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First, if we were meeting at a coffee shop I’d be drinking a Latte with Coconut Milk 🙂 What would you order?

Probably a Diet Dr. Pepper or an iced tea with lemon. Sorry not a coffee drinker. However, I love coffee ice cream – especially if it has chocolate chunks in it. Maybe we can find a coffee shop by an ice cream store (grin).

Thanks so much for hanging out with me today. I know I’ve said this before but I need to say it again, thank you. You are the reason I started blogging and it’s been a fabulous journey so far.

Awww…that’s so sweet.

I’ve enjoyed and read most of your books, a few are still patiently waiting in my e-reader. All of them have such strong and daring heroines and the heroes well…they are a force to be reckoned with too. Do you have a favorite?

It’s very difficult to choose a favorite among my books because they’ve each taught me something about myself or my writing. The two books that caused me the most difficulty were The SEDUCTION OF THE DUKE and REDEEMING THE ROGUE. I don’t plot in advance of writing a book. I know story structure and I tend to write from plot point to plot point letting the story develop as I go. When I wrote SEDUCTION OF THE DUKE, I had no idea what the black moment would be. My deadline was rapidly approaching and I didn’t know what to do. Then I considered my hero and what would be the most devastating thing to him personally. That became the black moment and that taught me to look to the character in planning a black moment.

Was there one story that gave you a challenge while their story developed?

REDEEMING THE ROGUE was a challenge because all I knew about the back end of that book was that the hero would be charged with treason and that he would have to uncover some dastardly plot that led to the death of his predecessor. And, of course, it would all happen in Washington DC during President Garfield’s administration. I knew the very ending to the book, but how to get there was a mystery. It all worked out, however. I continue to hear from readers that REDEEMING THE ROGUE is one of their favorites, and that a secondary character, Phineas Connor, deserves his own book. (I agree, he’s on the list) That book taught me not to give up. All things are possible with perseverance and dynamite.

In terms of pure enjoyment, writing CHARMING THE PROFESSOR has been entertaining and fun. I love this book! I actually started it years and years ago. I’d only finished chapter one when I abandoned it to write this great new idea that became THE EDUCATION OF MRS. BRIMLEY. But the time travel never left my mind. Recently, I needed to write something different for myself and so I finished CHARMING THE PROFESSOR. It’s a great story. I hope you enjoy it.

For those who have not read your books I find that fact that you’ve published in a few different genres exiting. Do you have a favorite? Does that present any challenges for you as a writer?

LOL – I do not recommend my tendency to hop around to different genres to any sane author. Do not do this! But a little background might explain why this happened to me.

I started out as a suspense writer. I have two full romantic suspense novels written, one published under a different name. I recently received the rights back to that novel. I’m revising it to fit more modern times and then I plan to release that one in 2016. At the time, I thought my future lay in suspense.

But then I heard about a contest with great possibilities. I had to submit something like four or five pages of a scene with great sexual tension in either the contemporary or historical category. I had an idea for a striptease, but that doesn’t work in modern society. The scene would work best in an historical. I got more and more excited over the plot possibilities as I plotted out the who, what, where, and why. That book eventually became THE EDUCATION OF MRS. BRIMLEY. I never entered that contest, but I finished the book and started shopping it around and entering it in writing contests.

No one wanted that book! I was rejected by everyone and, as a result, was seriously depressed. Obviously, I was not meant to write historicals! So I’d dusted off that time travel I started earlier and tried to make my way in paranormal when I was struck with a really exciting idea. How about an invisible woman in Victorian London? The story for what is now BOUND BY MOONLIGHT flowed to me as if I was channeling a character. Fastest book I’ve ever written. When I was writing the fifth chapter, MRS. BRIMLEY won the Golden Heart and sold to Berkley in a three book contract. We submitted my invisible heroine as the second book and Berkley took it, but told me that they wanted a sequel to MRS. BRIMLEY. That led to two more straight historicals. Guess I could write historicals after all. (grin).

Fans of BOUND BY MOONLIGHT have asked about a sequel to that book. Berkley prohibited me from writing one, but now with the advent of independent publishing, I can write a sequel or two. Those are also on my list (grin).

What was your inspiration for the Charm Gates Time-Travel Series? It’s so uniquely and different. I hope everyone reads this book and discovers how magical New Orleans is. 

Love hearing that you love that story (grin). The inspiration for the book are the actual Charm Gates themselves. Let me explain. About July 2003, a friend and I went to an RWA convention in New Orleans – mainly because it was in New Orleans (grin). We played hookey from most of the workshops and instead roamed the Vieux Carre, otherwise known as the French Quarter. After having our fortunes told at the Bottom of the Cup, we crossed the street to go to The Court of Two Sisters for lunch. As we went down what seemed to be a long unfinished hallway to get to the restaurant, we discovered an old set of iron gates with a sign proclaiming the gates to be the “Charm Gates.” According to the sign, the gates were blessed by Queen Isabella so that all that touched them would receive their charm. Cute right? I have pictures of me holding on those gates in case anyone doubts my charm, LOL.

Later, I listened to an RWA tape of a Barbara Mason workshop—one of the ones I’d skipped at RWA—that said that, as writers, there was something in New Orleans that we were meant to see. It could be a billboard, or a person that could be used as a character in a book. So think about what made an impression on you. Easy – for me, it would be those Charm Gates. I originally thought I’d have the gates channel Queen Isabella into some unsuspecting nasty person and force them be charming, but as I researched Queen Isabella, “charming” would be the last word one would use to describe her. She was nasty. If anyone needed a charm teacher, it would be her… that started me thinking about how the Queen would have reacted to an attractive charm teacher and the premise for CHARMING THE PROFESSOR was born. I absolutely loved my visit to New Orleans years ago and am thrilled it’s the setting for your latest release. I hope you have been able to visit a few times, for research of course 😉

Ct of 2 sistersI’ve been back a couple of times, probably about three weeks in total. Funny thing – I’d told my husband all about the bare unfinished hallway at the Court of Two Sisters and the treasure it holds. I insisted we go there for lunch on one of those trips. He opened the door to the hallway and BAM! Everything had changed! There were pictures on the walls, a festive covering hanging from the ceiling, nothing like the hallway that I remembered. The Charm Gates are still there. They have gaudy lights strung all charm gates & Coriover them, but they’re still there. Here’s a picture. That’s my agent standing by the Charm Gates. (That’s from my last trip to New Orleans when Romantic Times had their convention there.)

How many books do you anticipate for this new series? I hope we won’t have to wait too long for the second installment.   

I didn’t originally plan to do a sequel, but then my agent said I had to have one if she was to sell the book. So now I have a sequel planned that I’m calling CHARMING THE THIEF and I love it. It involves the Queen’s necklace, the Moor’s Tear, and a fun romp across Europe with one thief stealing from the other. However, at the moment I’m writing the next Rake Patrol book – TO BAIT A RAKE. Know that the time travel sequel is waiting and fully plotted should make me finish up the Rake Patrol book ASAP!!!

Kuddos to your designer for the cover of Charming the Professor it’s absolutely perfect! The colors…they are so vibrant. Well done!

Thanks. Lyndsey Lewellen is responsible for the beautiful cover. It’s even more beautiful in the print edition as the cover wraps around to the back. You get to see her hand in that long white glove, holding her dress. One thing I love about independent publishing, as soon as I saw the cover Lyndsey had created, I was able to go back into theFullSizeRender story and change a few details. My hero now wears a gold bow tie and suspenders to the big dance and my heroine has her hair fixed as shown on the cover. I wouldn’t be able to do that with my Berkley covers.

Thanks for letting me join you today. I hope your readers give CHARMING THE PROFESSOR a try. It’s a fun book that I think you’ll enjoy.
Moors Tear 1600x2400
I’m happy to give away a copy of THE MOOR’S TEAR, which is a sort of prequel to CHARMING THE PROFESSOR to someone leaving a comment – or asking a question.

Contest Closed…Congratulations to:
Saraleee 🙂 Thank you to all who commented and I hope
everyone has a Happy New Year!

 

 

Thank you so much for having Coffee With me and the giveaway! Happy Reading and Happy Writing!

*****ICYMI*****

My review of Charming the Professor that posted yesterday.
Just $3.99 for this must read book at most e-retailers.

**All photos provided by Donna MacMeans

8 Tantalizing Tidbits

1. What is your Must read book and why?  For me that would be Dianna Gabaldon’s Outlander (Hah! Another time travel!) The reason is personal. Outlander turned me on to romance. After reading it, I was determined to read another romance and found one that was similar, though not a time travel, in that it featured an English heroine and a Scottish hero, written by a NYT bestselling author. I hated it. Absolutely hated it. I figured I could do better than that. I tried and have been hooked on writing ever since.

2. What is one place that I should see if I visit your hometown? I live in a little suburb/small college town. I can only think of two “must see” features. One is the large reservoir because water is always calming. The other is the Inniswoods botanical gardens which are close to my house. It’s 121 acres of formal gardens, water gardens, rose gardens, forest walks, frog ponds, etc. It makes for a beautiful walk any time of year. Stop by the gardens, then walk over to my house for tea and cookies (grin).

3. Castles or Beaches? Both please. Love to explore old castles (and the countries they are found in) and as a Maryland girl, I love the ocean and the beach – and the food!

4. What is one thing readers would be surprised to know about you? I can rip a phone book in half. That used to be a cool trick but it’s hard to find big thick phone books anymore. Hmmm….guess I’ll have to come up with a new fun fact.

5. Hard Rock or Classical? Favorite Band or Artist? Rock and Roll! I love to dance – met my husband on the dance floor and we’ve been dancing ever since. But it’s classic rock for us. In their day, I loved the Moody Blues and the Beatles.

6. What’s your favorite movie of all time and why? I was thinking about this the other day. I love the original Star Wars and Star Trek, but there’s one movie that I stumbled upon years ago that I absolutely loved called Hanover Street. It’s an old Harrison Ford movie that takes place during WWII. It reminds me a bit like Outlander in that one married woman falls in love with two men and must choose between them. I start crying as soon as I hear the music – LOL. I’m going to have to dig out that DVD.

7. Would you rather see a movie in the theatre or at home on DVD and why? I love going to the movies. There’s nothing like munching on a big bowl of popcorn while sitting in the dark with my sweetie. Now that they put those really nice lounge chairs in the theatres, it’s a lot like watching at home. (Except the controls to make the feet go up and down are located right by my elbow and I often hit it accidentally. My daughter thinks it’s the funniest thing. LOL). If the movie is good, then I like to add the DVD to my collection. Movies act as inspiration and I often use them as research.

8. What’s your favorite TV show and why? I don’t watch a lot of TV but I do have favorites. I’m a big fan of the Big Bang Theory and Mom. Love comedy. I love Downton Abbey when it runs as it appeals to my historical writing side. My husband and I like to watch Game of Thrones and Walking Dead together. It’s our date night (grin). Both those shows have great hooks and cliff hangers. Gotta watch them. I hate reality shows, doesn’t matter if they cook, clean, fight, or date – hate them.

Author Info:

Donna_MacMeans

Award winning author Donna MacMeans made a wrong turn many years ago when she majored in Accounting at Ohio State University. What was she thinking? Balancing books just can’t compete with crafting plots and inventing memorable characters. She finally broke free from her life as a CPA to write witty and seductive Victorian historicals for Berkley Publishing in what can only be described as her dream job.

Her books have won numerous awards including the prestigious Golden Heart from Romance Writers of America, and the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Historical Love & Laughter, as well as recognition in many regional contests. Her books consistently receive high praise and glowing reviews.

Donna is also the recipient of the 2013 RWA Service Award, the 2014 RWA Pro Mentor award and currently serves as RWA Treasurer.

An avid reader, she uses the analytical skills learned as an accountant to analyze novels in an effort to constantly improve her own craft – and then teaches those skills in workshops around the country.

A member of the popular Romance Bandits blog group, she is always approachable. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband of forty+ years. Please contact her at www.DonnaMacMeans.com