I'm glad you made it to this special event. Help me welcome Donna Marie Rogers and Stacy Joy Netzel, authors of the fabulous Welcome to Redemption series. They promised an interview that will entertain and give us the scoop about certain people in Redemption. Grab a cup coffee, tea, or hot chocolate and find a seat up front. Erin Barnes should be out any minute.
(They also promised a prize for one lucky commenter.)
*Spoiler: If you haven’t read Home Is Where the Heart Is, Book 5, you may want to save this for afterward.
Erin Barnes: “Hi – This is Erin Barnes from Channel 5 news in Green Bay, reporting from Coffee To Chai For in the neighboring town of Redemption. You all know from my book club that I’m a huge fan of romance novels, and today I’m thrilled to welcome New York Times bestselling author, Katelynn Meadows. Fans of Katelynn’s will be surprised to learn Meadows is the pen name for Melinda Spalding, daughter of Spalding Industries CEO Jacob Spalding Sr. So let me start with, do you prefer Katelynn or Melinda?”
Melinda Spalding: “Lindy, actually.” [small smile curves her lips] “It’s been my nickname for as long as I can remember.”
Erin: “Lindy it is. And you’ve been in Wisconsin for how long now?”
Lindy: “Just a few months.”
Erin: “How do you like it here in—”
Erin: [laughs] “I was going to say Redemption, but maybe that answers my question…?”
Lindy: “Mayberry is my affectionate name for Redemption.”
Erin: “Ah—okay. Now, I know you grew up in L.A., so what brought you here to the Midwest?”
Lindy: “Spalding Industries opened a new plant here, and I was in charge of the start-up.” [smiles proudly] “SI provided the area with over five hundred new jobs.”
Erin: “I remember reading about that. How wonderful.” [tilts head thoughtfully] “So your move had nothing to do with your brother?”
Lindy sits silently, clearly uncomfortable with the question.
Erin: [undaunted] “It’s no secret he moved out here to escape the scandal of actress Amanda Ames’ death.”
Lindy: “My brother was cleared of all charges, and I’d prefer to not discuss my family, please.”
Erin: [pauses, gives a quick nod] “I can respect that. Back to Redemption—did you find it difficult to transition to small-town life after having grown up in the big city?”
Lindy: [shrugs one shoulder] “There was a time when I couldn’t imagine living here. Winter snow storms and below zero temperatures?” [playful shudder] “No thank you. But somehow I fell in love with this beautiful town…and everyone in it.”
Erin: “Does the ring on your left hand have anything to do with your change of heart?”
Lindy: [coyly bats her eyelashes] “Let’s just say home is definitely where the heart is.”
Erin: “I certainly can’t argue with that.” [leans forward, intrigued] “So is he here today? Will we get to meet him?”
Lindy: “No, I’m afraid he had to work. He owns and operates DP Tire & Auto, just down the road.”
Erin glances out the window and reels back in surprise at the crowd gathered outside.
Erin: “It seems you have quite the fan base here in Redemption. Suddenly, it feels like The Today Show.”
Lindy: [looks over her shoulder; eyes widen in comical dismay] “Oh, my God…”
Erin: “Sure is an interesting looking crowd.” [leans forward again] “Wait…Is that a pig?
Erin: [surprised laughter] “The animal in that lady’s arms, wearing the plaid sweater.”
Lindy: “Oh, that’s just June and Sweet Pea. She’s a little touched, but sweet.” [with a long suffering sigh, Lindy gets up and pushes opens the coffee shop door, gesturing everyone inside] “Well, let’s go. You all might as well come in.”
Everyone excitedly files in, filling every seat in the small shop.
Charlie Russell: [looks around the coffee shop] “Where the hell is Drew?”
Lindy: [eyes grow suspiciously bright; blinks rapidly] “He had to work.”
Lindy returns to her seat; Charlie scowls and slips out the door.
Erin: “So…I take it these are all friends of yours?”
Lindy: [Lindy nods, affectionately scanning the crowd] “Friends, family, and everything in between.”
The crowd erupts into applause and shout-outs. Lindy grins, but shushes the room.
Erin: “Lindy, readers just love your Magville series, and Moonlit Encounter has been receiving rave reviews. When I posted on my blog about this interview, the number one overwhelming question people asked is: When is your next book coming out?”
Lindy: [smiles into the camera] “My fans are amazingly supportive, I’m so lucky. And grateful. And I’m happy to announce that Moonlit Seduction is scheduled for an October 1st release.”
Erin: “Excellent news! I’m going to pre-order my copy tonight. Okay, the second most asked question: Where do you get the inspiration for your heroes?” [looks around the room] “Maybe that answer is obvious.”
Camera pans the crowd.
Hannah Porter: “Ask her about Sir Andrew Portland!”
Snickers erupt from the peanut gallery.
Carrie Lowell: [cocks a teasing brow at Lindy] “Seriously? Sir Andrew Portland?”
Allie Daniels: “I don’t get it—what’s so funny?”
Erin: “Lindy, would you care to explain?”
Lindy: “No comment.”
The bell above the door rings; Charlie enters dragging a reluctant Drew Porter by the collar of his oil-stained overalls.
Wes Carter: “All hail Sir Andrew Portland!”
Male guffaws and feminine giggles fill the room.
Drew Porter: [jerks free of Charlie’s grip] “Dammit, Charlie, let go!”
Erin: “And who is this?”
Lindy: “That would be my fiancé, Drew Porter.”
Allie: “Oh! Now I get it.” [chuckles self-consciously]
Erin: [looks Drew up and down] “You and me both, sister.”
Rick Wilde: “Good Lord, his ego barely fits through the door as it is. Could you women quit feeding it?”
Allie: “Don’t worry, hon, I only have eyes for you.” [twines her arms through his and smiles up at him]
Carrie: [as she pulls an empty tray from the display case] “Oh, please, spare us.”
Dana McClain: “Yeah. Go eat your lunch at home.”
Raucous laughter ensues; Charlie snuggles up behind Dana.
Max Frazier: “Why? They can eat lunch here.”
Caleb Hunter: [gives the kid’s shoulder a playful nudge] “Not what’s on Allie’s menu.”
Lauren Frazier: “I can’t believe you just said that…he’s only eleven!”
June: [tries to cover Sweet Pea’s eyes and ears] “Oh, my poor baby.”
Mrs. Langhart (of the local book club): “For heavens sake, June, she’s had babies of her own!”
Erin: “I hate to interrupt the fun, but can we please get back on track?”
Lindy: “Yes. Please.” [gives everyone in the room the stink eye]
Erin: [consults her notes] “Several of your readers would like to know where you get your ideas from?”
Lindy: [thinks about it for a moment] “That’s sort of a difficult question. Just about anything can spark an idea. For example, last summer I discovered a beautiful old church on Green Bay’s east side, and it completely captivated me. I took a few pictures, and within a week I’d written a thirty page synopsis for a new series I hope to get started on next year.”
Erin: [perks up] “A new series? Do tell.”
Lindy: “Well, as a little girl I used to watch Little House on the Prairie with my mom, and I always wondered what it would’ve been like to have lived during those times. That old church sparked an idea, and I finally decided to find out for myself by plotting a frontier series set in Northeast Wisconsin in the late 1800s.”
Erin: “I grew up watching Little House myself, so I am definitely looking forward to that. Since you write historicals, the answer to this next question might seem obvious: Do you find all the research tedious, or do you enjoy it?”
Wes: “Hey, shouldn’t that be a question for Sir Andrew Portland?”
Charlie: “Yeah. Because if she finds it tedious, he’s doing something wrong.”
Masculine chuckles overflow the room.
Tara Russell: “Come on you guys, ease up.”
Wes: “Ah, honey, you have to admit it’s pretty funny.”
Drew: [shakes his head] “Morons. Trust me, the lady is perfectly satisfied. Aren’t you, Hot Stuff?”
Lindy: “At the moment, I’m mostly annoyed.” [suddenly looks a little green around the gills and turns to the waitress hovering on the fringe of the crowd.] “Jenny, could you please bring me a Sprite?”
Jenny Adams: “Of course.”
Drew frowns, straightens and moves in closer, careful to stay out of the way of the cameras.
Lindy: “To answer your question, Erin, I do enjoy research. Especially when I can travel to the location I’ve set my books in and get a real feel for the area.”
Erin: “And will your fiancé travel with you now?”
Drew and Lindy eyeball each other.
Lindy: “Obviously, we haven’t talked about it yet.”
Erin clears her throat as she scans her notes. Jenny sets the soft drink on the table with a nervous glance at the camera before quickly moving out of the way.
Erin: “Here’s something I’ve always wondered. Do you set a schedule for writing, or do you—”
Lindy: “I’m sorry…I’m going to need a minute.” [stands, sways on her feet]
Drew: [rushes forward and catches Lindy in his arms] “Are you all right? Is it the baby?”
Lindy stares up at him in stunned, wide-eyed silence.
Erin: “Did you say baby?”
Hannah: “Oh my God, I’m going to be an auntie!”
Chaos ensues as everyone starts chattering at once.
Lindy: “What part of ‘ I’m not ready to tell anyone yet.’ don’t you understand?”
Drew: “I’m sorry, damn it. But you looked like you were about to pass out, and I panicked.”
Lindy: [lays her head against his chest with a long-suffering sigh] “It’s a good thing for you I feel like utter crap or I’d kick your sorry ass right now.”
Carrie and Matt turn to each other in stunned silence; Allie wraps her arms around Rick as they share a bittersweet smile; Wes kisses Tara on the forehead as he holds her tight; June Dolinski’s squeal drowns out Sweet Pea’s; Motor-mouth Marv high-fives Hutch, who then pulls Hannah into a bear hug; Caleb hoists Emma up on his shoulder as Lauren ruffles Max’s hair…
Carrie: [rushes out from behind the counter] “Drinks are on the house!”
Everyone cheers; a couple of smartasses yell, “Norm!” Jenny digs into her apron pocket for pen and pad as orders are called out.
Jacob “Matt” Spalding Jr.: [hollers from behind the counter] “Dammit, woman, I swear you do that just to annoy me.”
Carrie: “She’s your sister, Ebenezer Scrooge, get over it. And let me just remind you, this is my coffee shop. If I want to treat the whole freakin’ town to a coffee or an iced mocha or—”
Carrie’s rant is drowned out by the rest of the crowd.
Erin: [looking a little shell-shocked into the camera] “Needless to say, I have clearly lost all control of this interview. Good night from Redemption and thank you for watching. Don’t forget to tune in next week when I sit down with the Phipples, who claim to own the world’s largest collection of Smiley Meal toys.” [she leans over and taps Jenny on the arm] “l’ll take a Chai, please.”
The ladies promised to return tomorrow with more good stuff!