OK, now that that's out of the way, let me introduce my guest author.
Marilyn Baxter is a long-time friend and fellow author. Her latest book, Direct Deposit, a contemporary romance, just released in January.
So, Marilyn, it’s great to have you here today. Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?
MB: I’m a Southern girl who has lived all over the South in addition to living in Germany for four years. I’m a mom and a grandmother, and as much as I love my sons, being a Grammy is THE best gig in the world! After years of shopping in the boys department, now I get to shop in the pink section! It’s been such fun to have granddaughters. I also work as an administrative assistant for a family law firm. I think it’s ironic my heroine is an attorney who specializes in family law, and I wrote this book years before I had any up close and personal experience with family law. The Universe has a real sense of humor!
CMR: Tell us a bit about your newest book.
MB: Direct Deposit is about banks and withdrawals and deposits – but not the financial kind. The heroine is a widow who put off having children and decides she wants to use a sperm donor to have a child. The hero was her late husband’s business partner who made a promise to look in on his friend’s wife after his death to make sure no one took advantage of her and she didn’t do anything crazy in her grief. When he learns she wants to make a withdrawal from a sperm bank, he’s stunned. But what he does next … well, you’ll have to read the book to find out. ;-)
CMRL What was your inspiration for this story?
MB: One day this headline popped up in my news feed: Seeking Sperm, Not Sex, Online. I was intrigued and read more. The story told about women who were looking at online sperm banks rather than going to a doctor’s office.
CMR: That is certainly interesting. What kind of research did you do?
MB: I read the information on online sperm bank websites (and yes, there are a lot of them!) and also asked lots of questions of a writer friend who is an attorney. My biggest challenge was finding a situation where a pregnancy could legally put a woman’s job in jeopardy. My attorney friend came up with the solution. I have learned that people love to share information about their professions with you, and the online writing community is especially helpful. And in addition to my sperm bank and legal research, there was a research trip to Atlanta. Going to Tiffany’s was SUCH a hardship. NOT!
CMR: How did you decide on the setting? Have you ever been there?
MB: I wanted the story set in a large city and I’m familiar enough with Atlanta that I set it there. I’ve been to Atlanta on numerous occasions, but about a month after I finished this book, my sister and I met in Atlanta and went to all the places I’d used in the book. Her son had attended college at Georgia Tech, so she was a font of information on the city.
CMR: It sounds like you enjoyed researching your book. How long have you been writing?
MB: I’ve been writing for about ten years. I began writing for the confessions magazines and had success with that. But I longed to write stories where the characters had a happy ending, and in 2008 I finished my first full-length book, which is the one just released.
CMR: That is quite a varied career. What do you enjoy most about writing?
MB: Truthfully? Typing The End is my favorite part. It means I have planned, worked the plan and achieved it. Then I start all over again and work toward another end.
CMR: I know what you mean. The story itself is so much fun, but there is a great sense of accomplishment and resolution to write THE END. So, What draws you to contemporary genre?
MB: I like the here and now and characters who face today’s problems and issues. I sure have to do enough research to make sure my facts are correct, so I have a great deal of respect for historical writers such as you who have to not only craft a plot and create characters but set them in a different time and make sure you don’t have them make coffee in a Keurig and wear Crocs. ;-)
CMR: LOL! Exactly! Such a tricky minefield, sometimes to keep historical anachronisms at bay. What surprises did you uncover as these characters and story developed?
MB: My hero was a real bad boy in his youth and while he had become a responsible adult, he still had a smart mouth and a never-gonna-settle-down attitude. To watch him change from a guy whose girlfriends changed as often as the marquee on a movie theater to someone who took on responsibility was such fun.
CMR: Oh, that does sound like fun. And I simply love the interaction between Maddie and Jack! Before we get to the excerpt (which is completely awesome, btw) is there anything you’d like to add?
MB: Direct Deposit is available in digital format from all the major online retailers and will come out in print on demand shortly. This is the book of my heart, and I hope folks enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
CMR: I am sure we will. It just got bumped up on my TBR list!
Thanks so much for being here today! It has been such fun chatting with you. Best of luck with your books!
Family law attorney Maddie Prescott is driven to succeed. A pawn in her parents’ messy divorce, she devoted her career to representing children in court, and when her husband’s early death makes it seem like she can’t have it all, she’s ready to beat the odds by going to a sperm bank. One advantage to single parenthood is that her child will never be a pawn. That, and she’ll never have to deal with sarcastic ladies’ men or liars.
Jack Worth promised to look out for his dying best friend’s wife: a small repayment for someone who once helped an irredeemable bad boy find the path to happiness. So, while Maddie Prescott’s baby plans are questionable, duty and loyalty prompt Jack first to volunteer as the sperm donor…and then to propose a marriage of convenience. And the more he gets to know her, the more this onetime player will see that Maddie is the woman of his dreams, and that the child they will make deserves to be from a direct deposit.
It’s time to move on, Jack,” she told him. “And I think it’s time we stopped these monthly pity parties. We struggle to carry on polite conversation. I choke on every bite of food. You sit there feeling sorry for me. I’ve made some decisions in the last few weeks that will move my life in a new direction. I only hope you’re able to do the same.”
“Is that what the sperm canister is all about?”
Water spewed everywhere.
“How...” Her cheeks burned from embarrassment.
“The letter behind your phone. You aren’t seriously considering going to a sperm bank are you?”
Maddie pushed away from the table and picked up her plate, heading toward the kitchen. “And if I am, what makes it your business?” Chagrin replaced the previous awkwardness.
Jack followed, juggling his plate in one hand as he nudged open the door to the kitchen with his elbow.
“What the hell are you thinking? You’re going to get yourself knocked up by some total stranger so you can play Mommy?” He took her plate and scraped it into the sink.
“No one is knocking me up as you so charmingly put it.” She crossed her arms and leaned against the counter. “The procedure is done in an office by a doctor and—”
“I know how the hell it’s done.”
“Oh? I wasn’t aware The Playboy Channel televised medical documentaries.”
“I watch The Learning Channel, too. Surprised?” He loaded the dishwasher while she looked on in amazement. “What? I’m housebroken. I’m not Emeril, but I cook a mean meatloaf and mashed potatoes.” He squirted dish gel in the dispenser. “From scratch,” he added.
“Quite honestly, nothing about you would surprise me, Jack. What did surprise me was my husband being in business with you. You were as different as… as…”
“Champagne and beer?” he suggested as he rinsed the sink. “Caviar and hot dogs? You and me?”
“You got that right.” Maddie lifted her chin defiantly.
* * *