By New York Times Bestselling Author Helena Hunting
They say every cloud has a silver lining, but does that include missing your big acting break because of a bad cold? Maybe, if being actually sick turns into being lovesick. From New York Times bestselling author Helena Hunting, SHACKING UP (St. Martin’s Paperbacks, November 27, 2018, $7.99), is a hilarious, swoon-worthy novel about sex and the city—and everything in between.
Ruby Scott is months behind on rent and can’t seem to land a steady job. She has one chance to turn things around with an important audition. But instead of getting her big break, Ruby gets sick as a dog and ends up with her tail between her legs. All thanks to a mysterious, gorgeous guy who kissed her—and then coughed on her—at a party the night before.
Ruby’s BFF might have found her the perfect job opportunity: pet-sitting in the lavish penthouse apartment belonging to hotel magnate Bancroft Mills. But when the newly-evicted Ruby meets her jet-setting employer, she realizes he’s the same guy who got her sick. Seeing his role in Ruby’s dilemma, Bane offers her a permanent job as his live-in pet sitter until she can get back on her feet . . . and maybe back into his arms?
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The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Pucked and I Flipping Love You, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She’s writes contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.
Q&A with Helena Hunting
Q: Bancroft’s exotic pets in Shacking Up are interesting, like the tarantula and ferret. Why those pets in particular?
A: I felt non-traditional pets would make the most sense in this story, especially Franny the ferret because they’re illegal to own in NYC. Ferrets are adorable (and a little stinky) and very much like dogs in the way they play and need your attention and your affection. They also fit into very tight spaces and are incredibly mischievous, making her so much fun to write. Tiny the tarantula is another unconventional pet, particularly since so many people are spider averse, which gave me great material to work with when Bane introduces Ruby to his pets.
Q: What was your favorite scene you wrote, and why?
A: My favourite scene in Shacking Up is when Bane picks Ruby up from work and they finally have the confrontation we’ve all been waiting for. It’s the build up to that moment, the back and forth, the banter, the tension: it all just comes crashing down around them. Bane succumbs to this very alpha behavior and Ruby, being Ruby, calls him right out on it, so we get to witness their verbal spar until they finally give in to each other.
Q: Do you find parts of yourself coming out in any of the characters?
A: I think it’s impossible not to write elements of myself into my characters because they’re a product of my mind. I identify with Ruby’s desire to make it on her own and not rely on anyone for help.
Q: When working on a manuscript, is it easy for you to keep separate ideas for other projects, or what strategies do you use to stay focused?
A: Most of the time I can keep story ideas separate from each other without too much difficulty. I generally write a single book at a time, however, if I get a story idea for a side character in the project I’m working on, I’ll open a new document and jot down some notes so I don’t lose the train of thought before I go back to the original project.
Q: Is there any story about how you came up with the names “Ruby” and “Bancroft?”
A: Bancroft’s name actually came from an incident in my previous profession. Some police officers were visiting (not for anything criminal, which I realize would make this story even more exciting) and this giant of an officer in full uniform including kevlar vest walks into the office. He was so tall he almost had to duck to make it through the doorway. He was incredibly imposing and he clearly picked the right profession based on his size alone. He proceeds to smile all friendly like and introduced himself as Bancroft, so thinking I was being witty, I introduced myself by my last name. He explained that Bancroft was his first name. Embarrassment aside, that name stuck with me and eventually I found the perfect character to use it with.