What was the inspiration behind this book?
Hi, Andi. Thanks so much for having me on the blog to talk about The Mason Dixon Line! This book is a sequel to another book (Melting the Millionaire's Heart) set in the world of Horizons, a school for kids with special needs. But it's not necessary to have read the books in order to enjoy this one. The heroine of this book is a teacher's aide who has stumbled into the job because she doesn't know what she wants out of life. She's paired with the hero, Mason Dixon, a cartoonist with ADHD and dyslexia, to work on a fundraising book to benefit the school. Having struggled through school and finally dropped out of high school despite his many gifts, Mason is cynical about the educational system, and has an eff-you attitude to anyone associated with it, including Carolyn. I was inspired to take on the subject after my son and husband were both diagnosed with ADHD. I've watched my son and other kids I know struggle in a mainstream school setting despite high intelligence. My husband, who went to school before ADHD was understood well, excelled in high school and then dropped out of a prestigious private university he was attending on an academic scholarship. I guess you could say I've sort of become obsessed with smart, creative guys who rebel against school but go on to succeed anyway, like my husband has and like I hope my son will. That describes Mason perfectly.How much do you have in common with Carolyn?
Well, let's see. She's gorgeous, rich, has had everything handed to her, so …. we have absolutely nothing in common. Okay, actually, if you look beneath the surface, we do share a few things. She has a tendency to go shopping when she's stressed, so there's that. Also, she's in her early twenties and doesn't know what she wants to do with her life, and doesn't have the greatest self-esteem. That phase of life is behind me, but I still remember it well.What is one of your favorite scenes?
It's tough to pick because I have so many scenes I'm proud of in this book. One of my favorites is the scene where they meet, in Java Joe's. It's not exactly love at first sight, but despite all their quarreling, the sparks are still flying. It's one of my favorite things in any romance--the bickering would-be lovers.How did you decide on the title and name for the male love interest?
I am awful at character names. I don't like trendy names, but sometimes traditional names can be so dull! I just liked the sound of "Mason," and then I realized that Mason came from pretty crazy, erratic parents, so naming him something like "Mason Dixon" would totally be something they'd do. From there, it was just a short step to calling it "The Mason Dixon Line," because he really does cross quite a few lines for Carolyn.You hit the Top 100 on Amazon with your book 'Melting the Millionaire's Heart.' What are your secrets for success?
I think I've finally found my voice as a writer, and you can only do that by writing, trying different things, failing, picking yourself back up, and trying again. The best piece of advice I have for a writer is that only you can make yourself give up. Editors can reject you, agents can blow you off, and readers can give you bad reviews, but only you can decide to let it get to you and force you out of the business.Please tell us about your other books.
I've dabbled in a variety of genres, from romantic suspense to historical western, but I seem to have found my niche with contemporary romance. By Hook or By Crook was my first contemporary, although it's got a bit of a crime novel plot thrown in. I have a straight contemporary vacation fling story set in Mexico. It's called Nice Work if You Can Get It and it's coming from Swoon Romance in 2014.On what other projects are you currently working?
I'm working on a series centered around a fictional minor-league baseball team set in a small town in southern Indiana.I went to Wrigley Field over the summer to see Pearl Jam play. I am not a Cubs fan, but could still feel the magic on the field. Have you ever been to a Cubs game? How do you manage to keep the faith?
I have *never* been to a Cubs game. Isn't that embarrassing? Although I have to say, a Pearl Jam show there doesn't sound too shabby either! (I saw them on a triple bill with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Smashing Pumpkins in a very echo-ey convention center in, oh, 1992 or something. Ahem. Showing my age.) I guess I keep the faith in the Cubs because there is so much great stuff around the team that has nothing to do with winning. Their fans, their field, their history, the Curse of the Billy Goat -- it all makes for a great experience, even if they don't win. (And hey, there's always next year, right?)You like to bake. What is one of your best baked goods?
Well, I really feel there are two kinds of people in the world, pie people and cake people. And although I love a good cake, I have to say I'm a pie person. Some people get very annoyed with me about this, but I married another pie person, so peace reigns in our house. I love making fruit pies in particular. Cherry with a lattice top and real whipped cream on top is my favorite. (And I use butter in my pie crusts, for you bakers out there.)What is something readers may be surprised to learn about you?
Oddly, although I far prefer writing contemporary, I enjoy reading historical more. It works out well, though. I find it tough to read in the same genre I'm writing. I make too many comparisons and have too much of a tendency to start imitating what I'm reading, so keeping my reading and writing separate works out best.Is there anything else you would like to add?
This story is so near and dear to my heart because of its subject matter. Carolyn and Mason are very real to me and I love them like family. The wonderful response this book has gotten from those who have read it has been very special to me!Thank you so much for your time!
No problem. Thanks so much for having me!
by Linda Morris
Carolyn Hart has excelled at one thing her whole life: looking good. She's always had the beauty, the style, and the attitude to turn heads. But making her own way in the world turns out to be a lot tougher than getting electing homecoming queen. She has no idea what she wants to do with her life, her credit card balance is becoming self-aware, and her love life is DOA. And now her boss at Horizons, a school for kids with special needs, has given her an unwelcome assignment: to work with a cartoonist to create a kids' book as a fundraiser for the school.
Former troubled kid Mason Dixon would do anything for the aunt who took him in after his parents gave up on him. But when he offers to illustrate a kids' book as a fundraiser for her pet cause, he winds up taking on way more than he bargained for. The gorgeous teacher's aide he's assigned to work with challenges him at every turn and makes him wonder if there's any line he won't cross for her.
Read an excerpt:
"Got a pen?" Mason asked her.
She rifled through her purse. "Yeah, here. Why?"
"Thought I'd do some drawing. Waiting is boring."
"We've been waiting like thirty seconds."
"And I've been bored for thirty seconds. I'd rather draw."
She watched him stroke his pen across his napkin and frown when the pen's nib tore the paper. "This napkin sucks. Got any paper?"
She dug through her purse again until she found a long receipt. "Sure." She handed it over.
He eyed it. "You blew two hundred and fifty-six bucks at Victoria's Secret?"
"Hey, I gave it to you so you could draw, not criticize. No judging!" Flushing, she grabbed for the receipt but he held it out of her reach, grinning. He was cute when he smiled. Damn him.
"Who said I was judging? That purchase actually sounds worthwhile." His lips curved and she had the oddest sensation he was imagining what she might have bought. "What was it? Two hundred and fifty bucks ought to buy a lot of lingerie."
She scowled. "You'll never see it, so don't worry about it."
"Oh, I don't plan on seeing it. But I can dream, can't I?"
"Is that the Mason Dixon version of flirtation?" She crooked one eyebrow. He didn't plan on seeing it? That was a first. No guy had ever come right out and admitted he had no shot at seeing her scantily clad.
Most men were optimistic that way, even if it was totally unfounded.
He looked down at the receipt and began to doodle, his cheeks reddening. "I wouldn't say I was flirting with you."
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Linda Morris is a writer of contemporary romance. She writes stories with heart and heat, along with a joke or two thrown in. Her book Melting the Millionaire's Heart was an Amazon Top 100 Series Romance bestseller.
When she's not writing, working, or mommying, she's doing yoga, reading, working in her flower garden, or baking delicious things she probably shouldn't eat. She believes that there are two kinds of people: pie people and cake people, and she is definitely one of the former. Her years of Cubs fandom prove she has a soft spot for a lost cause. A beat-up old copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss's Ashes in the Wind was her gateway drug into the world of romance novels, and she's never looked back.
Linda loves to hear from readers. You can tweet at her (@LMorrisWriter), visit her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Linda-Morris/130241710320644, or swing by her website at www.lindamorrisbooks.com
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