Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Author Interview with Monica McCarty + Giveaway!

What do you get when you mix a legal career, a baseball career, motherhood, and a love of history with a voracious reader? In my case, a Historical Romance Author.

Like most writers, I’ve always loved to read. Growing up in California there was always plenty to do outside, but all too often I could be found inside curled up with a book (or two or three). I started with the usual fare: The Little House on the Prairie series, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, Watership Down, Nancy Drew, and everything by Judy Blume. Once I cleared off my bookshelf, I started swiping books from my mom. Some, like Sidney Sheldon’s The Other Side of Midnight, probably weren’t the most appropriate choice for a pre-adolescent—although they were definitely illuminating. I can still remember the look of abject horror on my mom’s Catholic-girl-face when I asked her what a virgin was. After that rather brief conversation, she paid a little closer attention to what had disappeared off her book shelf, and steered me in the direction of Harlequin and Barbara Cartland romances. I was hooked. I quickly read through the inventory of the local library and was soon buying bags of romances at garage sales.

In high school, with the encouragement of my father (who I think was a little concerned about the steady diet of romances), I read over eighty of the Franklin Library’s One Hundred Greatest Books ever written—including Tolstoy, Confucius, Plato, and the entire works of Shakespeare. Some of them were tough going for a teenager, but the experience would prove an invaluable foundation for college. After reading War and Peace, I wasn’t easily intimidated. [...] (To read the rest of Monica's bio, click here!)

Monica's Current Releases:

Where to Find Monica:

TBQ: Hi Monica! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Monica: After swearing that “I would never come back” (picture a dramatic Scarlet O’Hara dirt in the hand “As God is my witness” moment), I live in the same town I grew up in with my husband and two teen/tween kids. Funny how your perspective on things changes when you have children! We live a pretty mundane life but have been fortunate to travel quite a bit as a family. We started traveling with the kids early (my husband played professional baseball when they were young) and definitely caught the bug. The UK is the favorite destination, but I’ve got a wish list of places to see a mile long. Now, if I could just win the lottery . . .

TBQ: Your newest release, The Saint, came out last week (and may I say, once again, I loved it!). Can you tell us a little bit about this book, and why readers are going to love it?

Monica: Thank you so much. I saw your tweet after you read it, and it put a huge smile on my face. As I mentioned, it was the first feedback I’d received at the time, and it’s always nice to hear such a positive reaction. I’m thrilled to say that the reaction has continued. I think readers are responding to the emotion in the story—it’s by far my most emotional yet—as well as to the characters themselves. Readers of my previous books will know that I love writing strong Alpha heroes, and Magnus is no exception. To me he is the quintessential Highlander of the group and pretty much epitomizes everything that I love about Scottish heroes: he’s tough as nails, physically strong, honorable to the bone, but also maybe a little too proud and stubborn. At his core, Magnus is a really decent guy—the kind you would want to take home to the parents and could really see yourself married to. Helen is what I think of as a girl before her time. She has modern yearnings to break away from the conventional life expected of her that probably would have been odd and out of place in medieval Scotland, which is how she feels. I love her journey of self-discovery and I hope readers do, too.

TBQ: Do you have a favorite Highland Guard hero? (Mine, so far at least, has to be Saint). Why?

Monica: Although I’m tempted, I’ll refrain from the “it’s like picking a favorite child” response (even if it’s true!). I love them all for different reasons, and if it were possible I’d put them on a rotation and die a happy woman, LOL. But if I had to pick, it would probably be Magnus since he’s my most recent and still fresh in my heart.

TBQ: I know we all hate this question, author and reader alike. :) But I have to ask: What are a few of your favorite books and/or authors?

Monica: I actually love this question—it’s so easy! I’m a huge fan of Julie Garwood. Three of her old historicals are among my all time faves (Ransom, The Bride, The Wedding). I recently discovered Karen Robards and devoured her backlist on my kindle in record time. My favorite is old school awesomeness: Forbidden Love. And then there is Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Not sure I have enough superlatives for her. My faves are any of the Chicago Stars books, but if you forced me to pick TWO (I couldn’t pick one) they would be Heaven, Texas and Nobody’s Baby but Mine. 

TBQ: Have you ever fallen for a hero, either from one of your books or from another author? If so, who is he and what drew you to him?

Monica: Definitely! Falling for the hero is part of the fun for me. My favorite all time hero is probably Nick Ward from Shannon McKenna’s Extreme Danger. He’s incredibly hot (tall, dark and muscular…’nough said), uber sexy, Alpha in every way, and yet when it comes to the heroine he’s completely undone. Love that.

TBQ: What's next-- Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming releases or WIP?

Monica: Next up for the Highland Guard is The Recruit. It will be released October 30th, 2012. You can read an excerpt from it in The Saint—it will also be up on my website soon. The hero is Kenneth Sutherland, the brother of the heroine in The Saint. I don’t want to say too much about it, but according to my critique partner Jami Alden (the only person other than my editor who’s read it!), he’s my sexiest hero yet.

Which would you rather have an affair with: a sexy highlander OR a devilishly handsome English lord?
Sexy Highlander (but of course!)

Hot summer days OR cold winter nights?
Cold winter nights

Where would your dream house be: in the city, where all the action is OR nestled in the mountain where you can enjoy the quiet and the wilderness?
Right now the city. Maybe when I’m older I’ll want a little more quiet.

If you could live in any time period, past or future, which one would it be?
I’d love to go back to some of the time periods I’ve written about (14th C. and 17th C. Scotland) to see how different reality is from the world I’ve created in my head. But I wouldn’t want to stay there for long!

Cover Lover OR Blurb Fan?
Cover first, then blurb.

Steamy Novella OR Sweet Novel (aka, Quickie or Slow Build Up)?
Slow build.

And finally, tell us 3 unique/wacky/fun things about yourself:

Only three? I have tons of wacky things about me, LOL.
(1) I don’t like casseroles.
(2) I quote from movies all the time (Caddyshack is a favorite).
(3) I’ve been to dozens of rock concerts, from the Grateful Dead to Metallica. I think I saw U2s Joshua Tree tour six times.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Monica, and please know that you are welcome back anytime! Do you have any questions for our readers, something to spark a good discussion? :)

Thanks so much for having me! Not surprisingly—since the Highland Guard is a mix of the two of them—my two favorite subgenres in Romance are historical and military/special ops. What is your favorite subgenre? How much reading do you do outside of it?

The Saint by Monica McCarty
Publisher: Ballantine Books (March 27, 2012)
Series: The Highland Guards, 5
Genre: Historical Romance
Summary (
Robert the Bruce consolidates lands and loyalty in a bold war for Scotland’s independence, as his elite team of warriors, the Highland Guard, fight for king, country . . . and love.

Magnus MacKay is the ultimate Highlander: tough, proud, able to master any terrain and to best his enemies. Called “the Saint” for his refusal to discuss women, as well as for his cool and steady leadership, Magnus hides a painful truth. It isn’t virtue or piety that keeps him silent, but a wound of love and loss that cuts so deep he cannot bear to speak of it. But when the woman who refused him is betrothed to his friend and fellow Guardsman, Magnus is tested by love’s battle cry.

A wild and innocent beauty, Helen chose family duty over her desire for Magnus. Now the anger in his eyes mirrors the tormented regret in her heart. But as deadly subterfuge stalks the King and his Guard, Helen vows to right her youthful mistakes with a woman’s determined spirit. Still, Magnus harbors secrets and an iron will not to weaken to temptation—or heartache—again. But as danger looms, it’s the kiss not of a saint, but of a sinner, that can save them.

Where to Buy*:
More Info:

Read my review of Saint -- I absolutely loved this book!



Because I loved The Saint so much, I'm going to give one lucky commenter a copy! Follow the "How to Enter" rules below, fill out the Rafflecopter, leave a comment and you may be the winner!

Winner will get to choose one of the following formats: NOOK, Kindle OR print. I will be ordering the book after the winner has choosen.


How to Enter:
Mandatory: You must leave a comment on this post answering Monica's question!
Mandatory: You must fill out the Rafflecopter's first option (all other options are for extra entries and therefore are not required).

^A note on email addresses: Your email address must be visible to be entered into this contest. Why? This makes it easy for me to contact the winner and therefore get the prize out! Visible means: a) Email is left in your comment (ninja style is perfectly fine); b) Email is visible on your Blogger profile (or other such website--Twitter, Facebook, Blog, etc); or c) Email is used to log-in and fill out the Rafflecopter.

Monica's Question:
What is your favorite subgenre? How much reading do you do outside of it?

Giveaway Open April 4th through April 10th! I will pick a winner (via Rafflecopter) and announce who it is on April 12th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks so much stopping by today, Monica--I know you've been extremely busy, and I appreciate that you took the time to stop by! :)

I'll kick off the discussion: My favorite subgenre... anything Highlanders. It can be a historical or a contemporary, paranormal or time travel--as long as it has a sexy Highlander in it, I'm all for it! :) I read outside of this "subgenre" (Hey, that's what I'm calling it, okay? lol)  quiet often, obviously, but I'll always return to my Highlanders. What about you?


Until Next Time,
*TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!


Unknown said...

I just finished the book, myself, and it's wonderful! Ms McCarty is one of my favorite historicals authors and her newest book just continues the trend. Can't wait for Kenneth's!

Gail Nichols said...

I just love Monica McCarty's highlanders. She is a great author.

June M. said...

I don't really have a favorite, it tends to change depending on my mood at the time. I love historicals, paranormals, suspense, and so much more. I do love Monica's books. The only one I don't have is the new one, lol. Thanks so much for the chance to win a copy of it.

Monica McCarty said...

Thanks for having me today, TBQ. Thanks for the lovely comments you guys, so glad you've enjoyed the books so far. I'm like you, June. My favorite depends on my mood. I was on a big suspense kick a while back. I tend not to read historicals as much when I'm writing.

The_Book_Queen said...

:) I'm glad that you enjoyed Saint's book, too. I have to agree 100% with you, Monica's got series talent, and she just keeps getting better and better!

Thanks for stopping by!

The_Book_Queen said...

No one writes yummy Highlanders quiet like Monica! :)


The_Book_Queen said...

*Nods* Mood reading--I think we can all relate to that. There are times when one genre sounds great, and other times when it just sounds...meh. Variety is the spice of life though! :)

Good luck--maybe you'll have it in your hands sooner than you think! :)


The_Book_Queen said...

Oh, no--Thank YOU! :)

TBQ's Book Palace

The_Book_Queen said...

Great interview! I also love to read Highlander books. I also love to read time-travel, historical, paranormal and suspense romance novels. Can't wait to read The Saint!


^Blogger isn't being very nice to Julie--her comments wouldn't post, so I'm posting it for her. Thanks for stopping by, Julie!


Monica McCarty said...

Sorry to hear there was a problem with the commenting, Juile, but glad you made it via TBQ! I'm a big time travel fan as well. My love of Scotland was partially started by Outlander! Hope you enjoy :)

lorimeehan said...

That was a fun interview. My subgenre in romance is historical and paranormal. I probably read more historical. I'm picky with my paranormal authors. I love your book Monica.

Maggie said...

Great interview and thank you for the books you have written. My subgenre is medieval historical and I read English and Scottish and I am very picky about the authors/books. I have enjoyed reading all of your books and the Highland Guard series is the best. I'm reading the Saint very slow to enjoy it.

email address -

The_Book_Queen said...

Thanks so much for stopping by, Maggie! :)

I'm a bit picky when it comes to medievals as well--they're not my favorite time period, but when I find a good one? Oh, I'm all for it! English or Scottish, it doesn't matter (though Scotland based ones almost always win for me).


Marie R. said...

Thank you for giving us such a great interview with Monica. I really enjoyed the speed round! Monica seems like such a down-to-earth person, someone you would love to have as your friend. She responds to her fans as if she knows us personally and that means a lot to us.

I love reading Historical Romances, especially if they are based in Scotland. Would love to be able to visit Scotland one day.

Thanks again!

Marie R.

The_Book_Queen said...

Two great genres---those are the first two that I fell for. Contemporary? That came much later, and it's lower down on my "favorite" list.


The_Book_Queen said...

Monica is truly one of kind, isn't she? I'm glad that I'm not the only one who can see it! It's great when an author still interacts with their readers, rather than just writing a book and hoping we buy it! :)

Oh, I think a road trip is in order! Lol. Or flight trip, I guess? My dream is to visit Scotland as well!


Monica McCarty said...

Wow, my ears are burning! Thank you guys for the wonderful compliments, so glad you've enjoyed the books. I must admit, I'm picky about my medievals, too--wonder what it is about the subgenre that makes it that way for so many readers? I think a trip to Scotland is definitely on order! Thanks again to TBQ for having me.