Q: Tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.
A: I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a minor in Statistics from The College of New Jersey, but wish I would have been an Architect or studied Fashion or Interior Design. I’m the author of Abby’s Adventures, a children’s series written to promote self-esteem, which earned recognition from Jess Weiner and the Dove Real Beauty Campaign. Currently, I’m working on the finishing touches of Book Three in the McKenna Series and have three finished books waiting in the wings! I the recipient of the prestigious Award for Excellence in Writing given to me by Mrs. Uble, in second grade. (It still counts) My very patient husband Joe and I live in a small town in New Jersey thirty minutes North of Philadelphia and an hour from my beloved Jersey Shore. We run a bed and breakfast of sorts, our home has a revolving door with three adult children, and one sweet grandson dropping in, some for extended stays. On any given day you can find me fulfilling my interior design dreams by rearranging furniture at the expense of my husband’s bum. (After thirty years together, he should know to look before he sits.)
Q: What inspired you to author this book?
A: Christmas Under Construction is the second book in the McKenna Sisters Series, which is of course, inspired in part by my love of Christmas and all it represents. Megan McKenna’s story is the next in the series and picks up where Molly’s story, Mistletoe, Mayhem & Mr. Right leaves off, with the beginning Christmas Village. My inspiration for this story is to share the messy, chaotic, yet wonderful side of second chances. I try to create characters that are instantly identifiable, who book’s end will feel like old friends. Megan’s story is created to reach all the women who have struggled with the arduous task of rebuilding their life, only to realize their own strength and ultimately learn that happily ever after starts with you. I hope to inspire women to believe in themselves, through this heartwarming romance filled with a sleigh full of laughs.
Q: Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?
A: This cover was designed to transcend the reader into the setting of the book, Mistletoe Lodge at Christmas. I want my readers to look at the cover and feel the magic of the season. Another important role of this cover is to show the complicated yet humorous side of romance by including Megan’s two daughters and a pug who wears pearls.
Q: Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a writer?
A: The most significant person to influence my writing has been my mother, Lee Duffy. When I was a child, she would always make up stories to tell me before bed each night. I looked forward to the places we’d visit in our imagination and continued the tradition with my kids. One night when I couldn’t sleep because my mind was in worry mode, I decided to try my mom’s method on myself. I started thinking up stories to help me fall asleep. Low and behold my first book was born. The tradition has continued ever since. The person I am today is an unusual mix of three influential people. These three people have influenced me intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. The first person is Albert Einstein, for fostering my creativity and challenging me intellectually, with his unapologetic quest for answers, the ability to never lose the childlike wonder of asking questions, along with his ferocious love of creativity. “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” Albert Einstein The second person who has had an influence on my views is Audrey Hepburn. She has influenced my decisions on both poise and style, but for me Audrey taught me a very important life lesson. Her advice on true beauty was, “For beautiful eyes look for the good in others, for beautiful lips speak in words of kindness and for poise walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.” In a world where such heavy emphasis is placed on physical appearance, I’ve embraced her words and always look for people’s true beauty on the inside. The third person is Mother Theresa, and her quote which I strive to live by, “Spread love wherever you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” Regardless of your faith or beliefs, Mother Theresa understood the one principle that connects us all is that the power of kindness and the importance of love can change the world.
Q: What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?
A: The struggles and obstacles a writer must overcome are endless. However, for me the struggle has never been in the writing process itself. Creating characters and developing storylines invigorates me. It’s one of my greatest joys. The one thing I struggle with is pulling myself away from my writing to handle the business side of writing a book. When I first sat down at my computer years ago to start writing, I had no idea that so many decisions were needed to make sure your book finds its way to the right audience. However, this struggle has given me the opportunity to work with people from all over the world.
Q: Tell your readers about your book.
A: Megan McKenna’s life has been turned upside down since the day her husband left her for a younger woman, taking with him her country club lifestyle and her confidence. Megan finds herself living in the old Mistletoe Lodge, the final project for the Christmas Village. She agrees to tackle the interior design of the lodge. However, unbeknownst to her, her younger sister Molly has hired Stone Reynolds, a handsome rugged handyman to help with the renovation. Megan is modern luxe, white fur, and chandeliers. Stone is rustic elements, vintage accents, and weathered wood. With two dueling daughters, two meddling sisters, a dating pool thinner than a piece of tinsel and one impossible yet undeniably sexy contractor, Megan realizes rebuilding her life has proven more difficult than binge eating fruitcake. Megan and Stone are as different as their design styles, however, for some reason against their better judgment, they keep ending up in each other’s arms. Will they realize that second chances aren’t just for lodges? Christmas Under Construction is filled with the joy of the season, the love of family and the promise of second chances. This heartwarming, holiday romance brings readers along for one very merry ride with the McKenna sisters as they build a magical Christmas Village.
Q: Who is your target audience, and why?
A: My target audience consists of fans of heartwarming romantic comedies. The genre is referred to as Women’s Contemporary Romance, or Chic Lit. My reader enjoys strong character voices, feel good endings and laugh out loud stories filled with hope and delightfully imperfect romance.
Q: What do you consider your greatest success in life?
A: Besides raising my three wonderful children, the one thing I pride myself on is spreading kindness and joy to as many people as I can. I consider my writing to be a platform for me to provide laughter, hope and inspiration to brighten my reader’s world. My greatest success in life would be to bring happiness to others through my writing.
Q: What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?
A: One thing that sets me apart from other authors is that all my books are inspired by a music playlist that runs in my head. The songs set the mood for the characters and the interactions they will encounter. For each book I make a sharable Spotify play list for my readers to download and listen so they feel like they are actually in the story.Click the list under each book to follow each book’s unique Spotify list and join in the fun.