Movie star Mercedes Montague has it all -- the fame, the fortune, and the glittering celebrity lifestyle. But she lost herself somewhere along the way. On a publicity tour for her next movie she realizes she’s just fifty miles from her hometown. Mercedes -- real name Marie Dillard -- decides to bolt and go home to see if she can find what’s left of herself. Hiding away in her grandparents’ old home in a working class neighborhood she’s haunted by memories and reminders of her first and only love, Joe Shelby.
Marie’s stunned when Joe shows up at her door. Passion kindles between them from the first moment their eyes meet but she won’t let it consume her unless it’s going to include a lasting love. As they renew their relationship, Marie and Joe face many struggles.
Can a movie star return to reality or is love just a distant dream?
"it brought me home. Thank you, Lee Ann." -- a reader from Lee Ann's home town.
Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy is a freelance writer and romance author. A native of the old historic city of St. Joseph, Missouri she lives and writes in the beautiful Missouri Ozark region. She is a member of RWA, the Missouri Writers Guild, and the Ozark Writers League. Her romance novels include Urban Renewal, Kinfolk,Devlin’s Grace, Heart of the Ozarks, Dustbowl Dreams, and many more. Lee Ann’s work also appears in more than twenty anthologies as well as multiple websites and print publications. She is a member of the 2013 Rebel Elite team at Rebel Ink Press and was also ranked as Best of Rebel in both 2012 and 2011. She lives with her husband, three children, and one spoiled Jack Russell Terrier in what passes for the suburbs in a small town. When not writing, Lee Ann enjoys tracing her family history, cooking, reading, and traveling. She also pens a weekly column for the local newspaper.
Also by Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
Wolfe’s Lady, eBook, December 2010, Evernight Publishing
Love Tattoo, eBook, March 2011, Evernight Publishing (Love Covenant Series)
Love Never Fails, eBook and paperback, May 2011, April 2011, Rebel Ink Press
Love Scars, eBook, June 2011, Evernight Publishing (Love Covenant Series)
The Marriage Cure, eBook, July 2011, Astraea Press
Kinfolk, eBook and paperback, July 2011, Champagne Books
Love Knots, eBook, August 2011, Evernight Publishing (Love Covenant series)
Witness Protection Program, eBook, October 2011, Rebel Ink Press
A Time To Love, eBook and paperback, October 2011, Champagne Books
Sing We Now of Christmas eBook, December 2011, Rebel Ink Press
A Patient Heart, eBook, February 3, 2012, Rebel Ink Press
Love Shadows, eBook, February 2012, Evernight Publishing
In Love’s Own Time, eBook, February 17, 2012 Rebel Ink Press
Miss Good Samaritan, eBook, April 2012, Rebel Ink Press
In The Shadow of War, eBook, May 2012, Rebel Ink Press
Long Live The King, eBook, May 2012, Champagne Books
What Fills The Heart, eBook, May 2012, Astraea Press
Guy’s Angel, eBook, June 2012, Rebel Ink Press, paperback, July 2012
Red In The Hood, July 2012, Evernight Publishing
Heart of the Ozarks, eBook, August 2012, Rebel Ink Press
Dust Bowl Dreams, eBook, September 17, Rebel Ink Press
Kosovo Tales: Two Hearts, One Love, October 2012, Rebel Ink Press
Three Encounters of A Close Kind, November 3, 2012 Rebel Ink Press
Devlin’s Grace, November 17, 2012 Rebel Ink Press
The Home Fires of Christmas, December 3, 2012 Rebel Ink Press
An Emerald Heart, October 2012, Evernight Publishing
Movie Star Magic, November 20, 2012 Evernight Publishing
Ronan’s Woman, January 17, 2013, Rebel Ink Press
Three of Hearts, February 17, 2013 Rebel Ink Press
Urban Renewal, March 3 2013, Champagne Books
Ronan’s Life, March 17, 2013 Rebel Ink Press
The Sin Eater’s Redemption, April 17, 2013,Rebel Ink Press
Pink Neon, May 3, 2013, Rebel Ink Press
Small Town Love Story, June 2013 Rebel Ink Press
The Widow’s End, TBA, Astraea Press
An Interview with Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
By Holly Hewson for The Romance Studio
HH: Lee Ann, thank you so much for talking with us at TRS. Your featured book is Urban Renewal. Where did you get the idea for this emotionally-charged romance?
LA: Like many people, I couldn't wait to shake off the dust of my hometown and head out in the world to take it by storm. As I've matured, however, I find myself with surprising deep feelings about my hometown, about my old neigborhood and the family who cradled me. I still call going back "going home" and on one trip I conceived the idea of someone fed up with their life deciding to chuck it all to do just that, come home. Since I write romance, I knew there would be a love interest somewhere. I love the idea of lovers who reconnect later in life and so the elements came together in Urban Renewal.
HH: What do you like best about Mercedes and why will readers by cheering for her?
LA: Beneath all the glitter, she's vulnerable and I think readers will relate to that in her. As they see how much she wants to reconnect with her roots, I think readers will applaud her efforts. It's not very hard in our hectic world to lose touch with the things that matter - even if you're not a movie star.
HH: What do you like best about Joe and why will readers love him?
LA: Joe is your average nice guy. He's a good man with a big heart. He chose a career as a nurse and as one, he's one of the unsung heroes in life. I have so much respect for the people who work behind the scenes, medical personnel, law enforcement officers and staff, EMTs, fire fighters to help others. Joe's loyalty to those he loves comes across not just with Mercedes but also with his troubled and difficult stepson.
HH: What do you like best about their relationship and how is it different from other relationships you’ve written?
LA: Joe and Mercedes (or Marie, her "real name") have an intense connection and when they meet again, it flares up with power. They have a familiarity and a closeness which is different than most of my other characters have enjoyed with their significant other.
HH: What else do you have in store for lucky readers?
LA: Fans of my little historical series about Ronan, an 1850's bare knuckles brawling Irishman will be delighted to hear the next release will be Ronan's Life on March 17. The Sin Eater's Redemption will be out from Rebel Ink Press on April 17 and it's an unusual, multi-faced love story based on some very old folk traditions. My first interracial romance, Pink Neon, will be out also from Rebel Ink Press on May 3. It's set in and around vacation hot spot Branson with a little bit of Texas too. After Urban Renewal and The Widow's End, a sweet historical coming from Astraea Press in March, everything else will be Rebel Ink Press since I'm part of the 2013 Rebel Ink Press Elite Team.
HH: Where and when do you do your best writing?
LA: I write almost everything on my laptop and although I can take it anywhere, I often write in the family room with a view overlooking my backyard. I like to write when I'm alone with no distractions.
HH: What’s your writing schedule like?
LA: I usually get up early, seven days a week and take care of details - meaning check my email, blogs, social networking, etc. Then I make a to-do list for the day. Once the family is fed and out the door, I settle down to write all morning. I also try to take care of anything I need to do then. Some days I also write in the afternoon for hours before things shift back to family time. I've also been known to write late into the night when I'm really cooking with a story!
HH: What do you enjoy most about being a writer?
LA: Writing for me is like reading intensified. And I love to read so I enjoy it. Most of all, though, I love it when a reader connects with one of my stories or characters - and lets me know!
HH: What keeps you writing each day?
LA: I have a deep appreciation for words and stories. I'm a seanachie (storyteller) at heart. Reader feedback often keeps me reading - there are days when I am less enthusiastic, wonder if I'm making any difference at all and then someone leaves me a comment or sends me an email that make my day.