Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Spotlight on Mia Asher's Arsen: Interview, Review and Giveaway

One glance was all it took…

I'm a cheater.
I'm a liar.
My whole life is a mess.

I love a man.
No, I love two men…
I think.

One makes love to me. The other sets me on fire.
One is my rock. The other is my kryptonite.

I'm broken, lost, and disgusted with myself.

But I can't stop. This is my story.
My broken love story.

Three Chicks interviews Cathy Stanwood

Thanks for agreeing to answer some questions we have for you-we promise not to put you in the hot seat today! (well we'll try not to anyway!)

Three Chicks: Did losing your mother at an early age put more pressure on you to want and need to be a mother yourself?

Cathy: I didn’t lose my mother…she left my dad and me. And, I don’t know if her not being around put more pressure on me to want to be a mother. All I know is that I always wanted to be one…I wanted to have someone to call my own and give him or her all the love I never had from my own mother.

Three Chicks: Back in the beginning stages of your relationship when you were at Julian's house for a party, you and Ben got into an argument about having sex for the first time in your relationship.  Julian came up with a plan to make Ben jealous.  At one point it seemed as if the plan was going to backfire?  Were you ready to face the negative consequences of that plan?  What would you have done if it had backfired?

Cathy: Yes, I was ready to face the negative consequences of our plan. I actually thought I had lost Ben when I saw him leave the room with Ashley. I was on my way to explain things and apologize to him when he caught up with me. What would I’ve done if it backfired? I would’ve left the party with a broken heart…one that I deserved.

Three Chicks: Did you ever think that you would stray from your marriage? Do you think if you hadn’t had so much heart ache with your pregnancies, this would never have happened?

Cathy: No. I never thought I would cheat. I hated the idea…I mean, I think my mom cheated on my dad and that’s why she left him-us. I saw how much my dad struggled with dating again...with trusting women. I never thought I would be the one to walk out on my husband and throw away our marriage, thus becoming my own mother…but I did. And there is no excuse for what I did. The miscarriages weren’t the reason why I cheated on Ben…they created this space, this void within me and our relationship that left me feeling empty—unhappy. So, yes…maybe if I hadn’t felt such emptiness…maybe I wouldn’t have. I don’t know…I was in a very dark place in my life. All I can say with certainty is that I shouldn’t have shut Ben out.

Three Chicks: There was a time when you had expressed some uncertainty with the interns.  Did you ever think Ben would stray?

Cathy: No. I never thought he would…but that doesn’t mean that the temptation wouldn’t be there…it’s always there.

Three Chicks: When you got up and Ben wasn’t in bed and the place was trashed and the couch was gone, is that when you thought maybe Ben suspected?

Cathy: No. I think I knew he suspected something when we were in the kitchen and he tried to have sex with me…

Three Chicks: Where were your manners, you go to a party with your husband  and have wild monkey sex with your lover in a stranger’s home? 

Cathy: Do you think I cared about manners during my affair? I was cheating on my husband, for God’s sake…I broke all the rules the moment I went back to Arsen’s apartment and had sex with him. I had lost all shame and I despised myself for it, but I couldn’t stop.

Three Chicks: Will you ever get a paternity test? Do you have a feeling who is Nadia’s father?

Cathy: Yes…to both questions.

Three Chicks: Did you ever go back to yours and Ben's house to get your things?  And what happened to your things after you left Arsen’s place when you told him you were pregnant?

Cathy: After I left Ben, I went back the next day to collect some paperwork and some clothes—just enough to get me through until I was able to replace everything. Everything else I left there…Ben paid for those things—they were his.  I never went back to Arsen’s apartment, not even to pick up my things. I don’t know what happened to them. He probably had his cleaning lady throw all my belongings in the garbage…

Three Chicks: After you left Arsen’s (when you told him you were pregnant) where did you go?

Cathy: I went to Amy’s apartment. My dad wasn’t talking to me because of what I had done to Ben.

Three Chicks: Did you ever think of contacting either Ben or Arsen all those years in between the time of your pregnancy and the end of your story?

Cathy: I did…but Ben told me he didn’t want to hear from me ever again, and Arsen…well, he made it very clear that I meant nothing to him.

Three Chicks: After Nadia was born, did you work, where were you living?

Cathy: Amy was able to get me a job at a smaller hotel in Manhattan. It was one of those boutique hotels…I loved working there. After getting in touch with my dad and explaining everything to him...he forgave me and took me back in. Nadia and I lived with him in Queens until she turned one, then we moved back to Manhattan.

Three Chicks: Would you like to tell Arsen he may have a daughter?

Cathy: Yes, but he made it more than clear that he didn’t want anything to do with the baby or with me. I don’t blame him though and I understand where he came from.

Three Chicks: Do you ever miss Arsen, are you ever tempted to see how he is doing with his life? What would you say if you ever saw him again?

Cathy: I do miss him…I can’t say that one day I woke up and his memory was doesn’t work that way. He was part of my life…will always be. Our destructive relationship was not only ugly…it was beautiful in its own way. However, I’m not tempted to know how his life is…I’m sure he is having fun. He was always good at that. And if I ever saw him again, I don’t know what I would say to him…

Three Chicks: How did you and your father reconcile after you and Ben broke up?

Cathy: I reached out to him and explained everything to him. I don’t think he wanted to forgive me because he knew I was wrong, and he told me that many times over. I think he was disgusted with me…but in the end he is my father…and even though he could be angry with me and go months without speaking to me…he could never hate me. That’s what he said. Oh, and he also told me that he hoped I had learned my lesson.

Three Chicks: Do you wonder about Ben’s time away from you when you broke up and all his women?

Cathy: Yes, and it hurts so much. Just thinking about it makes me want to throw up…but I have no right to be angry with him or jealous even.

Three Chicks : How is Ben taking to the pregnancy?  Is he treating you like a queen?

Cathy: Ben is…there are no words to describe how beautiful and wonderful he is…I don’t deserve him. I don’t, but I’m working on proving to him that he didn’t make a mistake when he agreed to give me another chance. I don’t think I will ever stop either…

Three Chicks: What was Ben's reaction when you told him you were pregnant this time around?

Cathy: We broke down and cried…then he ran to Nadia’s room, picked her up in his arms, and told her she was going to be a big sister.

Three Chicks: Would you like to have another child after this one?

Cathy: Yes…Ben said he wants to buy one of those boxy minivans and fill it with our children.

Three Chicks: Are you and Ben open with all your feelings now? Does Ben still try to make sure everything is perfect or did you tell him that was what drove you away?

Cathy: We are very open about our feelings with each other. We started to see Crystal together and it has brought us much closer. Some sessions are rough and very raw, I can see it in Ben’s eyes…but when we leave her office, we feel cleansed. I think we are stronger than we ever were. Forgiveness is the purest form of love after all. 

5 Star Review by Jen Hagen

This is a story of Cathy who is in love with 2 men.  Ben is her husband of 6 years and Arsen is her new business partner.  The only thing these 2 men have in common is that they are both HOT.  They couldn’t be more different.  Ben is faithful and loving to his wife and Arsen is a playboy.  So how does Cathy find herself in a position of choosing who is right for her and whose heart she will ultimately destroy? 

Ben and Cathy are the epitome of a happily married couple.  Ben is attentive to Cathy and showers her with his love and affection.  Cathy and Ben have been trying for years to have a child of their own and sadly the stress of being unable to carry a child has gotten to Cathy.  She is bearing the weight of the problem on her own shoulders and not allowing Ben to help her carry the weight.  She is letting herself become a shell of the person that she used to be. 

…even Ben can’t stop the numbness settling around me, settling around my heart.  I can feel myself withdrawing from him.  From his love. 

Arsen becomes a good friend to Cathy, once she has set the line in sand that he is not to cross (notice I said in sand as that line can easily be washed away).  Cathy feels comfortable telling him the fears she experiences on her road to motherhood that she keeps from Ben.  Arsen becomes a close and trusted friend to Cathy and he is the one that is able to allow Cathy to find her way out of the dark and lonely place she has allowed herself to retreat to.  

His touch is not sexual…it’s soothing.  Arsen, a friend gone wrong, is comforting me.  His are the first arms I am able to find solace in.

While Cathy is finding a way to live again through Arsen, Ben is home slowly watching Cathy turn into a person that he doesn’t recognize.  He feels that by keeping his feelings to himself on their difficulties that he is helping Cathy so that she doesn’t feel burdened.  Ben is the protector and he will make sure that no pain of his will affect Cathy. Ben loves strongly and would do anything he could to help Cathy find happiness again.   

“Own me, fill me, break me, repair me, complete me.  Do whatever you want to me.  Just stay with me.  I need you.  I need to be able to live. I need my life back, I need you back.”  -- Ben

Cathy is lost right now and it seems as if Arsen is her only light.  I can feel her pain and her indecisiveness as she struggles to proceed down a path that will lead her away from her soul mate.  Arsen has finally found a way to live again also as he has suffered a great loss in life.  With each other, they both are able to feel alive again.  Ben and Cathy have an intense love that goes beyond their years together and into their souls.   Who will Cathy choose and how does she know if her choice will be the correct one?

Can you hear it?  The sound of my heart breaking, ceasing to beat.
Can you feel it?  Excruciating pain, eating me alive, slowly tearing me apart limb by limb.
It's my fault.  Only mine.  Not his. Not theirs. 

This story gutted me emotionally and left me in physical pain with chest pains.  I found it difficult to forget the story upon completing it and I continued to think about for days.  There comes a point in the story where you will find yourself saying “what just happened?”.  You need to come to terms with it on your own as I am sad to say that at this point the author states that this a stand-alone novel and she has no plans to resurrect any of the characters.  I struggled with this particular twist in the story but now I can honestly say that I understand the what/why/how that you all will be asking yourselves.  It’s all about what you would do for the person you loved so much.  

I’m going to be honest…Ben held my heart from the beginning.  He is a remarkable man who loves unconditionally and ferociously.  I could hear his instinctive animal protective growl emanating from the pages when it came to showing that Cathy belonged to him.  I could feel his pain through every page turn even when it wasn’t in his point of view.  I could visualize the pain that he was portraying through his actions.

He begins to bang his head against the wall.




 The story takes a great deal of time going back to the beginning of Ben and Cathy’s relationship and shows its progression through the years.  There are a couple POV’s from Arsen and Ben but the majority of the story is told by Cathy.  You may find the first part of the book to be slow, but at page 200 hold on tight, grab your anti-anxiety medication, Tums and Kleenex.  Do whatever you need to do before you hit page 200 because after that you are going to be glued to the book until the finish.   There is no question that this one belongs on my Best of 2013 list. 

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  1. Absolute fantastic interview! Loved reading this. Although I hated what Cathy did to Ben and their marriage, I never could fully dislike her.
    Wow! I wonder with the question answered about Cathy getting a paternity test, that maybe we'll get to read more of this story sometime in the future?! Even if it's a short novella, I'd be ok with that. Arsen was a such a powerful, emotional read that I left me wanting to know more about a few things at the end(especially after the epilogue)!!!

  2. OMG, out of all those questions, the paternity question is what left me hanging in this book!! I personally think its Arsen's!! And what would Cathy do or feel if she knew that Ben was there when she went back to Arsen's apartment after her Doctor's appointment? Would she be upset with Ben? I know she ended up with right one, but, would that have changed everything? This book gave me the worst book hangover in the history of book hangovers. Mia Asher ruined me with this book!!! I dont believe in cheating by no means, but something about this book had its hooks in me from the very beginning. I hated Cathy for cheating on Ben...but Arsen...I fell in love with him, too. Crazy, right? However, you understand why she did what she did. Makes no sense, but that is how I felt with this book!!

  3. AMAZING interview!!! Reading this made me see a new side of Cathy's...I already understood her after hating her for a great part of the book and I started to like her a lot, but now I feel like I connected more to her!
    Great job!


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