Giveaway + Author Interview with Renee Carlino

This post includes a couple of Firsts for the interview with an author and an exclusive giveaway! *jumps up and down* I couldn't have been happier to pick at Renee Carlino's brain, and for Sweet Little Thing to be the book that I share with all of you. :) Sweet Little Thing is the follow-up novella to Sweet Thing and the continuation of Will and Mia's story. If you haven't read that first book, you can check out my review here! It includes a playlist of over 20 songs (a glorious mix, I can promise you that), so feel free to get lost in the story and the music! I could do it 100x over...

Now, if you have read Sweet Thing, but haven't had the chance to pick up the new novella...Today is your lucky day! You can enter to win a SIGNED paperback of Sweet Little Thing, generously donated by Renee Carlino herself. I'll also be gifting TWO e-book copies to two different runner-ups. Yes, count 'em, that's THREE books up for grabs. Not enough to convince you? Here's my review and another playlist for SLT. You'll be making grabby hands for Will in no time. ;)

* * * After entering the giveaway, scroll down for the interview with Renee Carlino! * * *


T&BL: First off, welcome to Teacups & Book Love, Renee! Thank you for taking the time to share some insight into Sweet Little Thing.

Renee: Thank you.  I’m so happy to chat with you about Will and Mia’s story.

T&BL: The next step in Will and Mia’s journey is told through Will’s POV. Describe what kind of vibe you hope readers will experience/feel.

Renee: When I wrote Sweet Little Thing I wanted to give readers a glimpse inside of Will’s head since we never get to see that in Sweet Thing. Where Will can be sensitive and sweet, he can also be a bit of a tease too.  I also hoped to show the real Mia through Will’s eyes.  I wanted readers to see how her level-headedness was a perfect balance to Will’s intensity.

T&BL: What was the writing process like for you this time around?

Renee: Writing from Will’s POV was very easy because his character is distinct in my mind. Out of all of the character’s I’ve written up to this point, Will is the most like me, in that he’s equal parts passion and panic, so I had a very easy time writing his voice. It was the most freeing experience so far in my writing.

T&BL: I realize this could be like asking you to choose a favorite child, buuut…What was one of your favorite scenes in the book?  Something you connected to the most while writing it, or a scene that you were so excited to finally share with fans?

Renee: One of my favorite scenes to write in Sweet Little Thing was the striptease. I wanted to draw a sensual scene between an established couple to show how important real intimacy is versus raw chemistry or lust. I often read scenes where sexiness comes easy to a new couple. While I find that romantic and exhilarating, I don’t always think it’s realistic.  I think couples that know their way around each other, so to speak, can have a bit more fun. And I wanted to introduce the audience to “Retrograde” by James Blake because I think it’s an intensely erotic song and would be great for a striptease.

T&BL: Now, only because I love these characters so much and I could never get enough of them, I’m going to be a little greedy here and do some totally shameless begging! ;)

Are there any plans to continue their story in another novella or perhaps Bonus Tracks? Is there a scene…anything…that didn’t make “the final cut”?

Renee: There are a few things in the vault but I have no idea if they will ever see the light of day.  I can tell you that Will, Mia and the boys have a cameo appearance in Nowhere But Here, which will be out May 5th.

T&BL: Jenny and Tyler were the amazing best friends that Will and Mia relied on, and they had their own sweet romance. Could they ever get their own book? (Think about it…Fierce Jenny’s POV, how she fell for Tyler, the times with Will that we never got to see! Hee hee…)

Renee: You’ve got me thinking . . . I would love to get back to my East Village friends but for now I’m almost finished writing “After the Rain”, my third stand-alone novel. I’ve been following around new characters for a while, so I’m just thrilled to share those people with the rest of the world.  I haven’t thought much about Jenny and Tyler, but that’s not to say I won’t ever revisit their story. Those two will always be in my head and heart along with Will and Mia.

T&BL: Music was such an integral part of your storytelling, in both books, so I’d love to ask about the music in SLT.

Bon Iver’s “Wash.” helped you write many scenes in the first book. Was there a similarly inspiring song behind SLT?

Renee: I can’t say that there was one song, but I did listen to the Birdy cover of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love”, which is a phenomenal rendition by a very young and talented singer and pianist. Also, the songs I referenced in the book that play during the “bedroom scenes”,  “Ball and Biscuit” by The White Stripes, “Retrograde” by James Blake, and “Shelter” by Ray LaMontagne.

T&BL: It was so much fun bookmarking all of the songs in Sweet Thing, and I loved the wide variety of genres that you included. How did you pick the songs mentioned in SLT? Was there a theme you tried to stick to?

Renee: In Sweet Thing and Sweet Little Thing, I referenced songs that I thought fit the mood in the scene.  I didn’t necessarily choose songs based on lyrics although there are a few. The songs that Will covers in both books I chose mainly because I thought they had good guitar parts that would show off his skills and similarly with the songs I chose for Mia to play.  For example, when I chose the song “Wild Horses” I was thinking of the rendition by Charlotte Martin because it’s so incredibly sad and it’s piano and voice only. Yet the words seemed fitting too, so it worked out. “Shelter” by Ray LaMontagne I chose because of the words. I felt like Will was making Mia feel comfortable, loved and beautiful when she might have been feeling insecure about being intimate during her pregnancy.
T&BL: If this novella were turned into a movie, what’s the song that would be playing during the final scene as the credits start to roll? (Think of it as the last impression you’d like to leave with your audience.)

Renee: “Sweet Thing” by Van Morrison of course. ;)

T&BL: And, finally, speaking of music…Whether it’s on stage or just a jam session, Will and Mia playing music together is always so special. Mystical alchemy, right?! I would love to hear a couple of song choices from the gifted couple themselves…

Favorite song to play together and why? 

Mia: “Be There For You” by Willie Nelson and Sheryl Crow because it’s a great duet, and it’s exactly how I feel about Will. 

Will: I love when we do the bluegrass version of “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” by Bob Dylan because Mia is adorable playing a banjo.  

T&BL: With the baby, what’s the go-to lullaby?

Mia: Will always get the ukulele and plays an acoustic version of Sara Bareilles’ “I Just Want You.” I like to think that he’s singing it to me and the boys because it’s his way of saying that he’d give it all up for us

T&BL: *sigh* You guys are just...rad. ;) Thank you, again, for spending some time with Teacups & Book Love, Renee! And thanks for stopping by too, Will and Mia! 

Renee: Thanks for having us. That was so much fun!