Monday, May 21, 2012

TBR welcomes Melissa McClone

TBR: Welcome to TBR, Melissa. Will you share a little bit about yourself?
McClone:  Thanks for having me on TBR. I live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband, three children, dog and lots of cats. I write sweet romances for Harlequin Romance and was nominated for a RITA last year in the Contemporary Series Romance category.

TBR: Tell us about IT STARTED WITH A CRUSH and where it's available
McClone: The book is about a woman who had a crush on her older brother's friend when she was in eighth grade. She's taking care of her nephew while his parents are on military deployment. She needs someone to coach his soccer team and turns to her former crush, who's now a famous soccer star back in town recovering from an injury. The book is available wherever category romances are sold (i.e. online retailers, Walmart, Barnes & Noble, grocery stores.)

TBR: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Lucy Martin's dream of marrying her Prince Charming might have fallen apart, but she's determined to make her soccer-mad nephew's dreams come true. But that means asking her old crush Ryland James, the legendary bad boy of soccer, to coach her nephew's team.

Injured and ordered to polish his tarnished reputation, Ryland's looking for distraction. Coaching might be more involvement than he likes, but with gorgeous Lucy offering cookies as a bribe he can't resist! This soccer superstar might have met his perfect match…if he can convince the once-burnt, twice-wary Lucy to get back in the game.…

TBR: What inspired you to write about the theme?
McClone: I've wanted to do a sports themed romance for a while, but never had a specific story in mind or a sport for that matter. In 2010, my son played on a competitive U-11 team that was coached by a professional soccer player who was with the Portland Timbers. (This was the year before the team joined the MLS.) As soon as I met his coach, ideas about a pro-soccer player hero started flowing. Throughout the season I joked about writing a soccer romance with some of the other moms from the team, but as the ideas percolated an actual story formed in my mind.

TBR: Are you a plotter or pantser?
McClone: I'm a plotter. I use a couple screenplay writing tools (Michael Hauge's Story Mastery and Blake Snyder's Beat Sheet) to help me figure out the plot points and characters. I usually end up with a 12-20 page synopsis from that. After I write the first three chapters of the book, I write the ending, most often from the black moment to the resolution. Then I go back to chapter four and work my way to the end again.

TBR: How do you develop your characters?
McClone: I usually have an idea of the kind of growth/character arc I want a character to have by the time I reach the end. I fill in their personalities using research.

To figure out Ryland, I asked people, including my son's former and current coaches, lots of questions about soccer and being a professional athlete. I read tons of articles about Premier League and World Cup soccer players. I needed Ryland to be a bad boy, but I didn't want him to be a total diva, either. I used the following Nike ad to help me imagine when his life might have like after he left the US and moved to the UK to play soccer when he was only eighteen.

TBR: Did any music inspire your book? Do you have a playlist?
McClone: Each of my books has a specific playlist. I call them book soundtracks. Sometimes it's several songs, other times it's just one. IT STARTED WITH A KISS's soundtrack was Lady Antebellum's Just a Kiss and and David Guetta & Usher's Without You.

TBR: What's next for you?
McClone: My next release is in November. HIS LARKVILLE CINDERELLA is part of an eight book Harlequin Romance continuity called The LARKVILLE LEGACY. The hero in that book is a movie star (a Chris Helmsworth type), the heroine is a costume design intern and the story takes place on a film set. I had a blast researching and writing that one!

TBR: Any other published works?
McClone: I'm currently writing my twenty-fourth story for Harlequin so I have lots of other published works. Two of those are free on-line reads from I have links to them on the booklist page of my website if you want to check them out.

TBR: Where can readers find you on the web?
McClone:  I have a website at where I run a monthly contest on my blog for a $10 gift certificate to either Amazon or BN. I also have a Facebook page at

TBR: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
McClone: What leads you to buy a book from a new-to-you author?

TBR: Readers, Melissa McClone is giving away a $5 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter. She'll pick a winner on Friday, May 25th and announce the winner here. Be sure to leave your email address so Melissa can contact you, should you win.
Thanks for visiting TBR, Melissa. All the best to you.


  1. Welcome to TBR, Melissa!

  2. Thanks Cate! It's good to be here!

  3. Fun interview ladies! It's always a pleasure to get to know authors better and learn about new books for the TBR pile.

  4. Good interview! When looking at a book from an author new to me I most often use the back blurb. If I like the first book I have read then I will check out authors website and look up backlist for any books with subjects that appeal to me.

  5. Great interview! I usually go by recommendations or the blurp on the back of the book. Also check out reviews to see what they say about the book.

    quiltlady110 AT gmail DOT com

  6. I'm a visual person so if the cover attract me and the blurb is enticing...then I'll give the new-to-me author a try. Also word of mouth works as well.

  7. Hi! I've been volunteering at my kids' school and tried to reply via my iPhone but it looks like my posts never went through!

    Thanks for stopping by, Paty! I'm always looking for more to add to my TBR stack too!

    Sounds like you and I are a similar when looking at books, Janet. I too immediately look at the back cover. I've also been enjoying the online excerpts lately. Sometimes I get so hooked I have to buy it right then! Thanks for commenting.

    Interesting about the reviews, Quilt Lady! I've glanced at the amazon ratings if I was on the fence. What's best is when a friend recommends a book then I know I should try it! Thanks for stopping by!

    Word of mouth is my fave way of discovering new-to-me authors, Dru! Given some of my own covers, I tend to rely more on the back cover copy than the front. Appreciate you stopping by!

  8. When it's a new to me author, I really do judge on how well the author makes a personal connection. If her/his online persona is interesting or sociable, I'm likely to take a chance. But if they sound phony or over the top, I won't try them, even if it's a book I might like.

    With so many authors vying for the reader's attention, I can afford to be picky.

  9. Thanks for stopping by Maria! (For those who didn't read the post on my own blog this morning I found out about TBR on her blog!)

    Appreciate your input on new-to-you authors. I've never checked out an author on-line until after I've read his/her book unless there's some amazing/intriguing news I see on Twitter and FB that captures my curiosity. But you're right. Readers can afford to be picky. I think the best course of action is being yourself. After all, I'd think that's what would come through one's writing anyway.

  10. I have many ways I find new authors--recommended by a friend, a review in a magazine or newspaper. Lately if I find a book I am interested in I check out the reviews on my Kindle. But my favorite way is spending an hour or two in a wonderful little bookstore, like Darvill's on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands, WA.

  11. Hi, Melissa! Nice to learn more about you and your current books! Loved the interview. :)

  12. Oh, Amy! I'm dreaming about that bookstore. It sounds absolutely fabulous and charming. I was more used to big box stores, but I must admit I really miss not having a place to stroll through since Borders closed.

    Hi Genene! Thanks. I'm glad you stopped by!

  13. I always give a new author a try if a friend recommends her. Sometimes I come across a new author when I'm doing a reading streak. For example, a month ago I was on a paranormal YA binge. I'd read all the bestsellers and wanted to know who I was missing. That's when the blurb on Barnes and Noble helped. Whenever possible I like to read the first chapter too to see if I like the author's writing style. Of course, I always read a Melissa McClone book. :)

  14. Aw, thanks Maggie! I mentioned above I'm using the excerpts on Amazon a lot more now. I don't have a kindle yet, but I love my Prime! Free shipping! And I agree friend recommendations are something I always follow.

  15. The winner of the $5 Amazon gift card is Dru!

    Here are your random numbers:


    Timestamp: 2012-05-26 03:35:44 UTC

    I know that Dru also posts on my blog so I'll announce it there too. Congrats and I appreciate everyone who commented on my interview! It was great visiting with TBR this week!


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