Romance Night With Authors Molly O’Keefe and Mary Sullivan…and A Real Life Harlequin Hero!

Harlequin authors Molly O’Keefe (THE TYCOON) and Mary Sullivan (RODEO SHERIFF and RODEO FAMILY) were joined by cover model Oliver Sjaarda for “Romance Night” organized by the International Festival of Authors (IFOA) and the Stephen Leacock Museum Summer Festival as part of the Lit on Tour program.

Event organizers whisked the writers away from their computers (and Mary’s indispensable bladeless floor fan) to the beautiful lakeside community of Orillia, Ontario. By all accounts, they were treated like writing royalty for the day.

We caught up with Mary and Molly after the event to find out what it was like being festival celebs.


The event looked elegant. What did you do to get ready for it?

MO: It WAS very elegant. The Stephen Leacock Museum is a really lovely venue and the organizers put on a fabulous event.  The IFOA group took great care of us. It was a real treat to have a driver, too. Mary and I could just sit back and chat all the way from Toronto to Orillia.  As for what we did before the event – I had a delicious glass of wine (or two) – and I was ready!

MS: I was so happy to be invited! I decided on reading from the second book in my Rodeo, Montana series, RODEO RANCHER. In Western Romance, sex scenes are more subdued than the scenes I wrote for Superromance. In RODEO RANCHER, I have a woman stranded in a snowstorm with her two young sons who take refuge on a widower’s ranch. He has a young son and a daughter. My challenge? How on earth was I supposed to build sexual attraction between the hero and heroine when they were trapped in a one-floor ranch house for four days with four children who needed to be entertained constantly?

I selected passages that illustrated their growing attraction under difficult circumstances — but you’ll have to read it to find out what happens!

My next thought was, “Eeek. What am I going to wear???” Fortunately I had a colorful top that wouldn’t leave me overshadowed by gorgeous Oliver! I packed a tote bag. I am the despair of my sisters. I like to travel light!


How did you spend your day at the festival?

MO: It was also the Highland Festival at the waterfront, so we wandered around there hoping to catch the bagpipers (just missed it!). We were taken out for dinner and given a tour of the museum.

MS: After a lively drive north with Rebecca and Matt from IFOA, we were booked into a boutique hotel and took a walk along the lakeshore in Lake Couchiching Beach Park. We hit the Brewery Bay Pub and Kawartha Dairy for ice cream.

Swanmore Hall at the museum is a sweet, intimate venue perfect for readings – it’s like being in a living room. After Molly and I finished our readings, we took questions with Oliver. The evening’s gracious host, Tom Rose, kept everything moving along.  The staff at the museum couldn’t have been more friendly or accommodating and Rebecca and Matt took care of us superbly. Yes, we were truly given the royal treatment!

Have you ever met one of our cover models in real life before? What was that like?

MO: I haven’t!!! And it was so much fun! Oliver was very charming and self-deprecating and he told  fantastic behind the scenes stories about being a cover model.

MS: This was a first for me! Oliver is a great guy. His insights into how he gets into character and gives the camera, the cover artists and the author what they need to bring a physical representation of our stories to life were superb.

 

If you had to choose one word to describe your cowboy characters, what would it be?

MO: My next new release out in November is called The Cowboy. It’s the fourth book in my King Family Series. And in one word I would describe Caleb as…broken.

MS: Only one word? It can’t be done! My cowboys are dependable, capable, masculine, sexy, loving, fun-loving, serious, tender, arrogant, quiet, extroverted, introverted, and certain of their place in the world. They’re filled with tough inner conflicts and flaws and dreams and desires and are a firm part of their culture, but are individuals, one and all!

 

If you could go on a dream date with a real life Harlequin hero, what would you do? Let us know in the comments section below!

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