Interview with RITA finalist Kat Latham (me!) – & giveaway!

Okay, I hope this isn’t too narcissistic, but since I asked all the other RITA® nominees in my category to submit themselves to an interview, I figured I should do it too.

So today we welcome…me!

Kat Latham is a California girl who moved to Europe the day after graduating from UCLA, ditching her tank tops for raincoats. She taught English in Prague and worked as an editor in London before she and her British husband moved to the Netherlands, where they are surrounded by miles and miles of green pasture, canals and Shetland ponies. Kat’s slowly adjusting to life in a place where bicycles and cows seem to outnumber people.

With degrees in English lit and human rights, she loves stories that reflect the humor and emotion of real life. Kat’s other career involves writing and editing for charities, and she’s had the privilege of traveling to Kenya, Ethiopia and India to write about the heroic people helping their communities survive disasters.

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1. Which of your books has been nominated for a RITA, and in what category?
Mine Under the Mistletoe – Romance Novella

2. How do your hero and heroine meet, and what are their first impressions of each other?
Ashley’s a San Diegan who has always dreamed of spending Christmas in London, so she arranges a house-swap through a website…she’ll stay in a stranger’s house while he goes to San Diego and spends the holidays in hers.

Except that a snowstorm shuts Heathrow down before Ollie’s flight to San Diego can take off, so he goes back to his own house and crawls into his bed exhausted, completely forgetting that Ashley is there. Oh yeah, and he’s naked. So she reacts the way you’d probably expect her to.

Here’s one of my favorite passages from their meeting.

Oh, crud. He was polite even when she’d nearly smashed his family jewels. Maybe that was a British way of coping with agony. Would he kick her out of his house? Surely he would understand that she’d thought he was an attacker. She’d saved for this trip for five years and she was finally here, ready to live her childhood fantasies of snow, figgy pudding and men who called each other guv’nor, but she’d just gouged the man’s testicles for heaven’s sake. Hospitality only went so far.

3. What are their best and worst characteristics?
Ashley is very optimistic and sunny, but she can come across as a bit naive. She’s not naive; she’s suffered a lot of hardship in her life. But she’s determined to triumph over it and not to let life’s challenges overwhelm her.

Ollie can be grumpy, but he has shouldered an incredible amount of responsibility and would do absolutely anything for the people he loves. He has made huge sacrifices for his family, but that also makes the holidays difficult for him.

4. Where is this book set, and what makes the setting special?
It’s set in East London, which is one of my favorite places – especially at Christmas. But in the last several years, London has experienced more snowy and icy winters, and it’s not set up to cope with weather like that. Every few years, loads of flights are canceled and pretty much the whole city shuts down.

But there are worse things than being stranded in London at Christmas. 🙂

5. Is this the first time you’ve been a RITA finalist? If not, what books have previously finaled?
It is, and it’s the first year I was eligible! I’m so incredibly excited.

6. Have you read any of the other books that are finalists in your category? If so, which ones?
I’ve read all but one, and I’ll be reading that one before the ceremony. I’m amazed and honored to have been nominated alongside such amazing authors.

7. What was the first thing you did when you found out you were a RITA finalist?
I was out having lunch with a friend and found out as I was leaving the restaurant, so I called my editor, Angela James, and then my agent, Laura Bradford. Then I called my husband.

8. Do you write in genres other than the one you finaled in? If not, are there any genres you would love to write in?
I only write contemporary romance, but I wish I could write historicals, too. I tried once, and it took me weeks to write five pages because I kept looking up historical facts – what clothes would they be wearing? what room would visitors be taken to? what parts of London would’ve been built-up in 18th century London, and what would still have been fields and farmland?

I totally admire historical romance authors!

9. If you win the RITA, who’s the first person you’ll thank in your speech, and why?
My husband for his incredible patience. And my mom, who has been SO supportive – though she swears that she skips the sexy parts of my books.

Speed-dating round

What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever been?
A town called Cesky Krumlov in southern Bohemia, Czech Republic. If you ever get the chance, go there!

If you were stuck on a desert island, what ONE book would you want with you?
Laura Kinsale’s Seize the Fire because it has the sexiest desert-island sex scene EVER.

If you could bring one of your heroes to life for a day, who would you choose?
Spencer Bailey from Knowing the Score (though Matt Ogden from my upcoming book Tempting the Player also tempts me).

Which of your characters is most similar to you?
Caitlyn Sweeney from Knowing the Score…which is funny because I’ve read a few reviews that say she’s really annoying.

Maybe funny isn’t the word I’m looking for. Painful? Yeah, that.

If you weren’t an author, what would be your dream career?
My other career is pretty awesome. I’m a writer and editor for charities working in the development and humanitarian sectors. It’s incredibly inspiring.

What kind of dessert are you hoping they’ll serve at the award ceremony?
I’ll be happy with anything, since I’ve been trying to limit my sugar intake to lose some weight and get healthier. Basically, anyone sitting at my table better watch out because I’ll eat their arms if they get too close to my dessert.

What’s the best compliment a reader could give you?
“Your book made me laugh out loud.”

How would you describe your books?
They reflect all the love, humor and poignancy of real life.

Thanks to a transatlantic house swap, California girl Ashley Turner is finally going to fulfill her lifelong dream of a proper English Christmas. Her holiday plans did not include a sexy stranger climbing into her borrowed bed in the middle of the night. But in the light of day, Ashley can’t help but wonder if Santa has delivered early…

Game designer Oliver Stansfeld can’t wait to leave dreary London—and all its difficult holiday memories—for sunny San Diego. But a freak ice storm and a grounded plane have forced him back to his already-occupied flat. To make up for the mix-up, the least he can do is show his pretty houseguest where to get the perfect Christmas tree before he leaves.

The more time they spend together, the more their attraction grows, and soon Ashley is tempting Oliver to give in to the spirit of the season and snuggle up for the rest of the winter. As the ice melts and flights start taking off again, he must choose between giving in to the past or risking his heart on a chance at love.

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Giveaway!

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Winner will be announced on Monday July 21. Good luck, everyone, and make sure you come back on Monday when I’ll be revealing my cover for Tempting the Player (London Legends #3)!

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Interview with RITA finalist Ruthie Knox – & giveaway!

Welcome to my RITA® award celebration! Hosted by the Romance Writers of America®, the RITAs celebrate outstanding romance novels and novellas. I’m so thrilled to be a finalist in the Romance Novella category, and I’ve asked my fellow RITA® finalists to come tell you more about themselves and their books. I hope you meet some new favorite authors!

Today we welcome Ruthie Knox!

New York Times bestselling author Ruthie Knox writes contemporary romance that’s sexy, witty, and angsty—sometimes all three at once. After training to be a British historian, she became an academic editor instead. Then she got really deeply into knitting, as one does, followed by motherhood and romance novel writing.

Her debut novel, Ride with Me, is probably the only existing cross-country bicycling love story. She followed it up with About Last Night, a London-set romance whose hero has the unlikely name of Neville, and then Room at the Inn, a Christmas novella—both of which were finalists for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award. Her four-book series about the Clark family of Camelot, Ohio, has won accolades for its fresh, funny portrayal of small-town Midwestern life.

Ruthie moonlights as a mother, Tweets incessantly, and bakes a mean focaccia. She’d love to hear from you, so visit her website at www.ruthieknox.com and drop her a line.

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1. Which of your books has been nominated for a RITA, and in what category?
HOW TO MISBEHAVE in romance novella; also ALONG CAME TROUBLE in contemporary romance

2. How do your hero and heroine meet, and what are their first impressions of each other?
Amber works at the community center in Camelot, Ohio, where an addition is being built on. She has to let the contractor, Tony, into and out of the building every morning and evening, and she develops a crush on him — but probably would never have worked up the nerve to talk to him. One afternoon as she’s waiting to lock up, a tornado siren fortuitously traps them in the community center basement together. When the power goes out, things start getting interesting.

Amber’s impression of Tony is that he’s hot, adult, worldly, and would never be interested in someone like her. Tony’s impression of Amber is that she’s attractive and naive, way too young and too good for him.

3. What are their best and worst characteristics?
Tony is a hard worker, loyal, careful, and kind. He takes responsibility — to a fault — and is harder on himself than he should be. He has trouble letting go of mistakes he thinks he’s made.

Amber is very similar — smart, hard-working, kind, loyal. She’s been careful her whole life, and she’s starting to feel trapped by her choices. With Tony, this makes her reckless. She’s also, more so than Tony, had a sheltered life, and she has a fairly narrow perspective on her own gifts and failings.

4. Where is this book set, and what makes the setting special?
The story is set in Camelot, Ohio, and it is the founding novella for the Camelot Series. Camelot is a small town in central Ohio with a liberal arts college and not much else. The town itself is bucolic and charming, but the stories set in Camelot center on the Clark family, which has no connection to the college. The Clarks own an apartment complex in Camelot. The Clark family matriarch, Janet, was a reluctant transplant to the town, and all three of the Clark siblings — Amber, Caleb, and Katie — have complex and variable feelings about their hometown. The series attempts to complicate the sense of what place and family are all about in small-town romance; it considers how, because we all experience the world differently, even close siblings who grow up in a small town are each raised by different parents in a distinct place.

5. Is this the first time you’ve been a RITA finalist? If not, what books have previously finaled?
No, I was lucky enough to final last year with ABOUT LAST NIGHT (contemporary single-title) and ROOM AT THE INN (novella).

6. Have you read any of the other books that are finalists in your category? If so, which ones?
In contemporary romance, I’ve read Molly O’Keefe’s CRAZY THING CALLED LOVE, which is wonderful. I’d be happy to lose to Molly. In romance novella, I haven’t read any of the other finalists. I’d like to get a few read, at least, before the conference!

7. What was the first thing you did when you found out you were a RITA finalist?
I told my family and some friends. It was a busy day, and I didn’t really find any time or way to celebrate — that’s something that’s always hard for me. But I was honored, and I was pleased later when my five-year-old told me, “Congratulations on your book, Mama.”

8. Do you write in genres other than the one you finaled in? If not, are there any genres you would love to write in?
I only write contemporary so far, long and short. I’ve dabbled a little bit in historical, but doubt it will ever be the genre for me!

9. If you win the RITA, who’s the first person you’ll thank in your speech, and why?
Probably Serena Bell, my friend and writing partner, who told me when I was 8,000 words into this story and frustrated that I needed to throw it away and start over. I’ll thank her first because she was right, and because it takes a good friend to tell the truth in a situation like that.

Speed-dating round

What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever been?
Scotland

If you were stuck on a desert island, what ONE book would you want with you?
Gone with the Wind

If you could bring one of your heroes to life for a day, who would you choose?
Caleb from ALONG CAME TROUBLE

Which of your characters is most similar to you?
May from TRULY

If you weren’t an author, what would be your dream career?
Acquisitions editor-in-chief for a publishing house

What kind of dessert are you hoping they’ll serve at the award ceremony?
Cheesecake

What’s the best compliment a reader could give you?
“Your book made a difference in my life/day/morning.”

How would you describe your books?
Humorous but serious

What woman can resist a hot man in a hard hat? New York Times bestselling author Ruthie Knox kicks off her new Camelot series with this deliciously sexy original novella, in which a good girl learns how to misbehave . . . with all her heart.

As program director for the Camelot Community Center, Amber Clark knows how to keep her cool. That is, until a sudden tornado warning forces her to take shelter in a darkened basement with a hunk of man whose sex appeal green lights her every fantasy. With a voice that would melt chocolate, he asks her if she is okay. Now she’s hot all over and wondering: How does a girl make a move?

Building contractor Tony Mazzara was just looking to escape nature’s fury. Instead, he finds himself all tangled up with lovely Amber. Sweet and sexy, she’s ready to unleash her wild side. Their mutual desire reaches a fever pitch and creates a storm of its own—unexpected, powerful, and unforgettable. But is it bigger than Tony can handle? Can he let go of painful memories and let the force of this remarkable woman show him a future he never dreamed existed?

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New York Times bestselling author Ruthie Knox’s Camelot series continues in this sizzling eBook original novel, featuring two headstrong souls who bump heads—and bodies—as temptation and lust bring nothing but delicious trouble.

An accomplished lawyer and driven single mother, Ellen Callahan isn’t looking for any help. She’s doing just fine on her own. So Ellen’s more than a little peeved when her brother, an international pop star, hires a security guard to protect her from a prying press that will stop at nothing to dig up dirt on him. But when the tanned and toned Caleb Clark shows up at her door, Ellen might just have to plead the fifth.

Back home after a deployment in Iraq and looking for work as a civilian, Caleb signs on as Ellen’s bodyguard. After combat in the hot desert sun, this job should be a breeze. But guarding the willful beauty is harder than he imagined—and Caleb can’t resist the temptation to mix business with pleasure. With their desires growing more undeniable by the day, Ellen and Caleb give in to an evening of steamy passion. But will they ever be able to share more than just a one-night stand?

Along Came Trouble is the second book in the Camelot Series.

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Giveaway!

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Winner will be announced on Monday July 21. Make sure you come back tomorrow for another interview and another chance to win!

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Interview with RITA finalist Shannon McNear – & giveaway!

Welcome to my RITA® award celebration! Hosted by the Romance Writers of America®, the RITAs celebrate outstanding romance novels and novellas. I’m so thrilled to be a finalist in the Romance Novella category, and I’ve asked my fellow RITA® finalists to come tell you more about themselves and their books. I hope you meet some new favorite authors!

Today we welcome Shannon McNear!

A Midwestern farm girl transplanted more than 20 years ago to Charleston, South Carolina, then lately to North Dakota, Shannon McNear loves losing herself in local history, especially the colonial era. She’s currently a homeschooling mother, military wife, and a member of ACFW and RWA.

When not sewing, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she finds joy in worship, women’s ministry, and encouraging whoever God brings across her path.

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1. Which of your books has been nominated for a RITA, and in what category?
Defending Truth in A Pioneer Christmas Collection, novella

2. How do your hero and heroine meet, and what are their first impressions of each other?
While out hunting, Truth Bledsoe happens upon a half-starved fugitive Tory. She can’t decide whether to shoot him or feed him—but pity and curiosity win out. Micah Elliot is grateful she didn’t actually shoot, and for a few mouthfuls of food, but he’s wary enough to not give her his real name.

3. What are their best and worst characteristics?
Truth is strong, resourceful, independent—which make her capable of caring for herself and younger siblings in her father’s absence, but she’s also reluctant to ask for help when she does need it. She’s also moved by compassion for Micah’s plight, but later she views this as weakness when she should (she thinks) stand firmly on her principles. Her worst characteristic, as she realizes later, is self-righteousness.

Micah has great protective instincts, and a strong sense of loyalty. He’s a little slow to commit to things, which in some situations might translate as cowardice, but he’s learning to navigate a newfound caution, born of his recent experiences.

4. Where is this book set, and what makes the setting special?
Near the “overmountain” settlements in historic western North Carolina, which is present-day east Tennessee. During the American Revolution, it was officially illegal for white settlers to live there.

5. Is this the first time you’ve been a RITA finalist? If not, what books have previously finaled?
Yes! And with this being my first contracted story, it’s extra special to me. 🙂

6. Have you read any of the other books that are finalists in your category? If so, which ones?
I haven’t, sorry!

7. What was the first thing you did when you found out you were a RITA finalist?
I don’t know, I might have cried? It took a while for it to really sink in. 🙂 I just kept saying “Omigosh!” during the actual call, then after I hung I up, I said to my husband, “I just finaled in the RITA!” and fell across the bed in shock. 🙂 The squeeing came later when one of my writing friends called to congratulate me!

8. Do you write in genres other than the one you finaled in? If not, are there any genres you would love to write in?
I have several fantasy manuscripts (my first love, LOL), but I’ve also written a long contemporary and a long historical.

9. If you win the RITA, who’s the first person you’ll thank in your speech, and why?
Oh man, I don’t know … it sounds cheesy to say, but probably God, because this contract (and the story!) were such an amazing gift. 🙂 The first after Him would be my longtime friend and critique partner, Beth Goddard, since she was the one who tossed the writing opp my way and encouraged/coached/cheered me on at every step.

Speed-dating round

What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever been?
I have to pick one?? I love Charleston SC, but the mountains of NC are also gorgeous. Central Missouri. Umm…and our new home in North Dakota has gone a long way toward seriously winning me over. The northern prairies are beautiful!

If you were stuck on a desert island, what ONE book would you want with you?
The Bible is kind of a no-brainer. After that, C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy, in one volume. Or Lord of the Rings.

If you weren’t an author, what would be your dream career?
Custom sewing–picky, detailed stuff like wedding dresses and historic costuming.

What kind of dessert are you hoping they’ll serve at the award ceremony?
Cheesecake or something with very dark chocolate!

What’s the best compliment a reader could give you?
“I laughed, I cried, it moved me, Bob.” 🙂 Seriously, that it affected them emotionally, gave them hope in some way.

How would you describe your books?
Intense, a little broody, with flashes of light.

Left to care for her siblings at their mountain farm while her father fights the British in the East, Truth Bledsoe tries to remain brave when she finds an emaciated Tory hiding in a cave. Can Micah Elliot convince her that his political leanings have changed and that he can be trusted when her family is put in serious danger?

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Giveaway!

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Winner will be announced on Monday July 21. Make sure you come back tomorrow for another interview and another chance to win!

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Interview with RITA finalist Jane Porter – & giveaway!

Welcome to my RITA® award celebration! Hosted by the Romance Writers of America®, the RITAs celebrate outstanding romance novels and novellas. I’m so thrilled to be a finalist in the Romance Novella category, and I’ve asked my fellow RITA® finalists to come tell you more about themselves and their books. I hope you meet some new favorite authors!

Today we welcome Jane Porter!

Jane PorterThe bestselling author of 47 romances and women’s fiction titles, Jane Porter has been a finalist for the prestigious RITA award five times, and today has over 12 million copies in print.

Porter wrote Flirting with Forty, a novel picked by Redbook Magazine as its Red Hot Summer Read in 2006 before being turned into a Lifetime movie in 2008 starring Heather Locklear. Jane holds an MA in Writing from the University of San Francisco and makes her home in sunny San Clemente, CA with her surfer husband and three sons.

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1. Which of your books has been nominated for a RITA, and in what category?
Take Me, Cowboy – novella category

2. How do your hero and heroine meet, and what are their first impressions of each other?
They meet on a street corner. She’s in her wedding dress, having just been stood up by her fiance, and the hero is driving past in his truck and he thinks she looks like a princess at the bus stop. He’s immediately drawn to her, not recognizing her as the little girl who lived down the street from him. She’s horrified that her childhood heart throb, bullriding champ, Colton Thorpe would be there to witness her moment of shame.

3. What are their best and worst characteristics?
He’s tough, mature, and a risk-taker…and cynical about women and love. She’s hard working, tenacious but has given up her dreams, setting for a loveless marriage that would have been secure.

4. Where is this book set, and what makes the setting special?
Marietta, Montana set in Paradise Valley is a small town of 11,000 where everybody knows something about you…good or bad. I love writing about Montana. I had a grandfather that was a cattle rancher and so the rugged, tough cowboy is in my blood.

5. Is this the first time you’ve been a RITA finalist? If not, what books have previously finaled?
I have finaled 4 other times… 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2010

2003, 2004 and 2010 were with Harlequin Presents in Short Contemp Series

2008 was in single title/mainstream with romantic elements for Odd Mom Out

and then this year with my novellas from Tule Publishing

6. Have you read any of the other books that are finalists in your category? If so, which ones?
I am reading them all! It’s my reward for writing hard under my current deadline.

7. What was the first thing you did when you found out you were a RITA finalist?
I laughed. I couldn’t believe it. And then I told Meghan Farrell, who runs Tule Publishing and then my husband and some author friends.

8. Do you write in genres other than the one you finaled in? If not, are there any genres you would love to write in?
I write women’s fiction and contemp romance of all lengths.

9. If you win the RITA, who’s the first person you’ll thank in your speech, and why?
Wow. That’s a good question. I don’t think I’ll ever win. But if I did win….hmmm….I’d have to thank God for giving me the desire to do something good in the world, and then my Dad (gone since I was 15) thanks for passing the writing gene on to me. But I don’t need to win…just finaling meant the world to me as this is a story I wrote for my readers and it’s my idea of a perfect Jane Porter fairly-tale.

Speed-dating round

What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever been?
Kyoto or Cape Town…one of those. Don’t know how to choose.

If you were stuck on a desert island, what ONE book would you want with you?
The Bible because it has poems, stories, advice, and a lot of pages. It’d hopefully keep me busy for awhile.

If you could bring one of your heroes to life for a day, who would you choose?
I did already. That was my surfer hero in Flirting with Forty. 🙂

If you weren’t an author, what would be your dream career?
Architect. I love building things…

What kind of dessert are you hoping they’ll serve at the award ceremony?
Something with meringue or marshmallow. Maybe chocolate, carmel and marshmallow. Maybe s’mores….?

What’s the best compliment a reader could give you?
You made me feel good.

How would you describe your books?
Emotional, bittersweet, and hopefully at the end, uplifting.

Take Me, CowboyWhen Jenny Wright’s fiancé leaves her standing at the altar in a Vera Wang bridal gown she can’t afford, she’s humiliated and heartbroken. To have Marietta hero bull riding champ Colton Thorpe witness her shame makes the rejection even more devastating.

Jenny and Colton grew up in the same rough neighborhood and they both left home right after school to pursue big dreams. Now they’re both back, with Colton as the celebrity chair for the 75th Copper Mountain Rodeo, and Jenny in disgrace. Sexy, rugged Colton didn’t get to be a national champion by chance. He’s a man that takes risks and goes after what he wants. During the rodeo weekend, Colton makes it clear he wants Jenny. Flustered but flattered, Jenny finds it difficult to resist his charm. But what happens when the rodeo ends and Colton leaves town? Will she dare to dream again?

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Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Winner will be announced on Monday July 21. Make sure you come back tomorrow for another interview and another chance to win!

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Interview with RITA finalist Katharine Ashe – & giveaway!

Welcome to my RITA® award celebration! Hosted by the Romance Writers of America®, the RITAs celebrate outstanding romance novels and novellas. I’m so thrilled to be a finalist in the Romance Novella category, and I’ve asked my fellow RITA® finalists to come tell you more about themselves and their books. I hope you meet some new favorite authors!

Today we welcome Katharine Ashe!

KATHARINE ASHE is the award-winning author of historical romances that reviewers call “intensely lush” and “sensationally intelligent,” including How to Be a Proper Lady, an Amazon Editors’ Choice for the 10 Best Romances of the Year, and 2014 RITA® Award finalist How to Marry a Highlander. She lives in the wonderfully warm Southeast with her beloved husband, son, dog, and a garden she likes to call romantic rather than unkempt.

A professor of history, she writes romance because she thinks modern readers deserve grand adventures and breathtaking sensuality too. For more about her books, please visit www.KatharineAshe.com.

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1. Which of your books has been nominated for a RITA, and in what category?
I’m positively thrilled that How to Marry a Highlander has been nominated in the novella category.

2. How do your hero and heroine meet, and what are their first impressions of each other?
Miss Teresa Finch-Freeworth and Duncan, the Earl of Eads, first see each other at a ball in London. Neither can stop staring. But Duncan has a dark past; Teresa’s best friend knows this, and whisks her away. Months later Teresa has had enough of the prosy parson her parents want her to marry, and determines to make her dream come true of kissing the only man who ever made her heart stop. And possibly do more than kiss. Hopefully. If she can finagle it. A woman with a mission, she goes to Duncan’s flat and, finding him with his seven half-sisters, proposes marriage to him on the spot. But Duncan is down to his last guineas, and he doesn’t have any intention of marrying–especially not the girl he hasn’t been able to get out of his head since he first saw her. He’s been down that road before, and it ended in tragedy. What’s more, he has seven half-sisters to marry off. Undeterred by the shockingly large and virile Scotsman’s refusal, Teresa convinces him to agree to a wager: if she can find husbands for his sisters, he must marry her, but with each husband she finds Duncan must give her increasingly intimate rewards…

3. What are their best and worst characteristics?
The Best Teresa: She’s bright, optimistic, and willing to do anything to achieve her dreams.
The Worst Teresa: She tells tall tales. All the time. Insanely outrageous tales. It’s an outlet for her frustrated, pent up imagination. Only to Duncan can she seem to tell the unvarnished truth. He makes her want to be honest.

The Best Duncan: He is intensely loyal and loving to his half-sisters, responsible, and honorable with women.
The Worst Duncan: After the tragedy he suffered, he did dark deeds for years, for money, and for revenge. For the sake of his sisters, he turned his life around, but his heart has yet to heal enough to let a woman in.

4. Where is this book set, and what makes the setting special?
Teresa’s courtship of the Earl of Eads happens in London. Duncan’s sisters are country girls and ducks out of water in town. In search of husbands, Teresa leads them all over London to the most fashionable venues — drawing rooms and balls and parks and shops. All to no avail. For it seems that the Highland maidens’ suitors are to be found in the most unlikely places…

5. Is this the first time you’ve been a RITA finalist? If not, what books have previously finaled?
First time!

6. Have you read any of the other books that are finalists in your category? If so, which ones?
I haven’t yet. It’s my gift to myself in July for finishing my current book, and I can’t wait!

7. What was the first thing you did when you found out you were a RITA finalist?
I texted my husband and sisters. 🙂

8. Do you write in genres other than the one you finaled in? If not, are there any genres you would love to write in?
I usually write stories set in the Regency-era British empire, and only a few Scots so far. I’ve written time-travel and medieval romance, a Regency ghost story romance, and I’m now writing my first contemporary romance novella.

9. If you win the RITA, who’s the first person you’ll thank in your speech, and why?
The two readers who most inspired me to write the novella. One fell in love with Duncan from the novel in which he first appears (and in which Teresa and Duncan first see each other at the ball), How a Lady Weds a Rogue, and begged me to write his story. The other’s loving, warm, and vivacious personality inspired Teresa’s character.

Speed-dating round

If you could bring one of your heroes to life for a day, who would you choose?
Jin Seton from How to Be a Proper Lady.

What kind of dessert are you hoping they’ll serve at the award ceremony?
Chocolate! Always chocolate!

What’s the best compliment a reader could give you?
I am grateful for and honored by every compliment that readers have given me. They make me smile, laugh in happiness, and sometimes weep with joy. Here’s one that did all three: “You inspire me to be myself and to love like the heroines I love so much.”

With seven troublesome half-sisters to marry off, Duncan, the Earl of Eads has one problem: he’s broke. With the prospect of marriage to the pompous local vicar, Miss Teresa Finch-Freeworth has one dream: to wed the handsome Highlander she saw at a ball.

How does a desperate lady convince a reluctant laird that she’s the perfect bride for him? She strikes a wager! If she can find seven husbands for seven sisters, the earl must marry her.

Duncan has no intention of wedding the meddlesome maiden, and he gives her a deadline even the most audacious matchmaker can’t meet, one month. But Teresa sets terms too: with each bridegroom she finds, the earl must pay her increasingly intimate rewards . . .

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