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Thanks for coming, Kira! Please take a moment and tell us about yourself. What do you do when you're not writing (as your blog says) "fun and sexy romance"?
Enjoying Real Life! We writers spend so much time in our characters' worlds that we need that time with family and friends. I love watching old movies with my hubby and scouring Allrecipes.com for new dishes to whip up in the kitchen. My idea of unwinding is taking a long walk, either outside or on the treadmill, where I can catch up on my reading (thanks to my favorite new toy--my Kindle!) It's also fun to have a Girls' Nite Out with my friends, when we can get together and share girltalk over cheeseburgers and sweet tea. When I've spent time with people I love, with all their positive energy, I feel like I can bring a lot more to the life of my characters.
I've read the excerpt for I Dream of Amy, and it cracked me up! It's not as much a case of mistaken identity as it is a mistaken location. Can you tell us a little about it and how you came up with the idea?
I'm so jazzed that you liked it! To me, romantic comedies are always a lot of fun, whether you're reading them or writing them. Amanda Brindle, the "Amy" in the book, was a heroine that I really liked spending time with. Here's a young woman working in the competitive, high-powered field of advertising, who's being held down by her controlling boss, yet she puts her whole heart and soul into landing a huge account and some recognition for herself. That means she'll roll up her sleeves and burn the midnight oil...or dress up like a genie in a skimpy harem outfit. Whatever it calls for, if it needs getting done, she's the woman to call! Amy, though, is Lucille Ball, Barbara Eden, and Anne Hathaway all rolled into one. So there she is, dressed as the ice cream company's logo--a pretty genie--being delivered to the CEO's door. Only her coworkers mistakenly deliver her to the wrong address, much to the bewilderment of the hero, Sheriff Jonah Vogel.
I'd also like to add that Amy is a voluptuous heroine who really fills out that genie's outfit (and much to Jonah's delight, I'd have to say). She struggles with her weight, and her growth and self-acceptance--seeing herself as Jonah sees her, as a gorgeous and desirable woman--is part of her journey. There's also some kinky fun to their relationship, but I don't want to give away too much!
Who have been your favorite authors over the years?
Wow, there's been a lot! It's hard to pin down. I'd have to say I've loved LaVryle Spencer and Oscar Scott Card, even if one writes romance and the other writes speculative fiction. My reading tastes are about as eclectic as my musical tastes (and I love so many genres of music). Jan Karon is another favorite of mine, because I absolutely love stories about small towns and the interesting characters who fill them.
Ready for a random question? If you could be any Disney character, who would you be?
Oh, that's a great question! I didn't have to think about it very long, either. As a little girl, I literally fell in love with Cinderella--both the Disney version and the one brought to life by the wonderful Leslie Ann Warren. That ageless story about that tender and mistreated girl whose most cherished dream was to be loved, and how that dream, when it comes true, transforms her and her life forever. Cinderella perfectly demonstrates the great power of love. To this day that still moves me, and I believe that elements of that story have found their way into my own work, too. She's definitely the character I'd most easily identify with!
Finally, Ms. Barcelo, would you share a short excerpt of a published work or work in progress?
From I Dream of Amy:
Thanks so much for visiting today, Kira! I wish you a ton of success!Out of the box stepped, of all things, a genie. The only thing more scorching-hot would have been her bursting out of one of those crazy bachelor party cakes. His Coke, his book, his late dinner of a frozen pizza, all that peace and quiet he’d yearned for, that all got shot to hell as those little shoes with the curled-up toes brought her closer to him. Jonah stared at the curvalicious little refugee from a male fantasy, this golden-haired harem girl with her blue chiffon pants, see-through veils and coin-trimmed waist scarf. She stepped right up to him, holding something in the crook of her left arm, and gave a little bow. Up close, he could see she was holding a carton of Mint Chocolate Chip Delight Ice Cream.Her lips parted in a naughty smile. “Don’t you wish you had some…ice cream?”That question, together with her full and rounded bosom nearly popping out of that genie costume top, inspired a couple of very innovative uses for the frosty dessert. Any flavor, he didn’t care. He hadn’t been with a woman in some time, and this one had every nerve ending in his body fired up.He cleared his throat. “Wow….”Jonah could almost tell the very moment reality dawned on that sexy little kitten. He saw her look around, her smile fading, that hint of horror in her eyes.“You’re not Mr. Whitley, are you?” she asked.“Nope.”“Okay. So—so—who are you?”“I’m Jonah Vogel. Sheriff Jonah Vogel.”“Sheriff?” He watched her swallow hard. She was also shivering from the cold. Jonah supposed genie costumes weren’t meant to be worn in impending snowstorms. “Where’s Simon Whitley, the ice cream magnate?”“In his home, I guess.”“In his home? Where’s his home?” That was one flustered little genie.“About half a mile, uh, that way.” Jonah pointed toward the north. “I think your friends dropped you off at the wrong house, Miss…uh…Genie.”“They—no. No!”“Are you cold? Why don’t you come in the house and warm up?”She ignored his offer, instead flinging the ice cream carton into the crate angrily. He was fascinated, watching her pat her sides and the pants’ waistband.“Looking for something?” Jonah asked.“My cell phone. I hope I didn’t leave it in the truck.” Groaning, she slapped her forehead. “Oh, I left it in the truck! ****!”Jonah flinched slightly. Maybe he was old-fashioned, but he’d never gotten completely accustomed to women swearing, especially one as comely as this one.“It’s not a big deal. You can come into the house and call them on my phone.”“I can’t do that, either.”“Why not?”“Because Bradley’s number was programmed into my phone. I don’t know it by heart. I know my boss’ by heart.”“That’ll work. So call him.”“Her,” the genie corrected him testily. “And I can’t do that. I can’t tell her this got all screwed up. That I screwed up. I can’t tell her that.”“What got all screwed up? And where do you think you’re going?”“To catch that truck before it gets any farther!”