Thursday, May 30, 2013

Daddy's Girl

Today's special guest is J.M. Kelley. Three years ago, native Pennsylvanian J.M. packed her bags and moved south. Now, the wannabe Carolina Girl can’t speak a single sentence without adding the word y’all at the end of it, and regards a blast of snow flurries as a doomsday-level event.  When the day job allows, and when she can pull herself away from George Takei’s Facebook fanpage, she likes to go on writing jaunts to her favorite lake, or a local coffee shop with delicious shakes and questionable Wi-Fi connections.

J.M. Kelley is a proud recipient of a Carrie McCray Memorial Literary award, and is a member of The South Carolina Writers Workshop and Romance Writers of America (PAN). Readers interested in more information may visit her website at


How did you get the idea for Daddy's Girl?

The plot for Daddy’s Girl was very much inspired by real life: I lost my own father to cancer in 2007, and after I began writing again, I knew I wanted to pay my respects to him, somehow. I could never use the actual journey we went on as a family dealing with his illness, but it certainly served as a foundation on which to build a fictional story. Joe McGee certainly bears a trait or two in common with my own Daddy.

Was the character of David Harris inspired by someone you know in real life?

David is a mish-mash of several men I’ve known in my life, but he isn’t based on any one person. I picked a trait from this person, a habit from that person, and mixed it all together until I created the perfect (at least, in my mind) geeky hero.

Was it difficult to straddle the line between a burgeoning romance and the illness of Joe McGee? How did you get in the right frame of mind for a scene that was romantic versus the sadness of a loved one dying?

It was absolutely a difficult task, balancing the two extremes. The most important thing, in my mind, was to ensure that David and Janie’s feelings were true, despite the strained environment in which those feelings were born. Joe’s situation is an eye-opener, and a strong reminder of the fragility and shortness of life. It creates purity, a rawness, to their emotional connection.

It was tough getting into the right frame of mind for any scene in this story involving Joe. Naturally, because of my own father, so much of it hit close to home that I often had to step away and breathe. It was necessary, though, to focus on striking a proper balance in themes. The story isn’t really about death. It’s about family and friendship, and finding hope and love in even the bleakest situations.

What inspires you?

Everything around me. A person’s way of speaking may appeal to me and I’ll make a mental note. The way people carry themselves, expressions on their faces, an oddball situation taking place in public…everything is inspiration and potential fodder for future writing.

What types of books do you read?

I could never narrow down my tastes to a few sentences. I think, regardless of genre, if it’s a truly well-written and engaging story, I will enjoy reading it. I try not to discriminate, because I could miss something fabulous, otherwise.

What's next for you and your writing?

I am putting the finishing touches on a paranormal romance, Almost Magic, due out in June, from Turquoise Morning Press, and I am working on a contemporary romance that is scheduled for release in May of 2014, also from TMP. Other idea nuggets are lurking in my brain, so I should be quite busy for the foreseeable future.


Sometimes, returning home isn’t about confronting your past; it’s about discovering your future.

Janie McGee, the black sheep of her family, is free-spirited, uninhibited, and never one to stay in the same place for too long. When Janie learns her father, Joe, is gravely ill, she reluctantly returns home to rural Pennsylvania to care for him. Joe’s neighbor, David Harris, sports a pocket protector, collects coins, and is addicted to Antiques Roadshow. Everything about him rubs Janie the wrong way, from his nerdy wardrobe to his enviable friendship with Joe. And to make matters worse, her father thinks they’re perfect for each other, proof positive of how little Joe knows his own daughter…or so Janie thinks.

A shared devotion to the elder McGee begins to close the gulf between Janie and David, but a burgeoning romance opens the door to new problems and unexpected consequences neither could foresee. Joe, however, remains steadfast in his resolve to show Janie that Daddy knows what’s best for his little girl. Can Janie finally open her heart to David while watching the first man she ever truly loved fade away?


Before he even opened the door, David knew something was off. Late night visitors, in his experience, rarely brought good news. When the visitor turned out to be Janie, his heart leapt into his throat. “Janie,” he said when he threw open the door. “What’s wrong? Is Joe okay?”

“Yeah. He’s fine.” Relief hit him so hard he took a step back and leaned against the doorjamb.

“You scared me.”

“I didn’t mean to.” Janie rubbed her hands up and down her arms and looked over her shoulder. “It’s cold out here. Mind if I come in?”

“Oh. Right.” David gestured for Janie to enter. “Come inside.” He followed when she slid past him and walked into the living room.

“It’s late.” As if she needed to tell him. The atomic clock on the wall, a Christmas gift from his mother, showed the time at almost two in the morning. Janie stood in the middle of the room and focused her gaze on the bookcase in the corner. “I didn’t wake you, did I?”

“I was reading. A little too wired to sleep, I guess.” David moved up behind her and raised a tentative hand to her shoulder. “Are you sure everything’s okay?”

The sound of his voice jolted her out of her thoughts and she jerked her head toward him. Her movements were stunted. Wooden. “Ever have one of those moments when you’re convinced you may float away, and no matter what you do, you can’t keep yourself grounded? And you need to hang on tight to something until the sensation passes?”

Whatever was going on, he thought, she was not in a good place. David gently spun Janie toward him and gazed at her. “Tell me what you need from me.”

Janie closed her eyes and lowered her forehead to David’s shoulder. “Ground me, David,” she whispered and laid her hand on his chest.


J.M. will be awarding a gift basket of some of the author's favorite things, including a $25 gift card from Amazon and a signed copy of the Foreign Affairs anthology from Turquoise Morning Press to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

Daddy’s Girl purchase links: