Message From The Author
Meggin Patricia Cabot wants to make one thing clear up front. ?I?m not one of those people who goes around believing in angels or anything.? Still, Cabot, whose third historical romance, AN IMPROPER PROPOSAL, debuts this month, couldn?t help but place a little faith in an uncanny prophecy last fall. ?This is such a wacky story,? she begins, in her breathless, 100-words-a-minute style of talking. ?My mother-in-law was visiting friends in Georgia and she won this trip to go see a psychic and the lady knew all kinds of stuff and she said to her, your daughter-in-law, who writes in New York, is going to write a children?s book that will do very well.?
?The funny thing was, I had sort of started writing a young-adult novel on the side, but I hadn?t told anyone about it yet, not even my husband. So I was really freaked out.?
Freaked or not, she wasn?t about to miss a chance at success.
?I was only doing this for fun and I would never have even bothered finishing it, if she hadn?t said that.? She went ahead and finished that book, then started a young-adult series. And in early summer, The Princess Diaries (written as Meg Cabot) sold to Avon and a four-book series titled ?The Mediator? (written as Jenny Carroll, named after her deceased cat) sold to Pocket.
Meanwhile, she was also working on a flourishing 18-month-old romance career. Her first two novels, Where Roses Grow Wild (March 1998) and Portrait of My Heart (January 1999), had established her as a talented writer of ?witty, lively romances,? and her third is filled with the same sexy banter and tongue-in-cheek humor. But readers may wonder how or why she made the transition to children?s novels, while still establishing a romance career.
?My mother had started dating one of my old college professors and I was having a little trouble dealing with it,? she admits, sheepishly. Cabot, in her early 30s, felt embarrassed at her response, so like most great writers, she wanted to sort out her feelings on paper. ?It was such a juvenile reaction. I knew it had to be a teen book!? Sure enough, The Princess Diaries, revolves around a 14-year-old Manhattan teenager who is having enough trouble adjusting to her mom dating her algebra teacher (whose class she?s failing!), when her estranged father visits and reveals he?s the crown prince of a European country and she?s the sole heir to the throne.
Cabot is feeling somewhat like a princess herself these days.
In early fall, William Morris agent Bill Contardi closed a six-figure deal with Disney to option the book (which will be released in
hardcover next August, with potential for a series) for Whitney Houston?s Brownhouse Productions, and Cabot is thrilled. ?They?re in the very beginning stages of pre-production and casting. They?re throwing around some big names, none of which I can tell you, unfortunately.?
Apparently, Hollywood knows a good thing when it finds one. The screen rights to the Mediator series were just sold to the Grossbart/Barnett production company who will be working with Michael Ovitz?s Artists Management Group, to turn the series into a television show. That series, the first book of which will be titled The Last Sentry (October 2000), is about a 16-year-old girl who mediates between the dead and the living, helping troubled souls find eternal rest, while coping with a cross-country move, a new stepfamily and a devastatingly handsome cowboy ghost who lives in her bedroom. In true Hollywood style, it might have been pitched as ?The Sixth Sense? meets ?Buffy The Vampire Slayer.?
Though Cabot modestly claims she?s not sure why her agent, Laura Langlie, thought her books would make good screen fodder, anyone who follows Hollywood trends knows teen vehicles are hot. With the youthful enthusiasm and pop-culture savvy of any Gen-Xer worth her salt, Cabot?s just glad to have a reason to indulge her guilty pleasures. ?I feel a little justified now in my love of ?Dawson?s Creek? and ?Buffy.? So now I can say to my husband, ?But I have to rent ?She?s All That,? it?s RESEARCH!?? she laughs.
And now she?ll have more time to ?research? than ever before. She was recently able to resign from her day job, manager of a 700-bed undergraduate dormitory for New York University. Wait a
second, doesn?t that sound kind of like that other WB network show?? ?It?s exactly like ?Felicity.? I?m so excited and thrilled to
be able to start writing full time, but there are so many interesting stories here. I?m going to miss that.?
With more time to write, Cabot can also work on dreaming up more ?funny, yet incredibly sexy? historicals. As she talks about the idea that spurred the creation of PROPOSAL, it seems Cabot?s getting the hang of this Hollywood thing. ?It?s sort of ?My Best Friend?s Wedding?-ish. I was at a wedding and I was so bored. Then I realized almost every woman there had slept with the groom, except for myself, and they were all kind of narrowing their eyes at the bride.?
Her next romance will be out by Summer 2000, and tells the tale of a woman who becomes a chaperone to a (believe it or not) teen girl and finds herself violently attracted to the girl?s father. But this is no young-adult novel. Cabot promises plenty of steamy vignettes and says she could never give up romances, partly because the sex scenes are so much fun to write. ?I did try to put a little bit in the teen books, but the editors said no way. My rationale was that I knew what that stuff was at 16, but they weren?t going for it.?
Her career, however, as foretold nearly a year ago, has plenty
of heat. In fact, Cabot?s relatives made a return trip to the psychic whose predictions seemed so accurate. ?They went back and I asked them to pump her for more stuff on me, but she was done with me. She moved on to other members of the family. But that?s OK. I don?t think I could ask for much more.?
Write to Trish at 532 La Guardia Place, No. 359, New York, NY 10012, or visit her website at www.patriciacabot.com.
A Look at AN IMPROPER PROPOSAL
The Honorable Miss Payton Dixon has a problem: she is
desperately?yes, desperately?in love with the handsome Captain Connor Drake. Who happens to be marrying the odious Miss Becky Whitby upon the morrow.
For Captain Drake, the only thing more important than his pride is his family?s honor. He will not allow either to be compromised?even if it means he must ignore the yearnings of his heart. But Payton isn?t about to give up?not while she?s still got the memory of the captain?s kiss emblazoned on her senses.
When wills as strong as these two clash, the result can only be a passion so explosive it threatens the foundation of everything around it?
Oh God, she thought. Shut up, Payton. Shut up. But to her horror, she kept right on talking. She asked, ?Why are you marrying her? I don?t understand it. You always said?? Her voice broke. Oh Lord, what was happening to her? Was she crying, for pity?s sake? But she never cried! ?You always said you?d marry me.?
She couldn?t see him very well. He was just a dark blur, surrounded by a brighter blur of blue moonlight. But she couldfeel him. His palms were rough against the smooth skin of her cheeks. Strangely enough, his voice, when he spoke, was as raw as hers. ?I know.?
?You promised,? she said, through gritted teeth.
?Then why? Why are you marrying her??
If, five minutes earlier, someone had told Payton she?d be sitting in Connor Drake?s garden with his hands cradling her face, she?d have advised him or her to take a running dive off the foredeck. But there she was, with moonlight pooled all around her, and a fountain splashing gently beside her. The smell of Drake, so familiar to her from that pillow he had lent her so long ago, rose up from his coat and enveloped her. His hands, despite their roughness, were warm against her cheeks. It seemed only natural to lean towards him, to try to snatch, if she could, just a little more of that intoxicating masculine smell, that irresistible warmth?
No one could have been more surprised than Payton when Drake leaned forward too, almost as if to meet her. Because that?s exactly what happened. She had swayed towards him, just the slightest bit, the way seaweed swayed with the tide, and found, to her utter shock, that he had swayed forward, too. Suddenly, their faces were only an inch?maybe even less?apart.
And before she could draw away, embarrassed, Drake tightened his grip on her, not letting her go anywhere.And then she had more of his heat than she?d gambled for, because his lips were on her mouth.
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