"Something’s cooking in more than the kitchen…
Tess Banyon is a ‘Martha Stewart’ type of homemaker-guru-marketing-entrepreneur-extraordinaire. Investigative journalist, Josh Farraday is determined to convince the women of America that Tess is too good to be true.
Tess is a marvelous marketer with tons of ideas, but she can’t really cook and has been known to attach herself to a grapevine wreath with her glue gun. Now she’s doing her own TV show, and Josh has been assigned to do a behind-the-scenes story."
She stood frozen for a minute before she said faintly, “What do you think you’re doing?”
At the same time, Josh jerked back the curtain that encircled the claw-footed antique bathtub. Hands clenched on the divided curtain, his eyes widened to the size of half-dollars, and his jaw practically dropped to his chest as he stared at her for a long moment.
“Am I missing something here?”
Tess studied the length of his body, coming to rest on his most volatile piece of male equipment. “Nope, all there,” she said, “every inch.”
He laughed. “That’s a relief.”
Her heart was pounding with a staccato fury, and for a moment she felt like she’d melt. He was gorgeous. “What are you doing in my bathroom?”
Josh swiped his hands down his body to shed the excess water, then stepped out of the tub onto the bathmat. He reached for the towel hanging on a rack. Lazily, he wrapped the terrycloth around his waist, tucking the end in. He smiled. “You said the door right at the top of the stairs.”
“I said turn right at the top of the stairs.”
“Oh, turn right.” He grinned. “I thought you were being a bit forward.”
“Were you snooping in my bedroom?” she asked, amazed at the thought.
He nodded toward the door. “Are you sure that’s your room? It looks like a stage set. There’s nothing personal to identify you in there. No mementos, nothing. I found that disappointing, considering your skills.”
“You admit it? You were looking through my room?”
“Only on the way to the bathroom.”
“I don’t believe you,” she said, punctuating her words by poking her finger into his chest. “You’re a low-down snoop, that’s what you are.”
“A snoop? A reporter being called a snoop? Surely not.”
His chuckle was infectious, but Tess wasn’t buying it. She was red-faced and perspiring, although that could have been from the heat and moisture in the room, not because she was more embarrassed than she’d ever been in her entire life, or wanted to rip the towel from his hips.
- Where did you get the idea for the novel?
I’ve worked as a producer, art director and food stylist on a number of ‘how-to’ cooking show for television networks. It was a great experience. I learned a lot about food, making food look yummy, the backstage production that make the on-camera experience look seamless and the different process used to create each recipe and segment. I also learned how a person who was not a chef could fake it to appear as if she was one. As the world’s not greatest chef myself, I thought it would be funny to create a character who was brilliant at originating ideas, but couldn’t cook her way out of a paper bag. So Tess was created. Then naturally I needed a hero—enter Josh, an investigative reporter determined to discover if this woman was as good as everyone thought she was..
- Your title. Who came up with it? Did you ever change your title?
I came up with the title. I thought “Something’s Cooking” applied to the basic story line as well as the romantic attraction between Tess and Josh. Titles are often collaborations with me and an editor. Sometimes you can keep the one you have and at other times it is changed for audience appeal and understanding. One of the ones that struck a nerve was a book I did for Harlequin, “Million Dollar Stud.” The original title was changed to MDS and It actually worked for the story as the stud in question was two-fold: the Hero, and a racehorse he is training. But, the title still makes me cringe. LOL
- Why did you pick this genre? What do you like about it?
It’s happy. I am able to use my writing strengths—dialogue and characterization, which stems from my theatre background. Romance and romantic comedy offers entertainment to the audience and it is a lot of fun to come up with ‘fantasy within reality’ storylines. It’s genre fiction, meaning that it is easy to broadly categorize for the reader as genre fiction comes with certain expectations that the work must fulfill. Every genre has their own, ie. mystery has a crime, clues and final justice, while romance has at it’s heart a conflict between a hero and heroine that is eventually resolved in a happy ending. What makes it fun to write is the freedom you have to get to the end, while still staying in the genre needs. Besides, it makes me happy.
- Since becoming a writer, what’s the most exciting thing to ever happen to you?
This is a hard one to answer. Writing has not changed my life, but it has changed the way I look at things in some ways. It has increased my observation skills and my interest in and assessment of people (yes the redheaded person at the next table is actually listening to your conversation.) I am always excited when a reader says, I loved your book and I ask why and they can tell me. I write to entertain and to touch people. So writing gives me a way to touch the life of a broad spectrum of persons in a way I might not have previously had.
- What book are you currently reading or what was the last book you read?
I’m currently rereading “All Things Bright and Beautiful” by James Herriot, the experiences of a vet in Yorkshire during the late 1930’s and 40’s. His way with description and with characterization is wonderful. He writes with humor, understanding and compassion.
- What is your writing process?
Basically I put my butt in the chair and start writing and then make myself stay there, but generally staying is not so hard because I get involved with the story. I set goals for myself including amount of work done per day, week, etc. and I always set a deadline date for completion. I’m used to working with deadlines so this makes sense for me. I generally have a good idea of the basic characterization and where I want the story to go, but I’m not always sure how I can get there. I always have the beginning and the end in mind when I start so I know where I have to end up. My process changes with each book. With some I do more active notes and plot points, but I never never outline the book besides a sentence jotted to jolt my mind into the story progression. I also don’t fill out charts, etc. I do look at screenplay structure and apply the highlight plot points to my story. I identify the interior and exterior things that drive each character’s action. After I get the book done I go back and look for obvious holes to fix. BUT, the truth is, generally the characters take over and I end up going where they want me to go.
- At a book signing, do you just sign your name or do you write a note? How do you come up with stuff to say?
I do both depending on the situation. Often I do a standard greeting, such as ‘Enjoy,’ or ‘Enjoy and if you don’t, don’t tell me.’ J When needs to be personalized I ask the reader for suggestions, or falling back I do something related to the book. For “Something’s Cooking” it might be. “Hope you cook better than Tess.”
- What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I can be shy at times, and I always think people won’t look at me and remember who I am.
- How do you react to a bad review?
First I get pissed off and sad, and then I remind myself that it is only one person’s opinion so take it with a grain of salt. Most of the time I don’t read them or I read them very quickly and dismiss them. I have enough things to cause me stress—why add more?
- How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
I met with my critique group at the time and had a little celebration with cake and toasts. And then my daughter made me go to a bookstore for a picture standing besides the book on the shelf. The bookseller was a bit surprised, but we felt great!
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Meg has a BFA and MA in theatre, acting and directing, and a minor in Fine Arts and Promotion. Over the years, Meg has been an actress, director, producer, creative director, CEO, copywriter, creative dramatics teacher, mime, mom, college instructor, and a school bus driver. She’s established two creative marketing/media companies, working as a V.P. and as CEO, creating projects in all media: network cable programming to corporate initiatives; to video, games and interactive websites. Meg is published with Harlequin, Imajinn Books, Samhain Publishing and now Entangled Publishing. Learn more about Meg and her books on her website or at any online bookstore. Look for her new books, Something’s Cooking from Entangled Publishing, 8/13; The Sparrow and the Hawk, out now. The Sparrow and the Vixens Three, 11/13, and Million Dollar Mistake, 9/13.
Good Reads: http://www.goodreads.com/meglacey
Meg will be awarding a Jamberry Nails set (with a watermelon motif) and a colorful watermelon knife as well as a Room Scent Warmer from 'For Every Home' along with apple pie scent cubes to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: