What it’s about:
“Nothing but love, 24/7” is the slogan of Mirabelle Harbor’s only radio station, 102.5 “LOVE” FM. On the verge of turning thirty-five, local DJ Blake Michaelsen is well-known for several reasons: his very sexy on-air voice, his omnipresent family, his eligible bachelor status, and his reputation as one of the most impulsive men in Chicago’s northern suburbs.
High-school French teacher and lifelong romantic Vicky Bernier is not at all wild about people who exhibit reckless conduct. (Blake.) Or men who have gigantic egos. (Blake.) Or grownups who still act like teenagers. (Blake, again.) She deals with enough adolescent behavior during the school day. Unfortunately, she’s the staff advisor to the Homecoming Committee, and they’ve chosen him as their DJ for the big fall dance.
What happens when a man whose job it is to play love songs for a living is forced to admit his deepest secret—that he doesn’t believe in true love—only to discover that the one woman who might capture his heart is the same woman who distrusts him the most?
No matter what you call it, with love there’s an exception to every rule. YOU GIVE LOVE A BAD NAME, a Mirabelle Harbor story.
**Note: YOU GIVE LOVE A BAD NAME is Book 3 in the Mirabelle Harbor series by Marilyn Brant, but this story and all of the contemporary romances in this series can be enjoyed as stand-alone novels.
Purchase links: Amazon US|Barnes & Noble|Goodreads
Books in the Series:
TAKE A CHANCE ON ME (novella, July 2015) Chance & Nia’s story
THE ONE THAT I WANT (novel, July 2015) Julia & Dane’s story
YOU GIVE LOVE A BAD NAME (novel, January 2016) Blake & Vicky’s story
STRANGER ON THE SHORE (novel, coming Spring 2016) Marianna & Gil’s story
GOING FOR IT (novella, coming May 2016) Trevor & Tina Marie’s story – Mirabelle Harbor series crossover story set in Erin Nicholas’s Sapphire Falls Kindle World
About the author: Marilyn Brant is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of contemporary women’s fiction, romantic comedy & mystery. She won RWA’s prestigious Golden Heart Award (2007) for her debut novel, According to Jane, and was named the Author of the Year (2013) by the Illinois Association of Teachers of English. She loves all things Jane Austen, has a passion for Sherlock Holmes, is a travel addict and a music junkie, and lives on chocolate and gelato. The Mirabelle Harbor series is her latest project. Visit her website: http://www.marilynbrant.com
Q&A with YOU GIVE LOVE A BAD NAME author Marilyn Brant:
Q: Mirabelle Harbor is a fictional suburb of Chicago. Why did you choose a made up venue?
A: Because I love having complete control!! Seriously, it’s because I wanted to be able to create the layout of the town—with all of its shops, restaurants, and buildings—from the ground up. I had a few northern Chicago suburbs in mind when I came up with Mirabelle Harbor’s downtown, so there were real Illinois cities that influenced the design, but I also had very specific areas I wanted to block off for community events and particular characters’ apartments/houses. I wouldn’t have been able to plan things out quite so exactly or have certain establishments located within an easy walking distance from the lake if I didn’t do this myself. And, it turns out, I discovered I loved city planning, LOL. I drew out a full map on a huge sheet of paper, labeled all of the streets (even ones that haven’t yet been mentioned in the stories), came up with names for all sorts of stores and diners and parks. It was really a fun process.
Q: All of your novels all have a playlist of sorts. Is music a big part of your life?
A: It is, yes. Music is my favorite of the creative arts. It always has been. And my books definitely have built-in playlists or “Soundtracks of the Story.” I think we all have certain senses that we rely upon more heavily than others and through which we filter our experiences. I’m both very visual and very auditory. The sound of something, the tone of someone’s voice…these are things I notice. And distinctive melodies, like Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” in The Road to You or Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Love Changes Everything” in A Summer in Europe, can become almost an anthem for a novel—one that underscores the story with subtext. So, the music I use in any one of my books always has an added meaning. Somebody could read the book and get the general message just from the song titles, but for readers who also know the lyrics, there’s an extra layer hidden there for them as well.
Q: Do you choose the playlist for your novels or as you’re writing does the novel choose the music?
A: I think the novel chooses the music. Or, rather, the characters in the novel—as I come to know them and they develop real personalities in my mind—choose the songs that most resonate for them. In the Mirabelle Harbor series, every book title also references a specific song, which was intentional. This was particularly relevant for You Give Love a Bad Name because Blake is a radio DJ for a station named “LOVE FM,” and “The Eighties” as a decade is part of the theme for the big Homecoming dance in the story. There is a lot of music in this novel, and I even got to make up a recording artist and write part of a song for him! (Such fun!!) As for the earlier books in the series, when I was writing The One That I Want, I’d find myself thinking things like, “Which song would Julia really love? Which one would make her cry? Or laugh?” With the first book, Take a Chance on Me, there are musical references specific to Chance & Nia. Occasionally there would be a place in that story where I’d try to slip in an allusion to a particular song, but it just didn’t work for those main characters. I needed to find ones that really fit each of them. (On my website, I include referenced songs on the book pages for each individual novel. This is the page for You Give Love a Bad Name—just scroll to the bottom and you can see many of the songs that are included in the story: http://www.marilynbrant.com/books/the-mirabelle-harbor-series/you-give-love-a-bad-name/)
Q: Do you use your own experiences in your writing?
A: Absolutely. There are a few of my real-life experiences peppered throughout all of my novels. However, I use far fewer of my own experiences than I do my own emotions. It’s not very important, in my opinion, that a writer live through any particular situation in order to write about it. She should be familiar with some of the corresponding feelings a person in that situation might have, though. For instance, I never went to our prom in high school. But I did go to other high-school dances, and I was asked to be the date of someone on the Homecoming Court when I was in college. What I really know about the prom experience is less about event-specific details (I can make those up!) than about the emotional state of a girl who might’ve felt disconnected and marginal at an event full of pomp and pretension. I think anyone who’s ever been in a room full of people and felt unbelievably alone, but still had to pretend to be having a great time, could channel those feelings and write a scene from that emotional place.
Q: Did you pretty much have the stories in this series mapped out before you began writing them?
A: Oh, yes. This was my first time plotting out a major series, and if I wanted a shot at making sure the plotlines of the later books would come together and dovetail as seamlessly as possible with the first couple of stories, I need to map out not just one book in advance but ALL of them. So, the first three stories in the series (Take a Chance on Me, The One That I Want & You Give Love a Bad Name) are finished and now published, and I have the fourth novel (Stranger on the Shore) already plotted and half written. The fifth story (Going for It) is loosely plotted, too. It’s a crossover Mirabelle Harbor novella that takes place in my friend Erin Nicholas’s wonderful Sapphire Falls town—part of the Kindle World launch for her series. I’m really excited about being part of that! And there are at least two other novels that take place entirely in Mirabelle Harbor for which I have the basic structure/plot already worked out. Certain very specific plot details for those later books had to be embedded in the earlier ones, so I needed be a little more organized than usual, LOL. It’s been a fabulously exciting, long-range puzzle of characters and connections to come up with in advance but, for me, there are still plenty of surprises that I know will appear when I get down to the actual writing.