Today we have Christy McKee with us. Welcome Christy!
Good morning, Kacey. Thank you for hosting me today.
Can you tell us something quirky about yourself that readers might not know already?
My pen name was not randomly chosen. I am named after my great grandmother, Christina Ann McKee, whom I never knew. She rescued her family from the dust storms in Kansas and brought them safely back to Ohio where she started a chicken hatchery that supported them all. She was one determined woman. I’d like to think she would approve of her great granddaughter’s vocation.
When did you begin your writing career?
When I started my own neighborhood newspaper at age nine. I’d gotten a little hand cranking printing press for Christmas. I even had an assistant who helped me set the type.
How do you develop your plots and your characters? Do you use any set outline?
I took an excellent plotting class with Lori Wilde that really changed how I plot. I think too many newcomers—myself included— jump in without really knowing their characters. “Save the Cat” is an excellent book on plotting that is really fun and creative to use.
What do you think makes a good story?
From my perspective as a contemporary romance reader, the author must make me care about the characters. If I don’t become emotionally involved with them, I may lose interest and not finish the book. I want the plot to be believable and make sense. I want to be a part of the action. A good story takes its characters—and its readers-- on a roller coaster journey. Along the way, we want to see them struggle with doing the right thing, making the right choice and occasionally falling down or taking a hit. To me, that makes a good story.
My husband and I go to the movies a lot. If we’re watching something less entertaining than we expected it to be, my husband inevitably whispers in my ear, “I don’t care about anyone yet. How about you?”
Is there a genre(s) that you’d like to write that you haven’t tackled yet?
Paranormal. I’m working on a ghost story now along with Too Close for Comfort, another contemporary.
What books/authors have most influenced your life?
Definitely Susan Elizabeth Phillips has influenced my writing life. To me she’s the gold standard of contemporary humor. Just thinking about her flat out funny and always upbeat humor makes me smile. She comes up with the most original comic scenes ever—remember the boxes of Lucky Charms mysteriously missing the marshmallows in Nobody’s Baby But Mine?
What book are you reading now?
Wilder by Christina Dodd. It’s the new release in her Chosen series.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A vet, an actress or an architect.
What do you like to do for fun and relax?
I love to play with our two Labs, Lambeau and Gracie. We go to the movies several times a month. To really relax, going somewhere like Key West, Alaska or closer to home, Chicago works for me.
What influenced the idea for this story?
Actually, the premise for “Maybe Too Good to Be True” came out of going to my first writer’s conference. One of the NY publishers was launching a new line called Lucky in Love. The premise: the heroine receives a windfall that completely changes her life. My idea was not a rags to riches tale but a story about a talented woman in the enviable position of suddenly having the means to make her biggest dream come true and being too filled with self-doubt and guilt to embrace it.
Did you surprise yourself at all, as an author, when writing this story?
Since I rewrote the book four times, my surprise came when I went back and read through the very first draft a good five years after I’d written it. It was junk, but it’s important to see how much you’ve grown and I got that. It’s a productive step to see your own growth as a writer. Even if you haven’t sold a book yet, re-reading your old “stuff” and realizing how far you have come is heartening in itself.
What was the most difficult to thing/scene to write in this story?
The black moment was the most trying scene to write. It’s a roller coaster ride from joy and tears of happiness to anger, disappointment, and despair. More than this and I would probably spoil the scene.
Which character was the most difficult to work with – the heroes or heroine?
Gabrielle, my heroine, was challenging for me to write because she questioned her talent and--in spite of winning two local Emmys in TV news-- brushed off her success. Raised by a domineering father who planned for her to succeed him at his newspaper, he belittled her and did a firsthand job of destroying most of her confidence.
Did the story turn out the way you planned from the beginning? If not, what change happened that you didn’t expect?
Yes, the story turned out pretty much as I’d planned but I added a scene that would bring more dramatic closure using the last cast member you would ever imagine.
What do you hope readers take with them after they’ve read this story?
The message is that every one of us has issues to overcome. Whether we rise above them or give way to them, determines the path our life will take. On the conscious level Gabrielle knew her father was to blame for her low self-esteem, but that didn’t make the feelings go away. Her primary goal is to change her perception of herself. Can she muster the courage to go after what she wants? Does she want her father to win?
As parents, our role is to nurture and protect our children while they are growing and help build their self-esteem and confidence. I am shocked at some of the things mothers say to their children in the grocery store or mall. “You be good. If you’re not, I’m going to leave you here. Do you understand?” Need I say more?
If this book is part of a series…what is the next book? Any details you can share?
Yes, Maybe Too Good to Be True is the first book in the Shores of Lake Champlain series. The resort town of Haley, Vermont, and its quirky cast of characters, plays an important part in the first book. The next book, Too Close for Comfort, delves into the town’s secrets and introduces Mac
Fast & Fun:
Boxers or briefs? brief
Star Trek or Star Wars? Star Wars
Captain Kirk or Spock crush? Captain Kirk
Silk or satin? Silk
Brad Pitt or George Clooney? Good old George
Harry Potter or Twilight? Twilight
Big Bang Theory or 30 Rock? 30 Rock
Wine or beer? Wine
Dancing with the Stars or American Idol? Idol
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate
Heels or running shoes? Running shoes—not that I run!
HBO’s Game of Thrones or True Blood? True Blood
What place to travel is on your Bucket List? Australia
When traveling do you prefer hotels or Bed & Breakfasts?
Depends on where we are. In US cities, hotels. In the country side, a B & B.
Was it love at first sight for you when you met your spouse?
No. We became friends first.
What did you notice first when you met your spouse?
Tall and broad shouldered.
Where can readers contact you?
Thank you very much for being here. We all wish you the best of luck!!
Maybe Too Good To Be True
by Christy McKee
Gabrielle March is summoned to an oceanfront estate in Massachusetts by the matriarch of Atlantic-Hastings International where she is presented with a hefty block of shares as amends for a crime committed against her family. The stock—worth several million dollars—can give her the means to make her dream come true if only she can muster the courage to break free from her past and believe in her unique creative talent.
Pierce Hastings, son of Gabrielle’s benefactress, grudgingly agrees to take her under his wing and acclimate her to Atlantic-Hastings. Never one to mix business with pleasure, Pierce stuns himself when he ignores his own self imposed rule. Gabrielle’s complete lack of artifice, unvarnished honesty and quirky sense of humor are intoxicating to him―and he’s rapidly becoming addicted. He’s blindsided when Gabrielle confesses that, in spite of her growing feelings for him, she will never fit into his world of power and privilege and has no desire to try.
“The fact is, Mr. Hastings, it is not a reporter’s job to be favorable. They are in the business of finding and reporting the truth.”
"Nobly put, Miss March.” The woman certainly didn’t pull any punches.
“I hope this will put you at ease, Mr. Hastings. I own the newspaper. It’s been several years since I single-handedly set out to ruin anyone.”
Sarcasm, even with a lovely Southern accent, was still sarcasm.
"I see.” Pierce sounded duly impressed. “That’s certainly an accomplishment for such a young …” He froze when her eyes narrowed. What the hell was wrong with him? He careened from one blunder to the next.
"Tell me, is it my age or the fact that I’m a woman that bothers you?” Her face was considerably more colorful than the rest of her and he knew it had nothing to do with the heat.
Pierce was no chauvinist and certainly had no prejudice against successful females. After all, he’d been married to a talented trial attorney. Hadn’t he put his wife through law school? Hadn’t he supported Glenna in every way until she made partner in her firm and then announced that she’d changed her mind about having children and, by the way, she didn’t want to be his wife anymore either.
"I didn't mean that you weren't responsible.” His eyes returned to the very entertaining Miss March who had just snapped up the ball and was ready to run with it.
"What would someone like you know about responsibility anyway? You've probably never put in an honest day’s work in your entire over-privileged life. Flying around the world trying to stay one step ahead of reality. One of these days you’re going to have to come down to earth and see what it’s like in the real world.”
Where did the woman get her information? She’d obviously pegged him as some sort of wealthy derelict. Fired up, she was something. Misinformed maybe, but she had balls of steel. "For a newspaper woman, you’re lacking in your facts, Miss...."
My addiction to reading emerged when I was ten and down with measles. My mother, trying to keep me entertained, brought home a stack of Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew books. Within days, I’d consumed them all and asked for more. That’s when it truly began−the pleasure of reading which would eventually lead to my writing.
I can’t pin point precisely when I knew I was different from everyone else−at least from my tight group of hometown friends. Didn’t everyone have movies playing in their heads starring beautiful characters leading adventurous lives in exotic places? NO—they did not. Did that mean they were normal and I was the odd, slightly wacky duck? My answer to that conundrum came when I attended my first writer’s conference in Savannah. Nervous about being on my own at the crowded event, a kindly writer from Texas took me under her wing and introduced me to at least a dozen writers. Surrounded by so many writers who were so like me, I fit right in. I wasn’t an “odd” duck after all; I’d simply been in the wrong pond!
As a result of that conference, my desire and conviction to write blossomed. Still working a full time job at a Louisiana cancer center, I carved out time to write every night and on weekends. My first manuscript went through four incarnations, and a year under the bed, before success came knocking.
Today my family and our two Labs—Lambeau, the Green Bay Packers unofficial mascot and Gracie, who is just plain, sweet Amazing Grace—live in a picturesque little town in Ohio wrapped around a lovely town square with an intricately carved gazebo where weekly band concerts take place all summer long.
Christy will be awarding a digital copy of Maybe Too Good To Be True to a randomly drawn commenter at every stop and a $30 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Please leave a comment or question for Christy (and your e-mail address) on this post to be entered in the giveaway. Click HERE for the complete tour schedule. The more tour stops you comment on, the better your chances of winning. Good luck!
Full Tour Schedule: