Tuesday, March 16, 2010

An interview with Mary Margret Daughtridge

Contemporary romance author Mary Margret Daughtridge has been a grade school teacher, speech therapist, family educator, biofeedback therapist, and Transpersonal Hypnotherapist. She is a member of Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Romance Writers of America, and Romancing the Military Soul, and is a sought-after judge in writing contests. Her newest release, SEALed with a Ring (check out my review here), hit shelves this month and she is my very special guest today! Please help me in welcoming her to The Romance Dish!

Hi, Mary Margret! Thank you so much for joining us today at The Romance Dish! You have a new release, SEALed with a Ring, on shelves now. Congratulations! Can you tell us a little bit about it?

I subscribe to the theory you should write what you love to read. Well I love books with alpha males with a tender side, smart ambitious heroines, and marriage of convenience plots. So SEALed with a Ring has a lovely CEO of a car dealership who needs a husband quick, and hottie SEAL who only wants to look after his special needs brother and who will marry her—if she’ll make the kind of deal he’s looking for.

For the fun of it, I added a seduction by rumba, and a dog.

Ah, yes, we do love our alpha males here at The Romance Dish. *g* SEALed with a Ring is the third in a series about a group of Navy SEALS. What prompted you to write about SEALs specifically?

I know SEALs seem like an odd choice for someone who writes pure romance, not action/suspense/romance. In the first in the series, SEALed with a Kiss, any special operator would have done. I only needed someone military who had certain job constraints. After I had researched SEALs, I realized these extraordinary men could make fascinating heroes for character-driven stories.

I couldn't agree more--they are fascinating! What type of research do you do before/while writing?

I’m a research junkie and usually have five times more than I can use. I do all the usual, books, newspapers, the Internet, etc. I find there’s no substitute for firsthand knowledge. I took ballroom dance lessons. I interviewed a salesman at a local Toyota dealership. A Navy doctor and a retired Navy nurse helped me with Davy’s wounds and also the timeline.

Wow, you really immerse yourself in research. I admire that! In SEALed with a Ring, Davy has a younger brother with Asperger’s Syndrome. This is a disorder close to my heart as my son is on the autistic spectrum (PDD) and my cousin has Asperger’s. Do you know someone affected by the disorder?

I first learned about autism as a speech therapist. Later I was a Parent Educator at a center for children with developmental delays. We had autistic children there and several who today would be classified as Asperger’s. That was some years ago. To bring myself up to date, I read not only clinical descriptions but memoires by people with Asperger’s, including Freaks, Geeks, and Asperger’s Syndrom: A User Guide to Adolescence by Luke Jackson, a teenager when he wrote it.

You asked if I know someone. She’s passed away so I can only speculate, but I think my grandmother may have had it. A lot of our favorite funny stories, about what a “character” she was, actually would be examples of someone thinking with pure Asperger’s literality.

It sounds as if your grandmother was a very special person, Mary Margret. I often wonder how many people have it and don't know it.

Okay, here at The Romance Dish, we love to talk about heroes. Davy is a wonderful hero; a sexy, ladies’ man with a heart of gold. Who was your inspiration for him?

A-w-w-w-w! I’m so glad you liked him. I knew he was a sweetie from the moment he appeared first in SEALed with a Promise—even though he was acting like a jerk. The inspiration for him came about as I asked myself, suppose you had all that SEAL confidence/arrogance/drive in a man who is footloose and fancy free and likes sex—not seduction, mind you, sex, and is so handsome both men and women have a hard time seeing past his beauty? And suppose his self-respect depended on believing he was one of the good guys?

I seriously need to read SEALed with a Promise. I would love to see Davy acting like a jerk! LOL!

Our Gannon lives in the beautiful state of North Carolina where SEALed with a Ring is set. Are you from there?

I am. I’m North Carolinian, born and bred. I grew up in NC’s coastal plain, an easy drive to the ocean. Topsail Island is a real place. I’ve vacationed there for many years.

I loved your descriptions of Topsail Island in the book. It sounds like a place my family needs to visit! What is your favorite part about being a writer?

Being able to stare out the window for long periods and tell people, “I’m working.” Seriously, I think I was born to be a writer. I just didn’t know it. I’ve had a lot of professions, and it always seemed that I had to squelch some part of myself. My favorite part of being a writer is that I feel exactly like myself.

Very well said! What are some things that you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

Sing, cook and of course read and research. I never tire of it. I go to the coast as often as I can.

What are you working on now? What can we expect from Mary Margret Daughtridge in the future? More SEAL books?

A while back I began to think about a SEAL lieutenant who’s nickname, behind his back, is “Darth Vader.” It isn’t meant disrespectfully, exactly, but it isn’t meant affectionately either. In SEALed with a Ring, suddenly, there he was—Lt. Garth Vale. Now he’s found a baby, a stowaway, aboard a CIA plane. It’s a variation of the Secret Baby plot.

Ooooh, sounds great! Can't wait for it!

Quick Six time!

Plotter or Panster? Pantser—God help me!
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate
Coffee or Tea? Coffee
Dogs or Cats? I have a cat. Don’t tell her but I’m really a dog person.
Flats or Heels? I don’t go many ‘heels’ places anymore. But on the dance floor, heels for sure. Five inchers. Love ’em.
Summer or Winter? Fall. In this area it begins the third week in August and lasts until Christmas.

Thank you so much, Mary Margret! Since you’ve been inundated with questions, I’m going to let you have a turn. Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?

What do you think of the cover? Does it “look” like a book you would like to read? Why or why not?

Comment for a chance to win one of two copies of Mary Margret's latest, SEALed with a Ring!

SEALed with a Ring by Mary Margret Daughtridge

She’s got it all…except the one thing she needs most

Smart, successful businesswoman JJ Caruthers has a year to land a husband or lose the empire she’s worked so hard to build. With time running out, romance is not an option, and a military husband who is always on the road begins to look like the perfect solution...

He’s a wounded hero with an agenda of his own

Even with the scars of battle, Navy SEAL medic Davy Graziano is gorgeous enough to land any woman he wants, and he’s never wanted to be tied down. Now Davy has ulterior motives for accepting JJ’s outrageous proposal of marriage, but he only has so long to figure out what JJ doesn’t want him to know...

For more information about Mary Margret and her books, please visit her website at http://marymargretdaughtridge.com/.


  1. Hi Mary Margret,
    Congrats on the new release. I'm looking forward to reading your SEALed series and especially can't wait to meet Davy.

  2. Woaa, Great cover :) like it.

    Usually i want to buy and read a book is when i hooked by the blurb on the back cover. then i will go to front cover to read the praises and it's very rare for me to buy a book because of it's cover :)

    but then this book intrigued me coz i love to read bout SEALS !

  3. Congrats on your new release !!
    This book does have a gorgeous cover. I admit I'm a weak woman and tend to loooooove those bare chest covers. The colors are gorgeous too. It's definitely one of those covers that catch my eye and would make me buy a book (hey ! I said I was weak ;-)

  4. Hi Mary Margret! Congrats on your latest release!

    Love your answer about staring into space. I've got the kids trained finally--when Mom is staring out the window, they whisper.. 'She's thinking again!'

  5. Congratulations on your new book! I usually read the blurb before I buy a book although sometimes a cover will catch my eye but it is the story that will have me buying the book and yours looks like a good one.

  6. Good morning and welcome, Mary Margret! We're happy to have you join us today. Congrats again on your newest release!

    Oh, I love the cover. It tells a lot about the story -- the man's chest with dog tags , the beach, and the ring. Love the ring. And yes, it makes me want to buy it. ;-)

  7. Jane, Davy is a wonderful hero!

    mariska, I like to read blurbs, too. I don't usually read the author praise, but I do enjoy a beautiful cover. ;-)

  8. Emmanuelle, we do love our bare chested covers, don't we? ;-)

    Deb, I loved that answer, too!! And I do the same thing when writing a review. Lol

    Maureen, I hope you enjoy it if you pick it up!

  9. Hi, Mary Margret!

    What's not to love about that cover?? :-) Of course, I have a weakness for Navy men--my husband retired after 21 years as an intelligence officer. We have several friends who were SEALS--scary stuff!

  10. Hi Mary Margaret

    Congrats on the new release. I love the cover to this book because let's face it...the male model is hot! It usually takes both the cover and the blurb on the back cover to get me to buy a book and this one has both items. I love books about Navy Seals!

  11. Congrats on your latest release! It has a great cover. I will admit that I am always drawn to a cover with a man's bare chest! It gets my attention enough to read the blurb, and then I decide if I want to read the story.

    This story sounds great, too. Tortured heroes and marriages of convenience are two of my favorite themes.

  12. What a day! I'm just getting over here to the Romance Dish. I appreciate all your comments.

    I confess I've always been a reader who hardly looked at covers at all, unless I was drawn by their sheer artistry. It was author's name and the back blurb that mattered to me. As a result I don't feel like I have any "taste" in covers, but I love this one--which made me wonder what someone else thought.

    Just looking at the cover, what kind of romance do you think this is?

  13. I am a beach person so I am drawn to the beach scene on the cover. I love the color design and the man's chest is awesome too!
    Love & Hugs,

    P.S. I feel a bit like a stalker today with my comments on Romance Junkies blog LOL

  14. Pam, Stalker? Oh no. This is one time I'm delighted to know I'm being followed!

  15. Thanks Mary you are too kind. I must admit I am not a cover of a book buyer. I need to read the blurb and if that reels me in I am hooked and have to have the book now for fear of never finding it again. But that being said I will look further if it has an interesting cover that catches my eye. For instance cats or dogs on the cover and also beach scenes will make me pick up a book for a closer look.
    Love & Hugs,

  16. Your cover is good.
    I read the blurb on back cover and any available excerpts, then decide if I want to read the book from that. I don't really pay attention to covers anymore--they often used to be misleading.

  17. Hey Mary! Welcome to our site.

    I have to agree with everyone else and say . . . yowza on that cover!! Sheesh, is it me or is it extremely hot in here??? LOL!

    And wow, Mary, 5 inch heels!!!! I don't think there is a part of my body that wouldn't scream if I tried those. The highest I have ever worn were 3 inch ones for my wedding.

  18. Buffie, yes five inches. They're made by a British manufacturer. I don't know if that's why but they are more comfortable than many more moderate heels I have had.

    The only thing is, you use the muscles in your legs differently--you have to get in shape, and stay in shape, to wear them.

  19. Mary Margret--
    Your book sounds great. I look forward to reading it. Thanks for visiting.

  20. Congratulations on the release of your new SEAL book. I like the cover and would pick it up. It doesn't really say Navy Seal though. It looks like a romance novel and not an action novel, which of course is correct for the story.
    I'll have to check into this series. Sounds good, and I like the setting, the North Carolina coast.
    I hope the release is going well for you.