Welcome to WHAT TO READ WEDNESDAY!
I’m so excited! Today we are featuring author Ann Montclair 🙂 and she’ll be sharing a bit about herself and her new book The Billionaire’s Bauble. I love the premise of this story and can’t wait to learn more. Let’s get started.
I have two children: a grown daughter who lives in California, where I was born and raised, and a twelve year old son. We live in the Finger Lakes of New York in a very small cabin in the woods. My son has diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and my husband and I focus our lives around our son’s needs. I’m a college English professor, so I have a bunch of degrees in English and spend a ton of my time reading and analyzing literature. I love popular culture and enjoy watching TV in the evenings – BRAVO addicted! I am also a published poet and a brand new novelist. That’s way more than five random things!
You sound like one busy lady! What is your favorite feature on a person?
I love hands. They tell me if a person has a work ethic. I adore nail polish, and I get my nails manicured twice a month; but I still hand wash my own dishes every day and garden every summer.
I’m glad to know there’s someone else out there who still washes their dishes by hand. Tell us the last book you’ve read.
Goddess of Vengeance by Jackie Collins. I read her for the first time in a contemporary literature class at UCLA and have worshipped her since. I read everything I can get my hands on. I’ve read literally everything written by Jackie Collins and Sandra Brown—and that’s a long list in and of itself–but I read Shakespeare, Hemingway and Carver, regularly, too.
What do you consider the most frustrating part of becoming an author?
It was hard to find time to write. I knew I had stories to tell, but I kept putting it off. Then one day, I said, “I’m going to write a book.” Three months later I had a 70 thousand word historical romance. It stunk, but it let me know I could do it. I had the ability to imagine a whole world and its people. A few tries later, I had something publishable, and I knew it was good. The characters were alive in my mind, almost real. The plot was tight, the story made me laugh and cry no matter how many times I read it. I was ready, so I sent it out to a few publishers, and within a month I had a contract with Soul Mate Publishing.
I think almost every author can say their first manuscript should never see the light of day. 🙂 What’s the most rewarding part of becoming an author?
The best part of becoming an author is getting to know other writers. Romance writers stick together, promote each other, and read one another’s books. It’s a sisterhood of sorts. I am quite happy to belong.
So true, this is an amazing group! What is a typical writing day for you?
I write five days a week. I get my son off to school and sit down and write. I break for lunch and a walk then write a couple more hours until he comes home. That’s now, while I am on sabbatical. When I return to teaching in the fall, I will have to write in the evenings and on weekends. I imagine my productivity will slow, but I won’t give up writing. I love it too much.
What genre or genres do you write?
I write contemporary romance. It feels immediate and satisfying. Using all the fascinating tidbits I gather about current events seems especially gratifying. I have written two failed historical romances set in Tudor England, and I plan to revise them at some point because I do feel they want and are worthy of homes. But those are back-burnered for the moment while I work on my contemporaries. I have located my voice, my purpose in contemporary romance, and truly, writing and researching is much easier for stories set in current times.
Do you see yourself trying another genre in the future, and if so, which one?
I have plotted a romance novel with suspense elements, and I think I’ll be writing that one after I finish my current Work in Progress.
The Billionaire’s Bauble is a fifty thousand word contemporary romance set in Fairbanks, Alaska and Upstate New York. It is forthcoming from Soul Mate Publishing near Christmastime 2011. Here are the taglines: She wants a soul mate. He wants another bauble. But once fast-track billionaire David Grant meets modern day, home spun sweetheart Sloane Porter, he finds a gem too rare to discard.
Cute, isn’t it? It’s a funny, sexy, heartwarming story about finding and fighting for true love.
Love that tagline! When you were writing your story, what character did you connect with the most and why?
Sloane Porter and I have a few things in common. She possesses common sense, is career oriented, and she wants to make a difference in her world. She is certain true love exists, but she also knows keeping it requires character, morality, and commitment.
Now let’s play LUCKY SEVEN….Pick seven words to describe your book.
The Billionaire’s Bauble is humorous, fast-paced, emotionally gripping, sexually titillating, and smart. (I hope those seven don’t make me seem conceited! I am confident: I’m sure my story has heart and soul and will inspire readers to believe in happily ever after.)
I don’t think you sound conceited, just confident and excited! Through the eyes of your heroine, describe your hero! You can quote her if you want 🙂
David Grant is rich, accomplished, devastatingly handsome, and lonely. He doesn’t know how love works because he’s never seen it modeled. David is a hard working billionaire, an alpha male who thinks he’s invincible, but Sloane recognizes he’s substituted material possessions and financial success for emotional fulfillment. Sloane also recognizes she’s the one person who might teach David what life is really all about.
I like Sloane already. What bores you as a reader?
Uninspired vocabulary, lack of meaningful metaphor, overutilization of clichés – those are giant turn-offs.
Will you share with us what inspired you to write your latest story?
I was inspired to write The Billionaire’s Bauble when Stacy Boyd, senior editor for Harlequin’s Desire line, was taking pitches at my local Romance Writers of America chapter meeting. I had been writing historical romance, but when I found out I could pitch to Stacy, I decided to try a contemporary. I quickly realized I had found my genre when I wrote the story in a month’s time and knew it was worth reading. She rejected my pitch, but I revised the manuscript and Soul Mate picked it up.
Please share an excerpt of your book!
“I’ll be all yours in a moment, Ms. Porter,” David said absentmindedly to the final interviewee entering his plush Fairbanks office. The walnut and steel door swooshed closed as the woman approached his desk. He didn’t glance up from his paper pile, but he could smell a hint of Chanel perfume, and he already liked the confident click clack of the candidate’s heels across his tiled office floor.
“Yes, sir. Take all the time you need,” the applicant purred, and remained standing, waiting for David to ask her to be seated.
He enjoyed making his prospective employees squirm—just a bit—as they waited to find out if their futures would be linked with his Fortune 500 company. Everyone wanted a piece of the pie, but only one person would be hired to become the newest administrative assistant to the CEO and owner of the billion dollar enterprise.
David Grant required a team of personal aids to scurry after him and keep things running smoothly so he could wrangle the S & P and rough up those big city corporate honchos. He smiled to himself. The new figures looked strong, and Grant Oil was set to double up.
David slowly lifted his eyes to observe every detail of the young woman.
He started at her shoes, a serviceable pair of two inch heels. Check. She doesn’t wear stilettos, a sure sign of self-indulgence if worn to the office. Good.
Her legs were lean but strong; he could see calf muscle but no knee. Check. Modesty was key to creating a productive workplace. He didn’t want to see thighs at Grant Oil. He demanded a focused environment, and that meant no glimpses of distracting flesh.
As his inquisitive eyes moved to the woman’s hips, he noted she was full figured despite her athletic legs. Her blue wool pencil skirt did little to hide her feminine curves. Wool was a smart choice because June could be quite cool in Fairbanks, despite the sun’s bright glare.
Her arms were to her sides and her fingers hung loosely. Light pink paint adorned each small nail. No wedding ring decorated her slim pale fingers, though she had quite a nice ornament on her left pinky finger. A 2 carat diamond sparkled in the late afternoon sunshine coming through the giant paned window above his desk. Terrific. She didn’t have a husband to keep her home. David needed assistants who moved as quickly as he did.
The woman’s matching suit coat jacket was finely tailored, and the small leather covered buttons were undone so David could see the crisp white silk shirt that almost disguised a full bosom.
Her throat was long and he could see a pulse. Good. She was nervous despite her calm demeanor. A few wisps of auburn hair had escaped from her chignon, but they curled artfully along her neck, just touching her suited shoulder. David appreciated the softness just a few misplaced hairs could lend to a business woman. A woman should be soft—even in the rugged oil business, he wanted a woman to be a woman.
As he continued his deliberate perusal, he noted her dimpled chin, full pink lips and pert nose. When he finally arrived at her eyes, he almost lost his composure.
“It’s you,” he managed as his throat clamped tight. If he had been kicked in the gut, he couldn’t have been more affected.
A quick flash of recognition quickly became all business as her brilliant green eyes smiled at him, twinkled even. She extended her hand across his glass topped desk and said, “It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance Mr. Grant. Thank you for the opportunity.”
David felt her small hand go instantly hot. He stood then, and she stepped back, pulling her hand from his strong grip. He could see a flash of confusion and then determination well up in her remarkable eyes.
“I understand you are here for a position in my company,” he assuaged. He read her name from the top of her resume again: Sloane Porter. “I apologize for my familiarity, Ms. Porter, but you are the woman I danced with a couple of years ago at Hal’s. Right?”
Her eyes fell to the desktop. “I’m not sure, sir,” Sloane lied.
“Please sit down, Ms. Porter,” he said; his voice sounded annoyingly tight, maybe even gruff, as he motioned her into the sleek steel and leather chair across the desk from his own larger chair.
He sat heavily, shaking his head in disbelief. She certainly must remember the night in question. David knew he hadn’t been able to forget the way she had wend her way to his table and asked him to dance. It had only been one dance, but the heat between them had ignited into a long, slow, amazing kiss—a kiss that had left him wanting to unhook her bra and remove her panties. It hadn’t gone anywhere. The music ended and she left.
No one left David Grant–well, almost no one—and he had not forgotten her. Not for a minute.
Great teaser!! What’s your current WIP?
I wrote another contemporary romance entitled One Wet Summer, and it was picked up by MUSA publishing. It’s set for release in the middle of 2012. The manuscript I am currently writing is titled Good Things Come in Tall Packages, a spin-off of One Wet Summer. In One Wet Summer, the reader is introduced to a sexy, voracious little lawyer named Lucy and a large, handsome, very wise doctor named Joe. They were so compelling, so interesting, they needed their own story; they are the protagonists in my current WIP.
Sounds like a couple of fun books. I’ll be looking forward to reading them too. Do you have any wise words to share with anyone out there on the road to publication?
Write, write, write, and read, read, read. I learned how to write romance by reading romance. Then get involved with a group of writers, and learn as much as you can about the process of writing and publishing. I would not be where I am today without the inspiration and insight offered from the Romance Writers of America.
And finally Ann, where can we find you and your book?
And thank you so much for sharing your book and yourself with us. It’s been a pleasure and I wish you much success with your writing and your books 🙂 Happy Holidays!!!