Crystal Kaswell visits us again and talks about her new novel Play Your Heart Out, the followup to Rock Your Heart Out.
Can you sum up Play Your Heart Out in two sentences?
Girl accepts offer from rock star to play his girlfriend in return for him paying her law school tuition. Feelings and sexual awakening ensue.
How does this book fit into the Sinful Serenade series?
It’s the fourth book in the series, but it can be read on its own. Each book follows a different couple– one of the guys in Sinful Serenade and his heroine. Pete is the bassist and sometimes lyricist of Sinful Serenade. He’s also the brother of Tom, the drummer slash de facto manager. I must warn– this book is filled with spoilers for the three previous books plus spoilers for Mockingjay and The Force Awakens— so I really, really recommend starting with book one, Sing Your Heart Out, and reading the series in order. It’s a lot of fun seeing new layers to the characters as they grow and let down the walls around their hearts.
But this book is a standalone.You can jump in to Play Your Heart Out without any background and you’ll still understand the plot and the characters.
How is Pete different than the other guys in the band?
All of the guys in the band are fun-loving, passionate about music, and fantastic between the sheets. A lot of people have described them as bad boys with hearts of gold and I think that’s accurate. They sleep around, they curse like sailors, they have tattoos, and they DGAF about what other people think. Pete is more of a straight shooter than the other guys. He’s willing to admit he’s been hurt. He’s more intense and mysterious. He’s also a dirty-talking tease 😉
Pete has a long distance girlfriend in the first three books. What is the deal with her? Why did he stay with her for so long?
I write a lot of first love stories. I really enjoy those, but I wanted to do something a little different with Pete’s character. I wanted him to have been through a messy relationship that he grew out of. He started dating Cindy in high school. They were long distance for a long time before they finally broke up (in Rock Your Heart Out, book three). I think a lot of us have the experience of growing apart from our high school friends or lovers. There’s a part of us that wants to stay together or stay in touch because we aren’t ready to let go. There’s a lot to be said for inertia. We don’t change unless something forces us to change. I think Pete does a great job explaining why he stayed in that relationship in his book, so I won’t speak for him.
Your heroines are all ambitious women. Was this a conscious choice?
Yes. I don’t think there are enough examples in popular culture of women who are both career-oriented and loving. In most TV, movies, and even books, women are either ambitious or loving but not both. A lot of romance heroines start off ambitious but end up giving up on their dreams so the hero can pursue his. This is especially true in rock star romance. Tons of the heroines end up quitting their jobs to follow their boyfriends/husbands around on tour. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a woman putting family first, but I don’t like that it’s the default. I want to remind women that their feelings, thoughts, needs, goals and ambitions matter. I don’t think women hear that enough.
Which Sinful Serenade character are you most like?
I think I’m most like Miles. I know how to present myself as being collected and aloof, and I only reveal myself once I really feel like I can trust someone. It might be my fantasies of being a lyricist and having thousands of being analyzing my words and wondering what they mean talking. When I described Ophelia (Tom and Pete’s mother) to my husband, he said “oh, so she’s like you, only older and a lesbian?”
I’m writing a fifth Sinful Serenade book, Sinful Ever After. It’s going to be a collection of novella sequels—one for each couple. I want to check in on them in six months or a year to see how they are doing.
That will be the last Sinful Serenade book but it won’t be the last of the Sinful Serenade guys. They’ll appear in my next series, Dangerous Noise. That name might sound familiar to regular readers. Dangerous Noise is the band Drew left to join Sinful Serenade. You’ll meet Ethan, Dangerous Noise’s new guitarist in Play Your Heart Out.
Title: Play Your Heart Out (Sinful Serenade #4) by Crystal Kaswell
Publication date: May 24th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance
He parties like a rockstar.
She’s there to make sure no one finds out…
Jess James has her eye on the prize. She is finding the money to pay for law school. Period. She is starting a new life on her own. Period. And she’s absolutely staying in Los Angeles, three thousand miles away from the people who expect her to lie for them. It doesn’t matter how lonely she gets on her own, how exhausted she is from working overtime as a cocktail waitress, or how deep the knife wound in her back cuts. She is going to be a lawyer, whatever it takes.
Only she doesn’t have what it takes. She can barely afford to pay her rent.
Sinful Serenade bassist Pete Steele has enough to pay Jess’s rent and buy her a small island in the Caribbean. The famous, talented rock star has everything… except the one thing his manager wants. Pete rose to fame as a devoted boyfriend. Doesn’t matter that his ex slept with his best friend, he needs to stop screwing his way through Los Angeles to keep his reputation clean. Pete works hard, and parties harder… and the sweet, blond waitress is exactly the girl he needs on his arm if he wants to keep the record company happy.
Their arrangement is simple: he pays her tuition, she plays his girlfriend. They’ll lie to the world, but not to each other. Especially not when they’re alone, in his bed, him figuring out exactly which buttons to push to get her moaning his name.
Jess is good at keeping up appearances. She can play the enigmatic rock star’s girlfriend. But Pete shouldn’t play games with a girl who’s been broken before…
Purchase Play Your Heart Out on Amazon
Other books in the series: Sing Your Heart Out: A Rock Star Romance (Sinful Serenade Book 1) | Strum Your Heart Out (Sinful Serenade) (Volume 2) | Rock Your Heart Out: A Rock Star Romance (Sinful Serenade Book 3)
About Crystal Kaswell
Crystal Kaswell writes steamy new adult and erotic romance books. She loves when flawed characters fall head over heels for each other. Especially if they fall into bed first. She loves police procedurals, tea, and The Hunger Games series. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband.