With her cute new contemporary romance release, A Song for Sophie, named "Best Book" this week by Long and Short Reviews, and a nomination for the Ind'Tales Rone awards, prolific contemporary, lighthearted romance author Mackenzie Crowne has had a busy year. She sat down with me for a little chat about her latest releases. Since I learned she was a local girl, I simply had to get her here for the scoop on she and her works, specifically, since I have read A Song for Sophie and have several more of her titles on my to be read lists. So without further ado, I hope you enjoy our...
Conversation with Romance author Mackenzie Crowne
Hi, Mac. Thanks for spending time with me for this interview. Why don’t you tell my readers a little about yourself and your work? How did you first become acquainted with the romance genre?
Mackenzie Crowne: I come from a huge Irish clan. Lots of siblings and cousins and I love and enjoy all of them. I’m a wife, mother and grandmother. I’ve been married to that cute guy from high school for more years than I care to count. We have two boys, and though I’m not sure how we pulled it off, we managed to raise them into fine men. As for the romance genre, I’ve been a romance junkie since I was a teenager and would read a romance, out loud, to my best friend, every weekend at the beach each summer.
What was the inspiration for The Billionaire’s Con?
Mac: Honestly? Meggy, the heroine, was the inspiration. She came to life as a secondary character in another story (Cara O’Shea’s Return spring 2014). As Cara’s best friend, Meggy just wouldn’t shut up. I fell in love with her, but she kept pestering me to fill in her history more completely until I couldn’t stand it. Her story came out first. Cara’s is actually a prequel in which Meggy plays a big, juicy part.
Cara O'Shea's Return is your fifth published work. Do you have any advice for those writers who are just starting out?
Mac: #1. Keep writing with an eye toward improving your craft. The more you do something, the better you get at it. I’m not kidding. I constantly look back at work I finished earlier, sometimes just a couple of months ago, and cringe thinking, wow, if I only knew then what I know now.
#2 ties into #1. Start building your social media peer group right now. Follow your favorite authors, especially those who are up and coming. Search for them on FB and Twitter, and befriend them. You’ll need contacts for promotion when you get that contract and romance authors are the most generous people in the world. Not only will you make some incredible friends who understand the concept of voices in your head, their blogs are treasure troves of knowledge and information. And hit up some editors blogs while you’re at it, like the one at The Wild Rose Press. Yeah, that sounds like a shameless plug, but you’ll find free, shiny gems there. I promise.
#3. Don’t be thin skinned about your writing. You WILL meet an editor who will rip your work to shreds, but if they are any good, they will tell you why and help you put it back together so it shines. Suck up every drop of knowledge from these experiences. You’ll be glad you did, and so will your readers.
Good advice. If you weren’t a writer, what career might you have pursued instead?
Mac: I can’t imagine not writing, but if I couldn’t, I probably would have ended up on the stage. Not that I’m one of the beautiful people. Hell no. Think Carole Burnett at a beauty contest. I’m the daughter of an Irishman who was never happier than when in front of a crowd. Blarney flows in my veins.
You've had several more releases since The Billionaire’s Con, debuted. What can curious fans expect from you next?
Now for a fun question: If you were a celebrity chef, like Meggy in The Billionaire's Con, what would your signature dish be? Can you share a recipe with us?
Mac: Oh, I’m not much of a cook. In fact, my friends tease me about having to dust my over before popping that frozen pizza in. But let’s see. Hmmm. Okay, I’ve got a recipe that’s easy enough even I can pull it off. You’ll need sliced bread, butter and a toaster…Oh, never mind. Any recipe I share would probably give you food poisoning. :)
*giggles* I’m sure that’s not the case. Let me just give that hubby of yours a call and see what he has to say about this…. ;)
After eight years of self-imposed exile, shy bombshell Cara O'Shea returns to her hometown to create her art in peace. Big city living has left her craving the quiet only a small town can offer. Bitter over the wreckage of her father's infidelity, she risks town gossip, and her heart, when she enlists the town's football hero to help renovate her studio and mend a decade-old rift.
A career-ending injury and a failed marriage leave Michael "Finn" Finnegan questioning his worth and avoiding anything smacking of permanence. A playboy lifestyle soothes his battered ego, but lately the pretense has lost its appeal. However, one look at Cara, with her expressive green eyes and bunny-of-the-month body, and he's hell-bent on proving his worth with the shy artist--and himself.
As old truths are revealed, will Cara and Finn overcome the mistakes of the past, trust their hearts at last, and take a chance on love?
He held her tight.
“Lighten up, O’Shea. It was a compliment. I like your hair down.” He tilted his head to peer into her eyes as he rumbled his absurd comment. “The way you wore it last night.”
Mere inches separated her face from his and her lips tightened in annoyance. Did he actually expect her to respond to that? Stick to the plan, Cara. Ignore him. She stared blankly over his shoulder.
“All those wild curls beg a man to sink his fingers in to see if they’re as soft as they appear.”
Her mouth twitched with the need to respond. Okay, maybe someone who’d spent his life being slammed to the ground by three-hundred-pound behemoths wasn’t capable of reading the subtleties of body language. He probably had his brain scrambled so often he needed verbal cues to understand not all women appreciated his brand of juvenile machismo.
“You know, Finnegan,” she spoke nonchalantly, staring straight ahead as though he didn’t bother her at all. “There are medications that can help lessen the mental complications of brain damage from repeated concussions. Someone in the front office of the NFL should be able to give you the name of a doctor who can prescribe them.”
He chuckled, and she made the mistake of shifting her eyes back to his. They twinkled with mirth above a bright, white smile. The riotous fluttering in her belly brought a slight rush of nausea. Dismayed to discover those damn butterflies weren’t dead after all, she looked away.
Was brain damage contagious?
The daughter of Wall Street's most notorious stock swindler, dog trainer Rylee Pierce has perfected the art of flying beneath society's radar. Prosecutor Cooper Reed is a threat to her carefully hidden truths, but how is a woman supposed to resist a man capable of handling a psychotic Great Dane while charming her out of her panties before she has the chance to blink?
“This dating thing?”
“Or whatever it is you’re after,” she repeated. As he closed the distance, she stepped back and bumped up against the shark cage. She slapped her spread fingers against his chest to prevent him from coming any closer. “I’m not in the market for a relationship right now.”
“Then we don’t have a problem, because neither am I.” He brushed a fingertip over the perfect skin of her cheekbone. “So, here’s what I suggest.”
Her eyelids fluttered, pupils dilating, and reluctant temptation replaced the wariness in her dark orbs. Still, she kept a defensive hand on his chest.
“If you insist on negotiating when I’ve already explained my concerns,” she said, holding his gaze, “I’d rather you didn’t touch me.”
He checked the urge to kiss her at the artless admission of finding his touch disturbing. Instead, he moved his hand to the cage beside her head. He wrapped his fingers around the metal bar and dipped his head, bringing his face closer to hers. She blinked but held her ground, boldly meeting his gaze.
Beau is the bad boy of country music, Sophie is his balls-to-the wall assistant. Put them together, and watch the sparks fly.
Jobless, practically homeless, and tired of being manless, Sophie Taylor jumps at the chance to be Beaumont Walker's personal assistant. Six weeks on the road with country music's bad boy--and, more importantly, his all-male crew--is the perfect opportunity to change her life.
Beau Walker doesn't need any more distractions. Sophie, with her butt-ugly suits and balls-to-the-wall attitude, shouldn't be one, but she proves to be distracting and more--even, surprisingly, a friend. So when he discovers her plan to snag a man from his worldly wise crew, he's determined to protect her from herself.
When Sophie realizes Beau is behind her failure to attract even one member of his crew, the last place she expects to find herself is in his bed. But will one night of passion convince her she's woman enough for him? Or will it destroy their friendship and his budding belief in true love?
His lunch date? Is he insane? His definition of a personal assistant was obviously different than hers. “Now, just a minute.”
Beau ignored Sophie, pulling her toward the wood paneled building. She blinked up at the neon star mounted above the door. A flashing steer rode above the sign announcing the Lonesome Steer Honky Tonk. A few miles outside of Amarillo, she’d driven by the popular bar occasionally, but had never been inside.
“A honky tonk? Really? This isn’t the kind of place I’d expect to find your mother.”
He kept a tight hold on her wrist when she tried to jerk free. “Savanna started her career on the Lonesome Steer’s tiny stage. She makes a point to stop in to see the owner whenever she’s in town.”
Yanking open the door, he pulled her in behind him. Her eyes were slow to adjust to the dim light after the bright sunshine outside. She blinked, glancing around as the door thumped shut behind them. Surprisingly busy for a weekday afternoon, most of the round wooden tables were occupied beyond the large, empty dance floor.
Heads turned at their arrival. Several of the diners called out greetings while others jabbed elbows at their companions and nodded in Beau’s direction.
“Unless you want me to cause a scene in front of your adoring fans, I suggest you let go of my wrist.” Sophie spoke through gritted teeth.
Chef Meggy Calhoun realizes her long-held dream with the opening of Boston’s hottest new culinary experience. Crazy-busy with her new restaurant, she can’t deny a fascination for her hunky new tenant. But will her secret connection to one of New England’s most powerful families poison her recipe for success, and leave her heart flambeed?
Trevor Bryce Christos would do anything to protect the woman who raised him. Even seduce a beautiful con artist disguised as a chef and bent on cashing in on his family’s wealth. Taking up residence in Meggy’s carriage house while disguised as a writer doing research on small town New England is the perfect ploy to catch her at her game. But when the truth of her parentage is revealed, and his ruse exposed, he’ll need the townsfolk’s help with spin control if love is to remain on the menu.
“We had a leak.” She jumped the last two steps to land on the floor, jamming the roller into the pan at the foot of the ladder. “The plumber is there now, dealing with the aftermath.” Reminded of the calamity in her kitchen, she turned a glower on the silent man and quirked a brow. “And you are?”
“Oh, I’m sorry.” Jill rolled her eyes at Meggy and made the introductions. “Meggy Calhoun, this is Trevor Bryce. He’s a writer who’s interested in renting the carriage house. Mr. Bryce, Meggy is one of the owners of Palmer House. She’s also the head chef.”
Fascinated, Meggy watched as the stiff lawyer vanished behind a wicked smile, a flash of white teeth, and dimples. There was nothing stiff about the penetrating gaze that met and held hers. The deep drawl of his voice, when he said hello, reminded her of the smooth slide of the aged whiskey found in Palmer House’s well-stocked bar. She glanced at the hand he held out, and flipped up her own paint-smeared palm. “Sorry, I’m a mess.”
Laugh lines crinkled the tanned skin at the corner of his eyes, and the soft core of femininity within her sighed in appreciation. She’d always had a soft spot for the Greek god type. Looking at Trevor Bryce, she had a sudden craving for feta cheese and ouzo.
Thanks for being with us today, Mac. Before you go, where can my readers learn more about you and your work?
Mac: Thanks so much for sharing your blog with me, Julianne. You’re a peach! A Song for Sophie and all my books are available at The Wild Rose Press and Amazon. I can be found at my home on the web at mackenziecrowne.com, FaceBook and Twitter, or visit my Amazon author page. Stop on by. I love making new friends.
Folks I hope you enjoyed this chat with author Mackenzie Crowne, you can find out more about her at the links above. My thanks to Mac, and we wish her all the best of luck in all her future endeavors!
Until later, then! Keep reading!