Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Featured Author: Donna MacMeans

Current Read: Atlantis Unleashed by Alyssa Day

Please welcome today's featured author, Donna MacMeans!

I just read The Trouble with Moonlight and loved it! Could you tell us a little about it (for those
of us who haven't read it)?

First, let me thank you for having me here today, Tiffany. You may regret it as you can see, short answers are not my thing J

Hahaha! Are you kidding? We're perfect for each other - short questions and short answers aren't my thing, either! :0)

The Trouble with Moonlight is my second Victorian romance and my one and only historical paranormal. It involves an invisible heroine – she turns invisible in moonlight, she can’t help it, and it’s just her, not her clothes. She’s a bit of a thief, so if your husband is so foolish as to gamble away your jewelry – my heroine will get it back for you…but it has to be during a full moon and she has to be naked.

BTW, The Trouble with Moonlight won the 2008 Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Historical Love and Laughter and received third place in Light Paranormal category for the Prism Award. It’s a finalist in the paranormal category for the Book Buyers Best contest. (winners announced in August).

I have to tell you – I loved writing this book. The idea came to me as I was despairing of ever publishing. I had just received another rejection on my first Victorian historical, The Education of Mrs. Brimley, this one complaining about the striptease premise. Okay, I figured. I’ll show them. I’m going to write something so fresh, it’ll be rejection proof. I look ed around at what was popular…Heroes on TV, super hero movies on the big screen, and I thought – that’s what I’ll do. I’ll give my Victorian heroine a super power. Flying wouldn’t work – all those clothes? No way! Then I thought of invisibility and everything fell into place. I started working on the story and was so wrapped up in it, I sort of forgot that The Education of Mrs. Brimley was still making the rounds. Then it won the Golden Heart for best long historical manuscript. A month later it sold in auction! 2006 was an amazing year.

Congratulations! It reminds me of the Elaine Paige song "A Perfect Year". The Trouble with Moonlight involves the Nevidimi. Do they really "exist" or did you invent them for the story?

Well gee, Tiffany, it’s not like I’ve seen them (grin) but they cou ld be out there.

OK, that was a dumb question - they are invisible! :0)

One of the things that sold me on the book was the story of the headle
ss horseman. In my world, he was one of the Nevidimi. He was there. You just couldn’t see him because he only rode in public during a full moon. You could see his clothes, but not his head – loved it.

I came up with the name Nevidimi after I’d come up with the concept. I wanted something Russian sounding as the hero had a problem with Russians and this would add to the conflict. Nevidimi is part of a Russian word for invisible. It just rolls off the tongue…Nevidimi. I was hooked.

Brilliant! You had a new book come out in April. Tell us about it.

Seduction of a Duke came out in April and it’s the sequel to The Education of Mrs. Brimley. It’s a straight historical – no woo-woo in that one, but lots of yummy sexual tension.

It’s loosely (very loosely) based on the story of Consuelo Vanderbilt. The duke who is the brother to Nicholas, the hero of Mrs. Brimley, needs cash . So he marries – sight unseen – an American heiress. The heiress, of course, isn’t fond of the idea and doesn’t want to move to England. The hero is shocked at how quickly the marriage is put together. He figures the heroine must be pregnant. This doesn’t bother him too much as he’s getting a ton of money out of the deal – but he wants to know if the child – if there is one – is his. Only one way to find out – don’t consummate the marriage. That way he should know in just a month or two if his bride starts to show. The heroine, on the other hand, discovers a loophole in the marriage contract that says she can return to America if she gets pregnant. So she’s trying to seduce the duke to
get pregnant as soon as possible while he tries to hold her off at arm’s length. Fun!

Sounds wonderful! I've heard of Consuelo Vanderbilt. I love how you connect everything to up the conflict - that's something I struggle with in my own writing. What are you working on now?

I’m working on the final story of the Mrs. Brimley set. This one I’m calling The Redemption of the Rogue. It involves the sister of the two other heroes, Arianne. This is a kidnap story and I’m having a lot of fun with it.

Another one to put on my "must buy" list. :0) I hear you have a
bit of a reputation regarding choclate and alcohol (two of my favorite things, I might add). Can you elaborate?

Ah, Tiffany, we’re obviously two of a kind (grin). I have a reputation for many rather ornate desserts that must include chocolate and copious amounts of alcohol. A group of friends have met every couple of months for years and I always bring the dessert. The two most requested desserts are my Fuzzy Naval Cake ( peach schnapps) and Mississippi Mud Pie (Jack Daniels and Kahlua). Must say, I have a very well stocked liquor cabinet for someone who doesn’t really drink…much.

That's awesome! Thanks for humoring me with an answer to suc
h an impertinent question. :0) Maybe you should write a book about a Victorian baker and include some yummy recipes? (Hint, hint!) OK, back to business: You just returned from the big Romance Writers of America National Conference (I'm jealous, by the way). How was it? What were the highlights for you?

I had a great time! The internet allows us to have so many close friends amazing distances away. It’s so cool to meet these people face to face! I blog with the Romance Bandits which is a group of twenty authors – eleven published – that originally met as finalists for the Golden Heart back in 2006. Two of the authors are from Australia, one from Eng land, one from Canada, the rest spread all across the country. We only get to meet once a year at National – so that was fun. Plus I get to meet with my agent and editor – that’s important. Plus I attended a workshop with Susan Elizabeth Philips – my hero! Next year the conference is in Nashville. Can’t wait.

I'm saving my pennies so I'll see you next year in Nashville! Your stories take place in Victorian times. What draws you to that era?

Before I wrote The Education of Mrs. Brimley, I wrote contemporary romantic suspense. About that time, I learned that Lori Foster had a contest requiring a scene with great sexual tension. Her editor, who read the finalists, had a reputation for picking up the winners for a novella. Sounded good to me!

I thought of an idea involving a reluctant striptease – but didn’t think it would work as a contemporary. We wear too few clothes! So I decided to set the story in a historic period when the women not only wore a ton of clothes, but the morals of the time made the concept of a forced strip tease especially emotional. As I researched the Victorian period I loved it. Unlike the regency period there’s hot water and indoor plumbing (grin), and the women wore those sexy form fitted corsets. .

I love hearing how inspiration hits you. Have you read any great books lately

Most of the books I read are research related to add authenticity to my stories. Plus I get the best ideas from the actual events found in the research. Right now I’m researching sailing vessels of the 1880s. Not exciting stuff.

Oh, I don't know - I imagine you'll make it very exciting! :0) Besides writing, you work as an accountant. How do you balance your time? When do you write - certainly not during tax time?

Yes, I’m a CPA – fortunately a self-employed CPA so that gives me some flexibility. I try to write every day even during tax season. It’s harder then and I don’t get to spend as much time as I like at my laptop. I try to write like crazy in the months leading up to tax time – but that can be hard as well. It seems there’s always something…

Do you like to listen to music when you write?

Sometimes…and sometimes not. I don’t have any special mus
ic (although I’ve always found the soundtrack to The Last of the Mohicians great for romance ). If the environment is noisy or distracting then I slip on noise reduction earphones and plug in my ipod. I might have to pause in my writing to belt out a favored song, but otherwise it works for me (not sure the other people around me would agree ).

Hehe, great visual! What is your favorite thing about summer?

It used to be water aerobics, but I didn’t sign up th is year L. I think being able to write on my porch outdoors is a biggie. It’s where I’m most productive. (Doesn’t work so well when there’s snow outside J). Ice cream tastes especially great in summer – but that doesn’t stop me from indulging the rest of the year. I love being able to open windows in good weather, (I’m not a fan of the recycled air inside a house in winter.) and barbeque – loved the smell and taste of barbeque anything!

I agree! Thanks so much for joining us today, Donna! This interview was a kick. :0)

AH readers be sure to check out Donna's website at Donna also has a story in the Tails of Love anthology so check it out.

I have a signed copy of The Trouble with Moonlight to give away so share your thoughts and aske some questions. Donna is all yours today!


Nancy said...

Hi, Donna--

You know I loved TTWM. I gravitate toward paranormals, and I found the invisible heroine very appealing.

Seduction of a Duke is a very different book, but I thought the dynamic between the heroine and her family was engaging, and the relationship was wonderful.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Donna!

WHat a great interview, Tiffany. Donna, you know I love your books and gush about them whenever I can. Grins. Mrs. Brimley remains one of my all time favs. Sable brushes, anyone? *fan, fan*

That said, I ADORE TTWM. I love the concept, I love the characters, I love that she has to doff the gown and the complications with THAT...just LOVE it.

Congrats again on the RT win!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

BTW, the Romance Bandits will all be swinging by, I know. :> Great to see you over here!

Donna MacMeans said...

Two of my fwllow banditas, Nancy and Jeanne, and two of the people I was so happy to meet with in DC. Thanks for swinging by!

Susan Gee Heino said...

Great interview, ladies! Donna, you know I'm a big fan. Yes, you had me at "Victorian Striptease". I have to admit, though, TTWM is my fave. It was just so naughty to have this proper Victorian lass running all over town naked! That really bumped up the tension and kept me eagerly turning pages.

Your heroes are Yummy with a capital Alpha Y and I can't wait to read this next one your working on. Glad we've got a while before tax season starts up and you can concentrate on getting it all finished up for us!

Susan Gee Heino

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Susan! It was great to meet you in DC! (Again)

I SO agree that DOnna's heroes are Yummy with a capital Alpha Y. What a great way to put it!

Tiffany James said...


I also loved TTWM and can't wait to read Seduction of a Duke!

Thanks for joining us today.


Tiffany James said...


So glad you enjoyed the interview! Thank you for joining us today.

OK, sable brushes?...I'm going out right now to get Mrs. Brimley!

Tiffany :0)

Tiffany James said...


I love that "Yummy with a capital Alpha Y"! :0) And I agree, although I'm only basing my agreement on James Locke...but, hello! Hottie-Hot-Hottie!

Thanks for stopping by Armchair Heroines today.


Donna MacMeans said...

Tiffany - Just wanted to mention that Susan has her own hot historical coming out this fall, MISTRESS BY MISTAKE. It's her debut and it's wonderful. A fabulous fresh voice, as they say.

Donna MacMeans said...

Jeanne - LOL - I wonder if the art supply stores saw an increase in their brush sales after Mrs. Brimley hit the stands? They probably thought the spike was due to Christmas sales. Little did they know...

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Another Bandita swining by to say, Donna's Fuzzy Navel Cake is TO DIE FOR! It was such great fun getting together in DC this year and Donna's cake really capped off the occasion.

Can't wait for Nashville!


Chiron said...

Hello Donna!

Wow, what a great premise for a book. Naked Victorian thief in the moonlight. I'm chuckling just considering the idea! Your book sounds amazing and please-oh-please save me a slice of the Mississippi Mud Pie!

Great interview, Tiffany. Loved it.

Chiron O'Keefe
The Write Soul:

Donna MacMeans said...

Chiron - I had so much fun writing this. Her ability to stay invisible depends on the strength of the moonlight. If she's out and about "au natural" on a night with a partial moon and the moon slips behind a cloud, she'll start to become visible - and that's a problem. If she's fully dressed and gets caught in a clear beam of moonlight, her skin will start to fade to transparancy - and that's a problem. Of course, both of these events happen.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi AC -

Glad you liked the cake. It's a great cake to serve for tailgating. Nothing like a pre-game buzz :) I contributed the recipe for the cake to a collection Lori Foster put together with Samhain Publishing. The proceeds, I believe, go to a fund for the Troops. The name of the collection is THE WRITE STUFF
ISBN 1-59998-653-1. Lots of Romance authors in there.

jo robertson said...

What a great interview! I'm one of the Romance Bandits and I learned some new things about Donna. Thanks for having her, Tiffany.

Kudos on all the awards for Moonlight, Donna. It has such a novel, clever premise. I've got Seduction of a Duke on my "reward" shelf. That's for when I've finished my current revision and I get a big, fat reward. Yay, Donna!

And truly, it goes without saying that Mrs. Brimley is one of the best recent historicals I've read. So excellent!

Tiffany James said...


Congratulations! How exciting for you. I'll definitely watch for that one.

Tiffany :0)

Tiffany James said...

Hello, Aunty Cindy!

Now I'm doubly jealous! You got to have cake and eat it too?! Sheesh, I have got to get my little behind to Nationals! :0)

Thanks for stopping by!


Tiffany James said...

Hi, Chiron!

So glad you enjoyed the interview! You'll love Donna's book! It's funny and unique and heartwarming.

Lusinda a pretty cool chick and I love her vanishing trick, but James Locke is no slouch either!

Thanks for joining us!


Tiffany James said...


Thanks for joining us today! Glad I could give you some insight into Donna's psyche.


Tiffany James said...


I'll have to check out THE WRITE STUFF!


Beth said...

Hey, Donna and Tiffany - another Bandita dropping by! Great interview *g*

I loved TTWM! Especially the heroine's family and the hints of them having other paranormal gifts :-)

Seduction of a Duke is in my TBR pile and I can't WAIT to read it!

Donna MacMeans said...

Jo & Beth - Beth, it was so good to see you in Washington. Jo - it was so disheartening NOT to see you in Washington (sigh). Hopefully, in Nashville.

Of course, Beth, does some cooking herself. Her most recent Superromance, A NOT-SO-PERFECT PAST, features a heroine with a bakery (yum)and a hunky hero (yum-yum).

Caren Crane said...

What a great interview, Tiffany! Of course, it helps to have a stellar interviewee. (Donna did NOT pay me to say that.) I'm one of the Romance Bandits and I have to say that Donna is as fascinating as her books and a ton of fun at conference. She has dragged our unofficial mascot, the Golden Rooster, all over the country (including to RT).

The Trouble With Moonlight was a fantastic book. I, personally, would love more Victorian paranormals. People were so fascinated with the unknown in Victorian times that it seems a natural fit to me. Of course, if I can't have those, I suppose I'll have to content myself with more fantastic straight Victorian romances. *eg*

lastnerve said...

Hi there Donna!
I haven't read the books yet but just got done reading the interview and loved it. Just wanted to stop by and show some love! A HUGE CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR RT WIN!


Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Caren - I forgot to mention about the Golden Rooster. Yes, I'm the one usually chaperoning the golden rooster (really a puppet and often mistaken for a chicken) at RT and various reader events. He's the mascot for the Romance Bandits and more importantly, an ice breaker. If you see a strange lady wearing a hat with a black ostrich plume, sporting a rooster in her arms - that's me. No need to be afraid. Just come up and say Hi :)

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Lastnerve (cool name!) - Thanks for the congrats on the RT win. It was a real surprise. There were four finalists and the other three were all writers that I truly admire with scores of books to their credit. I figured it was an honor to be nominated - but I'd never be picked. When they announced my name, I wanted to shout - "But I'm not worthy!" Of course, I didn't. The plaque is hanging about my desk and I look at it on those "I can't write" days.

Donna MacMeans said...

Woohoo! I get to share - just got an email that The Trouble with Moonlight is a finalist in the Aspen Gold Published Authors contest - paranormal category. Cross your fingers for me!

Saralee said...

HI, Donna!

I loved, loved, loved TTWM -- it was just my style of read, with a heroined who has cool powers and a hero who's hot enough to figure her out.

Great interview, ladies!


Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Saralee - Thanks for coming by. One of my favorite parts of TTWM was the epilogue - not that I wanted the story to end, but it was fun to write.

Tiffany James said...


Thanks for joining us and glad you enjoyed the interview!

I'm adding A Not So Perfect Past to my ladies are going to bankrupt me...ah, but what a way to go, eh?!


Tiffany James said...


Thanks for stopping by! That's right - I've seen pictures of the fabled Golden Rooster. He gets around, doesn't he?

I'm so looking forward to getting to Nashville! I hope I have a chance to meet all of the Bandits and get a peck on the cheek from the Golden Rooster. :0)

And I agree - Victorian paranormals are awesome!


Tiffany James said...


Great to see you. Glad you enjoyed getting to know Donna!


Tiffany James said...


I've been trying to verbalize that very thought since reading TTWM! That is one of the things I found sooo fresh - that Locke is intrigued by Lusinda and her gift. And we all want a significant other who can figure us out, don't we? Well, maybe not everything. :0)

Thanks for joining us!


Tiffany James said...


I loved the epilogue! One of my frustrations with romance novels lately is that there's not enough at the end. I've suffered with these characters for 300 darn pages! I want to see them happy together, living life and not just for two pages. You did that beautifully with the epilogue. :0)


Tiffany James said...

OK, ladies!

You have a few more hours to comment. I'll be announcing the winner of The Trouble with Moonlight tomorrow morning. I'm going to go through and pull out the people who haven't read TTWM, and then have the winner chosen randomly.

See you all in the morning and thanks so much for being her!


Helen Hardt said...

Donna, The Trouble with Moonlight sounds fantastic! I love books that are unique. I hope I win! As for Mrs. Brimley, I echo Susan -- you had me at striptease ;).


Chiron said...

Congrats on being a finalist!! Good luck!

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Helen!

I thought the premise of an invisible heroine was pretty unique esp. for a romance. However, about two months after its release, Elizabeth Boyle released a Regency romance with an invisible heroine - do you believe it! LOL. Hers didn't have the moonlight complication, though. I wanted to set my heroine up so that she can no control over her particular talent so that it would become more of a curse.

However, just goes to show that these ideas are just floating in the air. Nothing to stop multiple people from reaching up and pulling them down - and interpreting it in their own unique way, of course.

Eva S said...

Thanks for the great interview!
I love Mrs Brimley and would love to read this one too!

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Eva -

If you like Mrs. Brimley - don't forget to check out The Seduction of a Duke, which is William's story. Nicholas and Emma come back as well - it's like a reunion!