Author Vina Arno’s journey from reporter to novelist is as fascinating as the books she writes. So I’m excited to have her on my blog today and discover more about her path to publication and new novel.
Q: How did you come up with the title?
A: My debut romance, In His Corner, is about an Olympic gold-medalist boxer known as the Juggernaut who goes to the ER for stitches and falls head over heels with the beautiful doctor who treats him. I originally called it Taming the Juggernaut, but Martin Biro, Kensington Publishing associate editor, didn’t like it. I submitted 17 alternative titles and he chose In His Corner because he said it immediately tells you the book is about a boxer and it’s more suitable as a romance title. I’m very grateful for his choice. Admittedly it’s a more accessible title than the original.
Q: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
A: Everything about this book is enjoyable. It’s my first romance book and the first story I’ve written with a happy ending. I started writing this book in July 2013, just two months after finishing another manuscript (a historical novel) about Douglas MacArthur, the iconic World War II general. It was a heavy experience that took me 10 years to finish, from research to writing and rewriting. In His Corner was a real treat for me.
Q: What makes your book stand out from the crowd?
A: The book’s unique selling point is the Juggernaut. The market is saturated with mixed martial arts and other sports heroes, but there’s not much out there about a boxer.
Q: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
A: I’m a late bloomer. I was already a professional journalist working for the Associated Press when I realized I wanted to have a voice as a writer. As a journalist, I have little choice about what I write and how I write it. There are rules I have to follow and the stories I cover are assigned to me. I don’t have a voice. When you read my news story, it reads like an AP story because that’s what I was trained to do. Fiction writing gives me the privilege to develop my own voice.
Q: Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?
A: Two places—Japan and Australia. I’m originally from the Philippines, a stone’s throw away from both countries. I always thought I can go anytime because they’re so close. I had no idea I would immigrate halfway across the world. I don’t want to have any regrets, so I would like to travel to those two places one of these days.
In His Corner
Coming from Lyrical Press/Kensington Publishing on April 14, 2015.
No sex for almost a year could kill a guy, but when you’re the boxer known as the Juggernaut, it’s the price you pay for turning pro. Tommy’s fully dedicated to his craft, until he meets the incredibly gorgeous Dr. Siena Carr. Now he’s looking forward to taking on this prim and proper lady in a wet and wild workout…
Siena has seen many patients come through the ER, but none as sexy as Tommy Raines. With a nasty cut over his eye, she knows he needs stitches, but after he takes off his shirt, she needs some air. With rock-hard abs and taut biceps, it’s clear this man takes care of his body. And all Siena can think about is letting him take care of hers…
Dr. Siena Carr dropped the clipboard on the counter and washed her hands. When she turned around, she gasped. “What are you doing?”
The Juggernaut was undressing. Before she could say another word, he was naked. A glorious sight that sent her heart racing and her face burning. Did he know that he looked like a sculpture by Michelangelo? Except for the tattoo on his right shoulder, this man was David incarnate.
She looked away abruptly, grabbing the clipboard. She didn’t even know his name! She looked at his paperwork. Tommy Raines. “Mr. Raines, please put on your clothes.”
She continued scanning his form. Occupation: boxer. Age: twenty-two. Weight: 160 pounds. Height: six feet. Blood type: O positive. No pre-existing health conditions. His temperature and blood pressure were normal. Reason for ER visit: a cut sustained from sparring.
She faced him. Thank God, he was clothed again.
“Sorry about that,” he said. “I thought you’re supposed to check me out.”
Did he just say check him out? “Mr. Raines, this is an ER, not a bar. I don’t check out patients. Do you mean to say check up?”
He smiled. “Yeah, check up.”
“I’m going to take care of your cut, but I’m not doing a checkup. If you need one, you should go to your primary care doctor.”
“I don’t like doctors. I avoid hospitals and clinics as much as possible, but my cut kept bleeding even after I showered. So here I am.”
Vina Arno is a pen name used by Cindy Fazzi, a Philippine-born American writer who has worked as a journalist in the Philippines, Taiwan, and the United States. Her short stories have been published in the Snake Nation Review, Copperfield Review, and SN Review.
Read this Forbes article about Vina Arno: 3 Career Reinvention Tips From A Reporter Turned Romance Writer
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