I’m thrilled to welcome Melanie Harlow to Frolic to chat about her latest must-read contemporary romance, Irresistible. I’m absolutely smitten with this sexy, sweet and funny single-dad love story. It’s the first installment in Melanie’s Cloverleigh Farms series, and I can’t wait for the next!
I’m a full-time single dad to three daughters and CFO at Cloverleigh Farms. I don’t have time to fall in love—I’m too busy trying to run a business, keep the red socks out of the white laundry, and get the damn pillowcases on without owing a dollar to the swear jar.
Sure, Frannie Sawyer is beautiful and sweet, but she’s twenty-seven, the boss’s daughter, and my new part-time nanny—which means she’s completely off-limits. It’s bad enough I can’t stop fantasizing about her, what kind of jerk would I be if I acted on the impulse to kiss her?
(Exactly the kind of jerk you’re thinking.)
Actually, I’m worse than that—because I didn’t stop with a kiss, and now I can’t stay away. She makes me feel like myself again. She reminds me what it’s like to want something just for me. She’s everything I ever needed, but nothing I ever imagined.
I’m a former Marine. I should have had the strength to resist her from the start.
But I didn’t. And now I have to choose between the life I want and the life she deserves.
Even if it means giving her up.
Interview With Melanie
Mary: Welcome to Frolic, Melanie! I am a big fan and am excited to chat with you about Irresistible. I just finished it and loved every page. Can you tell readers a little bit about it and the Cloverleigh Farms series?
Melanie: Thank you so much! I’m so happy you enjoyed it! Irresistible is the first book in a brand new series of standalone romances set at a family-run inn and winery called Cloverleigh Farms. It’s all my favorite things—small town, sisters, sweet and sexy, plenty of laughs. I really wanted to write a feel-good series with low angst, high heat, and quick pace. And like all my romances, I want the stories to feel REAL.
Mary: Speaking of Cloverleigh Farms, did you have a real-life inspiration for it? It sounds amazing.
Melanie: I did! I love setting books in my home state of Michigan, and we have lots of gorgeous inns and wineries in the northern part of the state (what we call “Up North” LOL). Actually, we have beautiful farms and lakes all over, but this series was loosely based on a place called Black Star Farms. It made the perfect setting!
Mary: Mack is an ex-military single dad with three little girls. He’s such a great father, although he sometimes doubts himself. Are there any challenges to writing a single dad versus a hero who is not?
Melanie: YES. Just like in real life, the kids are always around! It’s hard to carve out time for the hero and heroine to get romantic!
Mary: Mack is ten years older than Frannie. I love an age-gap romance (probably because my husband is 10 years older!) Do you love this trope? Do you have any favorites?
Melanie: I do happen to love this trope! My husband is older too—and I also just think there is something really attractive about maturity. A hot young body is great, but give me someone who can make me laugh and think and admire him. Experience and wisdom is sexy.
Mary: Mack has three daughters and Frannie is one of five girls. Do you have any sisters?
Melanie: Nope! I have two brothers! But I have two daughters, and I have the most amazing author friends who feel like sisters to me. I also have a real life bestie who’s been in my life since we were 13, and I’m very close to my mom. Female relationships have been a great source of strength and inspiration and connection for me, and I love writing them.
Mary: Frannie had a heart condition and had three open-heart surgeries when she was young. What inspired you to include this in her backstory?
Melanie: I wanted something in her past that caused her to be sheltered, and I wanted to show her pushing back against that. I was also intrigued by the idea that she’d been told she’d had a good chance of not living through childhood. I have to believe that would have an effect on your psyche, you know? Like you’d constantly be wondering, “Am I doing enough with the chance I’ve been given?”
Mary: Which of your books has been the easiest to write? Which has been the hardest?
Melanie: They’re all hard! LOL I am not a fast writer at all, and I’m amazed by my friends who can write thousands of words per day with no problem. I’m very critical of myself and wish I could turn off that inner voice that slows me down all the time, telling me I don’t know what I’m doing! That said, Some Sort of Crazy felt very easy to write. After We Fall flowed pretty well too. The hardest had to be Some Sort of Happy. Writing a hero with OCD was very difficult!
Mary: Which of your characters do you relate with the most?
Melanie: Mia from Frenched with her lists and neurotic tendencies, and Margot from After We Fall because we have similar personalities and backgrounds. It was very easy to get in their heads!
Mary: If you had to pick one social media platform to be a part of, which one would it be and why?
Melanie: I don’t love social media, but I adore my Facebook reader group (Harlow’s Harlots). It’s a big, active group with zero drama and a lot of wonderful, generous, hilarious, smart women—and even a couple men!
Mary: What are five things that people might not know about you?
Melanie: Hmmm. I am a pretty good swing dancer. I teach tap and ballet to kids. I taught high school English and Social Studies for 5 years. I write characters who can bake, but I am horrible at it! My favorite food is avocado, but if there is a beet salad on a menu I cannot resist—I HAVE to order it!
Mary: Tell us your last three internet searches. No cheating!
Melanie: OMG okay, I searched Steve Colbert (I love him), Dodie lyrics (my daughter is obsessed), and the bomb cyclone—this weird weather thing that happened in Michigan today with crazy high winds.
Mary: What’s next?
Melanie: I need to finish book 2 in the Cloverleigh series (releasing in May), complete my second collaboration with author Corinne Michaels for (hopefully) a spring release, and I’d like to work on something different—maybe a screenplay! I’m also taking some time off this summer to read books and hang out at the lake with my family. Space to breathe is really important to me!
Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her heels high, and her history with the naughty bits left in. When she’s not writing or reading, she gets her kicks from TV series like VEEP, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, and Homeland. She occasionally runs three miles, but only so she can have more gin and steak.
Melanie is the author of the AFTER WE FALL series, the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s. She lifts her glass to romance readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and pet rabbit.
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