I am delighted to welcome my friend, December Gephart, here today to celebrate the release of her debut contemporary romance, Undercover Professor!
Tell us a little about your new release, Undercover Professor.
Lucy, our heroine, has a pretty full schedule. Work full time, school, and a loopy cousin, plus her consistently losing soccer team. She’s been hurt by love, so she sets up a list of requirements to stop dating guys who are no good. In fact, she’s dating Dell, who’s perfect according to the list, but has zero zing.
She meets our hero Andy, who of course, is all wrong for her. But she’s madly attracted to him, and vice versa. They fall in love. She decides there are some intangible things off the list that are more important. A kind heart, a sense of humor, similar interests, and the ever mysterious ZING.
And then she discovers he’s lied to her about everything.
Rule Number One: Must not lie.
Rule Number Two: Must not live with parents.
Rule Number Three: Must have a job.
Rule Number Four: Must not be a friend’s ex.
These dating rules shouldn’t be hard for Lucy Benoit to follow—after all, she made them. But she didn’t plan on falling for Andy Sullivan, a scruffy-yet-attractive man who lives with his mother and is between jobs. These should be deal-breakers, but in other ways Andy is just her type. And there’s something intriguing about him…
Andy isn’t the geeky gamer he claims to be—not by a long shot. But what seemed like a harmless social experiment has put his chances of a relationship with Lucy at risk. Even if she can get past the silly rules she has set for herself, will she ever forgive him for breaking Rule Number One?
What inspired this story?
This particular story I can trace back to a kernel of an idea years and years ago. I was reading a Glamour magazine, and it had a list of guys a Glamour Girl should avoid. At the time, I thought it was pretty silly. Guys who never have their wallet on them, guys who live in their parents basement, guys who make you feel stupid, guys who won’t introduce you to their friends, guys who keep secrets, guys who can’t pry their heads out of their video games. Why they heck would a smart gal date these fellas anyway? Why would Glamour bother making a list about it, including warning signs?
But then I was chatting with a smart girlfriend who just so happened to be dating a guy that seemed to be perfectly happy living with his parents. He had zero ambition to move out of their basement. And he was a pretty good guy.
Turns out just not the right guy for her. The pieces fell together. For some reason that idea stuck with me.
What are your writing goals for this year?
What a perfect question to ask right now! I’m working on my goals for 2013, and I’m determined to have 4 books contracted. I know that’s a bit out of my control, as contracts don’t fall off trees, but that’s my goal. There are things I CAN control to work towards that goal, so I’m detailing those.
How do you come up with ideas?
They come from all over. Many times if I’m stuck on a plot point, I’ll get outside and go for a walk. Or my husband is a huge resource. He’s phenomenal at plotting. And just brainstorming with him, speaking the plot out loud can shake ideas loose. Sometimes reading craft books will spark an idea, chatting things over with a few other writer pals sometimes stirs up some plot thoughts. I usually jot them down in a notebook I always have with me, and sooner or later something grabs my imagination and won’t shake loose. That’s the fun part, for me. I love brainstorming.
Can you share with us “the call” story?
Sure! Like many writers, I watch Angela James on twitter. I had submitted to Carina Press in January, and it was early March. (6 weeks, actually) She posted that she was making some acquisition calls, and two of the authors she had actually met in person. We had met at a WisRWA conference. And then my cellphone rang. OMG OMG OMG… Unknown number. I was at work, so I had to wait a bit to check it. And it was an offer! YAY!
Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, character, or…?
It’s sort of random. Usually it starts with a scene in my head, a guy and a girl. Something hooks me on this scene, and I have to find out who are these people, and why are they in love? And what is driving them apart?
But I have a trilogy of books I’m slowly working on, and it started when I was reading a craft book. And the idea of a marriage of convenience. Since I write contemporary, why would people be forced to marry? It started there, and then the idea of a Maguffin kicked in- a quest, something everyone is chasing after. I mulled that over for a while, and series popped into my head, three cousins. Something that all three cousins want, no… something they NEED. What would it be? What if the marriage was the thing they were all chasing? It makes no sense, but somehow my brain filled in the blanks, and now I can’t wait to write this series!
Do you have a favorite time of day for writing?
My creativity kicks in around 7pm, which works out well because that’s my kids bedtime!
How do you balance writing and everyday life?
I have to compartmentalize. When I’m with my kid and my husband, I simply cannot let myself worry about writing. When I’m at my day job, that has to be the first priority, because that’s what (currently, ha ha) pays my bills and gives me the freedom to write. Also, I need the structure. On weekends when I don’t have any timeframes, I get NOTHING done. I work best with deadlines and specific goals.
And none of this, nothing would work without the support of my husband, the Big Guy. He’s the key to EVERYTHING. He’s the glue that keeps it all together, and luckily, he supports me 100%.
What do you like to read?
Romance! I flip between contemporary and historical.
These are few of my favorite things:
1. Popcorn and wine
2. Beach vacations
3. Jimmy Buffett
Lucy and Andy are at a street festival, in an apothecary tent looking for soap for his mom.
He pulled out the note his mom gave him, and browsed the rows idly, searching for the items. He managed to meet her at the end of the aisle on the far side of the tent. Musky, deep perfumes lived here. The breeze snuck in under the tent to nip at their ankles, but the air was warm and heavy. She looked at some scented oils. He caught her hand and turned it palm up. Rubbing a thumb gently over her inner wrist, he selected an amber scent. Far from her normal lavender.
He twisted off the cap and dabbed it delicately on the tender skin in her wrist. One, two three, small droplets of the liquid spread lazily in the crease. He glanced up. She watched his actions with heavy eyes, and he could smell the amber wafting up.
Then he took her wrist and gently lifted, angling it to rub against his jawline. The motion pulled her closer into his body. She leaned to inhale the scent on his skin. Her mouth mere inches from his own, his body strained with effort to hold back from closing the distance, to worship her. The smoldering look in her eyes turned him on like nothing else. Blood thrummed though his veins; it didn’t feel like oxygen was reaching his brain. He inhaled, and the warm amber scent invaded his senses, warm, erotic, mouthwateringly sexy.
“I wish I could figure out what it is about you,” she whispered.
It took him a moment to understand her words—her mouth hypnotized him. She wanted to have a discussion now? He struggled to focus. “What do you mean?” His voice was low, gravelly.
“We’re all wrong for each other.”
She swayed close for another inhale. He still held her wrist, he twined their fingers together again. “Maybe you should just let go and enjoy the ride.” Yes. Please, yes.
“Maybe I should,” she murmured into his neck. “But that’s my deal. I can’t help but want more.”
“More than just a good time? What more is there? I mean, if you want to get all existential, all we have is right now. So enjoy it and let tomorrow be what it will.” The words rushed out fast, without any grace. That exact philosophy is what he’d lived by for most of his life. For the first time it sounded fake to his own ears.
Lucy pulled back with a frown. “You say stuff like that and I know I should run. Because I want the whole deal. I want it all.”
He tilted his head. This didn’t sound like the prelude to a fun time in bed.
“But then you go be all amazing. You’re funny and you’re kind, and there’s more to you, I can tell.”
Now it was his turn to feel uncomfortable.
“You’re a very kind man. Even if you want to come across as otherwise. So I can’t understand why you’re so kind to other people, but you don’t see any ambition in yourself.”
“I think…” He stalled. Damn. This was not how things were supposed to go. They were supposed to be rushing to a bed right now. “Right now I’m just sort of between gigs, you know?”
“No. I don’t know.” She pulled back, releasing his hand. The loss of her warmth was like a slap from a cold wet towel. She seemed to look straight into his brain, ferreting out the lies.
He glanced to the side, looking for another excuse. Trying to ignore the truth.
Bio: December Gephart is a Wisconsin native, and yes, a fan of the Packers and the Brewers. She lives with her husband, daughter, and a naughty little dog, Wombat Jack. She tries her hardest to never miss out on an adventure.
As a devoted fan of Jimmy Buffet, she’s also obligated to adore cheeseburgers in paradise, and tequila. Heck, let’s just mention she loves a big glass of pinot grigio too, and get that out of the way up front. You can find her on the ski hills, out by the pool, or on the beach.
You can find December at:
Facebook author site: https://www.facebook.com/pages/December-Gephart/228570370489582
Undercover Professor is on sale here: