Readers drawn to fish-out-of-water storylines will find themselves charmed by this tale of starting over set in the culinary world. Keep reading to get a tempting glimpse of Spooning Daisy by Maggie McConnell, along with getting to know more about the author, then learn even more about this book by visiting the other sites hosting this tour. In honor of this first installment in the Otter Bite Romance Series make sure to fill out the form below for three winners to have the chance to win a Nordstrom leather clutch, a Nordstrom turtle pin, and a Rebecca Minkoff star pendant (International winners will receive a $25 bookstore GC) too!
LET'S GET TO KNOW MORE ABOUT MS. MCCONNELL...
TSP: Knowing what you do now about the publishing business, would you have done anything differently career-wise or during the writing process?
MM: I may have written for “the market” sooner (I wrote a great book set in Kenya that was nominated for a Golden Heart but publishers felt Kenya was too exotic for readers), instead of writing stories set in foreign locations. But maybe not. I believe everything shows up when it’s supposed to, and all that writing experience/practice made me a better writer.
TSP: What does your writing space look like and do you surround yourself with any particularly inspirational items?
MM: I have a room dedicated to writing with lots of space and windows and photos on the wall of my travels (Kenya, Australia, Scotland) along with photos of my animals. I also have a combo radio, disc player, and turntable for some really old albums (yes, albums) that I like to listen to when I write. It’s a very British room in that it has wainscoting and wood and feels like the Downton Abbey library (on a much smaller scale). Taped onto my laptop is a fortune from a lunchtime fortune cookie that will be my secret. And usually my dog, Molly, is sprawled on the carpet. I think it’s a great space and love being there.
TSP: This is your first book release, did you do anything specific to celebrate?
MM: No. I’d been trying to be published for about 10 years—was a Golden Heart nominee-- and I think it felt anticlimactic. I may have paused briefly between ranch chores to let it sink in, then I went back to work.
TSP: Beyond its synopsis, what do you want us to know about Spooning Daisy?
MM: It’s authentic. Much of the action and settings come from personal experience. The original idea (and opening scene) was inspired by my own garage sale, right down to the sheets covering the makeshift plywood tables and the silver-plated chafing dish. The primary location of the story, Otter Bite, Alaska is inspired by the very real Kachemak Bay village of Seldovia where I spent summers during my 23 years living in Anchorage. Anyone interested in learning more about this special place can visit Seldovia.com.
TSP: If this book were made into a movie, who would play the main couple?
MM: Easy-peasy! Amy Adams (Enchanted, Julie & Julia) is soooo Daisy. And Hugh Jackman (Australia, Kate & Leopold) is soooo Max. (Nothing like the couple on the cover, btw.)
TSP: What do you think readers like about the "fish out of water" theme?
MM: Everyone can relate to it. At some time in our lives, we encounter places and situations that are unfamiliar. Sometimes early in life as children when our family moves to a different town or we have to change schools, then when we go to college or start new jobs, when we meet the families of our spouse-to-be (Yikes—I so didn’t fit in!) At some point, we all feel like the new awkward “fish” who hasn’t a clue, so it’s relatable and believable.
TSP: How has the digital revolution affected your career and how you market yourself?
MM: Talk about a fish out of water! When I was in graduate school, I learned computer programming using a mainframe that took the entire space of an 8’x10’ room and I wrote code on punch cards. I wrote research papers using a typewriter and I was thrilled that mine had correcting tape. I remember when e-mail showed up and I thought who in the world would ever use that? I’ve gotten over that, although I still prefer talking with friends. My writing career has only been in the digital age and I’ve had a short learning curve. Before Daisy came out, I was aware of Facebook and all other social media, but not much of a follower. Again, preferring to check in with friends personally. Now I have a personal FB page and an author page. I pay attention to blogs and have utilized virtual book tours quite a bit. I continue to enhance my online presence, but the skies are crowded. I still struggle with ways to stand out and get readers’ attention. I happily entertain suggestions!
TSP: My site's all about favorite things, so what are your favorite things/the things you can't live without?
MM: My animals. Not only my immediate family of animals—dog Molly, cat Sara, horses Quinn and Teena—but all the wild critters that live on my ranch. Skunk Scooter lives under my deck, rattlesnake Reggie shows up each summer, and recently I have a barn squirrel, Lucy. And that is just the tip of a very large wild iceberg, too numerous to name. I keep a trough of water (for large animals like deer and coyotes) and small bowls (for smaller animals like bunnies and chipmunks) around for the wildlife and my reward is having the company of these wonderful souls. I cannot imagine life without them. My other favorite thing? PBS!
Her mango chutney is exquisite; her blueberry sauce to die for. But Chef de Cuisine Daisy Moon is a woman without a kitchen after a "bit of trouble" at her last job. Now blacklisted from Seattle to San Francisco, Daisy's sole job offer is from Wild Man Lodge in Otter Bite, Alaska, where the end of the road is just her beginning.
"I had apple strudel. I never have apple strudel. It's not my usual."
"You came here to tell me you had apple strudel?"
"The thing is...I liked it. For a change, I mean. Once. Not every day, of course."
"The truth is..." He stepped toward her. "The truth is...I feel bad about giving you such a hard time at breakfast."
"Ohhhh. This is an apology."
"No, absolutely not." Max retracted the step he'd just taken. "This is absolutely NOT an apology."
Daisy huffed. Normally, she'd take great satisfaction in Max's guilt and take equal pleasure in the banter that would surely follow. However, she was a woman on a mission, and she didn't have the time, not with Otter Bite hanging by a manila envelope. "Fine. Thank you for coming here NOT to apologize and for that apple strudel thing. And--" She momentarily softened. "--the money. But I just don't have the time for whatever this is."
Once again he stepped toward her. "You're making this extremely difficult."
"This? This what? What am I making--"
"This." The word melted into her mouth.
The two hundreds floated from her hand to the floor. Then, her arms wrapped Max's neck, his body pressed hers, and Daisy was lost in a kiss she never expected to own.
Golden Heart nominee Maggie McConnell spent her childhood overseas as the daughter of US diplomats. Attending college in Illinois, she earned a BA in Art and an MBA while working at the local humane shelter. At 26, she packed her dog and cat into a Ford truck and drove the Alcan Highway to Alaska, where she spent 23 years exploring The Last Frontier in a single-engine Cessna. A vegan and animal rights advocate, Maggie provides a sanctuary on her Arizona ranch for all creatures great and small, but her immediate family includes dog Molly, cat Sara, horses Quinn and Teena, and an ever-growing dynasty of chipmunks. Every year, like the Gray Whale, Maggie returns to Alaska.
a Rafflecopter giveaway