Molly O’Keefe sold her first book to Harlequin when she was 25 and recently branched out with a series of longer contemporary romances, which has introduced her to a whole new audience (including me). She’s best known for her beautifully crafted characters and the mix of humor and emotion she injects her stories with. I’m so happy to have her here today giving away a copy of her upcoming novel Crazy Thing Called Love. Welcome, Molly!
Thanks Kat for having me!!
1. Crazy Thing Called Love is the third novel in your Crooked Creek series, which revolves around a ranch in Texas. How do these characters fit in with the characters from the first two books, Can’t Buy Me Love and Can’t Hurry Love? And should the books be read in order, or do they work as standalone novels?
Billy Wilkins is introduced in Can’t Buy Me Love and there is a small little tease at the end of Can’t Hurry Love with Billy and Maddy – but Crazy Thing Called Love is a stand alone.
The first two can also be read as stand-alones, though Victoria (the heroine in Can’t Hurry Love) has a subplot in the first. All of this is to say – in order or out of order – you’ll be fine.
And there’s really not much ranch in the third book. We go back to Hockey.
2. I love reading sports romances—so much that my debut novel features a professional rugby player. What would you say are the key elements to writing a successful sports romance (I ask completely selfishly, since I’m hoping to get the chance to write more!)?
Oh! My husband is a rugby player and we went to New Zealand two years ago to watch the World Cup and I have some out of control crushes on the All Blacks! I am totally looking forward to your book!
I think the key to a good sports romance is to use the sports to serve and complicate the romance and the character. If the fact that the hero is a sports star isn’t a key part of his character or plot and his job could just as easily be contractor or billionaire business man – you’re missing the point of using a sports hero.
I also think there is something interesting about what professionals sports ask from the men and women that play it. It’s not all glory and money and playboy athletes behaving badly. There’s sacrifice and failure and compromise. That’s fascinating to me.
3. I was completely hooked by the teaser for Crazy Thing Called Love, which shows why Maddy and Billy’s young marriage breaks up. In fact, I’ve been thinking about it for weeks because I first fell in love with the characters in your story “All I Want for Christmas is You”, where Maddy’s a teenager trying to figure out whether she should marry her boyfriend Billy. What made you decide to tell their backstory in a novella?
Crazy Thing Called Love covers a whole lot of years – there are flashbacks that touch on Maddy and Billy’s history, plus the romance in present day. However, Bantam was putting together this holiday anthology and my editor thought it would be great for me to write a story about Billy and Maddy. Initially, I was flummoxed – I thought I’d covered their WHOLE story. But then I started to think about their decision to get married very young and what that entailed. So, All I Want For Christmas was born.
4. One thing I love about your novels is that you never shy away from difficult characters. Whether you’re redeeming a bad boy or helping a downtrodden woman grow a backbone, your books always seem to feature characters who face deep internal challenges. What draws you to explore difficult personalities?
I worry that it’s because I myself might be difficult? But let’s not go into that.
A love story is a character story, even if there’s tons of plot – the basics of romance is a character changing and growing. And I feel like for a really satisfying Happily Ever After, the characters have to change a lot. I also really like redemption stories and for redemption to happen, the character has to do something really bad. Something that is difficult to forgive and it’s a fun line to push to figure out how difficult you can make someone.
5. Random speed-dating-style questions:
a. Favorite place you’ve ever traveled to: New Zealand – Hot Water Beach. One of the best days of my life.
b. If you had to be someone else for a day, who would you be and why? Ohhh…man. I often wish my husband I could switch places for a day so we could better understand what we do all day. But mostly, I would like to be Fergie. To look like that for one day – and I’d be cool with Josh for 24 hours.
c. (I’m guessing you mean Fergie from Black Eyed Peas, not the Duchess of York) What’s the most reckless thing you’ve ever done? Feels so long since I’ve been reckless. But the first time I moved to Canada – for a boy. I had no job. I was 21 years old. I didn’t come up legally. It was a mess and doomed to fail, but you couldn’t tell me that at the time.
Molly’s giving away a copy of Crazy Thing Called Love to one lucky commenter. I’ll randomly choose the winner on Tuesday January 29th, which is the day it’s released. Good luck!
Dallas TV morning show host Madelyn Cornish is poised, perfect, and unflappable, from her glossy smile to her sleek professionalism. No one knows that her iron will guards a shattered heart, and memories of a man she’s determined to lock out. Until that man shows up at a morning meeting like a bad dream: Billy Wilkins, sexy hockey superstar on a tailspin—still skating, still fighting, and still her ex-husband.
Now the producers want this poster child for bad behavior to undergo an on-air makeover, and Billy, who has nothing to lose, agrees to the project. It’s his only chance to get near Maddy again, and fight for the right things this time around. He believes in the fire in Maddy’s whisky eyes, and the passion that ignites the air between them. This bad boy heartbreaker wants a last shot to be redeemed by the only thing that matters: Maddy’s love.
I already have Can’t Buy Me Love on my shelf and I’ll read it ASAP! The blurb of Crazy Thing Called Love sounds awesome. Can’t wait to get my hands on it!
Thanks for the chance to win a copy 🙂
I admit I’m not a big fan of Sports Romance, but recently I have just finished reading a novel about a rugby player, a New Zealand All Blacks and really like it, it make me curious so I look up on google about All Blacks. I think I will read more Sports Romance. ^^
Thanks Molly & Kat for this chance to win Crazy Thing Called Love.
Ooh, what was the title of the book you read, Izz? My debut is a rugby romance set in England, and I haven’t come across any other rugby romances. I’d love to read it.
i’m looking for sports romance so this one would be a fabulous discovery for me
thank you a lot for the giveaway
I not really read about sports romance, because i always buy books because the cover, and thus my collection books have a lot paranormal and historical genre. But i read Chicago Stars / Bonner Brothers series from Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and i love it. This was my only sports romance books i reading, and i still find another sports romance books. This books sound interesting, i am looking forward to read it.
Thanks for sharing this post 🙂
Susan Elizabeth Phillips is my all-time favorite! She’s the reason I fell in love with contemporary romance. 🙂
I have this on my wish list. Just recently “found” Molly and have read everything i can find. I love her characters, so it doesnt matter if this book is about sports or cooking. Her books give us so muchore than just a HEA. Love to win a copy of this book.
TrishJ, you totally nailed why I love Molly’s books. They just always give so much more than I’m expecting.
It is on my wish list also. I LOVE sports related books; there are not enuf of them. LOL.
HA!!! No not Fergie Duchess of York – though that would be HILARIOUS. No I meant the pop princess married to the hot guy. Thanks Kat so much for having me. And I love seeing all the sports romance love in the comments!!
You’re so welcome! And I’m really pleased to see all sporty love, too!
Just read the novella and wondered about it. Didn’t even connect the 2 now I must read.
I LOVE your books Molly! I am pretty sure I have read them all 🙂 They just keep getting better and better and I never can put them down! Thank you for sharing your talent with us and I look forward to many more <3
thanks so much Valentina! I hope you enjoy the new one!
I’m looking forward to reading your book! It sounds awesome! Thank you for a chance to win!
It looks ike a great book!
Sounds like a great read…. Thanks for the chance to win Crazy thin Called Love… I love your books and can’t wait to read this book sounds like a pretty good read.
Hi, Kat and Molly! Molly, I love your books and am looking forward to reading Crazy Thing Called Love. Thanks for the giveaway!
Hi Cathy! *waves* Good luck with the giveaway!
I really loved the first two books in this series and the Christmas short story has really whetted my appetite for Maddie and Billy! I love how Ms.O’Keefe takes traditional plots and gives them a new twist and that not everything in her books is beautiful and full of sunshine but that there are real problems.
Thanks for the giveaway!
It seems hard to do a great job with backstory flashbacks and the present day, but when they’re done beautifully they become my favorites. I can’t wait to check this one out!
I read Can’t Buy Me Love over the holidays and loved it, especially because both Tara Jean and Luc have real challenges to face in their own lives, let alone together, and Tara especially is very prickly and sometimes hard to like. I can’t wait to read Crazy Thing Called Love.
I am so looking forward to reading Crazy Little Thing Called Love! I love sports romance stories & the fact that this is a 2nd chance story makes it even more appealing.
I didn’t realize the characters’ back story was the novella in Naughty and Nice. Just 1 more reason to buy that book as well! 🙂
Thanks for the chance to win a copy of the book.
This is a new author and series for me. I will have to check out the previous books from this series also. Love finding new authors and books. Definately like the covers, yummy.
I have read some of her previous work and loved it, I can’t wait to read this new one! Thanks for the interview and giving us the chance to win such a great prize 🙂
I enjoy sports romances. I have the first book, Can’t Hurry Love, in my TBR pile.and hope to read it soon.
I like novels tat mix sports and romance. I haven’t read any of Molly’s books, so I am happy to add a new author to my list.
I like second chance love stories and sports romances so this sounds like a must read for me. Thanks for the giveaway!
Thanks for the contest. Love sports themed books.
I too love sports related stories. Thanks for giving away a copy.
I’ve heard so many great things about Molly’s books and I enjoy the sports romances too! Will have to check these out!
I am in LOVE with Molly’s writing and this series. The second book is truly one of my favorite romance books. It was gritty and real and let’s be honest: who doesn’t LOVE a cowboy 😉
Can’t WAIT for this one too!
I love the titles of your books, they stay in the mind, and I love the wonderful purple color used on the cover, so eye appealing!
Nice choice to switch places with.
I haven’t read Molly’s stories yet, but I can tell from her answers that her books must be a lot of fun!
Great interview! Sounds like a good book & series also. I have the Naughty & Nice anthology & somehow, Christmas came & went & I have that and another few Christmas books still unread. Now that I know your story is related to the new book, I will make sure to read it. Thanks!
Christmas came and went with a lot of things for me!! I’m still working on my to-do list from that time. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy Naughty and Nice!
Sounds like another great book, Molly. Thank you for the chance to win – and for the interview. Best of luck with it.
Great excerpt! Another book to add to my TBL! Thank you for the chance to win!