Interview with Laura Simcox (Ivy Entwined)

Thank you for joining me in the shadows. Pay no attention to that odd silhouette over there. Weird things live here.  Where do you hail from?
I hail from a lot of places, but primarily the Midwest. I’ve lived in and around the Saint Louis area, Chicago, and small towns in Missouri. I’ve lived in Mississippi and currently live in North Carolina. Been here for thirteen years, so I think I can call it home.
Tell me about your latest book. What makes it stand out from the crowd?
‘Ivy Entwined’ is the story of a young woman who becomes mayor of her hometown. The town is failing and she has a plan to save it, but no money. In steps Marcus Weaver, the guy she crushed on as a girl, to provide the cash. But his plan could ruin the town. Plus there’s that little problem…her crush on him never seemed to go away… and now? He’s interested in her. Very interested.
My book stands out from the crowd in a few different ways. I have a heroine who is a twenty-six year old mayor. Celebration, her hometown, is very quirky but also very real. No perfect flower boxes and gleaming white picket fences there. Just a group of wacky people who love to celebrate holidays. They have a lot of heart and are bound and determined to fix up their town.
Do you have anything new in the works and can you tell us a bit about it?
I am working on the second book in the ‘Something to Celebrate’ series. In this book, my heroine is a newcomer to Celebration and she falls for a tall, dark and handsome tattoo artist. I’m also working on a series for Avon called ‘Various States of Undress’ about three fictitious daughters of the President of the United States.
What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Spend a lot of time doing online research about the romance publishing industry. The information is free and there is plenty of it. Google all your questions…something will come up that’s interesting, even if it’s not the answer you were looking for. Keep researching until you have a realistic handle on what it’s all about.
How did you deal with rejection letters? Any tips for unpublished writers?
I dealt with rejection letters fairly easily, which surprised me. Yeah, I was disappointed, but I’m a firm believer in finding a good fit. And I told myself that I got rejected because I didn’t fit, not because I sucked. Nobody wants a bad fit. I mean, think of shoes you bought that you regretted. Ouch. Now think of shoes you bought that are perfect. YES! Don’t give up looking for a good fit for you and for your book.
What tools of the trade are must-haves for you? 
I have to have a wireless connection and my beloved laptop. I have to have coffee or iced tea (unsweet to you Southerners) sitting on my desk. Another must-have is dead quiet, which means that my sweet child needs to be asleep or in preschool for me to write.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to research a story?
My research has been pretty tame so far, but in the near future I will be visiting a tattoo studio to watch artists in action. Should be fascinating and little blood never scared me. J
What do you like to read?
I read romance novels almost exclusively. Almost all genres, too. Sometimes I get a little wild and crazy and read Time magazine or the latest best-selling thriller.
Who is your favorite author and why? 
Katie MacAlister is my favorite author. So favorite that I’ve added her last name to the dictionary in my word program so it stops underlining it in red! I admire her because of her wit and ability to spin a great adventure story no matter what genre she’s writing in.
Now for the fun questions.  Let’s strip away the veil of invisibility. Do you have a day job alongside writing and will you tell us about it?
My day job is being my own na
nny. I take care of a high-octane four year old boy who I like to call ‘son’, ‘honey’, ‘don’t-touch-that-it’s-dangerous’ and ‘eat-your-lunch-or-you-won’t-get-a-cookie’. I clean up hot wheels, trains and separate piles of blocks. I recite the alphabet, count to twenty-ten and make stuff out of Play Dough. That’s my day job!
If you weren’t a writer, what career might you have chosen?
Oh! I think it would have been so much fun to be a radio personality and do a morning-drive radio show.
Who is your favorite superhero (or heroine)? Can be from a comic book, movie, novel, cartoon, video game or anywhere else heroes reign.
My favorite superhero is Curious George. He doesn’t have a cape or mask, but he’s fearless, funny and entertaining…and he gives me at least twenty minutes at a time to write because my son loves him, too.
Your favorite book hero?
My favorite book hero is Gabriel Tauhou from Katie MacAlister’s ‘Silver Dragons’ series. The guy is super-hot, has silver eyes and heals people. Plus he breathes fire.
You finally have an evening free to spend any way you want. Money is no object. Where do you go? What would you do?
Thank you for letting me enter fantasy land for a few minutes. Okay, I know I should choose taking a private jet to a European city for a shopping spree, but that sounds as exhausting as it does tempting. Here’s what I want: a trustworthy babysitter, a limo to take me and my husband to a private screening of a movie we both want to watch. Preferably a great comedy. While we are in the theater, which is outfitted with armchairs and tv trays, someone will bring us the most delicious pizza ever, followed by chocolate cake and fresh coffee so I can stay awake to enjoy the movie. That’s my perfect evening.
You’ve been gifted (or cursed) with the ability to shift into another form by a witch. What kind of shifter are you? Why?
Oh holy crap! I’d shift into giraffe I think. Yeah, weird choice, but I’m short and it would be fun to be incredibly tall for once. Plus my only responsibility would be to eat all day (even though it’s leaves) and wander around outside.
Thanks so much for being my guest today! Anything else you’d like to share with my readers?  Don’t forget to give us links to your website etc.
Come say hi on Facebook, Twitter drop me a line on my website.

 Ivy Entwined

Laura Simcox
Blurb:  When Ivy Callahan returns to her hometown as mayor, she doesn’t expect much to have changed. But now her ex-fiancé is the town planner, the biggest business is closed, and the only store interested in Celebration, NY is a Megamart. On top of it all, the liaison for the big, bad, box store is Marcus Weaver, her childhood crush. And he’s still as dangerously delectable as ever.
Marcus unwillingly spent his teens in Celebration with his vindictive, drunken uncle. As far as Marcus is concerned, the town’s only use is to cement his rise up the corporate ladder. He needs that Megamart opened, and Ivy is his ticket. But the sexy, stubborn mayor could also be his downfall.
As the unemployed townspeople put on the pressure, Ivy needs to do something. With a fresh downtown-renewal project in the works, Ivy could stop Marcus and his Megamart before they kill the town’s spirit. But with sparks flying between Ivy and Marcus, they each need to decide what’s more important: their careers or their hearts. 
Excerpts (Please choose only one):
Excerpt one
He blinked at her. “Who are you?”
“I’m Ivy Callahan. Who are you?”
He froze. Callahan. The mayor’s daughter? The last time he’d seen Ivy, she was a freckly kid in braces, sitting with her friends in the corner of the drugstore and giggling behind her hand. But now? Gorgeous. And probably pissed at him, despite the fact that he’d just saved her from falling on her face. He stopped, glancing behind him. Where was Alberta Fields? He needed a buffer.
Like a beacon, she walked over to them. “That was a close call, but you didn’t fall, so all’s well that ends well. Ivy, this is Marcus Weaver. Can you believe it?”
Ivy’s mouth dropped open. She turned to Alberta and whispered something in her ear. Alberta nodded.
Ivy cocked her head to the side and looked at Marcus. “Oh. Well, I’d like to speak with you. Walk into city hall with me.”
He raised an eyebrow at Alberta, who shrugged and turned to the crowd. “Inside, everybody,” she snapped out in her practiced schoolteacher voice.
Marcus followed Ivy up the steps, letting his gaze bounce over her killer legs and snug suit. Ivy Callahan. Wow. She sure had grown up.
Ivy turned, a flash of annoyance crossing her face. “You are the investor Herman’s been talking about, right?”
“Yes, but what does that have to do with…” Marcus gave her an automatic smile. “Never mind. What was with the welcome wagon back there? Are you…” He searched for an appropriate word, but he couldn’t think of anything that didn’t sound ridiculous. “Famous?”
Ivy raised an eyebrow. “Depends on who you ask.”
“I see.” Marcus crossed his arms. “In any case, where’s your dad? I’d like to speak with him before the meeting starts.”
“You would? How come?”
“Because I wanted to say hello.”
She flicked a piece of imaginary lint from her spotless red suit. “Great. I’ll let him know. Anything else you need?”
Okay, so she was pissed. But she didn’t have to interrogate him. He had saved her from falling on her ass, after all. Marcus leaned forward, not even trying to keep the hint of condescension from his voice. “Look. It’s been fun chatting with you, but I’d really like to talk to the mayor. Okay, sweetheart?”
She went still for a brief second and then a slow grin spread over her face. “Sure, honey. Go ahead and talk to the mayor. You’re looking right at her.”