Please give a warm welcome to special guest Tanya Michaels. Tanya is visiting the virtual offices to chat about Her Secret, His Baby, which is part of her Colorado Cades trilogy, and is published by Harlequin under their American Romance line.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Tanya Michaels] Mom. Writer. Reader. Joss Whedon uber-fan. Geek. She who cries at 80% of movies (including cartoons) & the occasional soup commercial.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Her Secret, His Baby?
[Tanya Michaels] Spoiler alert: it’s a secret baby story ? It’s such a classic storyline in the romance genre that, after thirty books, I wanted to give it a try. The challenge was writing it in a way readers could relate to—a reasonable explanation as to how it happened and why the heroine might keep it a secret. This is the first story in my “Colorado Cades” trilogy, and I’ve been very pleased with the early reviews for the book!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Tanya Michaels] The heroine, Arden, came to me first, since she’s part of the Cade family. Once I knew her background, which includes a lot of loss, I knew I wanted Garrett (the hero) to have the opposite upbringing. Until now, rancher Garrett Frost has led a seemingly charmed life. But early in the book he learns a family secret that pulls the rug out from under him. On top of that, he discovers he’s going to be a father. How will a man who’s known very little adversity react to the sudden curveballs life is hurling at him? And how can he forgive the woman who lied to him?
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Arden?
[Tanya Michaels] Survivor, sister, hopeful.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Garrett had a theme song, what would it be?
[Tanya Michaels] Bon Jovi’s “Bang a Drum”
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Arden is never without.
[Tanya Michaels] Caramel-filled chocolates. She keeps them in her house, purse and photo studio.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Garrett’s bedroom?
[Tanya Michaels] Self-help books, tanning lotion, or a sewing machine.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Arden’s greatest regret?
[Tanya Michaels] At the opening of the book, her greatest regret is that she can’t do more to help her widowed oldest brother, who raised her and held their family together for so many years.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?
[Tanya Michaels] Shakespeare, Jennifer Crusie, Joss Whedon, Jane Espenson and my friends. An hour laughing and talking with the warm, wise women in my life fires up my imagination and inspires me to write characters as wonderful as they are.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Tanya Michaels] Aside from a computer with an ergonomic keyboard? Diet coke, music, and a combination of wrist braces/medicine/ointments to cope with my tendonitis. The week before a book’s due, my entire house smells like Icy Hot!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What was your biggest distraction while working on Her Secret, His Baby?
[Tanya Michaels] The holiday season. I was writing during November, amid Thanksgiving houseguests and school fall festivals. By the time I turned in the manuscript and my editor had a chance to read it and give me revision notes, it was mid-December. In my sleep-deprived rush to finish the book before Christmas, I burned a few batches of cookies and hid a stocking-stuffer for my son so well that we still haven’t located it.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?
[Tanya Michaels] That may be a tie between Kresley Cole’s latest paranormal romance, MacRieve, and Joshilyn Jackson’s women’s fiction novel, A Grown Up Kind of Pretty. The two books have little in common except for strong writing and my inability to put them down—sleep be darned!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[Tanya Michaels] I’ve loved books since before I can remember. But I know from the inscription that a childhood favorite was given to me the Christmas I was three. My German grandfather sent me a hardcover collection of fairy tales from around the world, nearly a thousand pages long. They were mesmerizing—some with happy endings, others dark, grisly or bittersweet. I remember my mom reading those tales to me and my younger sister. When I was old enough, I read and re-read them by myself. The table of contents eventually fell out, the pages have aged and the “binding” is now entirely duct tape, but my kids still read from that book.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Tanya Michaels] I try to celebrate each deadline with a girls’ night out to Shakespeare Tavern, one of my favorite places to go in downtown Atlanta. Between books, I also spend as much time with my family as possible, read like a maniac and watch TV. I went from hardly ever watching television when I got married fifteen years ago to realizing that good shows are just another form of storytelling and character development. My DVR is full of episodes of Castle, Vampire Diaries, Big Bang Theory, White Collar, Once Upon a Time, Grimm, and Suits; my DVD collection includes seasons of Buffy, Firefly, Veronica Mars, Battlestar Galactica and Supernatural.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?
[Tanya Michaels] The easiest, fastest way is through Twitter or Facebook. When I can squeeze in a few precious hours at the computer (usually around midnight, when my family is asleep), I spend that time buried in a manuscript so my website is rarely my top priority. But I have Twitter & Facebook apps on my phone and check them constantly—while stuck in a long line at the bank, sitting through my son’s baseball practice, etc. I love connecting with readers in such a direct way and hearing what books they’re currently enjoying.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!
About the book:
Life’s been full of surprises lately for rancher Garrett Frost, and not in a good way. His mother has just dropped a bombshell about his past, so Garrett takes some time away to come to terms with family secrets. And who should he run into but Arden Cade, the beautiful photographer who shared a single night of passion with Garrett six months ago. He is even more shocked when he discovers she’s pregnant; and he’s the daddy.
To make matters worse, Arden hadn’t even planned on telling Garrett about the baby. Despite her lies, Garrett is determined to be a good father. He’s not the type to cut and run, and he can’t deny that he’s falling for Arden all over again. But he’ll have to find a way to forgive her betrayal and make peace with that skeleton in the family closet
About the author:
Tanya Michaels is the award-winning author of over thirty books and mother of two highly imaginative children. She is an avid reader who also watches way, way too much TV–spending a lot of time in Mystic Falls, Bluebell, Alabama or rating the Runway. Her husband is a very patient man who sometimes helps her brainstorm stories, including her upcoming Colorado Cades trilogy from Harlequin.