Friendy Friday with Kate McMurray
Welcome to Friendy Friday!
It's been a helluva week in the world of Rock 'n' Romance! Not only did Typhoon Toby make landfall to some lovely reviews, but the Worst Valentine's Day Ever anthology dropped and is off to a kickass start!
You can pick yours up on Amazon!
Typhoon Toby's release has been awesome and thank you so much for riding this wave with me. There have been several blog posts and giveaways this week, which you can find on my Facebook page, and today we have THREE stops:
Swing by, enter giveaways, and show Toby some love!
Author Kate McMurray is one of my favorite people I met this year. We sat next to each other at the book signing at RT Booklovers Convention in Reno and I had a great time chatting with her. I picked up her Carina Press novel Damage Control when it came out and OMG I was hooked! Super sexy and suspenseful, it was a fantastic read. When I saw she had a new release coming out with ties to Broadway I thought it would be FAN-FREAKIN-TASTIC to have her on the Rock 'n' Romance blog! She opted to take the World's Most Dangerous Interview, so hang on to your playbill and get ready for Kate!
Name a liquid you’ve shot out of your nose while laughing… bonus points for what made you laugh.
I am certain I have done this with a few different beverages—water, soda, a cocktail (which burns)—because I do love to laugh. Likely this has happened just talking with my friends and telling inside jokes, but the pop culture thing that has made me laugh the hardest in recent memory is an episode from the first season of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. The little “Daddy’s Boy” musical that airs at the end of the “Kimmy’s in a Love Triangle!” episode is hilarious. I laughed so hard I nearly fell off my couch, true story.
What’s your favorite music to dance to?
I came of age in the ‘90s. I threw an Awesome ‘90s Dance Party for my birthday a few years ago and made people come in costume. I’d say ‘90s pop and hip-hop from before 1998 or so is ideal for dancing. (A lot of my go-to karaoke songs are from the 90s, too!)
Name the first book you read as a young person with sexy times in it. How many times did you read it?
I don’t remember exactly, but I’m 98% sure it was a Danielle Steel book when I was 12 or 13 that a friend gave me. The first sexy bits I really remember were from a Danielle Steel book that I’m pretty sure was Family Album (I just looked it up), which is this huge saga about a woman who survives WWII and raises her children in California, and her youngest daughter runs off to San Francisco to be a hippie and there’s what I remember as an insane orgy scene (again, I might be misremembering, but I recall the other hippies welcoming this young woman to their commune via group sex, and she ends up having a baby but doesn’t know who the father is) but it may have been more tame. I mean, I remember the first time I encountered a man going down on a woman anywhere in literature (in Star, also by Danielle Steel) and thinking at the time (I was probably 15 and kind of a late bloomer) “Why would anyone do that?” I know better now!
What is the most fascinating thing you’ve discovered because of writing?
So, I do a lot of research for all of my books and have learned lots of wild things. My historical research has been particularly fascinating. This is especially true for LGBTQ people in history. We tend to think of progress as happening linearly, but that’s not true at all; prior to WWII, there were thriving LGBTQ communities in a number of major American cities, for example. The bar at the Astor Hotel in New York City (no longer in existence, but it was on the block now occupied by the Hard Rock Café in Times Square) had a section just for men seeking men during Prohibition. But by the ‘60s, it was illegal to serve alcohol to gay men in New York City (which changed after Stonewall).
If we can go down the rabbit hole for a second, one thing that I thought was particularly fascinating was a man I ran into in my research for Ten Days in August. In a biography of Mrs. Astor, who was the queen of New York society during the Gilded Age, I ran into a fellow named Harry Lehr, who was Mrs. Astor’s social secretary late in her life. Lehr literally faked it til he made it. He was from a poor family in Baltimore, but he entered New York society at first as a salesman. He worked for a wine importer and for clothing stores, and basically, he would get free stuff from the stores then show up at society events and talk New York’s upper crust into buying things, but in a subtle way. For example, he’d get a fashionable outfit for free and wear it, and then refer anyone who inquired about his clothes to the store who supplied it, or he’d recommend wines from particular importers. So he gained a reputation for being cultured and pulled off the lie that he was wealthy because he was so well dressed and knew so much about wine. He made a career for himself as a party planner, and people liked him because he was jovial and outgoing. He also loved camp before camp was really thing and was described as a “man husbands trust their lives with,” if you get what I mean. Lehr’s story ends unhappily. He married a wealthy widow for her money and then waited until their wedding night to inform her they would not be consummating the relationship. She was Catholic and considered divorce out of the question, so they had an unhappy marriage that lasted until his death in the 1920s. And we know all this because his wife wrote a scathing biography of him after his death. But I loved that idea of a man pretending his way into the aristocracy so much that I’m working on a novel with a character loosely based on Harry Lehr.
Name a reading guilty pleasure.
I don’t really have “guilty” pleasures, because I think readers like what they like and there’s no shame in that. I, for example, love an old Harlequin category romance, the crazier the trope the better. (Bring me your amnesia patients, your secret babies, your princes who will lose their kingdoms if they don’t get married very soon.)
Which book boyfriend/girlfriend (either one you’ve read or written) sets the standard for all heroes/heroines in your writing?
My platonic ideal of a romance hero is probably my character Troy from Across the East River Bridge. Troy is smart and successful, he’s an academic, he looks like Clark Kent, and he has a sense of humor about himself.
Name a book that scared the bejeebers out of you and why it scared you.
I avoid scary books (and movies and TV) as a general rule, but there are some scenes in The Alienist by Caleb Carr that are vivid and creepy and stuck in my brain long after I put the book down.
If you had to choose a movie or book to live in, what would it be?
This is probably a cliché answer, but I love the idea of a secret underground world that exists in our real world, like the wizard world in the Harry Potter books. Bonus points if I can do magic. The first power I’d cultivate is the ability to wave a wand and make my apartment be clean.
Name your author superpower and how does it come out in your writing?
You’ve probably noticed I’m a nerd who likes research. I love to really immerse myself in my settings, and I think I therefore really excel at worldbuilding, even if it’s for a contemporary.
Which book do you wish you’d written?
You know, this is not a feeling I have very often, even when another author writes a book similar to an idea I had. For example, Maya Rodale has a new series set during the Gilded Age. I was chatting with her last summer and I mentioned that I’d just read a book about wealthy suffragettes (called Gilded Suffragettes) and I was thinking about writing a series about a club for women set in that era. And Maya was like, “Hey, I read the same book and based my series on it!” I read the first book (Duchess by Design) and I’m happy to report both that the book is a delight and that her book is completely different from the one I would have written (and will still write one of these days).
Which musical describes your life?
Gosh. My life is so mundane. Probably something like Company or The Last Five Years. (I think of “Another Hundred People” whenever I have to take the subway during rush hour. Sondheim really captured New York so well in that song.) The latter show is about two New Yorkers and their failed relationship (the twist is that she sings about their relationship in backward chronological order and he sings forward; they intersect at their wedding, which is the midpoint for both). Which is kind of a grim choice, but there are some parallels with my life. And I could do worse than to be played by Anna Kendrick in the movie.
Thanks Kate! Here's the blurb for See The Light:
Up-and-coming Broadway actor Jeremy was given two days to get up and get out. Dumped by his long-term boyfriend and suddenly homeless, he needs a sofa and a sympathetic ear, stat.
Enter Max, aspiring makeup artist and Jeremy’s BFF and former roommate. Max has been in love with his best friend forever. Now that Jeremy is back in his home, his old feelings are back, too. He’s happy to help his friend, but this time…it’s complicated. When Jeremy gets his big break in a new show, the message of the play hits home. “Live life to the fullest” means recognizing how he really feels about Max, and that’s not complicated at all. Jeremy’s in love, and wants to move full steam ahead. But Max has waited too long for Jeremy to look at him this way, and he doesn’t want to risk his heart. If this is just a rebound fling, or if Jeremy is only interested in Max because he’s convenient, it will not only shatter him—it will ruin the best friendship he’s ever known.
And a buy link: http://books2read.com/u/meA15A
Kate McMurray writes smart romantic fiction. She likes creating stories that are brainy, funny, and of course sexy, with regular guy characters and urban sensibilities. She advocates for romance stories by and for everyone. When she’s not writing, she edits textbooks, watches baseball, plays violin, crafts things out of yarn, and wears a lot of cute dresses. She’s active in Romance Writers of America, serving for two years on the board of Rainbow Romance Writers, the LGBT romance chapter, and three—including two as president—on the board of the New York City chapter. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with two cats and too many books.
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Thanks so much Kate!
Have a great weekend everyone. Next week there will be hijinks as I will be at a writer's retreat with some of my authory pals and we're just itching to get in trouble! Stay Tuned for more Rock 'n' Romance