What was your first job? Did you like or dislike it? Why?
My first job was as a clerk/cashier at our neighborhood drugstore. (Although I had worked as a babysitter prior to this, I don’t count that as a “job.”) I worked after school evenings and weekends, and yes, I liked it. I was 15 and it was such a grown-up thing to do, and I got to experiment with make-up and perfumes, plus, I needed the money. Funny story: One evening a thirty-ish man came in asking for prophylactics. I stared blankly. “Condoms?” he asked. Still no clue. Finally, he said “rubbers.” Ohhhh. Thinking about 15-year-old me, I still laugh.
2.) Do you have a pet peeve? If so what is it?
Probably rudeness, especially if it’s directed at someone who can’t (or isn’t allowed to) speak up, like a supervisor to a subordinate, or restaurant customer to waitstaff.
3.) Would you describe your style as shabby chic, timeless elegance, eclectic, country or ____?
Eclectic. My home is a ranch, so the outside is southwestern with stucco, stone, and tile. Inside is a tropical theme with bamboo and wicker chairs, and cushions with Tony Bahama prints, woven window shades, and ceiling fans that look as if I plucked them from the plantation house in Out of Africa. In the same room, there is also a huge stone fireplace taking up one wall. I have British wainscoting in several rooms, along with wallpaper, and my bedroom has a beautiful crystal chandelier. And lots of art. It may sound like a muddle, but it blends.
4.) Tell me about your book, Spooning Daisy, and where you got your inspiration for it?
Spooning Daisy is about 30-ish chef, Daisy Moon, who must start her life over again after her fiancé of 10 years dumps her. Since her fiancé is also her boss, she loses her job as well. In a moment of desperation, she accepts a job at Wild Man Lodge in Otter
Bite, Alaska. The fun begins when the owner turns out to be someone she’d sent to the emergency room after a date gone wrong.
The inspiration came from two places. The opening scenes of Daisy at her garage sale came from personal experience when I had a garage sale prior to moving from Alaska to Arizona. The fictional village of Otter Bite is inspired by the real village of Seldovia on the shores of Kachemak Bay where, for 20 years, I had a summer home. (I was living and working in Anchorage at the time.)
5.) Who is your role model? Why?
Nature is my role model, and the many animals who simply keep going in spite of man’s constant assault on their lives and habitat. I’m fortunate to live in close quarters with animals (in Alaska, as well) and to observe how they live. We all get teary-eyed at Born Free, and the majestic lion, but for true courage, nothing beats the bunny. At the bottom of the food chain, with virtually no defenses, he goes into the world at 4 weeks old. I love the exotic animals that often capture our attention and imagination. But in our own backyards, the ordinary is extraordinary. I should be so courageous as the bunny, as tenacious as the ant, as cheerful as the chipmunk, intuitive as the horse, clever as the coyote, and as undaunted as the snake.
6.) How much of your book is realistic?
Hmmm. Everything happening in the story is certainly possible—I don’t think there’s a scene where a reader would say “that could never happen.” But there may be a stretch now and again in probability. I liken Spooning Daisy to a sitcom—Modern Family, The Middle, Big Bang Theory, and Life in Pieces. The characters in these shows get into situations that I would probably not get into, yet their predicaments are plausible for the characters. So, I would say, the book is realistic relative to the characters. And certainly, the setting is realistic as it’s based on an actual location.
7.) What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I want to continue writing romcom set in Otter Bite. I’ve just finished the second book in the series, Embracing Felicity. I also want to write more serious women’s fiction inspired by my Arizona ranch with lots of wonderful animal characters.
8.) Share one fact about yourself that would surprise people.
I humanely relocate rattlesnakes—although people who know me wouldn’t be surprised. I use a loop and pole to gently move rattlesnakes who occasionally settle in inconvenient places, like next to my deck slider. I’ve also moved them out of my hay barn. But generally, I just let them be.
Thank you for this interview and for a few questions I’ve never been asked before. And thank you for hosting Spooning Daisy.
by Maggie McConnell
GENRE: contemporary romance (romantic comedy)
Her mango chutney is exquisite; her blueberry sauce to die for. But Chef de Cuisine Daisy Moon is a woman without a kitchen after a "bit of trouble" at her last job. Now blacklisted from Seattle to San Francisco, Daisy's sole job offer is from Wild Man Lodge in Otter Bite, Alaska, where the end of the road is just her beginning.
"I had apple strudel. I never have apple strudel. It's not my usual."
"You came here to tell me you had apple strudel?"
"The thing is...I liked it. For a change, I mean. Once. Not every day, of course."
"The truth is..." He stepped toward her. "The truth is...I feel bad about giving you such a hard time at breakfast."
"Ohhhh. This is an apology."
"No, absolutely not." Max retracted the step he'd just taken. "This is absolutely NOT an apology."
Daisy huffed. Normally, she'd take great satisfaction in Max's guilt and take equal pleasure in the banter that would surely follow. However, she was a woman on a mission, and she didn't have the time, not with Otter Bite hanging by a manila envelope. "Fine. Thank you for coming here NOT to apologize and for that apple strudel thing. And--" She momentarily softened. "--the money. But I just don't have the time for whatever this is."
Once again he stepped toward her. "You're making this extremely difficult."
"This? This what? What am I making--"
"This." The word melted into her mouth.
The two hundreds floated from her hand to the floor. Then, her arms wrapped Max's neck, his body pressed hers, and Daisy was lost in a kiss she never expected to own.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Golden Heart nominee Maggie McConnell spent her childhood overseas as the daughter of US diplomats. Attending college in Illinois, she earned a BA in Art and an MBA while working at the local humane shelter. At 26, she packed her dog and cat into a Ford truck and drove the Alcan Highway to Alaska, where she spent 23 years exploring The Last Frontier in a single-engine Cessna. A vegan and animal rights advocate, Maggie provides a sanctuary on her Arizona ranch for all creatures great and small, but her immediate family includes dog Molly, cat Sara, horses Quinn and Teena, and an ever-growing dynasty of chipmunks. Every year, like the Gray Whale, Maggie returns to Alaska.
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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE:
Maggie McConnell will be offering 1) Nordstrom "Daisy" vegan leather clutch, 2) Nordstrom turtle pin, or 3) Rebecca Minkoff star pendant/necklace to 3 randomly drawn winners (US only; international winners will receive a $25 Amazon/BN GC).