Monday, November 16, 2009

A SoHo Setup

Today, award-winning author Dee Davis returns to the lair to chat about her newest “matchmaker” novel, Set Up in Soho. Welcome back, Dee!

Tell us about this book.

The Matchmaker Chronicles continue…

When Andrea Sevalas’ long time boyfriend announces he’s seeing someone else, Andi’s thrown for a loop—well, actually, down a cellar. Head throbbing and nose out of joint, she’s rescued by one of New York’s finest – attorney’s that is. Ethan McCay -- the upper east side heir to the kingdom of Manhattan. But Andi isn’t interested in princes. At least not the uptown variety. She’s a downtown girl with no time for Park Avenue royalty.

So what’s a fairy godmother supposed to do? Well, if she’s Andi’s Aunt Althea (the infamous Manhattan matchmaker) a little manipulation is in order. After all, even Cinderella needed a little prodding to go to the ball. And with a little help from her friends, Althea’s plan goes charmingly – until the clock strikes midnight and the truth is revealed.

Certain that she’s been betrayed by the people she trusted the most, Andi runs for the safety of SoHo. But matchmakers don’t give up that easily, and with Althea at the helm, Andi will discover that love comes in all kinds of packages. And that sometimes all it takes to recognize the fact, is opening your heart to the possibility – that and a fairly substantial shove from your not so fairy godmother.

In the book, the heroine hosts a local cooking show. You were also a host of a local cooking show once. What aspects of yourself do you see in Andi, and what aspects of her do you aspire to or admire?

I think all of my characters tend to be, at least in some way, a reflection of parts of myself. I would love to have the opportunities Andi does with her cooking show. If only there’d been a Food Network when I was first starting out. There’s something so wonderfully challenging about taking various ingredients and combining them to make something mouthwateringly delicious. My grandmothers were both excellent cooks and I learned from them, very much the way Andi learned from Bernie. And I have to admit, like Andi, I absolutely love trying to recreate a fabulous dish I’ve eaten somewhere.

Will we see characters from A Match Made on Madison?

Absolutely. Andi is friends with Cybil and Vanessa and so their social worlds often intersect. As well as Mark Grayson and Stephen Hobbs. And since Althea is Andi’s aunt, and a famous matchmaker with a penchant for interfering—I think we can safely say that she plays a major role in the book.

Any special tips for doing research on New York or other major cities?

I’m lucky that I live in Manhattan—so for me research is as simple as walking out the door of my apartment. And like A Match Made on Madison, Set-Up in SoHo features some of my favorite places in the city. But for people that don’t live in the city they’re writing about I think travel books and internet sites about those cities are a good way to get a feel for a place. Also online groups discussing the area—its restaurants, sites, local flora and fauna, even its architecture, can be a wonderful way to add authentic color about the place you’re setting your story. In addition, contacting people who do live there is a wonderful way to get insight into the place. And information about how things work in that particular location. I often call places to get information or to make certain that my description of something is accurate. I even called Riker’s Island once to find out which bus a person would take if he/she was released from prison there. I find that most people are more than willing to help when asked.

Can we have a peek inside Set Up in Soho?

Sure—from the first chapter:

“Fine,” I said, brushing angrily at my tears. I’d be damned if I’d let him be the one to cast the death blow. “Then let’s just end it now.”

Without giving him a chance to respond, I turned and walked away with as much dignity as I could muster considering the circumstances and the fact that I was wearing four inch heels. Okay, there was also the small matter of a little too much champagne. But hey, I was thankful for the insulation.

Three minutes later and I was out on the sidewalk, hand extended for a cab. Except of course there wasn’t one in sight. So I turned and started walking, reaction setting in, my body shaking as the tears began to fall in earnest. I still couldn’t comprehend the enormity of what had happened. In less than two minutes my life had imploded. Everything I’d believed to be true proving false.

Tears dripped off the end of my nose and I swiped at them, trying to keep my pain to myself. Fortunately, it wasn’t that difficult of a task. In Manhattan, no one really gives a damn. Which meant my break-down was going pretty much unnoticed. Except for a guy in a box on an abandoned stoop.

“Hey, lady,” he called from his cardboard studio. “It can’t be that bad.”

I shook my head in answer, his words triggering the floodgates. Tears turned to sobs, and I closed my eyes, struggling for at least some semblance of composure. I could fall apart later. First, I had to get home.

I sucked in a breath, squared my shoulders and moved forward, my foot landing on—nothing.

Nothing at all.

And, with an inverted jackknife worthy of an Olympian diver, I fell, butt first, into the abyss.

What’s next for you?

I’m hard at work on a new romantic suspense series coming from Grand Central Press. The first book, Dark Deceptions comes out in April 2010, followed by the second, Dangerous Desires (July) and Desperate Deeds (Aug). Here’s the blurb for Dark Deceptions:


Covert operations expert Nash Brennon has spent the last eight years trying to forget Annie Gallagher, his former field partner and the only woman he ever loved. Annie betrayed him when he needed her most, then vanished without a trace. Now suddenly she’s back in the game—this time as a suspected traitor and threat to national security.

Annie’s son has been kidnapped by political terrorists. The price for his life? Assassinate a UN ambassador. When Nash and his group find her, the smoldering passion between Annie and the man she swore she’d never contact again blazes out of control. But can Nash trust her? The stakes couldn’t be higher: Their enemy’s endgame is personal, and one false move could cost them their lives.

Way cool! And you're coming back to talk to us about that in April.

What's your favorite matchmaker story? Your favorite mismatched couple?

Dee's giving away a copy of Match Made on Madison to one commenter.


Virginia said...

Oh is he mine today!

Virginia said...

I will have to think on a matchmaker story or mismatch one, right now my mind is drawing a blank. Its getting about bed time I think.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Dee, welcome! Nancy thanks for having Dee in the lair today.

Love the old matchmaker stories. I suppose my favourite would have to be Jane Austen's Emma. I know a lot of people loathe her, but I have a soft spot for Emma. SEP's Match Me if You Can is also a prime favourite.

Mismatched couple? That's a lot harder. There are so many great ones. Probably Maddie and Jervaulx in Flowers from the Storm.

Emmanuelle said...

Thanks for the nice sneak peak. I don't know a lot of matchmaker stories. The first to come to my mind is Match me if You Can by SEP. It was a good one too ;-)

Helen said...

Congrats Virginia what do you have planned for him today?

Hi Dee and thanks Nancy and Dee for a great interview.
The books sounds fantastic I love the excerpt and the new romantic suspense series sounds great as well.

I don't think I have read a matchmaker story before I will need to think on it and as for a missmatched couple I can't think of any either I have just got home from work LOL

Have Fun

Jane said...

Hi Dee,
Congrats on the new release. I'm also very excited about your new romantic suspense series. I loved the Last Chance series. Like Christine, I love Emma. One of my favorite matchmaking movies is Amelie.

Congrats on the GR, Virginia.

Laurie said...

Debbie Macomber's Mrs Miracle.

In the anthology Wedding Bells, Jingle Bells- All I Want For Christmas there was a cute Christmas story by Nora Roberts with twins that set up the teacher with the single parent.

sherrinda said...

I like Match Me If You Can and Emma, but I really love Fiddler on the Roof and that funny little Matchmaker! Funny!

The opening to Dee's book looks wonderful! Tears alway make me empathize with a character...especially when it is over a man!


Beth said...

Welcome, Dee! Love the excerpt. And now I get to add another fabulous book to my Amazon Wish List *g* Yay!

I love Nora Roberts' MacGregor series where Daniel MacGregor plays matchmaker to his children and then his grandchildren. My favorite of the bunch is The Perfect Neighbor :-)

Thanks for the great interview, ladies!

MsHellion said...

Hmmm. Mismatched couples...major "opposites attract" like:

Noah and Allie from The Notebook, and Jack and Rose from Titanic.

Amanda and Kyrian from Dark Pleasures (an accountant and a dark hunter)

Josie and Mayne from Pleasure for Pleasure, the chubby sarcastic virgin and the gorgeous rake. (Well, I don't consider her chubby; she's called chubby...)

Ross and Rachel from Friends were mismatched, but mostly I enjoyed watching them together because the nerd and the cheerleader are funny.

These books sound FUNNY. Sorta along the lines of the Shopaholic series...I've been going through withdraws, so I'll definitely have to find one of your books!!

MsHellion said...

As for matchmaker stories, I don't really read those a lot. Though I did love The Matchmaker with Jane Garfallo (sp?) and the handsome Irish guy...

Margay said...

These books sound like a hoot! I'm with Christine - my favorite matchmaking story is Jane Austen's Emma. I love it when everything goes horribly wrong for her, she gets her comeuppance, and realizes that she loves Knightley. Magic.


Nancy said...

Virginia, have fun with the rooster! Isn't it funny how a person can list any given thing spontaneously, but when asked, goes blank? It happens to me, too!

Nancy said...

Christine, Flowers from the Storm is Laura Kinsale, isn't it?

I'd forgotten about Emma. I'm one of those heretics who has never read Austen. I know--bad, bad. *sigh*

Nancy said...

Hi, Emmanuelle. I thought I was up on SEP, but that one isn't ringing a bell. Interesting that both you and Christine like it.

Nancy said...

Helen--glad you liked the interview. I hope you recover from dreaded After Work Brain. I often bring it home from school with me.

The matchmaker prompt was my idea, not Dee's, and now I'm drawing a blank. Match Made on Madison was wonderful, with a great twist ending, but I know there've been historicals with matchmaking heroines. Of course, I blithely assumed I'd remember them by now, and I haven't. Too many distractions, I guess.

Nancy said...

Jane, I'd forgotten Amelie. The dh and I watched it together years ago, and it was wonderful. Some people aren't big on subtitles, but we're fine with them.

I loved the Last Chance books, too. Lots of that Lair favorite, boom. *g* Dee's coming back in April to blog with us about her new RS series.

Nancy said...

Laurie, those stories sound great. Thanks for the suggestions.

Nancy said...

Hi, Sherrinda--I love that song from Fiddler on the Roof! The dh comes from eastern European Jewish culture, and his grandparents on his dad's side actually were put together by a yenta, though that was in New York.

I have a feeling we'll see a lot about Match Me if You Can and Emma today. :-)

Nancy said...

Hi, Beth--Glad you liked the interview. And thanks for throwing a guy matchmaker into the mix!

Nancy said...

MsHellion, I haven't read Set Up in Soho yet, but Match Made on Madison was hilarious. I'm expecting this one to be funny, too.

That's a great list you've supplied. Amanda and Kyrian are one of my favorite Dark Hunter couples. I read Fantasy Lover and liked it okay but wasn't grabbed by it. Decided to try Dark Pleasures anyway and was totally sucked into that universe by it.

Nancy said...

Hi, Margay--Y'all are making me think I need to add Emma to the teetering TBR pile!

Margay said...

Hi, Nancy!
You could always cheat and watch the movie. The version with Gwynneth Paltrow is the best, imo.

Vanessa Carlson said...

Emma is my absolute favorite Jane Austen novel. Knightly is my idea of a true hero! And A Match Made on Madison was my homage to Emma. And Althea just sort of took on a life of her own, so along came her neice Andi and SoHo.

I agree that Jack and Rose from the Titanic were mismatched in the sense that they came from different worlds. But he was also the catalyst to pull her out of a world she hated and into a much more rewarding life--living by her own rules.

Thanks for all the lovely comments about the book and the suspense series. For those of you who loved Last Chance--keep watch in the new series for an appearance by Harrison!

Vanessa Carlson said...

Hi again--- forgot that on blogger I'm "Vanessa Carlson"... the heroine from MATCH... it's really me. Dee Davis. Who clearly isn't in command of the internet.

Nancy said...

Margay, I probably will watch the movie. I can do that, alas, faster than I can read the book.

Though woe be unto any of my students who chose to rent the Steve Martin movie instead of reading Cheaper by the Dozen.

Nancy said...

Hey, Dee--alias Vanessa. *g* I love that avatar.

Interesting point about Jack and Rose from Titanic. Loving him did change her, didn't it?

Anna Sugden said...

Welcome back to the Lair, Dee! Your latest book looks great - can't wait to order it.

Glad to see you're doing more of your romantic suspenses too.

I love Debbie Macomber's matchmaking angels, Shirley, Goodness and Mercy. Like Beth, I also love Nora's Daniel Macgregor.

Oh, and Tante Lulu (with a little help from St Jude *g*) from Sandra Hill's fabulously funny cajun series. She really cracks me up!

Minna said...

I like Nora Roberts' MacGregor series, too.

Dee Davis said...

I think the beauty of the movie (Titanic) is the growth in Rose's character because of her relationship with Jack. And so even though his death was horrible (I literally screamed in the theater get on the bed. Why doesn't he get on the bed?) his loss is the thing that set Rose on the path she'd follow for the rest of her life. I think it's a wonderful example of how tragedy can result in something positive.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Dee, welcome to the Lair. Your Matchmaker books sound delightful. I love NY settings. How lucky that you live there and can "research" first hand.

Dee Davis said...

Hi Jo, Living in Manhattan is a dream come true. I've always wanted to live here. But I have to say that there are times when I really miss Wal-Mart, Target and good Tex-Mex food!

Nancy said...

Dee's next appearance in the Lair will be April 21, when she's discussing her new RS series.

Nancy said...

Anna, I've heard other people rave about Debbie Macomber's angels. With the holidays coming up, they'd be great.

Nancy said...

Minna, another vote for the MacGregors!

Nancy said...

Dee, I don't think James Cameron wanted you thinking overly much about motivation in that climactic moment. But I wondered that, too.

Dee Davis said...

Hey Nancy,

He may not have wanted you to think about it at that moment, but I think it was the crux of the movie. That's why the montage at the end when she's in bed and we see all the photographs of what she's done with her life. Not to mention not ever telling anyone who she really was. It's what made is dying bearable (Barely). Can you tell I love this movie? And James Cameron. Terminator is also a fav.

Nancy said...

Dee, I agree with you--and I don't like it when I realize there was an obvious solution to the problem.

Terminator is also a movie I love. I'm not a fan of doomed loves, but that one really grabbed me.

And Michael Biehn said hi to me at DragonCon. *g*

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Virginia, congrats on the chook! Whoo-hooooo!

Dee, welcome back to the lair! The new book sounds great. Nancy, great interview as ever.

I really like Matchmaker stories. There's a movie called Crossing Delancey that I remember really fondly. And Monsoon Wedding is really a matchmaker story - LOVE that movie. Decided I wanted an Indian wedding after seeing it. It makes your standard Aussie wedding look as pallid as uncooked bread!

Mind you, in books, nothing is really springing to mind. Well, I suppose there's Loretta Chase's wonderful Carsington series which are matchmaker stories even if that element is played down. Mr Impossible is one of the best romances I've ever read!

Anna Campbell said...

Ooh, Christine, Match Me If You Can. Absolutely. GREAT story! Must say I'm in the camp who loathes Emma and I find Knightley really creepy. ;-) Yeah, throw stones at me!

Nancy, I'm really surprised you've never read Austen! I'm re-reading Pride and Prejudice right now for a review for the Romance Dish.

Linda Rader said...

Wow what a wonderful story idea. I love all the Manhattan references and the cooking show background. One of my favorite movies is Julie and Julia so I love anything about cooking, and eating.

Susan Sey said...

Hi, Dee--

Welcome to the lair! I love the sound of your Set Up in Soho--I adore fairy godmother stories, even when (maybe especially when) the fairy godmother's a little pushy. :-)

I'm with Christine on matchmakers--I adore EMMA. I even like the Gwyneth Paltrow movie version---though I'm pretty sure that's less about Gwyneth and more about Jeremy Northam. Yum YUM.

Dee Davis said...

Oh I love Crossing Delancy!

Gannon Carr said...

Hi, Dee! I have the urge to suddenly break into song, "Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match. Find me a find, catch me a catch." LOL

I love Debbie Macomber's angels, too. One of my fave re-reads for the holidays.

Mismatched couples: Definitely Josie and Mayne from Pleasure for Pleasure and most definitely Jace Montgomery and Nellie Grayson in Jude Deveraux's WISHES. I love that book. *sigh*

Christine Wells said...

Nancy, yes FFTS is Kinsale. Austen isn't for everyone. In fact I always think there are two kinds of historical readers--the Austen kind and the Bronte kind. However, you, as mistress of snark, would probably like Austen. Maybe you should give her a try:)

Cassondra said...

Dee, welcome to the lair!

This book sounds fantastic. I love NYC anyhow, so books set there are usually winners for me. Matchmaker books...lessee...the first one that springs to mind is Match Me If You Canby SEP, followed by Claudia Dain's The Courtesan's Daughter where the courtesan plays matchmaker to her own daughter.

I have a question for you though. How did you end up in Manhattan? Is that your place of origin?

Dee Davis said...

"Bring me a ring for I'm longing to be the envy of all I see...."

Cassondra, I love that musical. And had the opportunity to see Alfred Molina in the revival here in NYC a couple of years ago. It was wonderful... although Topol is still the only true Tevye to me. (I know I didn't spell that name right.)

Dee Davis said...

SOrry last comment was for Gannon re Fiddler on the Roof.

Cassondra--I came to Manhattan via Texas. Austin. Lived in the south and southwest my whole life. But have traveled extensively and lived in Vienna, Austria for a while. Always wanted to be in Manhattan. And my husband was born here (on the East Side) so he wanted to come back. All of which meant when the right job opened up at the UN here, he jumped on it and here we are.

Lady_Graeye said...

Hello! I think my favorite matchmaker story which related back to my childhood is Cinderella! Everyone need a fairy godmother! Mismatch couple...Humm. It would have to be Tempe and Booth on "Bones." I love them two!

Nancy said...

Anna, I haven't seen Crossing Delancey or Monsoon Wedding but have heard raves for both of them. I really should rent them!

Glad you liked the interview.

Nancy said...

Anna, I tried Pride and Prejudice when I was in high school and just couldn't get into it, so I forgot about Austen. I was discovering Heyer about that time. Then, in college, had great fun reading about battling Plantagenets instead. *g*

Have been thinking I should give Jane another shot, though, lately.

Nancy said...

Linda, I'm always impressed by people who can cook. I can follow a recipe--sort of, more or less--but creative cooking is beyond me.

Nancy said...

Susan, I love fairy godmothers, too, and I'm really looking forward to Set Up in SoHo. I so enjoyed its precursor that I'm thinking this has to be good.

And Dee can be tremendously funny in person, which carries over to the books.

Nancy said...

Hi, Gannon--More matchmakers for the list! I haven't read any of those, but I'm a sucker for a good Christmas story.

Nancy said...

Christine wrote: However, you, as mistress of snark, would probably like Austen.

Why, thank you, Christine! I do like a bit of snark in story. :-) And I'm sure I'll try Austen again eventually.

Nancy said...

Hey, Cassondra--I love NYC, too! Being there last Thanksgiving, as the Christmas decorations went up, was fabulous! Alas that I had to leave the very day Macy's was to light its big snowflake display and the Metropolitan was to unveil its big tree.

Emmanuelle said...

Today I decided to reread one of my fav books "The Rake" by Suzanne Enoch. Something I had totally forgotten about it, is the 2 medling matchmaking aunts. They're very funny and witty, and definitly throwing H/H together.

jo robertson said...

I don't know many matchmaking stories either, at least not in books. One that comes to mind is CROSSING DELANCY, a movie that I adored. Did anyone mention that?

jo robertson said...

Yay, Virginia, on getting the rooster. I hear he's been hitting the bottle a lot lately. You might have to keep an eye on him.

Oh, Christine, yes EMMA. I'd forgotten all about that one. Many readers know P&P, but don't tackle Emma because it's, well, really, really long. But I adore the whole story!

jo robertson said...

LOL, Dee! I was wondering who this Vanessa person was who was taking over Dee's books!!??

I'm partial to romantic suspense. Can you tell us a little more about your series coming from Grand Central? Are they connected and how?

Dee Davis said...

The new series is connected. And the first three books will be released in 2010. The books center around "an elite CIA unit masquerading as faculty at an Ivy League college. Brilliant, badass, and seemingly bulletproof, the members are assigned to the riskiest missions and the most elusive targets." The first three books are: Dark Deceptions (April), Dangerous Desires (July), and Desperate Deeds (August).

Nancy said...

Emmanuelle, thanks for the suggestion of The Rake!

Nancy said...

Jo, Crossing Delancey has a couple of other fans here. Wasn't that a vehicle for Amy Irving?

Nancy said...

Dee, I really cannot wait to see Ivy League professors who are secretly ass kickers. Being in a class with one of them would be like having Clark Kent for your professor.

Michelle said...

hi dee! great interview dee and nancy! my favorite mismatch couple would have to be evie and sebastian from lisa kleypas's devil in winter (i just finished the book and it immediately became one of my favorites).

and congrats on the GR virginia!

Nancy said...

Hi, Michelle--I haven't read that one. Thanks for the recommendation!

jo robertson said...

Yes, Nancy, CROSSING DELANCY starred a very young Amy Irving and was about a Jewish matchmaker setting her up. Forgot the male actor at the moment.

jo robertson said...

%hanks, Dee, I like the idea of the cover of an ivy league school!

Pat Cochran said...

My mismatched couple:

He: 6'1", She: 5'0"
He: Irish Caucasian, She: Hispanic
He: Family youngest, She: Eldest of nine & almost 6 years older than he.
He: Decided at first meeting to wed
her, She: Turned down several of his
proposals before finally accepting.
He: Had family members who didn't
want the marriage, She: Had several
friends who cautioned against the
They: Lived in Texas of the 1960s
Society: Frowned on interracial
couples/marriages, couples often
met open discrimination.

This all occurred almost 49 years
ago. Honey and I are still very much together!

Pat Cochran

Dee Davis said...

How wonderful! Thanks for sharing. What a wonderful love story!!!!

Nancy said...

Pat, what a fabulous story!

Alison said...

Cinderella is a great matchmaking story, and I love the Ever After film version with Drew Barrymore, where the Fairy Godmother role is taken by Leonardo Da Vinci, of all people!