I’m so pleased to introduce y’all to fellow Tule author, C.R. Grissom. C.R. lives in San Jose, California—smack dab in the middle of Silicon Valley. She works for a high-tech company by day, and at night writes contemporary sports romance featuring young adults as they transition to college. Very glad you could sit down for a chat, C.R.
N: Have you always wanted to be a writer?
C: It wasn’t until my late teens I began fantasizing about writing a novel. I’d write a bit here and there and then give up. Initially, I wanted to write a Historical Romance. Later, I wrote a novel that fits with the Romantic Suspense genre, but it was terrible and I buried it under my bed. It wasn’t until one of the teachers at my husband’s high school needed a critique partner that I connected with my writer’s brain again. I wrote Mouthful, the first in the Gladiators of the Gridiron series. I revised it again and again. Once polished, I found a home for Mouthful at Tule Publishing.
N: The premise for Eyeful is fascinating. How emotional was it to write a homeless heroine?
C: Initially, this story was about Title Fraud. When Phoebe moved in with Grams, I had a what-if, moment. What if she suddenly has to deal with housing insecurity? What if she can no longer stay with her grandmother? The waiting list for the dorms wasn’t going to help her. How would she be able to sleep, shower, and study without a permanent roof over her head? The idea for a gym membership solved the showering issue, but what if the hero worked there and caught on that she was trying to crash? What if he became the obstacle? Grams finds other residents at her retirement village to let Phoebe crash with them ten days at a time, but housing insecurity is something a lot of people deal with, especially now.
N: When writing a series how do you keep things fresh, for both your readers and also yourself?
A: As a reader, I’ve always loved three-book series. I didn’t set out to write a series when I first penned Mouthful. I fell in love with the characters and thought, I have an entire football team to choose from, so why not?
N: Are you a football fan? What was the inspiration for your Gladiators of the Gridiron series?
C: Unless our two dogs count, I’m the only female in our house. Surrounded by men, there’s always some kind of sporting match on TV. My husband coached high school football, and both my boys played the game. As a parent, you’re afforded a sideline view into the culture of a football team, and the brotherhood. Kenny Chesney wrote a song called “The Boys of Fall.” The lyrics showcase the bond football players share with their teammates. Friendships are important in my life, and I love writing about loyalty.
N: What do you hope your readers will take away from Eyeful?
C: A peek into my culture since Tiago shares my Portuguese ethnicity. I hope they can relate to Tiago and Phoebe and enjoy watching them trip as they both fall in love.
N: What drew you to writing New Adult novels?
A: I wanted to write a novel featuring a character with body dysmorphia. It’s something that affects many women, including myself. Faith’s particular issues wouldn’t have worked for someone in their late twenties or thirties. In book one, I created this fictional university filled with interesting characters. I knew there was more to the story and the series was born. With Tiago and Phoebe, they each face potential homelessness. Their story centers around families and the struggles you face trying to protect them.
N: When I write, my characters often seem to go off on their own path now and again. Tell me something about Phoebe and Tiago that surprised you.
C: Tiago has trouble articulating his emotions. As a result, he often gets himself into hot water because he doesn’t explain himself well. He showed up in my head as smooth, someone who has answers. Maybe not all of them, but clued in. When he makes epic mistakes with Phoebe, I liked him better for his flaws. I’m what you call a “seat of her pants writer.” Meaning, I have an idea of where I want the story to go, but allow room for spontaneity with my characters. I didn’t set out to write a hero who often has to remove his foot from his mouth. Phoebe surprised me because I expected her to be shy and withdrawn, but she wasn’t. Her resiliency and ability to laugh at herself surprised me.
N: What was the hardest scene to write?
C: Tiago’s grandmother has Alzheimer’s. My mom suffered from the same disease before she passed. There’s a scene where his gran wakes up believing it’s her birthday and her family forgot. This scene becomes a turning point from friendship to more between Phoebe and Tiago. I could barely get through writing that scene because I wrote it while I “ugly cried.” We went through the same kind of thing with my mom. In a way, this book is also an ode to my mother.
N: What are you reading now?
C: Take a Chance on Me by Jane Porter. I love the idea of a pink house! A story about a grandson protecting his grandmother is an obvious and favorite theme of mine as well.
N: What do you like to do when you are not writing?
C: I work full-time, it takes up much of my non-writing time. I’m a devout reader. If I need a visual escape, I love movies with great dialogue. If it has action and romance, it going to entertain me.
N: If you had to describe yourself using just three words, what three words would you use?
C: Loyal. Independent. Snarky. Or if you mean a three-word sentence: cranky when hungry.
N: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
C: You only fail when you stop trying.
You can find C.R. here:
College life should come with a content warning.
All Phoebe Sharpe wanted was to start over at a new college to escape the drama and humiliation of her mom’s sordid past. But her present is hardly less complicated. To avoid sleeping on the streets, Phoebe seeks sanctuary at a 24-hour gym. When she meets the smoking hot Tiago, her desire to remain anonymous disappears.
Fortis University kicker Tiago Trindade has more on his plate than the average college sophomore. He’s trying to keep his GPA high enough to maintain his football scholarship while balancing practice and a job at the local gym to help support his family. When he learns his grandmother’s been swindled out of the title on her house—which would leave them homeless—he’s determined to save them. And then he meets the girl of his dreams…who just might be involved in her mom’s con.
When Phoebe learns the truth about her mother’s role in scamming Tiago’s family, she’s torn. Should she protect her own family or save Tiago’s?