A couple of weeks ago I told you about this new trend I see emerging: the New Year’s Eve romances, and you might remember that I’ve told you I’ve read some, and namely even reviewed Melting the Millionaire’s Heart by Linda Morris, which I enjoyed a lot. Today we have the pleasure of welcoming to Book Lovers Inc. Linda Morris and I got to ask her and her characters about all sorts of secrets of the novel, so join us and you could even win a copy of Melting the Millionaire’s Heart!
Stella: Hi Linda, welcome to Book Lovers Inc! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Linda: I was born a coal miner’s daughter, in a cabin on a hill in Butcher’s Holler. . . oh, no, wait, that was Loretta Lynn. But I do like Loretta Lynn’s music a lot, so there’s that. I have a crazy busy life between writing romance, a full-time career as a freelance writer/editor, and being a wife and mother. Basically, it’s like I get shot out of a cannon every day at 7 am, and I don’t land until 10 pm.
Stella: Describe a typical day of writing? Are you a planner or pantser?
Linda: I’m a pantser who is making some strides toward being a plotter. I’ve invested in the Debra Dixon book, Goal Motivation and Conflict, and that has enabled me to think much more analytically about my writing. I highly recommend it for anyone looking to add more structure to a chaotic writing process, especially if the thought of doing a ton of charts, outlines, and whatnot before you start writing terrifies you. Thanks to methods of thinking about story structure that she explains, I don’t start out with a few characters and meander all over the place like I did in my earliest attempts at writing. I don’t create an elaborate outline or synopsis or anything like that, but I do think about my work much more in advance than I used to. I would say I have the plot points in mind for maybe the first 50% to 75% of the book when I start writing. I’ll never been full-fledged plotter though. I need room to explore the fun things that occur to me as I’m writing a scene.
Stella: What do you think is the difference between a reader and a real Book Lover?
Linda: Interesting question. I think a reader reads for entertainment or enlightenment. A book lover simply escapes into another world every time they open a book. I heard someone say once that she got everything else out of the way to get back to reading. That to me is a book lover.
Stella: Melting the Millionaire’s Heart, your latest novel and the first one published by Entangled Publishing was recently released in their Ever After line, congratulations! Could you tell readers what they can expect of this story?
Linda: It’s mostly a funny, sexy story of two people who wind up snowed in together, and one of them is . . . ahem, a little less than honest about his identity. It’s really a fun read, but it has a serious vein running through it, too, of special-needs education.
Stella: Would you like to introduce Ryan and Kayla, the hero and heroine of Melting the Millionaire’s Heart to us?
Linda: Sure. Kayla is a special-needs teacher on her way to an event at the remote estate of a millionaire who’s considering a donation to the private school where she teaches. Her car slides off in the snow and she’s rescued by a good-looking stranger, who turns out to be not quite who he claims to be. These scene is their first meeting:
Holding her breath, she bent down and peered inside…into the most gorgeous set of blue eyes she’d ever seen. The rest of his face wasn’t bad either: sculpted features with a dusting of dark stubble that gave him a ski bum air.
“You need some help?” His low voice did nothing to cure her case of insta-lust. If he was a pervert, he was the best-looking one she’d ever seen.
“Yes,” she breathed, forgetting all her pervert-related worries. “I was on my way to an event at the Langford estate, but I had a little slide-off back there.”
“Really? The Langford estate?” He seemed more surprised at that bit of information than she would have expected, so she rushed on to explain.
“I’m late for an event there, actually. It’s kind of important that I get there soon.” She bit her lip. Would it be too forward to just come right out and ask for a ride to the main house? “I don’t suppose you’re going that way?”
He flashed a white smile that contrasted brightly against the dark stubble on his chin. Somewhere south of her navel, her body pulsed in reaction.
“As a matter of fact, I’m not.”
“Oh.” Her hopes of hopping into Mr. Sexypants’s car for a quick ride to the Langford estate fizzled. Surely he wouldn’t leave her standing on the side of the road during a blizzard.
Would it be rude to ask him to take her to the main house at Langford anyway?
“No, I’m not. Guy on the radio just said that the state troopers declared a snow emergency throughout the county.”
He nodded at the dash. “Any civilians on the road will be arrested. But you’re in luck. I’m headed just down the road a bit. I’ll take you with me to wait out the storm if you want.”
He gestured down the road, which told her nothing because it was pitch black except for snowflakes dancing in the narrow beam of his headlights. “Hop in.”
“Ummm—” she stalled, wondering what to do. A short ride to the Langford estate she could’ve handled, but waiting out the storm at his house? Was she supposed to say, No, you might be a pervert, so I’ll just stand here on the side of the road until I turn into a Creamsicle, which won’t be long now, if the lack of feeling in my knees is any indication.
Stella: If Melting the Millionaire’s Heart was made into a movie, who would be your dream cast?
Linda: Oooh, I’m glad you asked me that. My hero would be Ryan Gosling, because . . .well, really, do I need to explain? Of course not. The heroine, maybe Kirsten Dunst as she looked as MJ in the Spider-Man movies? I had a sort of strawberry-blonde girl-next-door type in mind for her.
Stella: And now let’s have Couple’s Therapy: Kayla, Ryan, if you had to introduce each other, what 3 words would you use to describe the other?
Ryan: Beautiful, caring, and smart.
Kayla: Successful, funny, but guarded.
Ryan: Guarded? What? Not fair. I said three nice things about you! Can I get a do-over?
Stella: What is the quality that you like the most in the other and the one that drives you up the wall?
Ryan: I love how much she cares about the kids she teaches. As for her flaws, well, I can tell you from personal experience: She holds a grudge.
Kayla: I do not! I love Ryan because he cares so much for his brother, who has autism. Ryan is a funny, family-oriented guy. His biggest flaw? He has a problem trusting people. Particularly girl people.
Stella: What was your first fight about?
Kayla: I’ll take this one. That would be when I discovered that you were actually not who you said you were. In fact, you let me bad-mouth me to your face and still never ‘fessed up!
Ryan: (Hands spread wide) I admit it. I said I’m sorry. Can we please forget about all that?
Stella: Melting the Millionaire’s Heart uses several tropes and mixes them well together: it is set on New Year’s Eve, features a billionaire hero, and is a snowed in romance just to mention a few, two of which are some of my favourite tropes! Can you tell us any behind the scenes secret about the novel (either related to the writing process or how a character/scene turned out way different than it was originally intended to, if any character was based on real life acquaintances, etc.)?
Linda: Thanks! Hmm, a behind-the-scenes secret? Well, the ending gave me fits. I can’t even remember how many times I rewrote it before submitting it. Even after it sold, I was still heavily rewriting it on the third editorial pass, when you’re really supposed to be done with serious revisions and just tweaking little stuff. Fortunately my editor understood that I wasn’t happy with it and ultimately liked what I finally came up with better than the original, so all is good.
Stella: Now can you tell us 3 reasons why people should read Melting the Millionaire’s Heart?
Linda: If you like witty, romantic banter, you’ll love the book. My editor said she bought it for the great banter, which made me so happy because I appreciate that so much in a book.
It’s sexy. A hot couple is snowed in together on New Year’s Eve. What more do I need to say?
Despite all of that, it has a real message about kids with special needs, a subject close to my own heart.
Stella: Can you summarize Melting the Millionaire’s Heart for us twitterstyle (140 characters or less)?
Linda: Girl meets boy, boy tells a lie, sparks fly anyway, and reckoning comes in the morning. And there are wiener jokes.
Stella: You write both contemporary and historical romances. Do you have a favourite between these two genres, either to read or to write?
Linda: It’s funny, I prefer reading historicals, but writing contemporaries. My smart-ass voice just doesn’t work as well for historical characters. I can write them, and enjoy doing it, but I have to hold back a lot. With a funny contemporary romance, I can just let it roll and totally be myself, which is fun.
Stella: Can you tell us what we should expect from you, or would you like to share with us any of your future plans? What shall we be on the lookout from you?
Linda: Oh, I have plans! (Rubbing hands with an evil chuckle.) I have a romantic crime caper coming out in April called By Hook or By Crook. (It’s actually available for the Kindle at Amazon right now, but goes to full release in April.) I’m revising a full-length category novel that I’ll be submitting soon, and I’ve started a follow-up to Melting the Millionaire’s Heart that I’m very excited about. It’s Carolyn’s story, and oh, I’m doing horrible things to her. The humiliating things I have planned for her, all in the name of laughs!
Stella: Can you share with us some little secret trivia, something that not many people know about you?
Linda: Hmm. My husband and now my young son are big fans of the music of Tom Waits. Although I’ve hated it for years, and mocked my husband ruthlessly for liking it, it’s kind of starting to grow on me. I’ve made sooo much fun of Tom Wait’s gravelly, drunk-sounding voice, that I can’t let him know I kind of like it now! Let’s just hope he isn’t reading this interview.
Linda Morris is a multipublished writer of contemporary and historical romance. She writes stories with heart and heat. Her latest book, By Hook or By Crook, will be coming in spring of 2013 from the Wild Rose Press.
When she’s not writing, working, or mommying, she’s doing yoga, reading, working in her flower garden, or baking delicious things she probably shouldn’t eat. She believes that there are two kinds of people: pie people and cake people, and she is definitely one of the former. Her years of Cubs fandom prove she has a soft spot for a lost cause. A beat-up old copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss’s Ashes in the Wind that her mom bought for her at a garage sale years ago was her gateway drug into the world of romance novels. Her all-time favorite romance writers include Laura Kinsale, Patricia Gaffney, Elizabeth Delancey, and Marjorie Ferrell. Current favorites include Julie Anne Long, Erin McCarthy, and Shannon McKenna.
Special-needs teacher Kayla Johnston writes off any shot at New Year’s Eve romance when she’s summoned to a fundraising event for her school at the remote estate of a wealthy would-be-donor. But when a massive snowstorm hits and Kayla careens off the road, the sexy stranger who rescues her brings to mind cozy fireplaces and steamy midnight kisses…among other things.
Reclusive entrepreneur Ryan Langford may be missing his own fundraiser, but being marooned in a cabin with Kayla beats ducking a room full of people after his money any day. Too bad she’s so irritated with the gazillionaire who ruined her New Year’s Eve that he feels like he has to lie about his identity. But when the sparks fly and they fall into each other’s arms, Ryan knows he’s made a big mistake. Will she be able to trust him once the snow melts and the truth comes out?
All you have to do is answer Linda’s question and tell us: What to you is the difference between a book lover and a reader, and which one are you?
This giveaway is open to all!
(You can read our full giveaway policy here)
Please be sure to include a valid email address in the comment form (need not be in the actual body of the comment).
Giveaway ends on Saturday 16 February 2013 and we will announce the winner on Sunday.