Friday, February 04, 2011

Q&A With Author Molly Harper and Giveaway


Molly Harper worked for six years as a reporter and humor columnist for The Paducah Sun. Her reporting duties included covering courts, school board meetings, quilt shows, and once, the arrest of a Florida man who faked his suicide by shark attack and spent the next few months tossing pies at a local pizzeria. Molly lives in western Kentucky with her family.

Book Description:

Even in Grundy, Alaska, it’s unusual to find a naked guy with a bear trap clamped to his ankle on your porch. But when said guy turns into a wolf, recent southern transplant Mo Wenstein has no difficulty identifying the problem. Her surly neighbor Cooper Graham—who has been openly critical of Mo’s ability to adapt to life in Alaska—has trouble of his own. Werewolf trouble.

For Cooper, an Alpha in self-imposed exile from his dysfunctional pack, it’s love at first sniff when it comes to Mo. But Cooper has an even more pressing concern on his mind. Several people around Grundy have been the victims of wolf attacks, and since Cooper has no memory of what he gets up to while in werewolf form, he’s worried that he might be the violent canine in question.

If a wolf cries wolf, it makes sense to listen, yet Mo is convinced that Cooper is not the culprit. Except if he’s not responsible, then who is? And when a werewolf falls head over haunches in love with you, what are you supposed to do anyway? The rules of dating just got a whole lot more complicated. . . .

Welcome Molly to Romance Author Buzz. Is there a back story to How to Flirt With a Naked Werewolf?

Yes, I wrote a good bit of the initial notes for HOW TO FLIRT WITH A NAKED WEREWOLF during the January 2009 ice storm. Thousands of homes in Kentucky, including mine, lost power. With no light, heat or hot water, my family had to bunk at my inlaws’ house.  My husband is a police captain and was working twelve-hour emergency shifts. This left me with our six-month-old and five-year-old.  All day long.  With nothing to distract them except crayons and matchbox cars. And Darcy could not understand why the TV wouldn’t come on. It was either come up with a new book or just go straight-up crazy Jack Nicholson style.  By the time the power came on a week later, I had about 20 pages of notes.

How long have you been writing and what was your call story?

I’ve been writing ever since I was very young. My mom remembers an 8 year old me, setting up a “writing office” in the living room, complete with an old manual typewriter and a toy phone. Still, I never considered a writing career until a high school English teacher compared me to Erma Bombeck. I became more interested in column writing and journalism. I majored in print journalism at Western Kentucky University. After graduation, I got a job at my hometown newspaper, The Paducah Sun and married my high school sweetheart, David, a local police officer. After six years at the newspaper, I took a more family-friendly secretarial position at a local church office.

David worked nights and I was alone with our young daughter in the “The Apartment of Lost Souls,” where small appliances went to die. It was either go nuts or write a book. A big fan of vampire movies and TV shows, I decided to write a vampire romance novel. I wondered what would be the most humiliating way possible to be turned into a vampire—a story that a vampire would be embarrassed to share with their vampire buddies over a nice glass of Type O.

The story that emerged was that of Jane Jameson, a single, almost-30 librarian working in Half-Moon Hollow, Ky. Despite the fact that she’s pretty good at her job, she just got canned so her boss could replace her with someone who occasionally starts workplace fires. Jane drowns her sorrows at the local faux nostalgia-themed sports bar. On her way home, she’s mistaken for a deer and shot by a drunk hunter. And then she wakes up as a vampire.

It took me a year to write the book, but only three months to find an agent, Stephany. We signed a representation agreement and two weeks later, I was driving to the post office. The cell phone rang. It was Stephany and I asked if I should pull over. And it was a good thing she did because I started squealing like a five-year-old girl when she told me there was an offer. I hung up and the phone, and then immediately called back because I thought I hadn’t said thank you. She assured me that I had, several times, but calling back was a nice gesture.  And then I called my husband and burst into tears.

The Jane Jameson series–which includes Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs, Nice Girls Don’t Date Dead Men and Nice Girls Don’t Live Forever—was released in 2009, with a fourth installment to follow soon.

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer? Have you had other jobs along the way?

My dream job has always been “writer.” I’ve had plenty of other jobs along the way, including a disastrous stint as a telemarketer and working in the Dippin’ Dots factory for a summer – the ONLY place Dippin’ Dots were manufactured at the time.  But my first official writing job was as a summer obituary clerk at the Paducah Sun. An entire summer, writing nothing but obituaries. Consider my dues paid.

Do you plot your stories or let your characters lead you?

I’m neither a plotter or pantser. I’m a shortster, a combination of the two. I write the first chapter and the last, then write everything in between. I have general idea of what will happen, but nothing is set in stone. And if I come up with a fun idea along the way, I’ll use it.

Of all of your characters, do you have a favorite you identify with and why?

Jane Jameson, my vampire librarian, is shamelessly similar to me, from our social ineptitude to our shared clumsiness.  I once went on vacation and was stung by a jellyfish, suffered a puncture wound from a wrought iron pineapple and was struck in the cleavage by a flying champagne cork all in the span of a day or two. I based Jane’s multiple humiliations on real life experiences… though I have never been mistaken for a deer and shot.

And she’ll always be my favorite, I think, because she was the first heroine I was able to bring to life.

What are you currently working on?

I am writing “spin off” of the Jane Jameson series.  I can’t reveal the plot, but I can tell you the characters live in Half-Moon Hollow and know Jane.

What is the best thing about your job as an author? What is the hardest thing?

I still have a hard time believing my books are out there on the shelves.  Every time I see a bookstore, no matter where we are, I want to go in and check the shelves to see if my books are there. My Dad found one at a bookstore in Singapore once, which was pretty crazy.

Finding enough hours in the day. I work full-time as an editorial asst for a medical society and then write at night. Between writing, work, raising two kids, being married and trying to keep the household going, I feel stretched pretty thin sometimes.

If Oprah invited you onto her show to talk about your book, what would the theme of the show be?

“It Could Happen to You.”  Really, I’m living proof that anyone who has an entertaining writing voice can be published. I’m not that special. I don’t have a degree in creative writing or special workshops under my belt. Before I started, I had no connections to the publishing industries.  It’s all about perseverance and finding the right people at the right time.
Describe a day in the life of Molly Harper:

I wake up around or whenever the two year old down the hall decides his pull-up is too wet to continue sleeping. I get the kids up and ready for school. I drive them to school and get to work by 8.  I work until 5, pick up my son from preschool. By the time I get home, my husband has picked our daughter up from his mom’s and started dinner. We do all the things that families do in the evening, dinner, bath time, homework, tricking the kids into bedtime. I spend a little time with my husband so he doesn’t feel totally abandoned.  Then I sit on the couch and write from nine to or so. I go to bed and start all over again the next morning.
When the time comes for you to retire from writing, what would you like your readers to remember the most about you and your writing?
I made them laugh and forget their troubles for a little while.

Who is your favorite author?

It’s wrong to make me choose!  Jane Austen, Stephen King, Nora Roberts, Teresa Medeiros, Olivia Goldsmith. I’m all over the place in terms of genre.

What are you currently reading?

Water for Elephants. I’m only a few pages in, but I’ve heard so many good things about it. I’m really excited.

Before I let you go is there anything I forgot to ask that you want the readers and fans to know?

If you like non-paranormal romance, I have an all-human romance that came out in July 2010- AND ONE LAST THING.  It’s the story of Lacey, who finds out her husband’s cheating on her, so she uses his business’ mailing list to send a mass email to all of their family, friends, and clients to announce their impending divorce. She retreats to a remote lakeside cabin and meets,
Monroe, a grumpy crime novelist with a low tolerance for personal drama. But with time, beer, and a screen door to the nose, a cautious friendship develops into something infinitely more satisfying.

Lacey has to make a decision about her long-term living arrangements, though. Should she take a job writing caustic divorce newsletters for paying clients, or move on with her own life, pursuing more literary aspirations? Can she find happiness with a man who tells her what he thinks and not what she wants to hear? And will she ever be able to resist saying one . . . last . . . thing?

The book is written in the same style and humor as my vampire books. But everybody’s breathing!

Molly, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with me!

Molly Harper's website

Thanks to Simon and Schuster, you can win a copy of Molly’s HOW TO FLIRT WITH A NAKED WEREWOLF.  Stop over to Facebook and tell Molly what you thought of her interview or check out her blog and comment there. 

Contest is limited to US residents only and winner will be announced March 1st.

HOW TO FLIRT WITH A NAKED WEREWOLF has been named a TOP PICK! for this month by the Romantic Times with 4.5 stars.


Jessica said...

Please enter me in the contest. I commented at Molly's blog saying I am looking forward to checking her books out since she is a new author for me. Great interview!

jsididia at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Great interview. I can't wait to read the book.

I commented on her blog post:

carolsnotebook at yahoo dot com

❤Stephanie! said...

Commented over at her blog!

thestephanieloves AT gmail DOT com


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