This is one of those books I really wish I could read. If I wasn’t still recovering from a concussion, I would love to read this book. But as it is, this book will be added to my to-read list and I will have to wait until I am healed.
1) When did you know first discover you wanted to be a writer and why writing?
Like most authors, I have always been a reader. I was a shy child (still am) and book characters were my friends. I did well in English class, which led me to a Journalism major in college. Deep down, I always had the fantasy of being a successful author, but when I graduated college back in 1989, self publishing wasn’t a viable option. There were bills to pay and later, children to raise, so I took the practical route. I’m a technical writer and editor for a software company, so I write pretty dull stuff during the day. About 10 years ago, I decided I wanted to write fiction. It is a nice escape from the daily world.
2) Tell us about your book and why you wrote it?
FIRST CRUSH, LAST LOVE started out as a fictional memoir. Throughout the various crises I have faced, I often mumbled, “This will make a great book someday.” I wrote this story to exorcise the demons in my head. It took four long years to finish, and there were times that I thought I wouldn’t reach the end, but then a lucky thing happened – the characters took on their own identities and their storylines evolved away from my life. Some scenes are still true to my past, though it is not important which ones. I will tell you that I did obsess over a boy throughout high school. I did move on and marry someone else, which ended in failure. And, just like Jessie, I did marry that high school crush and we are living happily ever after.
3) What message or lasting thought do you hope your readers will take away from your book?
Making mistakes is part of life, but if you can live through the rough times, you will be stronger. And never give up on happiness. You can find your last love.
4) What author and/or what book has had the greatest impact on your life?
Nora Roberts turned me on to romance books. Before I read hers, I kind of looked down on the genre as being so unrealistic. But after I lived several decades, I realized that the world could use more romance books and happily ever afters.
5) Can you offer any advice for beginning writers or those trying to get published
Learn about story structure and find a professional editor for your book. Also, realize that not everyone will like your book. You will need to have tough skin. I have gotten one star and five star reviews on the same day. It’s just part of the job.
Published: August 1, 2017
Remember your first crush? How your heart raced and your cheeks flushed whenever you saw him? Jessie Baxter does, and it’s happening again. Ten years ago, despite her best efforts, Lee Archer wanted to be just friends. Now, he wants more, but Jessie’s still recovering from a psycho ex-husband. Can she learn to trust again and make her first crush into her last love?
Elizabeth McKenna’s latest novel will have you remembering the angst of high school, the grief of a failed relationship, and the happiness of true love.
In the main banquet hall of Penbrook’s Restaurant, the band closed their first set with a slow song, and the Class of 1984 and their spouses headed to the dance floor. Jessie hadn’t slow-danced since her wedding reception and her mood turned bitter at the memory. She downed the rest of her drink. Love sucked. That was the bottom line.
She smelled Lee before she saw him. His clean, shower-fresh scent conjured up more memories. Sitting behind him in classes because “Baxter” came after “Archer,” she had breathed in his pheromones as if her life depended on it.
From behind, he nudged her shoulder with his own. “Hi there.”
His European-cut, black suit and steel-gray tie made him look both elegant and handsome. She wished for a blast of cool air to dry the drops of perspiration breaking out across her upper lip.
She swiped at the wetness and gave him a half smile. “Hi back.”
He cleared his throat, and she thought his soft green eyes shifted, but she knew that couldn’t be possible. It had to be a trick of the flickering dance lights, because gods didn’t get nervous.
“You look great. Blue is definitely your color.” His eyes traveled her royal blue silk sheath dress. “Definitely.”
The connection between her brain and mouth broke, rendering her mute.
He didn’t seem to notice her zombie-like state. Looking sheepish, he asked, “Would you like to dance? I think I owe you one.”
The horrible memories kept piling up. Now she had to agonize over the disastrous Spring Fling when they had gone to the dance together, but Lee had alternated between fighting and making out with Tina the whole night.
Her brain started functioning again. This time her smile was tight. “That was a long time ago. I barely remember the night.”
Liar, but she was done giving men the satisfaction of hurting her.
Disappointment clouded his eyes, but then it was gone with a blink and she wasn’t sure what she had seen.
“How about we dance anyway?”
She shook her head. “Thanks, but I was never good at dancing.”
“Come on. It’ll be fun.” He gave her empty glass to a passing waiter and tugged her toward the dance floor.
On the way, she fought confusion, disbelief, panic, excitement, and lust. When he slipped an arm around her waist and pulled her close, lust won. Her lady parts crowed in triumph.
“You . . . you don’t have to do this.” Her head spun as she tried to regulate her breathing. His scent filled her pores, and her knees trembled.
The beautiful mouth that she had studied to the point of knowing every curve and line frowned. “But I want to, Jester. Do you hate me that much?”
“What?” She stopped moving to the music. “I don’t hate you. Why do you think that?”
“Because I treated you like crap in high school and took you for granted. You have every right to hate me.”
“We were kids,” she said with a flick of her fingers. “Kids do stupid things.”
He shook his head. “It doesn’t make it right. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for everything.”
She pulled out of his grasp. She didn’t need his sympathy or his apology. She didn’t need to remember how awful high school was, and she absolutely didn’t need lust rushing through her body like whitewater rapids.
“You’re forgiven. Thanks for the dance.”
She made it two steps and then his hand captured hers again. Spinning her around, he closed the distance between them and whispered in her ear, “Please, dance with me.”
She drew in a breath and let it out, picturing her yoga master. When her body relaxed, he pulled her tighter against him. The warmth from his hand sent sparks along her spine and outward to the far corners of her body. It was like being electrocuted but in a good way. She didn’t have to die to go to heaven. Paradise was right here in his arms.
Love a book that has a Happily Ever After? Check out my alter ego, Elizabeth McKenna:
My romance novels are available in e-book and paperback format.
Elizabeth McKenna works as a full-time technical writer/editor for a large software company. Though her love of books reaches back to her childhood, she had never read romance novels until one Christmas when her sister gave her the latest bestseller by Nora Roberts. She was hooked from page one (actually, she admits it was the first love scene).
She had always wanted to write fiction, so she combined her love of history, romance and a happy ending to write Cera’s Place and Venice in the Moonlight. Her short story, The Gypsy Casts a Spell, is available for free on her website http://elizabethmckenna.com/. She hopes you will enjoy her first contemporary romance novel, First Crush Last Love, as much as others have enjoyed her historical romances.
Elizabeth lives in Wisconsin with her understanding husband, two beautiful daughters, and a sassy Labrador. When she isn’t writing, working, or being a mom, she’s sleeping.
I really hope you are able to check out Elizabeth’s book. If you have, I would love to know what you think! Till then, Happy Reading 🙂