Hi Tamara and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Saving Mr. Perfect!
Please summarize the book for the readers here:
SAVING MR. PERFECT is the second book in the Penelope Blue series, which is a caper-style romance that follows a jewel thief and her FBI agent husband. It picks up about three months after the first book ends. Penelope has given up her life of crime to become a housewife, but she gets crazy bored, so she takes it upon herself to help her husband find a copycat jewel thief running amok on the streets of New York. As one does.
Please share the opening lines of this book:
Infiltrating the FBI is a lot more difficult than you might think.
The seventh-floor waiting room in the New York field office where I’ve been asked to wait is one I’m intimately familiar with. There are no windows to penetrate from the outside and no air vents big enough to squeeze through, which means it’s impossible to access to this floor unless security clears you first.
Please share a few Fun facts about this book…
- I didn’t know who the villain was going to be until I was about 2/3 of the way done with the book. Until then, I was juggling four potential culprits.
- In this book, readers finally get a glimpse inside Grant’s POV!
- Grant’s mom, a no-nonsense nurse, is modeled after my own mother (who is also a no-nonsense nurse).
- Every time I put someone driving a car in this series, my editor dies a little inside. Having lived in New York herself, she’s furiously opposed to people just hopping in cars and going where they need to.
Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. As you wrote your protagonist was there anything about them that surprised you?
One of the things I struggle with most is writing very clear protagonists and antagonists. As a middle child, I tend to walk a very diplomatic line. I see the good in every potential bad guy and a little bad in every good guy.
The result is that the characters in both STEALING MR. RIGHT and SAVING MR. PERFECT are a contrary mix. They do good things for bad reasons and bad things for good reasons—and you usually can’t help liking them for it. I’m usually pleasantly surprised by just how honorable even the most deplorable characters become by the end.
What, in your mind, distinguishes this book from other books out there in the same genre?
It’s unique for a romance series, in that the books follow the same couple over a longer period of time. It’s unique for a mystery/heist series, in that there’s more of a romantic element than usual. I like to think of it as the best of both worlds!
The first kiss…
Well, these two have been married for over a year, so they’ve had a few kisses by the time this book starts. Here’s their first on-page embrace, though.
I bump him with my ass in mock annoyance, but his hands slide down to my hips and hold me there. It’s the perfect position to have me pinned between a rock and a hard place—namely, him and the kitchen counter. Most of the rocks and hard places in my life include Grant in some form or another, but at least this one comes with a kiss that takes my breath away.
He starts, as he so often does, with my neck. I’ll never know what it is about that part of a woman’s anatomy that interests him so, but from the way he plants a line of soft kisses along the slope of my shoulder and up to my jawline, it’s clear he intends to take his time—and enjoy himself in the process.
Did any scene have you blushing, crying, or laughing while writing it? And why?
Since I’m writing a heist series, I felt really, really, really compelled to put a laser grid security system somewhere in one of the books. I don’t know why, but no heist feels complete to me without one. I managed to get my lasers in SAVING MR. PERFECT, and I laughed like a maniac the whole time I wrote these scenes.
I know what that blinking red light is. It might not look like much, but should one of us light up a cigarette and start puffing, the answer would be clear.
Oh, God. They’re going to try and get past lasers. Riker must be in his element—he’s been preparing for lasers his whole life.
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?
The most important thing between Penelope and Grant is their cat-and-mouse relationship, which often finds them at odds…but always with love. I’d make sure the audition included a scene where they’re ostensibly pitted against each other, but in a way that leaves the reader/viewer in no doubt of the strength of their feelings for one another. In this scene, Penelope is breaking into the FBI building where Grant works, but he doesn’t know why yet, and it makes for some fun marital tension.
Time is ticking by, and Grant still has no idea what I’m up to, so he pulls me with him as he strides out of the room. “Fine. I guess you’ll have to stay with me. Don’t look at anyone, don’t talk to anyone, and don’t you dare try anything. Understand?”
“Yes, dear,” I say meekly. I can’t even pretend to be outraged at his display of authority, because I’m too busy keeping the smile from my face. In a few short steps, I’ve now breached the hallowed walls of the FBI—and with nary a handcuff in sight.
Of course, being manacled to Grant’s side isn’t conducive to finishing the job, especially since he doesn’t slow down as he moves through the maze of hallways to the interview room where my father is being held.
I should note that my dad is not under arrest, nor is he obligated to be here in the first place. His informant status is purely voluntary, part of a plea bargain he struck when he was arrested six months ago. It would be easy for him to disappear back into the criminal underworld where he’s been hiding for most of his life, but he’s taken the gentlemanly approach. He shows up here every month, full of information their deepest undercover agents would never be able to find. It did great things for Grant’s career when he landed the Blue Fox—thanks, in large part, to me.
So the fact that Grant thinks my dad is part of this scheme is a little bit rude. I mean, my dad is, obviously, but not as anything more than a distraction. I would never cause anyone real harm.
We’re halfway down a particularly gray corridor when Simon appears. A permanent frown carves into his face, his customary tie pulled so tight it’s a wonder his head doesn’t pop and send gallons of his shellac-like hair product flying. His frown only deepens when he spots me. Despite the fact that my father’s capture also did great things for his career, Simon isn’t much of a Penelope Blue fan.
“What are you doing?” Grant demands. “Why aren’t you with Warren?”
“He’s waiting for me in the interview room. I heard there was a breach?”
“Get back there immediately—and keep an eye out for anyone who might be Oz.”
Simon doesn’t have to be told twice to know where to lay the blame. He levels a stare on me that would bring a lesser woman to her knees. “What did she do?”
“I don’t know yet,” Grant says grimly.
“Want me to beat it out of her?”
There’s a long enough pause to cause me momentary concern. I mean, I know Grant and I have our problems, but there’s a line between tricking a spouse and torturing one. It’s thin, but it’s there.
What do you want people to take away from reading this book?
Pure, unadulterated fun.
That’s really what this series is all about. Yes, there’s sentiment and romance and even a little sex, but the real core of this book—and all the books I write—is that I want people to sit back, relax, and enjoy themselves for a few hours.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned for 2017?
I’m currently working on a cozy mystery series with yet another slightly crooked heroine. (This one is a fake psychic instead of a jewel thief, but the mischievous streak remains. Whee!)
In the more immediate future, I’ll be releasing my annual holiday novella in November of this year, and then readers can expect the third installment of Penelope Blue, SEEKING MR. WRONG, in March of 2018.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: Print copy of SAVING MR. PERFECT (Penelope Blue) by Tamara Morgan
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: What’s your favorite heist movie? Mine’s Entrapment (hence my obsession with laser grids), but I have seriously high hopes for the forthcoming Ocean’s Eight.
Excerpt from Saving Mr. Perfect:
“I’m sorry,” Grant says. “I don’t mean to be so overbearing, but you have to remember that as much as I love you, you’re not a favorite with everyone at the Bureau.”
“Give me time,” I say. “I’m only one woman. It might take me a few years, but I’ll get there.”
His lips twitch. “Penelope…”
“And it’s not as if he said or did anything bad,” I add, eager to leverage that oh-so-promising break in his exterior. “We mostly talked about you. He seemed nice.”
“That man is not nice. I don’t want you to have anything to do with him or with this case from here on out. Promise me.”
“I’ll do no such thing,” I scoff. “I’m not a child you can order around.”
“Promise me,” he repeats, firmer this time. He also takes an anticipatory step forward, though I’m not sure whether it’s to kiss me or throttle me. “If there’s any self-preservation in that crooked heart of yours, you’ll swear not to have anything to do with Christopher Leon or the Peep-Toe Prowler.”
As if I could promise that now.
“Why? What are you hiding from me?”
“I’m not hiding anything,” he says too quickly, his normally implacable exterior slipping. “Could you please be conciliatory for once in your life and do as I ask?”
I think about it. I really do—for a whole two seconds and everything—but there’s more to this situation than he’s letting on. A man doesn’t grow distant and moody from his loving wife for no reason. He doesn’t throw around sex shoes unless he’s trying to create a distraction. And most importantly, he doesn’t lay down mysterious ultimatums without secretly wanting her to do everything in her power to determine the cause.
That one’s plain common sense.
“I can promise to try not to get in the way,” I hedge. Trying not to do something always makes for a good promise, since there’s no real rubric for measurement. I tried not to steal things for years. I just wasn’t any good at it. “But you can’t ask me to pretend this whole conversation never happened—that these past few months haven’t happened.”
“This has nothing to do with you.”
“Yeah, but I’m emotionally invested in the Peep-Toe Prowler now. I want to catch her as much as you do.”
It’s only through sheer force of will that Grant suppresses his smile in time. “Penelope, so help me…”
“Helping you is what I intend to do.” I stand on my tiptoes to graze his jaw, rough in all the right ways. “I can, you know. I might be able to access information that’s closed to you. Thieves talk.”
“You aren’t a thief anymore, remember?” He makes a vague gesture around the room. “The walls have ears.”
“And you did want me to get a hobby…”
“Swimming is a hobby. Interfering in a federal investigation is obstruction.”
“It’s not obstruction if I help you solve the case,” I point out. “Besides, didn’t you just say you wouldn’t arrest your own wife?”
His reluctant and groan-filled laugh is all the confirmation I need to know I’ve won this round. A nice side effect of having an important and busy husband is that he can’t always spend as much time arguing as he’d like. He has a job to get back to.
Unlike me. I, unfortunately, have nothing to do and no one to do it with. I’m not one of the good guys, but I can no longer be one of the bad ones, either. I’m just a housewife with nothing but time on her hands and mischief on her mind.
“To be perfectly honest, my love,” he says with a mock sigh, “the idea of putting you behind bars grows more appealing every day.”
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
She’s a famous jewel thief.
What’s that saying? Keep your friends close…and your husband closer.
Being a retired jewel thief certainly has its perks.
1. Oh, wait.
2. No it doesn’t.
Without the thrill of the chase, life’s been pretty dull. Penelope gardens, drives her gorgeous husband up the wall, and watches as her old world slowly slips away. But what’s that old saying? When one thief closes the door…a copycat jimmies open a window.
And now all fingers at the FBI are pointed at her.
Set up to take the fall for thefts worth millions, Penelope have no choice but to strap on her heels and help her FBI agent husband track the thief. Grant might not think he needs a partner, but this is one case only a true professional can solve. Besides, she’s got to know who’s been taking her bad name in vain.
Meet the Author:
Tamara Morgan is a contemporary comedy romance author. Ninety-nine percent of her information comes from television, movies, books, and all other pop culture activities that limit the amount of time she has to spend in polite company.
Her long-lived affinity for romance novels survived a B.A. degree in English Literature, after which time she discovered it was much more fun to create stories than analyze the life out of them. She lives with her husband and daughter in the Inland Northwest, where the summers are hot, the winters are cold, and coffee is available on every street corner.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram |