Please welcome my guest today, Meara Platt. Where were you born, Meara?
I was born in Cairo, Egypt and spent most of my childhood moving from country to country before my family finally settled in the USA. So we’ve lived in Egypt, France, and Australia until finally reaching the US. Although having to leave Egypt led to some very difficult times for my family, I can look back with happiness on the time I spent there. We spent only a short time in France, but several years in Australia (loved, loved, loved those wonderful years in Sydney, Australia) before leaving to join the rest of our family in the US. To me, Australia was paradise, and I was sad to leave. My twin sister and I still have the stuffed koala bear toys we were given as gifts from our friends and we treasure them to this day.
Wow! How fascinating. What do you like most about where you live now?Having spent my early years uprooted and my family settled in housing provided by refugee agencies, I am so appreciative of now living in a town with a loving attitude toward its residents, where merchants know you and your children, and neighbors are friendly.
Interesting. What’s your favorite season?
I’d have to say summer because I handle warm weather much better than I handle cold. I always joke that I’m a sand person because of where I was born, but I truly tolerate heat much better than cold. Also, everything is in bloom in the summer and I’m an avid gardener. I love to look out my window and see the constantly changing flowers in bloom – and the red cardinals, blue jays, and robins that nest beside the garden.
Any school memories you’d like to share?
My early school years in Australia. We started school speaking no English, but within a matter of weeks, my sister and I picked up the language and built friendships with our classmates. What I remember most is the feeling of acceptance, of coming home and knowing peace.
Do you have any personal heroes/heroines?
My father without doubt. He was a quiet, gentle man who fought fiercely to protect his family and loved us with all his heart. Despite all the dangers he faced, he never spoke ill of anyone and never judged others. He taught all of us to accept people for who they are and always to be kind. He had an incredible inner strength and I always think of him when writing my characters, whether hero or heroine, because it is that inner strength and noble character that makes them heroic.
What is the worst job you ever had?
I’ve had boring jobs, but I never felt I had a terrible job. I was always happy to be working and appreciated the opportunity. Whether I was any good at a particular job is another matter, but I always gave it my best. One summer, my girlfriend Marcia and I worked as hotel maids in Italy. The hotel owner’s mother, who must have been in her late 70’s, would come in each day as well, so the three of us would set out each morning making beds and tidying the rooms and bathrooms. Marcia and I worked together, his mother worked alone. She finished twice the rooms in half the time it took us. We princesses were exhausted by the time we finished and this lovely woman was spry as a teenager!
Great anecdote! Have you had any unusual or noteworthy occupations?
Lol, no. I’m a lawyer in my day job and have done some very interesting work, but it’s basically a desk job. I’m in awe of those who go out there daily and risk their lives to keep us safe – they are the true heroes and those are noteworthy occupations.
Do you have any hobbies?
I love gardening – I definitely have a need for peace and beauty!
What is your feeling about social media?
Some of social media is good, but it is often abused by those who can hide behind it to be mocking or cruel. I have to say that social media in my author career has been extremely rewarding. Personalities come across and I’ve found the historical romance authors and readers to be warm, funny, and on the whole have enriched my life. Anna, you know that among our deWolfe Pack group there is a very special connection formed by those of us lucky to have been a part of Kathryn Le Veque’s launch of her World of deWolfe pack. Many of the authors in this group are as brave as any medieval warrior and noble as any prince or princess. I treasure the friendship of every author in the deWolfe Pack.
I agree wholeheartedly. What’s your pet peeve?
I can’t stand it when people think they can climb their ladder to success by stepping on others. I can’t stand it when people belittle or are rude to others. I will open my big mouth at times – I just can’t stand that lack of appreciation for what people do or lack of understanding for someone’s limitations.
Well said. Do you like animals?
I’m a dog person and my daughter is a cat person. She’s constantly texting me pictures of her and her cat – fattest cat in existence – and I love it.
What do you enjoy most/least about being a published author?
I enjoy everything about being a published author. Early on, I thought it would just be about getting a book out there and being proud to say I’m published, but it is so much more. Getting to know the other authors and readers has been like finding a lost part of my family – and I already have a big, loving family. And yes, my Farthingale series is loosely based on my wonderful, meddlesome and opinionated but always loving family.
How do you deal with writer’s block?
I may have trouble writing a scene or figuring out an ending that readers will remember, but I don’t really have writer’s block. I have diarrhea of the mouth (or typing fingers) and have so much in my head that I hope I’ll have the time to get it all out!
To what do you attribute your success as a writer?
Hard work and study, study, study! Some people have a natural gift, but when I started I was an AWFUL writer. English is not my native language, but that was the least of it. I didn’t understand the concept of writing a tight story, had no clue what plot or conflict really were, and didn’t realize that by giving my hero and heroine certain strengths and weaknesses, I could create their goals and motivations to propel their story. Duh! I joined Romance Writers of America and also joined my local RWA chapter and made it a priority to attend programs and workshops and learn as much as I could. I also kept writing, and as I did, my abilities improved. Many years back I won RWA’s Golden Heart award in historical romance and that really helped give me the confidence to continue. The writer friends I’ve made along the way were also a tremendous help – we’re all going through the same doubts and fears. Having their support was vital then and remains vital now that I’m published.
Where do you find inspiration for your stories?
The real dangers and turbulent years experienced in my childhood definitely impact all my stories and inspire me to write with humor. I think of Star Wars, when Darth Vader and his emperor are trying to lure Luke to the dark side – nope, not having any of it. My books are joyful and meant to give readers warmth and laughter. Hopefully all who read my books will find my heroes and heroines strong, caring, and independent.
Tell us about your latest release.
I have two releases coming out in February 2016. The first is a wonderful boxset called Once Upon A Regency which is a set of Regency romance novellas based on classic fairy tales. My story is Wish Upon A Kiss and is inspired by Sleeping Beauty. The other wonderful authors in this set each have a fairy tale of their own as their inspiration: The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Little Red Riding Hood, Alice In Wonderland, etc.
My second release is A Midsummer’s Kiss which is Book 4 in my bestselling Farthingale series. This one is Laurel Farthingale and Graelem Dayne’s story. The premise is that Graelem needs to marry by Midsummer’s Day or lose a vast inheritance. He needs to find a cooperative, biddable girl who’ll just say yes, but he makes the mistake of choosing Laurel Farthingale, and as fans of this series know, Laurel is independent and opinionated and not about to marry for reasons other than love.
Do you enjoy writing series?
I LOVE writing this Farthingale series. The characters are all so vivid, the five Farthingale sisters and their family and friends are fun, lively, well-meaning, and despite their best intentions can never seem to keep out of trouble. The youngest sisters are Lily and Daffodil – they’re identical twins and I had so much fun with that concept! I will have succeeded if readers laugh, cheer, and finish each story feeling warm and fuzzy.
Excerpt from A Midsummer’s Kiss:
“Blessed Scottish saints,” Graelem said in a husky murmur. “Are you saying that I’m the only man who’s ever kissed you?”
“In that crude and plundering way. Yes.” In that wonderful, fires-of-hell-take-me-I’m-yours way that still had her blushing and wanting to rip the shirt off his body and run her hands along his hot, golden skin? Laurel cleared her throat. “In any way at all? Yes. You’re the first.”
A solemn quiet came over him, but he shook out of it quickly. “Laurel, lass.” He spoke with a gentleness not present before. “You can’t possibly love him.”
“I knew you were going to say that.” She curled her hands into fists and returned his gaze with a scowl of exasperation. “I do love him. I don’t love you. The kiss we shared was a mistake. I wasn’t myself. I was distraught and uncertain.”
She paused a moment and swallowed hard. “But thank you for not taking advantage of me. Had you tried, I think I would have let you.” Because she was crazed and hurting. No other reason. Certainly not because she felt any desire for the oaf.
Goodness and mercy! Why would she feel anything for him?
“I know, lass,” he said with a nod. “But I gave you my promise that I wouldn’t touch you against your will and I’ll keep to it. You wanted the kiss and it was harmless enough.” He leaned closer still. “Granted, you wanted more. But I will not have you shamed or living with regrets for your actions on one of the most difficult days of your life. When you marry me—”
“If I marry you. Which I won’t.” Drat! The words sounded uncertain even to her ears.
“I’ll make you a bargain.”
She shot to her feet, instantly wary. “What sort of bargain?”
“I’ll agree to attend these bloody teas and musicales if you stop dismissing the idea of our marriage.”
She nibbled her lip in thought and noticed that Graelem’s eyes darkened as he watched her. Honestly, why did the oaf have to be blessed with dangerously seductive eyes? They should have been watery or rimmed in red. They weren’t. His eyes were clear and magnificent. “No more dismissing the idea of our marriage? I’ll agree not to mention it when we chat”— but I’ll still think it— “so long as you don’t dismiss out of hand the young ladies I plan to invite to said teas and musicales.”
“Agreed.” He gave her a heart-melting smile. “Care to seal it with a handshake?”
No, she’d much rather seal it with a kiss. A lips-locked, tongues-plundering string of kisses to be precise. “Blessed Scottish saints,” he said in a hoarse whisper and rose from his chair to stand beside her. “Don’t look at me that way, lass.”
“What way?” She felt her heart beating faster and the heat in her cheeks was now spreading through her body, blazing a fiery trail through her veins. Graelem stood too close. She put her hand on his chest to nudge him back, but somehow her hand curled against the front of his shirt and she found herself tugging his big body closer instead.
Oh, dear. The wrong way.
“What’s it to be, lass?” His mouth felt feather soft against her ear. “Do we seal our bargain with a safe and proper handshake?” His cool breath sent very hot tingles up and down her spine. “Or would you rather we seal it with a dangerously improper kiss?”
She let out a soft gasp. Did the man have no shame?