Interview with Shea McMaster: part of the LOVE ONBOARD! Blog Tour

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

I love romance. Sometimes I mix it up with suspense or a little Sci-Fi, but it’s always about love first. Happy Endings rule!

How long have you been writing?

I started in late October 2004. My husband I were separated by job circumstances. He was starting our transition back to Alaska and I stayed in Colorado so our son could finish Jr. High at the fabulous school he was in. I also had a great paying FT job with even better health care. It was a very tough year and writing got me through a whole lot of major challenges.

What cultural value do you see in writing/reading/storytelling/etc.?

If I’m writing a story set in Alaska, I see it as a chance to set the record straight about what it’s really like to live in the Last Frontier. I really get annoyed with authors who have never been here who write impossible things. I once read a book where the author has the hero traveling from Fairbanks (2nd largest city) to Cantwell (small village 2+ hours south of Fairbanks) for medical care. So not ever going to happen! Never mind the other impossible situations she set up for the characters.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

I really try to inject humor when I can. I’m not as funny as J. Morgan, or Boone Brux, both dear writing buddies, but I like to keep things light. I’d rather laugh than cry.

What was the hardest part of writing this book? 

Right now, getting the quiet time I need to sink into the story. Recently moved into my 87 yo mother’s house to take care of her. Some days I just can’t find ten minutes of quiet, much less the 3-4 hours I really need. Love being here for her, so it’s more a situation of frustration when it comes to writing. Sometimes I can set her up with an audio book, but then I want to listen too!

Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?  What impact have they had on your writing?

Such a long list! Starting back many years ago Julie Garwood and Jude Deveraux were my go-to reads. Then I added Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jennifer Greene, Jennifer Crusie, Rebecca York, and a whole host of others.

In the last twelve years, my favorites come from my AKRWA chapter. We have a whole lot of talent up here! Jackie Ivie, Lizbeth Selvig, Jennifer Bernard, Maxine Mansfield, Boone Brux, Lynn Lovegreen, Tielle St. Clare, and Tam Lindsey to name a few. Sorry if I missed anyone. We all help each other refine the craft and cheer everyone on. Looking forward to some of our newer members catching up.

I also love discovering new to me authors through free ebooks. I often end up buying the whole series and impatiently waiting for more.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer?  How does that affect your writing?

I’ve moved from full-time to part-time. So many demands on my time these days. As a result, I find it harder to dig in and write. I’m lucky to get on the computer 2-3 days a week. Often for only a half day, and even that is broken up by interruptions. Sort of like living with a toddler again.

What are some day jobs that you have held?  If any of them impacted your writing, share an example.

I did school/Scout/Mary Kay newsletters for a lot of years while working part-time. That really refined my editing skills. While in Colorado, I had a full-time job doing tech-editing and document control. The best training I had for that job was my then twelve-year-old son. I chased scientists around and made sure they did their reporting on time. I had PhDs running and hiding from me!

What do you like to read in your free time?

I’m finding myself reading, and listening to, a lot of cozy mysteries these days. The listening I do with Mom to keep her occupied while we work on getting her eyesight fixed. At night, upstairs with my husband, I find the time to read whatever I want on my tablet while knitting. Some of those are erotic in nature, but mostly I find myself looking for really good stories that are less about sex and more about building the relationship and having adventures.

What do your plans for future projects include?

I have a Science Fiction series sitting in a folder on my computer that I really, really want to finish. Those stories are a bit stalled because of the weak middles and comments from my critiquers I’m still mulling over. But, soon, I hope those are headed toward contracts and editors.

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

Don’t knock the shower!  I’ve had some of my best ideas in the shower! The problem is when the characters start talking to each other as I’m trying to fall asleep. I’ll make notes on my tablet then try to pick up the scene in the morning.

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

Jennifer Greene directly inspired “Her Foreign Affair” with her book “Blame it on Paris.” I wanted the story from the mother’s angle. Then The Robinsons Series was born

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

I really try to stay away from cities and regions I’ve never visited. And if I must touch down in one, I find an author who lives there, or did live there, and pester them to death with questions. This goes back to my disgust with people who have never lived in Alaska and write about it. If you want to write about Alaska, come spend a year here. It’s that different. So, I try to respect the denizens of other regions by not making up my own stories about their homes.

Unless it’s Science Fiction. Then nearly all bets are off!

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

The ability to clean house and cook dinner with the twitch of my nose. Oh, and fold laundry with a thought. I dislike routine, endless tasks. Takes time away from writing and quilting.

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?

Ireland and Scotland. Both “old countries” for me. And Sweden. I’m one-fourth Swedish, but I don’t like kippers, so I’ll have to think about that.

If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be?

I’d want to be a seal. Swim, eat, sleep in the sun. Toss a ball around from time to time. Guess I’d have to get over my dislike of smelly fish for that!

What is something you want to accomplish before you die?

See my grandchildren. Of course, my son needs to meet a nice woman before that can happen. But I don’t nag him, often. I just make gentle suggestions on how to meet someone.

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

I loved reading from the beginning. I crave the escape. I used to tell myself stories will making mud pies, working on puzzles, sewing… When I can mostly disconnect my mind from my actions.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

I hope fun can be found in most of my stories. I’m not funny enough for the big belly laughs of true comedy writing, but I want my readers to laugh and fall in love with my characters. Someone once said my characters feel like people who live down the street, people you’d want to hang out with. That was a huge compliment.

What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive?

Just sit and write. Let it flow from your head to your fingers and get the story on paper (or in a document file). Save the tweaking and editing until the final draft is complete. Getting critiques on an unfinished document can send me into a tail spin that brings everything to a halt.


Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

Don’t know how strange it is, but I can stare at the screen for hours and play endless games of Solitaire.

How many donuts are you capable of eating in one sitting?

Unknown as I rarely buy donuts, and when I do I only buy one. Helps that the best donut place is more than an hour away. But put a bowl of chips or a bag of chocolate on my desk… That’s a whole ‘nother story. I try to keep only a glass of water handy.

How violently do you have to fight the urge to scream when you hear the ice cream truck coming?

Since I tend to be one who will spend whole days in my pjs, I’m pretty good at resisting the ice cream truck.

Say there’s like a whole box of your favorite snack in a room all by themselves. Say I left them there and told you not to eat any until I got back. How long would it take you to disobey my wishes?

About five minutes. I have little will power.

What is your go-to method for getting rid of hiccups?

Guzzling a big glass of water.

Do you have a favorite Girl Scout Cookie?

Shortbread kills me every time. And Boy Scout popcorn. I love the cheesy stuff.

This or That?

Dogs or Cats? Dogs

Tea or Coffee? Coffee

Winter or Summer? Summer

TexMex or Italian? Both

Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate

Vintage or New? New

Fried or Scrambled? Scrambled

Bond or Bourne? Bond

Fun Facts about Shea McMaster:

I played violin from fourth grade through my first year of college. Had some great times when I was in the Anchorage Youth Symphony. Also, once got to play a Stradivarius that belonged to one of my father’s co-workers. I was too young to fully appreciate the experience.

I’ve sewed for many years. First it was clothes, then I did pillow shams for a craft fair circuit to help a friend fill her booth. These days I’m learning to quilt. I don’t do fancy stuff. I stick to rectangles and squares (same with knitting and crocheting) for the most part, but just learned how to do HSTs (Half Square Triangles). Doubt I’ll ever make anything to put on show. I give away most of what I make. Baby quilts are easy and fast. I’m all about easy and fast. I’m also planning for those future grandchildren I hope my son will someday give me.

I’m very, very ticklish. (Mom threw that one in)

With the exception of five and half years in Colorado, I’ve lived in Alaska since March 1977. My parents moved up as the pipeline was transitioning from construction to production. It was an exciting time and the state has seen so many changes in the last forty years. I also married a man who was born in Fairbanks three months before statehood.

I’m the youngest of five children, and was born in New Orleans. We moved to California when I was two months old, so I never developed the accent.



Shea McMaster is the sweeter side of Morgan Q O’Reilly. Her books tend more toward the traditional romance model and are sensual rather than erotic in nature.

Connect with Shea McMaster online:

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LOVE ONBOARD! CUPID’S CARIBBEAN CRUISE has set sail! Join the cruise guests and watch Cupid hit his targets!

Love Onboard: Cupid’s Caribbean Cruise. . . . Waves of New Contemporary Romance stories are coming from some of your favorite romance authors, all set aboard a Valentine’s singles cruise.

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Too Fast for Love by Lilly Christine – Race Car Driver Luke Devlin’s anger issues bring him to a screeching stop, but Love Expert Lacey Lipinski has the keys to help him recalibrate. Can a cruise ship fling survive life in the fast lane?

When not hunched over her laptop dreaming up strong female leads in sassy dialogue with dashing male counterparts, Lilly Christine can be found hiking and down-dogging with her two dogs and one cat. In addition to reading, she enjoys several outdoor activities including riding horses, gardening, and biking.

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Just One Look by Deb Julienne – On a secret mission for her father, Diana Clay aka ‘Diana Tolliver’ finds herself alone on a singles cruise. She befriends a passenger and they play a game…date for a cruise. Each must pick out the others date for the duration of the cruise. Between her research on the ship and her new “boyfriend” she has her hands full.

USA Today and Amazon Bestselling Author Deb Julienne has penned multiple romantic comedy and western novels and anthologies. While some say truth is stranger than fiction, her experiences run more along the lines of a slapstick comedy. She makes her own Limoncello…enough said.

After the day job, she loves to play in the kitchen concocting award-winning jams, jellies, preserves, and sauces (with alcohol of course). Born and raised in San Jose, California, she now resides in her own little bit of heaven in the Sierra Tahoe National Forest Basin, with her husband of 35 years, their three sons and one daughter, and five very precious grandchildren with number six on the way.

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Pirated Pixie by Shea McMaster – Irene Lundquist has no plans for romance while on the cruise with her jilted best friend and his groomsmen. She’s surprised when Dutch Marshal’s good looks and charm do nothing to help her relax, and everything to steal her heart. For Dutch, things get complicated when the best man in charge of the group plans is a gorgeous pixie-sized redhead woman who lights his fire. Can either of them make it through the singles cruise and remain single, or will they get the happily ever after neither of them was looking for?

Shea McMaster lives for traditional romance. Born in New Orleans, raised in California, Shea got moved to Alaska in 1977, where she attended high school before running back to California to get her English degree from Mills College. Alas, once back home she met and fell in love with her own forever true hero, a born and raised Alaska man. Since then she’s had a love-hate relationship with America’s largest state.

With her one and only son grown and on his own, Shea is fortunate to spend her days playing with the furry child, and engaged in daydreaming, turning those dreams into romantic novels and novellas featuring damsels in distress rescued by their own brains and hunky heroes. She also writes under the steamy romances under the name Morgan O’Reilly.

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Healing Hearts by Michele Shriver – After a bitter divorce and custody battle, Taryn Bradfield’s best friend books her on a singles cruise, where she meets Makai Grant, an airline pilot burnt out on love. Sailing the Caribbean, Taryn and Makai find healing and passion in each other’s arms, but too soon, the ship returns to port. Was it a vacation fling, or the start of something more?

Michele Shriver is a National and International best-selling author of women’s fiction and contemporary romance. Her books feature flawed-but-likeable characters in real-life settings. She’s not afraid to break the rules, but never stops believing in happily ever after. Michele counts among her favorite things a good glass of wine, a hockey game, and a sweet and sexy book boyfriend, not necessarily in that order.

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Cinderella at Sea by Ellen Wilder – When girl next door Manda Reilly discovers hero country singer Hunter Cross is onboard her singles cruise, Manda finds herself indulging in the exotic. Hunter’s heroism goes more than skin-deep. Can the man she’s known forever really be her one true love?

Ellen Wilder was born and raised in Indiana. She is happily married to her husband of five years and enjoys raising their two girls and one boy in the house where she grew up. They have a border collie/corgi mix named Loki.

Her parents started reading to Ellen and her siblings at a very young age. They quickly tired of books for younger children and turned to chapter books like Tarzan, The Hobbit, and Lord of the Rings forging Ellen’s love for reading.

Ellen started writing in Junior High with an assignment from her computer writing teacher. Her first attempt at a modern day Old Yeller crossover with NYPD Blue was “awful”, but that didn’t stop the inspiration from flowing. Ellen now writes contemporary romance novels with a realistic twist to them. If you’re looking for fairy tales, you won’t find them here as her characters deal with real life issues. She loves helping people with their writing, paying forward the help that she has received allowing her to be where she is today.

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This blog tour was organized by Karan Eleni & KEPR Tours.

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