Release Date: May 29, 2014
Publisher: Torquoise Morning Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance | Rock Stars
Alex Halford’s rock-star husband, Glenn, steals away in the middle of the night, leaving her with their two boys, a mountain of debt, and one person to turn to—his lifelong friend and band mate, David Callahan. David helps Alex pick up the pieces of her shattered life, happy to have any time with the woman he’s loved for seventeen years. Every moment with her is ripe with opportunity, and every last idea running through his mind would destroy his brotherly bond with Glenn.
Out from under Glenn’s thumb, Alex can see the person she was before marriage, finding feelings for David she thought she’d left behind in high school. A single kiss and the floodgates open, giving her new hopes of happiness. But when David and Glenn’s band has a chance to be back on top, David must convince Glenn to return. With every passing day, success comes closer, Glenn’s ego inflates, and David and Alex find it more difficult to hide. One misstep and the secret comes out, forcing David to choose between his life’s work and the woman he doesn’t want to leave behind.
I love the Karen Booth novels that I've read so far for two things. One, she plays with the rock star fantasy. I think any music lover can relate to that whether you dreamt of ending up with Elvis Presley or Harry Stiles or someone in between. Next her characters aren't in the first bloom of love, they've lived their lives and are done sowing their wild oats. So the indecision in her romances aren't centered on juvenile naïveté, rather her H/h deals with issues that has more depth and encompassing like children and marriage.
HIDING IN THE SPOTLIGHT is like that and so much more. Aside from the devastation of divorce and the pressures of floating your family and rebuilding your life, Alex finds herself in the cusp of a new romance. David is Alex and Glenn's oldest friend and has been in love with Alex since High School. As Alex's marriage falls apart, David patiently courted and seduced Alex all the while his and Glenn's band, got a second wind, scoring a new hit and a soundtrack. All should be well but between the lines you can easily surmise that this is the calm before the storm and the inevitable confrontation between Alex, Glenn and David is bound to happen and their loyalty, integrity, and friendship will be tested.
I love the conflict and all it's complications but I had a hard time empathizing and connecting with Alex. Sure the premise her marriage was riddled with infidelity and is basically loveless, still theirs is a different kind of partnership and it's dissolution is nothing short of devastating especially given the circumstances. Even with a hot and supportive guy waiting on the wings, if your husband leaves you penniless with two kids to support, romance would be the last thing on any decent mother's mind.
Alex's situation is good in that she had a safety net in David but as far as Glenn's abandonment and the divorce, Alex was too... light and I feel that there should be more anger, sadness, hesitation or even remorse thrown in to contrast her pending relationship with David. David was consistent in second guessing himself and questioning his loyalty to Glenn even if the dude deserved it. But Alex? I felt she was more on the rebound than truly in love with David at first. Now I'm all for HEA and for sure Alex and David have theirs, I'm just having a hard time buying the resolution. Sure, love conquers all and maybe I'm the only one who's putting too much weight on the divorce but I just felt HIDING IN THE SPOTLIGHT wrapped too conveniently, the bow too neat and tight. Now don't mind my small criticism maybe I was wrong to expect Drama with a capital D when it's quite obvious KBooth wants to give us a light and optimistic story.
Regardless, KBooth gave us another great modern and tender love story in HIDING IN THE SPOTLIGHT. Friends to lovers, second chance in love, a rock star who isn't a jerk but every bit the good guy we hoped he would be. Fantasy fulfilled, mission accomplished.
I love Karen't rock star books because her heroines aren't blooming
damsels rather they've lived a little. And as a 30-something female, it gives me great pleasure (and hope) that HEA isn't exclusive to the younger set. And we're not just talking about any other HEA but bliss with someone everybody wants. Playing with the fantasy of ending up with someone you've idolized, worshipped, fangirled over is quite enticing and enabling. Hence I love getting lost in Karen's stories. Read up so you get a better grasp of what kind of rockstars Karen writes about.
It’s so awesome to be invited back to Talk Supe, especially to talk about rock stars!
HIDING IN THE SPOTLIGHT is another "rock star" novel and this trope has found a good niche in the contemporary romance genre. I know you're a fan of music like most of us and from that POV, what is it about rock stars that is so attractive or alluring hence the groupies and rabid fan followers?
Music is definitely the starting point for me. Great music makes you feel something and even more importantly, it can conjure those same emotions every time you listen to it. Even better, music can help you reclaim those feelings in only a few minutes—sometimes it only takes a few notes. It’s a much more immediate form of expression than a book or film or art. That’s a powerful thing.
The other half of the equation is the appeal of the creative guy. I don’t care if a guy looks good in a pair of jeans and a black t-shirt, if he has a super buttoned-up personality or occupation, it doesn’t really do it for me. Creativity requires sensitivity, but musical creativity requires bravado. You have to get up on that stage and perform. I was never good at math, but I’m pretty sure that Creativity + Bravado = Sexy Musician = Yes, please.
And as a writer, what is it about these music gods that you find so enchanting that they continue to inspire you to write about them?
I’ve been inspired to write so many rock star books because I’ve wanted to explore different aspects of musicians and their lives. In Bring Me Back, it was the teen idol, 20 years later and the question of whether a couple could form a real bond when there’s been hero worship in the mix. In the sequel, Back Forever, I wrote about the career musician settling down and figuring out how to live a “normal, everyday” life. In Love My Way, I dealt with groupies and jealousy. In Hiding in the Spotlight, I wrote about the family dynamics of a band and how difficult it is to break free of those bonds. Rock stars live complicated, fascinating lives—there’s a lot of material there!
When writing your heroes, do you take into consideration stereotypes "sex, drugs, rock 'n roll" or the popular thing these days which are the "tortured" aka abused heroes?
I don’t write the tortured/angsty rock star. I don’t think I could, even if I wanted to. I always write what I want to read, and I, personally, want the fantasy of being with the real person who also happens to be a rock star, not the persona a rock star plays when on stage.
To me, the impossibly dark rock star is largely a persona. I worked in the music industry for over a dozen years and I didn’t meet one rock star whose stage persona and real personality were the same. It’s all an illusion, which is fine—that’s what people pay for and expect. They want to see a person who is larger than life get up on that stage. I choose to write about it from the standpoint of a normal (incredibly hot and unbelievably handsome, of course!) person who choses to be a musician and is super successful at it, rather than the reverse. I’d like to see my heroine fall for a real guy, not the character he plays on stage.
Now, we all must have our demons, and my rock stars have plenty, but they are also capable of being good life partners, taking care of children, and being hopelessly goofy or sentimental. Again—bravado and creativity meet and make a wonderful marriage.
Karen Booth is a Midwestern girl transplanted in the South, raised on 80s music, Judy Blume, and the films of John Hughes. An early preoccupation with rock ‘n’ roll led her to spend her twenties working her way from intern to executive in the music industry. Much of her writing revolves around the world of backstage passes and band dynamics. When she isn't creating fictional musicians, she's listening to music with her kids, honing her Southern cooking skills or sweet-talking her astoundingly supportive husband into whipping up a batch of cocktails.
It's the best giveaway coz it's winner's choice!! Winner gets to pick any two of Karen's books plus I've also bundled it up with Jessie Lane's A Walk On The Striped Side to make it even better!
Plus if you live in the US, don't forget to join the print giveaway! Link on the blogoversary banner.