Monday, January 21, 2013

Keeper by Surprise NBTM Guest Post


Life changes forever for Keith Hanson when his parents’ will declares him guardian over his three younger siblings. His new responsibilities are challenging, but he’s even less prepared to fall in love with Lisa Carle, a social worker with a devastating secret.

Guest Post:
Thank you for hosting me today!  I’m excited to be visiting with you and your readers on my blog tour for my newest book, my contemporary romance called Keeper by Surprise.  Let’s kick off with some of Emily’s questions:

Why do you write about the things you do?

I’m one of those authors who write what I know.  I am so marred in reality, I can’t imagine writing about vampires or aliens or witches or zombies.  I write about my world.  My tagline is “Everyday life with just a touch of worst case scenario.”  It’s what I love to read and it’s what I love to write.

Do other people inspire your characters (are your characters based off people you know, etc.)?

No … I usually start out with a “what if” scenario which then blossoms into characters and a full story.  Although sometimes the very inkling of the first “what if” starts with a news story, or something that’s happened to a friend or an acquaintance.  But I’ve never based a character off a real person.

What inspired you to become a writer?

It was August of 1998.  I had two sons, age seven and three.  I found myself in a very busy and stressful day job.  A business trip to Atlanta came up, where I gave presentations on Thursday, Friday, Monday and Tuesday.  The weekend was almost a mini-vacation!  Just me, all by myself in a luxurious hotel room, on expense account, with two heavenly days all to myself.   I used the touristy materials in my hotel room to map out a day of sightseeing, and off I went.

One of my first stops was the Margaret Mitchell House.  Margaret lived in a boarding house during about 8 of the 10 years that she was writing Gone with the Wind.  Inside her apartment, she had a picture window in her tiny living room.  A folding chair and a TV tray faced the window, a black manual typewriter sitting on the tray.  As she generated chapters, she’d put each one in a manila envelope and stack them on the shelf of the picture window.  When she wasn’t writing, she’d place a bath towel over the typewriter and the stacks of envelopes, hiding them from view.

For almost a decade, Margaret continued working on her novel.  Throughout that time, life happened:  she got a job, she got married, she broke an ankle, she had all kinds of illnesses.  She kept writing.  They’d have guests over and they’d point to the blob in the corner under the towel, “What’s that, Margaret?”  And she’d answer, “Oh nothing, it’s horrible.”  They’d press her and she’d say, “In a moment of weakness I decided to write a novel.”  She never had any faith in it.  She did it because she loved Civil War era history.

Standing in that house that day, listening to her story, inspired me.  I was just like Margaret. I’d always loved writing, I’d just never written a book.  I had ideas, I just never had time.  But guess what, Margaret didn’t have time either.  All we have is our ideas, our desire to write and our determination to make it happen.  If Margaret had decided she was too busy, look what American literary treasure we would’ve missed out on.

Something spoke to me that summer day in Atlanta.  I cancelled the rest of my sightseeing, went back to the hotel and wrote the rest of the weekend.  I wrote on the airplane on the way home, and I never stopped.  Literally, NEVER.  That manuscript I began that day turned out to be my first published novel, Whispers of the Heart.  That book made me a published author and changed my life forever.  It’s why I included in the Dedication page:  “To M.M.M.: my inspiration.”

By way of piquing your interest in Keeper by Surprise, I’d like to quote a clever reader review that was posted on Amazon (5 stars, I may add):

You think you've got troubles? Meet Keith Hanson. He's got a heap of problems and they keep getting worse. The death of his parents leaves him guardian of seven-year-old twins and a snotty teenager. Compound that with a dragon lady out to get him and it's amazing his hormones kick in at all--except the lovely Lisa Carle is not a woman to be ignored. A sweet romance with heartbreak and triumph thrown in.

I hope you’ll check it out!


From a few chapters in when the heroine first catches sight of the hero:

The drone of a lawn mower floated on the hot summer evening. Lisa glanced towards the house and her breath caught in her throat. Oh. My. God.

The most gorgeous man in the world was over there, mowing the lawn.

Lisa paused in reaching for the door handle and slipped lower in her seat so she could spy on the hunk for a moment without being noticed. Was this the right house? She grabbed the paper and double-checked the address. Yes! It was.

Lisa took a deep breath to get her heart rate under control. Boy, it was beating up a storm! Like she had never seen a gorgeous guy before. Well, it had been a while.

His hair, a light chestnut brown, sported hints of blond highlights. But not intentional highlights. No way was this the type of male to sit in a salon seat, paying big bucks to get highlights chemically applied. He was clean-shaven and glistening from the heat of the evening. He wore only a pair of shorts, his chest bare as he pushed the mower back and forth across the lawn.

And wow, what a magnificent chest. Hair-free and muscular, he practically shone with physical fitness. Lisa squinted for a better view. This was a guy familiar with the inside of a gym. What kind of athlete was he? Not a body builder. He didn’t sport those obnoxious over-done muscles. His sport subtly sculpted his body. A swimmer, maybe? A gymnast? Who knew, but the guy had a perfect build. Not too scrawny, but without an ounce of fat on him; that was clear.

And his face. Straight out of GQ magazine, he had classic good looks. She imagined running her fingers along his chiseled jawline, then feathering across those luscious lips. They looked a tad bit full for a male – all the better to kiss you with, my dear!

Laurie will be awarding promo items to random commenters at every stop, and the choice of a basic Nook or Kindle to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour (US/CANADA ONLY). So the more you comment, the better your chances of winning!

December 3: The Book Maven
December 17: STOP 2 Jersey Girl Book Reviews
January 7: SnifferWalk
January 21:  STOP 2 Sharing Links and Wisdom

Bio and Links:

Laurie Larsen is the EPIC Award-winning author of Preacher Man, Best Spiritual Romance of 2010. To date, she has published seven books in the romance and women’s fiction genres, including one Young Adult romance.  Keeper by Surprise is her latest release.  She lives in the Midwest with a strenuous day job, a husband of more than two decades, two amazing sons and Gracie the Wonder Dog. To keep up with Laurie and her books, visit her at , on Twitter or Facebook.

FREE READ on Smashwords



  1. Good morning! Thank you so much for hosting me today. I'm looking forward to chatting with your visitors.


  2. I enjoyed reading about Margaret Mitchell and how she inspired you. Thank you for a great post.


  3. A great interview and I loved the comment about Margaret Mitchell. I am glad you kept on writing. This story sounds really good.

    1. Thanks MomJane! I'm glad I kept writing too. Writing books has its ups and downs -- joys and sorrows -- but it's so rewarding for those of us who love and choose to do it. Have a great day.

  4. I went to the Margaret Mitchell House a few times for book events when I lived in Macon, GA. It is an inspiring place! Glad that you found it.

    1. Hi Catherine! I really loved that place. So glad you found it inspiring too! :)

  5. Well, thanks to the website for hosting me today and thanks to those who stopped by and commented. Commenters, if you'd like to receive a promo item gift pack and you have not received one already, please send me an email at and I'd be happy to send one out!

  6. Sound likes an emotional book! I've been really into family drama stories lately. Thanks for sharing =)