Lynnette Hallberg, a recovering middle-school teacher, divides her time between Naples’ beaches and Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains. She’s been a finalist in Romance Writers of America's national Golden Heart Contest, PASIC's Book of Your Heart Contest, and Georgia Romance Writers' Maggie Contest. Her books include Enchanted Evening; Moonlight, Motorcycles, and Bad Boys; Chantilly Lace and a Pretty Face; Night Shadows, and Just A Little White Lie.
She’s currently at work on a new series for Grand Central Publishing as Lynnette Austin. The first book in the Maverick Junction series, released December 4, 2012 by Grand Central Publishers, is Somebody Like You. Lynnette loves to travel—always on the lookout for new characters and new stories.
Tell us about your exciting new release, Somebody Like You! I love the cover...
Somebody Like You came out Dec. 4th. It’s the first in my Maverick Junction series. It’s written under my pen name, Lynnette Austin, for Grand Central Publishing.
When a cowboy meets an heiress…
Cash Hardeman thought he'd have all the time in the world to find the right woman...until he discovers he’ll lose the family ranch to his gold digging step-grandmother if he’s not married by his 30th birthday. With the deadline just around the corner, Cash knows it's only a matter of time before he loses everything. But when Boston beauty Annelise blows into his life, he can't help but wonder if she's what he’s been looking for all along.
Giving her bodyguards and the paparazzi the slip, Annelise Montjoy has come to Maverick Junction in search of a long-lost relative, the only one who can save her grandfather’s life. But living incognito in the small Texas town is nothing like she expected, and she’s finding it difficult to keep her identity a secret--especially with a rough and tumble cowboy like Cash tempting her. Has she finally found the man who will love her for herself rather than her money?
Two people. Two secrets. Will these secrets catch up with them before Annelise and Cash can ride off into the Texas sunset?
“You’ve got to be kidding me.”
Annelise Montjoy motored her Harley along what appeared to be the town’s main street. This was Maverick Junction?
A blue Cadillac, surely old enough to be in a museum, was parked nose-in to the curb. An incredibly ugly dog sat in the front seat.
Thank God, this, the final destination of her cross-country trip from Boston, was temporary. It looked like the kind of place you ran away from, not toward. If luck was on her side, she’d be out of here in a couple weeks at the most.
And then a store door opened and her breath caught. Go, Texas! Look at that cowboy. So different from any of the men in her life. So…intriguing. She slowed to nearly a standstill and watched as he swiped an arm across his forehead, then dumped a grocery bag in the backseat of the old Caddy.
Cracking open a bottle of water, he turned his head in her direction. Her breath hitched as his gaze ran lazily over her, her bike. Then he snagged a Styrofoam cup from inside his car and filled it before setting it on the blistering pavement for the dog waiting patiently beside him.
Leaning against the faded fender, he thumbed back his battered Stetson and chugged the rest of the water. Twisting the cap back on, he tossed the bottle into the recycling bin beside the grocer’s door.
Annelise pulled her bike into a parking space across the street, deliberately turning her back on the stranger. While his clothes might have been stereotypical cowboy—worn jeans, a faded T-shirt, cowboy boots, and hat—he took everything from simmer to boiling point. The jeans hugged long legs, while the shirt stretched taut across his muscled chest. There was something very alluring about him and that surprised her. He wasn’t the kind of man she was usually drawn to.
He shouldn’t appeal to her.
Not so much as a breeze stirred. The flag on the post office hung limp, and the cheerful red, white, and blue balloons someone had hung outside a beauty salon drooped listlessly.
Unable to stop herself, she peeked in the bike’s rearview mirror. Cowboy was bent over, talking to the dog. Quite a view, but she wasn’t here to admire a fine jean-clad butt. She needed something cold to drink and something light to eat. Then she’d go in search of Dottie Willis and the apartment she’d rented over the Internet. Maverick Junction, Texas. Annelise wished she was driving through, wished she could view it as simply a spot on the map where she’d stopped for lunch one summer day.
Well, she’d just have to work fast.
But before she’d even taken two steps, her cell rang. She checked caller ID, blew out a huge sigh, and dutifully answered.
“Annelise, where are you? When are you coming home?” Her mother’s voice sounded strained.
“Don’t worry, Mom. Are you and Dad okay?”
What a great book!
To help your readers get to know you even better. Here are a few fun questions for you to amswer.
1. Do you like to listen to music while you write? If so, who are your favorite artists?
You’ll very seldom catch me without music. J I bought myself a Bose music system for Christmas and am loving it! Country-western is my favorite music—Chris Young, Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Sugarland, Tim and Faith. But when I’m really deep into writing, I like things like Celtic Woman, Enya, Loreena McKennitt, the sound tracks from You’ve Got Mail, Notting Hill, and Mama Mia. I also love Maroon 5, Adele, the Beatles, Britney Spears, David Cook…I could go on and on.
2. Tell us a little bit about your newest release. Feel free to include a small excerpt.
My newest release, Somebody Like You, the first in my Maverick Junction series, has a hero and heroine who couldn’t be more different. Rancher Cash Hardeman loves longneck beers, while heiress Annelise Montjoy prefers champagne. Both have a secret—she’s trying to save her grandfather’s life; he’s trying to save the family ranch. Cash belongs in Maverick Junction, Texas, Annelise in Boston, or could it be they belong together?
I think a lot of us enjoy reading series, stories where we get to revisit old friends in familiar places. That’s one of the things that makes Somebody Like You fun. Maverick Junction, Texas, is a wonderful town with people who are caring, funny, and down to earth—and it’s full of cowboys. Who doesn’t love a cowboy? In the next two books, Nearest Thing to Heaven (June 4, 2013) and Can’t Stop Lovin’ You (December, 2013), we get to spend even more time with Annie and Cash, with grandmotherly Dottie, with Sophie and Ty and Maggie and Brawley at Bubba’s Roadhouse and Sally’s Café. So slip into your jeans, a T-shirt, your cowboy boots and hat and come along for a good read.
3. If you could be the hero/heroine in any novel, who would it be and why?
I’d love to be Eve Dallas in Nora Roberts’ In Death series. Why? Roarke, of course! What woman wouldn’t want to have him in her life—and loving her as Roarke does Eve? Dallas is brave, hard-working, and has the strongest moral compass! She’s careless with personal details but never drops the ball on things that really matter. Eve’s friends are totally devoted to her and add spice to her life—albeit begrudgingly on Eve’s part.
4. Coffee or tea?
Definitely coffee. My car’s license holder says Starbucks Junkie on it and I have a Starbucks gold card. Guess that about says it all, doesn’t it?
5. Tell us about your upcoming writing projects.
Since Somebody Like You is the first book in the Maverick Junction series, I’m madly working on the next two books. Nearest Thing to Heaven is written and will be released June 4, 2013. I’m writing Can’t Stop Lovin’ You now. This is the third book in the series and will be out in December of this year. I’m writing these under my pen name, Lynnette Austin. I have five other books published under Lynnette Hallberg.
I’m busy putting together a proposal for another Texas-based series, starring two brothers and a sister. I’m really excited about it. I think it’ll be a lot of fun. Another book, To Live or Die in Dixie, is in final edits—final author edits, that is.
6. How many hours a day to you spend writing?
This has really changed since I’m under contract. I have no idea who said this, but it’s so true. When you’re an unpublished writer, you’re an aspiring author. Once published, you’re a perspiring author. That doesn’t mean an unpublished writer works less hard at her craft, but once under contract, the heat is really on to get those books in by deadline.
I don’t really mark my day at the computer by time but rather word count. I figure I can write five days a week. That allows me to have a life, to take off for fun events, doctor’s appointments, lunch and movie with the girls, dinner with my husband. I pull out my calendar and count how many weeks till deadline. I subtract time to allow for publicity on released books and edit time for books turned in but not yet out. I take the weeks left, times that number by five, and divide by my contracted word count. That becomes my daily word count, and I write to that. Once I hit my mark for the day, I can choose to do more or shut down for the day. It works for me.
7. List two authors we would find you reading when taking a break from your own writing.
I love anything and everything that Nora Roberts writes. Her characters are just the best! I also love to read Lee Child and Mary Kay Andrews. Oh, that’s three, isn’t it? J And that’s why I’m a writer rather than an accountant!
You can find Lynnette's books here:
The book is available in both print and digital at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com
Lynnette's author contact information here:
Thank you Lynnette and I wish you great success!