Today I’m welcoming author Katie O’Boyle to Wednesday Writers. Katie, please tell the readers about your book being showcased today.
Stepping Up To Love is the first in the Lakeside Porches romances set in the beautiful Finger Lakes of Upstate New York. Handsome, sophisticated Joel Tompkins owns the upscale Manse Inn and Spa and employs a dowdy college intern Manda Doughty, an accounting major at the college Joel’s ancestors founded. When Joel discovers her using one of the spa showers, Manda bares her soul to him and enlists his help to find a safe place to live and a solution to her alcoholic drinking. Released in August 2013 by Soul Mate Publishing, Inc., Stepping Up To Love is the inspirational story of Manda’s recovery and Joel and Manda’s growing love for each other.
By the way, I just finished reading Katie’s book. Look for a review in the next few days.
How did you come up with the concept for this book?
Two winters ago, my sister and brother-in-law invited me to celebrate the 90th birthday of a dear friend on the porch of Belhurst Castle for their famous Sunday Brunch. Watching the staff serve up incredible food and fuss over our friend made me wonder about their lives, their hopes and dreams. The idea for Lakeside Porches was born that sunny winter morning. As for Stepping Up To Love, Joel and Manda set me straight about their story!
That comment piques my curiosity.
So, what are you working on now? Do you have a release date for this book?
Book Two, Coming Home To Love, will be released this summer by Soul Mate Publishing, and Book Three, Finding the Way Back To Love, is nearly complete for beta readers.
I can’t wait to read them.
Some writers like quiet when they write, others want music. Which one are you?
Quiet is fine, but I like a creative environment—either beautiful, classical music playing on my stereo or the upbeat sunny atmosphere of my favorite coffee shop where tables are filled with friends catching up with each others’ lives.
I’m a total non-techy when it come to computers and social media and have experienced a number of flubs, including wiped out discs, crashed computer drives where I lost 50 pages I’d just written, improper blog setups that caused me to lose my web name address. What’s the worst technical difficulty or disaster you’ve ever had as a writer?
I can really mess myself up with the simplest mistakes! Here’s the worst disaster so far: chapter one of my second book features three scenes—1) we meet the heroine; 2) we meet the hero; 3) they meet each other and sparks fly. I sent scenes 1) and 2) to my critique group and then reworked the scenes in my manuscript to incorporate their very good feedback. I saved the two scenes as a file named Chapter One. Oops! The heroine and hero didn’t meet face-to-face; sparks didn’t fly. As if that wasn’t bad enough, I sent that manuscript (without the critical scene) to a publisher who had liked my query letter and synopsis. How embarrassing! And, given my obsession with deleting old versions, I had no trace—anywhere—of the sparkly hot scene where the lovers meet for the first time. Arrgghh!
LOL. That’s the very reason I print it all out!
Do you have a favorite book? (Or books since it’s always hard to whittle it down to one.)
My heart sings when I think of Alexander McCall Smith’s standalone novel La’s Orchestra Saves the World. Two more faves: Alan Bradley’s first mystery The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and Louise Penny’s latest How the Light Gets In.
Intriguing titles! How often do you read non-fiction?
I’ve gone in streaks reading self-help books, books about gluten-free cooking, various health issues—whatever the need-du-jour might have been. Lately I’m just reading articles about retirement, travel, money management—whatever the need-du-jour is!
Do you have a day job? If so, what is it?
I’m the Instructional Designer for a small college, responsible for online teaching and learning. I admire our creative, committed faculty, and I love my office with its three large, sunny windows that look out on a row of Pin Oaks filled with songbirds.
I love going to the movies. Do you? If so, what was the most recent movie you’ve seen?
Philomena starring Dame Judth Dench. Based on a true story, it shows an important side of Irish culture. For me, there is an important message about cruelty toward women—that it’s possible to respond to cruelty with forgiveness and grace. Very powerful movie.
We missed that movie. It was on our to-see-list, but left theatres before we could see it.
We like to travel. What is the farthest place from your home that you have visited?
I remember waking up at dawn’s first light in Shanghai, China, in October 1986 to the sound of a million bicycle bells. Really! I looked out the window at main streets filled with men on bicycles zipping to work, and knew I was very far from home. I dressed quickly and went out for a walk. Block after block of the city streets were lined with small groups of women doing their morning Tai Chi. Some groups were silent and moving in harmony. Some groups had music blaring. Others chatted among themselves. I’ll never forget it.
Sounds like a great memory.
It’s been a pleasure having you here today, Katie. As you say goodbye, can you leave the readers with an encapsulation of your life’s philosophy?
I’m working toward a retirement date of June 26 this year, and it has been a long transition! This quote from Oliver Sacks helped me set the date: “I do not think of old age as an ever-grimmer time that one must somehow endure, but as a time of leisure, freed from the factitious urgencies of earlier days, free to explore whatever I wish, and to bind the thoughts and feelings of a lifetime together.”
That’s a fantastic quote for looking forward to retirement. I hope you’ll enjoy yours! Thanks for being a part of Wednesday Writers!
Born in the upstate-New York village known as the Birthplace of Women’s Rights, Katie O’Boyle passionately loves the Finger Lakes in every season. She cherishes the lakeside porch as a place for intimate sharing, laughter and inspiration. Some years ago, Katie was a stellar student and closet substance abuser at a picture-perfect small college. She credits loving friends, 12-step spirituality, and plenty of hard work for her transformation into her grown-up self: tech-savvy college professor and passionate author of warm-hearted romance. Katie’s love for the Finger Lakes and her commitment to spirituality show through in each book of the Lakeside Porches novels.
When her boss Joel Cushman catches her using the spa shower at The Manse, junior accountant and graduating college senior Manda Doughty comes clean about the alcoholic drinking that has led her into a disastrous relationship with a predatory professor. Joel, who is also a trustee of the college, is faced with more problems than a beautiful, naked woman in his shower. While he’d rather make love all night with funny, brainy Manda, Joel knows his desire for her has no future if Manda cannot stay sober, grow up, and face her problems. While Manda immerses herself in AA, Joel uncovers harassment and embezzlement that threaten the existence of the college his ancestors founded. Can he fix the problems at the college without exposing Manda to public humiliation? Can Manda clean up her mess and trust the love she feels for Joel? The odds may not be in their favor, but miracles happen for those who are willing to change their lives and open their hearts.
Finally warm, and thoroughly clean, shampooed, conditioned, citrus-scented, and far less achy than she’d been, Manda turned off the water and drew back the linen curtain dividing the shower stall from the dressing area, and screamed. Standing at the glass door was the big boss. Remy’s boss. Her boss’s boss. She wasn’t sure, but Joel Cushman was probably everybody’s boss.
“Geez, Joel, I thought you were a pervert!” she yelled at him. I can’t believe I just called Mr. Cushman “Joel.” I am in so much trouble here.
“Manda? What—?” His voice cracked like an adolescent.
Manda stifled a laugh. His eyes were drinking in her body as though he couldn’t believe what she’d been hiding under her baggy clothes. Drink your fill now, Joel, because I am off men for life.
“I thought you were a criminal. What are you doing in the spa shower at seven fifteen in the morning? And stop batting that curtain around.”
Manda tried desperately to grab of the linen shower curtain, flapping this way and that in the current created by the open door. “Do you mind?” she scolded him.
Giving up on the curtain, she crossed her arms and turned her back on him. He probably likes that view, too. “Could you hand me a towel, please, or get out of here?” Why am I yelling at the boss? Seriously dumb, Manda.
He was silent now, which was worse. What is he doing, standing there, looking at me? Panic overtook anger, and she turned back to look at him.
He had dropped the admiring once-over, and she saw he was taking a second look at her purpling bruises. Silently, he handed her a towel from the top of the stack and looked her in the eye.
Manda wondered if he could read the shame and fear clouding her vision.
Joel cleared his throat and ordered, “In my office. Five minutes. Dressed.”
Links for Katie O’Boyle:
Buy Link for Stepping Up To Love: