Interview with Author Megan Caldwell with Contest AND Shoe-Off Poll

Yay!!! My good friend Megan is visiting here today to answer questions, talk about her new book, and submit to a Shoe-Off. (Dun dun dun!!!) There’s a poll AND a contest.

Hello Megan!

About Megan Caldwell

Photo of Megan Caldwell. Pale skin, very dark hair. Black eyeglass frames and a black shirt.Megan Caldwell grew up in a remote town in New Hampshire where she devoured every book of fiction in her well-read parents’ library. An English literature major at Barnard College with double minors in political science and religion, Megan wrote and edited reviews for a music industry magazine for fifteen years. Eventually, she became editor-in-chief and went on to develop conference programs for the industry. Now she is the community manager for Heroes and Heartbreakers, a romance novel website, where she blogs daily as Megan Frampton about the fiction she reads. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son.
Twitter: @meganf
Facebook: megancaldwellbkny

About Vanity Fare

Cover of Vanity Fare by megan Caldwell. Plate of Cookies sitting on a stacka of books.Molly Hagan is overwhelmed.

Her husband left her for a younger, blonder woman; her six-year-old son is questioning her authority, and now so is she. In order to pay her Brooklyn rent and keep her son supplied with Pokémon and Legos, not to mention food and clothing, she has to get a job—fast.

So when an old friend offers Molly a freelance position copywriting for a new bakery, finding romance is just about the last thing on her mind. But the sexy British pastry chef who’s heading up the bakery has other thoughts. And then so does Molly, when she meets the chef’s intimidating business partner—who also happens to have a secret that might prevent Molly from getting her own happily ever after.

What they’re Saying

First – this book was hilarious! I was texting my daughter parts and she would “LOL” back. Then I had to just call her and read her a whole page because it was too long to text. There were parts where I was laughing so hard I had tears running down my face. This book was very quirky, quippy, snarky, and sarcastic and I loved it for it! A book after my own heart! Wall-to-wall-books

Molly’s journey towards financial and emotional independence is a wonderfully witty, charming, and yummy tale that is sure to appeal to readers and foodies alike. Caldwell’s debut is a winner across the board and a perfect addition for everyone’s romance shelf. Tori Benson, via Goodreads

Grade: A-
Reading this book is like sitting down with a friend and talking about her life. Molly is complete and well-drawn, with intelligence, flaws, fantasies, a snarky voice, and a great sense of humor. She’s the kind of woman you know—or maybe wish you knew. You sort of want to punch her ex-husband, and you definitely want to hug her kid…even if you don’t generally like kids in books. Laura C: The Good, The Bad, and The Unread

Read an Excerpt

Read an Excerpt at Heroes & Heartbreakers

Where to Get Vanity Fare



Q: When you were working on this book, did you ever get hungry? Also, I have heard that you are making some of the items from the bakery in the book. Spill.

A: I am usually hungry, so yes, I did get hungry in the course of writing the book. I love food, I love all kinds of food except for lima beans. I did try to make one of the recipes along with my much more organized friend and author Liz Maverick; our results are here: Do Readers Actually Make Recipes in Novels, Romance at Random

I don’t think I’m going to attempt any more, not at this time. I kind of suck as a cook; I can follow recipes,  and I like eating, of course, but I am not good beyond that.

Q:. Your family has a pet. Can you tell us about the kitty? Does she help you write? Do you have a picture? My cat Abu was stuck in a tree for three days. Do you worry your cat will be stuck in a tree?

A: We got Kiki over the summer as a kitten (a rescue), and MAN do I love this kitty. She’s all black with green eyes, and she’s quite wee, just under five pounds. I was brought up to believe I had OMGDEATHLYHOSPITAL allergies, so this is the first pet I have ever had and been allowed to keep (my mom fed my pet gerbils to a boa constrictor. Thanks, Mom!). Kiki is a strictly indoors cat, so she won’t get stuck in any trees, although she has a tendency to want to sneak under our bed, because she’s not allowed in our bedroom, so of course it makes it the most appealing room EVER. I can’t imagine having a cat stuck in a tree for three whole days! Yikes!

Q:. OK, I didn’t know this was a thing, but apparently it is. Three people, which one do you marry, which one do you kill, and which one do you have mad intimate relations with. I am going to make this really hard for you:

1. Richard Armitage
2. Gerard Butler
3. Clive Owen

A: This is a snap, because Gerard Butler is totally not my steez. I would fuck Richard Armitage until the cows come home (stay out late, cows, okay?), I would marry Clive Owen, and I would kill Gerard Butler because, dude, your film choices and your hair have both been sliding downhill for awhile now.

Q. Answer this in 3 seconds: Cupcakes or Tarts? Why (you can take longer than 3 seconds to answer to why part)

A: Tarts! I agree with my son when he announced cakes are just bread with frosting, and since cupcakes are smaller than that, I would have to go for a tart. Tarts have buttery, flaky dough, and cupcakes are cute to look at, and all, but not for eating. So tarts. Plus the word—TART. Love it.

Q: You have actual style. Do you have any advice for those of us who don’t? How can we fake it?

A: Wear only a few colors (make sure they go together, so no tangerine and asparagus). I wear a TON of black (yes, I live in NYC, it’s a requirement). Everything matches, and you always look put together.

Q: This book has a journey. Please tell us about that.

A: A journey as in it went somewhere? It went all over the place—I wrote it just for ME, even though I didn’t think of myself as a contemporary author, much less someone who would write something that could be called ‘women’s fiction.’ Because, ugh, women’s fiction sounds so pigeonhole-y and dismissive. But anyway. I started writing it, and it was a blast, and I felt like I had to finish it, and I went and queried agents, and nobody wanted to represent it, not even the agent who said she read it and laughed out loud, because she couldn’t think where to sell it. But then I was at a conference with an author friend who was getting into agenting, and I got drunk with her and we talked about books, and I sent her a copy of my first—and heretofore only—published book, A Singular Lady, prior to her taking a long plane ride to South Africa. I asked if she wanted to see a proposal of Mothering Heights (which was what Vanity Fare was first called), and she said yes, and she asked for the whole thing, and she said she wanted to represent it. We agreed to work together, she sent it out a lot of places, where it got rejected, and then it got TWO offers, both from excellent publishers. I went with William Morrow.

Q: What the hell is it with boots in NY? Seriously. Here in my part of California the people who wear boots are cowboys, someone stopping at the coffee place on their way home from riding their horse, and people from NY.

A: Boots are so practical! You can wear them through bad weather, and puddles, and snow, and with and without tights, and under jeans, and with dresses, and they’re kick-ass. And—guess what I’m wearing RIGHT NOW?

Q. What’s next for you?

I’m writing a Regency-set historical called What Not to Bare, which is a far cry from Vanity Fare, except that once again there’s a hot British guy in it. I can only write my characters if I have a real person in mind for them, and for this book, the hero looks a LOT like British male model David Gandy.

The Shoe off Poll

photo of a black, low heeled boot. Megan is wearing it.

Megan’s Boot


Carolyn's light purple canvas slip on shoe.

Carolyn’s Shoe

Who has the better footwear? Megan Caldwell or Carolyn Jewel? Don’t worry, I will NOT release the Hounds Of Hell no matter who you vote for.

And the winner of the shoe-off is....

View Results

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All right, people, a $20 Amazon gift certificate goes to one random commenter who asks Megan a question. Bonus Karma points for telling us what shoes you’re wearing.

Rules: Must be 18 or over to enter. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. International is OK IF AND ONLY IF it’s not void or illegal where you live and Amazon will let me send you the gift certificate. Contest closes midnight PST January 15, 2013.


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20 Responses to “Interview with Author Megan Caldwell with Contest AND Shoe-Off Poll”

  1. Angie Thompson says:

    Great interview!

    Megan, Can you tell us a wee bit more about the premise of
    “What Not to Bare?”

    And it is a 70 degrees in Georgia right now so I am barefoot! 🙂

  2. Lorelie says:

    I’m wearing socks! *flees*

  3. My question is:

    What skill would you most like to have that you are pretty sure you’ll never acquire?

    And shoes…well, I am wearing socks, does that count? I took off a pair of Fluevogs when I came home, though.

    Loved Vanity Fare!

  4. Megan says:

    Thanks for asking, Angie–here’s the not very helpful blurb I wrote (I’m about 100 pps into writing this one, so everything will change–Carolyn and I have pantsing in common):

    When What Not to Bare

    Lady Charlotte Jepstow, dubbed ‘the Abomination’ by society for her poor fashion sense, is not only writing a fashion column—but is also engaged to the handsomest, most stylish man in London. Or is she?

    Means Baring it All…

    Lord David Marchston isn’t sure what he sees in Lady Charlotte. Only that when he’s near her, he loses all of his diplomatic charm. After she rescues him from an unwanted marriage, he goes along with her scheme for a fake courtship—and finds his diplomatic skills return with each item of clothing Charlotte sheds. So when he finally reveals his love, will Charlotte be able to see to his soul–or think his feelings are only skin deep?

    What skill would I like to have? Hm. I think the skill of running a ten-minute mile (is that a skill?). Or of being able to survive on six hours of sleep a night.

  5. Janice Hougland says:

    I love the reviewer’s comment from Wall-to-Wall Books, that your book was “quirky, quippy, snarky, and sarcastic.” My very best friend fits that description. Years ago she introduced me to Janet Evanovich’s books because of their quirkiness and sarcasm…and now I can tell her about you and your writing! 🙂 My question is: Where do you believe you got your personality traits from– Family? Work? Other relationships? Glad I got introduced to you today.

  6. Megan says:

    Okay, first off, that blurb is already wrong. BUT I WON’T SAY WHAT PART! Mwa ha ha.

    Janice, to answer the question–my personality comes from being an only child with well-read parents. I found Agatha Christie, PG Wodehouse, Georgette Heyer, and Barbara Cartland; I love dry humor, puns, and witty snark. My dad was droll, in his way, and both my parents were very smart, and appreciated that I was smart, too. I liked making my friends laugh with my witty asides, and I got used to making underbreath comments when I was with them, which is sort of what the book is like. Thanks for the nice words!

  7. Phyl says:

    I’ve been looking forward to reading your book. And despite the apparent obsession with small towns in many romance books, I love ones that are set in large cities. So I’d like to know one of your favorite things about living in Brooklyn and one thing that you really hate.

    Good look with your book!

  8. Aime says:

    Q for Megan: boxers or briefs? on the guy, of course.

    Knee high black biker boots.

  9. Megan says:

    Phyl: My absolute favorite thing about living in Brooklyn is the diversity and ease of living, which sounds weird, given the crowding and the cost of living, and the difficulty in doing certain things, like hitting a mall or a popular movie without tons of planning. But I can walk to the corner and get milk and bread at almost any hour, I can find great food, I can see people of all ethnicities, and I can get whatever I want. The worst thing is the parking and Times Square, which I loathe. LOATHE.

    Aime, boxer briefs! I know that seems like a cheat, but they’re honestly my favorites on a guy.

  10. Readsalot81 says:

    I have to give the shoe vote to Megan. (Sorry Carolyn!!)

    Megan : If you could go back in time (bear with me, I just saw Looper, on a time travel kick 😉 ) and tell your younger self something that you’ve learned about writing in the years that you’ve been an editor/manager of a romance website, what would your pearls of wisdom be?

  11. Margaret says:

    My question for Ms. Megan — where’d you get your boots? 🙂

    And _Vanity Fare_ definitely sounds like something I need to read!

  12. Megan says:

    @Readsalot81: I think I’d tell myself to write more in the time I have available to me, because eventually things will happen (something Carolyn has told me through the years, too, but hey, NAPS ARE IMPORTANT!)

    @Margaret: They’re from Timberland, they are ancient, and i love them, even though they are ancient and look it. They’re my Friday casual boots. Plus–BOOTS!

  13. Hi Megan (and Carolyn!),

    I’m fascinated by writers who tackle both historical and contemporary. Could you expand a bit more about why you were drawn to write Vanity Fare (and then what ultimately drew you back to historicals)? Do you have plans to write another contemporary in the future?

    Right now, I am wearing my Sperry Top Siders in a non-ironic fashion (I’m from Connecticut).

  14. flchen1 says:

    Fun interview, Megan and Carolyn! As for footwear, I’m home and it’s winter, so I’ve got socks on. Typically I like to go barefoot, but the house is freezing cold (tile!) during the winter, so it’s either socks or slippers. As for outside, I prefer either boots or running shoes–I love more fashionable footwear choices, but (a) I don’t have great taste and (b) the older I get, the more comfy I need my footwear to be for all the running around 😉

    Megan, seriously? You had a boa constrictor?! Yikes! Although DS2 would be thrilled to learn this–he’s got a growing fascination with reptiles, snakes in particular! Your books sound pretty different from each other. Are there other genres you might like to try tackling in the future? 🙂

  15. Megan says:

    Elisabeth! I had never intended to write anything but historical, but the ‘what if?’ of if Scott left me came to mind, and I had to write it. I guess that kind of writing is therapy, plus I was able to make many more puns than I could in historical. I have another contemp in the works, after I finish writing the current historical; that one is about half written, but needs a ton of work before I send a proposal to William Morrow about it.

  16. kaetrin says:

    Romance and baked goods. Two of my favorite things!

    What is the heat level in Vanity Fare Megan? Is there some dirty talk?

    I’m not wearing shoes yet. In fact, where I am its fairly early in the morning so I’m still in bed. And, who wears shoes to bed?

  17. Megan says:

    I go barefoot most of the time, in the house, but I keep the house cold, so I’m in socks. I never wear shoes when I’m at home for longer than an hour or so.

    I didn’t have my own boa constrictor, there was one in our small town, so when I got diagnosed with pet allergies my mom took my gerbils there so I could see science in action. Ugh.

    Other genres–yes, I’ve got some pages down on a romantic urban fantasy, we’ll see if I ever get back to it. I love the concept, and it was fun to write, but I’m on deadline for other stuff now, so it’s gotta wait its turn.

    @Kaetrin: Sadly, no dirty talk at all; I did have a sex scene, but my editor didn’t think it worked in the context of the book. My historicals have lots of sex, though.

  18. Limecello says:

    British hottie who looks like Gandy and is a hero? Yes please. Does his little brother look like Henry Cavill and does he get his own story too? 😉
    And tell me they’re just a *little* dirty. *angelface*

    It took me so long to get here because when this was first posted I was barefoot :X
    Now I’m wearing… Oh shit I can’t remember the name. Surely some girly thing, my You by crocs shoes though. My standard court shoes – wedges with a slightly patent finish and two wide tassels with a little bit of hardware in the front 🙂

  19. Any manuscripts under the bed that will never see the light of day? Or was A Singular Lady your first?

    Shoes… I outgrew my lovely black Doc Martens when I was pregnant with triplets, and never got around to replacing them, so right now I’m wearing some Chuck T knock-off kind of things- turquoise and yellow paisley. And yes, they are awesome.