Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Interview with Missy Lyons

Thank you for having me out today, Lea! I really love being able to share about myself and my books.
 
Please tell us about your latest romance book.
In my latest release, Strictly Business, the heroine needs to find a stud to give her a baby, but in order to get his cooperation she tries to keep it secret. Unfortunately secrets have a way of getting out and destroying great relationships.

Strictly Business (MF)

 
Strictly Business Blurb:
As an heiress to a Texas oil baron, Susannah Gibson’s future is secure. A hefty trust fund has allowed her to live out her dreams and pursue every desire of her heart but one. All that money got in the way of finding love. She had a collection of fortune hunters that could stretch the length of Texas, but she wouldn’t settle for anything less than love.
Susannah needs a suitable stud fast. Time is running out for her parents' ultimatum—give them grandchildren or lose her trust fund.
Some guys have all the luck. On a business trip to the Caribbean, Colt Vance is propositioned by a beautiful woman, every guys’ dream date. Red. Hot. Sex. No strings attached. The problem? The more he knows about her, the more intrigued and less willing he is to keep things strictly business and let her go at the end of their bargain.


Strictly Business Excerpt:

“Welcome home, honey!”
Dropping by without calling first was a risk, and Susannah felt lucky her parents were both home at the same time. Since the kids all moved out, they travelled a lot, spending six months out of the year on a cruise ship.
“Hi, Mom. Hi, Dad.” Susannah stepped into the foyer of her parent’s home, taking off her rain-drenched coat and hung it on the nearby coatrack. She kissed her mom and dad on the cheek in turn, at the same time giving each one a quick hug. She could barely contain her enthusiasm and she was glad she could finally share her secret with her family. “I am so excited! I had to drop in because I have good news and I couldn’t wait to share with both of you.”
“Susannah, I am so happy you did. So what’s the big news?” Maria’s easy smile made Susannah nervous.
Susannah entered the house but waited to speak. She didn’t expect her mother to take her news well. Family was important to her mother, and Maria clung to her Mexican heritage, valuing every moment she could spend with her children. She also made it no secret that she expected every one of her daughters to become mothers. Soon.
“Are you finally going to get married and give us some grandchildren to fill our house again?” A smile tugged at her mother’s lips, but her voice was deadly serious.
Susannah tried to not let her mother’s constant prodding get to her, but she felt the weight of a stone drop to her stomach.
“Now, now.” William patted his wife on the shoulder, and stepped close to her side. “Let Susan tell us what’s so important that she had to drive here in the middle of a rainstorm.”
“Sí, go on and tell us, baby.” Her mom tried her best to be patient, fisting her hands at her sides.
Thunder rumbled from outside the home, and the gentle pitter-patter of rain suddenly became more intense as if the storm had waited just for Susannah to arrive before really beginning. It wasn’t unusual in the month of May to get some pretty heavy thunderstorms, including ones wild enough to spout off tornados, but no one could stop living their life because of the weather. Dangerous weather might slow a Texan down, but it would never stop her father or Susannah.
“I’m not going to let some water stop me from living my life.” She shook her dark hair from side to side, spraying droplets on the tile floor. “I had planned on trying to come see you two.”
“That’s not a little water, baby, you’re drenched!” Her dad helped her take off her jacket and hung it on the cherry-wood coatrack. “It’s raining cats and dogs out there.”
“Which is why I’m even happier to be in here.” Susannah laughed.
“Come on in and sit a spell. Whatever news you have can wait a minute.” Dad was always so much more easygoing than Mom had ever been, just happy to let things be. While she did encourage Susannah and her sisters in other things, she didn’t like that their career choices got in the way of them getting married, settling down, and giving her grandchildren. As if they couldn’t ever be truly happy or have a family without getting married and getting pregnant. The careers and success they experienced in other areas of their life just got in the way.
“Well, it is kind of important.” Butterflies took flight in Susannah’s stomach. She didn’t expect them to understand, but her life was changing dramatically and very soon.
“Life-changing important or forgot to get the coffee at the store important?” William asked.
“The life-changing kind of important.” Susannah swallowed hard. Under her parents’ scrutiny, she felt like she was the prime suspect at a lineup, but she needed to get this out. She needed to pursue her dreams.
“Well, then, tell us already!” Maria’s lips pinched together tightly as she tried to repress her smile. Her thinly plucked eyebrows waggled suggestively. “You aren’t…are you?”
Susannah could feel the heat of her mother’s scrutiny on her belly. “I hate to disappoint you, but I’m not pregnant, Mom.”
“I don’t want you to get pregnant without a father.” Maria’s thin, delicate eyebrows pulled together in a frown. She was tiny, her size-three body was barely over five feet tall, but every gesture was filled with excess drama, and Susannah was sensitive to her moods. Growing up was like a soap opera in the Gibson house. Her mother had tried to set up her four daughters with every eligible bachelor in the Yellow Rose Valley. “Don’t tell me that was the big secret you’ve been keeping from us—that you aren’t pregnant?”
“No, Mom.” Susannah rolled her eyes. She was twenty-six years old, but her mother never stopped mothering. She’d always be her little girl, no matter how independently she lived her life, and she understood her mother just wanted to see her happy. “I quit my job as a research assistant at the pharmaceutical company in Houston.”
“Oh, good!” Her mother’s brilliant white smile lit up the room. Maria wanted nothing better than for Susannah to quit her job. Her mother had been hounding Susannah to quit since the day she started working at the research facility. Maria would rather see her daughters settle down and have babies than to pursue careers. Susannah’s suspicions were confirmed when Maria spoke. “Now you can finally get down to business and begin dating again! Stop all that nonsense with the lab rats and monkeys and get yourself a man.”
Ugh. Here we go again. Her mother had a one-track mind that wouldn’t give up.
It seemed pointless to argue, but she needed her mother to back up and give her some space. Nagging was not the way to get grandchildren.
“You have to trust that I’ll find the right man when it’s time. You can’t rush falling in love. It just happens.” Susannah shook her head. Living out her dream just didn’t include a man right now. She had gone to school to become a marine biologist and somehow ended up in a research lab testing new drugs on lab rats. She did not go to school for eight years so that she could be whacking rodents and dissecting them to examine what kind of affect a new drug had on their brain. She needed to be out in the field, and that meant being near the ocean. Not landlocked, living out of a laboratory and off vending machines.
“So what do you plan on doing with all this free time on your hands, now that you don’t have a job?”
“I am going to the Caribbean to study the declining population of predatory fish on the coral reefs.” She felt a sense of smug satisfaction telling them that little tidbit of information. She always dreamed of making a research trip to the Caribbean reef, and her dreams were going to be finally realized.
“What?” Her mother’s alarmed face did not bode well.
“English, dear. Why are you going to the Caribbean again?” her father interrupted.
“The scientific community thinks the shark population is—”
“Why me?” Hand to her forehead, Maria sang out a few prayerlike curse words in Spanish. It was times like these that made Susannah happy she did not take Spanish in school. She knew most of those swear words, but there were a few new ones thrown in there, all of them bad. “How long do you plan to be gone?”
“It will take at least six months, maybe longer.” At least her father was taking this well, but it wasn’t him she had been worried about. He was always levelheaded and logical in his decision making.
“Six months seems like a long time to play with fish.” One shaggy eyebrow shot up curiously as if he knew she was holding something back.
“It’s not a project I can do overnight. I have plans to prove that the large predatory fish, like the Caribbean reef shark and the barracuda, are dying off near the larger cities because they are competing for their food source with the people. If I can do that, then I can get funding to help protect—”
“Susannah Alexandra Gibson!”
The words paralyzed Susannah. Uh-oh. Mom only used her full name when she was really angry. “Tell me you did not just say that you are going to a foreign country to swim with sharks?”

 

 Let's get to the interview questions...

Are you a plotter or Pantser?
I am something in between the two. At first I tried to be a pantser and I realized it didn’t fully work for me. The process gave me too much room to write myself into a corner, and sometimes I couldn’t write myself out. Other times, the story evolved into something I didn’t want and I had to delete 100’s of pages of work. There is nothing more heartbreaking to a writer than slashing and burning her work.

So over time, I came into this new process that is somewhere between a plotter and a panster. I don’t get crazy and do extremely detailed outlines. I give myself room to grow and room to let the characters do their own thing, but I do start with a rough outline. Each chapter has a sentence or two mapping out what happens in each scene.

 
What makes a great hero?
I am partial to alpha heroes, but in real life I have a beta man in my life. He lets me take care of everything and for me there is something deeply romantic about the man who takes care of every detail of his lover’s life. He loves her so deeply, that he wants to protect her, save her, and just keep her close to him because he is so deeply enamored of her.

A man who knows how to make his woman feel loved is the kind of hero I like to write in my books.

 
Do you have anything in common with your characters?
I like writing strong, passionate women that have full lives and are intelligent. I hope I am half as good as they are in bed, but that’s another story. My life is kind of boring in comparison. I have a houseful of kids and a full time job keeping it together. I love it and wouldn’t change it for the world, but while I may pull a detail or two from the real world, I generally don’t base my characters on me or the people in my life. 


What item, or items, is absolutely necessary to your writing mojo?
A laptop. I have to be able to walk around with my computer and get my chores done as I work. It’s crazy but I also use a change of location to sometimes kick in the creative juices when I get writer’s block.

Or, I need to let my toddler play outside in the sandbox in order to get a few quiet moments to write, but I love the portability of the laptop to write with.


Coffee of tea?
I admit it. I am a coffee junkie, except when I am sick and then I tend to lean more towards tea.  I drink so much of the stuff that coffee probably flows through my veins instead of blood.


Wine or beer?
I love wines, or mixed drinks. I am not a big beer drinker, but when I drink I prefer sweet red wines.


Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what type(s) do you lean towards?
Sometimes I use music to get the words flowing. Most the time, I have television on in the background to keep the kids happy, but when I am alone I love to listen to music. It’s nothing special or my own tracks unless I just bought a cd. Most the time I just listen to the radio and it tends to be country but can change with the story or the characters. I have eclectic music taste.
 
What are you currently working on, or what’s on the horizon?
The current work in progress is an alien ménage book, but in the future I hope to develop a paranormal book series called Sexier When Wet. It’s all about shapeshifting sharks that need to find their mates. They are expected to marry for political power and to unite their species, but in their hearts they would all love to find the love of their life. This is going to be a m/m storyline.
 
How can you fans find you on the net?

I have so many places that it is hard to keep up sometimes, but these are the places I visit online the most often.

Twitter: @missylyons
My Books on Siren Publishing: http://www.bookstrand.com/missy-lyons
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2379757.Missy_Lyons

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