Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Denise Williams Interview - Do You Take This Man

Photo Credit: D&dorf Photography

Denise Williams wrote her first book in the 2nd grade. I Hate You and its sequel, I Still Hate You, featured a tough, funny heroine, a quirky hero, witty banter, and a dragon. Minus the dragons, these are still the books she likes to write. After penning those early works, she finished second grade and eventually earned a PhD. After growing up a military brat around the world and across the country, Denise now lives in Iowa with her husband, son, and two ornery shih-tzus who think they own the house. How to Fail at Flirting was her debut novel and she can usually be found reading, writing, or thinking about love stories.


Greatest thing you learned at school. 
I took a 17th Century British literature course in college and while it wasn’t my favorite course, I distinctly remember the professor talking about the importance of tension and release in good writing and good things in general, how a creator had to build tension to get the payoff for the reader of when the tension was released. At the time, it was memorable, but now as an author, it’s immeasurably important to me to remember that.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
No question, my most rewarding experience has been on-going and it’s hearing from readers that my books spoke to them in some way or that they saw themselves on the page and it was meaningful. I am a sucker for those moments and I save every single message. It means the world that someone would take the time to share how my words impacted them.

If you could have written one book in history, what book would that be? 
I think right about now, most romance authors would love to have been the one to pen the Bridgerton books! But in seriousness, I don’t think I would have been the one to write anyone else’s books—author voice is such a big part of the story that I’m sure the book wouldn’t be the same with another author.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book? 
I wrote much of this book when quarantined with my family in 2020, so I would say the worst distraction was equal parts working full-time virtually, existential dread about the pandemic, and the constant and steady stream of Paw Patrol episodes coming from the TV twenty feet from me.

Can you tell us when you started DO YOU TAKE THIS MAN, how that came about? 
While I wrote most of this book in 2020, the idea came to me in 2019 the one and only time I was able to meet both my agent and my editor in person. It was actually my birthday, so getting to have lunch with them AND get a new book idea was the best gift ever. As we were walking in, I casually mentioned I performed weddings and my agent joked that would be a great set up for a romance novel. I went back to my hotel and wrote the first chapter right after lunch.

  • 1. The heroine, RJ, is ordained online to perform weddings just like me!
  • 2. I came up with the hero’s name before I knew the full story or the heroine—I loved the idea of Lear as a man’s first name, even though it’s a nickname in the book.
  • 3. DO YOU TAKE THIS MAN is the only of my six books where we kept my original title.
  • 4. There is a scene in the book where the characters attend a gas station wedding—the idea for that scene came from a joke with a friend as we walked to our cars after work. Now I need to attend a wedding with a Fun-yun Fountain.
  • 5. Lear’s uncle and his uncle’s home is based on my great uncle who passed away last year—he was like a grandfather to me and it was so special to write those moments into Uncle Harold.
  • 6. RJ’s mentor is Gretchen who was kind of a villain in my debut novel, HOW TO FAIL AT FLIRTING. I loved giving her a redeeming role where she’s a tough but fair professional.
  • 7. I wrote all the steamy scenes for this book first—while it has lovely romantic and swoony moments, it’s definitely a spicy book.
  • 8. During the different ceremonies shown in the book, I used some lines from my own wedding ceremony.
  • 9. RJ’s favorite candy is Butter Rum Life Savers. As I was writing, I bought that I thought was a six-pack, but was actually 24 packages of Life Savers. I’m still working my way through them!
  • 10. My theme song for DO YOU TAKE THIS MAN was I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You by Elvis Presley. The characters dance to it at one point in the book and a cover by Travis Atreo was my most-listened to song while writing the book.
What is the first job you have had? 
I was a telemarketer in high school, selling Sprint long distance. It was a horrible job, but I was good at it and I did enjoy getting to talk to so many different and interesting people.

Best date you've ever had? 
I don’t know if I can think of the best, but I can certainly remember the worst. It was my sophomore year in college. He showed up two hours late and drunk and for some reason I still agreed to go out with him. We’d missed our movie, so we ended up seeing Black Hawk Down, he fell asleep in the middle of it, and we are French fries for dinner at a Perkins that was open all night. I would love to know what happened to that guy!

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before? 
True Love every time—it’s practically romance writer code to choose that option.

When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought? 
Damn, I look amazing or Wow, I need to clean this mirror.

Most horrifying dream you have ever had? 
When I was five, I dreamed I had to go to the dentist and Tender Heart Bear from the Care Bears was my dentist instead of looking at my teeth, he stole my favorite jacket. I can’t tell you why that left me so frightened upon waking up or why I remember it so vividly 30+ years later, but I do!

What is one unique thing are you afraid of? 
Butterflies—I’m terrified of them.

What is the weirdest thing you have seen in someone else’s home? 
A trophy reading “World’s 3rd Best Mom”, in a home where no one had children.

After butting heads, an event planner and a wedding officiant begin an enemies with benefits arrangement as wedding bells chime around them in the newest rom-com from acclaimed author Denise Williams.

Divorce attorney RJ would never describe herself as romantic. But when she ends up officiating an unplanned wedding for a newly engaged couple in a park, her life is turned upside down. The video of the ceremony goes viral, and she finds herself in the unlikely position of being a sought-after local wedding officiant. Spending her free time overseeing "I dos" isn't her most strategic career move, but she enjoys it, except for the type A dude-bro wedding planner she's forced to work with.

Former pro-football event manager Lear is a people person, but after his longtime girlfriend betrayed him, he isn't looking for love. He knows how to execute events and likes being in control, so working with an opinionated and inflexible officiant who can't stand him is not high on his list. He's never had trouble winning people over, but RJ seems immune to his charms.

Surrounded by love at every turn, their physical attraction pulls them together despite their best efforts to stay an arm's length apart. Lear refuses to get hurt again. RJ refuses to let herself be vulnerable to anyone. But when it comes to happily ever after, their clients might not be the only ones saying "I do."

You can purchase Do You Take This Man at the following Retailers:

1 Winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card.