Sex. Lies. Greed. Power. Scandal. Politics.
Political strategist, Elizabeth McNeal, has been called a lot of things throughout her career – bitch being at the top of the list – but she doesn’t let it get to her. She’s bold, she’s blunt, and she takes orders from on one. This is how she’s survived working in a man’s world. She’s the master of diversion and her specialty is winning an election-no matter the cost.
That is, until she meets her new client, Democratic candidate, Congressman William Baxter. Kind, considerate, insanely handsome, honest, and ten years her junior, he’s a unicorn among politicians. He infuriates her. He challenges her. Most of all, he makes her see past the scandalous world of politics and helps her to discover the heart of the woman inside her.
With sparks flying between them and the election rapidly approaching, the last thing either of them need is to be caught in a compromising position. Some lines are meant to be crossed and some rules broken, but for Elizabeth and Liam is it worth the cost of being politically incorrect?
“Politically Incorrect” is the latest novel by Jeanne McDonald, and takes us behind the scenes of an election campaign, into the corridors of power, to look at what happens when passion and politics collide. I caught up with Jeanne recently to talk a little about the story of Elizabeth and William.
Politically Incorrect is set in the behind-the-scenes world of election campaigns and political strategy and not many of us get to see what goes on in that world. Did you have to do a lot of research for the story? Have you worked in politics yourself?
That’s a great question. While I have never worked in politics, I’ve always been fascinated by it. When I first conceptualized Politically Incorrect I had no idea the amount of research this story would require. I had a foothold on ideas thanks to my love for politically charged television ─ House of Cards, Madam Secretary, West Wing, etc. ─ however, I soon discovered that wasn’t enough. Not only did I have to understand how politics worked, but I had to understand the jobs that each character would play. I had to have an in depth knowledge of not only Elizabeth and Liam’s jobs, but I also had to learn how Scout, Aaron, and even Harper fit into all the facets of politics. Needless to say, I had a blast and learned a lot.
Elizabeth is a strong character, and 10 years older than William, which is something we don’t often see between love interests. Was it exciting to move away from the more traditional pairings and did it present any challenges?
So often in romance novels we find characters at a precipice of their life. Something has set their world upside down and it takes that special someone to bring life back into focus. What I liked about writing Elizabeth as a more mature woman who was satisfied in herself, her life, and even her love life is that she broke free of the conventional. Her age was always a major factor for me. It’s taboo to think of an older woman with a younger man. As even Elizabeth points out, men her age want women her daughter’s age. So, it was important for Liam to see past their age difference to the brilliant woman inside. This did present a bit of a challenge writing, because I had to make Elizabeth strong yet vulnerable. I had to create a woman who didn’t back down but was also capable of giving in. If you ask my beta readers, I constantly pulled my hair out of scenes because they had to have the right amount of push and pull to make Elizabeth tick.
The book is very timely, given that it’s an election year in the US. Do you see anything in the media coverage that mirrors Politically Incorrect?
Sadly, I haven’t, but then the media is full of Trump. I’ll keep my opinions about him to myself, but he does keep the media busy. I’m sure that makes all the other politicians in the country breathe a little easier because no matter how bad they might screw up, he always seems to TRUMP them. HAHA! See what I did there?
Your many novels cover a wide range of subjects and you tackle some challenging issues. Do you enjoy exploring the different facets of human nature?
I really do. If I didn’t feel I would drown in my own emotions, I might’ve enjoyed becoming a psychologist. The way we humans analyze things, break them down, and explore our options fascinates me ─ even more so in the world of romance. For what is romance without the human element? It’s for this very reason I love writing romance. I get to explore the depths of emotion and desire. Two of my favorite subjects.
Do you have a set time of day when you prefer to write? Or do you just grab the opportunity whenever it shows itself?
I basically grab the time when I can. I tried that whole scheduling myself to write but found that when I did that my muse would never appear. If I just go with the flow of things, words come more naturally.
Where do you like to write?
One day I hope to answer this question with, “in my office,” but for now I have a couch set up in my living room where I cuddle up with my laptop and type away. Actually, I’m on said couch right now.
Do you have a favourite scene from Politically Incorrect that you could share with us?
Chapter sixteen, where Liam corners Elizabeth in the hallway after the rally. That scene is where this whole book started. I was struggling to write anything after I completed my last book, Compass. The words simply weren’t coming to me. So, I decided to do some free writing to clear my head. Before I knew it, I had the hallway scene almost completed. I jokingly told my beta that I was goofing off instead of doing what I was supposed to do. She asked to see what my goofing off looked like and after reading that scene she demanded I finish the story. In two days I had the whole thing plotted, outlined, and storyboarded. The rest is history.
Can you tell us about your writing process? Do you write it all down then go back to slash and burn, or do you self-edit as you go?
Actually, I do both. I write a chapter, go back the next day and edit it, then I move on. After the book is done, I do a complete read through and tear it apart. I analyze each word, sentence, and scene before sending it to my editor. No matter how many times I read it, I always find something I feel I can improve.
Last question Is there anything YOU would like to tell us about Politically Incorrect, and also, what’s happening next for Jeanne McDonald?
I think Politically Incorrect speaks for itself. The message is clear. Have faith, don’t try to rush fate, and most of all believe in yourself. As for what’s next for me, I’m now working on book 2 of the Taking Chances series. It’s slated to come out at the end of this year.
Thanks for chatting with me today. I really enjoyed myself.
Thanks, Jeanne! It was great to talk and get some insight into your work
Politically Incorrect will be released on 16 August, and will be available on Amazon - click here.
And you can learn more about Jeanne’s work at her website - click here