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?
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.