Monday, March 29, 2021

Michelle Major Interview - The Last Carolina Sister


Photo Content from Michelle Major 

Michelle Major is the Publishers Weekly best-selling, RITA award winning author of over thirty sexy and sweet contemporary romances. She loves second-chances love stories, smart heroines and strong heroes. A Midwesterner at heart, she’s made the Rocky Mountains her home for nearly half her life and is thrilled to share her books with readers. Connect with her at www.michellemajor.com.

        
  


Greatest thing you learned at school.
When I was in high school, my AP English teacher, Mrs. Dressman, had a quote on the bulletin board: “To whom much is given, much is expected.” I’ve read something similar from the bible and attributed to John F. Kennedy. Either way, for all the things I learned in school, that quote stuck with me as a way to live my life.

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
I was close to thirty-years-0ld when I read my first romance novel. I’d always loved writing but nothing called to me. As soon as I fell in love with reading romance, I knew that I wanted to write in the genre as well.

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
I think the books of my childhood had the most profound influence on me: the Little House on the Prairie series, Anne of Green Gables and Little Women. All had strong female characters but also dealt with everyday subject matter in a powerful way – that really speaks to me.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
A few years ago at a writing conference, a reader came to my table at a book signing. She told me she’d recently gone through cancer treatments and it had been my books she’d taken with her and I’d helped her during that time. It blew me away and is always such an honor to think that my stories can help people during difficult times or when they need an escape. It’s a huge reason why I write and publish.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
This book was written during the start of the pandemic, and having my kids home from school and my husband off work for a period of time was a huge distraction!

Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes?
I would say the Johanna Lindsay historical romance I picked up on a whim in an airport bookstore changed my life because it set me on this path.

Can you tell us when you started THE LAST CAROLINA SISTER, how that came about?
The Last Carolina Sister is book three in The Magnolia Sisters series. I often love writing the third book in a series quite a lot because I’ve gotten comfortable in the world and I know so much about the characters. Meredith is the youngest—and the spunkiest—of her three sisters so it was fun exploring that part of her as well as her more vulnerable side.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters?
Many of Meredith’s issues come from feeling abandoned by her mother. To be the only daughter of a woman who walks away from her family, and then to discover that she was part of the reason, was a devastating blow. Her father and brothers love her, but she never got over losing her mom that way. So a lot of her growth in the story, and through her relationship with Ryan, is finally learning to see herself the way other people see her.

Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from THE LAST CAROLINA SISTER
Her breath hitched, and her green eyes went stormy. Ryan wished he could take the words back. They settled in the air between them like smoke, thick with all the things they hadn’t spoken to each other. Physical intimacy was easy enough, but with this woman nothing felt simple.

“How’s your leg?” she asked. “No cane, I see.”

He automatically stood a little straighter. Normally he hated even acknowledging his injury, but if he had a choice of discussing his leg or his feelings for Meredith, he’d take the damn gunshot wound every time. “Stronger every day. Well, not every day but most of them.”

“You’re still doing too much,” she said, but there was no judgment in her tone.

“Probably, but I need to push myself. Makes me feel not so feeble.” She laughed at that. “You are anything but feeble.”
“Weak,” he said instead. “Damaged.”
Her gaze softened. “Aren’t we all?”

“I’ve missed you,” he blurted, then immediately wished he could take back the words. He bent to pick up some of the leftover materials from the garden bed. “Forget that. It’s only been a few days and we don’t owe each other—”

“Me, too.” She stepped closer to him and went up on tiptoes to brush her mouth over his. He breathed in the scent of vanilla lotion and fresh hay.

“You’ve been cleaning stalls,” he said into her hair.

“Are you telling me I smell?” she asked as she pulled back to look into his eyes.

“Amazing,” he murmured. “You smell amazing.”
“You’re weird.”
“Better than feeble.”
She ran her fingers through the short hair at the base of his neck. “I took

my sisters over to meet my dad a few days ago.” A shiver passed through her.

“Did it go badly?”
“Not at all. Things were awkward at first, but then they got along great.” “Is that a problem?” He splayed his hands on her hips, his thumbs

grazing the waistband of her low-slung jeans.
“Only for me. It makes no sense.” She tugged her lower lip between her

teeth, and he could see the distress on her face, hating it even though he didn’t understand what made her feel that way. “I don’t know why it freaked me out so much. It’s what I wanted, but somehow seeing the dad I thought was mine with the sisters I just discovered...it made me feel like I have no real place to belong. Nothing that is truly mine without layers of complications.”

“All of them love you,” he told her, tucking a stray lock of hair behind one ear. “Isn’t that enough common ground?”

“That’s the worst.” She pushed away, turned and placed her hand on the cool dirt he’d scooped into the garden bed like she needed the earth to ground her at the moment. He understood the sensation. “It makes me feel like a horrible person, but I don’t know how to deal with being happy.” Her eyes were stricken as she glanced over her shoulder at him. “I want to pick a fight with someone or start trouble just so I can come back to my center.”

“No takers here.” He held up his hands.

“You haven’t been around much...” Her voice trailed off as her gaze sharpened. “At night, anyway.”

“It seemed prudent for both of us. We’ve been busy with our crappy thoughts,” he said with a laugh. “I’m definitely not looking for an argument. Unless you need a punching bag.”

“You’re going to volunteer to be my punching bag?” She sounded doubtful.

“If that’s what you need me to be.” He could be a lot of things for Meredith. Lover, friend, confidant and even punching bag. He was afraid, however, that the one thing he couldn’t be was a man she could depend on long-term. It shamed him how much the thought of that both tantalized and terrified him, but he wouldn’t offer it. Some things were beyond even his abilities.

TEN RANDOM FACTS ABOUT THE LAST CAROLINA SISTER
  • 1. Meredith is afraid of heights.
  • 2. Meredith and Ryan’s song is Come Over by Sam Hunt.
  • 3. The original title of the book was Magnolia Season.
  • 4. The Last Carolina Sister is my 35th book with Harlequin.
  • 5. Meredith’s favorite food is pizza.
  • 6. Ryan’s favorite food is apple pie.
  • 7. Meredith remembers the name of every animal she’s adopted out from her rescue.
  • 8. One of the dogs in the book is based on our dog, Sage.
  • 9. Meredith can drive a stick shift, but Ryan never has learned.
  • 10. Ryan never said “I love you” to a woman before Meredith.
Meet the Characters
When I created the character of Meredith Ventner, the only girl raised in a house of boys by a military father, I knew she would be a tough cookie. She also has some issues in her past that have made her wary to trust and let herself be vulnerable. I wanted to give her a way to show her soft side, especially with the hero, and the animal rescue came from that. Definitely some of the details were inspired by my love of animals and experience with personally adopting rescue animals and volunteering.

Ryan Sorensen had a very different life than Meredith, but he has his own demons as a doctor who was injured during a shooting in his urban emergency room. I think the first thing he sees is her firecracker personality and the way she goes full-throttle with her passions. It’s very different from his controlled life as a doctor and his background with a prominent—yet rigid—family. Deep inside, it’s what he craves for himself and that is appealing to him.

Your Journey to Publication
As I mentioned earlier, I realized I wanted to be a writer after I started reading romance. I was still working part time after my kids were born so I fit in the writing when I could. I learned to get up early and write before the house was awake and it’s a habit that’s stuck to this day. I got my first contract when my daughter was in kindergarten (she’s now a sophomore in high school). Since then I’ve continued to write and publish several books a year. It’s what I love to do most in the world (walking my dogs is a close second).

Writing Behind the Scenes
Even after writing more than forty books, I still like to write in shorter sprints – normally between twenty and forty-five minutes. Once the pandemic hit, things changed so now I sprint virtually with other writer friends. It’s a great way to not feel so alone. I also take breaks where I keep moving – either laundry or dog walking in the park behind our house. Normally I try to finish most of my writing or editing by the time the kids get home from school and I switch to marketing or business tasks. That’s how I like to set up my day, anyway.

What is the first job you have had? 
Babysitter for my sister who is 11 years younger. So much babysitting!
What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning? What I’m grateful for.

What is your most memorable travel experience? 
New Zealand with a friend in December 2019 – I had no idea how precious that trip would be.

What's your most missed memory? 
Having my grandparents alive – they were the best and taught me what it means to be loved unconditionally

Which incident in your life totally changed the way you think today? 
Moving from Ohio to Colorado on my own and knowing no one. It gave me a lot of confidence in myself, despite being lonely at times. But I’m still proud that I took a risk to follow my dream of living near the mountains.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before? Always true love.

Most horrifying dream you have ever had? 
Honestly, I don’t remember bad dreams although I’m sure it had to do with falling. I will say I used to have regular dreams where I was dating George Clooney back in the ER days, and I miss those!

What event in your life would make a good movie? 
When I first moved to Colorado, I worked on a dude ranch and then camped around the four-corners area for a summer. I think those adventures would make a good movie.


In Magnolia, North Carolina, love might be waiting right next door…

Meredith Ventner knows a wounded creature when she sees one. Though her temporary new neighbor may be—on the surface at least—a successful, drop-dead gorgeous doctor, she recognizes the deep hurt Ryan Sorensen is carrying, and it’s catnip to her soul. But even though Meredith is the youngest, scrappiest and single-est of Magnolia’s most famous sisters, she’s committed to expanding the animal shelter on her newly inherited farm. She can’t waste her energy on a man who’s only passing through town.

Ryan is hoping that after a month of small-town living he’ll be healed enough to return to his busy ER. His injured leg isn’t half as painful as his guilt from the tragedy he’s trying to forget. Yet somehow, helping feisty, tenderhearted Meredith care for her menagerie is making him question his career-first priorities. Here in this quirky small town another future is coming into view, but can he change his life, and open his heart, to claim it?

Praise for THE LAST CAROLINA SISTER

“Perfect for fans of Debbie Macomber.” —Publishers Weekly

"Striking the perfect balance of romance, heat, and drama, this optimistic love story is a sweet start to a promising series, perfect for fans of Debbie Macomber." —Publishers Weekly, STARRED Review on The Magnolia Sisters

"Major’s characters and small-town romance worldbuilding are unique, engaging, and emotionally compelling. Avery and Gray’s romance is complex, but the Magnolia backdrop adds a dimension and texture to the story. A dynamic start to a series with a refreshingly original premise.” —Kirkus Reviews on The Magnolia Sisters

You can purchase The Last Carolina Sister at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you MICHELLE MAJOR for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Last Carolina Sister by Michelle Major.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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6 comments:

  1. I was a secretary at a local business at 17.

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  2. Picking strawberries and raspberries in the fields in Sequim.

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  3. Cashier at a convenience store.

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  4. I was a file clerk in a company that sold railroad ties.

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  5. I worked in the meat department at a grocery store.

    ReplyDelete