Love is no joke. But it sure is funny.
Here's a collection of fun little things.
I’m a technical writer. That means I write Frequently Asked Question pages (FAQs) at work. It’s become a bit of a tradition for me to post an FAQ when I have a new book out. So here goes...
So the title of the book is Married by June. Is June a minister or a sea captain or what?
No one in the book is named June. The title means Cooper and Jorie get married in the month of June. Get it?
Your titles are so complicated. Next time try for something more straightforward, would you?
Wanted Man was hard to understand?
It wasn’t about an outlaw, was it?
Let’s move on. Do you have questions about something besides the title?
The hero works as a speechwriter for his brother who is a Senator. Do you have a background in politics?
Yes, I do. I grew up 2 houses away from the childhood home of Vice-President Joe Biden in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
That's it? You grew up near a politician?
Actually, he moved away long before I moved in. I just like to tell people he was my neighbor.* I learned the political stuff for this book the boring way. Research.
If Cooper is this big political guy, don't you think he should have worn a suit instead of a t-shirt on the cover of the book?
Clothes don’t make the man, sister. At Superromance we value unpredictability. Take a look at Mason, the rock star. He wore a tuxedo on the cover of his book.
Are you saying there’s no special reason behind the t-shirt?
Do you need a better reason than, “Holy cow, will you look at the shoulders on that guy?”
Hmm. Actually, that's an excellent reason, isn’t it?
What? I was looking at something and didn’t hear what you said.
*When Joe Biden went back to Scranton recently for a visit, he bought hoagies for his entourage at Hank's Hoagies. I also buy my hoagies for my sons/entourage at Hank's when I'm home in Scranton. We're totally connected.
1. The car on the cover of Calling the Shots is clearly the same car Hailey drives in your earlier book, The Boyfriend’s Back. What’s up with that?
I’m not sure. Either the car is stalking me, which is terrifying to anyone who’s seen Christine, or the Harlequin art department only has one car. Both seem ridiculous and yet, one must be true.
2. In this book the hero, Bryan, is a hockey player. Who is the sexiest hockey player of all time?
3. He’s an actor, not a hockey player.
Okay, first of all, he’s the sexiest person of all-time so he’s always the answer to who’s the sexiest blank questions. Second, he plays a hockey player in Slapshot. I believe this makes him a hockey player.
4. Isn’t there a joke that goes, “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.”
I don’t think so.
5. Yes there is and you know it.
So now you’re a mind reader or do you just play one on TV?
6. Your attitude reminds me that there’s a bully in Calling the Shots. Did you base Allie’s character on your own personality?
7. Well, did you?
No. Also, Allie isn’t a bully. She’s a thirteen-year-old girl and she has issues. With anger.
8. She punches people.
Perhaps those people asked impertinent questions.
9. Are you threatening me?
Are you asking impertinent questions?
10. These FAQs never seem to end well, do they? I'm out of here.
Wait. Don't you want to ask me what kind of research I did for that scene where Bryan and Clare get it on in the backseat of his car?
11. You don't do research. You tell me that every time.
This time I did research. I looked up how to do a wrist shot on YouTube so Bryan could give advice to Clare's son.
12. Excellent...and the backseat sex scene? Did you research that one, too?
1. In the first chapter Sarah’s son gets suspended from school for bringing a knife in his backpack. Would a school really suspend a kid for that?
My friend’s daughter got the boot for a butter knife in her lunch bag. My husband said she must have been using it to spread anarchy.
2. I heard this book includes a Drunken Breakdown scene. What kind of research did you do before you wrote that?
Have you ever seen the movie Barfly with Mickey Rourke? I spent a few weeks immersing myself in that lifestyle, Heh. No, seriously. No research. I’m a writer. I make stuff up.
3. In the book, Charlie is obsessed with Jimmy Rollins from the Philadelphia Phillies. Are you a Phillies fan?
No. Like all good Pittsburgh Pirates fans, I detest the Phillies.
4. So how do you know about Jimmy Rollins?
My niece has a hermit crab named after him.
5. I thought you were going to say you looked him up on Google or Sports Illustrated or something. You really don’t do any research at all, do you?
I think research would harm my process.
6. You have a process?
Yes. I make everything up.
I’ve never even been to Vegas.
8. I thought a writer would be more professional.
You want research, watch a Ken Burns documentary. You want a fake Vegas night with mini-cheescakes, read my romance novel.
9. But there’s a poker scene, right? Don’t you have to know the rules of poker to write a poker scene? That had to be factual.
I actually do know the rules of poker (thanks, Pop!), but Sarah and Charlie cheat their way through the game so it didn’t matter.
10. If they’re cheating, how do they know who wins?
Everybody wins in the poker scene.
Trust me, everybody wins in the poker scene.
12. I don’t know if I should trust you. You just admitted that you make everything up.
This is an FAQ, not a romance novel. I’d never tell lies in an FAQ. Honest.
1. The title is The Boyfriend’s Back, but the cover shows his front. What’s up with that?
Um. Good observation? But the title refers to the fact that The Boyfriend was gone and has now returned. He came back. Get it?
2. See that part on the cover where it says “Going Back?” Is that because her hair is blowing back in the wind? Is it, like, a caption? Because I didn’t think her hair needed a caption.
Well, no. Sorry. You’re 0 for 2 here. Going Back means this book is part of the Superromance themed series about characters who return to their hometowns. In this case, The Boyfriend. He is back. In his hometown. Get it?
3. In the book, JT has a degree in robotics from Carnegie Mellon. You went to Carnegie Mellon. Is your degree in robotics?
Not exactly. My degree is in Creative Writing—that would be the English department, not the engineering school. But I had a job in a robotics lab one time, which is what gave me the idea of sending JT there.
4. So you majored in writing and built robots in your spare time? Cool.
No. I majored in writing and did some writing for a robotics project in my spare time. The project was an early speech recognition program. I had to copy edit the manuscript the robot created. It was pretty cool.
5. It doesn’t sound cool to me.
I guess you’re not a writer/geek like I am.
6. I think I'm okay with that.
Did you have another question?
7. I read the back cover copy and it sounds like a secret baby book—guy leaves home and comes back fifteen years later. Girl has secret she’s afraid to tell him, and she’s got a daughter. Secret baby, right?
Well, fifteen years…not exactly a baby anymore, is it?
8. Are you supposed to be sarcastic when you’re answering these questions?
Sorry. Not a secret baby. Not exactly, anyway.
9. Are you supposed to be evasive when you’re answering these questions?
Argh. Do you want me to give away the entire plot? Is anticipation not part of the fun?
10. Stop answering my questions with questions. So in the cover picture it looks as if Hailey is getting ready to have her way with JT. What page is that scene on?
1. The lead character’s name is Mason Star and he’s a rock star. Weren’t you trying too hard with the name?
Excellent question. Yes. Of course, I was trying too hard. My sister told me it was cheap. My editor told me it was cheap. My critique group told me it was cheap. But I am a sucker for a cheap name. So pulling from my bag of tricks, I wrote fictional backstory for the name, blaming it all on the parents. (Because in fiction, as in real life, it’s the parents’ fault.) Mason’s mom was a stripper who changed her name legally to Sierra Star. So he can’t help it that his name is cheesy.
Umm. No. And also you’ll probably get kicked off the course. Even your more reputable miniature golf courses aren’t going to stand for that kind of carrying on. I recommend instead, that you do what I did when I realized my golf game stinks. Retire. You get to spend more time in the clubhouse that way, and the clubhouse is where they keep the gin and the pretzels.
Sigh. He’s at a wedding. Those are tables behind him, not sand dunes.
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