Sit-Down Saturday with Lee McKenzie

Today we’re celebrating the release of THE PARENT TRAP by Lee McKenzie.

So, Lee, where did you get the idea for this novel?

This book started with the setting—the fictional town of Serenity Bay on the beautiful Sunshine Coast. It’s my first book set in Canada and I’m very excited about that. When I discovered that both the hero and heroine were single parents of fourteen-year-old daughters, I knew those girls would get up to something. Teenagers always do, don’t they? And then that old Haley Mills movie came to mind and I thought it would be fun to do a twist on that. So instead of two long-lost sisters reuniting a family, in my version of The Parent Trap, two BFFs unite their families.

In looking at the cover, if you could add a caption or captions, what would they say? 

“What if happily ever after was even better than in the movies?”

How long did it take you to write?

Five months.

What is your favorite scene?

I don’t have just one. I loved writing the high school dance scenes with both teenage girls and their “dates,” and the hero and heroine there as chaperones. I also have a peculiar fondness for epilogues because they close the circle so nicely.

If you could pick celebrities to play the hero and heroine, who would they be?

Jennifer Lawrence (with short hair) and Ryan Gosling (clean-shaven), because they’re who I pictured while I was writing this book.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The hero, Jonathan Marshall. Seriously, the man is Ryan Gosling-gorgeous and he can cook. Who doesn’t love a guy who knows his way around the kitchen?

Tell us one thing you learned during research.

I learned that if I write a book set in a fictional town that’s close to where I live, then I don’t have to do any research on the setting! I also learned a lot about fashion. In The Parent Trap;jsessionid=ED96929F057A442327042C50EA2B3BEF?iid=54429&cid= , the heroine and the hero’s daughter are both fashionista’s (and I’m definitely not) so I did a lot of internet research on various fashion designers. As a result, some beautiful clothing and accessories found their way into the story. 

My favorite part was using some gorgeous vintage-inspired dresses in the epilogue. They were designed by Debbie Murray, a young and extremely talented Vancouver designer whose label is called Happy Yellow Dress . Click on the link to check out the dresses and see if you can figure out what happens in the epilogue.

What music would match the mood of this novel?

I didn’t have any particular songs or styles of music in mind as I wrote this book, but I’d say the hero and heroine would likely listen to light rock. For the teenagers, I’m thinking something by Taylor Swift.

This is your 8th book.  Exactly what does that mean to you?

It means I’m happy to be alive. A cancer diagnosis coincided with the release of my second book, but after major surgery and a full year of chemo, here I am. I am so fortunate to have added six more books to my list, even more fortunate to have editors willing to continue working with me, and I look forward to sharing many more stories with readers.

What do you plan to work on next?

I’ve been dabbling with a story about a jilted Montana cowboy-slash-helicopter-pilot who finds an interesting way to mend his broken heart. I’m afraid this cowboy’s story won’t be for Heartwarming, though. He simply refuses to behave.

I’ve also been working on an idea for a series set in a small town in Wisconsin—three books about three sisters and the men who love them. I’d also like to write their father’s story. He raised his girls on his own and I think he deserves a happy ending, too, but I wonder how readers would feel about a romance featuring a wounded war hero in his late forties. If anyone has thoughts on that...yay or nay...I’d love to hear them. 

What are you reading for pleasure right now?  

Right now I’m reading The Lakeshore Chronicles series by Susan Wiggs, and anxiously awaiting the third book in Nora Roberts’ Cousins O’Dwyer series on October 28. Next up on my TBR pile is A Long Time Gone by Karen White.


  1. Congratulations and best wishes with your release, Lee!

    Umm . . . I expect (hope!) that there are a lot of readers out there who would agree that late forties is not too old for romance and an opportunity for a HEA! ;-)

    I'm hooked on the Cousin O'Dwyer trilogy, too.

    Happy weekend, everyone!

  2. When I first saw the title I thought of the Hayley Mills movie too! (not the remake with Lindsay Lohan).

    So your misbehaving cowboy - American Romance perhaps?

    Late 40's hero - Julie Miller recently had one in her Intrigue (KCPD Protector) and he was delish!

    1. I haven't seen the remake of The Parent Trap. I'm sure it's a fine movie, but I see no reason to mess with perfection ;)

      Yes, Marcie, the misbehavin' cowboy might be just right for AR. I've written four chapters already. Guess maybe I should send them to my editor to see what she thinks!

      And thanks for recommending the Julie Miller book! Will buy it for my Kindle.


  3. I'm all for heroes and heroines in their forties. Years ago, Laura Resnick did one. I can't remember for which line. I've been a reader of hers ever since! Looking forward to reading yours Lee

  4. Lee, I really enjoyed this book. I think since we have readers of all ages, we can write love stories for all ages.

  5. I recently received your book in the mail and I anxiously await reading it. Thank you so much!! I love the bookmarks too!! I'm so glad this interview coincided with my receiving it because it whets my appetite even more for what awaits. And I say yay for the father in his late forties who finds romance. We need more romance books featuring mature protagonists. I would certainly read it, and it would likely encourage those who are 40+ to not give up on love because they are advancing in years. Much success with The Parent Trap.

    1. Thanks for letting me know it arrived, Laurie! I hope you enjoy it! And I'm loving all the positive feedback on the mature hero.

  6. So agree with everyone that a hero and heroine in their 40s would be great! Can't wait to read the Parent Trap. I also thought of the Haley Mills movie. Wishing you much success!

  7. Lee - A man who can cook and a story that includes fashion - I'm sold! I just bought a pair of black boots! (I'm afraid to wear them, but I've got them.) I'm not so big on Ryan Gosling, but I'll imagine Ryan Reynolds. Love Jennifer Lawrence. Yaay for the forties hero - at my age he'd be the younger man! Congratulations on your release and wish you big fat sales!

    1. LOL at the younger man, Muriel! That would make two of us! Either Ryan will work just fine ;)

  8. I'm right here waiting to read about the 40-something hero! I'm a fashion-not, but I'm jealous of people who know what's going on with it. I also like any man who cooks. :-)

    1. Liz, I'm a hopeless shopper. My daughter is the fashionista in the family so I recruit her when my wardrobe is need of help.

  9. This sounds like a great book, Lee. In fact, all your ideas sound pretty fantastic! Congrats on the book's release and looking for more from you soon. P.S. I LOVE Ryan Gosling. Nice choice!

  10. Congrats on your success, and especially on beating cancer!!

  11. Hi Lee, your book sounds awesome. I'd love to read about your forties hero, especially after he's raised three girls. Congrats on your many successes.


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