Friday, February 5, 2010

Interview with Devin McKee

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Devin McKee. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called Dangerous Magic. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

I’m very excited about this new release from Wild Rose Press. The main characters, Riley O’Connor and Laura Marshall, come from two different worlds.

Travel agent Laura is a small town girl living in the big city of Houston, Texas, and she believes in that Mr. Right. Riley is uncertain love exists for him, especially after he cancels his wedding to one of Houston’s most high society catches. It doesn’t help that his ex’s parents happen to be old family friends to his parents. Nor does it help that he is embroiled in dislodging threats against his family’s legacy, RC Oil and Energy.

Then he bumps into Laura, literally, and he begins to believe his luck might have changed. Laura, on the other hand, thinks she has just met the most arrogant jerk in the entire world. She blows him off, but finds it difficult to stop thinking about him. When Riley turns up at the same Mexican resort where Laura and her friends are vacationing, sparks fly. All too soon those sparks turn into embers of passion, rocking their worlds for very different reasons.

But someone is bent on toppling the O’Connor Oil dynasty and this person will use any means possible, including Riley’s new found love, to achieve that goal.

Dangerous Magic is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Originally, it had another name, The Magic of Love, but as I got more into the suspense part of it, I decided I liked Dangerous Magic better. There is also a second book in the works with Riley’s misfit brother and Laura’s best friend, and titled Dangerous Waters, so I thought the two would compliment each other. As far as the magic part, it’s two fold really. The surprise for Laura and Riley finding themselves in love, and the fact that Riley’s grandmother is from the old country, Ireland, and she has passed a special gift to Riley, although he isn’t willing to believe it until the end.

Would you describe your book as a cozy, mystery, suspense, or thriller?

I would describe it as a cozy, romantic suspense.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

Oddly enough, I tend to read more historical romances than contemporary, but find myself drawn to contemporary writing. Maybe it’s because contemporary is what I know in real life. I’m a very observant people watcher and that helps.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

Well, as a former travel agent who lived in Texas for nearly 30 years, I have always found myself interested in oil and ranching industry. I love those cowboys! And you can’t live in Texas without knowing someone in one or both of those fields. I also love Mexico, especially Cancun, so that brought in the resort part. I guess my idea and characters took off from there.

Do you have all the key suspense/mystery elements thought out before you begin writing?

Not really. This storyline sort of evolved. I do have an idea where the book will start and end, but sometimes I surprise myself as I type away at the pages in between. I like that flexibility to take my characters on different rides than expected.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book? What are your favorite research books or sites?

Yes, I spent a lot of time researching oil companies, the oil boom in Texas, talking to people who worked in the field. My niece used to work as a geologist on oil rigs in Wyoming and North Dakota. One time, she came to visit my husband and me when we lived in San Antonio. She took us to a drilling site somewhere near Corpus Christi, Texas. I thought it was one of the most fascination experiences of my life. We wore the hard hats, stood on the platform and watched data spit out of the computer. It might be boring to a lot of people, but not to me. I also got hooked up with my life saver who worked out on an off shore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Since quite a few scenes in the second book are on an off shore rig, his knowledge was invaluable to both this story and the one with Riley’s brother.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

Hmm. That’s hard to say. Riley, of course, because he is incorrigible, but in a fun way. He has that part executive/part cowboy thing going for him. I have said from the beginning, this is the kind of guy I’d want to take home to mom. Laura was a little harder. I had to unpeel the layers to get to the final woman she becomes. It was weird, but Riley was just there. I knew him inside and out, but Laura made me work a little harder to get the right edge. And of course their friends and family were a lot of fun to work on because they are all so unique and fun.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research affect your character development?

Yeah, I’m kind of one of those ‘seat of the pants’ writers. I have ideas where my characters are going, what I want them to do, but I don’t create sheets or charts or post-it notes on my computer screens. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I might wake up, think of something, and write it down before I fall back asleep. I know the charting thing works well for a lot of writers, but to me, I just get bogged down in all of that. I love to just sit and write. If I’m having a bad writing day, sometimes it’s best to walk away for a couple hours and refresh your mind.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Johanna Lindsey was one of the first authors I ever read. A co-worker gave me one of her books in 1990 after the sudden death of my husband. Believe it or not, I never considered myself a reader until then. I haven’t put down books since. After my first Lindsey or two, I was introduced to Nora Roberts, Catherine Coulter and Amanda Quick. I love them all. Their books gave me sanity and comfort when I needed it the most. They all gave me the inspiration to write.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

I’m still trying to figure out the ins and outs of my blogsite and Facebook. I haven’t Twittered yet, but know that’s coming. As my critique partner will tell you, I’m very technically challenged. My local library is very excited about this book. They already have me committed to a book signing sometime in the spring. Also, my RWA group had a Valentine’s tea last year at one of the Toledo, Ohio libraries. I love to do card crafting, so I made these little books with the cover of Dangerous Magic, and inside was my business card, a small blurb about the book, and a mini Hershey’s chocolate. It was fun to make and fun to give out.

What do we have to look forward next?

Right now, Wild Rose Press is considering Dangerous Waters. I’ve almost completed my third book, A Heart’s Second Chance, and I really like where it is going. This is a book I started, put away, dusted off, started again, put away, dusted off and started again. I’ve added some new characters and a bit more suspense, but it is really coming along nicely.

Thanks, Devin!

To celebrate her book release, Devin McKee is offering a free book of Dangerous Magic to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see who won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Check out author’s website at

Buy at, or Barnes and Nobles.


Kim Watters said...

Good morning Devin. Thanks for stopping by today. I'm running a bit slow this morning, but your hot chocolate should be here any minute. I'm also happy to say my internet is working again. I like the oil dynasty twist. My grandmother used to say she once was an oil heiress. Of course the well in Oklahoma had dried up years before and the paper probably had more value but she sure got a kick out of it. Imagine if....okay never mind, I have to go to work. Have fun with us.

devinmckee said...

Kim, I'm delighted to be here. Glad your computer is up and running. This blog site is one of my favs. If anyone wants to ask any questions, I'll be here all day, so come by and have fun!

Rebekah E. said...

Thanks for the wonderful interview. Dangerous magic sounds like a great story.

devinmckee said...

Thanks Rebekah E. It was a fun book to write. Good Luck in the contest!

Sloan Parker said...

Hi Devin. Great interview. I admire "seat of the pants" writers like you. It must be fun to open the document and explore your characters and their story as you write. Dangerous Magic sounds great. Love me a contemporary cowboy with some suspense. Best of luck on the new release!

Connie Phillips said...

Great interview, Devin. Congrats on your release and I can't wait to read it.

Em-Musing said...

Great interview, Devin. Always good to hear their thoughts on writing. Good Luck on the new release

Jennifer said...

Thank you Devin for the interview. It is such an inspiration when authors take time to share with those of us that are just beginning to write a novel.

devinmckee said...

Thanks for stopping by, Sloan, Connie, Em-Musing and Jennifer! Jennifer and Em-Musing, I'm a big believer in giving back what I've soaked up over the past few years from other authors. I sure didn't know the technical side like formatting and such, but I did believe I could write. I soaked up as much as I could until my head hurt, but kept pushing through. That's why my motto is NEVER GIVE UP!! And Sloan, I agree. There's nothing better than a cowboy! Good Luck to all of you in the contest.

Amber Scott said...

Great interview, Devin and Kim! I'm curious, as a pantser, do you ever get taken off in unexpected directions by your characters?

darkangelauthor said...

Sounds like a wonderful read, Devin...congratulations and all the very best with it!


devinmckee said...

Thanks Amber. Yes, I often find that my characters take off in a totally unexpected direction. I kind of like that because it pushes my brain's creativity. If I had everything written down in an outline, I'd feel as if I had to stick to the script. And though, outlining works for a lot of authors, it doesn't for me. The key is finding what works for you. Good luck at the contest.

devinmckee said...

Thanks for the kudos, Linda, and for stopping by. Good luck in the contest.

Estella said...

I enjoyed the interview.
Good luck with your book.

devinmckee said...

Thanks, Estella. Hope you get a chance to read it. Good Luck with the contest.

Jill Kemerer said...

Congratulations on your new release, Devin! Riley sounds yummy!

devinmckee said...

Thanks, Jill. Glad to see you stopped by to take a look. Good Luck on the contest.

devinmckee said...

Thanks everyone for stopping by, and thank you Kim for letting me be a guest author on this terrific blogsite.