I'd like to welcome, Loucinda McGary, author of HIS RELUCTANT BODYGUARD.
Tell us about your book.
His Reluctant Bodyguard is the second book in my Adventure Cruise Line series. It takes place at least partly on a cruise ship. This is a reunion story, and features the assistant cruise director from the first book in the series, High Seas Deception.
Avery Knox is surprised to see a man from her college days. Not just any man, but Rip Pollendene, the university football star whom Avery turned down and regretted her decision. As for Rip, he is the heir apparent to a beautiful island nation, but he has rejected that heritage for over twenty years. Now his homeland is on the verge of a civil war, and somebody wants him dead. What a time for the girl he’s never forgotten to walk back into his life!
Galen: What was the inspiration for His Reluctant Bodyguard?
Loucinda: Several Caribbean cruises I’ve taken in the past few years. The beautiful islands and friendly people were very inspiring. My fictional island of Benezet is a combination of several islands I have visited, chiefly Grenada, St. Lucia, and Domenica.
Galen: What’s your favorite line from one of your books?
Loucinda: I love spunky heroine’s, and I love it when they get sassy with the hero. Here’s an example of that, and is one of my favorite lines from His Reluctant Bodyguard: “No way!” Avery interrupted, determination blazing in her wide blue eyes. “I’m not letting you walk into a war without me…."
Galen: What started you on the road to writing romance?
Loucinda: Reading romance, of course! I love to read an exciting and suspenseful story with an appealing hero and heroine, and a satisfying happily-ever-after. I’ve always loved to write, so when I decided to seriously pursue publication, it was only natural to write the kinds of stories I love to read.
Galen: Do you remember the first romance book you read? If so, who was the author? What made it stick with you?
Loucinda: When I was around fourteen, I had read all my library books and was bored, so I picked up one of my mom’s gothics and I was hooked! I can’t remember the first one I read, because my mom always had a half-dozen or more lying around. It was probably by Victoria Holt or Phyllis A. Whitney, who were her favorites, and I loved them too! Those woman-in-jeopardy stories really fired up my overactive teenage imagination, and I’ve loved them ever since.
Galen: Did you sell the first book you wrote?
Loucinda: Yes, but it was not the first book I sold. When I left my day job at the end of 2003 to seriously pursue writing a novel for publication, the first romantic suspense story that I wrote, Jewels of the Madonna was a finalist in the 2006 Romance Writers’ of America Golden Heart contest. That contest final eventually led to my first sale. However, my Golden Heart manuscript turned out to be the second book I sold and was released in Sept. 2009 from Sourcebooks Casablanca as The Treasures of Venice.
Galen: Are you a pantzer or plotter?
Loucinda: A total pantzer! Believe me, I’ve tried to be otherwise, but my characters just wouldn’t cooperate with the program. I always start with my characters, a setting, and a vague idea of a plot. Basically, once my characters start talking to me, I just follow where they lead. At some point, the ending becomes clear. I’m never quite sure when or how, but it always does. Once I dreamed the ending. I wish that happened more often.
Galen: What are the three books you’d have if you were stranded on a deserted isle?
Loucinda: The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. I read it for the first time when I was 15 and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read it since. I actually own both paperback and hardcover editions of it.
If it only counts as one book (and my hardcover volume includes all three books), then I’d also take Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, my favorite romance, and something practical like a survival guide.
Galen: Describe your workspace.
Loucinda: Have you seen pictures of places after a tornado or hurricane has gone through? Pretty much like that.
Galen: Where would you like to travel to if you had to research an area?
Loucinda: I travel all the time, and every place I visit has something unique and interesting about it. Most of the time, I don’t visit a place with the thought of setting a story there. Too bad I’m not that organized! I’m never really sure where I’ll set my next story.
When I first started traveling, the top three places on my bucket list were Venice, Ireland, and the Great Wall of China. Within the next five years, I’d seen all three and plenty of places in between. I’ve set one story in Venice, and three in Ireland, but so far the Great Wall hasn’t made it into one of my books. My newest work-in-progress is set on Mackinac Island, Michigan.
As for places I haven’t been, Egypt has been on the top of my list for a long time, and so have Japan (I’ve only been in the Tokyo airport) and Brazil.
Galen: What do you do when you are not writing.
Loucinda: Besides travel and read? I love to watch movies and live theater, but TV, not so much. To relax, I enjoy crocheting and knitting. I usually have two or three projects going at once. I usually make simple things like scarves or afghans.
Galen: What was the best piece of advice given to you?
Loucinda: One of my old bosses always used to say, “You don’t g-e-t unless you a-s-k.” Thanks to him, I’ve stood up many times and asked for things I felt I needed or deserved.
Galen: Best and worst part of being a writer.
Loucinda: The worst is rejections, followed closely by nasty reviews. I know I’m not suppose to take them personally, but sometimes I have a hard time doing that because my writing is so much a part of me.
The absolute best part is readers! I love knowing that someone has read one of my stories and enjoyed it. I treasure every piece of fan mail and positive review I receive. I’ve received fan emails from as far away as Romania, South Africa, and Australia. I’m still amazed and thrilled to think about someone so far away reading one of my stories.
Also, seeing my first book on the shelf of a local bookstore was pretty darn exciting too! Equally exciting was seeing a copy of The Treasures of Venice on the shelf of a library in Colorado Springs when I was on vacation there. Yes, I almost yelled, “This is my book!” right there in the middle of the library. Somehow, I managed to restrain myself and only did a little happy dance. Luckily there weren’t a lot of other patrons there at the time.
Thank you so much, Galen, for hosting me on your blog today! I’d love to ask your readers if there’s a setting for a story that you have not read, but would like to see. Or do you have a favorite setting for books you read?
Loucinda: I’d love to give away 2 downloads of His Reluctant Bodyguard to anyone who leaves a comment today. I’ll chose two people at random, so please leave an email address. The book is currently available for Nook or Kindle or as a pdf file.
You can find out more about Loucinda and her books at the following links:
You can purchase HIS RELUCTANT BODYGUARD at the following links: