Leigh Riker is brand new to the Heartwarming blog. Give her a big Shout Out!
Here we are today, celebrating the release of
IF I LOVED YOU.
So, Leigh, where did you get the idea for this novel?
I happen to love a good reunion romance. It’s one of my favorite plots. There’s always an inborn conflict, plenty of emotion, and lots of room to explore a once-broken relationship that now has a second chance. My heroine, Molly, and Brig, the hero, just kind of popped out, really. I’m so glad to give them their story, which, I must say, they demanded!
In looking at the cover, if you could add a caption or captions, what would they say?
Brig and Molly in love, not only with each other
This tiny baby has already stolen some hearts
How long did it take you to write?
Between three and four months
What is your favorite scene?
The snowball fight during the blizzard. There’s more than attraction between Brig and Molly there; they get to play and for those few moments Molly can also see the more carefree Brig she once knew and loved before his military career took him away from her.
Who was your favorite character and why?
I have to say Brigham Collier. He’s a real alpha guy. Yet here he is, with an orphaned baby to care for, and the closer he gets to little Laila (and Molly) the more wrenching his necessary parting from her (and Molly) will be.
If you could pick fictional characters to play the hero and heroine, who would they be?
Molly’s like a Jane Austen heroine, plucky but sometimes misguided and yet she has a big heart. Brig is like one of the Navy SEALs/black ops guys in, say, an early Suzanne Brockman or a Cindy Gerard book. Tough on the outside but a softie inside. He’ll go to any lengths for the woman—and in this case, the child—he loves.
If you want to know what they look like, Brig is Nacho Figuera, the face of Polo fragrances and a top international polo player. Molly is actress Emily Blunt.
Well, having raised two kids, I already knew as much as anyone ever can about being a parent (ha-ha), and I’d spent time at the kind of day care center Molly owns in the novel. I lived in the Cincinnati area, the setting of the book, for ten years. So those features all but wrote themselves. As for Brig, that was kind of reverse research: he’s a member of an under-the-radar secret unit so he could do whatever I pleased!
What music would match the mood of this novel?
Any romantic ballad—and I’m a real sap for those. Specifically for this book, “If I Loved You,” from the old musical “Carousel,” which became the title of the novel. The classic song “I’ll Be Seeing You” is another. Oh, and “If Ever I Would Leave You” from “Camelot.” Of course now the lyrics are all running through my mind and I’m about to tear up.
This is your fifteenth book. Exactly what does that mean to you?
Wow! I’m still in business <g>. Seriously, it’s a special milestone. My first for Heartwarming but my fifth for Harlequin. And I have so many more stories to tell!
What do you plan to work on next?
I’ve just gotten the go-ahead to write another Harlequin Heartwarming. The working title is ONCE MORE WITH FEELING (but no, it’s not a reunion romance) and I’m already on Chapter Five.
In addition, I’m the “new kid on the block” with the Heartwarming blog. I’ll be posting there soon, most likely about the never-ending renovations this year to my house. Or maybe not. That topic makes me see red.
What are you reading for pleasure right now?
THE FIRST BOY I LOVED by Cheryl Reavis. Before that I finished HAVING THE BOSS’S BABY by Barbara Hannay (a favorite of mine) and I’m halfway through THE COLLECTOR by Nora Roberts.