Chat with Romance Author
Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
today at the Book Boost!
Living The Life of A Romance Writer
As a romance author I live a life of privilege. I jet away to New York on weekends, hang out in Hollywood with famous celebrities. I wear designer jeans and haute couture. Of course I never need to dirty my hands cooking for my family of five or stoop to mundane tasks like the laundry.
My means of transportation, depending on my mood, can be a late model Cadillac sedan, a fire engine red Camaro, or a chauffeur driven limousine. I never have to pump my own gasoline or have the oil changed or fear a flat tire. My team of personal assistants can handle the boring details of my work, pick up the kids from school, make appointments, and even order my groceries so I never need to set foot into a supermarket or discount store.
My bank account is healthy and I never need to worry how to pay for my children’s looming college education. I’m slim, trim, with a perfect hairstyle maintained by my stylist who visits my home each week. I write my quota for the day, then sit back in style or visit the spa to recharge my creative batteries.
Candlelight dinners, Paris getaways, and my own Caribbean island are just some of my perks. My photo graced the cover of Cosmo just last week and I’m slated to appear as Anderson Cooper’s guest host next month. And I write perfect fiction that never requires even the slightest edit. Life’s grand as I live large and luxurious. Oh, yes, it’s perfect, just like something out of a dream.
Whoa, wait a minute. It is a dream. Talk about a wild fantasy. Maybe I should reveal some truth.
Watch me as I juggle the bills with the dexterity of a carnival geek. Come ride along as I ferry my seventeen year twin high school juniors to play practice, school, parties, and to shop for everything from new outfits to notebooks. In an average week, they make at least one out of town trip somewhere for one of their many activities and often depart before the sun rises.
Shadow me as I head home in my faded jeans to drink more coffee and peer at the laptop screen through bleary eyes. On a good day, the words flow like the Mississippi River but sometimes they slow to a trickle. In between, I promote my backlist, spread the news of my latest release and about the time I think I have more time to write, I realize the larder shelves are bare.
I head off to the supermarket where I catch a few whispers about the romance author and her “dirty books” or field off flirtation from locals who think if you write it, you must live the lifestyle. It’s a big event if the weather cooperates long enough for me to relax with a bottle of Moscato wine (red or white, either will do) out on the deck beneath the stars with my husband. I might rush off to one of the larger cities in Missouri once or twice a year to hobnob with other authors but most of the time, it’s takes a stroke of luck or act of Congress to meet a local writer for coffee somewhere.
Because I like to pay bills, eat and keep shoes on my kids, I also substitute teach at the local high school. And let me walk out of the house just once in a faded, worn T-shirt and ripped jeans and you can be sure I’ll run into everyone I’ve ever known plus three new fans who stare at my appearance. Guess they expected diamonds and the tiara!
In everyday life, I’m a wife of almost nineteen years, a mom of three kids and one very spoiled Jack Russell terrier. I have over thirty books, everything from full-length novels to shorts, out from a variety of publishers. My next release is out March 3, a contemporary romance, Urban Renewal, from Champagne Books. I’d like to share the cover, the blurb, an excerpt, and the true life a romance author.
A Note from the Book Boost: Lee Ann, thanks for joining us. I'm impressed that you're recognized about town. Most people I know don't know about my "secret life" as a romance author. So, it was great to hear about your daily reality and it sounds pretty good to me. Please tell us more about your latest.
Movie star Mercedes Montague has it all – the fame, the fortune, and the glittering celebrity lifestyle. But she lost herself somewhere along the way. On a publicity tour for her next movie she realizes she’s just fifty miles from her hometown. Mercedes – real name Marie Dillard – decides to bolt and go home to see if she can find what’s left of herself. Hiding away in her grandparents’ old home in a working class neighborhood she’s haunted by memories and reminders of her first and only love, Joe Shelby.
Marie’s stunned when Joe shows up at her door. Passion kindles between them from the first moment their eyes meet but she won’t let it consume her unless it’s going to include a lasting love. As they renew their relationship, Marie and Joe face many struggles.
Can a movie star return to reality or is love just a distant dream?
As Mercedes Montague she’d locked lips with most of Hollywood’s leading actors, the stars who incited lust in every woman across America from pre-teens to great-grandmas. More than a handful found their way into her bed and onto her expensive silk sheets for intimate encounters yielding physical release but nothing more. Sex turned into a celebrity rodeo as each man tried to prove his talents, to top the others and although maybe Mercedes liked it, Marie loathed it. She hated the lack of any real emotion, any passion beyond the need for another body in the lonely night and the few times she felt a spark with someone always faded fast with morning light.
Joe brought back expectations long forgotten and evoked desire with such depth Marie sank into it as it sucked her down like quicksand. She should fight it but couldn’t and didn’t even want to struggle against it. Her fingers clawed against his plaid flannel shirt as he tightened his grasp on her, his tongue darting into her mouth like an exploring snake. New waves of pleasure brought intense delight and Marie leaned against him so her weak knees wouldn’t dump her onto the floor.
His mouth stirred the ashes of their past and restored dozens of memories, brought back the memory of other kisses just as sweet. Whatever emotions they once claimed, all the old bonds connecting them renewed as power roared to life between them. Marie never knew how long it lasted and she never thought of anything but Joe within the same span. Her world shrunk to this, to his mouth and hers, connected. Driving in St. Joe yesterday she thought she came home but she hadn’t, not until now.
If Joe wanted to take her upstairs, he could and if he decided to have her on the floor between Ma’s living room and dining room, Marie wouldn’t resist. Instead, he pulled back and put her at arm’s length. “See?” he said as a tiny smile flirted with his mouth. “The way I feel about you hasn’t changed, Marie. You still make me crazy.”
“Crazy good or certifiably insane?” she asked, happiness bubbling up from within like a wet weather spring.
Joe chuckled. “Crazy good, I think. Hell, I don’t even know you now and you don’t know me but I’d like to get reacquainted. What do you say?”
His request blindsided her. When she walked away from her celebrity life, she didn’t expect to even see Joe but Marie wanted to spend more time with her first love. “I’d like to, Joe, very much.”
“Good,” Joe said. His blue eyes shimmered now, reminding her of placid lake waters touched with sunshine. “I can’t stay now. Would you like to go out for dinner tonight?”
“Yes,” Marie said. “It may sound like an excuse but I don’t have a thing to wear but I can get something. What time?”
“Is six too early?” Joe asked. “I figure you’re still on California time but by six, the kid’ll have come and gone so he won’t wonder where I’m at, not that he would.”
Her floating happiness threatened to nose dive into despair. “Kid? Are you married?”
Joe shook his head. “I was but she’s dead. The kid’s my step-son. Trust me, he’s a problem child but I’m all he’s got. Six okay?”
Marie made a quick time calculation and sneaked a glance at the clock. “Six thirty would be better,” she said.
“All right,” Joe said. “I’ll pick you up then. Be prepared – I’d like to hear the long version, Marie.”
“Sure,” she said. And I want to hear the story of your life, she thought but didn’t dare speak it aloud, everything you’ve done, about your wife, and why you’re not in the Army. “I’ll be ready.”
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