Molly O’Keefe digs arguing as foreplay. Judging by how many romance heroes and heroines don’t get along when they first meet, I’m pretty sure lots of romance readers are on board with that. Molly joins us to talk about her new release, Can’t Buy Me Love; why she thinks her heroine has struck a nerve with some readers; why she stalks Tina Fey online; and how she thought about how to bust Friday Night Lights’ Riggins out of jail.
By Joyce Lamb, USA TODAY
Joyce: Welcome to HEA, Molly! What makes the chemistry sizzle so much between heroine Tara and hero Luc in Can’t Buy Me Love?
Molly: I really liked the idea of two people who have created personas that they use to keep people from getting too close. Both have these shells to protect their vulnerabilities and insecurities. But because Luc and Tara are forced to spend time together they see beneath the charade and come to really respect each other.
I also really liked the idea of two people being attracted to each other despite their antagonism. When arguments are foreplay — I kind of dig that.
Joyce: Tara’s character has struck a nerve with some readers. Why do you think that is?
Molly: Oh, man, she is stirring up trouble, isn’t she? I love Tara, I love all of her scar tissue and bravado. But she’s prickly, and she’s tough and I didn’t want her to give up her secrets too easily to Luc or to the reader. I think of Tara as a shipwreck survivor and the person who pulled her out — to the rest of the world he could be anything, an awful father, a terrible husband — but for her he was a savior, the only one she ever had.
Joyce: If you had to describe your writing as a type of music, what would it be? Eighties? Country? Rap? Hip hop? Standards? Hard rock? Heavy metal? None of the above?
Molly: Oh! Fun question. This book in particular is a cross between The Dixie Chicks and Bruce Springsteen’s Tunnel of Love album. You’ve got some fun stuff, you have some dark stuff — stuff about love, stuff about killing your abusive husband and turning him into chili …
Joyce: When Joan Wilder finishes her book at the beginning of Romancing the Stone, the first thing she does is cry and make a toast to her cat. What do you do?
Molly: I mop my floors, because we’ve been living like pigs and then my two dear writer friends take me out for a drink — it’s great.
Joyce: Does Tina Fey know you’re stalking her on the Internet? And what would you say is your favorite episode of 30 Rock? (I love love LOVE the one where Liz gets her own talk show and they used a high-def TV monitor. Kenneth looked like a Muppet on the screen. That still makes me giggle.)
Molly: That Muppet one is hilarious. I just rewatched the one when Liz takes a leave of absence from the show and joins that group of women who end up being a fight club! Oh, and the one when Liz comes back from the dentist with the number for “my future husband” in her phone. And of course any of the ones with Matt Damon — he was fantastic in it.
I love that she’s so fearless, and funny in a way that can be so sharp and yet have all this heart behind it. I love it.
Joyce: What was it about Friday Night Lights that you love so much? And what would you be willing to give to bring it back? Your first born doesn’t have to be on the table … unless you want.
Molly: Some days my first born would be on that table first!!! I loved Friday Night Lights because it was totally committed to every facet of its storytelling. Incredible actors, storylines that weren’t easy or predictable. It made me laugh and it broke my heart over and over again. Those characters were so real to me that when it was obvious that Riggins was going to go to jail, I would catch myself thinking about what could be done to stop it — and then I’d have to remind myself that it was just a show.
Tara, in Can’t Buy Me Love, is modeled after Tyra from FNL. Tyra times 10, I think.
And I could watch Taylor Kitsch play Tim Riggins all day long. Amazing character, perfectly acted. And not too shabby to look at!!
Joyce: Now I’m going to have to catch up with FNL on Netflix! Please tell us what readers can expect to see from you next.
Molly: Well, Can’t Hurry Love is out at the end of July, and it’s the continuation of Victoria’s story. Victoria, a woman who has been a victim most of her life, finally gets fighting angry. And Eli Turnbull is standing right in her line of fire. Lots of sparks fly!
And then next year is Billy’s story. Billy is Luc’s hockey enforcer friend in Can’t Buy Me Love.
Joyce: Thanks, Molly!