When College Girl was in high school, she made some great friends. Wonderful, smart, talented girls I was happy for her to call friends. What was even better was her friends had great moms who became my friends. When the girls graduated and went off to different colleges, the moms made a pact to keep in touch. That can be difficult as we’re all busy career women. Barb is a journalist; Debbie is a financial guru for an international company, and, of course, I’m always in “the cave” writing. Since we love reading, we decided each month we would read a book and then get together for dinner and discuss it. Whoever hosts the dinner gets to choose the next book. It’s been great fun. I’m so happy to maintain and nurture a friendship with these women.
Next time, it’s Barb’s turn to choose. She asked me what I would consider the best contemporary romance novel. It’s a question I should be able to answer. I could name several. In fact, many of the books on my best-loved list are written by my sister Jaunty Quills. But name just one? Wow. That’s difficult.
Still, I was so happy she wanted to read a contemporary romance. As you can imagine, that’s near and dear to my heart. I immediately thought of turning to you for help, dear readers. I told Barb I would pose the question to you and see what you said. Then I would compile a list and let her choose what sounded best to her.
So what say you? What is THE BEST contemporary romance novel? Or if that is too difficult to answer, which contemporary romance novels should be on the best contemporary romance novel list?
I will give away FIVE copies of my May release FALLING FOR FORTUNE, book five in the 2014 Fortunes of Texas series, to five people who make suggestions.
I can’t wait to hear what you have to say!
Nancy has been deep in the cave on deadline. So, she’s just now posting the winners of her April 3 blog, A TREE GROWS IN CELEBRATION and Judy Duarte’s April 4 guest blog.
The winner of Judy Duarte’s April 4 blog is Pearl. You’ve an Amazon gift card. Please email Judy at firstname.lastname@example.org with an email address where she can send your gift card.
Nancy’s winner is Pam Lowery! Pam, you are the winner of a copy of CELEBRATION’S BABY. Please email Nancy through her website at NancyRobardsThompson.com and let her know where she can send your book.
Please give a warm welcome to our special guest, Judy Duarte! I had the pleasure of working with Judy on Harlequin’s 2014 Fortunes of Texas series, and I was thrilled when she agreed to join us today. So, without further adieu…
You Gotta Love Those Kids…
One of the things I love about writing a romance—in addition to creating a beautiful love story—is the chance to create unique and entertaining secondary characters who add that special something to the book. And that’s why I especially enjoyed writing A HOUSE FULL OF FORTUNES!
Everyone loves a funny sidekick, a dastardly villain, or an older and wiser friend. But personally, my favorite secondary characters are children.
Having raised five of my own, I’ve also been blessed with their cousins, their friends, and now their children—my grandchildren. Needless to say, I’ve put in my share of babysitting, volunteering in the classroom, chaperoning field trips, and teaching Sunday school. I’ve cooked for kids, cleaned up after them, rocked them to sleep and disciplined them. Over the years I’ve come to understand kids and to always expect the unexpected whenever they’re in the room.
When writing Toby and Angie’s romance, I had the opportunity to create not one, but three children. Toby Fortune Jones had taken in three foster kids who had nowhere else to go. And while his heart was in the right place, he found that it isn’t always easy to juggle the needs and personalities of three youngsters. He soon found himself relying on Angie Edwards to help him with his adorable brood.
Art Linkletter was right. Kids really do say the darnedest things. That’s what makes them so fun to include as secondary characters. But when doing so, a writer needs to make them as realistic as possible.
My daughter, who is also an author, once stopped reading a book because she couldn’t wrap her head around the fact that the heroine’s son kept asking his grandmother for more helpings of her delicious okra and vegetable stew. My daughter said, “Have you ever heard a seven year old boy beg for okra? I’m sure there might be one or two out there, but at my house, it’s a battle just to get my kids to eat carrots with ranch dressing. I’m not buying it.”
So kids can be cute, they can be funny, and they can be a challenge. But when created realistically, they can add so much to the layers of a book. I tried my best to do that with Brian, Justin, and Kylie. I hope my readers agree—and that they’ll enjoy watching Angie and Toby fall in love, in spite of all the antics and obstacles they have to overcome in A HOUSE FULL OF FORTUNES!
Judy is giving away an Amazon gift card to one person who posts. So, please join in on the fun and leave a comment below.
A friend of mine can trace her family tree all the way back to Henri II, of France and Charlemagne. When she told me this, I was enthralled and envious. I’ve always wanted to know my ancestry, but I’ve never had time to research it. Several years before my grandmother passed away, I asked her to write down the birth and deaths dates of as many relatives as she could remember. But she could only recall four or five generations. I’ve urged my father, who’s retired and busier now than when he was doing the 9-5 grind, to take up the project. So far, I haven’t been able to get him to sit still long enough to do it. Yet, after hearing about my friend’s roots, I’m longing to learn about my lineage. Plus, I’m convinced that she and I must be distant cousins since we both have relatives from the Ozarks – could those roots stretch all the way back to France? Maybe that would explain why I’m such a Francophile.
In my current release, CELEBRATION’S BABY, I channeled some of that curiosity about my roots into the story. My heroine is adopted and she when she discovers she’s pregnant, the need to know about her past takes on an entirely new importance.
Have you ever traced your family tree or do you know of anyone who has? Any interesting findings? Any good tips on how to start the process and what to expect along the way?
I’ll give a copy of CELEBRATION’S BABY to one person who posts.
RT Book Reviews gives CELEBRATION’S BABY 4 stars! They say, “…Thompson unveils not one but two romances in this latest Celebration, Texas story, showcasing vivid storylines and rich, flowing narrative. Bia and Aiden are so right for each other; it’s fun to watch them get bull’s-eyed by Cupid’s arrow…”
* Where did you get the idea for FORTUNE’S BABY?
Nancy Robards Thompson: FORTUNE’S BABY, book six in my Celebrations, Inc. series, is a friends-to-lovers story. It’s Bia Anderson’s and Aiden Woods’s romance. Readers first meet Bia in TEXAS MAGIC, where she was instrumental in breaking a big news story that threw the entire town of Celebration, Texas into an uproar. Also, it set the hero and heroine of that book on the path to true love. Bia has since appeared in other stories and has proven to be such a strong character that she almost demanded her own story. Naturally, I had to put her in a situation that would test her strength and challenge her independence: what better than an unplanned pregnancy?
* Tell us about the hero, Aiden Woods?
NRT: Aiden is one of my favorite heroes. He first appeared in CELEBRATION’S BRIDE as the friend and coworker of Miles Mercer. Aiden has been in love with Bia for a long time, but the timing was never right. When Bia finds herself pregnant after an uncharacteristic one-night fling with a movie star she’d interviewed for the newspaper, she’s in need of someone to pose as her fiancé and the father of her child. Of course, Aiden steps up to the job, but if he has his way, their engagement will end with them at the altar.
* Why will we fall in love with Aiden?
NRT: You’ve got to love a man who knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to go after it…or should I say her. Aiden is a man’s man, but when it comes to the woman he loves, he has a romantic, vulnerable side and he’s not afraid to show it.
* Tell us about the heroine, Bia Anderson.
NRT: Bia is a woman many of us will identify with. She’s strong and independent. She’s been hurt before, and while she’d like to find her happily ever after, she’s decided to take some time out from romance to focus on her career. Her career as the editor of the Celebration newspaper was what landed her the opportunity to interview the “Sexiest Man Alive.” Since she wasn’t looking for anything serious, what was the harm in having a little fling with Mr. Sexy? After he found out Bia was pregnant, Mr. Sexy distanced himself as fast as he could. She loves the chemistry she has with Aiden, but he’s her best friend. She doesn’t want to ruin what they have by crossing that line…until she finally accepts the fact that the two of them are perfect for each other.
* What life-lessons do your H/H have to learn before they can find their happily-ever-after?
NRT: They have to learn to take chances. The answer is always no, if you don’t try. They also have to learn to trust in the power of true love.
* What was your favorite scene to write?
NRT: I had a lot of fun writing this book! But one of my favorite scenes was toward the end when Bia finally gives a tabloid reporter, who has been relentlessly hounding her, his comeuppance. It was so much fun!
* What was the most difficult scene for you to write?
NRT: Again, I don’t want to say too much, because I don’t want to spoil one of the plot twists, but there’s a pivotal point in the plot that involves Mr. Sexy that changes everything. I rewrote the scenes leading up to that point several different times with different outcomes until I was finally satisfied with the outcome. That’s all I’ll say.
* Can you share if there were any real-life inspirations for a particular scene or character in the book?
NRT: CELEBRATION’S BABY is strictly fiction, but I worked as a newspaper reporter for several years before writing fiction full-time. I drew on my personal experience with the news industry for Bia’s character. But, no, I never had an affair with the Sexiest Man Alive. That is, unless you’re talking about the Norwegian.
* If this book had a soundtrack, what are some of the songs that might appear on it?
NRT: Every one of my books has a soundtrack. Sadly, I can only listen to instrumental music when I’m writing, but I always put together a playlist to listen to when I’m not at the computer. It sets the tone and keeps me in the story. Here’s the soundtrack for CELEBRATION’S BABY:
If It Kills Me by Jason Mraz
I’ve Got This Friend by The Civil Wars
Just Like A Butterfly That’s Caught In The Rain by Diana Krall
Chasing Pavements by Adel
I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight by Bob Dylan
Blue Jeans by Lana DelRay
Never Loved A Girl (the way that I love you) by Aerosmith
18th Floor Balcony by Blue October
Landslide by Dixie Chicks
I’ll Be There by The Jackson Five
* Do any beloved characters from your previous books show up in this one?
NRT: Oh, yes! It’s a Celebration’s, Inc. reunion. You’ll catch up with Sydney and her husband Miles (CELEBRATION’S BRIDE); Pepper and her husband Rob (TEXAS CHRISTMAS), Caroline and Drew (TEXAS MAGIC); and A.J. and her husband Shane (TEXAS WEDDING). Oh! I can’t forget Maya the chocolate maker. She has a very special role in this book.
* Why will readers enjoy this book?
NRT: It’s a friends to lovers to story about two best friends finally claiming the true love that’s been there all along, and it’s a chance for fans of my Celebrations, Inc. series to revisit Celebration Texas and some of the characters from past books. Plus, RT BookReviews gave it 4 stars and had some lovely things to say about it: “…Thompson unveils not one but two romances in this latest Celebration, Texas story, showcasing vivid storylines and rich, flowing narrative. Bia and Aiden are so right for each other; it’s fun to watch them get bull’s-eyed by Cupid’s arrow…”
In Celebration (pun intended ) of my new release, I’m giving a copy of CELEBRATION’S BABY to three people who comment below. Tell me anything – have you ever fallen in love with a friend? Have you ever met – or dated- a celebrity? Who do you think is the sexiest man alive? The field is wide open. I can’t wait to hear from you!