This year we’re excited to bring out a brand-new contemporary romance series by Magdalen Braden. Here are her answers to all those questions you’ve been burning to ask:
Q: How did you become a romance writer?
The usual way: I read romances almost exclusively in my misspent youth. I wrote my first romance novel (lost now, thankfully) in my late teens, and my second one in my mid-twenties. They were crap, of course, but they were complete and I even submitted them. That demonstrated a level of dedication and ambition I rarely had at that age. (I’m a late-bloomer!)
Q: You’re also a part-owner of Harmony Road Press – why did you decide to indie publish your books?
I write books I personally want to read. I’m hoping that other people find them and enjoy them too. Indie publishing lets me work toward that goal, where traditional publishing would probably pass. (Urban legal romances aren’t in vogue this year.)
Q: What are The Blackjack Quartet books about?
After I graduated law school, I clerked for a federal judge. Fascinating to see what that job is like, particularly as there are strict rules on what sorts of conversations a judge can have with a lawyer appearing in his/her court.
So I thought, What if a new federal judge walked out and fell in love at first sight with a lawyer he’d never met? Fifteen years later, that story—Blackjack & Moonlight—was a finalist in the Romance Writers of America® (RWA) 2012 Golden Heart® contest.
But the judge, Jack “Blackjack” McIntyre, doesn’t live in a vacuum. He’s got twin nieces who are in their mid-twenties, and a former colleague who leaves the Justice Department for private practice. Lots of people to fall in love. As they have Blackjack in common, it’s his quartet!
Q: So they’re something like TV’s The Good Wife, but Philadelphia-based?
I love The Good Wife because the legal solutions are always so clever. My books have a bit less legal intrigue but a guaranteed happy ending! And more sex.
As for Philadelphia, well, I went to law school there, clerked there, worked for two different Center City law firms, and still have friends in the legal community who feed me all the gossip. (Which we mix in with fictional gossip from my fake Philly lawyers. Just as my characters do, you can read all the shocking and funny items at www.PhillyLawLife.com.)
Q: What was it like to be a finalist in RWA’s Golden Heart contest?
It’s like getting selected for a sorority. One day I was a solitary writer, the next day I had 62 fellow finalists. (We’re the Firebirds. www.ghfirebirds.com.) Our support of each other’s careers has been humbling and inspirational. That’s the real prize for being a finalist—having a sense of community and belonging.
Q: Why did you choose a reality TV theme for your first book?
Different things will snag my imagination. In the case of Love in Reality, it was this image of a contestant on a Big Brother-style reality show getting to know the producer who’s hidden behind smoky glass, asking her questions. Once I’d pictured that, everything else was a series of questions? Who is she? Why’s she on a show she didn’t apply to be on? Who’s the producer? Why’s he attracted to a contestant when that’s strictly against the rules? By the time I’d answered those questions and a hundred more, I had a plot.
Q: What’s coming up next in the series?
It starts out being about how the heroine’s mother ruins Meghan’s legal career, forcing her to work as a paralegal. Dan Howard, coming from Blackjack’s office, is thrilled to have such a sharp colleague, regardless of her job title. They get involved, but it’s not smooth sailing. Not even close.