I’d like to extend a warm welcome to today’s guest, Lee Ann Southeimer Murhpy.
Lee Ann, I love the premise of your book. In Love’s Own Time is just one of many books you’ve written. You’re a very busy lady. What are you currently working on?
I’m currently writing a historical romance. I have two full-length historical romances coming out in a few months from Rebel Ink Press, In The Shadow of War, a World War II era romance May 17 and Guy’s Angel, a 1920’s romance with some paranormal elements (my hero is a WWI flying ace haunted by Valkyries). My short historical novella, The Marriage Cure is something a lot of readers enjoyed and the story continues in What Fills The Heart. The current WIP is set in 1933 Oklahoma.
That’s quite a surprising mix. You must have other suprises readers would love to learn about.
Surprise probably won’t be the word–more like disbelief but this is true and documentable–I’m a third generation American, the great-granddaughter of immigrants but I’m also descended from early American patriots who fought in the Revolutionary War. From various branches of my family tree I can connect to Thomas Jefferson, Daniel Boone, the feuding Hatfields (Hatfields and McCoys), Albert Einstein, the Earl of Montrose, Eugene Field (the poet) and Marshall Field.
True story–my family was at Daniel Boone’s former home in Defiance, MO a few years ago and my husband told them I’m related. The docent rolled her eyes, literally and said “Half the people who come in here say they’re related to the Boones” but there was a huge family tree on one wall and my husband points to a branch, asks “Isn’t this your family?” “Yes,” I said and the docent apologized, said I was one in ten thousand who really is.
The cover for In Love’s Own Time picks up on a number of story elements. Who designed your cover art?
All of my Rebel Ink Press cover art including In Love’s Own Time is done by Carl J. Franklin. He’s amazing–he manages to capture the essence of the story in the cover art.
Do you ever feel any anxiety over duplicating the process of writing a book, meeting deadlines or fear the ideas might dry up?
In Love’s Own Time is my twelfth novel and I have four more under contract, due out later this year so I’m not as worried as I used to be. That said, however, I worry about keeping my writing to a certain level of quality. My next release from Rebel Ink Press, coming out April 3, is my oldest manuscript out and I’ve learned so much I asked E, our editor and publisher at Rebel, if I could rework the MS before formal edits and she agreed. Now Miss Good Samaritan will go into edits a stronger, tighter book from the beginning and I’m glad. More work now means less later for all involved, me and the editors.
I have no end of ideas, more ideas than time to write them.
Lee Ann, I love the premise of your book. Love seems so hopeless for these two. Lillian is from the present day and Howard is not just a man from the past, but a ghost too. That’s a paranormal twist that requires a creative work-around. How do you research the paranormal elements in your story?
I’ve been around paranormal events all my life. I grew up in a large brick house similar to the one in the current release and strange things happened. My grandmothers on both sides of the family tree were psychic to some extent. My Granny played a major role in raising me and she came from a long line of women with such gifts which I have as well. I have always had an interest in the supernatural and even as a child researched the subject. I’m fascinated with the paranormal so I usually don’t need to do a lot of in-depth research because it’s an area I’m reasonably familiar with.
Many people feel the PNR genre is on the way out. Do you agree? Are there any changes you’d make to stay on the cutting edge of this genre? Will you change genres?
I agree PNR is experiencing a down swing in popularity as other types of romance surge to the forefront. At the same time, I think there will always be some PNR and readers will read it if it’s good, if it captures their attention and imagination. I’m not too worried about it because my novels run a range from historical to time travel to contemporary to suspense. I know a lot of authors tend to stay within a sub-genre but I write the stories I’m inspired to write. Will I change genres? No–simply because I write in various genres now.
Since you write in a wide variety of genres, do you, or would you, ever use a pen name?
I use my name, maiden and married on everything. And no, I probably wouldn’t ever use a pen name–I worked too long and hard to get this far so I want everyone to know I made it!
It must be fun to visit a new time and place each time you sit down to write. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I wanted to make up stories as long as I can remember. I scribbled stories as a small child and wrote my “first” novel in the back of my binder in 5th grade. In college, I was on the campus newspaper staff and served as an editor for the campus literary magazine, then went to work in broadcasting. I started seriously writing for publication during that period of my life and began, over time, to gain some acceptances among the rejections. I got serious about writing novels when my daughters (now sixteen) were toddlers because I realized if I didn’t do it, I might never do it and I didn’t want to regret it as an old woman.
You’ve sampled a variety of writing jobs. You must have friends in the business. Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?
My husband reads everything I write and offers up his suggestions. I have some writer friends who occasionally do the same. I let my teen age daughters read the books, too, before I submit if they have time and inclination.
Sixteen! My daughter is about the same age, but she has no interest in reading my book. Maybe in researching, because she loves to learn weird facts about places. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?
I learned to load and shoot black powder muskets. My daddy raised me to be able to shoot and shoot very well but modern, conventional firearms. For historical purposes, I wanted to learn how to use black powder rifles and my brother in law has some. So we had a training day at my mother in law’s farm which was interesting. I learned so much and experienced it first hand.
Muskets! I’m not sure I’d attempt that:) Can you tell us a bit about story process. Did any character change roles or take over in the creation of this story.
Shugie – the combination cook and housekeeper in Howard’s original time – was meant to be just a minor character but her role expanded to become a friend to Lillian, an ally, and someone Lillian could tell the truth about her origins. Shugie went from being basically window dressing to becoming probably the most important minor character.
I love when that happens, Lee Ann! I’d like to share the back of the book blurb and a short except from the book, to give my readers a sample of your story.
There may be no place like home and nothing like love…..when history teacher Lillian Dorsey inherits a three story Edwardian brick mansion from the grandfather who banished her pregnant mother decades before, it’s a no brainer. She’ll visit the place, see it and sell it. Instead Lillian’s captivated by the beautiful home and intrigued by the ghost of the original owner, Howard Speakman. Soon she’s flirting with the charming, witty gentleman who’s been dead for more than a century and before long, they admit it’s a mutual attraction. Still, when she’s alive and he’s dead, any shot at being together seems impossible.
But where there’s a will, there’s a way….one afternoon while pretending to visit the past the impossible becomes a brief reality. If they visited 1904 before, Lillian knows they can do it again and if so, she can prevent Howard’s untimely death. With a combination of love, powerful hope, and stubborn will, Lillian bends time to her will and returns to the summer of 1904. But Howard’s death looms ahead and if she’s to find a happy ending, she must save him from his original death.
Here’s a little taste from the day they inadvertently return to 1904 and realize just what may be possible:
“Lillian.” Howard sounded hoarse, his voice cracking with emotion although she wasn’t sure which one, fear, elation, or sorrow. “This is 1904.”
“How could it be?” Even as she protested, she knew it was true. The old house was new. The smell of fresh paint mingled with the Dutch cake aroma and as she’d noticed earlier, the book covers were bright. Howard’s sheet music pages never yellowed but sparkled unblemished white. It was true and if it was 1904, then Howard was alive. He wasn’t a ghost.
Lillian reached for him, stretched out her hand to touch him, and closed her fingers over his arm. Through the wool of his sleeve, his skin was warm, so alive, and tears formed in her eyes. Her right hand stroked the curve of his cheek and she clasped his hand with the other. He twined his fingers through hers, tight as if he might never let go, and pulled her right hand to his lips, brushing her skin with a faint, soft kiss.
“Oh, Howard.” Her voice broke. “Howard, you’re real.”
She could touch him now and she could smell him, a rich masculine aroma of soap and leather, and the outdoors. Before, he’d been a ghost, not tangible, not touchable but for now, he was both and she reveled in him with every sense. She touched his hair with trembling fingers and rubbed her cheek against his suit jacket. When she lifted her face, his eyes blazed with emotion and she knew before he bent down they’d kiss.
In her dream, the kiss’d been sweet but in reality, it was sweeter. His lips heated hers, melted, and moved against her mouth until she couldn’t breathe. She put her arms around his neck and he held her, one hand flat against her back. Until now, he’d been unattainable, almost fantasy, but now he was a man, a man who held her in his arms, and she wanted him. Desire burned like a wavering candle flame but without warning, Howard released her.
“Lillian, I forgot myself. You must forgive me.”
Her lips, bruised from his mouth, stretched into a smile. “I’ll never forgive you if you don’t kiss me again, Howard.”
“I shouldn’t.” His voice sounded muffled. “But I’ll, sweet Lillian, though I shouldn’t. However, for the moment I’m alive. Carpe diem!”
Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy is a full-time romance author. A native of the old historic city of St. Joseph, Missouri, one time home to both Jesse James and the Pony Express, she now lives and writes in the beautiful Missouri Ozark region. Her romance novels include Wolfe’s Lady (December 2010 Evernight Publishing), Love Tattoo, (March 2011, Evernight), Love Scars (June 2011, Evernight), Love Never Fails (May 2011, Rebel Ink Press), Kinfolk (July 2011, Champagne Books), The Marriage Cure (Astraea Press, July 2011), Love Scars, July 2011 (Evernight Publishing). Love Tattoo, Love Scars, and Love Knots, Love Shadows are the first four books of the six book Love Covenant series. Other novels include Witness Protection Program (Rebel Ink Press, A Time To Love (Champagne Books. Sing We Now of Christmas (Rebel Ink Press, December 2011). 2012 is already kicking off with more novel releases including A Patient Heart, Miss Good Samaritan, Guy’s Angel, In Love’s Own Time, Heart of the Ozarks) In The Shadow of War, and a novella, Long Live The King (Champagne Books). Her work also appears in more than twenty anthologies and she has multiple short story/non-fiction credits.
She is a member of RWA, Missouri Writers Guild, EPIC, and the Ozarks Writers League.
Her work also appears in multiple anthologies. She earned a BA degree in both English and History from Missouri Southern State University as well as an AA Degree in Journalism from Crowder College. She worked in broadcast media for a decade and also has a background in education. Her weekly column “Hindsight” appears each week in the Neosho Daily News.
She is married to Roy W. Murphy and the couple has three children, Emily, Megan, and Patrick Murphy.
If Lee Ann – or Lee as friends know her – isn’t writing, she’s reading or spending time outdoors.
In Neosho, Missouri, the small town she now calls home, she serves on the local library board, is active in the annual Relay For Life fight against cancer, has worked with the local Arts Council, and is active in her parish