Sunday, March 12, 2017

Nora Bradford of “Heating it Up” by Elizabeth Harmon @romanzwrter_grl #ContemporaryRomance #RedHotRussians #Giveaway

San Francisco architect Nora Bradford came to Antarctica as an associate with one of the world’s top firms specializing in environmentally friendly architecture. Nora is the lead designer of Glacier Ridge Lodge, a new luxurious, sustainable guest house at the Amity Bay Antarctica research station, and she’s poured her heart and soul into the project. After losing her beloved fiancé in a diving accident two years before, it’s all she has left. But when the promotion she was promised goes to someone else, and her angry confrontation with her boss gets her fired, Nora decides to remain behind to spend the winter alone in Antarctica. She never expects that Amity Bay’s handsome station manager Alexei Zaikov will show up at her door, determined to bring her in from the cold.

RW:   What’s your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about you?

NB:    Until recently, I was the most normal, stable person you’d ever want to meet.  I grew up in a military family. My father was a colonel in the Air Force and we lived all over the world. I was a good student, loved art, and never caused trouble. I graduated from Stanford, was hired by one of the top firms in my field, and was engaged to marry the man I loved. I did everything that was expected of me, but life isn’t fair, and I lost all of it; my fiancé, my career, my dreams. All gone. I guess there’s a story in that, though not one I ever wanted to be part of.

RW:   Can you tell us about your hero?

NB:    For so long, the only man who mattered to me was my fiancé, Blake. We     met in college, and were engaged by the end of grad school. Three months before our wedding, he drowned. In the two years since, I didn’t think I would ever be attracted to another man. And then I came to Antarctica and met Alexei Zaikov. He’s big, blond and handsome—the rugged, outdoorsy type that’s any woman’s dream. But he’s also gentle and caring. That’s what I like most about him.

RW:   What problems do you have to face and overcome in your life?

NB:    Right now, there’s a bit of confusion between Alexei and me. Actually between me and everyone at Amity Bay. You see, Glacier Ridge Lodge was built to replace the station, which is slated to be shut down this year. It’s heartbreaking for the people who call Amity Bay home, and not surprisingly, they resent the lodge. The problem is that they don’t know I designed it. They think I’m my jerky ex-boss’s secretary and that I was fired because I intervened when he chewing out one of the Amity Bay workers.  They’ve welcomed me into their community. If the truth comes out, they’ll hate me. Not only do I feel horrible about keeping this from them, I feel horrible that my building is going spell the end of Amity Bay.

RW:   Do you expect your hero to help or is he the problem?

NB:    Unfortunately, Alexi is only making it harder. He’s shown me so much kindness, and is willing to take our relationship slowly, because he understands that I’m still getting over Blake’s loss. I hate keeping this secret from him, especially because he was hurt by some woman back in Russia who cheated on him. He wants to trust me, but I think he senses I’m not being totally honest with him.

RW:   Where do you live?

NB:    Nowhere, at the moment. San Francisco was part of my life with Blake, but living there without him is just sad. Glacier Ridge Lodge is lovely, but it’s not a home either. As crazy as this sounds, if I could live anywhere, it would be in Amity Bay, Antarctica. It’s a warm-hearted little town in the middle of this vast, mysterious and beautiful wilderness, and it’s the first place I’ve felt at home in a really long time.

RW:   During what time period does your story take place?

NB:    Present day, in late April, which is the start of wintertime in Antarctica.

RW:   How are you coping with the conflict in your life?

NB:    (Laughs) Not too well! I’m a mess, because I’ve come up with an idea for how to save Amity Bay, and I know it can work! I learned so much on the Glacier Ridge Lodge project, I know I can lead this. But to put the plan in motion, I have to tell everyone that I’m not a secretary, but the evil genius responsible for the building that’s destroying their community. If I tell the truth, will they hate me? Will I lose Alexei?

          To say I’m nervous about coming clean would be an understatement.

RW:   Those are all the questions we have for you. Thank you for speaking to us.

NB:    Thank you.

Meet Elizabeth Harmon

Elizabeth Harmon loves to read and write romances with a dash of different.

A graduate of the University of Illinois, she has worked in advertising, community journalism and as a freelance magazine writer. She feels incredibly blessed to have a career that allows her to spend her days imagining “what if?” and a loving family that keeps her grounded in the real world. Her debut novel, Pairing Off is a 2016 RITA Award Finalist.

An adventurous cook, vintage home enthusiast, occasional actress, and entry-level figure skater, Elizabeth makes her home in the Midwest, where life is good, but the sports teams aren’t. She loves to hang out on her front porch, or at her favorite local establishments, enjoy good food and wine, and talk writing with anyone who will listen.

Heating It Up

A Tad More Plot

In Heating It Up, a heart-warming novel of mistaken identity and forced proximity, widow Nora Bradford and Russian adventurer Alexei Zaikov must work together to save their small Antarctic town from being shut down—but will the truth about Nora’s role in Amity Bay’s demise, doom their romance?


Slowly, Nora crawled from beneath the bed, then sat with her back against the wall, too stunned to go any further. She was alone. A squatter in Antarctica.  Well, she’d wanted to break some rules. Do something rash. Here was her chance. She might even make history. Assuming she survived.

The thought made her laugh, but as her laughter sputtered to an end, the oppressive silence of the huge empty lodge settled all around. She buried her head in her hands. Oh my God, what have I done?

The answer was the creak of footsteps on the stairs.

Nora gasped and swallowed. Her heart raced and moisture oiled her palms. She called out in a trembling voice. “Herbert? Mark? Is that you?”

Without waiting for an answer, she raced from the room. They were still here! It wasn’t too late! She could put this ridiculous scheme behind her, and go back to San Francisco like a sane person. Thank God!

“Hello! Hello! It’s Nora! I changed my mind! I’m coming with you!”

No one was on the stairs, or in the lobby. Shit! They must have gone outside. She could still catch them, if she hurried. She dashed across the lobby, slipping in her socks on the polished wood floor.

“Wait! Don’t leave without me!”

 Nora burst out the front door, and onto the veranda. A blast of frigid wind sliced through her sweater and stopped her in her tracks.

She stared down at the bay. Night was falling. And the yacht was gone.

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  1. Rochelle, thanks for having me on the blog today, and letting Nora tell her story.

  2. I greatly enjoyed meeting Nora, and it was good seeing you March 2 at Wine, Women & Words. Thanks so much for inviting me. I'm so glad we were able to fund both scholarships for Girls on the Run.