Please welcome Kelly Jamieson to the stage today! Her book, Friends with Benefits, is currently available here.
1. How did you get started with your writing?
I started writing as a little girl on a tiny typewriter. I spent hours in my bedroom working on “my novel”. When I was a teenager, one Harlequin romance I read didn’t end the way I wanted it to, so I rewrote it and continued the story. That made me want to write romance. I made a few starts at it, but school and career and kids all got in the way – and maybe a little self doubt that I could actually do it. Then a few years ago we started a program at work where I get every other Friday off. A whole day while the kids were in school to do whatever I wanted! And I decided to give my dream a shot.
2. Who/What is your biggest muse?
I don’t have a particular muse – my inspiration comes from all around me. News stories, magazine articles, conversations I eavesdrop on (!), a song I hear on the radio…
3. Is there a character in one of your books you connect with the most?
No, there are little parts of every character that I connect with, especially the insecurities and fears.
4. What do you like to do in your free time other than write?
Read. That’s my most favourite thing to do. Of course work at the day job takes up most of my time, but I actually love my job. Family time is very important to me, although my kids are getting older and busier on their own. I love it when my teenage daughter still wants to go to a movie with me, or ballet in the park, or Stars on Ice. I like to cook and try new recipes, which means reading cookbooks, and in the summer I enjoy gardening, reading gardening magazines, sitting on the deck reading, going to the beach and reading. I’m also an avid runner and I do Pilates.
5. What are some of your favorite books? Any genre or author.
I have so many favourites – Marian Keyes is one of my top picks; I also recently fell in love with Marisa de los Santos. Her writing is beautiful. I love Sandra Brown and Nora Roberts for their story telling, and so many romance authors – Megan Hart is also a beautiful writer and a top favourite; Emma Holly, Shannon McKenna, Erin McCarthy, Lori Foster, Jill Shalvis, Cherry Adair, Toni Blake/Lacey Alexander, Tara Janzen, Maya Banks, Lorelei James…and more!
6. Where is your writing sanctuary?
My “office” is in the basement. It’s a finished basement so it’s quite cozy, except that it’s also where the Wii and the PlayStation are. So sometimes I am writing to the music of Dragon Quest or Dance Dance Revolution!
7. How did you celebrate “selling” your first book?
With champagne! Okay, Freixenet, I love it. Now it has become a tradition that we buy a bottle for every sale. One weekend it was two bottles! LOL
8. What is your favorite thing about Samhain?
The Samhain Cafe. The moderators there are wonderful – they keep things going and help us authors promote our books, and every day they post the MBAM Top 10 – my other publishers don’t do that. And there are so many wonderful readers on that loop. Many of them don’t even post, but I know they’re there, and the ones who do post also help promote our books so much! It makes promotion (the part of writing I like the least) so much easier for me. I also love that Samhain is so well-run and professional and respecteed. And another thing (oh, you just asked for one – oh well!) they read the whole manuscript. It’s so frustrating getting rejected on just a query letter.
9. Is there something you would like to see more of in RomanceLandia?
I like straight-up contemporary romance, and I like it hot. I guess I’d like to see more hot historicals like Kate Pearce an Sylvia Day. Maybe they’re out there and I just don’t know who. Suggestions, anyone?
10. Tell us about your editor.
Tera is a great doctor who is now learning to be a patient… J
“What did you say?” Mitch stared across the table at his best friend.
“I want to get married.”
“That’s what I thought you said.” He couldn’t resist a smirk. “Is that a proposal?”
Kerri rolled her eyes. “Yeah, right. As if I’d want to marry you.”
Mitch studied her. The breeze lifted the layers of her silky black hair and stirred the basket of colorful flowers hanging beside them on the patio at Amigos Bar and Grill where they sat having a happy hour Friday drink.
Mitch grinned, taking no offense at her comment. After all, marriage was so far down on his list of “Things To Do Before I Die” it was…well, it wasn’t even on there.
“You want to get married,” he repeated and lifted his Corona to his lips. What the hell was this about?
“Yes,” she said. “And I want you to help me find a husband.”
Mitch choked on his beer. “Huh?”
Kerri leaned forward. “I want you to help me find a husband,” she repeated earnestly.
“You’ve got to be kidding.” Was she insane?
She shook her head. “I’m serious. I’m almost thirty. I need to do this now.”
She tipped that stubborn little chin and gazed at him with wide crystal blue eyes. Ah, Christ. It was the puppy dog eyes. He dragged his gaze away from her and focused on the beer bottle clasped in his hands.
He snorted and took another swig of beer. “Big deal. Thirty isn’t old.”
She smiled. “Says you, old man.”
So he was a year older than she was. Neither of them was old, not by a long shot.
“I want kids,” she said. “You know I’ve always wanted a big family. Turning thirty makes me realize I better get on with it.”
He shook his head. Jesus, she was serious about this.
“You’re my best friend. You should be able to find the right guy for me.”
“No way.” He shook his head, leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms over his chest. The bright California sun warmed his face as he took himself out of the shade of the umbrella above their table.
“Why not?” Her lips pushed out into a near-pout and he frowned.
“You can’t be serious. That’s crazy.”
“Why? I’m still single and I haven’t had a date in months. I’ve been too busy with my business to date. And it’s hard to meet guys, you know.”
“Uh, no, I don’t know.”
She gave him that look she always gave him when he ticked her off—chin tipped down, head tilted, lips pursed—and he couldn’t help but smile.
“I’m just asking for a little help.” Her mouth relaxed and she held his gaze, wide-eyed, all but batting those long black lashes at him. He sighed.
“Kerri, I can’t help you with that.”
“Why not?” She continued to fix her clear blue eyes on him and he started to sweat. He tugged at the collar of his white shirt, although he’d already undone the top button and rolled up the sleeves. His tie hung loosely around his neck.
“Well, first of all, you know my feelings about marriage. I don’t believe in it, so why the hell would I help you find someone to marry? It would just be asking for trouble.”
“That’s ridiculous.” She waved a small hand. “Just because you don’t believe in marriage doesn’t mean I can never get married.”
“Do I have to remind you of the statistics? Divorce rate of fifty percent? Do I have to tell you again all the horror stories I hear at work?”
As a divorce attorney, Mitch had seen the cruel and vindictive things men and women did to each other in marriages gone bad and he swore he’d never go there. Never.
And it only seemed right to prevent his best friend from the same fate. Right? Right.
“It doesn’t have to be like that. Besides, how do you expect me to have kids without a husband?”
He looked at her small heart-shaped face, eyes wide and beseeching, her pretty pink mouth curved appealingly at him. His gut clenched. Jesus, it was hard to say no to her. He’d never been able to do that and it had gotten him into some screwed up situations. Like the time she’d talked him into kidnapping a leprechaun statue from that Irish pub in Goleta on St. Patrick’s Day.
He softened, looking at her and thinking about her with kids. He’d seen her with all her nieces and nephews, playing crazy games with them, down on the floor at their level, making them laugh. He’d seen how they followed her around whenever they were together. Yeah, she’d be a good mother. Shit.
“I know your parents didn’t give you a good example of a happy marriage.” She leaned toward him. “But look at my mom and dad…married forty years and still crazy about each other.”
“They’re lucky.” He tipped his beer up and drained the bottle, then rapped the empty down onto the table. Kerri blinked.
“Come on, Mitch,” she coaxed, still smiling.
He was a goner.
“What do you want me to do?” He sighed and lifted a finger to signal the server that he needed another beer. Now.
“Just introduce me to some nice guys,” she said with a quick smile, as if sensing his impending surrender. “I’ll take it from there. That’s all.”
He scowled at her. “It’s no wonder you can’t meet guys on your own. Look at you. You’re such a dog.”
“Back atcha.” Her eyes sparkled. She picked up her drink and finished her margarita just as the server returned with another Corona for Mitch. “I’ll have another, too, please.” She smiled at the server then turned her attention back to Mitch. “You’re pretty repulsive yourself.”
Things had gotten a bit serious for a minute there and Mitch couldn’t help but grin at her put down, much more normal conversation for them.
“Not to mention you’re a pain in the ass,” he continued. “Damn it.”
She still smiled, now with satisfaction. “So you’ll do it?”
“Yeah, yeah.” He sighed. “I’ll think about it. I have no clue who I’m going to introduce you to.”
“There must be some handsome, single lawyers at your firm that I haven’t met.”
No way. None of those guys. He shook his head. “Like I said, I’ll think about it.”
“Okay, but don’t take too long,” she insisted. “I’m in a hurry here.”
“Oh, yeah, I can just hear your clock ticking.”
She laughed and moved back to allow the waitress to set her frosty drink in front of her. Too full to pick up, she leaned forward to sip from the glass and when she lifted her head, grains of salt stuck to her upper lip. He reached over and brushed his fingertips over her mouth to remove them.
She flinched as he touched her and he drew back. What, he couldn’t touch her? They’d been friends for ten years. They’d seen each other puking drunk, comforted each other through painful breakups, celebrated promotions and business success together. “You had salt on your mouth,” he explained, picking up his beer again.
“Oh.” She touched her mouth but the salt was gone. Then she grinned. “That’s the best part of the margarita.”
“I guess you need some salty chips, then.” Again, he beckoned the server.
He had a feeling there was more to her desire to get married and have children than just a ticking biological clock, but now that she had him hooked, she was done talking about marriage and was on to something else.
“The painters are almost finished in the new studio,” she told him, excitement sparkling in her eyes. “The renovations are right on schedule and I’ll be ready to go June first in my new place.”
“That’s great. It’s been a lot of work, but it’s all coming together.”
“Yeah.” She sighed with relief. “Thank heaven for Sela.”
Kerri’s yoga studio had been growing steadily ever since she started it seven years ago. While she’d taught classes six days a week, sometimes three or four times a day, she’d been so busy she’d hardly had time to breathe, but she’d been happy and her business thrived. She’d impressed Mitch with her success. Then her lease had been cancelled and her business was homeless.
“It was perfect timing,” Mitch said, “since she needed to move her spa to a bigger place. It was nice of her to offer to lease space to you.”
“Nice? She didn’t do it because she’s nice. She did it because she knew I would bring in a whole new clientele. It’s a natural fit for both our businesses. Mutually beneficial. This was totally a business deal.”
Moving her yoga studio in with White Lotus Spa meant a lot of long hours and stress levels that would knock anyone else out. But Kerri, with her serene outlook and Zen-like ability to master stress, seemed unfazed by all the demands on her. He often mocked her for her dedication to yoga, but he had to admit it did seem to work for her.
“She is a smart businesswoman.”
Kerri frowned, stirring her margarita with the straw.
“Anyway,” Mitch continued. “I’m not sure how you plan to fit marriage and motherhood in with a growing business that keeps you busy teaching six days a week.”
“I know how to balance. I know how important that is. My chakras are aligned.”
He gave her a look and her lips twitched as she continued. “The chakras draw in the universal life force energy to keep the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health of the body in balance. Yin and yang.” She knew damn well how much it bugged him when she talked about all that mind-body-spirit shit, which was exactly why she did it.
“Karmic crap,” he muttered, holding back his own smile.
She laughed. “Oh, shut up. You know what I mean.”
He wasn’t sure how much of all that stuff Kerri actually believed, but he had to admit she did manage to lead her very busy life with serene steadiness.
“So tell me about your day.” She leaned her elbow on the table and propped her chin on her hand. Her eyes fastened on his face with an interest so genuine, it made him feel good. Important. Warm.
His day. He leaned back in his chair, not sure what to say. His day had been frustrating, discouraging…not stuff he really wanted to talk about right now. “It was okay,” he finally said. He looked down at the bottle in his hands.
“Anything juicy?” Kerri leaned forward, brows lifted.
“How about a seventy-two-year-old couple splitting up after forty-nine years of marriage?”
Kerri’s slim dark brows drew together. “That’s not juicy, that’s depressing.”
“They were planning their fiftieth wedding anniversary party and the husband started having an affair with the party planner.”
She laughed. “Okay. That’s juicy.”
He smiled back at her, knowing she wanted to hear the outrageous, funny stories he often had, but the reality was, sometimes things didn’t seem so funny any more. A couple in their seventies fighting over a divorce just annoyed him. There had to be a better way. He’d been trying some different things lately, other ways of helping people resolve their differences, but he didn’t think Kerri was interested in hearing that, so he entertained her with the rest of the story about the septuagenarian divorce.