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Saturday, March 31, 2018

SPOTLIGHT ON May McGoldrick and It Happened in the Highlands

Please Welcome the Writing Team of Jim and Nikoo McGoldrick to Romance Books 4 Us!
Together, they write under a number of pen names. Historical romance readers know them as May McGoldrick, but they also write contemporary romantic suspense under the name Jan Coffey.
Tell us a little about the kinds of romance you write. How did your writing career begin?

We began to think of writing as a career when our infant son was diagnosed with a heart problem that would require surgery. Before he was born, we had both been working long hours, and Nikoo was already dreading the fact that she’d be going back to work. When the medical issue arose, she realized she needed to find a career that would allow her to be home more. That was how it all began.

We actually started to write together when Jim wanted to submit a story he’d written to a writing contest posted in a glossy writer’s magazine. Nikoo suggested that he shouldn’t bother, since the story was all action and no heart. After a conversation, we decided to sit side-by-side and rewrite the story. At the end of the weekend, we had a completely new story we were very proud of, and it went on to win a prize in that competition.

Immediately after sending the story off in the mail, we thought we should do more writing together. Nikoo suggested that we write a novel and that we use the historical research Jim had done for his doctoral dissertation as a starting point. About two weeks later, we were sending off a proposal for a novel we had not yet written to a handful of agents and publishers. When an agent called us and told us to “write fast,” that was all the encouragement we needed, and The Thistle and the Rose was born.

Since then, we’ve written forty-three novels and novellas: historical romance, young adult historical, contemporary suspense, techno-thrillers, romantic suspense, young adult romance, and nonfiction.

Are you indie, traditional or hybrid?

We started off as traditional, writing for PenguinPutnam, MIRA, HarperCollins/Avon, and Heinemann. Over the past few years we became somewhere between indie and hybrid, and now we’re back to traditional, writing for the wonderful people at St. Martin’s/Macmillan. It’s a constantly changing world in publishing, that’s for sure. There are pluses and minuses to all of those approaches, but we love the sense of empowerment that writers now have with the rise of indie publishing.

Philosophies or epiphanies on writing or reading you’d like to share with readers or new writers?

Tough question. We’re constantly learning and relearning important elements of storytelling and the writing craft, so perhaps that’s the philosophy that has guided us. Stay humble about what you do, or the process will humble you. Stay open and receptive to critical guidance. Believe that your efforts and your vision and your love for what you are doing all have value.

And try to limit your chocolate chip cookie intake during all periods of extensive reading and writing.

Favorite snack while writing?

Tea, dates, and cashews for Nikoo. Water, carrots and celery sticks for Jim (This is a total lie. He eats cookies and chocolate and graham crackers nonstop!)

What is your superpower?

Nikoo’s superpower is that she can read minds. For example, she knows that Jim is thinking of going to the kitchen for some cookies.

Jim’s superpower is that he can also read minds. For example, he knows that Nikoo knows he is about to go for cookies, and therefore is thinking about golf.

What is your spirit animal?

Nikoo’s spirit animal is the snake. At least, that’s what the online test we took told us. The description works: “You often play the role of a guide and emotional healer. The spirit of the snake represents positive, spiritual transformation. You are the sought-out friend when advice is needed. The snake facilitates life events to go smoothly – a connector of dots who reveals the big picture.”

Jim’s spirit animal is the whale. The test answer description seems pretty good: “Your spirit animal is the whale because you have a strong inner voice, and always follow your own truth. Because you are so in touch with reality, you are self-aware and don’t get involved in drama. You have strong bonds and emotional ties with those you love. (He’s unhappy, though, because he thinks his ‘whale’ characterization is actually a comment on his eating habits. He loves taking online tests, though!)

What color is your aura?

Nikoo is blue, blue, blue to the bone.

Jim says he is silverish (interesting that the word keeps auto-correcting to ‘silverfish’, which is a “small, wingless insect in the order Zygentoma,” according to Wikipedia. He is rethinking his spirit animal right now.

Tell us about your latest release!

Three things we really love to read are family sagas, Regency-era stories, and novels set in the Highlands. Our March release, IT HAPPENED IN THE HIGHLANDS, has all three. The Pennington family is back, and this Regency novel will take our readers deep into the Highlands. It has so many fun things to offer. A jilted bride. A duel at dawn. A long-hidden secret. A second chance at love…

Lady Josephine Pennington was jilted by her fiancĂ© when rumors spread about her questionable origins. Her adoptive parents have always provided her with the love and protection she’s needed to feel secure, and over the last sixteen years she’s molded herself to meet the expectations of others. When she receives a package from the Highlands containing sketches where the subject is eerily familiar, Jo believes she might have found a clue to the identity of her birth mother.

When Captain Wynne Melfort ended his engagement to Jo Pennington sixteen years ago, he never imagined he would see her again. But after he uncovers information that could reveal the truth about Jo’s parentage, Wynne feels bound by duty to right an old wrong and inform her of his find. He didn’t expect for feelings long thought dead to resurface, for in his mind a love departed was gone forever.

As they strive to unravel the mystery of her birth, Jo must learn how to trust the man who’d once rejected her, and Wynne must reconcile his head with his heart. But as secrets of the past begin to surface, evil forces will stop at nothing to keep Jo from uncovering the truth and reclaiming her legacy. Together, Jo and Wynne must fight the deadly menace lurking deep in the Highland mists.

Author bio

USA Today Bestselling Authors Nikoo and Jim wrote their first May McGoldrick romance using historical figures that Jim researched while earning a PhD in sixteenth-century Scottish and English literature. Nikoo, a mechanical engineer, is a born storyteller. She is all about characters and feeling. Jim is about action and sense of place. Together, they have crafted over forty fast-paced, conflict-filled historical and contemporary novels and two works of nonfiction.

Their stories have touched the hearts and minds of millions of readers all over the world. Their work has been translated into over a dozen languages, and counting. Because of their success, they have been frequent guests on local and national radio and television. They travel regularly, speaking at writers’ conferences, libraries, classrooms, and book group gatherings.

These popular and prolific authors are three-time Rita Finalists and the winners of numerous awards for their writing, including the Romantic Times Magazine Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Daphne DeMaurier Award, three NJRW Golden Leaf Awards, two Holt Medallions, and the Connecticut Press Club Award for Best Fiction, and a Partridge in a Pear Tree. Their work is included in the Popular Culture Library collection of the National Museum of Scotland. 

Nikoo & Jim now reside in Southern California where Nikoo writes and Jim gazes out at the Pacific. 

Social Media links

Facebook: @MayMcGoldrick
Twitter: @MayMcGoldrick
Instagram: jimandnikoo_jancoffey  &  nikooandjim_maymcgoldrick 


We often run giveaways from the ‘Giveaway’ page on our website, especially just before new releases are due to come out. Readers should check the page regularly; the odds of winning are a lot better than the lottery!

1 comment:

Nikoo and Jim McGoldrick said...

Thank you, Sabrina York and Romancebooks4us for this opportunity.

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