I’m so excited to be a part of the Ivy Entwined Blog Tour! Today we’re talking with Laura Simcox, author of the Something to Celebrate series, about her new book. Keep reading for a fun excerpt and a Rafflecopter giveaway for a “Celebration in a Basket” and book swag!
by Laura Simcox
When Ivy Callahan returns to her hometown as mayor, she doesn’t expect much to have changed. But now her ex-fiancé is the town planner, the biggest business is closed, and the only store interested in Celebration, NY is a Megamart. On top of it all, the liaison for the big, bad, box store is Marcus Weaver, her childhood crush. And he’s still as dangerously delectable as ever.
Marcus unwillingly spent his teens in Celebration with his vindictive, drunken uncle. As far as Marcus is concerned, the town’s only use is to cement his rise up the corporate ladder. He needs that Megamart opened, and Ivy is his ticket. But the sexy, stubborn mayor could also be his downfall.
As the unemployed townspeople put on the pressure, Ivy needs to do something. With a fresh downtown-renewal project in the works, Ivy could stop Marcus and his Megamart before they kill the town’s spirit. But with sparks flying between Ivy and Marcus, they each need to decide what’s more important: their careers or their hearts.
An interview with author Laura Simcox:
Tell us more about your book—beyond the official “book blurb”.
My book is a comedy, but it’s also about a couple who are each searching for home. Both Ivy and Marcus grew up in Celebration, NY and both of them are back after being gone for years. So essentially, they are home. But not really. It takes them falling in love to really be at home in their hometown. And that town is special- Celebration takes its name seriously and every holiday is an excuse for a parade. They aren’t great parades, either…no perfect floats and adorable decorations. It’s just a group of small town people with quirky customs and a lot of heart. It’s the type of place you fall for even though you don’t want to. Kind of like Marcus and Ivy- they don’t want to fall for each other but fate has different ideas!
Tell us more about who Ivy and Marcus are as characters.
Ivy pushes herself to do the best job she can every moment of every day. She’s smart and capable. She loves her family and as an only child, wants to make them proud. She also intends to save her hometown and is willing to make a deal with Marcus, even though the crush she had on him years ago still lingers. He thrills her and the more time she spends with him, the harder he is to resist.
Like Ivy, Marcus holds himself to an impossibly high standard. Unlike Ivy, he had a less than ideal upbringing and tends to close himself off from relationships. When he encounters Ivy, he thinks of her as a conquest. But by the time he realizes how strong and smart she is, he’s half in love with her and completely out of his comfort zone.
I love the part where Marcus finds Ivy’s old yearbooks in her room, with all the pink hearts all over his picture. Worst nightmare ever, for anyone who has ever had a crush on someone who’s oblivious! 🙂
Have you based your book’s setting (Celebration, NY) on an actual place?
I didn’t base Celebration on a specific place, no. The fact that it is in upstate New York, near Syracuse, but still fairly isolated, is as real as it gets. I love places with weather extremes…the people just seem to have a no-nonsense self-reliance that I admire.
It’s out of sheer necessity, let me tell you. We laugh–or scoff–at all those cities who get an inch of snow and shut everything down in a panic. Honestly! Nothing would get done for a good four months straight if we did that in Buffalo!
Are you planning on revisiting Celebration in future books? Would we be seeing Ivy and Marcus again if you do?
Celebration will be revisited in another book due out in spring of 2013. Think Easter parade, more town festivals and tattoos. Lots of ‘em. Ivy and Marcus will be there, cheering on our new heroine, Blair and our new hero, Ben. Or maybe they will take sides. Ivy and Marcus do like to argue.
They certainly do! Oh, and you had me at “tatoos.” I’m so there.
What made you decide to go from theater costume design to writing romance? Do aspects of that job ever show up in your books?
I decided to switch careers when my husband and I brought our son home. I quit traveling for weeks at a time to go design costumes for shows. In fact, I quit teaching college so that I could be home with our son. That’s when I picked back up the manuscript I’d written and thought seriously about publication. Although the setting for my debut novel was a summer theater, theater doesn’t feature in Ivy Entwined or in the books I have in development. However, I write a TON of dialogue and love, love over-the-top personalities. I just go for it. I frequently snicker as I write and then completely understand when an editor pulls me back from crazyville.
What is the best thing about your job?
The whole ‘going to work in your jammies’ thing is pretty great. I also love writing conferences. It’s SO fun to drag myself out of my writing hovel and travel again! I’m no stranger to conferences because I used to attend them for theater, so I’m in the zone, baby. Just give me a cute outfit, a giant hotel, restaurant food and people to chat with for hours and I’m in heaven.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on the second book in the ‘Something to Celebrate’ series. Since my hero is a tattoo artist, I’m planning fun visits to tattoo studios. I’m also working on a series for Avon: Various States of Undress, about fictitious daughters of the President of the United States. My plate is full and I’m a lucky writer.
Sounds like fun–especially the tattoo research. Do you need an assistant? 😉
Who are some of your favorite authors?
My absolute favorite author is Katie MacAlister. I love humor in my romance, no matter what the genre, so I also love Julia Quinn, Mary Janice Davidson, Jennifer Crusie and Susan Elizabeth Phillips, among others.
Excellent choices! I love authors who bring romance and humor together, and they all do it really well.
What are you reading right now?
I’m reading ‘Time Thief’ by Katie MacAlister.
Can you give us one of your favorite scenes from the book?
One of my favorite scenes is the ‘ugly Christmas sweater’ party. It takes place at Ivy’s parents’ house and is hosted by Ivy’s grandmother, a potty-mouthed old lady who loves to play matchmaker. Ivy is perfectly comfortable, but Marcus, mister smooth-as-silk, is stuck wearing the most horrendous sweater of all. I laughed so hard when I wrote that bit about his sweater!
I’m just getting to that part now–can’t wait! I love ugly Christmas sweaters–on other people, of course 🙂
Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Laura! I’m more than halfway done with Ivy Entwined, and have to say it’s a really fun read!
After spending twenty years in professional theater as a costume designer, with a few of those years also spent as a college instructor, Laura abandoned the nomadic lifestyle to sit in a comfy pleather office chair at a beat up ginormous second hand oak desk and write. The result? Romance novels! Her favorite thing ever since she was, oh, about twelve. She writes contemporary, light novels and enjoys creating quirky characters and funny dialogue. Still, the love story is the focus and Laura has a huge soft spot for a sappy, happy ending. She lives in North Carolina with her husband (true love is real!) and her adorable, high energy four year old son who is currently obsessed with pirates. When not playing mamma pirate, she loves hearing from readers and you can find your favorite way to say hi via the social media buttons on her website: www.laurasimcox.com
Having a bad day? Read a romance novel.
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How about an excerpt? Here’s when Ivy and Marcus meet for the first time as adults–just after he arrives back in town. Talk about opening mouth and inserting foot….
He blinked at her. “Who are you?”
“I’m Ivy Callahan. Who are you?”
He froze. Callahan. The mayor’s daughter? The last time he’d seen Ivy, she was a freckly kid in braces, sitting with her friends in the corner of the drugstore and giggling behind her hand. But now? Gorgeous. And probably pissed at him, despite the fact that he’d just saved her from falling on her face. He stopped, glancing behind him. Where was Alberta Fields? He needed a buffer.
Like a beacon, she walked over to them. “That was a close call, but you didn’t fall, so all’s well that ends well. Ivy, this is Marcus Weaver. Can you believe it?”
Ivy’s mouth dropped open. She turned to Alberta and whispered something in her ear. Alberta nodded.
Ivy cocked her head to the side and looked at Marcus. “Oh. Well, I’d like to speak with you. Walk into city hall with me.”
He raised an eyebrow at Alberta, who shrugged and turned to the crowd. “Inside, everybody,” she snapped out in her practiced schoolteacher voice.
Marcus followed Ivy up the steps, letting his gaze bounce over her killer legs and snug suit. Ivy Callahan. Wow. She sure had grown up.
Ivy turned, a flash of annoyance crossing her face. “You are the investor Herman’s been talking about, right?”
“Yes, but what does that have to do with…” Marcus gave her an automatic smile. “Never mind. What was with the welcome wagon back there? Are you…” He searched for an appropriate word, but he couldn’t think of anything that didn’t sound ridiculous. “Famous?”
Ivy raised an eyebrow. “Depends on who you ask.”
“I see.” Marcus crossed his arms. “In any case, where’s your dad? I’d like to speak with him before the meeting starts.”
“You would? How come?”
“Because I wanted to say hello.”
She flicked a piece of imaginary lint from her spotless red suit. “Great. I’ll let him know. Anything else you need?”
Okay, so she was pissed. But she didn’t have to interrogate him. He had saved her from falling on her ass, after all. Marcus leaned forward, not even trying to keep the hint of condescension from his voice. “Look. It’s been fun chatting with you, but I’d really like to talk to the mayor. Okay, sweetheart?”
She went still for a brief second and then a slow grin spread over her face. “Sure, honey. Go ahead and talk to the mayor. You’re looking right at her.”
Ready for a giveaway? I thought so!
Grand Prize – ‘Celebration in a Basket’. (In keeping with the series theme – ‘Something to Celebrate’) Includes: fun party supplies for a girlfriends-type party (champagne glasses, napkins and plates, party food recipe cards written by the author), Mardis Gras style beads, candles, chocolate, hard candy, and a deck of ‘Ivy Entwined’ playing cards.
Three runner-up swag bags – Includes: Ivy Entwined bookmarks, magnets, pens and a purse charm-style keychain. Each bag will contain two sets…one for the winner and one for a friend who loves to read romance, too!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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