Laura Simcox Presents the First Daughters

My dear friend and fellow Heart of Carolina Romance Writer, Laura Simcox, joins us today to talk about daughters. Not just any daughters, but First Daughters. As in, the daughters of the President of the United States. Laura, welcome to the Lair!

Laura Simox Dec 2014Hi, Banditas and Buddies! I’m thrilled to be visiting with you today!

Laura, tell us about your new series. I am intrigued about these First Daughters.

Well, the First Daughters are the subject of my fun, contemporary romance series. Their dilemma can be summed up by my tagline, “Their dad might run the country, but he can’t run them!” Various States of Undress is available in e-book and mass-market print from Avon Impulse.

I see you have brought the First Daughters with you today. Care to introduce them?

I thought it would be fun to have the First Daughters—Carolina, Virginia and Georgia—answer a question for me. Even though the Secret Service is here, it’s imperative that security in the Romance Bandits’ Lair is on lock-down before we begin. The President (can we say overprotective dad?) wouldn’t have it any other way. Ermingarde?

VSOU GeorgiaNever fear, Laura and ladies. Ermingarde and the Romans will let no unauthorized parties across the drawbridge. Demetrius, deploy your men. Sven, please tell the hockey hunks to move their practice to the frozen pond out back. Paolo…er, continue serving our guests, please. Okay, I think that should satisfy even the Secret Service goons—I mean, agents. Carry on, ladies!

Great. Ladies, let ask you a serious question. Since we are here in the Lair of the Romance Bandits, do you fancy yourselves Romance Bandits?

Virginia: Of course. I stole my guy’s heart the minute he laid eyes on me!

Carolina and Georgia: *groan*

Laura: So…here’s the topic. What it was like to fall head over heels in love…while the whole world watched. Fun times?

Carolina: Actually, I was stuck in a cabin in the middle of a snowstorm with my Secret Service agent, so nobody was watching…

Virginia: Oh, but they were speculating! You should have seen the headlines about you and Jake.

Georgia: Epic.

Carolina: *shrugging* Nothing compared the stir you caused, Ginny.

VSOU CarolinaVirginia: Yeah, well, I was in Manhattan.

Georgia: And you were ALREADY in the headlines most of the time anyway when you met Dex.

Virginia: *narrowing eyes* I’m not a wild party girl anymore.

Carolina: Except in private?

Virginia: Private is the operative word in your question, isn’t it? Take heed, Care Bear.

Georgia: Don’t mind those two—they bicker all the time. And they had it easy compared to me. What do you think it was like to BE the media, and have the paparazzi fixated on your private life?

Carolina: *whispering* You were a TV News intern. And you fell for a pro baseball player. What did you expect, Curious Georgia?

Georgia: What I expected doesn’t matter anymore. I have Brett. *grins* Anyway…back to the question. It was rough knowing that my every move might show up on social media, but somehow…I reached this point where I didn’t care. All I could think about was Brett, and…

Virginia: And when you kissed him, the rest of the world just vanished.

Georgia: Exactly.

Virginia: *dreamily* Me, too. Like when I kissed Dex outside Macy’s at Herald Square in front of a crowd holding up their phones taking pictures…

Carolina: Or when I seduced Jake in front of a fireplace…

Georgia: Or when I threw myself at Brett in a baseball stadium in front of thousands of people…

Carolina and Virginia: *exchanging glances*

Virginia: You always have to one up us, don’t you little sister?

Georgia: It’s in my blood to be competitive.

Carolina: Well, in the game of love, we’re all winners.

Virginia: *pause* That was super corny.

Carolina: Oh, shut up.

Laura: Oookay, ladies.

Georgia: What we mean is…true love conquers all. It’s that simple.

Carolina and Virginia: What she said.

VSOU VirginiaOh, young love! It truly does conquer all. And here is an excerpt from Georgia’s book, Various States of Undress: GEORGIA, just to whet your appetite:

Just as Georgia reached the end of the cramped office at the TV station, an office chair rolled backward out of her cube, blocking her path. It was occupied by a long, lean man wearing a tight T-shirt and jeans—a man with a smirk on his handsome face.

Brett Knox.

All the air rushed out of Georgia’s lungs as she stood there staring at him. “Hey, sugar,” he said. “You’re late.”

“My name’s not sugar.” Georgia reached up and tucked a stray wisp of hair behind her ear. “What am I late for? I thought you declined the interview.”

“I did.” Brett gave her a lazy grin—one that promised anything but a serious interview.

His gaze swept over her blatantly, making her feel hot, but she had a feeling that his flirting wasn’t for real. Flirting was what athletes did best, and, like a giggly fool, she’d fallen for that kind of flattery in college. WHAP News wasn’t college, though, and Brett definitely wasn’t an eighteen-year-old jock. He was a professional athlete; dealing with the media was part of his life, wasn’t it? She needed to be professional too. Unfortunately, her pride took hold of her mouth before reason could.

“So you came in person—again—to tell me you’re not doing the interview?”

“No.” Brett shrugged. “After you left the ballpark yesterday, I got called on the carpet. Ship informed me that I was contractually obligated to allow interviews.”

“Oh good,” she blurted out. “I mean . . . I’m sorry that you’re inconvenienced, but now we can get to work.”

He threw his arms wide. “Well, here I am. You have an all-access pass to Brett Knox.”

She ignored his insinuation and reached past his shoulder to set her briefcase down. But with her hands free, there was nothing between her and him. She needed something because otherwise, she’d just be standing there like an idiot, staring at those sculpted lips. As she reached past him again, she felt the heat of his body filling the tight space. And his scent—like laundry detergent mixed with something earthy and wild. It probably was Tide, she thought dumbly. She’d always liked that smell. It was comforting. But the other . . . the scent of what? Testosterone, probably. That was dangerous. That was what was making her heartbeat erratic.

“Excuse me.”

“Sure,” Brett said. He moved out of the way.

“Thanks.” She grabbed a printout from the desk and straightened, a bit lightheaded, and pretended to scrutinize it. So if he didn’t want to be here, why was he still staring at her like she was an ice cream cone on a hot day? Was it because of who she was? Who her dad was?

She peered over the edge of the paper and saw that the smile had dropped from his face. “Okay. I can tell you’re uncomfortable, so why don’t we break the ice with a few questions about your background?”

“No, thanks.”

“What do you mean ‘no, thanks’? Didn’t you just say that I had an all-access pass?”

“I’m not here for an interview.”

Georgia let out an exasperated sigh. “You’re wasting time, Brett.”

“No, I’m not.” He met her gaze. She swallowed.

Oh, my! I can hardly wait to read this book, which is out now, and available to order. And the other First Daughters have equally scintillating tales to tell, so be sure to check out Carolina’s and Virginia’s books. Laura, thanks for being with us today and thank you for introducing us to the First Daughters! Girls, please take your Secret Service goons with you as you leave the Lair. And please do not engage the hockey hunks, since you’re all spoken for. Girls? Girls! Ah, well. I suppose the hockey hunks won’t suffer too much from having their hopes dashed on the ice!

Well, Bandita Buddies, Laura is giving away a copy of the winner’s choice of the Various States of Undress series to a lucky commenter today. To enter the drawing, please answer the following question: How would you like to fall in love under the sort of scrutiny the First Daughters have? If you’re happily paired up, how do you think you and your honey would have fared at the hands of the paparazzi? I think my DH might have murdered someone! 😀

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  • Helen says:

    Is he staying with me ?

    Have Fun

  • Amy Conley says:

    My hubby and I were under enough scrutiny as it was. To be followed around by camers, he wouldn’t have held up at all.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Amy, did your family have you firmly on their radar? I have to say, the DH and I had to endure all sorts of commentary from our mutual friends in our engineering program at college. Even some professors chimed in! I think he, like your husband, would not have done well with cameras. 😀

    • Laura Simcox says:

      Amy, I’m not sure what my hubby would have done, but I’d like to think that he would have worn dark sunglasses and a mysterious smile.

  • Helen says:

    Hi Laura

    Oh these sound so good I need to add them to my must have list 🙂

    I often wonder how people like these girls manage to fall in love with all that goes on around them paparazzi following them body guards around them all the time it would be very hard and I don’t think hubby or myself would enjoy it but when you do fall in love I am sure there is a way for some privacy.

    Have Fun

    • Caren Crane says:

      Helen, I’ve wondered that myself. How would you ever have a moment to find out or know you actually liked, much less loved someone with all the scrutiny?

      It also reminds me, sadly, of Lady Diana, trying to have some sort of life after her divorce. Terrible tragedy!

    • Laura Simcox says:

      It was a challenge to have my First Daughters fall in love ‘behind closed doors’. It was especially hard to navigate steamy moments. The Secret Service always had to be accounted for! But I do love a challenge… 😀

  • Deanna says:

    I think it depends on your attitude about being in the media and having every aspect of your life put on show. Take Kim Kardashian for example. She’s made a lifestyle out of it and she’s ok with it. But some people aren’t and tend to be very private. I don’t think I could do it and I know that Steve would probably go nuts over it. We’re such introverts that having our every move seen and reported on would be really hard.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Deanna, that is certainly true. I imagine having a father who is clearly an extrovert (and anyone running for President would have to be) and a mother who is likely the same (after all, the FLOTUS is always in the news, too) would likely produce extroverted children.Not 100% of the time, but chances are better than, say, a couple of engineers. 😀

      My DH is very introverted, too. I have become much more extroverted over my lifetime, but still love to be left alone to recharge. I think for two introverts, it would be relationship-crushing to be in the spotlight. Yarg!

    • Laura Simcox says:

      Hi Deanna! I agree with you–it depends on personality. When I was writing, I also relied on the gut reactions of my heroines. Even though they had gotten used to the spotlight to some extent, what did they do when they encountered new territory (aka intrusion into their romance)? Each of them reacted differently. Carolina internalized, Virginia took it as a dare, and Georgia tried to micromanage it. lol

  • Mary Preston says:


    I like my privacy. It would be a nightmare to have friendships, let alone romance, under those conditions.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Mary, the image I keep seeing in my head is an ant under a magnifying glass. In the full sun. Horrors!

    • Laura Simcox says:

      Hey Mary! It would be difficult, wouldn’t it?? I am a natural skeptic, so I would be wondering who was for real…and who was just out to use me. I would imagine that true romance and friendships are few and precious.

  • flchen1 says:

    I agree with Deanna–I do think it’s very much about your approach and your attitude. That said, I would loathe being under the microscope like that, whether for my love life or any other part of my life! I would be a terrible candidate for a reality TV show!

    • Caren Crane says:

      Fedora, I have the same thoughts about reality TV shows. I am fairly extroverted, but can’t imagine choosing – on purpose – to live life on camera. Shows like Survivor are beyond my ken. Who signs up for that?!?

    • Laura Simcox says:

      Hi Fedora! Nice to see you again. 🙂 I’m with you on the reality TV thing. I wouldn’t make it past the first cut!! They’d see one roll of my eyes and out the door I’d go…lol

  • Laurie G says:

    I’d hate the invasion of the paparazzi . How disturbing to know that you ‘re potentially ALWAYS being watched or photographed.

    Due to the close proximity I think that’s why some people marry their bodyguards .

    I believe that they grow used to this invasion of privacy and they know some tricks to evade them with costumes or help from friends.

    My husband and I are unexciting and private people. I would hate the attention.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Laurie, I have wondered about the whole guard/guardee thing. It makes sense that you would fall for someone you spend lots of time with. Who else would you know as well?

      Then again, I imagine that wouldn’t go over well if you were, say, a First Daughter or someone really high profile (like a member of the royal family). What would people say? Gasp! 😀

    • Laura Simcox says:

      Hi Laurie! I embraced the idea that my fictional First Daughters had their privacy orchestrated for them. All parties involved knew it wasn’t ideal–and the agents were sympathetic, but always encouraged the girls to have a ‘chin up’ attitude. They did become close, in a way.

  • Maureen says:

    What an interesting series. I don’t think I would have done well at all in that kind of spotlight. There must be enormous pressure since any mistakes you make are going to be front line news.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Maureen, I always just cringed when the Bush twins were growing up totally on camera, every one of their mistakes or bad decisions splashed on the tabloids. I wasn’t a huge fan of W, but I felt terrible for their mom, Laura.

      It’s hard enough to raise any young people, much less when their behavior is so closely watched. I’m certainly glad my kids don’t have paparazzi following them. Much less my own at their ages. Yikes!

    • Laura Simcox says:

      That’s an interesting observation, Maureen. I thought about public perception a lot as I was writing. On top of being well-behaved, gracious, fashionable and outgoing, First Daughters are expected to be extremely intelligent–or at least appear that way. Who can live up to those expectations?? Certainly not real ones, so my fictional ones crashed and burned on a regular basis. Their parents supported them when they were treated unfairly, and when the girls had truly screwed up, they let them own their mistakes!

  • Mozette says:

    Famous people do find it difficult to keep their private lives… well, private. And the first daughters are no acception.

    If I was them, I’d had a secret affair, away from the cameras as much as possible… and when the nosy little idiots with nothing else to do with their days, nights and time finally do track the couples down to photograph them sitting and eating dinner at the back of a nice restaurant or in the private garden of their secluded hideaway in Switzerland, the daughters can say it’s none of anyone’s business and chuck a Greta Garbo, saying that her and her beau ‘want to be alone’.

    Yep, that’s how I’d handle it.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Mozette, it’s great to imagine having that sort of luxury, isn’t it? I saw a movie called The Decoy Bride, about a movie star trying to pop off for a quiet wedding to an author. It was really cute and starred Kelly Macdonald. She lived on a VERY remote island – with almost NO eligible men – where the star was planning her wedding. David Tennant played the groom. It was adorable and so clearly highlighted how determined the paparazzi can be.

    • Laura Simcox says:

      Mozette, that’s a fun image, and a sassy reaction, I have to say! (Caren, I want to see that movie!!) There were many times when I was writing that I wanted my heroines to throw a fit in public over the paparazzi, but each of them had already learned to play it cool–just like you illustrated. 😀

      • Mozette says:

        I have heard that the more you scream at them, the more the photographers love it… so give no reaction and walking away is the best. It’s boring and they’ll eventually give up.

        Or better still: dress in your daggy tracki-dacks every time you go out, no make-up and bed hair … and then they’ll really leave you alone! 😛

        But honestly, I’ve noticed that Eddie Murphy is a very private man. He’ll do movies, but only when he wants to but otherwise, he rarely gives interviews and he once got married to a woman who he though loved him. His Best Man told him – warned him – that she was a gold-digger. However, he didn’t think so, not until the wedding night… then he got an annulment. Well, it’s what I heard anyway. I’m not sure it’s true.

        But there are other movie stars who are very private people and yet they can pull of being private and still be in the lime light.

        Take Jon Bon Jovi for example… have you ever seen his kids or his wife?

  • Shannon says:

    I know I wouldn’t do well. I’d be the one in the magazines on the supermarket checkouts–what stars look like without make-up or so-and-so caught wearing mom jeans.

    Of course, I’d be clueless about the social media thing since I only rarely do FB or twitter.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Shannon, every time I see one of those spreads about what stars look like without their makeup, etc,, I feel terrible for them. As if they shouldn’t be able to wear yoga pants and t-shirts and pull their hair back and get a cup of coffee? Especially the stars who are parents of very young children. Come on. Having clean clothes is a feat at that stage! LOL

      Had to giggle about the mom jeans. Reminds me of that SNL skit with Kristen Wiig!

    • Laura Simcox says:

      Hi Shannon! I’m giggling over Mom jeans. And the no makeup thing…yeah. My take is that the celeb women who rarely leave the house without being professionally styled get a lot more flak for being ‘messy’ than the celebs who don’t give a ****. Either way, the public reaction is ridiculous. I’m pretty sure ALL of us would look like different people if we were regularly transformed by stylists, makeup artists, etc. It’s all about illusion.

  • Laura Simcox says:

    I’m taking a moment to officially say HI! I’m thrilled to be with the Romance Bandits today. Caren, my friend, the post looks amazing, and I’m so glad I could come visit the Lair.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Laura, so happy you are here, since I totally blew by getting your post up Wednesday. All my fault, y’all!

      Today, I am watching the last couple of episodes of Season 5 of Downton Abbey. All the scandal and gossip surrounding the Crawleys really puts me in mind of the First Daughters and their dilemma. Poor girls! 😀

  • pearl says:

    I would not want to live in a bubble and have to monitor every move. I enjoy anonymity.

  • Jeanne Adams says:

    Hi Laura! Welcome to the Lair! Who needs Secret Service when we have Ermingarde and the cabana boys? Bwahahahah! Then again, we also have the Golden Rooster and he IS something to cause worry. Worse than papparazzi, he is! Grins.

    What a great series! And how fun to take all that stress (being in the public eye) and make it work. Great job!

    As to the questions, I’m a total extrovert so I love being in the middle of things, but I hate having my picture taken. I probably would deal okay with the scrutiny, but the papparazzi? Grrrrr. That would be a battle with my temper. My DH is quite the private guy too, so….yeah, that might have not gone well. Grins.

    Congrat on this great-sounding series Laura!!

    • Laura Simcox says:

      Thanks very much, Jeanne! It was a fun challenge to write. 🙂 I don’t mind having my picture taken (in good light, from the shoulders up, when my hair looks okay, that is)!! I don’t think I would fare too well with the paparazzi, either. My mouth would work a lot faster than my brain, I’m afraid.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Gak, pictures! It am with you on that one, Jeanne. Get the cameras out of my face!

  • Elaina says:

    Hiding and subterfuge are not a way to live and must become tiring and stressful. Congratulations and best wishes.

  • anne says:

    Congrats on this intriguing series. Being private and shying from the limelight none of that would appeal to me.

  • Hi Caren! Hi Laura! Laura, huge congratulations on your First Daughters series. I think these sound like so much fun and I love the title Various States of Undress. It’s sexy and funny and intriguing.

    Honestly, the paparazzi give me the heeby jeebies. I don’t know how people manage to keep their cool when all that’s being shoved in their face all the time. I think back nostalgically to the days when I knew much LESS about the rich and famous.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Oh, Anna, isn’t the constant exposure just nauseating? I think it was nice for the famous to maintain some mystery. We wondered, but couldn’t know for sure. We could believe they weren’t like us regular folks. Now we have to see ALL their foibles. I would rather not know, that is for sure!

    • Laura Simcox says:

      Hi, Anna! And thank you!! I’ve been virtually ‘living in the bubble’ with my First Daughters for over a year now, and whew, it can be tiring. For them, the paparazzi is kept at arms’ length by lethal agents, but still–if they make a mistake, the fallout is HUGE compared to other celebs.

  • These sound great, Laura. I can’t imagine what it must be like to try to have a romance in a fishbowl like that. Oh, and I love a good snowbound in a cabin romance. 🙂

    • Caren Crane says:

      Trish, isn’t that the best? When I first read the description of Carolina’s story, I was hooked! Snowbound in a cabin with a sexy Secret Service guy? Um…yes! I would totally sign up for that trip. 😀

    • Laura Simcox says:

      Hey Trish! Ahhh, the cabin!! That was fun to research. 😉 I love to read those, too, but surprisingly, it was difficult for me to stay in one location, no matter how cozy. I’m a traveling spirit at heart. Somewhere in me is an epic road trip romance!

  • Tawny Weber says:

    Hi Laura 🙂 Congratulations to you on the awesome debut of the First Daughters series. It sounds like a fabulous premise and a great story 🙂

    Oh man, no way could I handle that sort of nosiness, nor could I imagine the stress of having to constantly behave well.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Tawny, I have a feeling you and Mr. Weber would NOT behave all the time. Matter of fact, I would put money on it. And who would want you to? Then we, the common folk, would have nothing to read about! 😀

    • Laura Simcox says:

      Hi there, Tawny! Thank you very much–it’s been great fun to delve into the world of First Daughters. I agree about not behaving well. When I was twenty-something (as my heroines are) there was no WAY I would have managed to be composed all of the time. I probably would have mugged for the cameras and done something weird and awful like talked back to the paparazzi in a Darth Vader voice.

  • Hi Laura –

    What a fun premise. Hope it’s selling like gangbusters. The last book I read dealt with the paparazzi – the Hollywood kind. No way would I want that in my life!!!

    • Caren Crane says:

      Donna, I read a book recently about the paprazzi, too. Deb Smith’s The Crossroads Cafe. I totally fell in love with the book, the characters and the Crossroads community. Man, the paparazzi in that book were the lowest of the low, too. You couldn’t help but hate them for the heroine’s sake. It was powerful stuff!

    • Laura Simcox says:

      Hi Donna,

      Thanks for the warm welcome. I kept the paparazzi on the fringes in my book because I didn’t really want to humanize them, but the more research I did, the more I shook my head. How does anyone delude themselves into thinking it’s okay to expose another person’s life–for a living? In any case, paparazzi are excellent built-in villains when it comes time to write about them.

  • Laura, welcome, and congrats on your series! What a clever idea–and that’s a great excerpt.

    I would not like to deal with paparazzi or with omnipresent security. I think it would drive my dh up a wall.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Yours and mine both, Nancy. I swear the DH would not survive for a week under that sort of scrutiny. He would definitely try to take someone out. Probably wrangle with the Secret Service, too. It would be UGLY.

    • Laura Simcox says:

      Hey Nancy!! Nice to ‘see’ you. 🙂 Glad you liked the excerpt. My hubby is a calm, cool, collected kind of guy–he barely reacts when he opens the ultimate Christmas present, if that tells you anything. I’m not sure what he would do living in a fishbowl over a period of time. I’m not sure I want to know! lol. Fortunately, I will never find out. 😀