This week’s guest is romance writer /interior designer Michele Summers who writes funny, sexy romances with spunky heroines, wacky characters and happily ever after endings. Be sure to read the excerpt from her latest book, Find My Way Home at the end of the Q and A. Get your fans ready, ladies. Welcome to Book Blather, Michele.
Thanks for having me! I’ve been looking forward to this for quite some time. A lot of hard work goes into writing a book and when it’s done…you just want to shout it from the rooftops! *squeeeeeee* Me shouting with delight.
I’m always interested in learning about an author’s journey to publication. Tell us about yours?
Funny, you should ask, but I am one of those people who woke up one morning and said, “I think I’ll write a book.” Now, mind you, we had just been through a hurricane down in Miami and had no power and I was bored to death. Sitting around waiting for the power, fanning ourselves with palm fronds, using our precious ice sparingly, I decided to get productive. Literally, I grabbed a legal pad and started writing. Never actually finished that first draft before I started a new one in earnest on my computer (once power had been restored). And I just sorta’ got hooked. Every hurdle, every rejection, every new thing I learned became a challenge to me. I couldn’t imagine giving up since I’d put so much work and effort into this project. I was like a dog with a bone…I was going to find a way to make it happen. And finally after winning various contests, attending several conferences, ignoring numerous rejections, I received the call about four years later. I still get goose bumps!
In addition to your writing job, you work as an interior decorator. It sounds like the two careers intersect in your book Find My Way Home. The protagonist, Bertie Anderson, is also an interior decorator. How much of you went into creating Bertie?
All the hard grunt work, climbing ladders in heels, attempting jobs you’re not qualified for, dealing with unhappy, unreasonable clients…ALL true! I tried to show some of the non-glamorous parts of interior design, but with humor through Bertie. The actual designing and selection process of what a designer creates is probably a whopping 5%. The rest is all the orchestrating, organizing, processing and making sure crews show up and get the job done along with making the client happy. It’s a lot of juggling, begging, counseling, etc. But when you see the final product…it’s all worth it! Bertie also shares my proclivity to multi-task…we are not proud of that addictive habit.
The logo on your website says, “Southern Charm with a Twist. Where the heroine is always sassy and hero is every girl’s dream.” I sense a lot of thought went into this branding. Is there a story behind it?
LOL! I’m so happy you noticed. Actually, I’ve added a new tagline: Romance Designed to Make You Laugh! I think it captures what I write in nutshell. Yes, I write with a Southern twist because I was born and raised in the South and it comes naturally to me. But my twist is the humor I like to add to all my stories. And I enjoy creating strong, sassy heroines who don’t mind speaking their minds (can’t imagine where I get that…) and of course, I have to have a dreamy, wonderful hero that we’d all like to snatch up and take home and never let go! My next series may or may not take place in the South, but don’t fret, there will be Southern characters popping up on the pages to give it that certain charm.
What’s next for you?
I’m actually finishing the fourth book in the Harmony Homecomings Series as we speak. Book two: Not So New In Town is set to release July, 2015 and it features Bertie’s friend Lucy Doolan who reluctantly comes back to town to help her step-sister who happens to be pregnant and bedridden. Lucy’s a little down on her luck (a cheating, a-hole, ex-boyfriend will do that to you) and she’s not too happy being back in small-town Harmony where everyone knows her business and loves Tweeting about it on a daily basis. Especially when she realizes Brogan Reese, her crush from high school has returned too. Her crush…but her step-sister’s ex-boyfriend! Awkward. Brogan’s home to put a few rumors to rest and he and Lucy find they have more in common than sharing a few high school memories after all. Lots of Southern charm designed to make you laugh!
Would you please share a short excerpt from Find My Way Home? *twist my gumby arm*
Bertie and Keith’s first crazy kiss after Bertie is caught hiding in Keith’s closet.
With quick reflexes, he grabbed her by the hips before she managed to plow him over. All good. Until she realized her breasts were smashed against his bare chest. Oh my! He smelled musky and sweaty…a tantalizing combination. She inhaled his scent deeply. Overcome by the surrounding hotness of Mr. Perfect-Please-Be-Mine, Bertie wobbled on her four-inch heels and appeared to be molding herself to his hard, warm body. Nothing could be further from the truth. Okay, well, maybe it was a little bitty close to the truth.
She glued her gaze to the dark stubble covering his stern jaw, fearing that if she did look down she’d see his low-slung towel, hanging even lower and revealing something pretty darn spectacular, if what she felt pressed against her stomach was any indication.
Something she hadn’t seen in a very long time. Or felt.
Something she didn’t need to see now. Or feel. Because she could almost guarantee that she’d gawk and then do something really stupid, like beg him to take her.
Keith witnessed Bertie’s expressions go from fear to shock to sexual awareness in a matter of seconds, even though she never lowered her sea green eyes past his chin. He wasn’t completely sure, but he could’ve sworn there was an ongoing conversation taking place inside her head. Her generous, plump breasts were pressed up against his chest, and her soft, round hips were burning holes in his hands. He wondered if it would feel as nice if he slid his hands from around her hips to her curvaceous ass.
Bertie’s big eyes went from the color of the sea to dark forest green as they grew wider and more dilated. Shit. This was bad, bad. So bad it felt fucking great. Keith’s knees almost buckled as he felt Bertie take an unsteady breath, making her gorgeous full breasts expand, pulling her closer. Her delectable lips parted and he didn’t think. He just acted, swooping down for a crushing kiss before she could start talking crazy and break the spell.
Bertie froze like a statue, Keith’s lips rocking over hers in a kiss so mind-blowing that he literally took her breath away. She had no idea how long she leaned into him before she realized she wasn’t participating and was missing some really good stuff. Since she didn’t want Mr. Perfect to think he was kissing a total fool, she ran her hands up his strong, defined arms and locked them around his neck as she stood on tiptoes. Not wanting to miss out on probably the best kiss she’d ever experienced, her tongue tangled with his until it became hotter and deeper and more drugging.
Suddenly his large hands were everywhere. One cupped the back of her head, tilting it for better access; the other massaged her bottom until she heard a deep, throaty moan. It took a few seconds to realize it came from her. She couldn’t remember the last time a kiss elicited any kind of emotion from her, much less a deep-throated moan. A thunderbolt shot clear to the soles of her feet. She pressed even closer and gave in to the sensations pouring through her.
Keith jerked back, dropping his hands and ending the best kiss in the whole universe. “Goddammit!” he growled as he retied the loose towel around his lean hips. Bertie clutched her throat with a shaky hand.
What had she done? She needed to dig her way out of this steaming heap of humiliation. She was a professional designer, not a bimbo who hid out in hunky sports celebrities’ closets like a stalker.
“Uh, okay, here’s the thing…your door was open and I wandered in and then I got so absorbed in the bones of the house that—”
“Enough.” Keith stepped even further back, as if Bertie had leprosy, and indicated with a sweep of his arm that she should precede him out of the bedroom. Now. Bertie moved through the door on shaky legs.
“But, I need to ex—”
“Don’t elaborate any further. Look, Ms. Anderson, I’m sure you’re a capable decorator—”
“Designer,” Bertie interrupted as her heels clicked down the hall, making a hollow sound in the vacant house.
“Whatever. This isn’t going to work out,” Keith said behind her in a strained voice. “Let’s forget the whole thing.”
She stopped in the grand foyer, blocking the door while Keith reached around, careful not to touch her as he yanked on the doorknob. “Okay, but the thing is—” Bertie attempted to explain again, her face flushed from embarrassment.
“Thank you for your time and I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to…you know…kiss you. It was a mistake.” Keith held the door open for Bertie, looking not at her but at some fascinating spot over her head, standing as if he were Prince Charles and not a half-naked stud who’d been feasting on her lips only minutes ago.
“Right. A mistake. Well, good luck.” Bertie bolted from the house and down the porch steps as fast as her high heels could carry her. What a hot mess, emphasis on . She couldn’t reach her car fast enough. The minute she slid into her seat, she banged her forehead against the steering wheel. “Fudge. What did I just do?”
She was dazed and disoriented, not from beating her brains out, but from sharing a life-altering kiss with a guy she barely knew. She lifted her head and with a shaky hand shoved the key in the ignition. Her reaction to Keith Morgan was appalling, especially since he clearly couldn’t stand the sight of her and was probably disinfecting with Listerine at this very moment to remove the taste of her from his mouth.
“I am leaving town in three weeks,” Bertie said out loud as she started her car and peeled away from the curb. “A herd of rampaging bulls couldn’t make me stay.”
Thank you again for hosting me! This has been great fun and I hope you enjoy Find My Way Home and look for Not So New in Town in 2015.