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:
TORN BETWEEN DUTY AND DESIRE
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.