1--What is the title of your latest release?
2--What’s the “elevator pitch” for your new book?
A sunshine-y social media influencer whose brand revolves around backyard chickens moves to a small-town post-break up, only to clash with her grumpy neighbor, a veterinarian who’s been hate watching her content.
3--How did you decide where your book was going to take place?
It’s a straightforward case of writing what you know: I am a Virginia backyard chicken keeper (though I’m not an influencer!).
4--Would you hang out with your heroine in real life?
Oh yes. I’m definitely a female protagonist-centered romance reader. I always want to write heroines that I want to be friends with and that I want to root for. I have so much empathy for Nic. My goal was to give her the HEA she deserves.
5--What are three words that describe your hero?
Grumpy. Wounded. Vulnerable.
6--What’s something you learned while writing this book?
By the end of 2023, economists estimate that 50% of veterinary practices in the US will be owned by large corporations, an increase from fewer than 20% only a few years ago. There’s so much change and pressure on the field right now, and as a result, there’s a mental health crisis among vets. Will is not alone in his struggles.
7--Do you edit as you draft or wait until you are totally done?
I wish I could wait until I was done. I would write like the wind if I could be that disciplined. Alas, I edit as I write.
8--What’s your favorite foodie indulgence?
At the end of a stressful day, what I really want is a gooey grilled cheese sandwich. But I prefer to think of it as well earned, not an indulgence.
9--Describe your writing space/office!
When we bought our house, the office was all midcentury style, with dark wood paneling with dark printed curtains. But during the pandemic, I painted the paneling a spring-like shade of green, ditched the heavy curtains, and built a simple white desk. It’s so much brighter and more cheerful now. I do bribe myself to write with prints and presents, and Chick Magnet’s was from Lore Olympus.
10--Who is an author you admire?
Cat Sebastian. I’m reading Daniel Cabot Puts Down Roots right now, and I can’t get over how many different times and places Cat has written (Georgian, Regency, post WWII, 1970s), how many different types of characters she’s written, and how good all of her books are.
11--Is there a book that changed your life?
Loretta Chase, Lord of Scoundrels. In 2011, I got a Kindle and decided to read one romance novel for research. Just the one, mind you. It happened to be Lord of Scoundrels, and I, um, haven’t looked back.
12--Tell us about when you got “the call.” (when you found out your book was going to be published)
I was watching my kids at the pool when I got an email from my agent saying that Montlake was interested in Chick Magnet. We talked on the phone a few hours later. I’d spent the entire year either querying agents or on submission with publishers, and I’d heard no a lot. A lot a lot. Getting that yes was impossibly sweet.
13--What’s your favorite genre to read?
Nothing is as a satisfying to me as a romance where I adore the characters and my heart is just aching for them.
14--What’s your favorite movie?
Singin’ in the Rain: a musical romance in saturated technicolor with fabulous 20s costumes. What’s not to love?
15--What is your favorite season?
Fall. Moderate temperatures, gorgeous foliage, and more sunshine than the spring. I look forward to October all year.
16--How do you like to celebrate your birthday?
I’m answering this questionnaire on my birthday, so I believe the answer is book promo. (I’m not being facetious. I’m so excited for this book, there isn’t anything I’d rather be doing.)
17--What’s a recent tv show/movie/book/podcast you highly recommend?
The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna. It’s like a warm mug of cocoa in book form. There’s very little plot, everyone is lovely (even the grump), and there are cute children and a magical garden. Basically, I want to live in this book.
18--What’s your favorite type of cuisine?
Tex-Mex. I love spice and cilantro and salsa and tortillas. And huevos rancheros is an excellent way to get all of things, plus eggs.
19--What do you do when you have free time?
I’ve been teaching myself to play the piano. I’m awful, but it’s freeing to do something I don’t have an affinity for, just enthusiasm, and to give myself permission to be bad at it.
20--What can readers expect from you next?
In May, I’ll be releasing Funny Guy: a comedian hides out from a media firestorm at the tiny apartment of his best friend, who happens to be in love with him. It’s childhood best friends to lovers, with chaos Muppet/order Muppet vibes. It’s completely different from Chick Magnet, but I adore it.
From Emma Barry comes a clever romance about a hot veterinarian and a chicken-loving influencer who can’t help but ruffle each other’s feathers.
Nicole Jones needs a fresh start. “Chick Nic” to millions of internet fans, the social media star and her flock of chickens bask in the spotlight—until she’s publicly dumped by a YouTuber for clout. She has no choice but to round up her birds and move on.
But when one of her hens has an emergency, Nic gets her first taste of her new stomping grounds—and it isn’t good. Veterinarian Will Lund is wildly attractive, yes, but he’s also surly. In fact, he comes right out and calls her a menace for parading her chickens on social media.
As neighbors, Nic and Will can’t exactly avoid each other. Then again, maybe they don’t want to. The two can’t deny their smoldering attraction, and it isn’t long before late-night confessions lead to backyard shenanigans.
Is this the start of a neighborly relationship—or could something more be hatching?
Romance Contemporary [Montlake, On Sale: January 24, 2023, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781662505010 / ]
Emma Barry is a teacher, novelist, recovering academic, and former political staffer. She lives with her high school sweetheart and a menagerie of pets and children in Virginia, and she occasionally finds time to read and write.
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