I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match.
This week’s guest: Christie Ridgway
1. Which ALICE IN WONDERLAND character would best describe you when you’re writing on deadline?
I immediately thought of the Cheshire cat because I’ll hold onto my grin no matter how deadly I feel about the deadline!
2. Have you ever based a character, at least in part, on a real person you knew, and was that person able to see himself/herself in your story?
I have a friend whose (French) last name I used (because I needed a French last name), and he was certain he was starring in the book because I unwittingly used his real first name too! (I didn’t know he went by a different first name.) He bought several copies of the book and shared with his family too. Lucky for him (and me) he was a cheerful walk-on character with no bad traits.
3. Hot rockers over 50: Lenny Kravitz, Bruce Springsteen or Bono?
I suppose Bruce, because my dh and I are always quoting/singing the line from “Dancing in the Dark”: “I’m sick of sitting ‘round here trying to write this book.”
4. What is “dressed up” for you: a designer dress and stiletto heels or clean yoga pants, a sweatshirt and tennis shoes without holes?
Of course it’s the clean yoga pants. And flip flops, not real shoes. SoCal resident, yo.
5. What was the most unusual comment you’ve ever received in a fan mail letter or a review?
Once someone mentioned my stories had “snappy today-ness” which my husband often delights in quoting back to me.
6. What do you do when you’re in the middle of a book and a new idea pops into your head?
Jot it down, of course. But usually a new idea pops in my head at the very end of finishing the current book. It’s weird, how you might think your brain is tired of creating, and yet a new idea just starts knocking on the door.
7. If you could invite three of your favorite authors over for a summer barbecue, who would be chowing down on hamburgers and brats (or veggie burgers) in your backyard?
Tough! I have many of my favorite authors as friends. So I’ll pick 3 I do not know personally, and all in the mystery genre, which I don’t write (so I’d enjoy picking their brains about their process).
Meg Gardiner (new to me, writes a series set in Santa Barbara where I went to college).
Loreth Anne White (who writes with a great sense of place).
Kendra Elliot (her heroine, Mercy Kilpatrick, has an interesting background that makes her unusual and compelling).
8. How old were you when you had the first inkling you might be a writer, and what gave you that hint?
I don’t recall ever not wanting to write, but the bug bit hard when my mom typed up one of my stories for me at about 8 or 9. I was now in print!
9. Do you ban all pets from your house, tolerate them for your family’s sake or are you a pet lover, typing with a dog, cat and maybe a bird sitting on your lap right now? And if you are a pet lover, list your brood.
I love pets (we now have a dog, Hank, and a cat, Goblin). However, I told the family I banned anything that needed to be fed something alive. Need it be said that despite my ban, we had several pets over the years that needed to be fed live crickets or small feeder fish?
10. If you could write a novel containing any generally “off-limits” element, what would we find in your story?
Yikes. Now I have to admit I can’t think of anything “off-limits” that I want to write about! The boundaries these days are so wide!
11. Name a hero or heroine from one of your books you loved a little more than all the others. (Yes, it’s like picking a favorite child.)
Poppy Walker, from ONE LOOK (One & Only series, Book 1). She’s an incurable optimist and I love her for that.
12. Name the most unique vacation you ever took, and what was your favorite thing about it?
Twice we’ve gone on a boat-bike tour in Europe (just got back from a trip between Bruges and Amsterdam). You ride all day and then hop back on the boat at night. It was great for the dh, who needs action, and you get to see beautiful sights and small towns up close. Also, meeting people from all over the world who are your fellow passengers on the boat. We became fast friends!
13. What book are you reading right now, and what is the best book you’ve read in a long time?
I’m reading ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE [by Anthony Doerr], which was recommended to me by fellow passengers on the aforementioned boat after I recommended to them THE NIGHTINGALE [by Kristin Hannah] (set in France in WW2). That was the best book I’ve read in a long time, and it hit me hard as I read it while visiting France. I recently finished GOING DARK, the start of a new romantic-suspense series by Monica McCarty, and I loved it!
14. Which of your books gave you the most trouble, and what helped you make it to “the end”?
Whatever project I’m currently working on is the book that gives me the most trouble. To make it through, I have writing friends who I call who talk me through it. They’re the best!
15. What has been your scariest moment as an author?
I remember submitting my first book to New York publishers. In those days, you sent a print book via mail. I had my (then) little sons “sprinkle” lucky “fairy dust” on the package just before sliding it into the slot.
By Christie Ridgway
Charlotte “Charlie” Emerson returned to the kitchen to deal with the dishes and restore the pots and pans to their proper place. She liked tidiness and order in all things—emotions included. Her friend and fellow butler, Emmaline, sometimes accused her of capping off her feelings, and Charlie didn’t disagree. Or find anything wrong with it.
“In my book,” she murmured to herself now, “compartmentalizing isn’t a sin.”
“What’s not a sin?” a masculine voice questioned.
Charlie whirled around, instant heat crawling up her throat and cheeks. “Um, hi, Ethan.” Why hadn’t she taken the time to change into something other than cropped leggings and a matching T-shirt? When was the last time she’d brushed her hair?
Her boss, the man who employed her as a butler and as a caregiver for his young son, smiled, softening the lines of his lean and handsome face.
“Charlotte,” he said now.
She pretended to scowl at him and told herself that she found his use of her full name—he was the only one who ever did use it—irksome. It made her feel too…feminine, and she was supposed to merely be a functional feature in his life. A Charlie.
“I didn’t hear you come in.” He’d been on a business trip for two weeks.
“You were lost in thought.” A heavy pause. “Something about sinning?”
At the amused and inquisitive tone, she glanced up at him. He looked back, one dark eyebrow winged up and the hint of a smile on his firm lips. A shiver tried working its way down her spine, but she ruthlessly held back the sensation.
“It was nothing,” she said.
“I’m disappointed to hear that.” He laughed again, sounding slightly chagrined. “For a moment I thought one of us was breaking out of our rut.”
Meaning…? Then a clatter of running footsteps sounded on the stairs.
With a grin, Ethan braced and managed to catch his six-year-old son who launched himself into the air.
“Dad!” Wells hugged with exuberance.
Ethan placed his cheek against the top of his son’s hair and closed his eyes. “Wells,” he said, voice full of satisfaction. Then his eyes flipped open and they met Charlie’s. “Home.”
Wells chattered away about everything. “It sounds like Charlie took good care of you,” Ethan replied when the boy wound down. “I’m glad I brought her back a present from Paris.”
Charlie froze. A present? For her? From Paris? For some insane reason, her mind instantly leaped to thoughts of chocolate. Perfume. Then silk. Lace. Designer lingerie that would cinch her waist and give her small breasts actual cleavage. She swallowed. Surely not.
“Here.” Ethan crossed to shove a soft item into her hands.
She looked down, rattled. It took a moment for the words printed on the fabric to sink in. Je t’aime.
I love you.
“What did you get?” Wells asked.
Speechless, Charlie shook her head.
“She needs to unfold it,” Ethan said.
With unsteady hands, Charlie unfurled the fabric.
“It’s a sweatshirt,” Wells said, clearly unimpressed.
“Je t’aime Paris,” Charlie read, now that all the words were exposed. “I love Paris.”
The hoodie material was a medium blue, and the inside surfaces felt buttery soft. She pulled it over her head and then slid her arms into the sleeves. They hung over her hands, almost to the tips of her fingers, and the hem hit her at mid-thigh.
She looked down at herself. The sweatshirt could fit two or three of her.
“Perfect,” Ethan said, beaming with approval. “It keeps you all covered up.”
“I…thank you.” She folded back the right sleeve, and the left. “It’s a thoughtful gift.”
One that you could give a maiden aunt, a kid sister, or that favorite niece her friends said Ethan treated her as.
Yanking it over her head, she called herself all kinds of a fool. Ethan didn’t think of her as someone who wore lingerie.
The man was a father first and a widower grieving for his late wife second. In his life, Charlie was a convenience, like a can opener or a toaster oven.
Not a woman.
Christie Ridgway is the USA Today bestselling author of over 50 contemporary romances for Harlequin, Avon, Berkley, and Kensington as well as the indie-published Rock Royalty series and of KNOX (now a USA Today bestseller), book 4 of the very successful 7 Brides for 7 Brothers series. She is a six-time RITA finalist and the winner of awards for Contemporary Romance of the Year and Career Achievement from RT Book Reviews.
Praise for Christie’s sexy, sunny romances:
- “Emotional and powerful…everything a romance reader could hope for.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review).
- “Ridgway’s feel-good read, with its perfectly integrated, extremely hot, and well-crafted love scenes, is contemporary romance at its best.” — Booklist (starred review).
- “Sexy, sassy, funny, and cool, this effervescent sizzler nicely launches Ridgway’s new series.” — Library Journal.
- “Ridgway rocks romance!” — Bella Andre, New York Times and USA Today Bestseller.
- “Christie Ridgway writes a sizzling combination of heat and heart.” — Barbara Freethy, #1 New York Times Bestseller.