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 headless 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
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 www.donnamacmeans.com. 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!