Friday, April 24, 2020

Today in The Loft: Author Laura Haley-McNeil!

Joining me today in The Loft is romance author Laura Haley-McNeil. Laura spent her youth studying ballet and piano, but after a detour into the corporate world, sat down and wrote the book she always dreamt of. Since then she has published multiple novels of romantic suspense and contemporary romance. Laura and her husband now live in Colorado, where they enjoy hiking, cycling, horseback riding, and snow skiing. 

Author Laura Haley-McNeil

S:  Welcome, Laura!  

Why did you become a writer?

L:  I’m not sure that I want to be a writer. It’s more like I have to write. I’ve tried to walk away from the endeavor, but it pursues me and gives me no peace until I sit in front of my laptop and let the stories and characters that plague me escape from my fingers to the keyboard and onto the screen. I’m sure those of you who write are nodding your heads. Once writing sinks its talons into your soul, there’s no escaping the career. It’s more than a desire. It’s an obsession and the only remedy is to let the stories flow.

S:  What is your favorite thing about writing romance?  

L:  I love writing larger-than-life characters. When I’m creating the characters, I search Google Images for the face that I want to appear on the page. Powerfully built Spencer Kingsley, the hero in "Call It Love," had to have dark, slightly curly hair and Paul Newman blue eyes set in a chiseled jaw that dimpled when he smiled. Addison Duvall, the heroine, had to have long dark, curly hair that she never bothered to style and soft brown eyes. They’re both set on their careers with no time for love, but that’s what makes writing romance so much fun because love has its own agenda. It doesn’t matter how much these characters fight each other and the author, love always wins. That’s what’s so fun about writing romance. There can’t be an end without a happily-ever-after.

S:  (Nods.) Nothing better than a happy ending!

Do you remember your first kiss? What was memorable about it?

L:  I do remember my first kiss and it was the worst kiss ever! I liked the neighbor boy who was a couple of years older than I. He was nice and we’d hang out together and talk. One day we were in his family’s barn and I was helping him with the horses, when he grabbed me and kissed me. It was messy and wet and I thought I’d get sick. I broke free and ran away, but never told anyone about it. I was afraid my parents would be upset with me. This was way before the #MeToo movement. You’d think after such a bad experience, I would’ve sworn off kissing, but I tried it again with a different boy and that kiss was much better.

S:  What was your worst date ever?

L:  Unfortunately, I’ve had a few, but one that was more memorable than the others was a blind date. We met at a place like Denny’s. I ordered a diet Coke, and he ordered coffee and a piece of pie. Yes, I remember what we ordered! That’s how bad it was. He seemed nice enough. We talked for a while, and the conversation was pleasant until he brought up the topic of his ex-wife. He had been happily married! but didn’t realize his wife wasn’t happy. Then he told me that if he were to remarry, it had to be to someone who was gorgeous. Apparently, his first wife was gorgeous. He continued to emphasize how beautiful his second wife had to be, so my first thought was that in his book, I didn’t meet that criteria and it didn’t matter what my other qualities were. It soon became clear that he wasn’t interested in discussing anything except what he expected of his next wife. So I told him I was sure he would find that woman, said it was nice to meet him, and left. As I walked to my car, I chided myself for agreeing to meet him at an inexpensive restaurant and only ordering a diet Coke. That guy got off cheap. With what I had to listen to, I should’ve met him at Delmonico’s, and ordered steak and lobster. Needless to say, that was my last blind date.

S:  (Laughs.) My first blind date was also my last. There are some really strange people out there!

What attracted you to your current partner?

L:  I had studied piano for years, but quit when I left home and no longer had access to a piano. When I finally bought my own piano, I wanted to take lessons again. That proved difficult because I couldn’t find a teacher who had experience teaching an advanced student and who would teach in the evening. The music teachers’ association gave me a list of piano teachers to call. I called every teacher on that list and made it to the M's before I found someone who was interested in teaching me. I was surprised when a man answered the phone, but he was warm and friendly and I was impressed with his performance and teaching credentials. He was a retired professor who had extensive experience performing with orchestras. We set a time to meet for my first lesson at his piano studio. The first thing that impressed me about him was his hair. He had a ton that was neatly cut and very curly. He put me at ease with his friendly personality and asked me to play for him. Occasionally he’d stop me and instruct me on hand movement, tone, and pacing. When he played for me, my mouth fell open. I had good teachers, but none played the way he did. I studied with him for several years and we became friends. I practiced hard during the week because I wanted to impress him. He had many good students and I wanted to be one of the best. As the years passed, we realized that we didn’t just have a friendship. It had gone much deeper than that, We actually went out on a date. I never thought I’d date my piano teacher! A few months later, we married. It was wonderful to know I married the hero of the most romantic story of my life.

S:  What a sweet story!

What are your currently working on?

L:  The Crystal Creek Series is my first series and is dear to my heart, because it’s based on the ranch where my father was raised. I’ve written seven books in that series and had started writing the eighth book, but had to set it aside to finish a couple of other books. Now, I’m ready to return to Crystal Creek. The Whitlochs own the Crystal Creek Ranch and their home is open to everyone. That’s why it didn’t surprise me when Josh Merrick, a cousin from Wyoming, stopped by for a visit. As a bronc rider, he travels from one rodeo to the next and hadn’t planned to stay long, but his plans change when Lily Harkins walks into his life.

S:  Tell me about your book, "Call It Love."

L:  Here's the blurb--

A kiss isn’t just a kiss …

Struggling actress Addison Duvall hustles background acting jobs at the Hollywood studios hoping for her big break. When she’s cast as the stand-in for the lead actress in a blockbuster spy film, she can’t believe her luck. The surprises rush in―her first test shot is with Hollywood heartthrob Spencer Kingsley. Her even bigger surprise is when director yells, “Action!” and Spencer presses his lips to hers in a kiss.

Behind Spencer’s Hollywood fa├žade hides the secret pain no one suspects. He’s the first to take a risk, except when it comes to his heart. He can’t deny he and Addison have chemistry―onscreen and off―and he’s  tempted to lower his guard. She seems real, not like the women he usually meets.

But once Addison’s star rises, so do Spencer’s doubts. She’s no different than the others looking for a connection to catapult their careers. Except he can feel himself falling for her. He won’t let another woman damage his heart. His decision made, Spencer wishes her success and moves on.

But it’s already too late. How does he heal this Addison-shaped hole in his heart? Should he risk more heartbreak for another chance at love?

S:  Where can readers buy your book?

L:   It's available on Amazon at

S:  Laura, thanks so much for joining me today! If  you would like to learn more about Laura and her books, please visit--

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for hosting me and sharing my new book, Call It Love, with your followers. I'm very excited to be here and look forward to chatting with everyone!

    Laura Haley-McNeil