Romantic comedy! The perfect read for a hot summer day.
Author Interview + Book & Author Info + Rafflecopter Giveaway
The Queen of Second Chances —Romantic Comedy by D.M. Barr
Carra’s memoir-writing class teaches seniors to resolve the regrets of their past. But to win over elder attorney Jay, will she follow her own advice? Carraway (Carra) Quinn is a free-spirited English major confronting an unreceptive job market.
Desperate for cash, she reluctantly agrees to her realtor stepmother’s marketing scheme: infiltrate a local senior center as a recreational aide, ingratiate herself with the members, and convince them to sell their homes. Jay Prentiss is a straitlaced, overprotective elder attorney whose beloved but mentally fragile Nana attends that center.
More creative than mercenary, Carra convinces Jay to finance innovations to the Center’s antiquated programming. Her ingenuity injects new enthusiasm among the seniors, inspiring them to confront and reverse the regrets of their past. An unlikely romance develops.
But when Carra’s memoir-writing class prompts Jay’s Nana to skip town in search of a lost love, the two take off on a cross-country, soul-searching chase that will either deepen their relationship or tear them apart forever.
To purchase The Queen of Second Chances, click on any of the following links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads
Genre: Contemporary Sweet Romance, Romcom, Chicklit
Published by: Champagne Book Group
Publication Date: June 7th 2021
Number of Pages: 204
ISBN: 2940165375545 (ASIN B094GFWG3K)
Romantic Comedy Author D.M. Barr—The Interview
What should readers know about Carraway Quinn?
She’s flighty but fun, and it’s difficult for her to commit to relationships (or even editing her novel) because of events in her past. She’s truly never found her purpose in life, until now.
What elements make for the best romantic comedies?
Likeable characters who have flaws that readers recognize in themselves and the “other” points out so we can laugh quietly both at ourselves and at them. The characters should complete each other so we have a sense of resolution at the end. And puns, lots of puns.
If you read my books, be ready to wince a bit.
In addition to romance, you also write novels of suspense and mystery. What’s it like to go back and forth between those genres?
Anyone who’s read my other books knows that a ribbon of humor always sneaks in.
Expired Listings was at its core, a satire of the real estate industry. In Slashing Mona Lisa, the murders not only happen in ironic ways, but there’s banter between the characters, especially Camarin and her friend Endie.
Even in Saving Grace, truly the most genre-conforming of my thrillers, there’s an author critique scene that I think is hilarious and I couldn’t bring myself to toss, even though my editors probably would have preferred that. So, with The Queen of Second Chances, I just opened the floodgates and let that part of me take over.
With COVID dominating everyone’s thoughts, I just couldn’t bring myself to write about murder and death for a while.
What drew you to rescue senior shelter dogs?
I’ve worked in shelters since I was about twelve and volunteering at the North Shore Animal League after school. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for dogs who need a home and I spend my time trying to make up for any injustices they may have suffered (read: I spoil them unapologetically!).
Harley is my fourth rescue. Our first, Gypsy, was a half-blind German Shepherd. My mother’s best friend begged us to take her, even though pets weren’t allowed in our apartment building. Once we had our own home, we adopted Phoebe, a Newfoundland-Border Collie-Chow mix who was the smartest dog I’ve ever known.
Then, to keep her company, we adopted Doofus (not his original name but he earned it), who made up with sweetness what he lacked in intelligence.
Now we’ve got Harley, a Pitador (half-Pit Bull, half Lab) who has the most personality of any dog I’ve known and has mastered the manipulative “dog pout.”
My days are spent digging out the insides of her marrow bones. Luckily, my best plot fixes occur during our morning walks.
What would be your dream cross-country road trip? (Or, if you’ve done it: Tell us about your favorite cross-country road trip?)
I’ve driven cross-country vertically, from San Francisco to San Diego, from New York to Maine and from New York to Florida.
Long car trips no longer work with my bad back but if I were to do it, I’d like to drive across several countries in Europe, or maybe in New Zealand.
What are you working on now?
I’ve just finished edits on the first of my new series, Simple Tryst of Fate, which is a kinky modern-day take on The Thin Man and is due out in September.
I’ve also finished co-editing the new anthology for my Sisters in Crime chapter, titled Murder New York Style: Justice for All, and I’ve completed a nonfiction book I’ve been meaning to write since 2009 but never had the time.
Next up is the next in the series after The Queen of Second Chances, which will either be Nikki’s or Kiki’s story.
Final words of wisdom for aspiring writers:
Don’t wait for inspiration. Just sit down and write whatever comes out of your pen or your fingertips. It’s going to likely be garbage and you have to be okay with that (and no one’s going to see it anyway). The magic comes in the revision, and you can’t revise a blank page. Also, put your completed manuscript away for a month before revising. You’ll see it with different eyes.
Don’t start querying after your write the first sentence (like I’ve been apt to do.)
Excellent advice. Great to have you visit with us today!
Romantic Comedy Excerpt—The Queen of Second Chances
I couldn’t take my eyes off the man. He came barreling into the recreational center at SALAD—Seniors Awaiting Lunch and Dinner, Rock Canyon’s answer to Meals on Wheels—as I sat in the outer office, awaiting my job interview. He was tall, but not too tall. His expensive suit barely concealed an athletic physique that fell just shy of a slavish devotion to muscle mass. Early thirties, I estimated, and monied. Honey-blond curly hair, blue eyes, high cheekbones, chiseled features, gold-rimmed glasses, and of course, dimples. Why did there always have to be dimples? They were my kryptonite, rendering me powerless to resist.
I nicknamed him Adonis, Donny for short, lest anyone accuse me of being pretentious. He was the stuff of every girl’s dreams, especially if that girl was as masochistic as yours truly. Men like that didn’t fall for ordinary girls like me, gals more Cocoa Puff than Coco Chanel, more likely to run their pantyhose than strut the runway. I leaned back on the leather couch, laid down my half-completed application, and prepared to enjoy the view. Then he opened his mouth, and the attraction withered like a popped balloon.
“I want to speak to Judith. Now. Is she here?” The sharpness of his voice put Ginsu knives to shame. It was jagged enough to slash open memories of my mother’s own barely contained temper when refereeing sibling disputes between Nikki and me. Well, at least until she prematurely retired her whistle and skipped town for good.
The attendant working the main desk looked fresh out of nursing school and had obviously missed the lecture on dealing with difficult clients. She sputtered, held up both hands in surrender, and retreated into the administration office, reemerging with an older woman whose guff-be-gone demeanor softened as she got closer. Her name tag read, “Judith Ferester,” the woman scheduled to conduct my interview. She took one look at Donny, sighed as if to say, Here we go again, and plastered on her requisite customer service smile.
“Mr. Prentiss, to what do we owe the honor of this visit?” she asked in a tone sweet enough to make my teeth hurt.
“Judith, I thought we had this discussion before. I trust you to take care of my nana, but day after day, I discover goings-on that are utterly unacceptable. Maybe we shouldn’t have added the senior center, just limited SALAD to meal delivery. Last week you served chips and a roll at lunch? That’s too many carbs. This week, I find someone is duping her out of her pocket change. No one is going to take advantage of her good nature, not under my watch.”
I half-expected him to spit on the ground. Was such venom contagious? I didn’t want my prospective employer in a foul mood when she reviewed my application. I really, really needed this job.
“Mr. Prentiss,” Judith answered, her patronizing smile frozen in place, “I assure you that your championing of our senior center was well founded. The reason your nana isn’t complaining is that she receives the utmost care. She is one of our dearest visitors. Everyone loves her.”
“Tell me then, what is this?” Donny—scratch that, Mr. Prentiss—drew a scrap of paper from his pocket and flung it onto the counter. I leaned forward to make out the object of his disdain. Then, thinking better of it, I relaxed and watched as this melodrama played itself out.
Judith glanced down at the paper. “This? It’s a scoresheet. They play gin for ten cents a hand. We monitor everything that goes on here; your grandmother is not being conned out of her life savings. You have my word.”
Prentiss shook his head so vigorously his gold-rimmed glasses worked their way down to the tip of his perfect nose. He pushed them back with obvious annoyance. Even when he was acting like a jerk, his dimples were captivating. Would they be even more alluring if he smiled? Did he smile…like, ever?
“It’s not the amount that worries me. It’s the act itself. Many seniors here are memory impaired. How can you condone gambling between people who aren’t coherent? Could you please keep a closer eye on things? Otherwise, I’m afraid I’ll have to take my nana—and my support—to the center I’ve heard about across the river.”
Without waiting for Judith’s response, Prentiss departed as brusquely as he’d arrived. Ah, the entitlement of the rich. Walk over everyone, then storm off. He never even noticed my presence. Just as well, considering my purpose for being there. Even if I wasn’t sorry to see the back end of his temper, his rear end was pleasant enough to watch as he exited, I noted with a guilty shudder.
Judith shook her head, rolled her eyes, and let out a huff. Then she noticed me. “I’m so sorry you had to overhear that. I’m the director here. How can I help you?”
“I’m Carraway Quinn. Everyone calls me Carra. I have an appointment for the recreational aide position.”
Judith typed a few keystrokes into the main desk’s computer. “Ah yes, Ms. Quinn. Carraway, like the seed?”
“Something like that,” I said with a smile.
They always guessed, but no one got it right. Some man would, one day. That’s what my mother said a million years ago, when she still lived within earshot. One man would figure it out, and that’s how I’d know he was the one for me. Not that it mattered right now. I had bigger problems than finding a new boyfriend.
“Tell me, would I have to deal with people like that all day?” I tilted my head in the direction of Prentiss’s contrail.
“What can I say? He loves his nana.” Judith shrugged, staring at the door. “Though I’ve never seen him lash out like that before. He’s usually so calm.” She quickly shifted into public relations mode. “Jay Prentiss is one of our biggest contributors. It’s only because of his generosity that we have this senior center and can afford to hire a recreational aide.” She beckoned me into the inner office. “Shall we proceed?”
I followed, but I had my doubts. I belonged in the editorial office of a magazine or on a book tour for my perennially unfinished novel, not at a senior center. This job was my stepmother’s idea, not mine. Calling it an idea was being generous; it was more like a scheme, and the elderly deserved better than someone sent here to deceive them. I was the embodiment of what Jay Prentiss worried about most.
The interview lasted less than ten minutes, as if Judith was going through the formalities but had already decided to hire me. I was to start my orientation the following day. I shook her hand and thanked her, all the while wishing I were anywhere else.
Afterward, I wandered into the recreation area, where I’d be spending most of my time. The room was dingy, teeming with doleful seniors watching television, playing cards, or staring off into space. A few complained among themselves about a jigsaw puzzle they were unable to finish because the last pieces were missing. I wondered how many had lost their spouses and came to the center out of loneliness, their children too busy with their own lives to visit. It was a heartbreaking thought.
Jay Prentiss was complaining about carbs and gambling when he should have been concentrating on ennui. The seniors’ dismal expressions told me they were visiting SALAD more out of desperation than opportunity. It was clear they needed an injection of enthusiasm, not some aide looking to unsettle their lives. It came down to my conscience. Could it triumph against my stepmother’s directives and my plummeting bank account?
About the Author—D.M. Barr
By day, a mild-mannered salesperson, wife, mother, rescuer of senior shelter dogs, competitive trivia player and author groupie, happily living just north of New York City. By night, an author of sex, suspense and satire. My background includes stints in travel marketing, travel journalism, meeting planning, public relations and real estate. I was, for a long and happy time, an award-winning magazine writer and editor.
Then kids happened. And I needed to actually make money. Now they’re off doing whatever it is they do (of which I have no idea since they won’t friend me on Facebook) and I can spend my spare time weaving tales of debauchery and whatever else tickles my fancy. The main thing to remember about my work is that I am NOT one of my characters.
For example, as a real estate broker, I’ve never played Bondage Bingo in one of my empty listings or offed anyone at my local diet clinic. And I haven’t run away from home in fear that my husband was planning to off me. But that’s not to say that I haven’t wanted to…
To learn more about D.M. Barr, click on any of the following links: DMBarr.com, Goodreads, BookBub – @DMBarr, Twitter – @AuthorDMBarr, Facebook – @AuthorDMBarr & Instagram – @AuthorDMBarr
Visit All the Stops Along the Tour!
07/01 Showcase @ The Bookwyrm
07/02 Guest post @ Curlygrannylovestoread
07/03 Interview @ A Blue Million Books
07/05 Guest post @ The Book Divas Reads
07/06 Review @ sunny island breezes
07/08 Review @ Wall-to-wall Books
07/08 Showcase @ Novels Alive
07/09 Review @ Quiet Fury Books
07/10 Interview/showcase @ Author Elena Taylors Blog
07/11 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
07/12 Review @ I Read What You Write
07/15 Guest post @ CMash Reads
07/16 Interview @ B for bookreview
07/16 Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews
07/21 Review @ pages_and_pups
07/22 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews
07/23 Review @ Avonna Loves Genres
07/26 Review @ Novels Alive
07/27 Review @ Hott Books
07/29 Review @ Margaret Yelton
07/30 Review @ nanasbookreviews
Elena Taylor is the author of All We Buried, available now in print, e-book, and audio book format at all your favorite on-line retailers. And don’t forget many independent bookstores can order books for you and have them shipped to your home or for curbside pickup.
For more information on All We Buried, click on the link here to visit the home page.
Foreword INDIE Award Finalist, Best Mystery 2020