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Maybe Too Good To Be True
by Christy McKee
1. What or who inspired you to start writing?
It was definitely who. For as long as I can remember, I’d always created stories in my head, but never thought of writing them down. Guess I looked at them as my personal “internal” entertainment channel. When I discovered that everyone else did not run their own feature films in their heads, I acquiesced to being an odd duck. Even though I went on to write copy for advertising, publishers of college textbooks, and TV news, I never wrote fiction writer.
Inspiration came several years ago when I read about a reader’s/writer’s conference in Savannah, Georgia hosted by Romantic Times. At the time I lived a short hop away in Athens. Some of my favorite authors were doing workshops at the conference so I gave in to a whim and decided to go. What I found was totally unexpected—a group of women who spun stories in their heads just like I did. Epiphany: I am not an odd duck; I’ve just been swimming in the wrong pond.
2. How did you come up with ideas for your books?
Actually, the idea for Maybe Too Good to Be True came out of the Savannah conference. One of the publishers was starting a “Lucky in Love” line and I pitched a “seat of the pants” idea and was asked to send in the first three chapters and a synopsis which I began the instant I returned home. The idea for Too Close for Comfort came from playing the “what if” game over a period of time.
3. What components are necessary for the genre of this novel?
In contemporary romance, the story must be relevant. Since we encompass present day reality, writers should consider addressing—at least peripherally—a current issue like living green, aging parents, or adopting rescue dogs. It’s important to ground your h/h in a location rich in detail that is familiar or believable to readers. Local landmarks, famous street names, like Park Avenue, or sports venues are excellent ways to enrich and legitimize a location. Dialogue should reflect present day idiom, be age appropriate and on target socially. As contemporary romance is based in reality, creating a warm, welcoming destination for your reader is imperative. Our reader is not looking for fantasy but for a believable reality that could happen to them.
4. What expertise did you bring to your writing?
Having worked in radio and television I was geared to writing for thirty and sixty second commercials and PSAs in which every word had to count. Having that background made me a fairly “lean” writer; you’ll never find long descriptive passages or hefty narratives in my work.
5. As far as your writing goes, what are your future plans?
I’m already at work on another contemporary romance, Too Close for Comfort. Also, there’s a ghost mercilessly haunting me to write his story and get him out of his present circumstance. One of my loftiest goals is to have a book contracted as a cable or network TV mini-series.
6. If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?
I would be Gabrielle March from Maybe Too Good to Be True. Why? Because she receives an incredible gift that will allow her to pursue her lifelong goal to run her own video production company, then is forced to face down her overwhelming insecurities and self-doubt to make it happen. As a writer, I’m often plagued with the same kinds of doubts and understand what Gabrielle is up against and must overcome.
7. What is the best and worst advice you ever received? (regarding writing or publishing)
Best: Don’t get it right…get it written. Worst: Put your first book in a drawer and forget about it...forever. If I’d taken that advice, Maybe Too Good to Be True wouldn’t be releasing this month.
8. Do you outline your books or just start writing?
My first book was purely seat of the pants—that was probably why it went through seven incarnations. This spring I took an excellent plotting class with Lori Wilde and it opened my eyes to things we must do before we start writing. Unless we know “what” our characters want and “why” they want it, we can’t efficiently write the story. Trust me, knowing these important things about our h/h doesn’t spoil the adventure of writing, it gives focus and purpose to what you are writing. Save the Cat was immensely helpful for me in the plotting process of my second book.
9. Do you have an all time favorite book? Gone With the Wind
10. Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your book?
Yes, I’m well into my next project, Too Close for Comfort. It’s the story of a woman whose life and reputation are in tatters and she’s dead set on starting over with a squeaky clean slate only to fall for a local hero who’s rocky past stands squarely between them and any chance of a happily ever after.
11. Do you have any family traditions or recipes you might like to share? One of my favorite traditions is Christmas Eve funny presents. A month before Christmas we draw names from each other’s family. You have to make or purchase a funny gift for your selected relative and write a poem to go with it. We’ve had everything from a three foot long comb for a bald uncle to a Lucite toilet seat embedded with coins for our coin collector grandfather. The funny gift exchange is highly anticipated and usually brings us laughter and tears—the happy kind, of course.
12. What is your favorite reality show?
It’s a toss up between The X Factor and American Idol. I love the stories behind each contestant.
13. Who is your favorite actor and actress?
Gerard Butler and Catherine Heigl.
14. If you were a casting director for the film version of your book, who would play your lead roles?
I would cast Rachel McAdams as Gabrielle March and Gerard Butler as Pierce Hastings.
Gabrielle March is summoned to an oceanfront estate in Massachusetts by the matriarch of Atlantic-Hastings International where she is presented with a hefty block of shares as amends for a crime committed against her family. The stock—worth several million dollars—can give her the means to make her dream come true if only she can muster the courage to break free from her past and believe in her unique creative talent.
Pierce Hastings, son of Gabrielle’s benefactress, grudgingly agrees to take her under his wing and acclimate her to Atlantic-Hastings. Never one to mix business with pleasure, Pierce stuns himself when he ignores his own self imposed rule. Gabrielle’s complete lack of artifice, unvarnished honesty and quirky sense of humor are intoxicating to him―and he’s rapidly becoming addicted. He’s blindsided when Gabrielle confesses that, in spite of her growing feelings for him, she will never fit into his world of power and privilege and has no desire to try.
“The fact is, Mr. Hastings, it is not a reporter’s job to be favorable. They are in the business of finding and reporting the truth.”
"Nobly put, Miss March.” The woman certainly didn’t pull any punches.
“I hope this will put you at ease, Mr. Hastings. I own the newspaper. It’s been several years since I single-handedly set out to ruin anyone.”
Sarcasm, even with a lovely Southern accent, was still sarcasm.
"I see.” Pierce sounded duly impressed. “That’s certainly an accomplishment for such a young …” He froze when her eyes narrowed. What the hell was wrong with him? He careened from one blunder to the next.
"Tell me, is it my age or the fact that I’m a woman that bothers you?” Her face was considerably more colorful than the rest of her and he knew it had nothing to do with the heat.
Pierce was no chauvinist and certainly had no prejudice against successful females. After all, he’d been married to a talented trial attorney. Hadn’t he put his wife through law school? Hadn’t he supported Glenna in every way until she made partner in her firm and then announced that she’d changed her mind about having children and, by the way, she didn’t want to be his wife anymore either.
"I didn't mean that you weren't responsible.” His eyes returned to the very entertaining Miss March who had just snapped up the ball and was ready to run with it.
"What would someone like you know about responsibility anyway? You've probably never put in an honest day’s work in your entire over-privileged life. Flying around the world trying to stay one step ahead of reality. One of these days you’re going to have to come down to earth and see what it’s like in the real world.”
Where did the woman get her information? She’d obviously pegged him as some sort of wealthy derelict. Fired up, she was something. Misinformed maybe, but she had balls of steel. "For a newspaper woman, you’re lacking in your facts, Miss...."
So much for him making this easy on her. Was he enjoying making her squirm? "For making a giant leap to the wrong conclusion and for calling you some pretty nasty things."
His blue eyes held hers, giving no clue to his thoughts.
Why didn’t he say something? "Pierce, I made a hasty assumption without bothering to check my facts. If one of my employees did the same, I’d fire them on the spot. It was completely unprofessional. I’m sorry."
"Apology’s not necessary, Gabrielle. Believe me, I’ve been called considerably worse.”
“So, we’re good…we’re even?” After all, he’d put his hands all over her yesterday when Max swiped his sugar cookies.
“Even?” His steely eyes fixed on hers; the black wolf daring Red Riding Hood to blink. “As in the score is tied?”
“Yes.” No way was she going to be the first to blink.
“No.” The wolf’s eyes grew more intense.
“No?” Shit. She almost blinked. “Why not?”
“I only play to win.” He smiled like the true wolf he probably was.
“Good for you. But I don’t want to play anymore.” Snappy repartee wasn’t in her skill set. She took a sip of her still piping hot coffee. Why had she even bothered to apologize? It was just making everything worse.
“Taking your toys and going home, are you?” A sexy chuckle rumbled up from his broad chest.
“No.” She tried to sound blasé, unaffected by his male intensity. “I’m going to enjoy the day and get to know the Hastings family better.”
“Excellent.” He blasted her with a charming smile. “You can start with me.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
My addiction to reading emerged when I was ten and down with measles. My mother, trying to keep me entertained, brought home a stack of Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew books. Within days, I’d consumed them all and asked for more. That’s when it truly began−the pleasure of reading which would eventually lead to my writing.
I can’t pin point precisely when I knew I was different from everyone else−at least from my tight group of hometown friends. Didn’t everyone have movies playing in their heads starring beautiful characters leading adventurous lives in exotic places? NO—they did not. Did that mean they were normal and I was the odd, slightly wacky duck? My answer to that conundrum came when I attended my first writer’s conference in Savannah. Nervous about being on my own at the crowded event, a kindly writer from Texas took me under her wing and introduced me to at least a dozen writers. Surrounded by so many writers who were so like me, I fit right in. I wasn’t an “odd” duck after all; I’d simply been in the wrong pond!
As a result of that conference, my desire and conviction to write blossomed. Still working a full time job at a Louisiana cancer center, I carved out time to write every night and on weekends. My first manuscript went through four incarnations, and a year under the bed, before success came knocking.
Today my family and our two Labs—Lambeau, the Green Bay Packers unofficial mascot and Gracie, who is just plain, sweet Amazing Grace—live in a picturesque little town in Ohio wrapped around a lovely town square with an intricately carved gazebo where weekly band concerts take place all summer long.
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