Writer Wednesday: Meet Margaret Locke

Margaret LockeHello, and welcome to another Writer Wednesday. A few weeks ago, I noticed no author had claimed this date. As I was prepping to solicit participants, it occurred to me that since my debut novel, A Man of Character, was coming out the day before, I could interview myself! Bwah ha ha … so, well, here it goes: my answers to three of questions, just like I’ve been asking everybody else.

Which type of romance do you love best? Why?

I’m a historical romance lover at heart. They’re the first type of romance novels I ever read, and the ones that suck me in, time and time again. I think that’s because a) I love history, and love learning about / imagining what it was like to live in other eras and places, and b) the distance of time helps render the story all the more magical for me. I’ve always been a sucker for the whole “Once Upon A Time” thing.

Recently I’ve branched out and read a number of contemporaries, because I stumbled across fabulous authors like Katy Regnery and Kathryn Barrett (and many more!) and wanted to read their books.

But my heart belongs to Regency England. I’ll pick up a novel about that era any day.

Name one interesting thing you learned in researching/writing your last book.

I needed a fancy place in New York City to which a wealthy businessman might take a date. Not being a big city person at all, I had no clue, so I asked a college friend who now lives there (thanks, Liz!). “Rao’s,” she answered right away. I’d never heard of it. But I spent an afternoon happily Googling away, learning as much as I could, and thus the fictitious Joey’s was born (yes, that’s an homage to Joey Tribbiani of Friends fame–my husband loves him).

A few days after this restaurant-researching adventure, I went grocery shopping (the boring real life of an author) and discovered Rao’s pasta sauce sitting there among the zillion spaghetti sauce options. Although it was a bit pricey, I had to try it–and it’s now become my family’s favorite sauce. The things you learn.

Name two things people don’t know about you.

1. I skipped first grade. But I’m convinced the only reason I did well enough on the tests to do so is because the man administering the exams was really cute (yes, I remember that!). It motivated me. I was six, people. Guess I knew my heart was in romance from a very early age.

My husband channeling Elvis at our wedding reception.
My husband channeling Elvis at our wedding reception.

2. OK, I’m cheating a bit, because if you know me in real life, you know I’m a ’50s Elvis fan. I didn’t give a fig about Elvis until my senior year in college, though. That was 1995, and because it was Elvis’ 60th birthday, his old movies and Elvis documentaries were playing all over TV. That young Elvis, with his oddly innocent, yet oh-so-seductive face, that voice, and that hip swivel … I was a goner.

Which I was extra grateful for two years later, because if I hadn’t fallen for Elvis, I wouldn’t have made an Elvis website (hey, I needed something to do to escape the stress of grad school, and teaching myself HTML in the baby days of the web seemed ideal). If I hadn’t had that website, I wouldn’t have met my husband. By freaky chance, we met online (way before that was common) when I asked a question about Elvis, and he answered. We emailed. We discovered we were at the same university, both in grad school (what are the chances?). We met for lunch. We kept meeting. I found my happily-ever-after.

Elvis brought my husband and me together. Thank ya, thank ya verra much.

What’s your favorite romance novel of all time, and why?

There are so many books I can name. I tend to fall in love with authors and devour everything they write. LaVyrle Spencer, Johanna Lindsey, Lisa Kleypas, Sabrina Jeffries, Eloisa James, Julia Quinn … give me more, more more. I made a Top Five list once, but kept trying to sneak in more than five.

The book I come back to again and again, though, the one romance I kept when I (stupidly) purged my entire collection in my mid 30s, is Lynn Kurland‘s Stardust of Yesterday. Something about that story just hooked me like no other–probably the time-traveling element, since that idea has always intrigued me, as well as the new-to-me idea of ghost as hero. The fact that the ghost hero and definitely in-the-flesh heroine literally couldn’t touch each other for great parts of the book heightened the romance and tension for me.

So there you have it.


Interested in knowing about my own new romance release (It still feels bizarre to say that!)?

Check out the blurb for A Man of Character, my paranormal romantic comedy in which a bookstore owner learns that the perfect fantasy might just be reality:

A Man of Character Cover Margaret LockeWhat would you do if you discovered the men you were dating were fictional characters you’d created long ago?

Thirty-five-year-old Catherine Schreiber has shelved love for good. Keeping her ailing bookstore afloat takes all her time, and she’s perfectly fine with that. So when several men ask her out in short order, she’s not sure what to do…especially since something about them seems eerily familiar.

Caught between fantasy and reality, Cat must decide which—or whom—she wants more.

Blending humor with unusual twists, including a magical manuscript, a computer scientist in shining armor, and even a Regency ball, A Man of Character tells a story not only of love, but also of the lengths we’ll go for friendship, self-discovery, and second chances.

You can find A Man of Character on Amazon – available for Kindle or in paperback. And if you read it, I’d love to know what you think!

Thanks for hanging with me today! Come back next Wednesday for another exciting (and far less myopically self-centered) Writer Wednesday!

(Fellow authors, I do have openings for Wednesdays starting in June, so if you’d like to participate, just shoot me an email.)

What Are Your Top Five Favorite Romance Novels of All Time?

Stardust of YesterdayLast night I got to thinking about some of my favorite romance novels, and wondered, if anybody ever asked me, if I could narrow them down to an all-time Top Five. The task was quite challenging, but here’s my list:

1. Stardust of Yesterday by Lynn Kurland – At one time in my late 20’s, shortly after I married, I (stupidly) decided my romances should go. And so I gave all of them to the public library. All except this one. I just couldn’t bear to part with this book. It’s a time-traveling ghost story full of sweet, sweet romance. What’s not to love?

2. A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Devereaux – Oh, yes. A Knight in Shining Armor. *swoon* An oldie (relatively speaking – it’s from the late 80s), but most definitely a goodie. I’m a sucker for time-travel romances, as evidenced by my first and second choices here, but not all writers pull them off with such grace and such memorable characters. I plead the fifth as to whether or not this book’s medieval knight MIGHT be one of the reasons I majored in medieval history in college and pursued that into doctoral studies…

3. The Secret Pearl – by Mary Balogh. Ah. I rediscovered this one a few years ago; once I began it I realized, with great delight, it was one I’d read years ago (hey, I have a really cruddy memory) and relished – but since I’d forgotten the title and the author, I didn’t think I’d ever find it again. Two scarred souls and the absolute brilliance in writing in terms of expressing deep emotional depth in and between the characters draws me back to this one again and again.

4. Sweet Love Survive – Susan Johnson. O.K., to be honest, I don’t remember the story much; Russian historicals don’t seem to be among my favorites for some reason. But once my passion (hee hee) for romances picked up again, I immediately searched for this one. Because what I DID remember were the scorching love scenes, especially for a romance from the 90s. So when I’m looking for more erotica-flavored romance, I often look to Susan Johnson.

5. Let Me Be The One – Jo Goodman. The Compass Club. I loved the Compass Club – the four men whose stories Jo Goodman told over a series of four books. But of all of them, this one is probably my favorite. I especially loved the hero, North. Now that I’ve listed it here, I think I’ll go dig it up again!

6. Twice Loved – LaVyrle Spencer. O.K., yes, I cheated. I went past 5. But I love, love, love LaVyrle Spencer, and she was one of the authors in the 1980s of whose books I just couldn’t get enough. I could list about any title here and have it be a favorite, but I remember this one with special fondness. If you don’t know Spencer, I urge you to read her. Let me know what you think.

I could, of course, list a zillion more authors. My favorites from my early years of reading romances included Catherine Coulter, Johanna Lindsey, Phoebe Conn, Constance O’Day Flannery, and the above-mentioned LaVyrle Spencer. Christina Dodd, Lisa Kleypas, Betina Krahn, Teresa Medeiros, Laura Kinsale. Oh yeah. I took a leave-of-absence from romances for the most part when my kids were very young, but my love for and addiction to the genre was reawakened when I discovered Julia Quinn. And then Eloisa James. And then Sabrina Jeffries. Now I have probably 200 (not kidding) unread romances sitting on my shelf, waiting to delight me with their tales of lust and troubles and ever-lasting love, including new authors I have yet to experience.

So many, many books. So not enough time.

If you have to winnow it down to YOUR five (or six) these-can’t-be-missed romance novels, which would you choose?