About The Book:
SWEET MUSE by Ava Cummings
Release Date: 1.22.15
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Erotic Romance
Determined to overcome her difficult past, Anna Starr lands a coveted job at the nation’s biggest celebrity magazine in the center of the New York City power scene. She learns early on to make it on her own, and through sheer force of will she does. But frustration sets in when the dark side of tabloid journalism starts to poke through, and she gets duped while dating slicker-than-thou city boys.
Amidst a sea of cocktail parties, Anna meets rising art star Damien Wolfe. Their connection is dangerous, intense, and passionate beyond her imagination.
He sees her in a way that she has never seen herself, setting her on a journey toward self-discovery—
understanding what it means to be truly loved for the first time in her life. But she may lose it all when her blind ambition and his dark past lead to a crisis that changes everything.
- Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
Definitely. My grandfather, who is 100 years old and the most incredible person I know, has always been my inspiration. He had an illustrious career as a journalist—a reporter at Time magazine, the Washington Post, and Us News and World Report. He covered The White House, politics, and then eventually Wall Street and the financial world. Seeing him move through his career and hear about his stories inspired me to follow in his footsteps. When I was 16 years old, he set up an internship for me in New York to get a taste of what it was like to be a real journalist. For a week, I worked with his colleagues at CNN, Time, and also spent time at the financial services firm Dreyfus, where he was the CEO’s right hand man and running PR and corporate communications. I fell in love with that world of chasing news and the pace in New York. I was determined to get back there as soon as I finished college and work at a magazine. And that’s exactly what I did!
- Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
It’s torture asking a writer to answer this question!! It’s like asking a chef to pick his favorite food. Oy. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald if I had to name one. God, I loved and still love that book. The glamour, the complexity, the love, the human condition, the tragedy, the city as a backdrop—it had everything! I’ve read it so many times. It shows the highest highs and lowest lows of the human condition. And no book captures the wild and carefree time period better. The character of millionaire Jay Gatsby represents the extremes of 1920s wealth and decadence.
- In your book, Sweet Muse, can you tell my community and readers a little about it?
Sweet Muse is best described as 50 Shades of Grey meets The Devil Wears Prada. It’s a contemporary erotic romance set in the glamour of New York City and the center of the tabloid and celebrity magazine publishing world. Determined to overcome her difficult past, my main character Anna Starr lands a coveted job at the nation’s biggest celebrity magazine in the center of the New York City power scene. She learns early on to make it on her own, and through sheer force of will she does. But frustration sets in when the dark side of tabloid journalism starts to poke through, and she gets duped while dating slicker-than-thou city boys.
Amidst a sea of cocktail parties, Anna meets rising art star Damien Wolfe. Their connection is dangerous, intense, and passionate beyond her imagination. He sees her in a way that she has never seen herself, setting her on a journey toward self-discovery—understanding what it means to be truly loved for the first time in her life. But she may lose it all when her blind ambition and his dark past lead to a crisis that changes everything.
- For those who are unfamiliar with Anna Starr, how would you introduce her?
Anna Starr is a small town girl with a big dream. She grew up on a farm in the tiny town of Clark, Pennsylvania, but always had bigger aspirations. Her Aunt Sylvie was her inspiration and her guiding light. She was a journalist in New York, and Anna would visit her once a year growing up. Sylvie opened Anna’s eyes to a world she had never known—of glamour, sophistication, arts, and culture. From a young age, Anna knew she had to move to New York and become a journalist just like her.
Anna’s also a funny mix of insecure, klutzy, and awkward—she bites her nails, trips over things that aren’t even there, and says the wrong thing at the wrong time. St the same time, she’s headstrong and is determined to make it in New York—to conquer this unfamiliar world. And she believes people should do the right thing, and when they don’t she feels a moral obligation to call it out, fix it.
She grew up with not a lot and she has always coveted the big, rich life she has seen in magazines and on TV and naively thinks that money will solve all her woes. Her parents were hippies and always espoused a life of less.
At the same time, she’s been unlucky in love. Hasn’t ever experienced it and has only been hurt by guys that do her wrong. Her dad left when she was young and she’s never really recovered from that hurt and lives her life trying to protect her heart, but in the process ends up getting hurt when she stays closed off and picks wrong.
The book is her journey to getting to know herself, coming of age, realizing who she is, and then allowing herself to be vulnerable and open to love—a big love that only comes along once in a lifetime.
- What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I’m starting to plan the next book in the series, figuring out what Anna needs to do next and where her journey will go. There will be another crazy scandal that she’ll uncover, and she’ll need to find her dad and confront him before she’ll finally feel whole. Oh, and let’s not forget Damien. He has some ghosts in his past that are still unresolved that will come to light and may put a chink in their happily ever after. I hope to start writing soon.
- What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating the artist-muse relationship with Anna’s love interest Damien Wolfe?
Anna’s love interest Damien Wolfe, or “The Wolfe” as my fans call him, is not your proto-typical alpha. He’s an up and coming art star. Because he’s an artist, he’s passionate, fiery, creative, and moves and thinks with his heart. He’s pure in some ways, in that he doesn’t care what people think and he’ll do what feels right to him in the moment.
To fuel his creativity, he needs a muse—an inspiration, presence, that fuels his work. I had fun exploring the artist-muse relationship, which is intuitive, private, visceral, and complex. I researched how artists in history used them and became so devoted to them, how they became an essential piece to making their art. Picasso, Manet, Steiglitz, even photographer David LaChappelle, all had muses that drove their creative process. The relationship is intense: Picasso’s muse actually hung herself a few years after his death, so bereft without him. I took inspiration from the power and tension of this relationship and incorporated it into the book with Anna and Damien, and it makes their relationship different than a lot of what’s out there in other romances.
From the very first chapter, you see Damien connect with her and see something in her that he needs, that fuels his creativity, that helps him express himself. But this intensity, this bare need, can become complex and it certainly does with them!
- What’s the most memorable summer job you’ve ever had?
Oh my, I’ve had so many. Where do I begin? I’ve been working since I was 15 years old. And that first job when I was 15? McDonald’s. Yup. I worked the register and served burgers. I’ve also been a grocery store cashier—before there were scanners. What a pain finding the price tag on everything! I’ve been a waitress, a hostess. I’ve worked retail. One summer when I was in college, I waitressed at a small family run Middle Eastern restaurant. And the owner and I did not get along. He was curmudgeonly and was always “putting me in my place,” as he would say, as a woman. That is was my job to wash the towels and napkins and fold them because I was a woman! Well, that set me off. I told him that I would fold the towels because he was paying me to, not because it was my duty as a woman. He got so mad one day that he fired me in the middle of my shift! When I got home a little while later, the phone rang a few minutes and guess who called to apologize and begged me to come back?!
- Tell me about your first kiss.
My first kiss was from Nicky Letters. Isn’t that the cutest name! It was my 6th birthday party, which was at my house. We were all playing tag in the front yard. Instead of tagging me, he came in and planted a big kiss right on my cheek! I was totally in shock—and completely embarrassed. But there it was. Good old Nicky Letters.
- What would be harder for you, to tell someone you love them or to tell them that you do not love them back?
Saying that I don’t love them back, for sure. When feelings aren’t reciprocated, it’s so hard to tell someone. You know you’re breaking their heart. And I hate hurting people. But I will say that telling the truth in this case is important and hurts less if you can do it up front than to string someone along, which I see happen all the time because people are too cowardly to tell the person how they really feel.
- When was the last time you cried?
Honestly, I think it was when I was reading a book. The author Jojo Moyes makes me bawl pretty much with all of her books. She creates characters that are so vivid and real, they bring me in and I just get carried into their lives and feelings and there is always some massive crescendo at the end that breaks me up to pieces and I’m lying there in bed with tears streaming down my face and heaving with sobs—and my husband is like what is up!
- What is your greatest adventure?
Oh, I think I have to say life, even though I know it’s so cliché. Raising two kids to be wonderful, kind, loving human beings, working full time and pursuing a career, becoming an author and following that journey, being active in my local community, nurturing my friendships, and partnering with my husband, the best guy in the planet, through it all. Everyday is a new adventure, filled with challenges and surprises. I try to enjoy it as much as I can, rise to the challenges and stay positive, motivated, and unafraid of what’s next. Some days I’m more successful than others, but we are all a work in progress!
- Where can readers stalk you?
You can find me in all these lovely places:
Meet the Author:
Ava Cummings spent more than 10 years as an editor at some of the biggest and best-known magazines in the world.
She fetched coffee, fell in love with fashion, and eventually became a full-fledged editor, covering Hollywood and bringing in stories about bold women that were making a difference in the world.
She has spun together the sweep-you-off-your-feet happy endings of fairy tales, the unbelievable headlines she reads in the news, and the quirky personalities that she’s encountered in both the real world and on reality TV in her first novel, Sweet Muse.
Ava lives in the leafy suburbs of Boston with her husband and two children.
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March 2nd – Bookish – Debbie – Guest PostMarch 2nd – Chosen One – ReviewMarch 3rd – Forbidden Reviews – PlaylistMarch 4th– Beauty and the Armageddon – This or ThatMarch 5th – Karin’s Fantasy World – ReviewMarch 5th – Unconventional Librarian – Guest PostMarch 6th – Carolyn’s World – ReviewMarch 6th – Reads All The Books – ReviewMarch 9th– Babs Book Bistro – Author InterviewMarch 9th – Cherry
Mischievous – Spotlight/Guest PostMarch 10th – Nicole Alamillo –ReviewMarch 10th – Shell Williams – ReviewMarch 11th– Heather Ann’s Book Reviews – ReviewMarch 11th – All About Books – ReviewMarch 12th – Anna’s Blog – ReviewMarch 12th – The Reader and The Chef – ReviewMarch 13th – Lara’s Reviews – ReviewMarch 13th – Pixie Vixen Book Reviews – Review
What Readers are Saying:
“It’s like Fifty Shades of Grey meets Devil wears Prada meets Girls!” —Carrie Adel“I couldn’t put it down! Sweet Muse has it all—celebrities, scandal, and steamy romance. Ava
Cummings’ writing invites the reader into Anna’s world, sharing her journey as she discovers the dark side of her dream job at a celebrity magazine and finds a love so powerful it will change everything. Totally captivating!” —Sarah Bagwell