Good morning everyone. Today Coffee Time Romance has the pleasure of speaking to Mary Campisi. Welcome Mary, why not take a seat in our cozy recliner, enjoy some fresh baked brownies and cookies, and allow us the opportunity to learn more about Mary. I must tell you that you have a lovely website.
Hi Cherokee: Thanks for the warm welcome and I’ll gladly accept the comfy recliner but sadly, I must pass on the brownies. A three day migraine made me give up ALL chocolate and I haven’t had a bite, a scoop, a drop, a chunk…since November 16, 2010. I wrote a blog post called Goodbye Ghirardelli, The Night Chocolate Took Me Down here. So, on that note, let me have a look at those cookies and if they are peanut butter, sugar, anything but chocolate, I will certainly enjoy a taste!
Mary, if a reporter wanted to walk through your shoes for a day, what would they see?
Chaos! Not really. I’m up and moving, coffee, breakfast, computer, walk our rescue lab-mix Cooper, write, write, write. Lunch…write. Cook dinner, laundry. Oh, and showerJ
Now that we have seen what Mary does during the day, why not get started on the new book, The Seduction of Sophie Seacrest - An Unlikely Husband Series – Book One. Tell us a bit about Holt and Sophie…and what made you decide to write this series of books? I love the idea that no one recognizes Holt…sounds very intriguing, and then Sophie with her dilemma and what she must do, yes, very interesting and captivating.
Thanks, Cherokee. The name Sophie Seacrest just flowed together and I promise you, I did not think of Ryan Seacrest when I chose her name! Sophie and Holt are both honorable people who have a strong duty to family. Against his will, Holt is attracted to Sophie which poses a huge problem for him as he is the son of her family’s sworn enemy! Here’s the blurb:
When Holt Langford, the new Earl of Westover, returns to England after twelve years at sea, he resembles more pirate than nobleman, a far cry from the scrawny youth shipped off by his father to become a man. No one recognizes him and he’ll use this anonymity to enter a game of subterfuge in order to expose the scoundrel who has vowed to destroy Holt’s family business.
Unfortunately, that scoundrel has a devoted daughter — Sophie Seacrest. Sophie can’t deny her attraction to the unorthodox stranger who stirs her blood and makes her think things no proper lady should. Holt and Sophie are drawn into a seductive tangle and just when he’s about to reveal his true identity and his honorable intentions, she discovers the truth and must choose between love and family duty.
I decided to write this series because I love brooding heroes, secret identities, intelligent heroines, and seemingly insurmountable odds! THE SEDUCTION OF SOPHIE SEACREST has all of these.
What is it about writing that draws your attention?
The opportunity to explore relationships, throw people into difficult situations and see how they will react. I love layered stories with moral dilemmas, usually ambiguous ones where I can sit back and let everything play out. Character growth appeals to me as does the exploration of second chances on many different levels. And I want a love story where no matter what happens, no matter the odds, love will prevail.
When is your best time of day to compose?
Late morning and early afternoon until around 4 pm or so. If I have the house to myself, I start writing again around 8:00 p.m. and work for an hour or two. I used to love to stay up late and write but with my migraines, I have to keep a more normal schedule.
Do you prefer to start with an outline when you write or just go with the flow?
I always have a basic outline and I know my characters very well. I actually write in-depth summaries of each one. That said, the characters will always do something I haven’t expected and thus, the story will not stay true to the outline. I prefer this veering off as it’s a more organic type of writing, which brings out a truer version of the story without that dang internal editor sitting on my shoulder.
Where did you get the idea to write these stories?
Everywhere. Literally. I am an observer and I might snag a dialect from a conversation I overhear at the next table in a restaurant or perhaps I’m fascinated by the way someone eats or the way they match their outfits. Insignificant details that add up to make sense. I get ideas from the newspaper, television, magazines. Living life. A FAMILY AFFAIR is the result of a newspaper article I read about the secret family of ‘On the Road’ writer, Charles Kuralt. After his death, the truth came out that he had this secret family for twenty years! I couldn’t stop thinking about it and after five years of playing around with ideas, I decided to write my own story which resulted in A FAMILY AFFAIR.
What does your work station look like?
Ummm…messy. Lots of pics of my family, inspirational sayings, sticky notes, and too much clutter. Once I finish editing two more books, I’m going to clean it up! When I finish with a book, I go through a cleaning and de-cluttering phase.
Can you tell the readers what you have planned for them in the future?
At the moment, I am thigh-deep in edits for my next two books, a previously released women’s fiction called NOT YOUR EVERYDAY HOUSEWIFE and an e-book contemporary romance original, THE WAY THEY WERE. Once I finish these, I will complete another Regency historical which an editor is waiting to see. Then a sequel for a novella. After that….well, you can see I’ve got a whole list of to-do’s and as long as I stay focused, I’ll get them all done! I’m very busy and very excited about all of these projects.
What famous person would you love to help promote your book?
My very own Mr. Darcy – Matthew Macfadyen from Pride & Prejudice. I’d have him dress in his Mr. Darcy garb and read the part of my brooding hero, Holt Langford. With those eyes and that voice, he’d have the readers swooning and opening their purses
If you had the opportunity to visit one of these three places for a whole month, which place would you choose, Australia, Japan, or England?
Hands down, England. I have never had the opportunity to travel to the country I love to write about.
Mary, I read in your spare time, you cook. If Bobby Flay, or one of the other chefs were to come to your house and invite you to some kind of throwdown, what dish would you challenge with him?
I make a delicious blush sauce with clams and shrimp. Mix with linguine or thin spaghetti and you are in Heaven! It’s the birthday pick from each of our five kids and has been for years….so, bring it on, Bobby! Oh, and to complete the menu, there’s always a large tossed salad with oil and vinegar, Tuscany bread with a side of oil and garlic for dipping, and of course, freshly grated pecorino romano cheese.
You wake up one morning to learn you are a farmer and have to plant enough crops to help feed America. What crop or crops would you begin planting on your farm?
Tomatoes – maybe they are on my mind because we picked a bushel of plum tomatoes this weekend and as I write this, I’m also making marina sauce for tonight’s dinner. You can do so much with tomatoes. You can use them in marina, spaghetti sauce, chili, pizza, salsa, soups, salads. Whole, diced, chopped, pureed, crushed. Yum. You can even eat them like an apple. I’d grow garlic too, lots of garlic. And basil. And parsley. Zucchini and swiss chard too. And onions. I almost forgot red peppers! Can’t forget green beans either. See where this is going? I’d turn everybody into an ItalianJ
What is the one thing that your family enjoys doing together on a weekend, or any day?
Well, the family unit living in our house has changed. It used to be five kids, one dog, and my husband and me. Imagine four teenage girls in the same house? My husband and step-son were truly outnumbered. That’s a lot of estrogen bouncing off the walls. Even the dog was a girl. My favorite time was sitting around the dinner table, eating and talking or the occasional game of four-square where I, the least athletic of the group, would somehow win!
Now, the unit has dwindled to my youngest daughter, who is attending college and living at home, my husband, me, and our rescue lab-mix, Cooper, who is a boy. My favorite times remain dinnertime to chit-chat and catch up, after dinner when I have my decaf coffee and my husband and I play Sudoku ( it’s more enjoyable and relaxing if you play it together), or snuggling on the couch together and watching a movie. If it’s his pick – something or someone will get shot or blown-up. If it’s mine, it’s a period piece, a drama, or a romance. We take turns picking, but I don’t understand why he has to watch U.S. Marshalls every time it’s on TV when he has the DVD! Case in point – The Italian Job was on TV last night and he was watching it…until I reminded him he could skip the commercials if he put the DVD in :)
I still love the times when all the kids are together, usually a holiday like Thanksgiving or Christmas. There’s plenty of food, lots of talking and laughter and it reminds me of the old days, when they were all still at home. It’s bittersweet but it’s also wonderful to watch as they navigate young adulthood.
And, I can’t forget to mention that on the perfect weekend afternoon, I’ll hop on the back of my husband’s Harley and we’ll travel back country roads, just the two of us, no phones, no intrusions, just us – it’s a true slice of Heaven.
Mary, I cannot thank you enough for being our guest today. The readers look forward to reading all your fabulous books.
Thank you for having me, Cherokee. It has been a great pleasure to be here.