) Least favorite book you've read this year?
I won’t name names, but I downloaded a book that was in the top ten for sports romance, just to see what it had that mine didn’t. I couldn’t connect with the characters and some elements of the plot were too unrealistic for me. I often don’t “get” books or movies that are ultra-popular, like Napoleon Dynamite, any Brad Pitt movie, or Game of Thrones. I have read Nora Roberts and Stephen King, but I prefer to look for lesser known authors to find that diamond in the rough.
When do you do most of your reading?
I take a bath almost every night. It’s the one place where I’m mostly uninterrupted. I even have a water resistant map case I slip my Kindle into so I don’t have to worry about dropping it in the tub.
I have to say I love Contemporary Romance the best. Just honest to goodness love stories between two people who could be my friends, neighbors, or the ballplayers I watch on TV. I think in some ways, writing straight contemporary is harder, no dead bodies, no fantastical creatures, or evil forces getting between the hero and heroine. The biggest antagonist for contemporary couples is often their own insecurities.
Re-reader or not?
I totally re-read my favorite books. Sometimes I re-read when I need a tried and true, other times I re-read to see how a favorite author handled a particular issue. Or if a new book comes out and I want to re-read other books in the series.
What would make you not finish a book?
I rarely don’t finish books. Even if it’s a book I don’t love, I figure I can learn something from it. I didn’t finish Les Miserables, which I picked up after seeing an outstanding performance of the musical by the local high school. It had way too much description. I want to get to the story.
Pitcher Johnny “The Monk” Scottsdale has won awards, been named an All-star and has a perfect game to his credit. Known for his legendary control both on and off the field, his pristine public image makes him the ideal person to work with youth players in a preseason minicamp. Except the camp is run by the one woman he can’t forget…the woman who made him a “monk.”
Alice Harrison’s three strikes include an unexpected pregnancy, a marriage of convenience and young widowhood. She once traded her dreams so Johnny could have a chance at making it to the Majors. Johnny comes back into her life just as she’s ready to resign as foundation director and pursue her own dreams of finally earning her teaching credential. Her plans may go on hold, though, depending on the reaction when she confesses she may have kept a major league secret from Johnny and her son.
With the minutes ticking by until Johnny will leave for spring training, they’ll need to let go of the past and work together in order to win the game of love.
CONTENT WARNING: Some strong language, consummated love scenes
“Yeah, the kid’s kind of growing on me.” Johnny sounded surprised. But pleased. “I thought it would be hard to be around him. Since he’s…Mel’s. But, he’s such a great kid.”
The lump in her throat grew. She should tell him. Now. Before she lost her nerve.
He stepped toward her. “You have mascara, here.”
He reached out and wiped the smudge under her left eye. Her lashes automatically fluttered closed at his touch. A sigh escaped her lips, an instant before he captured her mouth with his.
He pulled her closer. Closer. Kissing her like they’d been apart for merely a two-week road trip, not fourteen years. His hands wove through her hair. Moved down her back. She leaned against him. She could feel him, his need pressing against her belly. Her insides dissolved. Longing filled her. Powerful. Uncontrolled.
“Ali…” His breath was ragged, heavy with desire. “Oh, Ali.”
She was about to surrender completely, when she heard the toilet flush upstairs.
“Johnny. Wait.” She pushed him away. Smoothed her blouse. Her hair. “Zach’s upstairs. He could come down any minute.”
“Right. Zach.” Johnny stepped back and her heart gave a small whimper. “I should go.”
“Johnny, please… Stay.” They needed to talk. She needed to tell him the truth. Or what could be the truth about Zach.
“I really need to go.” His eyes rested on the formal family portrait. He didn’t need to tell her any more. He wasn’t ready for a family.
While she resigned from teaching with the arrival of her second son, she's remained an educator in some form. As a volunteer, Parent Club member or para educator, she finds the most satisfaction working with emergent and developing readers, helping foster confidence and a lifelong love of books.
Kristina lives in Northern California with her husband of twenty years, two sons and a black lab. A veteran road tripper, amateur renovator and sports fanatic. She hopes to one day travel all 3,073 miles of Highway 50 from Sacramento, CA to Ocean City, MD, replace her carpet with hardwood floors and serve as a “Ball Dudette” for the San Francisco Giants.
Buy the book at Lyrical Press, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.