Emily McKay is a Rita nominee and a Romantic Times Life Time Achievement nominee. She’s written for Harlequin Temptation, Mills & Boon and Silhouette Desire. Her books have been translated into thirteen languages and there are over half a million copies of her books in print. She's such a total geek that she’ll talk about books with just about anytime anyone stands still long enough to listen. Her books have been described as “complex and surprising” by Romantic Times and “lighter than air” by All About Romance. Her current books is a July Harlequin Desire release, The Tycoon’s Temporary Baby. She also co-writes young adult as Ivy Adams. The International Kissing Club will be out in January 2012.
The Tycoon's Temporary Baby
To keep custody of her baby niece, Wendy Leland needs a rich, successful husband—fast. But when Wendy's very rich, very successful, very sexy boss offers himself as temporary husband, she's reluctant. In such close quarters, reining in her crush will be tough—and necessary. Because tightly controlled tycoon Jonathon Bagdon can only be proposing for one reason: to stop his star assistant from leaving. But when he plays the role of newlywed with passion, it becomes crystal clear that going from boardroom to bedroom will change both their bottom lines.
Jonathon Bagdon just wanted his assistant to come home, damn it. Wendy Leland had left seven days ago to attend a family funeral. In the time she’d been gone, his whole company had started falling apart. A major deal she’d been finessing had fallen through. He’d missed an important deadline because the first temp had erased his online calendar. The second temp had accidentally sent R&D’s latest prototype to Beijing instead of Bangalore. The head of HR had threatened to quit twice. And no fewer than five women had run out of his office in tears.
As if all of that wasn’t bad enough, the fourth temp had deep-fried the coffee maker. So he hadn’t had a decent cup of coffee in three days. All in all, this was not his best moment.
Was it really too much to ask that at this particular time— when both of his business partners were out of town and when he was putting the finishing touches on the proposal for a crucial contract—that his assistant just come home?
Jonathon stared into his mug of instant coffee. contemplating whether he could ask Jeanell—the head of HR—to go out and buy a coffee maker, or if that would send her over the edge. Not that Jeanell was at the office yet. Most of the staff wandered in sometime around nine. It was barely seven.
Yes, he could have just gone out to buy himself a cup o’ joe—or better yet, a new coffee maker—but with one deadline after another piling up, he just didn’t have time for this crap. If Wendy had been here, a new coffee maker would have magically appeared. The same way the deal with Olson Inc. would have gone through without a hitch. When Wendy was here, things just worked. How was it that in the short five years she’d been the executive assistant here she’d become as crucial to the running of the company as he himself was?
Hell. if this past week was any indication, she was actually more important than he was. A sobering thought for a man who’d helped to build an empire out of nothing.
He knew only one thing, when Wendy did get back, he was going to do his damnedest to make sure she never left again.
Wendy Leland crept into the executive office of FMJ headquarters a little after seven. The motion sensor brought the lights up as she entered and she reached down to extend the canopy on the infant car seat she carried. Peyton, the tiny baby inside, frowned but remained asleep. She made a soft gurgling sound as Wendy lowered the car seat to a darkened corner behind her desk.
She rocked the seat gently until Peyton stilled, then Wendy dropped into her own swivel chair. Swallowing past the knot of dread in her throat. Wendy studied the office.
For five years, this had been the seat from which she’d surveyed her domain. She’d served as executive assistant for the three men who ran FMJ: Ford Langley. Matt Ballard and Jonathon Bagdon.
Her five years of Ivy League education made her perhaps a tad over-educated for the job. Or maybe not, since she hadn’t procured an actual degree in any of her seven majors. Her family still thought she was wasting her talents. But the work was challenging and varied. She’d loved every minute of it. Nothing could have convinced her to leave FMJ.
Nothing, except the little bundle of joy asleep in the car seat.
When she’d left Palo Alto for Texas to attend her cousin Bitsy’s funeral, she’d had no idea what awaited her. From the moment her mother called her to tell her that Bitsy had died in a motorcycle crash, the week had been one shock after another. She hadn’t even known that Bitsy had a child. No one in the family had. Yet, now here Wendy was, guardian to an orphaned four-month-old baby. And gearing up for a custody battle of epic proportions. Peyton Morgan might as well have been dipped in gold the way the family was fighting over her. If Wendy wanted any chance of winning, she’d have to do the one thing she’d sworn she’d never do: move back to Texas. And that meant resigning from FMJ.
Only Bitsy could create this many problems from the grave.
CAT: How often to you get lost in a story?
EMILY: My own or someone else’s? I almost never “get lost” in my own books as I’m writing them. I’m not the kind of writer who sits down at the computer and time flies. I never look up four hours after sitting down and realize I’ve written twenty pages. I’m the kind who plunges in, types like mad, and looks up to realize I have written three sentences.
However, I love getting lost in other people’s books. It doesn’t happen very often these days (it’s just harder when you’re a writer). For that reason, when I find a book I really love, I try to clear out my schedule for a day or so and just sink into the story. It’s only once or twice a year I find a book so good that I don’t want to do anything but read it. When that happens, I indulge myself completely.
CAT: What’s your favorite kind of story to get lost in?
EMILY: Would it be too bratty to say “A good one.”?
I can get lost in all kinds of books. Of course, I love romance (both historical and contemporary). I recently read Grace Burrows’ The Heir and totally got lost in that. This year I also reread Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Even though I’d read it when it came out, it sucked me in all over again and I didn’t want to do anything else but read for days. Other books I’ve gotten in lost in recently are When You Reach Me, a middle grade by Rebecca Stead; Holes, the modern middle grade classic by Louis Sachar, and My Invisible Boyfriend; a YA by Susie Day.
CAT: What’s the first book you remember reading?
EMILY: I remember my mom reading The Hobbit to me when I was in about second grade. Not long after that, I picked up The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. That’s the first novel I remember reading myself. It was about that same time I knew I wanted to be a writer when I grew up.
CAT: What’s your favorite cartoon character?
EMILY: I’m a big fan of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from the early nineties. Raphael was my favorite.
CAT: Is there a playlist you’d recommend for reading your latest release?
EMILY: I rarely have a whole playlist. Usually at some point in a book, I pick a single song that is the song for the book. For my latest release, The Tycoon’s Temporary Baby, the song was “Within Your Reach” by the Replacements, which is from the soundtrack from Say Anything. The song just seemed to capture the emotional yearning that both the characters felt, but never said aloud. I just checked on iTunes, and I played that song 86 times while writing the book. (Who knew iTunes even kept track of that kind of thing?)
CAT: Who’s your favorite villain?
EMILY: Lord Voldemort is a really great answer to this question (I’m going to see the latest movie this afternoon, so I have Harry Potter brain). He’s so truly evil. But I don’t think he’s my favorite. We never really understand him. Intellectually, yes, maybe, but not emotionally.
I villain that I really love is Captain Barbossa from Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. (For the record, I didn’t like the second movie and haven’t seen any of the others. So for me, it’s all about the first.) He’s evil and diabolical, but I nearly cried at the end of the movie when that apple rolled out of his hand. Even though he was the villain, I cared enough about him that I wanted him to get a bite of the apple.
CAT: Is writing or story-telling easier for you?
EMILY: I’m definitely a story-teller rather than a writer. My family has a very strong tradition of oral story-telling. I grew up listening to the stories told around the table. Mostly stories about family and the crazy things different people had done. A lot of stories about my grandfather, from when he was on the police force. Stories from when my uncle served in WWII. This oral tradition is just part of my genetic makeup. It’s part of my soul. Now, learning how to translate those oral stories into publishable fiction, that was the tricky part....
CAT: If you could interview one person (and it doesn’t have to be a writer) who would it be?
EMILY: Probably J.K. Rowling. I’d love to just ... well, bask in her greatness first of all. And then pick her brain. I’d love to know when she came up with the different elements of story. I’d love to know if she always had a plan for how the Malfoys would turn out. When did she know the major elements of the Snape/Lily/James storyline. Things like that.
If J.K. Rowling wasn’t available, I’d probably pick Jim Butcher or Elizabeth Peters, my two other favorite writers. They both also have long running mystery series and I’d love to pick their brains. As for someone who isn’t a writer ... I can’t imagine. If I’m going to go all crazy fan girl, it’s going to be with a writer.
CAT: What do you do to unwind and relax?
EMILY: I bake. Cooking works too, but for a bone-deep chill, baking rules. I actually get antsy if I don’t bake often enough. I think I’m addicted to it.
It’s funny, ‘cause my sister says the same thing. I can go maybe three or four weeks without baking, but that’s it. I try not to think too deeply about my baking addiction. I’m afraid it’s a window to my deeply troubled psychosis. Or maybe just a love of cookies.
CAT: Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?
EMILY: I try not to read all of them or the really horrible ones. That can be just crushing.
And it seems like people are far more likely to give bad reviews than good ones. When I get a good review, I try to really cherish it. I find myself writing more reviews myself these days. If I read something and love it, I make sure I write a great review.
CAT: What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
EMILY: I think the greatest gifts that writing has given me aren’t things I knew I wanted. Yes, being a published author is a dream come true. It’s an incredible blessing to be able to tell stories for a living, but the real gift is the writers and fans I know as a result of being in this business. Writing has given me the best friends I’ve ever had. I feel just incredibly lucky to be in this business and to know all these great people.
CAT: Tea or Coffee? And how do you take it?
EMILY: Hot coffee in the morning, iced tea the rest of the time. As far as I’m concerned, good coffee is ambrosia from the gods. I was on vacation recently somewhere where the coffee wasn’t any good. I think I slept twelve hours a day while I was there. Apparently I can barely function without my morning cuppa joe.
CAT’S GOTTA ASK
If you were a t-shirt, what color would you be and why?
EMILY’S GOTTA ANSWER
I would probably be my Peace, Love, & Tacos T-shirt that I’ve had since college (maybe since high school). It’s worn and comfy. I’m not particularly glamorous, but I’m comfortable with myself. <g>
EMILY’S QUESTION FOR HER FANS:
If you’re a fan of category romance, what is your favorite category hook? (ie. Secret baby, woman in jeopardy, etc?)