A warm and magical welcome to Harlequin American Romance author Barbara White Daille. This week, Barbara is celebrating the release of her latest book, FAMILY MATTERS. I’ve known Barbara for a few years and have been fortunate enough to watch her build her career. Every author faces ups and downs in this business, but Barbara has proven her ability to create a well-told, engaging story featuring characters you grow to love like family. I’m genuinely excited about her latest book (maybe because I used to live in Chicago…). So, without further ado, let’s ask Barbara some questions.
Amy: Earning a 4 1/2 Star Top Pick review from RT Book Reviews for your new book is such an honor. How did you feel when you learned about it?
Barbara: You’re right, it’s a huge honor. RT’s reviewers read a lot of books! When I managed to catch my breath again after hearing the news, I felt thrilled and amazed.
Amy: Tell us about FAMILY MATTERS.
Barbara: FAMILY MATTERS is the story of a hardheaded attorney and an equally stubborn teacher who meet in a heated battle over a local amusement park.
Kerry MacBride is the only sensible one in a family of Irish eccentrics. Though raised by loving grandparents, as the only girl, she was forced into a nurturing role and grew up quickly. As soon as she could, she left her tiny hometown for college and a career. But, of course, there was no escaping her sense of responsibility to those she left behind.
Now an art teacher in an inner-city Chicago high school, Kerry is still the family’s answer to an emergency. Or maybe I should say every emergency, because it seems whenever she turns around, one of them needs her help desperately!
This time, it’s her outrageous Uncle Bren, whose latest enterprise involves persuading everyone in her grandmother’s retirement community to invest in restoring an abandoned amusement park.
When Matt Lawrence, the lawyer son of one of the residents, threatens Uncle Bren with legal action, it’s Kerry to the rescue yet again. But this time she might be too late.
Matt is a natural-born protector committed to fighting for the underdog in any situation. Now, with his mother and all her friends at risk of losing every penny they have, Matt’s unstoppable. He intends to do whatever it takes to save everyone’s finances—even if he’s forced to send Kerry’s scheming uncle to jail.
In the middle of all this uproar, the last thing Kerry and Matt want is to find themselves attracted to each other. But during the story, they get overheated in more ways than one….
Throw some daredevil siblings, an offbeat grandmother, and a runaway teenager into the mix, and things get downright crazy.
But, trust me, all this made FAMILY MATTERS one fun book to write!
Amy: You write for Harlequin American, which is one of a number of “category romance” lines. Can you explain how that system works?
Barbara: Category romances are grouped together into lines with specific story elements that appeal to specific readers. These elements can include the type of story (home-and-family, suspense, inspirational, etc.) and the level of sensuality (hot to mild to sweet). This allows the readers to choose the kinds of stories they like to read and to have an idea of what to expect in the lines regarding those story elements.
Each month, Harlequin publishes new books in every line.
Amy: So, next month, your book might not be in stores, but it will still be available?
Barbara: Absolutely. Each month’s books are on the shelves for approximately four weeks. At the same time, the books are also available at the eHarlequin web site and through other online bookstores. Once the four-week cycle has ended and new books go out in the brick-and-mortar stores, previous titles continue to be available at the online locations. For example, the direct link for FAMILY MATTERS at eHarlequin is:
Amy: Ah, so the digital reading fans (like me) can even find your backlist titles. Excellent. Now, Harlequin American romances are known as “sweet” romances. Tell us about the romance in your book.
Barbara: Harlequin American has a wide variety of sensuality levels in the books. Some have love scenes and some don’t.
For me, love scenes are more about the emotions of the characters. That doesn’t mean there’s no sexual tension, though! I attempt to make sure my heroes and heroines are aware of each other at all times—and very often frustrated when their own conflicts keep them apart.
As for FAMILY MATTERS…well, I already “outed” myself last week, so I’ll say up front that there is no love scene in the book.
Remember that list of characters I’d mentioned in the story description above? Kerry and Matt are surrounded by all of them and then some, nearly every time they turn around! Makes it hard to slip away for an intimate interlude without anyone noticing. That doesn’t stop them from trying, though. Which leads to disastrous results….
Amy: It seems many Harlequin Americans have rural or small town settings. FAMILY MATTERS takes place in Chicago and what I picture as a mid-sized town in Indiana. How did you get the idea for setting this book so far away from where you live?
Barbara: You’re very close. It’s a small town in Illinois. The settings come to me from a long history of visiting family in both Illinois and Indiana. I love to make up my own settings, though, so I haven’t used an actual place from my past in FAMILY MATTERS. Instead, it’s an assortment of locations with imagination mixed in.
Amy: I love Kerry’s gregarious family! Your stories are always poignant, endearing and funny. How do you strike that balance?
Barbara: Is there any way to answer this question without sounding conceited? LOL Thank you, and I’m very glad you feel I accomplish that balance.
For me, it’s all about the characters. I often allow them—or am forced to let them—take the lead. When they occasionally give me control, I try very hard to make my story people real and believable and human. Fortunately, humans can be poignant, endearing, and funny in a very short span of time.
Amy: What else do you have in the works?
Barbara: Thanks for asking! A RANCHER’S PRIDE will be out in May, 2011.
This is the story of ranch owner Sam Robertson, who unexpectedly is given the care of a four-year-old daughter he can’t communicate with because she’s deaf and speaks only in sign language.
Sam meets his match in Kayla Ward, his daughter’s aunt, who has virtually raised her niece and is determined to adopt her.
As you all might imagine, they butt heads from the moment they meet, and things go downhill from there.
Amy: Are you working on any new ideas?
Barbara: Yes, I’m currently working on a couple of connected books.
Between the two new story ideas, there are long-held promises, lost loves, a tomboy terror, a rodeo star in need of rescue, and an entire herd of matchmakers. Now I just have to figure out how to make life more difficult for all them.
Amy: Sounds like a ton of fun! We appreciate you stopping in today. I know you’re busy with your launch week. Your book appears in stores October 8th.
Find Barbara online at the following places:
Her Website: http://www.barbarawhitedaille.com
Her Blog: http://www.barbarawhitedaille.com/blog
Barbara: Thank you for the interview and the chance to chat with the readers here at Magical Musings! I look forward to comments and questions.
I’ll be off at the day job today but will check in as soon I’m home again.