In Zuri Day's Love on the Run, track star Shayna Washington escapes an abusive relationship and then falls head over heels for her new manager, Michael Morgan.
How did you get started writing romance?
I'd just turned in a contemporary fiction novel when my editor, Selena James, asked if I could write romance. I said “Sure!” I'd grown up reading romance and thought writing one would be a breeze. Boy, did I have a lot to learn: about the formula, the dos and don'ts, the various types of romance. Thanks to my editor's patience and my agent's wisdom, Lies Lovers Tell was born. That first romance will always hold a special place in my heart.
What inspired the Morgan Brothers series?I knew I wanted my next set of romance novels to involve a family.
I love the idea of readers being able to delve into the hero or heroine's inner circle and extended family, so much so that they actually become a part of the reader's lives. A series allows that to happen.
What led you to write about a track star?
I love sports and enjoyed track and field during my high school years. My niece, Valencia, and her Olathe East High School track and field team took first place at the Kansas State Regional Track Meet in May. I was inspired! We often see heroes as star athletes; I wanted my heroine to be one. Of course, during the Olympics, I was glued to the track and field events.
How difficult is it to contain your secondary characters so your hero and heroine continue to take center stage?
Sometimes that's a challenge, especially when they have strong or colorful personalities. I try to make sure that whatever they're doing is not only adding layers to the story, but also helping to advance the main story line and leading the reader back to the hero and heroine's conflict and ultimate resolution.
How do you balance romance, humor, and real-life stress?
One of the tenets of my brand is dealing with real-life situations within the context of romance. I think readers appreciate when there are everyday problems for the main characters to contend with, maybe even ones that the readers are dealing with as well. The fact that there can be laughter throughout leading to a happy ending gives hope to us all.
How much do reader requests affect your writing choices?
Their opinions definitely matter; if readers ask questions about characters they liked, I'll often place them in another novel to keep readers updated. A great example of that is how the couple in Body by Night makes an appearance in Love in Play. Readers loved it.
What do you want readers to take away from reading Love on the Run?
As with all of my novels, I want readers to be entertained and inspired. I want them to feel they've gotten a peek into someone's life and maybe learned a lesson or two from what the characters have learned or endured. More than anything, I want them to fall in love with my work, and since Zuri means "beautiful" in Swahili, I want them to always have a Zuri Day!