Monday, October 8, 2012

Chatting with NY native Ann Montclair - Good Things Come In Tall Packages (#Giveaway)

Welcome to BK Walker Books Etc. I'm so happy you could join me from the beautiful Finger Lakes of New York. I love the Finger Lakes and actually used to live in NY. It's so nice to have a fellow native. Ann will be giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card during her tour, so be sure to comment with your email address for a chance to win :).

BK: Please tell us a little about yourself...
I’m a romance author, an English Professor, a mom and wife. I’m here to promote my first interracial contemporary romance novel titled Good Things Come in Tall Packages.  I’ve also authored two other contemporary romances titled The Billionaire’s Bauble and One Wet Summer.  I love reading and writing and all things romantic. I also love food, dogs, cats, and the great outdoors.

BK: Please tell us a little about your book....
Good Things Come in Tall Packages is about love after loss, about finding common ground with someone who is your polar opposite, and about the importance of family and community. The novel is set in Georgia. The lead characters are an African American doctor named Joe Connors and a Caucasion lawyer named Lucy. They met in One Wet Summer and have their own love story in Good Things Come in Tall Packages. The story is funny, emotional, and a whole heap of sexy.

BK: What inspired you to pen this particular novel?
For the love story part it was my parents. My parents, who are two different races like Joe and Lucy, beat all the odds, defied their parents, and will be married fifty years next spring.  Their love story, though rocky, has been the bedrock of my life.  Overcoming all the negativity was not easy for them.  Nowadays one sees lots of mixed couples, but when my parents wed, it was pretty audacious and certainly unusual. One other person that inspired this story is my son who has Type 1 diabetes.  A character in this novel has it, too, and her struggle and victory are reminiscent of my son’s battle.

BK: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve been a writer with publications since 1993.  I have an MFA in creative writing, and I started publishing poems, short stories, and essays using my real name before I became a romance author.  Ann Montclair is my pen name, and I chose it to distinguish myself from the literary and academic writing I’d already published.

BK: How do you keep your story flowing?
I follow my characters around, and they tell me what to do.  I spend a lot of time prewriting their lives, so by the time I write the novel, I find them fascinating individuals for whom I possess great affection.  I start with a conflict and watch them solve it. In Good Things... the first conflict is that Joe and Lucy met once before, and Lucy spilled her guts and told Joe her sad life story. That moment of uncharacteristic vulnerability made her too embarrassed to contact Joe again, so when they unexpectedly meet up at a wedding, Joe wants to know why she didn’t call, and Lucy just wants to forget anything ever happened.  But Joe is so kind and caring, and so very attractive, she winds up spending the entire reception at his side and then hopes to get him into bed for desert. Of course, something screws up her plan, and that something is the next conflict. A writer has to keep upping the stakes and creating tension in order to draw a reader through the story.

BK: Do you ever run into writer's block, and if so, what do you do to get past it?
I don’t often have writer’s block. If I get it, I’ll read or walk—change things up so I can get back at the story.  If I seriously can’t write, it’s because I don’t want to write. I honor that impulse. For me, writing is about having fun, so when the fun stops, I stop. If I can’t feel what I want my readers to feel, it’s a fail. Mood is very important in romance. Sexy scenes, I need to wiggle.  Funny scenes, I need to laugh, and sad scenes are why I always have Kleenex nearby.
I just had that happen to me in my short story. It shocked me a bit, but I totally understand what you're saying there. It's amazing to have such a connection to your characters :)

BK: What is your writing process like? Do you have any quirks, or must-haves to write?
I will write anywhere, anytime, but I do need coffee and internet access. I like to fact check on the world wide web, and occasionally I need to stop in at Facebook or Twitter just because I’m addicted.

BK: Where do you hope your books/writing will be in the future?
I want to continue writing romance, and I hope that one day people will know who Ann Montclair is—like Nora, Danielle, or Sandra.  I don’t know if that will ever happen, but I certainly know I have many stories to tell and a passion for writing that could create a list like those authors.

BK: What do you hope readers will take away from your books?
I’d like my readers to understand that women who love with all their hearts win. That true love is worth any risk.  That happily ever after is something every good woman deserves. I want readers to laugh, to cry, to set the book down and sigh.  My motto is “Love Triumphs.” I believe it with my whole heart and soul.

BK: What is one piece of advice you received that you carry with you in your writing?
Don’t use too many exclamation points. I had a writing teacher tell me I only get three in a lifetime, so I better use them wisely.

BK: What is one piece of advice you would give to new and aspiring writers?
Write to completion. So many people want to write, but don’t sit down and finish something. No matter how bad you think it is, keep going until you can write The End. Then you can make it better.

BK: Are you currently working on any new projects? What can we expect from you in the future?
I’m in edits for my first Tudor historical romance titled Lady in Deed.  It’ll be out this winter from Musa Publishing. I have another Tudor romance started and a solid synopsis for a romantic suspense.

BK: Where can readers find you?

Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me today. It's been a pleasure having you and I wish you much success in the future.

I grew up sneak-reading all my mom's steamy romance novels. She kept them high on a shelf in her closet and warned, "You better not read those..." Of course, I read them. And now I write them! I strive to take readers on a fun, emotionally charged, and highly sensual ride to happily ever after. Available now: THE BILLIONAIRE'S BAUBLE (Soul Mate Publishing 2011), ONE WET SUMMER (Musa Publishing 2012), and GOOD THINGS COME IN TALL PACKAGES (Musa Publishing 2012). Next up: LADY IN DEED, my debut novel in historical romance set in Tudor England (Musa Publishing Winter 2012).

I am a member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) and a community college English professor. I live in the Finger Lakes region of New York with my sexy hero and our teenage son. Our grown daughter lives in Los Angeles, California--my hometown.

Thanks for learning a little about me. 

Dr. Joe Connors and socialite lawyer Lucy Alcott come from two different worlds, two very different cultures. But will those differences keep them apart when their attraction is too strong to be denied?

When socialite Savannah attorney Lucy Alcott entered the Hyatt looking for fun, martinis, and hot sex, the last thing she expected to find was Dr. Joe Connors. Joe is Lucy's opposite in every way: he’s dark, she’s pale; he’s tall and reserved, she's tiny and vivacious; he wears his compassion and deep spirituality on his sleeve, she wears designer bags and clothes. That night at the Hyatt Lucy found herself not in the arms of a casual encounter but reaching out to a man who challenged the walls she had built around her heart—and when he gave her his number, Lucy knew Joe deserved a woman as warm and tender as he was. So she threw his number away. When an unexpected meeting six months later brings them together again, will Joe overcome Lucy’s fear of losing her heart, or are their two very different worlds destined to keep them apart forever?

 Excerpt One:

The man wanted her.

Lucy felt the passion rolling off of Joe like tidal waves, and she was more than ready to let him knock her off her feet.

“Shall we go upstairs, Joe? I could use a quiet moment with you before we say goodbye again. Every time we’ve been together it’s been in a crowd with music pulsing in the background and drinks in our hands. Let’s be real. Let’s go upstairs and spend some alone time. I won’t bite. Unless you want me to.”

His big smile lit up the room like Georgia sunshine. He stood and proffered his hand, looming above her like an awesome Egyptian statue. Lucy was dwarfed by almost everyone, but Joe was enormous by anyone’s standards. When she’d first met him, despite the fact he was at a medical convention, she’d assumed he played for the NFL. The fact that he possessed brains and brawn made him ideal for bed sport. It hadn’t worked out that night, but tonight…Lucy could hardly wait.

“Should we say goodbye to Ben and Maura?” Lucy cocked her head to scan the crowded room. She spotted them in the center of the ballroom floor, Jessie sandwiched between her parents, standing on her dad’s feet as the happy newlyweds shared a family dance.

“Let’s not bother them. Come on, sweetness.” Joe effortlessly pulled Lucy to her sore feet and put his strong arm around her waist. She hobbled a bit. “Shall I carry you, my Southern Belle?”

Follow the Tour:

September 17:  Rachel Brimble Romance
September 24:   Bodice Ripper Novels
October 8:  Dawn's Reading Nook
October 8:  STOP 2  BK Walker Books Etc.
October 15:  Rogues Angels
October 22:  Sugarbeat's Books
October 29:  The Bunny's Review
November 5:  My Reading Addiction
November 12:  MeganJohnsInvites
November 12: STOP 2  Writers and Authors

Goddess Fish Partner


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting Ann today.

Anonymous said...

That's an interesting idea, characters telling you what to do. It makes sense!


MomJane said...

I really am enjoying the tour. I love the fact that you let you characters tell you a little about what they want you to write.

Love the excerpt.

Mary Preston said...

An inter-racial couple marrying 50 years ago, what courage and LOVE.


Ann Montclair said...

Thanks to BK Walker Books and all those who commented. :)