Hi Sheila and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, A Wedding on Primrose Street!
Please summarize the book for the readers here:
This is a story of mothers and daughters and weddings and features the adventures of two wedding planners whose lives have followed similar paths and are about to intersect. You’ve heard of Bridezillas. Well, my character Anne Richardson is about to become a Momzilla and learn some important lessons on the way to her daughter’s wedding day.
Please share the opening lines of this book:
“I don’t care what my daughter thinks she wants. We are not having daisies at the wedding. They stink.”
Please share a few Random facts about this book…
It has plenty of funny wedding anecdotes in it and some great recipes. And, if you’ve been enjoying my LIFE IN ICICLE FALLS series, you’ll get the scoop on the weddings of some of your favorite town characters.
Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. As you wrote your protagonist was there anything about them that surprised you?
Since my characters have no free will of their own it’s probably more a case of me surprising them. One thing I enjoyed about this book were my wedding planners Anne Richardson and Roberta Gilbert – they’re a little like two sides of the same coin, with similar and yet oh, so different life experiences.
Did any scene have you crying or laughing (or blushing) while writing it?
Well, here’s one that made me laugh, sick puppy that I am. My poor Momzilla, Anne. Her daughter wanted to get married in Vegas, not at all what Anne wants for her. But, it seems that Vegas won’t go away. Now it’s even in Anne’s dreams…
Around one in the morning, she took a melatonin tablet to help herself sleep. One wasn’t going to do it. She took another and finally drifted off.
And went to Laney’s wedding. But instead of wearing her mother-of-the-bride dress, she was prancing around in some skimpy showgirl outfit and sporting a huge, feathery headdress that was so heavy she had trouble holding up her head. This made it hard to keep her balance, and when a groomsman wearing an Elvis-style white rhinestone jumpsuit escorted her down the aisle, she found herself weaving back and forth like a woman who’d had too much champagne.
She toppled into her seat. Cam should have slipped in beside her but he was nowhere to be seen. Instead, Kendra’s dog, Barney, jumped up onto the pew, pink wrapping paper hanging from his jaws.
She looked up front and there stood Drake in raggedy pirate garb, a patch over one eye. The “Wedding March” began to play, but it wasn’t wedding music. Instead, Elvis, the King himself, appeared, dressed in a white rhinestone jumpsuit, and began to sing “All Shook Up” backed by the Flesh Eaters, who wore zombie makeup. And here came Laney in some kind of serving-wench outfit. Where was her wedding gown?
Anne tried to stand up and demand her daughter march right back down the aisle and put on her gown, but the heavy headdress propelled her forward and she fell on her face. Barney leaped off the pew and began tugging at the headdress, growling playfully.
“What a disgrace,” hissed Aunt Maude, who’d seated herself directly behind Anne. “The woman can’t even plan her daughter’s wedding. I knew this would happen. Didn’t I say this would happen?”
The woman seated next to Maude seemed to be her twin. She whispered back, “I heard they wanted to go to Vegas and Anne put a wrench in it.”
“I did not,” Anne protested, trying to struggle to her feet.
“Get that woman out of here,” said the minister, who looked suspiciously like Jack Sparrow. “She’s messing everything up.”
“I’m the mother of the bride!”
Drake pointed a finger at her. “She’s a Momzilla. Get her out of here.”
“I’m going to be your mother-in-law. You can’t do this to me!”
But they did. Two burly men in white rhinestone-encrusted tuxes dragged her down the aisle, past the guests. Some stared at her with pity. Some giggled. One fellow showgirl laughed out loud.
“Sorry, sis,” Kendra called. (Why was she dressed like a zombie?) “I’ll save you a donut.”
Down the aisle they went and into the foyer. They pushed open the church door and hurled Anne out.
But there was no sidewalk to catch her. The church gripped the edge of a cliff and she found herself falling, screaming as she went.
She awoke before she landed, Cam gently stroking her arm. “It’s okay, Annie, you’re having a bad dream.”
Bad dream? There was the understatement of the century.
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters?
I would have my characters enact the scene where our heroine’s daughter and her intended announce their wedding plans.
… she was married to a great guy, and come June they’d be celebrating twenty-five years together. They still hadn’t settled on what they wanted to do, but at the moment an Alaskan cruise looked tempting to Cam.
Speaking of tempting, she thought the following day as she stopped by Le Rêve bakery on her way home from running errands. Their chocolate mousse cake would make the perfect finish to the steak and baked potatoes Cam was serving up.
Actually, the perfect finish had more to do with the lacy red bra and panties she was wearing under her black blouse and jeans. Eye candy that Cam would enjoy unwrapping.
Back at their 1906 traditional on Queen Anne Hill she found him out in the remodeled kitchen, comfortable in jeans and a T-shirt, putting together a tossed salad. Salad, grilled meat and baked potatoes—that was the extent of his culinary skills.
But he had other, more valuable skills, and he gave her a sample of what was going to happen later when he pulled her against him and kissed her. Oh, he was a luscious thing. Six feet of beautiful muscle, dark hair with a few silver highlights sneaking in to make him look distinguished and a mouth that could melt a girl with one kiss. She’d been hot for him way back in high school, and nothing had changed.
“Did you resist the urge to go by your office?” he asked.
“Yes, smart guy. After yesterday I need a break. I swear, Laurel Browne is enough to make me want to set my hair on fire with a unity candle.”
He snickered. “Well, I guess you can’t blame the woman. It’s a big thing when your kid gets married. Speaking of kids, guess who called a couple of minutes ago.”
“Laney.” In spite of the fact that their daughter was ostensibly sharing an old house in the Fremont district with a girlfriend and no longer lived at home, she stopped by a couple of times a week and texted or called Anne every day. Sometimes to say hi but usually because she was experiencing a crisis or seeking advice or had news to share. She’d had a fight with her boyfriend, Drake. Or the tips at her barista job had been crummy. Or—and here was good news—she was going back to school next fall. Now she wanted to get a teaching degree so she could teach art as well as create it. Anne had smiled at that. Cam could finally quit worrying about whether Laney would ever be able to earn a decent living.
“Close but no cigar,” he said. “It was Drake.”
“And he was calling because?”
“To tell me he’s going to propose tonight. Did you know they’d been looking at rings?”
“No.” Anne felt the slightest bit hurt. Why hadn’t Laney told her?
“He’s taking her to the Space Needle to pop the question.”
“He can afford that on an auto technician’s salary?”
Cam shrugged. “Where there’s a will there’s a way. The guy is a saver. Anyway, don’t be surprised if they show up here later.”
Hmm. Maybe it was time for a plan B. Anne began to unbutton her blouse. “What if we had plans for later?”
Cam’s gaze was riveted on her breasts, wrapped in red lace. His voice turned silky and he ran a hand up her arm. “Never put off till later what you can enjoy right now,” he said, slipping off the blouse. “Red, my favorite color.”
“I know,” she said.
He tugged playfully on the waistband of her jeans. “What have we got under here? More red?”
She slithered out of her jeans and showed him.
“Oh, yeah. That’s what I’m talkin’ about.” He pulled her close once again and nibbled her ear. “How do you do it, babe?”
“Stay as beautiful as you were back in high school?”
“You’re so full of it,” she murmured, sliding her fingers through his hair.
“No, it’s true. You’re still the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.”
Then he hadn’t looked around much. Her nose was too thin and her feet were too long. Gray hairs were invading the brown ones at such a rapid rate she was having to increase her visits to her favorite salon on The Ave, and she had a colony of cellulite growing on her thighs. Those flaws didn’t seem to bother him, though.
They sure weren’t bothering him at the moment. He picked her up and hoisted her onto the kitchen counter. “Let’s start with dessert tonight.”
“You mean the cake?” she teased.
“I’m not dignifying that with an answer,” he said, and kissed her.
Oh, yes. Happy Valentine’s Day.
Later, as they ate steaks off the grill and toasted each other with champagne, she was still feeling the glow from their lovemaking. Her husband had magic hands, and he sure knew how to make Valentine’s Day memorable.
This one was going to be extra special. Cam was right; Laney would either call or come by to show off her new ring. What a perfect ending to the day, celebrating love with the next generation of family.
Her baby, her only child, was getting married, and to her high school sweetheart, just as Anne had done. Technically it was more a case of marrying a post–high school sweetheart, although the two had been friends for years. Anne and Cam had watched Drake change from a skinny, pimple-faced boy with tats and crazy-colored hair to a responsible young man who was ready to settle down. She could hardly wait to help Laney plan their wedding.
Of course, they’d talked a lot about weddings over the years. How could they not, considering what Anne did for a living? It had started when Laney used to play bride as a small child, dressed up with a pillowcase for a veil and a bouquet of some silk flowers Anne used for crafting. When Laney was in high school, she used to joke about wearing sneakers under her wedding dress like the bride in the old Steve Martin movie, Father of the Bride. (Naturally, they’d watched that, along with My Best Friend’s Wedding, Runaway Bride, Made of Honor, 27 Dresses, My Big, Fat Greek Wedding and any other wedding movie that came down the pike.) Hopefully, Laney had forgotten the tennis shoe idea.
Anne could already envision Cam escorting their daughter down the aisle at Queen Anne Presbyterian, surrounded by flowers, Laney wearing a beautiful wedding gown, her long, chestnut hair falling to her shoulders in gentle waves. Anne’s vision conveniently ignored the tattooed artwork running up Laney’s neck and covering her right arm.
“There is such a thing as overkill,” she’d said when her daughter went for her second tattoo, but Laney had just laughed and kissed her and skipped off to the tattoo parlor to commemorate her twenty-first birthday with more body art. Why, oh, why did her daughter have to take everything to extremes?
Because she was Laney. She’d always pushed the boundaries, staying out past curfews, cutting classes her freshman year in high school (thank God they’d broken her of that habit), dyeing her hair every color of the rainbow, adorning her ears with piercings. She’d gotten her nose pierced, too, but Anne had talked her into getting a little diamond rather than the big stake she’d talked about, so at least that looked classy.
She’s another generation, Anne constantly reminded herself, and they have their own style. Except style was such a subjective thing, and it wasn’t only Laney’s generation getting tattoos. Women Anne’s age did it, too. One of her friends had a discreet rose on her ankle. It just seemed that the younger women, especially her daughter, never knew when to stop. It was enough to make a mother crazy. But then, she told herself, it was the duty of every generation to drive their parents nuts. Heaven knew, she’d done it to her own mother. Still…
“What are you thinking about?” Cam asked as he cut off a piece of steak.
She smiled at him. “Our baby’s getting married.” And that eclipsed fashion frustration. Fashion issues could be dealt with later.
“Yeah, I can’t believe it. Seems like only yesterday that she had colic and I was walking the floor with her.” He shook his head. “They’re so young.”
“So were we,” Anne pointed out.
He nodded. “Our parents probably had this same conversation.”
Anne was thankful she’d been spared hearing her parents’ conversation. The one she’d had with her mother had been unpleasant enough.
“Drake’s a good kid, though,” Cam said. “They’ll be happy.”
“If they’re half as happy as we are, they’ll have a great marriage,” Anne said, and took a bite of her baked potato, which she’d slathered in butter and sour cream. Sour cream, butter, chocolate cake. She’d have to eat nothing but salad for the next week.
They were watching a romantic comedy and eating their cake when Laney called. “Mom, can Drake and I come over? We’ve got something to show you.”
“Sure,” Anne said, playing dumb. “Come on by.”
“Okay. See you in a few.”
Twenty minutes later, her daughter was walking through the door, dressed for Valentine’s Day in black leggings and a short denim skirt she’d probably scored at her favorite consignment store. Her curls peeped out from under a black tam and she wore red platform shoes and a matching red top under her black leather jacket. She’d accented the outfit with a long, red scarf.
She was followed by her boyfriend, a tall, skinny, tattooed drink of water wearing jeans and a black T-shirt under a black leather bomber jacket. Unlike Laney, he didn’t have an ear full of hoops and cute earrings. Instead, he wore gauges that had stretched holes in his earlobes. Anne had to admit that if she’d gone boyfriend shopping for her daughter she would’ve passed him over in favor of a preppy-looking boy in law school. But what would Laney have had in common with that kind of boy? She and Drake loved each other and that was what counted. Just as Cam said, he was a good kid. Tonight he wore a smile that reached from ear to ear.
And Laney sported a ring with a diamond best viewed under a magnifying glass. “See what I got for Valentine’s Day?” she crowed.
Anne took her daughter’s hand and gave her ring the attention it demanded as Cam clapped Drake on the back and welcomed him to the family. “It’s gorgeous,” she said. Then she hugged both her daughter and her future son-in-law. “We’re so happy for you two. Come on in and let’s have some chocolate cake to celebrate.”
“You’ll never guess where we went to dinner,” Laney said, following Anne into the kitchen. “The Space Needle.”
“Pretty impressive. Did Drake rob a bank?”
“He’s been saving for this since Christmas.”
At least someone in their marriage would be good with money. “Well, how was it?”
“Oh, wow,” Laney said. “The view from up there, you can see everything. Puget Sound, the city, the mountains. And the food was sooo yummy.”
“Maybe you don’t have room for cake,” Anne teased.
“I always have room for cake. You know that.”
Anne cut pieces and put them on plates, and Laney took them to where Drake and Cam sat in the living room. Meanwhile, Anne grabbed two more glasses and another bottle of champagne.
Once the glasses were filled, Cam raised his in salute to the happy couple squeezed together in an oversize armchair. “To Laney and Drake. May you both be as happy as we are.”
“Thanks, Dad,” Laney said, and she and Drake kissed each other.
“Have you set a date?” Cam asked.
“We’re thinking June,” Laney said.
The same month Anne and Cam had gotten married. “An excellent month,” he said, winking at Anne.
But it didn’t give them much time to pull together a wedding.
“We thought it would be really cool to go to Vegas,” Drake added.
The two exchanged besotted smiles.
Anne hardly saw them. Instead, she was seeing her daughter in some tiny chapel, all dressed up like a showgirl with a big, feathery headdress. And there was Drake, wearing a sparkly, white Elvis jumpsuit. To Laney’s “I do,” he responded, “Thank you. Thank you very much.”
If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of the book, what would it be and why?
Remember, the wedding isn’t half as important as the love it represents!
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned for 2015?
I’m working to finish up a fun book for next spring that I hope readers will enjoy reading as much as I’m enjoying writing. I’m also excited about this year’s Christmas tale, CHRISTMAS ON CANDY CANE LANE.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: Print copy of WEDDING ON PRIMROSE STREET and some wedding themed munchie to enjoy while reading it.
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: Even with a wedding planner weddings don’t always go off perfectly. What’s the funniest wedding disaster you’ve ever seen?
Excerpt from A Wedding on Primrose Street:
“What do you want to do this weekend?” Drake asked as he dragged a French fry through his ketchup.
Laney stared out the car window at the row of customers standing in front of Dick’s Drive-in in the University district, waiting to order burgers and shakes. “Uh, I have to go to Icicle Falls this weekend.”
“Huh?” The look he gave her was both surprised and accusatory.
Suddenly the hamburger she’d been eating didn’t taste so good. She should’ve told him. She’d had all week to tell him. They always hung out on the weekend.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I should’ve told you.”
“Yeah, that would’ve been nice.”
Now he was frowning and she felt like a rotten girlfriend. People who were in love should spend their weekends together. “My mom wants me to go see a house up there that she thinks would be great for us to get married in.”
He stuffed a handful of French fries in his mouth and digested that information.
“It can’t hurt to look,” she went on. “Since we haven’t actually decided what we want to do.”
“Well, I know what I want to do, and I thought you did, too.”
“I do. I did. I don’t know.” Eloping to Vegas had sounded like fun. She’d never been and was dying to see the fountain at the Bellagio, eat in one of those fancy restaurants and play the slot machines. But then her mom had talked about how important her wedding was and how Laney didn’t want to do anything she’d regret and she’d had second thoughts. And Mom kept talking about that place in Icicle Falls, like it was so special. “I just want to go up there and see. Okay?”
“Sure, but…” He frowned.
“If you’re going up to look at a place where we might get married, I should go, too.”
He should, but nobody had invited him. Oh, that hamburger really wasn’t sitting well. “It’s a girls’ trip. My aunt and grandma are going, too.” Like that was supposed to make him not feel left out? “You’d be so bored,” Laney added.
Now he was looking out the window and frowning.
“Don’t be mad,” she said, laying a pleading hand on his thigh. She hated it when he wasn’t happy.
“I’m not mad, I’m…” The frown got bigger. “Well, okay, I’m kind of mad.”
“I probably won’t like the place, anyway.” But maybe she would. If Mom thought it was such a wonderful place, she needed to at least check it out. After all, Mom was the wedding expert.
He took a deep breath and expelled it, then reached over and gave her the little one-handed neck massage that always made her melt. “It’s okay if you do. I want you to be happy.”
“Hey, I’m marrying you. How can I not be happy?”
That took away the last of his frown. And the kiss she gave him put a smile back on his face. “We could go to Vegas for our honeymoon,” he said. “We were gonna hang around there after we got married anyway.”
It seemed like a good compromise. Laney set aside the vision of herself standing on the deck of the wedding ship in Siren’s Cove at Treasure Island. If they had a more traditional wedding, they could have a big party with a ton of guests. That would be way better. Not very unusual or interesting, though. Kind of…boring.
She realized she was the one frowning now. A more traditional wedding didn’t have to be boring, she told herself. She could give it flair, add her own personal touch. Besides, a wedding with lots of family and friends would be fun and would make her parents happy, especially her mom. Everyone would be happy.
Well, maybe not Drake. Oh, man.
Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Meet the Author:
Sheila Roberts lives on the waterfront in Bremerton, Washington. She’s had over 30 books published under various names. She did lots of things before settling into her career as an author. Her many activities included owning a singing telegram company and playing in a band. Her band days are over, but she still enjoys writing songs. Sheila’s books are best sellers and often appear as Reader’s Digest Condensed Books. Her novel “Angel Lane” was named one of Amazon’s top ten romances in 2009. Her novel “On Strike for Christmas” was a Lifetime Network movie and her Christmas tale “The Nine Lives of Christmas” was a Hallmark holiday hit. Her popular newsletter Super You helps women across the country live more fulfilling lives.
When she’s not speaking to women’s groups or at conferences or hanging out with her girlfriends she can be found writing about those things near and dear to women’s hearts: family, friends, and chocolate.
I hope they’ll visit my website: http://www.sheilasplace.com/
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