Ekk! I had the pleasure to ask Sarina Bowen and Tanya Eby some questions to celebrate the release of their newest novel, Man Card. I hope you enjoy reading these as much as I did! Also, make sure to scroll down to read an excerpt of Man Card!
Q: What is your favorite thing about writing with Sarina/Tanya?
Tanya: I love that Sarina is so blasted smart that she forces me to think deeper. It makes for better characters and a more interesting story line. I kind of feel like my writing style is like a balloon drifting. She grabs hold of me and keeps me from floating away. She’s also got a great sense of humor and puts up with me, so that’s nice.
Sarina: Tanya’s job is to run off with the balloon, and take me outside of my own head. She has such a wild sense of humor and it’s so refreshing! My job is to tame it and shape it into a romance plot line.
Q: How did you split up the writing process?
Sarina: We trade back and forth every 2,000 words or so. That way we both get to write both characters.
Q: Braht is quite a character. I don’t think I’ve experienced another hero quite like him. If you had to cast someone to bring him to life in a movie, who would you pick?
Tanya: I just watched Call Me By Your Name and Armie Hammer would make a terrific Braht!
Q: I laughed out loud a handful of times while reading this book. Did any of the hilarious moments (crunchy kielbasa for example) come from real life experiences or just a great imagination?
Tanya: That kielbasa scene is real! Only, you know, enhanced for reader enjoyment. The kielbasa my mother-in-law served us was really tasty. And there’s a salon scene where the pedicurist is quite terrifying. That was inspired by real life events. I’m lucky I survived it with all ten toes.
Q: If you had to pick between Tom or Braht to play your fake boyfriend, which one would you pick?
Tanya: I’d pick Tom. I’m really uncoordinated and I feel like he would be good to hold onto while walking across ice. It’s icy in Michigan.
Sarina: Okay, twist my arm. I’ll take Braht. We can get pedicures together.
Q: If you had to give each other a nickname, via Braht style, what would it be?
Tanya: I’m terrible at nicknames. Everyone in my family has a nickname and I’ve always just been Tanya. Huh. How about Pooh Bear for Sarina? Or Sassy Pants? Maybe just Miss Sarina.
Sarina: I’m not sure we all need Braht-style nicknames. But I will say that Tanya posts the best cocktail photos on Instagram. So I’m dubbing her Ms. Margarita.
Q: In Man Card we learn that Ash’s family has a cabin that is very near and dear to her heart. If you could pick any location for a vacation home for you and your family/friends, where would it be?
Tanya: A cottage on the lake is my absolute dream. There are a lot of people in Michigan who are lucky enough to have one. I’m still not that lucky, but a girl can dream.
Sarina: We’re skiers so I want a ridiculously posh home in Aspen. As long as I don’t have to pay for it. This is a fantasy, right?
Q: Can you spill any news on if Sadie will get a book!? (fingers crossed)
We sure hope so! We’re working on something soon!
Nothing ventured, nothing banged…
I still don’t know how it happened. One minute I was arguing with my arrogant competitor–our usual trash-talk over who deserves the larger commission. But somehow I went from throwing down to kneeling down…
It can never happen again. I don’t even like Braht. He’s too slick. He’s a manipulating mansplaining party boy in preppy clothes.
So why can’t I get him out of my head?
There are two things I know without question. One: Ash and I are destined for each other. Two: never trust a man with a unibrow.
Ash is my missing my piece. She’s the sweet cream to my gourmet espresso. And nothing gets me going faster than her contempt for me. They don’t call her the Ashkicker for nothing.
Eventually I’ll win her over…if my past doesn’t ruin everything first.
“Name your other favorite movies,” I challenge Braht.
“All of them?” He chugs his margarita.
“Hmm. Top ten? Top five?”
“That’s totally easy,” he says. Somehow I’ve gotten closer to him on the floor. When he sits back, I actually snuggle in beside him. He’s wearing a ridiculously soft shirt that feels good against my skin. And I watch with fascination as he ticks off the names of films on his fingers. “When Harry Met Sally. The Devil Wears Prada. Roman Holiday. Clueless. And Working Girl.”
I burst out laughing. I can’t help it. “Those are all chick flicks. You should just hand over your man card right now.”
“Not a chance.” Braht’s expression grows intense. “In the first place, I gave you a very thorough demonstration of my man card last week. I don’t remember hearing any complaints.”
I swallow hard, because this is certainly true.
“And secondly, you’re looking at this all backward.”
“I…am?” And why can’t I look away? He has the most beautiful, intelligent eyes.
“Yeah, you are,” he whispers. “It’s the guy who has a firm grip on his man card that can hold your purse. He’s not afraid to be seen with that Tory Burch you like to carry—nice color, by the way. He’ll free up your hands because he likes your hands, and he remembers all the terrific things you can use them for.”
“Oh,” I say slowly. Now my fingers itch to reach out for him. I have to make fists with both hands so I won’t do it.
“Furthermore, he’s not afraid to quote Working Girl. Because Joan Cusack is a genius. And who wouldn’t want to say Melanie Griffith’s best line out loud?”
I can’t help saying it with him, and together we sound like the world’s horniest Greek chorus: “I have a head for business and a body for sin.”
Sin sounds pretty good right now, actually. But Braht’s not done with his speech. “Any man who tells you that chick flicks are for pussies can’t be any good in bed. Because that man does not speak the language of women. He doesn’t know that a little luxury can erase a shitty day of worrying about your ex…”
Braht takes my hand in his and begins to massage it. He has a great technique, applying gentle pressure between each joint. I relax just a little bit more against him.
“…That man doesn’t speak the language because he’s afraid of sounding like a girl. But fuck that noise, honey bear. If a man doesn’t have the vocabulary to describe a satin teddy with peekaboo lace and mother-of-pearl snaps at the crotch, he can’t buy it for you and then strategically ask you to wear it. He can’t plan ahead to blow your mind sometime by lifting your skirt somewhere semi-public and dangerous. And he can’t get down on his knees and kiss that lace and then pop open those snaps while you bite your own hand to keep from screaming when you climax.” Braht takes a deep breath and lets it out in one hot gust. “Fuck. What was the point of this speech?”
“Um…” My voice is hoarse, and my face is suddenly very hot. Let’s not even mention my nipples. “Man cards, I think.” But I’m not sure, because everything tingles.
“Right,” he says with a sigh. “Still got mine. Shall we watch Working Girl next?”
“Okay,” I breathe, sinking a little further into his comforting embrace.
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