Counselor Undone by Lisa Rayne
(Contemporary Interracial Romance – BWWM)

BT: Wow. That’s a great cover, Lisa.

LR: Thanks so much, Bonita. I’m really proud of it.

BT: I understand the eBook is available for preorder.

LR: That’s right. The official release date is August 11, 2015. Readers can click on the pre-order link you’ve posted above to buy the book. A print copy of the book will also be available in the future.

BT: Tell us where the story for Counselor Undone came from?

LR: Around summer 2011, I started writing a romantic suspense novel. I played with the story for about a year until I realized I had several plot points that required additional research. I put it aside, thinking I’d try a straight contemporary romance because it would be easier. {She laughs.} Little did I realize, crafting a story where the primary focus is on the relationship between the hero and heroine would be so much harder. Nevertheless, I soldiered on.

In 2012, Avon Impulse put out several submission requests. One was for “New Year’s Eve and Other Disasters,” which called for novellas about New Year’s—”the bad, the good, and the romantic.” The goal was to surprise the editors with how you made your story fit into the theme. Upon reading that request, the New Year’s Eve party scene from the first chapter of Counselor Undone immediately popped into my head. I built the story from there.

I saw the Avon submission request too late to complete the manuscript in time to make the submission deadline, but the scene it inspired made a great start for a single title romance. Since the storyline it inspired revolves around two intellectual property lawyers, I could rely on my expertise from over twenty years of practicing IP law, and any additional research was relatively easy. By the end of 2012, I had a pretty good start on Counselor Undone.

BT: What made you get serious about your writing and stop just “playing around” with your stories?

Two things happened in late 2012 that galvanized my decision to pursue writing seriously and actually finish the book. The first was I learned the Romantic Times annual Booklovers Convention would be in my hometown of Kansas City the following year. The second was I read Nora Robert’s romantic suspense novel Chasing Fire. By the time I finished Chasing Fire (one of my all-time favorite Nora Roberts books), I knew I wanted to write books that made people feel the way I felt while reading that book, and I wanted those books to feature multicultural characters.

I attended the 2013 RT Booklovers Convention and absorbed all the knowledge I could about the publishing industry and writing craft, including attending Cherry Adair’s pre-convention plotting course. Cherry Adair worked one-on-one with me on the draft of Counselor Undone. She helped me tighten the plot and make sure I had a compelling conflict. After the conference, I mapped out a strategy to become a published author.

One of the things I heard at RT2013, and repeatedly since then, was an author should write the book they want to read. I wanted to read books about strong professional black women who find romance without having to be less than who they are. Thus, Counselor Undone tells the story of an extremely intelligent, successful black female lawyer in private practice who finds her love match in another lawyer at the firm. But, of course, there’s a bit of a problem. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have a story.

BT: What’s the problem?

LR: The hero happens to be her boss and supervising attorney, making a personal relationship between them an ethical issue. How they navigate the ethical dilemma and try to control the sexual chemistry between them was a lot of fun to write. The story actually has a bit of a romantic comedy feel.

BT: An earlier version of this story earned a Top 10 Finalist spot in the 2013 Harlequin® So You Think You Can Write Contest.

LR: That’s right. I entered it as a potential Harlequin® Desire title. That contest really helped me progress as an author. I recommend that anyone who enters the contest participate in the pre-conference workshops and boot camps. I entered their First Page Challenge during the 2013 pre-conference boot camp. I learned that I’d started the manuscript in the wrong place for readers. I took that feedback and polished up a new beginning. Also, I was assigned two mentors, one author mentor and one editor mentor, both of whom gave me feedback and suggestions for how to improve the manuscript. My author mentor was one of my favorite Harlequin® authors, Maureen Child. My editor mentor was Senior Editor Stacy Boyd. One of my greatest moments as an author is when Stacy Boyd commented that she was “amazed” by the chemistry between the two main characters in Counselor Undone. She said it “just leaps off the page.”

The contest version of the book, to fit within the Desire word limit, was shorter than this published version. This longer version allowed me to explore some relationships and character interactions I had to leave out to meet the Harlequin® guidelines.

BT: I understand your next project is a contemporary sports romance?

LR: That’s right. It will be released late fall 2015 and is currently titled Quarterback Casanova. The story centers around a backup quarterback who gets his shot at going first-string only to have a scandal erupt that puts him on the bad side of the franchise owner. To make matters worse, his sports reporter ex-girlfriend shows up in pursuit of an exclusive on all the juicy details. Their competing goals take an interesting twist when the attraction between them heats up again.

BT: Quarterback Casanova will be STCC’s November 2015 reading selection.

LR: Yes, and I’m thrilled that you’ve decided to make that novel an STCC featured book.

BT: We’re looking forward to it. Thank you so much, Lisa, for stopping by today and letting it “Rayne” on us. We’re honored that you chose us to launch your debut novel with this exclusive first look at the cover for Counselor Undone. We wish you much luck and will talk to you again on release day and during our book club meeting in November.

LR: You’re welcome. Talk to you soon. (visit:

Drum Roll Please . . .  Pre-Order your copy of Counselor Undone today.