Friday, March 21, 2014

Special guest: MEGGAN CONNORS!

Today I decided to bring in one of my most favoritest people, to discuss her latest release...Highland Deception.  I had the pleasure of being able to read this book in its earliest form (and again in its most recent) and it is fan-freaking-tastic. I adore the main characters, and was sucked into the plot like a complete fan girl. It's impossible not to fall in love with Kennon/Malcom! (Wait, why do I use two hero names? Well, stick'll find out...)

Tell us about Highland Deception...

I’ll do one better. I’ll give you the blurb.

When Kenneth Mackay, long banished rogue and thief, returns to the Mackay holding at the request of his brother, he has no idea what he might find. He certainly doesn’t expect to be confronted with his twin’s imminent death, or with the plan his brother has concocted.

Ten years before, Malcolm made a tragic mistake, and, to preserve the family name—and his own skin—he allowed Kenneth take the fall. Now that he is dying without an heir, Malcolm intends to atone for his mistake: by giving Kenneth his life back. All Kenneth has to do is assume his brother’s identity. But complicating matters is the unexpected return of Lady Isobel Mackay, the daughter of an English marquess and the wife Malcolm didn’t want.

Isobel barely knows the husband who abandoned her even before her marriage, and she’d long since given up hope of having a real marriage with him. Yet when she returns to the Mackay holding far earlier than expected, she finds her husband a changed man. Despite the hurt between them, Isobel’s heart responds to this man who cares for his entire clan as if there were family. Who, for the first time, cares for her as if she is, too.

Falling in love with her husband had never been part of Isobel’s plan. But when their future is suddenly in peril, Isobel must find a way to save him—from himself and from the deception threatening to tear them apart.

When did your interest in highlanders pique...tell us about the first highlander book you ever read.

I’ve had a thing for highlanders since I started reading Julie Garwood books when I was sixteen. It was either The Gift or The Prize (I read them both during that week). We were on vacation, and I found one of her books in the condo where we were staying. I read that book cover to cover in one night, completely ignoring everything else—including the cute guy who was vacationing with us. Well, not completely ignoring him. Okay, not really ignoring him at all. I was perhaps acutely aware of him from behind my book, but I’ll not admit to anything more that that.

(Incidentally, ignoring him for an entire day did wonders in making him notice me. Go figure. Thanks, Julie.)

That’s when I developed my love of historical romances.

If Kenneth and Malcom were portrayed in a movie, who would play them?

Tyler Hoechlin. With the dark hair and blue eyes, he’s pretty perfect for the role. And he’s fun to look at, even though I feel like a dirty old lady doing it. (He’s not that young, but seriously. He was in Teen Wolf—the one in 2011.)

Isobel is such a tragic character. So wounded and defensive, yet so vulnerable and emotional. Tell us what inspired her character?

I just loved Isobel. She had a big heart, and so wanted to love her husband, but she couldn’t—he’d hurt her too much. I can’t say what really inspired her character, actually… I guess I just thought of this young bride, the youngest of nine daughters of an impoverished marquess, who was bartered off to the first family that paid her father enough money. A girl who is desperately seeking affection, only to find that her husband didn’t want her. How would I feel? Defensive? Angry? 

I think I’d be both of those.

But Isobel has a kind heart. She wants to do what’s right, she wants love, but after all the hurt she’s suffered, she’s scared to. And rightly so. 

What's next for you? What are you working on?

Well, I’m working on the never-ending YA. It’s been a long journey with that book. Now I have a sequel in my head—so it really is going to be the never-ending YA. I’ll be writing that thing on my deathbed. (Oh, but I love those characters. They’re so awesome)

I’ve also been asked to contribute to a historical anthology. I don’t write short—keeping a novella to under 40,000 was torture for me. But I’m going to try my hand at it, and write another western, I think.

I also have a book idea for Ethan Standish, Isobel’s cousin in Highland Deception, so we’ll see how that goes. It’s a crazy, outlandish idea, but I think I can somehow make it work. 

Do you ever get book jealousy? What book do you WISH you'd written and why?

Oh, sure. I loved Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. Jerricho Barrons is the best alpha hero. Actually, I think he’s an Omega hero—he’d eat an alpha for breakfast. I wanted to hate him, because I’m pretty sure I’d hate him in real life, but I just loved him. I thought he was awesome. 

I also get a little bit of book jealousy every time I read a story that makes me cry. Trinity by Leon Uris. Weirdly, The Immortal Highlander by Karen Marie Moning, which I’m not sure made anyone else cry, but I did. I read an unpublished manuscript that made me cry, once, and I swear I will buy that book if it ever goes to publication. Oh, and what else? Let’s see… A Tale of Two Cities and The Count of Monte Cristo make me cry, too, but it’s hard to have book jealousy when the author is dead. After all, any day above ground is a good day. 

Let’s have some fun...pretend you're going into the electric chair tomorrow morning. What is your last meal?

Dude, you know I can’t eat a darn thing and not feel like crap. This is such a cruel question for a reluctantly reformed foodie.

But, I suppose if I have to go, I might as well be praying for death. After all, I have plans to want to go by the time I actually do. 

So, here goes: An appetizer of escargot, with bleu cheese and garlic butter (too much fat does me in). Follow that with a filet mignon, slathered with béarnaise sauce (since I’m allergic to beef). Let’s throw in some crusty, but oh-so-soft sourdough bread (can’t have wheat, either) for good measure, and follow that up with a decadent crème brulee (I’m allergic to eggs, too). 

If the meal doesn’t kill me, I’ll be in so much pain that I won’t mind being electrocuted. But it will be so nice to taste that kind of stuff again. 

Your husband gave you a hall pass. Who do you spend a romantic evening with?

Can I have a devil’s three way? Never mind, I don’t want that, not really. It would either be Viggo Mortensen (because I’m pretty sure a night with him wouldn’t be vanilla—it would be just a shade under too dirty), or Henry Cavill. Or Clive Owen. Or Matt Damon, George Clooney and Brad Pitt all at the same time, but that’s mostly so they can entertain me and be pretty to look at. Or… Well, the list goes on. 

Your dream job (other than being the author of incredible romance) is....

Oh, I always used to answer this question with “a food writer for a travel magazine” back in the days when I could eat stuff and not barf. Did I mention that I’m a reformed foodie? Yeah, God has a totally sick sense of humor. 

Now traveling is hard, because it’s not easy to find gluten free, vegan food on vacation. Not that I’m vegan. I can still eat the bird and the fishes, but there’s so much risk of cross contamination that it’s almost not worth it to eat that stuff at restaurants. Besides, it isn’t fun if it’s not slathered in heavy cream and butter (I’m a southern gal at heart) or deep fried. 

Gah, I miss deep fried… everything. I once had a deep fried Mars bar, way back when I was in England for my Master’s thesis, and it was like eating heaven. I have never put something so awesome into my mouth before or since. Even then, back before the allergies and all that, it made me sick, but it was worth it.

In any case, because travel is hard and I can’t eat much of anything, I guess I’ll have to be super bland and say that it’s the job I have. I like my job. I work with preschoolers with autism. Can’t beat the clientele for cuteness, that’s for sure.

Highland Deception becomes a NYT bestselling novel...where do you go on vacation to celebrate?

Anywhere in the whole world? I’d probably do a European tour, I think. Prague was one of my favorite places ever, but I really want to go back to Scotland. I only skimmed the surface there… Oh, and I want to go to Wales. And to Bruges, in Belgium. Never mind, let’s go back to the European tour part.

Realistically, though, I’d probably buy a new travel trailer. Our current one is super small, but we love to camp, so buying a bigger one would be awesome. One that has a place for the dogs to sleep instead of in Monkey’s bed. And maybe with a door for the parents’ room. That, my friend, would be lovely. A little privacy would be nice. After all, I have to try stuff out for my books. ;)

Good Lord, upon reviewing this interview, I talked a lot about food. That’s actually almost a little embarrassing, like I’m obsessed or something. Oh, wait, I probably am. 

Thanks for having me here today, Brooke!

I'm sure you guys can see why Meggan is one of my favorite people. Funny, witty, a little naughty, and obsessed with food, just like me. What's not to love? Be sure to grab your copy of HIGHLAND DECEPTION HERE! I promise you that you'll be sending me emails of thanks and appreciation once you've finished it. 

It. Is. That. Good. No joke.

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