An Interview with Nicole McGehee

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Nicole, Thanks
so much for stopping by Hardcover Therapy today!

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born in South Carolina, but spent most of my adult life in
the Washington, DC, area. I began my career in politics as a
lobbyist and event planner for several medical non-profits. Later,
I worked as a speech writer and legislative aide in the U.S. House
of Representatives. From there, I went to work in the West Wing of
the White House. After leaving the White House, I started my own
publication on business and trade in Latin America and the
Caribbean. I owned the journal for seven years, then sold it
shortly after signing a two-book contract with publishers Little,
Brown and Company (hard cover) and Warner Books (paperback). My
books have been translated into French, Spanish and German, and
were also published in the United Kingdom and Canada. In addition,
my travel writing has appeared in the Washington Post, the
Denver Post, the Miami Herald
, and
Honeymoon magazine. I’m co-author of
The Insiders’ Guide to Washington, DC, 3rd
edition
. In 1997, my first husband, Michael, died in a
car accident. Devastated, I sold our home in Virginia and moved to
ski country in Colorado. Five years later, I met my second husband,
David, a financial adviser. I have an Associate’s degree from the
Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and a BA from
Georgetown University.   2.
What do you do when you are not
writing?
When not writing, I read,
exercise, cook and watch cooking and real estate reality shows.
  3. Do you
have a day job as well?
My only job is writing.
  4. When did
you first start writing and when did you finish your first
book?
I started writing as a kid. First book was
published in 1992.   5.
How did you choose the genre you write
in?
My mom introduced me to romantic classics like
The Count of Monte Cristo and Emile Zola’s
Nana when I was around 10.  My nose was
always in a book.  Then, on a 7th grade
field trip, I saw Gone With the Wind.  I
was hooked on romance!   6.
Do you listen to music while writing?
I must have quiet when writing.  Music distracts me.
  7. Chips or
chocolate?
Chips AND chocolate.  
8. Do you ever experience writer’s
block?
After my first husband died, I could no longer
write – or even read – fiction for a couple of years.
  9. Do you
work with an outline, or just write?
I just write for the
most part, but publishers want an outline, so I write one, then
modify it as I see fit.   10.
 
Is there any particular author or book
that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an
adult?
As mentioned Gone With
the Wind
was and still is my favorite novel, but my
favorite writer is Edith Wharton, whom I wouldn’t dream of trying
to emulate.   11.
 
Can you tell us about your challenges in
getting your first book published?
My first book took
place in Washington, DC, and I was told at the time, “No one is
interested in novels set in world of politics.”  How the worm
has turned! But as that novel was making the rounds – and being
rejected – I wrote my second, which actually received bids from two
publishers.   12.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is
there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you
would change?
No.   13.
 
How do you market your work? What avenues
have you found to work best for your genre?
I now market
through social media.   14.
 
Have you written a book you love that you
have not been able to get published?
Yes, see answer 11.
  15.  Is
anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all
imagination?
REGRET NOT A MOMENT is pretty much
imagination.  NO MORE LONELY NIGHTS is based on my mother’s
very glamorous life.   16.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to
write and why?
Happy endings, of course!
  17.  How
did you come up with the title?
Kicked around possible
titles with my agent, my editor and friends.
  18.
 
What project are you working on
now?
I’m working on selling my two e-books and on the
mini-book in my blog.  That book is LOVE BOOT CAMP:  MAKE
YOUR MAN ADORE YOU WITH TOUGH LOVE.  
19. Are there certain characters you
would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to
work with?
I’m contemplating a sequel to REGRET NOT A
MOMENT.   20.
What has been the toughest criticism given to
you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
Use
the links to go the books’ Amazon pages. You’ll see very detailed
reader raves, as well as good reviews from Library
Journal, Kirkus
, and Romantic Times,
but Publisher’s Weekly blasted me for all the
fashion detail in REGRET NOT A MOMENT. 21. Is there
anything that you would like to say to your readers and
fans?
Please, Dear Readers, take time to post a customer
review.  Getting a good one makes you walk on air.  A bad
one is food for thought.

It has been a pleasure to have
you on the blog today!  I hope everyone has a little better
insight into the life of Nicole NcGehee!

Regret - Cover

Buy Regret Not a Moment on Amazon

Synopsis

The year is 1930. Beautiful, witty
Devon is the daughter of a prominent Virginia family. Many men have
fallen under her spell, but none has captured her heart, until she
meets New York tycoon John Alexander. Their future seems assured:
they will marry, raise a family, turn their country estate into the
best Thoroughbred farm in the nation. But what Devon cannot foresee
are the conflicts that will drive away her husband or the tragedy
that will devastate their marriage. Be transported from lush
Virginia hunt country to sophisticated New York and the embassies
of Paris. Travel from the Hollywood glamour of Hearst castle in its
heyday to the turmoil of war-torn Cairo, and the enclaves of
aristocratic England. Devon’s tale takes you through the decades
from peaceful pre-war America to the danger of World War II, and
the racial unrest of the South of the 1950s and’60s. Enjoy the
thrill of Thoroughbred racing with one of the first women to break
into the male-dominated sport and one of the first African-American
men to become renowned as a world-class trainer. Best-selling
author Jennifer Blake called this book, “as warm and spirited as
its heroine, as gracious as its Southern background, a tale rich
with insight into the enduring nature of love and desire. I enjoyed
it immensely.” Iris Rainer Dart, author of Beaches (made into a
classic movie starring Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey) called
Regret not a Moment, “A bewitching book! You will never forget the
captivating Devon Richmond…” regretdreamcast

Excerpt

LIGHT spilled
festively from the long windows of the Magrath mansion. The sight
made Devon’s heart beat a little faster as the tires of her
parents’ Cadillac crunched on the circular drive. Parties always
filled her with anticipation, and the Magraths’ parties were among
the most sparkling.

Built to resemble
a French chateau, the lavish three-story Magrath home was a
departure from the Georgian-style and antebellum structures that
sprinkled the Virginia countryside. The architecture, a romantic
fantasy of Helena Magrath’s Francophile grandfather, was
complemented by a houseful of valuable antiques gathered over the
course of seventy years.

As Devon
entered the richly gilded Louis XIV-style salon, an arm through one
of each parent’s, she searched the room for their hostess. All the
faces she saw were familiar and she smiled at those closest to her.
Then a circle of young people parted, and in their midst Devon saw
a stranger.

Her scan of the room
stopped at once and her gaze fixed on him. He was one of those rare
people who, for no clearly definable reason, immediately drew the
eye. He didn’t blend into the crowd, he stood above it. His
charisma was due to something beyond good looks; something beyond
self-confidence. It was a combination of eloquent gesture,
carriage, expression — a magnetism that absorbed the attention.
Though John Alexander was completely unaware of Devon, she found
her eyes locked on his profile.

He
looked no older than many of her friends, but he moved with utter
self-assurance. He was no taller than the other men in the room,
but his manner of carrying himself made him appear more powerful.
He had the look of an athlete, with wide shoulders tapering down to
a narrow waist. He gave the impression that he was extremely
capable — no … indomitable. His face was all male angularity,
with a strong, almost stubborn jaw. His nose was slightly larger
than average and had a small hook in it, which gave his face a
keen, somewhat hard look. To Devon, the men standing beside him
looked callow in comparison.

The
Richmonds’ hostess, Rosalind Magrath, spotted her guests and moved
toward them. As she greeted the new arrivals, she looked over her
shoulder to see what was so enthralling Devon. The young woman
looked hypnotized. When Rosalind saw the direction of Devon’s gaze,
she smiled to herself. Giving Laurel Richmond a knowing look, Mrs.
Magrath led the family across the vast room to meet the guest from
New York.

Alexander turned as Devon
and her parents approached. And he faltered in midsentence. Devon
was looking directly at him in a way that made them seem alone in
the room, and she was one of the most stunning women he had ever
seen. He was incapable of looking away. It wasn’t just her beauty —
she had about her an attitude of daring that fascinated him. And
she moved with the kind of self-confidence usually found only in
women at least ten years older.

Devon
was unaware of moving through the crowd; unaware even of breathing.
Unaware of anything but his eyes. And now she stood before him,
staring up into those extraordinary eyes. Rimmed with long, dark
lashes, they were so deep blue as to be almost navy. They were an
arrestingly beautiful touch in a face that was otherwise
rugged.

“Ah, our guest of honor,” Mrs.
Magrath said, pretending not to notice the strange little island of
silence amid the room’s conversational hum. “Mr. Alexander, I would
like to present you to our neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Richmond from
Evergreen — and this is their daughter Devon. As I mentioned, she
is to be your dinner partner this evening.”

The space between John and Devon hummed with
electricity. “Then I am a very lucky man,” he said.

Devon almost never blushed. But now her mother was
surprised to see that her cheeks were distinctly rose colored as
she stared up at the stranger.

“How do
you do, Mr. Alexander,” murmured Devon. She didn’t dare extend her
hand to him. His touch would singe her, she was certain of it. The
sheer physical impact of him left her almost breathless. She felt .
. . naked.

And Alexander felt the heat
in her. It was the kind of seductive heat that more practiced women
tried to exude deliberately, but this young woman did it naturally.
He knew she was innocent. And this combination he found arousing.
 His eyes refused to

release
hers. He was thinking what it would be like to make love to her. To
take her and —

“Devon Richmond! Are
you avoiding me again?” A laughing voice broke the spell. The elder
Richmonds drifted away as Devon turned her head to greet Brent
Hartwick, her former beau. Hartwick had recently married the
Magraths’ daughter, thus Rosalind Magrath’s generosity in
partnering Devon with the handsome guest of honor. Hartwick was one
of the few people the Richmonds knew who had taken a large loss in
the crash of 1929. Most of the other wealthy residents of Fauquier
County and bordering Loudon County believed real estate was the
best invest-ment and had scorned the stock-buying craze.

Hartwick was the exception. Born and raised in
Upperville, Virginia, he had gone to live in New York, taking a job
with an investment banking firm. As a gentleman of the 1920s, he
had regarded his job as a pastime, nothing more. Until he became
afflicted with stock-buying fever — and lost a fortune. Many
believed that had been the reason he had stopped waiting for Devon
Richmond to agree to marry him and had instead settled for the
wealthy Helena Magrath.

Helena Magrath
Hartwick quickly came to her husband’s side when she noticed him
talking to Devon. She was conscious of the gossip that surrounded
her husband and Devon, and was particularly jealous of the other
young woman.

“Devon, dear, how lovely
you look!” exclaimed Helena.

Devon was
irritated at Helena’s habit ever since her marriage of
condescendingly addressing unmarried women as “dear,” as though
she, Helena, were much older.

“Helena
. . . dear,” replied Devon, allowing a few seconds to elapse
between the two words.

Helena turned
to Alexander. “Devon is the most eligible young lady in the county.
I promise she’ll keep you amused. Why, you’re lucky we didn’t
invite one of our younger ladies to be your dinner partner. None of
them would be even half as good a conversationalist as
Devon.”

“And yet, a quick wit doesn’t
necessarily come with age, does it, Helena?” asked Devon pointedly,
to the chuckles of John Alexander and Brent Hartwick.

Helena, glaring at her husband, pulled him away,
throwing over her shoulder, “Please enjoy your evening,” in a tone
that implied she meant the opposite.

Devon turned to Alexander.   “Was that
wicked?” she asked,

wincing comically
as though she expected to be reprimanded. She was more herself
again — the interruption had given her time to regain her
poise.

“Yes. And well deserved,”
replied Alexander with a smile. “The moment I saw you, I knew you
were a woman to be reckoned with.”

“Well, I …” Devon looked up to find his eyes boring
in to her, wiping all rational thought from her mind. Try to
remember what you were going to say, she commanded herself. “I …
I don’t like being patronized, and I’m afraid Helena does that
sometimes.”

“I’m surprised she dares,”
John said with a droll look. Devon did not seem the type of woman
who would accept such behavior.

Devon
simply smiled, annoyed that she couldn’t think of a witty
rejoinder. She could again feel the turbulence rising in her body.
She had to avoid looking into his eyes. If she could avoid that,
she could remain composed. He must think I’m a tongue-tied ninny,
Devon thought to herself.

But to John,
who did not know her, Devon appeared composed. She would not meet
his eyes, so that brief glimpse into her thoughts that had so
aroused him was gone. And he was sorry for that. He had the sudden
urge to speak to her of the unmistakable electricity between them,
but he suppressed it, falling back on small talk instead.

“Tell me, Miss Richmond, do you like New York?”
He was uttering conventional phrases, but his voice sent goose
bumps through her, as though he were blowing on the back of her
neck.

“Yes . . . yes, in a way.” What
had he asked her? Oh, yes. New York. “We have a place there
actually.” The home to which she so casually referred was a stylish
five-story town house, purchased after the recent sale of the
family’s Italianate villa on Fifth Avenue. Devon’s father, like
many with old wealth, did not enjoy squandering it. He recognized
that the era of Fifth Avenue mansions that occupied entire city
blocks was coming to a close. The fact was, the Depression had
caused many of the wealthy to scale down the wildly lavish
socializing that had characterized the previous decade.

“Do you visit New York often?” John wondered why
he had never met her before.

“Not too
often,” Devon said. As she spoke, she began to feel more in
control. “I like to visit, but there are too many people. Besides,
this is my real home.”

“You don’t feel
isolated here, living miles away from your nearest neighbor?” John
asked.

“Not a bit. I rather like it.
As you can see, we are a close-knit society.”

John found himself wanting to know more about what she
thought, about what she did each day. He wanted to know everything
about her. “Don’t you get bored in the country?”

Devon was growing intrigued with the conversation
itself now. She was amused at the man’s assumptions about life in
Virginia. “Mr. Alexander, I’ve never been bored a day in my life.
The occupation of my mind does not depend on others.”

“No, I can believe that you do very well on your
own.” He wondered if he dared ask the question that sprung to mind.
Would she be insulted? It would be interesting to see her reaction.
“Would it be impertinent of me to ask why someone as beautiful as
you has not married?”

Devon, now
completely unself-conscious, turned to face Alexander squarely.
“Probably.” Her mouth turned up at the corners in a sly smile. “I
suppose the Magraths have treated you to quite some amount of
speculation on that subject?”

Alexander could not tell whether she was offended. As
he was trying to decide, Devon burst out laughing. “Don’t feel
uncomfortable. Everyone we know speculates on that. The fact of the
matter is, I’ve never fallen in love with anyone. A very simple
answer. Why everyone tries to complicate it is beyond me. I’m not
going to give up my independence for someone I don’t truly love.
And no matter how wonderful the rewards of marriage, one does give
up a measure of independence, doesn’t one? Is that why you, Mr.
Alexander, have never married?”

Now it
was Alexander’s turn to laugh. He was thirty-two years old, and it
was not uncommon for men his age to be unmarried. He was
forward-thinking enough to know that it was unjust that Devon was
questioned because she was unmarried while he could remain a
perfectly respectable, even desirable, bachelor. Yet he was enough
a man of his times to find her unconventional for even raising the
point.

Turning serious, Alexander
considered Devon’s question. He had loved women, even been in love.
When he was nineteen he had wanted to marry a young Frenchwoman he
had met while visiting Italy. Of course his family had been
adamantly opposed to his marrying a Roman Catholic, as hers had
been opposed to her marrying an Episcopalian, and somehow the two
young people had not had the will to fight their families’
disapproval.

John’s second love had
been a young married woman of his own

set. She had told him that her husband was cruel to
her. Captivated as much by his role as savior as he was by the lady
herself, he had willingly begun a passionate affair with her. He
had begged Janine to leave her husband so that he, John, could
marry her. He smiled to think of his naiveté at age twenty-three.
Of course she had refused. Only when her attention began to wander
to another young man of his circle did he realize how stupid he had
been.

Since then, he was rarely
without at least one mistress, but he never again had the desire to
marry. John enjoyed being free to travel, to explore new interests,
to go out when he felt like it. He did not want to answer to
anyone. Furthermore, as more of his friends married, he noticed
that their wives, no matter how exciting before marriage, all
seemed to turn themselves into replicas of one another. They
occupied themselves in the same ways and had the same thoughts and
standards.

“I’m pleased to see that
you’re taking my question seriously, but you needn’t take it too
seriously,” said Devon, breaking into his thoughts.

John laughed. “I’m sorry. I was trying to come up with
an honest answer. Suffice it to say that judging from my friends,
people turn dull when they marry.”

For
a moment Devon forgot her attraction to John. The generalization
annoyed her. “I do not intend to turn dull!” Dull! She thought
about her parents. They were content, but not dull. She thought
about her sister, married to a diplomat and living in Paris. That
wasn’t dull.

“So you do intend to
marry?” John asked, sensing her annoyance and anxious to move the
conversation along.

“If I fall in
love. And I’m certain I will.” Devon felt suddenly shy as she said
the words. Her conversation with this stranger had taken a
surprisingly intimate turn!

“And what
will you do to prevent your marriage from becoming dull?” He asked
the question with real curiosity, all mockery gone from his
voice.

Devon thought the question
presumptuous, and was about to say so, but something in the
seriousness of Alexander’s tone, the studious curiosity in his
eyes, stopped her rebuke. Instead, she mulled over her response,
allowing the silence between them to lengthen.

Finally, she said in a thoughtful tone, “You see, Mr.
Alexander,

you and I disagree on a
fundamental point. You say that the institution of marriage turns
people dull. I disagree. I believe dull people give the institution
a bad name. Maybe they attribute their dullness, their lack of
adventure, to the inhibiting influence of their spouse. People do
what they want to do, Mr. Alexander. When interesting people marry,
and they retain their independent interests even after they are
married, I see no reason why their marriages should not be equally
interesting.”

“Well spoken, Miss
Richmond. It is a point of view well worth considering.”

Regrets $1.99

Praise
for Regret Not a Moment

“A sparkling
story, a luscious setting, a memorable heroine.”

–Janet Dailey, author of The Calder Saga

“You will never forget the captivating Devon
Richmond and her dramatic story.  It is a bewitching
book!”

–Iris Rainer Dart, author of
Beaches

“The story is as warm and
spirited as its Southern background – a tale rich with insight into
the enduring nature of love and desire.  I enjoyed it
immensely.”

–Jennifer Blake, author
of The Italian Billionaire series

“Passionate romance spanning three continents and
three decades…Readers won’t regret a few hours spent with [this
book].

–Kirkus Reviews

“This light, entertaining novel holds reader
interest until the end…Recommended where Danielle Steel is
popular.”

–Library Journal

“This well-researched novel holds a wealth of
detail which makes characters and scenes come
alive…Fascinating…”

–Romantic
Times

About the Author

Nicole
McGehee was born in South Carolina, but spent most of her adult
life in the Washington, DC, area. She began her career in politics
as a lobbyist and event planner for several medical non-profits.
Later, she worked as a speech writer and legislative aide in the
U.S. House of Representatives. From there, she went to work in the
West Wing of the White House. After leaving the White House, Nicole
started her own publication on business and trade in Latin America
and the Caribbean. She owned the journal for seven years, then sold
it shortly after signing a two-book contract with publishers
Little, Brown and Company (hard cover) and Warner Books
(paperback). Her books have been translated into French, Spanish
and German, and were also published in the United Kingdom and
Canada. In addition, her travel writing has appeared in the
Washington Post, the Denver Post, the Miami Herald, and Honeymoon
magazine. Nicole is co-author of The Insiders’ Guide to Washington,
DC, 3rd edition. In 1997, her first husband, Michael, died in a car
accident. Devastated, Nicole sold their home in Virginia and moved
to ski country in Colorado. Five years later, she met her second
husband, David. They continue to live in Colorado. Nicole has an
Associate’s degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New
York and a BA from Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

Links

Twitter: @nmcgeheefiction
Website: www.nicolemcgeheefiction.com.
profilewebsite

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