Barbara De Leo’s first book, co-written with her best friend, was a story about beauty queens in space. She was eleven, and the sole, handwritten copy was lost years ago, much to everyone’s relief. It’s some small miracle that she kept the faith and is now living her dream of writing sparkling contemporary romance with unforgettable characters. Visit her here and on twitter/ facebook.
After completing degrees in Psychology and English then travelling the world, Barbara married her winemaker hero and had two sets of twins.
She still loves telling stories about finding love in all the wrong places, with not a beauty queen or spaceship in sight.
NAW- Tell us about your latest book, Last Chance Proposal? What is it about? How did you get the idea for it?
Last Chance Proposal is about the incredible hold a first love can have over you. Ellie and Cy were best friends and then lovers until a tragic accident, and the resulting secrets around it, tore them apart. Their worlds have become dramatically different, but when Cy needs a stand-in mother for his damaged son, Ellie’s the only person he can turn to for help.
How did I get the idea for the book? Each year my husband, four kids and Cosmo the mini schnauzer, stay at a remote beach in New Zealand over summer. It’s a place where most of the tiny wooden houses have been holiday homes for generations of families. Of course our summer is at Christmas time so there are lots of celebrations and people coming from far and wide.
One year I imagined what would happen if two people who’d been first loves in a place like this returned after being estranged for eight years. What would they find? How would they react to each other? And what if one had to ask the other an unthinkable favor?
NAW- Tell us about the characters of Ellie and Cy. How did you develop the characters?
Cy is an ex-Pro Surfer who has lived in the States for ten years and Ellie is an architect who has grown a successful business renovating coastal properties. I guess I developed the characters by imagining what it would be like to come face-to-face with your true love ten years later.
NAW- Tell us about your other works.
I have two other published novels, “Contract for Marriage” which is a marriage of convenience story set in Auckland, New Zealand and “Dishing up Desire” which is set in Los Angeles and is the story of Kirin Hart who desperately needs a makeover in many areas of her life. The first book in my “Weddings in Westchester” series will be released in September. It’s a story about a Greek immigrant family in Westchester County, New York, who run a wedding hall business.
NAW- Tell us about your publishing journey. How did you first get published?
I’d been a high school English teacher for ten years and had always imagined I’d write when I “had time”. When my second set of twins were born within three years of the first set I realized I probably wouldn’t ever have a whole lot of time so I’d need to make it! We’d moved to another town and I had no other family around and as teaching was going to be too difficult with four littlies I started writing. The first thing I did was get a book called “Writing a Romance Novel” out of the library and it changed my world. That was seven years ago.
I’ve been writing seriously since then and in that time completed eight manuscripts. I’ve always written romance and absolutely love it.
NAW- Tell us about yourself. What do you do when you are not writing?
I’m from New Zealand where I live with and my four children and my winemaker husband. I hit some sort of crazy odds and ended up having one set of identical twins and one set of non-identical twins so in my small town I’m also known as the “twin lady.” When I’m not writing, I love to play tennis, read and hang out with friends with a nice glass of wine.
NAW- Who are your favourite writers?
Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Hayson Manning, Rachel Bailey, Robyn Grady, Lisa Kleypas
NAW- What will you be working on next?
The first book in my ‘Weddings in Westchester” series will be out this September and will be followed by two more books next year.
LAST CHANCE PROPOSAL
A wife he needs. The woman he desires.
Cy Hathaway needs a wife, fast, to win custody of his son, Jonty. He returns home to discover the childhood sweetheart he once left behind has become a vibrant, beautiful woman. Even though wanting to sweep her off her feet wasn’t part of the plan…
For Ellie, Cy’s sudden reappearance awakens a flood of memories—and resentments for the way he’d abandoned her all those years ago. But she has a life now, a career. She can’t simply drop everything and get hitched, even if the sight of him still makes her heart race.
But after Ellie meets his little boy, she can’t refuse. Certain she has a grip on her old feelings for Cy, she agrees to marry her first love until he gains custody. But when did helping out a friend become something with the capacity to hijack her heart?