Interview with romance author Lynnette Austin

Author Lynnette Austin joins me today
to talk about her new contemporary romance, Must
Love Babies.
Bio:
Lynnette Austin loves long rides with the top down and the music
cranked up, the
Gulf of Mexico when a storm is brewing, and
sitting in her local coffee shop reading and enjoying an iced coffee.
She divides her time
between Southwest Florida’s beaches and Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.
Having grown up in a small
town, that’s where her heart takes her—to those quirky small towns where
everybody knows everybody…and all their business, for better or worse.
Writing for Grand Central
and Sourcebooks, she’s published thirteen novels.
Welcome, Lynnette. Please tell us about
your current release.
Who
can resist a big, strong man holding a small baby—and the baby’s not the only one in need of a
cuddle…
Brant Wylder has planned for every eventuality.
However, becoming a father—even temporarily— wasn’t on his list.
Brant
Wylder is a bachelor and loving it! He’s in Misty Bottoms, Georgia,
property-hunting for his vintage car repair shop when he gets the call. His
sister’s been in an accident, and Brant has to drop everything to take care of
his seven-month-old nephew. That’s the end of the bachelor lifestyle. Bridal
boutique owner Molly Stiles is all business all the time, until she sees that
Brant’s in trouble. In this Southern town, nobody ever has to go it alone. And
besides, how can she resist that beautiful baby in the arms of a beautiful
man…?
What inspired you to write this book?
My
last series, Magnolia Brides, took place in fictional Misty Bottoms, Georgia,
and revolved around three friends who start up a destination wedding. This new
series stays there with Molly, the heroine, opening a bridal boutique to
provide that special dress for the Magnolia brides. It’s somewhat of a continuation
of the previous series.
It
centers on the Wylder brothers who move to town to expand their vintage car and
motorcycle restoration business. The series and first book is titled Must Love Babies.
I
love reading stories where my hero or heroine is like a fish out of water.
Nothing accomplishes that better than handing someone a baby—someone who hasn’t
a clue what to do with the tiny human. In this series, that’s what I wanted to
do. But I’ve put a little different twist on each story. None of the bachelor’s
babies are the “whoops, I got her pregnant and didn’t know” kind. They’re not
secret babies.
Excerpt from Must Love Babies:
Molly
stood beneath a magnolia tree, her face tipped to catch the moonlight. The
breath caught in his throat, and for one fanciful second, Brant imagined a
mythical princess or fairy.
He
shook his head. The woman was real, and he wanted a dance, wanted to hold her
in his arms. A little flirting? Harmless.
Stepping
out of the shadows, he made his way to her.
“Beautiful
night, huh?”
“Perfect.”
Slowly, she turned, a smile on her face.
“How
about a dance?”
She
hesitated.
“I’m
not asking for a lifelong commitment, sugar. Just a single dance under the
stars. The night’s made for dancing.”
“It
is, isn’t it?”
He
caught her hand in his, amazed at its softness against his work-roughened one.
“In the interest of full disclosure, I’m not the world’s greatest dancer, but
you shouldn’t lose any toes.” He glanced at her sequined stilettos, showcased
by her cocktail-length dress. “Don’t know how you even walk in those, let alone
put on the miles you do, but I have to say that all mankind is grateful.”
Smiling,
Molly peeked at her shoes. “They’re awesome, aren’t they?”
He
nodded. “You can dance in them?”
“I
could run a marathon in these.”
“Okay,
then.” The moon shone through Spanish moss that dripped from the live oaks,
forming a lacy pattern on the dewy grass.
Kelly
Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This” played over the sound system. Reaching the
dance floor, Brant slid an arm around her waist and drew her in, breathed in
her scent. He swung her out and brought her back in one smooth motion, felt her
quick laugh in the pit of his stomach. The music slowed when the band segued
into John Legend’s “All of Me,” and he drew her close.
Molly
fit perfectly in his arms. She lived in Georgia and he in Tennessee, and that
made her safe. And if the plans he and his brothers were working on panned out?
Still nothing to worry about since she lived in Savannah. When she rested her
head against his chest, he wondered if she could hear the rapid thump of his
heart. Ms. Molly was hot, hot, hot.
His
hand slid a little lower, and without missing a beat, she relocated it to her
waist.
Molly
smelled of a midnight garden with just a touch of naughty. His body responded,
and he willed himself to think about something else. “How’s the city?”
“Savannah?”
She shrugged. “I live in Misty Bottoms now. I opened a bridal boutique. Today’s
bride was my first.” She grinned, dimples creasing her cheeks.
The
dance ended, and he reluctantly released Molly. “I’m driving back to Tennessee
tomorrow.”
“Speaking
of driving, thanks for taxiing the last of the rehearsal dinner’s partiers home
last night. I heard they celebrated pretty hard at Duffy’s.”
“No
problem.”
“I
need to stop at my car before I go back inside. I left the little silver heart
I attach to the bridal gown’s garment bag in my glove box.”
Brant
walked beside her in the soft night air, a hand at her elbow, while the band
played Blake Shelton’s “God Gave Me You.”
He
lowered his head. “Before we call it a night, I’d love to see the rose garden
our friend Cole salvaged.”
The
scent of roses surrounding them, they strolled through the yard. In the silver
light of the moon, the flowers glowed and took on an almost magical, fairy-tale
illusion. The house shimmered and welcomed, like the true Southern lady she
was. Interlacing his fingers with Molly’s, peace enveloped Brant.
They
wandered across the expanse of lawn and through the blooms in comfortable
silence.
From
the parking area, he heard the sound of engines starting, of tires crunching on
the long drive. “Looks like it’s about time for lights-out. We’d better head
back so you can finish up.”
A
slight breeze caused Molly to shiver, and happy for the excuse, Brant wrapped
an arm around her and pulled her a little closer, surprised when she didn’t
pull away.
Reaching
her yellow-and-white Mini Countryman, he made to open her door, then changed
his mind, leaned in and gave her a quick kiss, one that should have been
impersonal. Friendly. Instead, fire shot through him.
He
pulled back, unsure whether he should be relieved or horrified that the
expression on her face mirrored his own stampeding feelings. Clearing his
throat, he said, “I’m taking care of a few loose ends in the morning, then
heading back to Tennessee. And I already said that, didn’t I?”
“Yes,
you did. The kiss was nice, thanks, but you don’t need to worry. I won’t show
up naked at your hotel door.”
His
breath caught.
She
grinned, and he understood she knew exactly the effect she was having on him.
“I—”
His phone vibrated. “Whoops. Sorry, but I’d better take this. My brothers
probably forgot something. Organization isn’t their strong suit. If you’ll
excuse me.”
“Sure.”
“Hello?
Dad?” As he spoke, he made his way to a gnarly old oak. His father’s voice was
gruff, almost as if he’d been crying. Panic grabbed Brant by the throat.
What exciting story are you working on
next?
Next comes
Tucker Wylder’s story, I’ve Got You, Babe,
and it’s truly been a fun write. I love Tucker, three-year-old Daisy, and
her mama, Elisa. The book is filled with interesting characters and
laugh-out-loud to cry in your tissue situations.
When he heads
into work, a hot cup of coffee in hand and a weekend fishing trip on his mind, Tucker
has no idea that his life is about to take a major detour. After college, he
did a stint with the Marines. Now, reentering the civilian world, he’s become
partners with his brothers at Wylder Rides, their vintage car and motorcycle
renovations business, even though it means moving to small town Misty Bottoms,
Georgia.
The oldest of
the Wylder brothers and more than a little OCD, he’s all business. He likes to
be able to come and go, to do his own thing without answering to anyone. Unlike
his brothers, he’s reserved. He doesn’t want to compromise, and he loves being
single.
Elisa Danvers
and her beautiful three-year-old daughter need a fresh start and head for Charleston.
Nearly there, both she and her car are unwell. Spotting the Wylder Rides sign,
she pulls in.
At the sound of
high-heels on the garage’s concrete floor, Tucker slides from beneath the ‘55
Chevy. The most incredible pair of legs he’s ever seen greets him. His gaze
travels up, up, over a body that matches. He makes it to his feet just in time
to catch Elisa as she passes out. While he calls for the EMTs, a young child
inside the car begins to cry…and Tuck’s life is forever changed.
When did you first consider yourself a
writer?
When I
first put pen to paper. While being published is a fantastic dream-come-true,
you don’t need to be published to be a writer.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
I taught middle school language arts forever and ever and
absolutely loved it! But I wanted to write—not just in the evening and on
weekends and holidays. Not just at 4:30 in the morning—which is when I’d wake
so I could sneak in an hour or two of writing before getting ready for school.
I wanted to write full-time. All these characters run around in my head and the
only way to keep them quiet is to tell their stories, so I finally gave in. I’m
writing full-time now, and, I have to say, it really is a dream come true.
I have a designated writing spot and when my butt hits that
chair, I write. I don’t wait for my muse to show up because she can be very
lazy and find lots of other things to do.
My favorite writing time is early
morning and late nights, but when I’m on deadline I often put in ten or
twelve-hour days. I drink lots of coffee and love to eat Cheetos while I
write—thus the orange keyboard.
I’m a plotter, so I do lots of preplanning before writing.
I have an organized notebook (really necessary when you’re writing a series so
you can keep everything consistent from one book to the next) and a storyboard.
That doesn’t mean I don’t take detours when the story or characters demand it,
but my GPS (aka storyboard) helps me find my route again.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
I love
to write in the shower! The ideas flow right along with the water. So…I have
lots of water-stained notes!
As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?
Teaching
always called to me, and I had a wonderful career teaching elementary and
middle school. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. Working with
young people is so rewarding. But always nipping around the edges was the
desire to write.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
A lot
of times I’m asked why, with all the genres to choose from, I write romance.
Actually, there are several very simple reasons. First, I love to read
romances. They’re my go-to books when I need a pick-me-up or a break from the
real world with all its problems or just a few hours of entertainment. Second,
I write romance because, in them, my female characters can be every bit as
strong as the men in my books. And I write romance because the reader can feel
safe to invest their emotions in the hero and heroine knowing I’ll deliver, no
matter how high the odds against it, a happy-ever-after ending. It’s a romance.
That happy ending is guaranteed. In my books, two people will fight nearly
insurmountable odds to find love. To make that deep and lasting connection with
one another. And they’ll win.
Romance
books are often thought of as a heroine’s search for the man of her dreams. For
Mr. Right. And at some point in time, that might have been true. Today’s
romance, though, is that heroine searching for herself, to make herself
complete, not for someone else. She’s searching to overcome an internal
conflict buried deep inside, to reach a goal she’s set—knowingly or
unknowingly.
Romances
are love stories, yes. They’re books about relationships and
happily-ever-afters.
But that doesn’t mean my characters, the people who
live in my head and in my heart, have an easy time of it. I love to put them
through the wringer, to squeeze out every drop of emotion. To make them laugh,
cry, sigh. Then to make my readers
laugh, cry, and sigh.
I absolutely love to write!!
Links:
Thanks for being here today!

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