Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Interview with Merline Lovelace - Third Time's The Bride - Review

I never realized how timely this would be now that RT has dropped the HQN series books from their now digital only magazine. The Harlequin serials are a staple and have been since Harlequin printed its first series, The Medical Romances in 1953 only 4 years after the company was founded.
So I'm so pleased to bring you a relatively new to me Harlequin Special Edition author, Merline Lovelace who from the very first book in her Three Coins in a Fountain series has entranced me with her storylines, characters and scenes. I hope you enjoy this post about book 2, Third Time's The Bride and don't forget to read series romance!

ISBN-13: 9780373659692
Publisher: Harlequin
Release Date: 06/21/2106
Length: 240 pp
Buy It: B&N/Amazon/Kobo/IndieBound

Third time lucky?
Take a vacation to Italy and land a husband? Well, at least fiancé number three. Dawn McGill's fear of marriage has halted two weddings, but millionaire Brian Ellis and his adorable little boy might change all that. After all, a marriage based on convenience is less frightening than one based on love.
Brian will do anything for his young son, and what Tommy wants even more than a puppy is a mom. Dawn is great with his boy and she's even beginning to fill a void in his own heart. Yet he can't shake the feeling that his bride-to-be is getting cold feet. What will it take to get Dawn all the way down the aisle this time?

Merline I’m so excited to have you on the blog. I love your Three Coins in the Fountain series for Harlequin Special Edition. (I also can’t keep the song out of my head LOL).
I know!  I have several versions of it in my iTunes library and sing along every time I hear it.

Tell my readers about your latest, the second in the series, Third Time’s a Bride.
This book features Dawn McGill, who everyone thinks is a happy-go-lucky, good-time girl.  Everyone, that is, except her two best friends.  Kate and Callie know the hell Dawn went through when her parents’ marriage descended into vicious arguments followed eventually by a nasty divorce.  And they understand that’s a good part of the reason she left two grooms standing at the altar.  Aside from the fact that Dawn discovered almost too late that both men were wrong for her, she almost breaks out in hives every time she thinks about walking down the aisle and into a heartbreaking mess like her parents’ marriage. 
Then, during a trip to Italy, a six-year old imp on vacation in Venice with his dad steals her heart.  Impulsively, Dawn decides to take over a temporary stand-in for his nanny, who tripped and shattered her ankle.  Only catch – the kid comes with an undeniably sexy but disapproving dad who worries his son will get attached to Dawn and she’ll bolt, as she has before.  The boy lost his mom when he was just a baby.  Brian doesn’t want him thinking he’s found a substitute in free-spirited Dawn – until the idea starts to grow on both father and son.

How was the series idea born?
Like the three friends in this series, I love schmaltzy old movies like ROMAN HOLIDAY and SABRINA and THREE COINS IN A FOUNTAIN.  I also love, love, love Italy and return as often as possible.  So when I was kicking around ideas for a series that combined three best friends and lots of fun travel, a modern day version of THREE COINS seemed a perfect fit.

There are many references to the military in this series which you know about first hand seeing that you were in the Air Force for 23 years and are a retired Colonel. First thank you for your service.  How long after you hung up your military cap did you start writing novels?
Thanks, Debbie!  I loved my years in uniform.  Well, most of them anyway.  VN wasn’t fun and four years at the Pentagon were more than enough for me.  It’s a fantastic career for a woman – one of the few where you wear your rank on your sleeve, get paid exactly the same as men, and are offered incredible challenges and responsibilities from day one!
I’ve been an avid reader, like, forever and read voraciously all during my years in the military.  A friend hooked me on romances just a few years before I retired and I loved them so much I decided to try my hand at writing them.  I sent my first manuscript off a couple months after I retired.  It sold several months after that, and 99 books later I’m still having a ball.

Keeping on the military topic, you also came from a military family.
Was your joining something you knew you’d do from a very young age or was it something that was decided later on?
I loved growing up as a military brat and seeing so much of the world, but I never planned to go into the service myself.  I was a language major in college – German, Russian and Mandarin Chinese – and was thinking of a career in the U.S. Diplomatic Service.  But…  Vietnam was ramping up, guys were burning their draft cards, the military was having trouble meeting recruiting goals, and they were actively looking for women to serve.
 I thought I’d go in for 4 years and then use the GI Bill to finish my graduate degree in Chinese Area Studies.  Once I got in, though, I loved the responsibilities I was given and was proud as heck to wear the uniform of my country – despite the nasty view of the military held by protestors who would heckle and throw blood at us.
And the longer I stayed in, the more the old barriers against women in the military tumbled.  Career field after career field previously barred to women opened up, and every new assignment was so exciting and such a learning experience.

Merline after having read two books in this series I’m really impressed with how genuine your characters are. Do you know all about your characters before you write their stories or do they take the keyboard out of your hands sometimes?
I don’t do a lot of pre-work on the characters.   Mostly I establish their inner and exterior conflicts, then give them backgrounds and character traits to fit those conflicts.  And yes, they most definitely take off in directions I hadn’t envisioned when I first crafted them.  Then I just go along for the ride.

You also write for other Harlequin lines. Is this your first for Special Edition?
It is!  Gail Chasan, who’s now the Senior Editor for Special Edition, and I started out in the business together 20+ years ago.  Because I’m one of “her” authors, she’s edited all the contemporary books I’ve done for Harlequin over the years.   She’s been trying to lure me to SE for ages but I preferred short word count books like Desire and Blaze.  Then SE dropped its word count and I was thrilled to be able to write for Gail’s own line.

Will there be more? 
Definitely!  In fact, I just sent Gail a plot sketch for another three-book series that I think would be really fun.

Merline your three heroines in this series are all very different but are true BFFs. Of the three, which one gave you the most trouble writing, or did they all behave?
I think that because they were such different personalities, they all pretty well kept in character.  I didn’t have to chase after them or rein them in much at all.

You’ve received many, much deserved awards for your writing. Congratulations! Is there still one on your bucket list?
Well, making the New York Times Bestseller list would be nice, but I’m thrilled to be a USA Today Bestseller.  And I wouldn’t mind bringing home another Rita from San Diego.  One of my novellas in the Special Ops CROSSFIRE series I did with the fabulous Lindsay McKenna has been nominated.

Merline thanks so much for answering my questions. Good luck with your Three Coins series and all your future works.
You’re more than welcome, Debbie, and thanks for the wonderful reviews.  So glad you like my work.

Will you be attending any author events in the near future?
We’re heading to RWA National in San Diego in July.  After that the calendar is crammed with lots of cruises and trips.  I get most of my inspiration for stories while traveling, so I should come home with a pocketful of plots!

My Review Courtesy of RT Book Reviews

 Connect with Merline - Website - Facebook - GoodReads

Meet Merline:After 23-years in the United States Air Force, Colonel Merline Lovelace hung up her uniform for the last time and launched a second career as a writer, basing many of her tales on her own experiences in the military and on her travels around the globe.
Her works have won numerous awards, including the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA. Merline is especially proud to have been named Oklahoma’s Writer of the Year and the Oklahoma Female Veteran of the Year.

Today's Gonereading item is:
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  1. Oh wow! I've been living under a rock it seems. I love the idea of the Three Coins series about three friends and Italy. How fun! I was an Air Force brat so it was fun to read the interview about both careers. Thanks, ladies!

    1. Hi Sophia Rose - hope you enjoyed your AF brat days as much as I did. It was such a rich, rewarding experience living overseas and despite the turmoil of losing friends due to frequent moves, we kids learned to be pretty resourceful and independent.

    2. I know right Sophia, me too! I'm still singing the song LOL ugh

  2. Fabulous interview like always Debbie! I loved that movie so I bet I will really like this too!

  3. Book, Interview all Top Notch! Oklahoma is proud of you and so are all your Fans.

    1. Awwww - thanks, Jo. You always brighten my day.

    2. Hi Jo, nice to meet another huge fan!!!

  4. I love how authors become so after years of service like Merline Lovelace, because they bring such factual experience to their books. I love the premise of this story and the fact it has an adorable 6 yr old. Always love a book with children in it!

  5. This series sounds delightful and I love, love,love the setting. As always I love your interviews Debbie!

    1. Aw thanks Kim. And yes the setting were stunning!

  6. Sounds like an interesting series. Great interview. Thanks to the author for her years of service to our country.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

    1. its a Fabulous series and thanks for your thanks Mel!

  7. Ahh a runaway bride! I do love those single daddies in romances. They totally melt my heart every time. Thanks for the heads up!