Hi, Abigail, so glad to have you here today. Tell us a little about Who Wants to Marry a Doctor?.
Thanks for having me, Babette! Your blog is always fun to read.
Who Wants to Marry a Doctor? takes a little bit of The Bachlorette (right – even with the killer heels, the doctor is a woman), throws in a wounded (and hot) war reporter, and sets it against the backdrop of a TV show fundraiser for a children’s clinic. The doctor Sabrina is the star of the show and the reporter Quinn is the host. What could possibly go wrong?
As a single mom and pediatrician, Sabrina Bankhead doesn’t have time for romance. All that changes when she reluctantly agrees to take part in a dating show fundraiser for a children’s hospital. But once she sets eyes on the journalist hired to cover the show, none of the four contestants stand a chance. If she doesn’t choose one of the eligible bachelors, the hospital doesn’t raise a cent. What’s a lovestruck doc to do?
Investigative journalist Quinn Donnelly is on the mend after an assignment in Afghanistan left him both physically and emotionally scarred. Though he’s itching to return overseas and finish his story, he’ll have to be content with this fluff piece assignment to cover a local dating show. One-night stands are Quinn’s forte-but after he meets Sabrina, he’s ready to say yes for the long haul. After years of chasing the next big story, Quinn is starting to wonder if maybe home really can be where the heart is . . .
Can you share with us “the call” story?
I love call stories. Love them. And the fun part about being a writer is the number of call stories you can have! I remember the email telling me about my first contest final and the email for my Golden Heart contest final and the one contest final that also came with an agent-judge request for the full. I remember the email from the agent saying she’d like to talk to me about my manuscript. And the call from her saying Who Wants to Marry a Cowboy? had interest.
The funny thing about my Golden Heart call – I had given it up for a loss. It was 2pm EST, and I thought *surely* all the east coast finalists had been called. Right after I threw in the towel – publically, by announcing my towel-throwing to my chapter – I got an email from the board saying they’d been trying to reach me all day so I’d know before the rest of the finalist lists went up. I had given them my home number instead of my cell phone.
Now I’m very very very careful about phone numbers.
THE call from my agent came as a very innocent email asking me to call her. My phone battery had died and I was leaving work in half an hour, so I figured I’d just call her then. While I finished up, the thought that this was THE CALL flittered across my mind and I dismissed it. But then I didn’t, and I couldn’t work anymore. I got to my car, plugged in my phone, and called.
In a fun twist of fate, Who Wants to Marry a Cowboy? came out exactly one year after the initial offer.
Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, character, or…?
I used to start just by sitting down and writing. I’d have an idea, so I’d see how it went. But then I learned about things like internal conflict and motivations. So now, while I still don’t outline, I DO know my hero and heroine’s personality and what they want to accomplish by the end of the story. And it’s better if their goals are completely unaligned with each other.
What did you learn from writing your first book or what do you wish you’d known before becoming published?
My first book was Who Wants to Marry a Cowboy?, and I swear I could have written four books in the time it took me to edit and rewrite that sucker. But edit and rewrite I did until I had learned all I could to sell it.
Strangely, I wish I had more experience. But I’m glad I didn’t wait to start.
Do you have a favorite hero and/or heroine in your books and why?
I adore Quinn, the hero in Who Wants to Marry a Doctor? He first appeared in my life as a tertiary character in Who Wants to Marry a Cowboy?, and I knew then I’d need to see him again. He’s smart, funny, good looking, and carries wounds that aren’t all visible from the outside.
What is your favorite scene from this story and why?
I call it “the magazine scene.” One of Quinn’s soldier buddies sends him copies of Playhouse magazine (I bet you can guess the inspiration for that name) and things get quite inventive when he and Sabrina read the letters to the House Manager. If I went into further detail, you’d need a ratings warning!
One thing I really love about that scene is how Sabrina lays herself bare – both literally and emotionally. It’s raw and sensual and I really hope my mother never asks me about it.
How do you balance writing and everyday life?
Writing is part of my everyday life. Of course it’s easier to get things done when the kids aren’t underfoot, but my kids aren’t going to care if I’m the Next Best Thing. They’re going to care that we spent time together and did things when they were growing up.
There aren’t enough hours in the day… J
What is your favorite food to cook or eat?
Oy, this one is embarrassing. I love leftover spaghetti.
I know, I know. I enjoy lobster and eggplant parmesan and chocolate, but if I had all those with the frequency with which leftover spaghetti was available, I’d pick the spaghetti every time.
My favorite flavor combination, however, is raspberry and chocolate, and I’m totally down with the sweet and salty.
And – shockingly – I don’t like coffee. Unless its flavored with lots and lots and lots of chocolate.
What do you like to read?
My son has to read a book titled Peak over the summer. It says on the back for ages 12 and up (and then I teased him, because he’s 10), so of course I started reading it.
Before that, I read Diana Gabaldon’s Written In My Own Heart’s Blood.
And before that was Violet Duke’s Resisting the Bad Boy (and it’s a trilogy, so I have two more to go). Before that was The Monuments Men.
And if Lena Diaz comes out with a new Nursery Rhyme Killer book, I’m reading that, too. I’m all over the place. Plus someone just recommended a set of paranormal books about witches that I should try.
I’m not gonna read Game of Thrones, though. The HBO series is enough.
Who influenced your decision to become a writer?
It’s a classic story. Girl reads book. Girl wants to throw book against a wall because it’s so awful. Girl is confident she could write a better book.
Girl has a friend who mentions National Novel Writing Month, and Girl thinks she’ll give it a try. She has a blast and decides to keep going. Girl realizes crafting a good story is a lot harder than it looks, and gives props to the author who wrote the wall banger while learning all she can about writing romance.
These are few of my favorite things:
1. Breaking into song when the mood strikes me. I once scared my friend’s dog because of it.
2. When my kids and hubby and I are all piled on the bed, laughing and chatting. This happened much more when they were younger and hadn’t yet discovered the wii.
3. The smell of fresh cut grass. Is there a better smell out there?
And now Abigail has a question for you all: I fessed up about my favorite food. What weird things are you keeping from the public?
A Giveaway! I’m having a giveaway on my Facebook page! It’s one of those like-me-to-participate deals (which I don’t necessarily like to do, but it’s a really easy way to have a giveaway). Visit www.facebook.com/AbigailSharpeBooks
Sabrina went up to her room and kicked off her shoes, then padded into the bathroom and washed off the trappings of the pseudo-mating process. She came back in her room and paused in front of her dresser. How the hell had Quinn managed to make her fall in love with him?
Cotton t-shirts were her bedtime norm, but tonight she stared at the comfortable material, then pushed it aside to uncover the sexy lingerie tucked underneath. Hadn’t been a need to wear it in the past lifetime, but now… she slid her fingers over the purple silk and sighed.
No. She pushed the teddy back in her drawer and put on a clean shirt, then dug around a little more. Underneath lay the blue flannel shirt she had worn home from her first night with Quinn.
Without warning, tears welled in her eyes and slipped down her cheeks. She sat on her bed, the soft cloth clutched in her hands. What was the point? He had been honest this whole time. He was leaving.
They always did.
She slipped the flannel over her shirt, the material caressing her as she crawled into bed and imagined his lingering scent instead of the fresh laundry detergent smell.
Her phone sat on her nightstand, so innocent and yet, the gateway to doom. One call. And she had missed him tonight, God, how she missed him, while being held by another man and wishing it was Quinn instead.
No harm in that. Even if she had to work to keep her tone steady. She craved the sound of his voice like love craved a soul.
She picked up her phone, then groaned and rolled over, laying the phone next to her. Her fingers tapped at the monitor, the movement brightening the screen while it waited for her input.
She went to his contact information before she could change her mind.
It rang once before the gruff, sexy voice answered. “Sabrina?”
Every cell in her body electrified in an instant and she took a slow breath to steady herself. “Were you sleeping?”
“What’s going on? Is Noah okay?”
He was killing her. The genuine concern for her son melted her resolve to keep her heart away from him. “He’s fine. I just called to…” Her words jammed in her throat. No way could she admit that she just wanted to hear his voice.
Thankfully he didn’t make her finish her sentence. “I’m glad you called.” The gruff in his voice was still there , but it had changed to something softer, sending a little thrill down her body.
“You are?” Was that low, throaty sound coming from her?
“Yeah. I missed you tonight.”
A niggling feeling centered in her brain and sent stabs of doubt to her heart. I missed you sounded good, but maybe he just missed his bed warmer. “Missed me?”
“I mean, you know, talking to you.” Quinn chuckled. “Don’t get me wrong – having you naked is a nice side benefit, but I don’t only want you for your body, Doc. I didn’t get to speak to you today, and when I got home it seemed my day wasn’t complete.”
She had the same feeling, but tried to play it down. “It was a busy day.”
He yawned, and she heard his bed sheets rustling. “Good thing there’s email and cell phones so we can keep talking once I’m done with the show and back in Afghanistan. You’d make the day brighter even in a desert.”
She covered her eyes to quell the burning behind them, wanting to block out the reminder that he wasn’t in Harbin forever, that he’d be leaving and putting himself in danger, taking a good part of her with him. “That’s a nice thing to say, Quinn.”
“Apparently I talk a lot when I’m tired.” He gave a huff of laughter. “You don’t have to humor me.”
“I woke you. I’m sorry. You should go back to sleep.”
“Talking to you is much nicer than sleep.”
Her heart fluttered into her stomach, danced down to her toes and shot right back to her chest. Forget killing her. This was drawn-out torture, one to which she willingly submitted.
“Let me turn off my light.” Her voice dropped and got breathy. She flipped her switch and cuddled under her sheets with the phone tucked under her ear. She wrapped her arms around herself, imagining Quinn’s warm, strong hands in place of the flannel on her skin, touching her, stroking her in lazy circles while they lay in each other’s arms. “I’m back.”
His voice was no longer gruff, but still low, almost a growl. “How was your date tonight?”
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Also by Abigail Sharpe:
Bio: Abigail is a Boston-bred Yankee now eating grits and saying “y’all” in North Central Florida. She dreamed more of being a stage actress or joining the CIA than being an author. While she still enjoys participating in community theater productions and singing karaoke, the secret-agent career was replaced by hours at her computer, writing stories of love and laughter and happily ever after.
Abigail lives with her husband, two kids, and one crazy princess puppy and spends way too much time playing on Goodreads. Who Wants to Marry a Doctor? is her second book and is being released on July 1 from Grand Central.
You can find Abigail at: