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Q&A (and contest!) with Meg Benjamin

Available now!

There’s no room in her life for love. Love has other ideas…

Konigsburg, Texas, Book 3

If Jessamyn Carroll had only herself to consider, staying in Pennsylvania after her husband’s death would have been a no-brainer. Her vindictive in-laws’ efforts to get their hooks into her infant son, however, force her to flee to a new home. Konigsburg, Texas.

Peace…at least for now. She’s even found a way to make some extra money, looking after sexy accountant Lars Toleffson’s precocious two-year-old daughter. She finds it easy—too easy—to let his protective presence lull her into thinking she and her son are safe at last.

Lars, still wounded from enduring a nasty divorce from his cheating ex-wife, tries to fight his attraction to the mysterious, beautiful widow. But when an intruder breaks into her place, and Jess comes clean about her past, all bets are off. Someone wants her baby—and wants Jess out of the picture. Permanently.

Now Jess has a live-in bodyguard, whether she wants him or not. Except she does want him—and he wants her. Yet negotiating a future together will have to overcome a lot of roadblocks: babies, puppies, the entire, meddling Toleffson family—and a kidnapper.

Hi Meg! Thank you for agreeing to do an interview today. Can you tell everyone a little bit about yourself?

I write about South Texas where I lived from twenty-plus years, mostly about a mythical Hill Country town called Konigsburg. However, my DH and I recently moved northwest of Denver. Just before moving, I retired from twenty years of teaching writing, Web design, and desktop publishing. Now I write more or less full time. When I’m not writing, I like to listen to Americana music, drink Colorado and Texas wine, and cook. I’m also getting to know my new home by taking excursions around the Front Range of the Rockies.

How long have you been writing?

It seems like forever—over a decade, anyway. I wrote textbooks and technical manuals as a sideline while I taught. I also tried to write mysteries, without a whole lot of success. I discovered romance around five years ago and have been working on it ever since.

What is your writing process like?

I’m pretty orderly. I like to do my plotting in advance so that I don’t have to worry about running out of ideas while I’m actually writing. I try to write a minimum number of pages a day, and I usually go over that. But if I have a really bad day, I know I at least got the minimum done. I’m flexible on time, but since I usually run errands in the morning, most of my writing takes place in the afternoon.

Can you tell us about your newest release Be My Baby?

Be My Baby is Lars Toleffson’s story. All the Toleffson brothers have moved from Iowa to Texas, and Lars had a pretty tough time of it in Wedding Bell Blues, where he broke up with his really awful wife, Sherice. Now he’s living in Konigsburg with his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, who needs a babysitter. The sitter he finds has a baby son of her own, and some serious problems with her late husband’s family, including an attempted kidnapping. Lars steps in and saves the day, becoming something new in romantic fiction—a heroic accountant!

Will we be seeing more of the Toleffson brothers in the future?
Well, there’s one more brother to deal with, Erik. After Erik’s story, though, I hope to go on writing about Konigsburg and the people who live there, with the Toleffsons and their assorted relatives and in-laws coming in as supporting characters. Now that I’ve gotten to know these people so well, I hate to leave them.

What are you currently working on?

On books 4 and 5 in the Konigsburg series.

Where do you get your ideas for your books?

From everywhere, really. For instance, I love to visit wineries and talk to winemakers, particularly in the smaller wineries you find in most states now. Since the Texas Hill Country is home to a large part of the Texas wine industry, it seemed natural to work it into a book, and once I’d done that, other things I’d seen—a couple of wine and food festivals, the ubiquitous weekend bikers who ride their Harleys around the Texas hills, some particular bars and restaurants in the Hill Country—just seemed to naturally slip into place. They’re all the next book in the Konigsburg sequence. And the ill-fated Christmas crafts fair in Be My Baby was the result of the various Hill Country crafts fairs I’ve visited over the years. Sometimes I’ll see something and think, “That would make an interesting story,” but more often I start working and then various things I’ve seen and done will start popping into my mind.

As an author, you must be an avid reader. What books do you enjoy reading? Who are your auto-buy authors?

I love romances of most kinds—contemporaries, historicals, and thrillers, in particular. I have lots of auto-buys: Mary Balogh, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jennifer Crusie, Loretta Chase, Barbara Metzger, Julia Ross, Elizabeth Lowell, Kathy Reichs. I also get a kick out of “cozy” mysteries, with Donna Andrews and Margaret Maron as a couple of favorites.

What books are on your keeper shelf?

My all-time favorites include Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels, Mary Balogh’s Slightly Dangerous, Susan Elizabeth Phillips’s Dream a Little Dream, Jennifer Crusie’s Welcome to Temptation, and Sara Smith’s The Knowledge of Water.

What was the first romance book you read or the one book that has stood the test of time for you?

The first romance novel I read was Linda Howard’s Dream Man. It was shelved with the mysteries in the library, but it was different from any mystery I’d ever read before, much more focused on the relationship between the hero and heroine than on the mystery. It made a huge impression on me, and helped me see what I really wanted to write. Actually, it was what I was already writing, which was why my books didn’t really work as straightforward mysteries.

If your book was made into a movie, which actors would like to see as the lead characters?

Well, all the Toleffsons look vaguely like the young Kris Kristofferson, so if I could have the Kristofferson of several years ago, as he was in Songwriter, for example, I’d go for it. And Docia has always reminded me of a great character actress named Suzie Plakson, who was Dustin Hoffman’s assistant in Wag the Dog.

If you could switch lives with one of your characters who would if be & why?

Docia, of course. She’s absolutely fearless, as well as being the kind of woman who makes men’s jaws drop. And she has a devoted sweetheart of a husband. What’s not to like?

When you are not writing or reading, what do you enjoying doing in your spare time?

I like cooking, and I’ve gotten better at it over the years, thanks to Cooks Illustrated and the Food Network. I’m not a baker, but I’m a pretty good all-around cook.

If you could ask readers anyone question, what would it be?

I always like to know what readers do and don’t like. So I guess that would be my question—what would you like me to do now?

Where can readers find you on the internet?

My Website is http://www.MegBenjamin.com/ I’m on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/meg.benjamin1, MySpace at myspace.com/megbenjamin, and Twitter at http://twitter.com/megbenj1 And I love to hear from people
at meg@megbenjamin.com

***Leave a comment answering Meg’s question and be entered for a chance to win a digital copy of Be My Baby. Good luck!

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21 Responses

  1. Hi Meg,

    Be My Baby sounds great!

    For me, there are 2 things i don’t like in a book:

    1) First person POV. I habe the hardest time reading them. I feel like I’m missing half the story.

    2) Ones where the hero continually rejects the herione until like the last 100 pages of the book and then I’m supposed to believe they are in love. I can’t buy that.

  2. This book sound really good.
    I don’t like for the heroine to be to manly I hate stories where they sleep around with just about every man in the story and they can whip any man’s butt, they need no one’s help basically they know it all and can do it all. I don’t want them to be weak little cry babies just somewhere in the middle.

  3. Sherry, I know what you mean! Really good writers like Nora Roberts or Linda Howard have strong heroines who show that women can be powerful without embracing men’s values. Connie, I’m with you on the hero-hates-the-heroine thing, particularly if he’s really nasty about it. Hard to believe he could reform in the last hundred pages!

  4. I loved Dream Man by LH – it sits on my keeper shelf along with After the Night.

    I’m sorry to say I haven’t read any of your books but happy that this blog has introduced them to me. I love books that are written in a series. I like the sense of continuity, hearing about previous characters and anticipating what the author will dream up about secondary characters in future books.

    I don’t like a heroine who is insecure. I want her to be a confident person who might struggle with some aspects of her life. I like the hero to be macho but have a sense of humor and open attitude.

    I’m tired of reading about the hero who lords over the heroine until close to the end then all of a sudden realizes she’s a viable person in his life.

  5. Hey Meg,
    Congratulations on your new release. Be My Baby looks like a fantastic read. I like reading books with characters who have flaws. I’m not into perfection and I would like the protags to deal with some form of crisis which ultimately makes them stronger.

    Happy Holidays

  6. Hi Meg! Happy release day and thanks for visiting with us today!

    What would I like you to do now? Exactly what you are doing! I loved Venus in Blue Jeans and Wedding Bell Blues. Your books have the perfect amount of suspense/action without overshadowing the romance. That’s my current pet peeve. I’ve picked up way too many romance books, expecting romance, only to get a book that’s 90% mystery or action, with the couple’s relationship as an after thought.

  7. Hi Meg,
    I haven’t yet read any of your books but I love series and this one sounds great! I’ll look for your books and I hope you’ll write many more, long seris are my favorites!

  8. Please enter my name in your draw. Thanks!
    I would love to see you write another book FAST! Your book looks fantastic and I’d like to see more!

  9. Wow everybody–such fun to hear from you all. So looks like we all like our heroines strong and our heroes sorta alpha but not too much and our relationships right out there in front. Hey, I’ll see what I can do!

  10. You’re a new author to me, so I can’t ask you to do anything. I look forward in reading your works.

    Thanks,
    Tracey D

  11. Congrats on the release of Be My Baby! I love this series.
    Keep doing exactly as you are doing.

  12. Thanks, Estella!

  13. I do like steamy reads and kick-but heroines.

    I don’t like that there aren’t more characters representative of me. I want to see more characters that are disabled, more full-figured women, more characters that have physical flaws–more true to life.

  14. your work rocks but for me what i dont like and thats for any author is repetitive story lines i love series dont get me wrong but some fall in when they write a whole new series i like fun fresh and new or old if its historical something different is also awesome i guess really isnt much i wouldnt read

  15. Kick-butt heroines can come in any shape and size, I’d say. Good point.

  16. Hi, Meg! Congrats on release day! As for what I like, I do love a series where each book focuses on a new couple but shares some “worlds” with previous stories, and where I get snippets about previous characters and where I get introduced to some new characters who might later get their own stories. Strong heroines, and strong but considerate heroes. I appreciate stories that don’t focus on the characters’ external beauty; not being a hottie myself, it’s nice when that’s not a main focus 🙂 Oh, and I do like humor–doesn’t have to be laugh out loud, but I enjoy when there are moments that make me smile 🙂

  17. Congrats on your release, Be My Baby! Sounds like a good story. I haven’t read any of your books yet but from the many praises here, I believe them to be good so, just keep writing more books!

  18. Hi Meg,

    BE MY BABAY sounds like a great read. Congratulations on your release.

    There is one thing that grates on my nerves; its a heroine that is constantly questioning her motivation, unsure, wishy-washy. She has to wait for the hero to decide for her.

  19. Looks like we’re all agreed on the strong heroine. Very glad to hear it. I’m partial to strong women myself, although I also enjoy heroines who discover their strength in the course of the novel.

  20. Hi Meg! I’m so sorry to say that you are a new author to me. But generally, I love when heroes show their emotions and heroines who aren’t wimpy 🙂 Be My Baby sounds great and the story reminds me of SEP’s Dream a little Dream – which was my first SEP book and remained favourite book through many years

  21. Thanks Frana! I’ll always accept comparisons to SEP, one of my favorite authors.

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