Mira Lyn Kelly lives in rural Minnesota with her husband and four children. Writing for Harlequin Mills & Boon, she is at work on her fourth book for the Presents Extra/Riva lines.
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THE S BEFORE EX
“Oh, my God, isn’t that your husband?”
Claire Brady stiffened at the urgent whisper. An instant before, she’d been basking in the afterglow of a deal that, now struck, concluded her business for the next week—mostly. The gallery was too much a part of who she was to ever truly be put aside, even for a single day. But in that moment, her phone had been quiet, her mind at peace, her senses drifting with the gentle breeze as she’d absorbed the bustle and beauty of Rome’s Piazza Navona while light circles, courtesy of a dishy Italian seated to her right, stroked over her palm.
It felt good. She felt good. And she’d wondered if maybe this time…
Well, so much for that.
She shook her head apologetically at Paulo, the dishy Italian under consideration, and then shot Sally, her best friend, assistant, and perpetual alarmist, an emphatic no.
She’d known sharing the secret of her ex would come back to bite her, but the balanced against the isolation of holding herself apart for so many years, Sally’s occasional false alarm was a price she’d been more than willing to pay. Still, this was the third “Ryan” sighting this month alone.
“The man lives in California. The United States. Besides, if he were traveling abroad, we’d already know about it,” she promised with a nod toward the newsstand at the corner of the piazza.
When all else failed, fell short or slipped away, there was one thing in her marriage to Ryan Brady that Claire could count on. And that was the media keeping her abreast of every sordid detail of his liaisons, financial conquests and daily adventures. No waiting by the door with a cocktail at five for her. She had the world news to tell her how his day had been and with whom he’s spent the night. And in this case, she had it on reliable authority that as of fifteen hours ago, Ryan Brady had been meeting with his lawyer in downtown L.A.
To read the full first chapter go to The Book Link.
CAT: If you won the lottery, what’s the first thing you’d buy?
MIRA: Oh this is a question I’ve spent much time contemplating. AFTER setting aside a portion to pay for the kids’ college, I would totally indulge my hermit tendencies and buy a mountain retreat dedicated primarily writing. An important clarification, this lottery we’re talking about paid out an obscenely huge jackpot, for which I’m the sole winner (Dream big, right?!). So the retreat is spacious and spectacularly tricked out with all the amenities. There are enough rooms for all the kids to have their own…which means when (instead of bringing them with me) I leave the family at home for my week off, I can take several of my writer BFFs and we can all write together!
CAT: Do you have any hobbies?
MIRA: I actually used to have tons of hobbies. Knitting, crocheting, photography, scrapbooking…writing. I’ll let you guess which one got greedy and did away with the rest J
CAT: Where’s the one place you’ve always wanted to visit, but haven’t yet gone?
MIRA: Las Vegas. I just love the spontaneity and possibility of the place and have a million story ideas that I’d love to flesh out with some real life experience…Well, okay, I’m already married and not really into breaking the law…so waking up hitched to some gorgeous billionaire who’s name I don’t recall, isn’t the kind of real life re-enactment I’m after. But the shows, the hotels, the strip…I’d love to do some people watching and experience the vibe of the place first hand!
CAT: Do you have a large or small family?
MIRA: We’re a family of six (three boys, aged 9, 8, and 6, and a girl, also 6). At times our family feels very big (I’m thinking specifically of the way we’re outgrowing the seating in our living room!) and at other times feels pretty small. We’re a tight knit bunch, who all like to laugh and spend time together.
CAT: Are you a dog or a cat person?
MIRA: I’m a dog person. Mostly because we grew up with a standard poodle who wholly believed she was a real dog. Chased Frisbees, wore her hair shaved short and without adornment, pulled me around on my skateboard like she was a sled dog… But also because I have ridiculously bad allergies and living with a cat would put me in an iron lung (hence the poodle, lol)
CAT: Paper or e-books?
MIRA: Ahh, the age old debate. Honestly, I’m more of an e-book girl these days. It’s the convenience and the instant gratification and the downloading a sample to see if you’re really interested. I still enjoy lazing through a bookstore…but because of where we live, I really only get into one about three or four times a year…and usually with four surly kids in tow. So the whole browsing experience isn’t what it once was.
CAT: Do you reread your books after they’re published? If yes, do you find yourself wanting to revise them?
MIRA: I do EVENTUALLY reread my books, but it takes a REALLY long time before I’m ready. I usually spend about a week revving myself up to finally do it. I’m just terrified of what I find! Then after all that angst, I fall back into love with characters and story I haven’t seen in all too long. When I start thinking about the things I woulda, coulda, shoulda done differently, I try VERY hard to step back and let it go. Then I make a mental note to check that manuscript I’m subbing just ONE MORE TIME, lol!
CAT: Favorite form of exercise?
MIRA: I walk on the treadmill (so I can read while I do it, lol) and I LOVE yoga. It’s a workout that stretches and tones and can be modified to whatever fitness level you happen to fall in. And it doesn’t require the coordination of something like step aerobics which usually leaves me humiliated and more often than not sporting some injury I didn’t have before I started the class.
CAT: Which character did you think of first?
MIRA: Definitely Claire. I loved the idea of a heroine so desperate for emotionally distance from the hero, that she puts herself on another continent to get it! The opening line for the book is actually the “idea seed” I started with on this one. I just kept playing with it, until I had Claire. Separated from her husband Ryan for six years, she’s filed for divorce—ready to put the heartbreak of her past and the life she can never have behind her. Only bringing Ryan back into her life—even just to hash out their settlement—means coming face to face with a few things that haven’t changed at all.
THE S BEFORE EX is available through the RIVA line in the UK now (Link: http://www.millsandboon.co.uk/books/Riva/The-S-Before-Ex.htm ) and will be released as a Presents Extra in October.
Mira is giving away one copy of the UK edition of THE S BEFORE EX (US residents only).