Hello and welcome to Sarah MacLean! She’s one of these funny, bright, outrageous women that I love to meet and had to share with all of you. I think you will agree! So here are Five Things about Sarah MacLean:
1. Where is the most beautiful/romantic place you’ve ever been? There’s an island off the eastern edge of Puerto Rico called Vieques—it’s largely untouched because the US Navy used to use the rainforest on the island for bombing drills (which isn’t romantic, I know, but stick with me), so they’ve closed off 80% of the island to people, letting the whole thing grow wild.
It’s a lovely, sleepy place, filled with gorgeous beaches and charming people . . . and it’s the home to one of the largest bioluminescent bays in the world. Because of some combination of mangrove trees and fish and the tide, there’s a specific kind of amoebae that lives in this bay that glows when it becomes agitated. At night, the bay is pitch black, but everything that moves—boats, fish, people—light up in the water. It’s amazingly romantic, because swimming in the bay at night is like swimming in starlight.
2. How do you come up with the names for your Hero/Heroine? I’m terrible at names. They usually change three or four times during the writing of the book, and it’s a total find and replace disaster. I’ve been known to ask friends, family and readers to name them, and I am not above using great names of people I know.
As for all those dukedoms and earldoms and marquessates? I have a large map of London in 1908 on the wall of my office, and I lift street names for titles. It’s cheating, probably, but oh, do I loathe naming characters!
3. Where do you go for inspiration when the creativity well is running a little dry? I’m very lucky to live in New York City, so I have 8 million people and about a million and one places in which to find inspiration. But here are the go-tos:
1) Coney Island – The closest thing to a beach near me, filled with wacky carnival barkers and fabulous hotdogs and a pier that goes 100 yards out into the ocean. I like to go there on cold winter days and walk the boardwalk.
2) The Metropolitan Museum of Art – It’s enormous. As big as you think? Bigger. And you can’t see the entire collection in a day. In fact, I’m pretty certain that you can’t see the entire collection in a month, because I always seem to find something new. I love the Greek & Roman Art rooms, but somehow always seem to get lost in American furniture.
3) The Top of the Empire State Building (at night) – Little known fact: The Empire State Building observation deck is open until 2am, and you haven’t seen New York until you’ve seen it from the top of the ESB in the middle of the night. Another fun fact? The lines at 11:30pm are very short. Which is awesome.
4. What new authors have you recently added to your TBR pile? I loved Anna Randol’s debut Regency-Constantinople-set A Secret in her Kiss, so I’m really looking forward to her next. I just started the Sookie Stackhouse novels (I know, I know, I’ve been under a rock, apparently, but gorgeous True Blood men have made me see the light), and I’m loving them.
5. What are your top three favorite movies? Ocean’s Eleven – I am a sucker for a great heist movie, and this one is my favorite. I’ll take either the original or the Clooney/Pitt version (although George Clooney in a tux is a particular pleasure).
When Harry Met Sally – I’ve loved this movie since the very first time I saw it, and now that I live in New York, it’s even better. Every time we do anything that’s Harry & Sally do . . . buy a Christmas tree, eat at Katz’s deli, sing Surrey With the Fringe on Top at Sharper Image (what? It totally happens!), I get totally tingly. And start speaking like a Nora Ephron character.
300 – In which a classic Greek story gets mixed up with CGI effects and . . . oh, yeah. Gerard Butler & Michael Fassbender’s CGI abs. Thank you very very much, Hollywood.