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?
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 http://www.harlequin.com/storeitem.html;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 http://happyyellowdress.com/bridal.html . 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.