All right all you Javier fans, we have an author today who has a soft spot for the bad boys. And in this case, the ruthless, cheating, killing, witty comeback machine, Javier Bernal, who might just be the baddest boy of all. It’s author Ella Fox of the Hart Family series and we talk about Javier’s appeal plus I find out she’s in a wee bit of denial about her favorite villain 😀
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KH: Let’s place a word association game. First word that comes into your head when I saw Sins & Needles? On Every Street? Ellie Watt? Camden McQueen? Javier Bernal?
EF: Thrilling, Heartbreaking, Uncertain, Abused, Sexy
KH: Some people call The Artists Trilogy a NA series…do you agree with that?
EF: I guess it could be viewed that way because Ellie is fairly young but I don’t think it can be categorized as just NA. I think it would best be described as a Thrillmance that’s good for any age. I’m thirty-eight- a long way from being a new adult (Damn!)- and I’ve totally fallen in love with these characters.
KH: Would you consider Ellie Watt a heroine or anti-heroine? What about Camden McQueen?
EF: Ellie is definitely an anti-heroine. She’s done things that are completely out of line and against the law, but at the same time, she’s dealing with the shit-sandwich that life handed her… which means that you never find yourself rooting against her.
Camden, for me, is more complicated. He’s that great guy that Ellie should have liked in high school. The road not taken and all that, you know? If she had stayed and let Camden in, her entire life would have been different. But at the same time, had she stayed, his father would have even more of a hold on him.
KH: Why do so many readers fall for the toxic bad guy, Javier? He cheats on Ellie, he’s possessive, obsessive, emotionally abusive, and yet…
EF: Javier is that sexy, beautiful, dangerous bad boy that we all (secretly) want to fall in love with us. He’s the James Dean to Camden’s Clark Kent. To me Camden is a mess because of his father & his crappy ex-wife. No matter how bad ass he becomes, underneath it all Camden is a GOOD guy. I think Javier is only good for Ellie and his sisters. Life with Javier is never dull. And I know… I know… I’m making excuses for him but I don’t feel like he cheated on her emotionally. He got his punishment (her leaving) and I think that’s what has made him so much darker. The fact that he’s as tough as he is but was still able to show himself to Eden/Ellie tugs at the heartstrings. My impression of him after OES was that he loved her enough to want to change, but he didn’t think that he could because he was in too deep. After reading SS I think that if she asked him to, he’d leave it all behind and sail the world with her.
The thing I so love about Javier and Ellie is that this isn’t a cookie-cutter love story. You can’t wrap a bow around it and say, “Look! It’s perfect!” It’s not- it’s ugly, it’s scarred, there are bumps all over the road- but underneath it all there are two fucked (Wait, can I say fuck? Eh- you can change that if you want!) up people who let down their walls just enough to love each other.
Admit it- as his creator, you’re totally in love with Javier, too!
KH: Oh, I do love Javier. A lot. He is an amazing villain. I also *know* him and…well…Oh, Ella. *laughs* You’ll see. How does the setting of Mexico play an important role in Shooting Scars? With that in mind, how did the setting of southern California play an important role in Sins & Needles?
EF: The town that Camden & Ellie were from in California made me think of a smaller town that had a bad rash- as if it were a place where bad things were percolating beneath the surface. All of Mexico feels dark and dangerous, and I feel like the story is getting more intense because of the setting. There are literally bad guys everywhere and there is no one to turn to for help since anyone and everyone there has been or can be bought.
KH: Did Uncle Jim have what was coming to him?
EF: This is such a complicated question! I want to say no because he DID take care of her for a long time… but then I think about the fact that he was going to let Javier kill her and I think, yeah, he kind of did. Just like Ellie’s parents, when the chips were down, he thought of himself first. He was redeemed because he saved her in the end- even knowing that saving her would end his life.
KH: I agree! Do you believe all three characters in The Artists Trilogy can be redeemed? They’re all sinners…
EF: I think that they all can definitely be redeemed- particularly Ellie & Javier. I’ve never seen Camden as being anywhere near as dark as Ellie & Javier are which is part of the reason I like Javier for her more than Camden. Having said that, Camden stepped up his Alpha status in this book and that made me like him more. Camden’s biggest “sin” seems to be his love for Ellie. In that, he and Javier have a lot in common. Both of them would (literally) kill for her. I wonder how Camden will live with that over time.
KH: Good question! Favorite scene in On Every Street. Favorite scene in Sins & Needles. Favorite scene in Shooting Scars.
EF: My favorite scene from OES is when Javier asks Eden/Ellie to move in with him and he asks her to make him her home. When you ask why readers fall in love with him- that’s one of the reasons! He’s just SO… intense.
My favorite scene in Sins & Needles is when Camden gives Ellie her tattoo. I loved that he took something that she saw as a flaw and changed it into something that made her feel beautiful.
From SS my favorite scene is when Javier tells Ellie that she wanted him to find her the whole time. His logic was perfect and seeing it through his eyes, I agree. As a Javier & Ellie fan, I saw it as another sign that she still loves him. Camden would be a better and safer choice, but her heart already belongs to someone else. Right?!?!? (cue me begging for Javier to get the girl!!)
A runner up to that scene is definitely Javier’s dark reaction to seeing Ellie’s tattoo. “You let that boy mark you?” Knowing what an obsession that Javier had for marking her, it was a major knife in his gut and I liked that he wasn’t able to hold in his reaction.
KH: Death by tattoo gun to the eyeball or Coffee Mate fireball? Pick your demise.
EF: They’re both terrifying… and I haven’t looked at my flavored coffee mate the same since reading Shooting Scars. I eye that bottle verrrrry suspiciously these days.
If I had to choose one or the other, I’d totally go Coffee Mate. Seeing that vibrating tattoo needle coming at my eyeball would be too macabre.
KH: Tell me about The Hart Series. Is Finding Hart the last book (#6) that we can expect?
EF: The Hart series started out as a canary in a coal mine. I had an idea for this story brewing in my head for years and I finally decided to sit my butt down and write it. I wrote like a crazy woman for a few months and then released my baby into the wild. I thought that if a few hundred people read the first book (Broken Hart) that I would follow up, and I had the second story in my mind in case people wanted it.
Within thirty days I realized that people really wanted it, fast, and I don’t think that I’ve stopped writing since.
At its core, The Hart series is about love, loyalty, family, karma and redemption. The response to the stories has been overwhelmingly positive and I’m still stunned by the fact that I’ve sold in the hundreds of thousands of books- especially since I thought that getting five hundred sets of eyes on it would be amazing.
There is one more book left for the series- a novella that will be out around Christmas. The title is “Saving Hart.”
KH: Speaking of…What would a date between Spencer and Ellie go like?
EF: That sappy son-of-a-bitch would sit there showing her pictures of his wife and baby all night, and Ellie would probably be ready to chew her own arm off to get away. Spencer is waaaayyyyy too domesticated for Ellie! LOL. She needs someone with danger in their DNA… like Javier.
KH: What else are you working on?
EF: Right now I’m working on an NA book. The title is “Catch my Fall” and is about a girl named Mia who’s life is in turmoil after a series of heartbreaking events. She needs someone to help her believe again, and that’s where Tristan comes in. He’s not without his own set of issues and the two of them are drawn together almost against their will.
It seems I’ve had one story or another in my head since the day I was born. I’ve always had characters taking up space my brain, waiting to be “delivered.” Recently I decided to take the plunge, and what a journey it’s been!
I’m a romance girl. Always have been, always will be. My pet peeve is reading a romance novel that centers around a weak and spineless heroine. It’s insulting that as a society we fall for stereotypical female characters who bat their eyelashes, aren’t familiar or comfortable with their sexuality and who allow themselves to be railroaded by the men in the story.
I enjoy a heroine that sounds REAL. Women like you, like me, like my friends. Women who don’t take crap, who don’t accept emotional or mental abuse and who don’t automatically do whatever it is the man wants.
A GOOD relationship- even a relationship that includes BDSM- always involves two equals. It is true in life and it’s true in my books.
She is the author the The Hart Family and Renegade Saints series.