An Interview with Author Ara Grigorian (GAME OF LOVE)

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That’s right, I got to interview the rock star debut author, Ara Grigorian! If you haven’t read his new book, GAME OF LOVE, you are missing out! I had the pleasure of reading an ARC of GAME OF LOVE and was honored to review Ara’s outstanding novel. If you missed my review, I’m serving it up here: MARIE’S REVIEW OF GoL



Okay, now for Ara’s deep, dark GAME OF LOVE secrets…


1. Gemma and Andre are your main characters, who happen to have fabulous names, by the way! How do you choose names for your characters? 
For Andre, I knew I wanted him to be of Spanish decent. When I lived in Barcelona, one of my closest friends there was Andres. He was always kind and went out of his way to help me because I couldn’t speak the language, We were eight, but I never forgot his generosity. Also, my favorite tennis player is Andre Agassi — a misunderstood tennis great. So I linked those two together and now I had my hero’s name.
When it came to Gemma, it started with her eyes. I wanted a name that would reflect her eyes which I thought of as gems. I was at work, preparing a cup of coffee, thinking abut her name when I noticed the movie poster for Prince of Persia. The actress’s eyes caught my attention. Beautiful and powerful. I found her name, Gemma Aterton. Gem. Gemma. Beautiful eyes. I looked up the name Gemma. It means gem in Italian. Serendipity at work. I was done.
2. What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
Letting the story come to me. Sometimes I force the story. I start before the story has really developed in my head. I get excited about the idea and jump in when the water isn’t quite ready yet. I figure if I start the rest will come together and those usually end badly. You see, I don’t really choose the story I write — the story finds me. It is an organic process. I could be in the middle of anything, listening to a random song, overhearing a conversation, and boom! A phrase, an expression catches my eye and the machine takes over. That’s how it was for Game of Love. I had been forcing a mystery novel when I met a tennis pro at a hotel in Paris during the French Open. When I saw a young man staring at her, I started wondering if he’ll approach her and if he did, what would she do? Can a celebrity trust just anyone? The idea grabbed my hair, threw me down on the floor and said, “Write me!” So I did!
3. Do you have a writing ritual? Things that must be done before your muse will come out and play?

Yes! A heaping tablespoon of Nutella, followed by a double shot of espresso. Noise canceling headphones and the playlist for the novel seeping into my brain. No open apps in the background — only Scrivener. But in order for me to hit the ground running, I have done a re-read of the previous night’s work during lunch (not to edit but to put me back into the story world). This way, by the time I’m ready, I have dozens of ideas ready to jump out. My daily goal is 2,500 words but average closer to 4,000 when I’m writing a new story. I have had a handful of 10,000+ days.

4. Are you more of a pantser or plotter?
I’m a plotting pantser 🙂 I have developed a story beats sheet based on Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat! methodology and James Scott Bell’s Super Structure framework (and some others). I write high level ideas for the key story beats. Most of the time I have a good idea through the midpoint. I never know for sure how the story will end although I have an idea. I definitely nail now the characters before I start writing the story. Because once the characters are real to me, then all the situations become natural — they are consistent with the characters I have grown to love.
5. Now that GAME OF LOVE has gone through several drafts and is finally published, you’ve really gotten to know the story and its characters, do you have a favorite line, passage, or chapter from GAME OF LOVE? 
Although I have a lot of favorites, one of my favorite parts has to be when Andre and Gemma spend time on the flight to Los Angeles. I loved writing their banter and how she discovers his gifts. This is where they realize the attraction they’re feeling is more than physical – they both have similar stories and challenges. They are kindred spirits and for the first time reader sees that they need each other to survive their crazy lives
6. What advice would you give to aspiring writers who hope to see their book published one day? 

It’s not easy. It’s hard. Real hard. At times you’ll wander why even bother? You’ll blame the agents. The publishers. Your sixth grade English teacher. But none of that should stop you. Because the desire to be a writer is a hunger. It is an insatiable need to tell stories. You should write because you can’t stop the need. Feed the beast and put aside all the negativity (self imposed and external). Plant your ass in the seat, close the door, and WRITE! Write and rewrite then rewrite that and then edit it again. Make every scene you write the best you can possibly write. Do the work. Put in the hours. It is the most gratifying thing when what you’ve written is loved and appreciated by complete strangers from the other side of the globe. Just write. There is no substitute for hard work, persistence, perseverance, and passion!

7. I know of your love of Nutella, out of curiosity, what is your favorite Nutella dessert creation? 

I wonder why I have built this reputation 😉 Just because it’s my primary food and I even received permission by Ferro USA to use the Nutella brand in my book and any promotional activity for the book, does not make me a fanatic. Okay, it actually does 😉 My favorite recipe is nice and simple — fresh raspberries, you inject a bit of Nutella in the opening (use the tip of your knife to squeeze some in) then pop it in your mouth. Sweet and perfect and good for you! (Note: This statement has not been verified by the FDA or anyone else as far as I know).

Thanks for having me!

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Well, there you have it, folks! Ara Grigorian, serving up stupendous stories and writing wisdom with a side of Nutella infused raspberries. I don’t know the FDA’s opinion on Nutella and raspberries (although, I will be trying this recipe, regardless), but I do know that GAME OF LOVE is good for you and you need to read it!

Thank you for stopping by, Ara! It was an honor to host you on my blog!



Visit Ara Grigorian on Social Media: 





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Amazon: Kindle Edition Paperback Edition

Barnes and Noble

GAME OF LOVE Review Tour

Game of Love Review Tour

GAME OF LOVE, by Ara Grigorian

Genre: new-adult, contemporary-romance

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

Date of Re-Release­­: May 4, 2015

Cover Artist: Eugene Teplitsky

Find Online: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

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Game of Love is set in the high-stakes world of professional tennis where fortune and fame can be decided by a single point.  Gemma Lennon has spent nearly all of her 21 years focused on one thing:  Winning a Grand Slam.  After a disastrous and very public scandal and subsequent loss at the Australian Open, Gemma is now laser-focused on winning the French Open. Nothing and no one will derail her shot at winning – until a heated chance encounter with brilliant and sexy Andre Reyes threatens to throw her off her game.


Breaking her own rules, Gemma begins a whirlwind romance with Andre who shows her that love and a life off the court might be the real prize. With him, she learns to trust and love…at precisely the worst time in her career. The pressure from her home country, fans, and even the Prime Minister to be the first British woman to win in nearly four decades weighs heavily. As Wimbledon begins, fabricated and sensationalized news about them spreads, fueling the paparazzi, and hurting her performance. Now, she must reconsider everything, because in the high-stakes game of love, anyone can be the enemy within…even lovers and even friends.


In the Game of Love, winner takes all.


Review of GAME OF LOVE

I love this story! GAME OF LOVE is a delightful read. Ara Grigorian’s writing style is beautiful and captivating. Grigorian’s smart and witty prose serves up a winning story and a heartfelt romance. You can’t help but cheer for Gemma and Andre! 

Gemma Lennon, Britain’s tennis darling, isn’t about to let anything or anyone get in the way of the one thing that’s eluded her, the one thing she wants more than anything else: to win a Grand Slam.

After a potential career-ending accident four months earlier, Gemma is determined to focus on tennis and nothing else. But, being in the spotlight 24/7 doesn’t make for an easy task. With paparazzi stalking her every move, Gemma’s game is under the utmost scrutiny. To win, she has to be the best on and off the court. For Gemma, there’s no room for failure, and certainly no room for a love life. Tennis is her love. Period.

Enter Andre Reyes, the handsome American, who’s not only a problem solver by trade, but off-the-charts brilliant. After a scorching meet-cute, Andre is captivated by Gemma, drawn in by her hypnotizing eyes. The best part, Andre has no idea she’s a famous athlete; he’s fascinated by her, not the public’s ideal of her.

Gemma is just as fascinated by Andre as he is of her. As their interactions become more frequent, the tension between them builds. Gemma struggles to keep her mind on tennis and the tabloids are speculating whether or not she’s ready for Wimbledon. For Gemma, it will take a lot more than just the love of the game to achieve what her heart desires, because when she finally figures out she wants tennis and Andre, it might be too late.

In the end, both Gemma and Andre learn that when it comes to matters of the heart, it’s best to keep the score love-love, because that’s when the real magic happens!

This is a fantastic book. I’m still in awe of Ara Grigorian’s ability to weave the game of tennis into Gemma and Andre’s whirlwind romance. It’s beautiful. It takes an accomplished wordsmith to write such a layered, smart, and witty story. Well done! I look forward to more books by Ara Grigorian, his stories don’t disappoint!

GAME OF LOVE also received the Reader’s Favorite 5-Star Review Seal!! Congratulations, Ara and GAME OF LOVE!! Well-deserved! To read the Reader’s Favorite Review CLICK HERE!



Ara-Grigorian-16-of-25-1000-by-1000  About Ara Grigorian:


Armenian by heritage, born in Iran, lived in Barcelona, and escaped New York until he found his home in Los Angeles, Ara’s first eleven years were both busy and confusing. The fruit salad of languages would slow down his genetically encoded need to tell stories. Until then, an alter ego would be required…

He received an engineering degree from California State University Northridge and earned his MBA from the University of Southern California. Today, he is a technology executive in the entertainment industry. True to the Hollywood life, Ara wrote for a children’s television pilot that could have made him rich (but didn’t) and nearly sold a video game to a major publisher (who closed shop days later).

But something was amiss until his wife read him the riot act. “Will you stop talking about wanting to be a writer and just do it?” So with her support (and mandate), and their two boys serving as his muse, he wrote stories.

Fascinated by the human species, Ara writes about choices, relationships, and second chances. Always a sucker for a hopeful ending, he writes contemporary romance stories. He is an alumnus of both the Santa Barbara Writers Conference and Southern California Writers’ Conference (where he also serves as a workshop leader). Ara is an active member of the Romance Writers of America and its Los Angeles chapter.


Ara is represented by Stacey Donaghy.

Find Ara Grigorian Online:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Curiosity Quills Press (CQ) is a small hybrid publishing company specializing in genre fiction of the highest quality. With 150+ titles in our catalog already and approximately 6 new books coming out each month, there’s never a dull moment at CQ. We work with major retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Audible to ensure that you, the reader, can find whatever you are looking for at your convenience.

Founded in 2011 by Eugene Teplitsky and Lisa Gus, CQ was initially a resource portal for writing and publishing, created in an effort to help writers, like themselves, survive the publishing industry. After rapid success, CQ morphed into publishing press that over time has solidified its share in the market. Now we spend our days searching for the next great escape!