Lights, Camera, Action! with Nancy Robards Thompson and Katherine Garbera

I’ve got a real treat for you all today! Good friends Katherine Garbera and Nancy Robards Thompson are going to interview one another and give away their great new releases TEXAS CHRISTMAS (Nancy) and CALLING ALL THE SHOTS (Katherine).

TEXAS CHRISTMAS (Harlequin Special Edition) sounds like the perfect read for this time of year. Debbie Haupt at RT Book Reviews said, “Featuring both new and familiar characters from past tales, Thompson’s holiday romance will stay with readers long after the end. Her protagonists are clearly meant for each other from page one, and you’ll love how she brings them together.” Here’s the blurb:

Busted! When Pepper Merriweather’s superwealthy daddy is arrested for fraud—and the family fortune is kaput—just before the holidays, Pepper suddenly finds herself in need of a job. Despite her high-society connections, no one wants to give her a chance—no one except gorgeous billionaire recluse Robert Macintyre.

When he proposes a position that comes with more strings attached than a symphony orchestra, Pepper knows it’s an offer she should refuse. But beggars can’t be choosers. Besides, Pepper knows she has what it takes to rise to the challenge—but does she have what it takes to keep her hands off her irresistible new boss?

CALLING ALL THE SHOTS (Harlequin Desire) sounds like great fun too. Harlequin Junkie said, “The more that you get to know these amazing characters the more you fall in love with CALLING ALL THE SHOTS. If you are looking for a fun, sweet, romantic read then this is the book for you.” Here’s the blurb:

The irony of working on a matchmaking reality TV show hosted by the guy who broke her heart in high school has producer Willow Stead tied in knots. Not only that, but Jack Crown even has the nerve to ask her out. Should she risk taking him up on his offer?

Jack sees Willow Stead all grown up and has to have her. Soon passions erupt that rival the drama on the show. But does Willow have a trick up her sleeve that will throw the celebrity pitchman a major curveball?

You can find out more about Nancy and her books at her website:

You can find out more about Katherine and her books at her website:

Kathy: The two of us have known each other for more than fifteen years. So it was a nice surprise when we discovered we both had third books in a series out this month. Not only that, but both of our stories are set in the world of reality TV.  

We got the ideas for our books because we’ve both worked behind the scenes of a television show. That leads to another happy coincidence of our friendship: we both realized that we worked on the same show, THE NEW MICKEY MOUSE CLUB, but at different times.

Nancy: Gosh, that seems like another lifetime ago, but it was definitely one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. It was fun and always changing. Still, I wouldn’t trade my writing career to work in TV and movies, but I’m glad I had the opportunity. How did you get the job on the MICKEY MOUSE CLUB, Kathy?

Kathy: I was part of the opening crew for the Disney-MGM Studios and we were hired about three months before the park opened so we recruited audience members at the Magic Kingdom each day and then took them to the Studios for the tapings.  Everyone was new to the show including the cast so we all sort of hung out together.  Since I was 18 I wasn’t that much older than most of them.  But Nanc, the Mouse Club wasn’t your only job in that industry was it?

Nancy: No, my time on THE MICKEY MOUSE CLUB was bookended by two movies.  I helped with extras casting on the movie D.A.R.Y.L. and then I was on set when Michael Damian (The Young and the Restless) and James Best (Dukes of Hazzard) filmed the short HOUSE OF FOREVER. I wasn’t employed by HOUSE OF FOREVER‘s  production company. I was in public relations for the non-profit organization that owned the set where the film was made. I was the nonprofit’s contact person. So, I was on set every day. Even though each TV/film project I worked on was distinctly different, the action going on behind the scenes had a bit of the same feel. You know what I mean? Not to be cliché,  but the lights, camera, action bit gave each project the same feel.

Kathy: I know exactly what you mean, Nanc.  I also worked on the set of SUPERBOY which was filming at the Disney-MGM Studios before it moved to Universal (bit of rivalry back then).  My fav memory is when my pal Judy and I were sent to pick up a prop on the production golf cart.  We were goofing around on it and got it stuck in a ditch.  Boy was that fun to explain!  But you are right in that behind-the-scenes feels very similar the only thing that was different was when I worked on WWF’s MONDAY NIGHT SMACK DOWN and the game show TEEN WIN, LOSE OR DRAW! Because the action wasn’t scripted necessarily.  On the game show I was stationed in the audience to remind people not to call out the answers while we were taping.  If they did, we had to start that part of the show all over again.

Nancy: Working in TV and movies is definitely a hurry-up and wait game. Depending on your job, there can be a lot of standing around and waiting… and the days are usually long and demanding of your time. One of the biggest challenges I faced was when I handled the extras for D.A.R.Y.L. I actually had to book people to be extras in the movie. At first people were excited because they were going to be in a movie AND they were going to get paid for it! Woot! Woot! After the first few days of shooting reality set in that they were getting a flat fee for a very long, boring day. I think they got something like $50 or $75 for each day that they worked. Call time was early and the same for everyone, but I couldn’t tell them if they would be there one hour (if their scene was in was shot first thing) or if it would be a twelve or fifteen hour day (if their scene was toward the end).  A lot of people would get upset because they had to sit around and wait for hours on end. The director wouldn’t let me release them and they couldn’t leave even for a few minutes. If they were there during a meal time craft services (the catering truck) provided their meals. So, really their compensation was a flat fee and sometimes up to three meals. On long days, I had a lot of cranky extras on my hands. Sometimes, I had to do a lot of tap dancing and sweet talking to appease them. If I remember right – that was a long time ago – my portion of the project lasted about a month. Toward the end, it got very hard to get people to agree to be in the movie.

Kathy: Haha! That’s something I never thought I’d hear anyone say that they had to beg people to be in a movie.  We had to beg people to be in the audience for the NEW MICKEY MOUSE CLUB at first because it was a new show.  We didn’t pay them but gave them complimentary tickets to come back to the Disney parks.  One of my favorite memories was of when I got to sit in on the table readings for the show.  It was so interesting to the kids take direction prior to shooting and then really show their skills when taping started.  What was your most memorable experience on the set, Nanc? 

Nancy: In D.A.R.Y.L., there was a car chase scene. When they were filming they closed down a portion of the highway between 2am and 4am. We needed A LOT of extras with cars who were willing to come out in the wee hours of the morning and drive. This is really a two-part memory – first, because I was so intrigued by the way they shot the scene. They had the extras drive 10mph so that when the “fast cars” drove by at 35mph, they looked like they were driving at breakneck speeds.

Kathy: What was the other memory? You said this was a two-parter.

Nancy: Oh, yes! The other fond memory is of the woman who started complaining about having to go to the bathroom the minute we got on the highway. Once we were there the director wouldn’t let anyone leave because we only had a very short period of time to shoot the scene (before they reopened the highway to regular traffic). There were no bathrooms and the exit ramps were blocked off by the police to keep cars not involved with the movie off the road. If she’d walked away to take care of business, her car would’ve been in the way of the shot.

Kathy: Oh, no! If only I’d been there since I was a Production Page I would have asked her before we left!   Seriously, Poor woman! What did she do?

Nancy: Umm…I found a cup for her. I’ll let you figure out the rest.

Kathy: Oh. Sorry I asked.  To change the subject… that’s a picture of me in my official MICKEY MOUSE CLUB jacket and Nanc is somewhere in that group shot.

Nancy: It’s sort of like “Where’s Waldo,” right?  Actually, I’m standing just to the right of center (in the very center of the picture). I’m wearing a yellow blouse near that person in green and sandwiched by the people in pink. Haha! We were a colorful bunch, weren’t we? Look at some of those hairdos! We won’t talk about how long ago that was…

Kathy: Reliving all these memories has been fun! We’d like to ask Romance Bandit readers to share a memory of their favorite job or something unusual they’ve done. Nancy and I will select one lucky winner to receive signed copies of our books.  

Ooh, great prizes, girls! Thanks for the great interview! Get commenting, people!

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  • Mozette says:

    Something unusual? Okay… in 1997, while in the UK, I was in Edinburgh – at the castle – when I found a roped off area with a ladder going up. But the rope was undone and down! So, being the adventurous soul I was at 23, I looked around and climbed that ladder!

    And here’s me terrified of heights!

    Anyway, I got an eyeful of the gorgeous view of the city of Edinburgh at 10am with the fog cleared away! But I did something I never thought I’d do! There was some scaffolding off the side of the castle where they were fixing it up. I stepped out onto it and began clicking away with my camera!
    I didn’t even think of the only-goodness-how-far-down it was to the bottom of the wall… as there was absolutely nothing below me but trees and rocks about 200 ft down!!! This wasn’t pointed out to me until the security guard yelled at me to step off and he helped me onto solid ground, then told me what I had done was really very dangerous.

    I laughed it off then, but now, I know it was the most stupid thing I could have done! When I told my story on returning home, my Dad absolutely spat chips as he’s a Safety Officer at his workplace and he used to teach people to scale those whopping great big steel electrical towers… yep, he worked on those. He also taught people how to perform First Aide on them as well while 50metres off the ground. But to hear of me being all that way up and not a safety harness in sight? Well, I think he scored himself the first few grey hairs from my story…

    It was a weird and unusual thing for me to do as I don’t usually like being up so high. Usually, I get the jitters pretty quick.

    • Mozette says:

      Darn… he’s coming to see me isn’t he?

      Oh well… I’ll just have to hide all the chocolate on him again! 🙂

    • Wow, Mozette, I got dizzy reading that post. But what a great experience. I stayed in a hotel just under the castle – believe me if you’d fallen, it would have hurt! 😉

    • Mozette;

      Wow! You were brave. I can’t resist the temptation of sneaking in some place either. I’m not afraid of heights so I might have gone along with you!

    • Mozette, my heart beat fast just reading your post. However, some of the best photos I’ve ever taken were ones I shot on the fly, without thinking. But be careful, okay? We want you around!

      • Mozette says:

        There were really bad repercussions to this little adventure of mine. The security guard wanted to arrest me! He had one hand cuff on my right wrist and was about to grab my left one when I spotted the co-ordinator of my Trafalgar Tour stepping out from the the Men’s Toilets… and called out to him! The moment he saw me waving frantically, he knew I up to my neck in s**t and needed his help – again – to get out of it (yes, I was known as a little trouble-maker, but nothing too bad – well, not until this!). I begged him to help me out of this and he did; but I had to buy him and the bus driver a beer/lager of their choice from the hotel. I agreed and he explained that I was an Aussie and we get up to all kinds of things without thinking – especially the young ones. The security guard blurted out that I must have been off my face drunk, and I said just because I’m Aussie, didn’t mean I was an alcoholic – and my co-ordinator agreed. I was let off with a stern warning… but I still had to buy that beer/lager.

        And so, that night, I walked up to the bar with my VISA card and asked the two which one they’d like… they picked out a 500 year old lager that had been brewed in Scotland – and only Scotland – and it cost me ten pounds per pint! Well, a small price to pay for getting out of being deported.

  • Barb says:

    Hi Anna,Nancy and Katherine

    Love the looks of the books and am partial to Christmas books

    In my 50’s I went parasailing off a pontoon in the middle of the harbour in Coffs Harbour … the pontoon was not very big and you had to start at one end and run to the other end and hope the wind took the sail attatched to the speed boat up or you would have been in the sea lol….. you then had to land back on the pontoon after a sail round the harbour….. can’t believe I did it ..I thought if DH could do I would have a go

    • Wow, Barb, you’re superwoman! What a great thing for you to do. I’m completely un-daring so I’m in awe of people who do things like that.

    • Barb–I love water sports (I was a competitive swimmer in high school) but never tried parasailing. Sounds a bit scary to me!

    • Barb, parasailing is one of the few…well, the ONLY extreme sport I’ve ever tried. I was over the ocean in Florida. I was so nervous before I “took off” that I was shaking, but once I got up there, it was so peaceful and pretty. I’m glad I did it, but I don’t know that I’d try it again. Probably because I’m a lot older now.

  • Helen says:

    Katherine and Nancy

    What fun jobs to have I have not had anything so exciting LOL I worked in a bank for many years then was a stay at home Mum and now I work in a big club that has gaming machines bars and restarants similar to a casino and when people have a bit too much to drink there can often be some problems but I work in the office part so stay clear of that these days.

    The two books sound really good congrats on the releases

    Have Fun

  • Pat Cochran says:

    My favorite job was writing a neighborhood
    news column for an area newspaper. I got
    to carry all sorts of items in the column, any-
    thing of interest to the readers. One year
    when we attended Honey’s company’s
    picnic, I met the special guests at the event.
    It was a delegation from Russia who were
    visiting the company. I got to ask a couple
    of questions and came away with photos
    and a very good article. Plus I received
    good comments from the president of the company. The most fun was watching the group play Bingo through an interpreter!

    Pat C.

  • Mary Preston says:

    My very first job ever was as a domestic helper in a Convent. This was such an eye opener.

    I’d not had anything to do with nuns before, but I soon found out that if you put a bunch of women together, of all ages & nationalities, just sit back & watch.

    Some were holier than others that’s for sure.

    I was a young, country raised girl. I think I awoke a great many Maternal feelings.

    • Wow, Mary, what an interesting job. I worked with someone once who had a part-time job in a retirement home for nuns (there is such a thing – which I hadn’t thought of before!). She had reports much like you. Some were angels, but by no means all of them had that angelic touch! 😉

    • Mary; What an interesting experience that must have been. I went to a Catholic school back when nuns still taught at them and I had a little glimpse into how different then can be. I guess because they are all wearing the same habit that its easy to think they are all the same.

    • Mary, your experience sounds like the start of a novel! How interesting it must’ve been to observe the convent dynamics.

  • gypsylcm says:

    both books look great. my job varies from things such as climbing up great big ladders to change light bulbs, to photographing stuff, to being at a desk inputting data etc.

  • Anna Sugden says:

    Welcome to the Lair Nancy and Kathy! Kathy *waving!* great to see you – we really must catch up next time you’re over here!

    Your memories of working in the film and TV world are very familiar to me – I was in marketing and spent many long days with our advertising agency filming commercials! The fun part was being at famous studios like Pinewood, Shepperton and Elstree. The yummy part (though not great for the figure) was the wonderful food – boy, do they know how to do catering! The fun part was filming with a King Penguin, who had his own handler. The not so-fun part was working with kids and their parents!

  • Betty Hamilton says:

    My most unusual job was in a bubble gum factory. I was toward the end of the “assembly” line and my job was to put the cardboard lid on the box of “penny” bubble gum! You might think this was a very dull job, however, I was in a good position to see the factory floor and there was always something going on! Both books sounds like good reads!! TY for the opportunity to win copies.

    • Connie Fischer says:

      Hi, Betty! When I read your post, I couldn’t help but think of an old I Love Lucy episode (OK – I dating myself!) Lucy was working on a chocolate candy assembly line and when she couldn’t pack them fast enough, she started popping them in her mouth. Wonder if you ever did that with the bubble gum! 🙂

      • Connie! That’s EXACTLY what I was thinking. Haha! That’s a classic scene, isn’t it?

        Betty, I’ve never been inside a factory like that. How interesting. I’ll bet you did witness some entertaining things.

    • Betty, actually that sounds pretty interesting!

  • pjpuppymom says:

    Hi, Kathy and Nancy! Loved reading about your job experiences…and love reading your books! 🙂

    My most fun job was probably my first one as a car hop at a local drive-in restaurant complex, complete with putt-putt golf, batting cages and driving range. It was where all the hot guys in the area hung out and the primo job for teenage girls in my small hometown. We wore kilts (the whole outfit) with sashes, tams, knee socks, tassels. We made 50 cents per hour plus tips (let me just say, hot teenage guys do not tip well) but we didn’t care because we had so much fun!

  • May says:

    My most fun job was when I was working in the school library as a teenager. It was nice to be surrounded by books and I always get first dibs when the new books come in! Pay was very bad but I had fun anyways.

  • Laney4 says:

    Mozette’s comment reminded me of this story. Not sure if I’ve told this here or not before, but it definitely qualifies as something unusual I’ve done; at least it’s unusual to me!
    When I was 39, we visited my sister and family, and they drove us to the mountains to help my BIL’s brother take down a tree on his vast property. While climbing up this huge hill (which apparently was a mountain), everyone else got up higher and I couldn’t get my footing right to catch up to them. (My legs are 5″ longer so there wasn’t room to bend them the same way as the rest did.) My BIL and DH each had one of my arms and were trying to drag me up the hill, but I couldn’t get any footing. Somehow I got twisted around so I was facing down the hill, and I had to manage getting twisted back again. When I did so, then they had to drag me sideways along the hill until I could find somewhere to get footing. (If they had literally dragged me up the hill, I would have wrecked all my clothes and face, arms, and legs with the dirt, mud, and branches.) Needless to say, I am glad that I didn’t pee my pants while dangling there precariously, as I was very scared, plus I’m afraid of heights at the best of times.

    • Oh my gosh, Laney4! What a terrifying experience! I can’t imagine dangling upside down off the side of a mountain. Since you were there to help, your story calls to mind the saying, “No good deed goes unpunished.” I’m glad you survived unscathed.

    • Laney, that’s a seriously scary story! I think I would have just gone back down and told them I was making the refreshments! 😉

  • Fedora says:

    Just waving hi, Kathy and Nancy! One of the more unusual jobs was a tape backup operator for the university’s mainframes… It was something done weekly, starting around 2am on Saturday mornings… Getting up to bike to work at 1:45am was always brutal, and not falling asleep on the job was always tricky ;p Plus it was slightly creepy sometimes, being alone in a giant airconditioned room full of computer equipment 😉 Ah, those were the days (or should I say, nights?) 😀

  • sandyg265 says:

    I volunteered on my towns rescue squad for seven years, starting when I was seventeen. That was probably the most exciting thing I’ve done.

  • melissa cahall says:

    well i havent had a job out side my home in over 20 years my first job was making pizza were i met my husband

  • Cathy P says:

    Hi, Nancy and Katherine! I have never had anything really, really exciting in my life. I guess my most fun and longest job was with a big engineering firm as a Specifications typist. When I started, I was newly married, and most of the guys I worked with were also young. They teased me witless, and really enjoyed it because I was so shy. I think the one that embarrassed me the most was when I got in my purse to pull out a hairbrush, and my DH had put a red and black garter belt in there as a joke. I pulled them both out unknowingly, and the engineers roared with laughter.

  • Minna says:

    Unusual? Well, one of my summertime jobs was slightly unusual. Besides weeding flowerbeds (my employer sold flowers…) my job was shredding old newspapers (…and made recycled paper), which was certainly unusual, if a little boring -but it was still better than weeding =P.

  • catslady says:

    I would love to be an extra. I assume you could read while you were waiting – how nice to be paid to read lol. As to exciting, I didn’t have too exciting a job being in the secretarial field but one day they needed someone to fly to D.C. to get a passport from The United Arab Emirates embassy. I had only been on a plane once but it was for my boss so off I went. After getting there, the ambassador had left for a family emergency so I waited and waited. Eventually they told me to fly back home. I was gone from early morning to late night and all I had was a candy bar that I grabbed before catching my flight. All that and to come back empty handed.

  • Susan Sey says:

    Hi, Nancy & Katherine! Thanks for swinging by the lair today!

    Unusual jobs, huh? Well, I’ve had my share, but the one that stands out was a volunteer gig. Well, volunteer if you define voluntary as under threat of death from your mother. Then, yeah, it was a volunteer thing. 🙂

    A friend of my mom’s owned a chain of gas stations in suburban Detroit, & expanded into our neighborhood. She’d hired a couple people to jump around on the corner in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle outfits to attract attention but while the costumes arrived, the people who were supposed to wear them never did.

    My mother said, “No problem, I have kids.” And I ended up on the corner in a TMNT outfit waving people into a gas station all afternoon.

    Nice, huh?

    • Susan, you always crack me up. I can actually picture you doing that! And now I”m thinking of the opening of Natural Born Charmer with the heroine in the beaver suit. One of the best openings EVER!

    • Susan! So happy to be here today! The thought of you in a TMNT suit is a picture I would’ve loved to have seen! Don’t you love the things our families get us into?

  • Sabine W. says:

    My favourite job was shooting a short documentary for my studying. We were a team of three and had to plan everything from the story line to the cutting. It was very hard and took us a long long time, but in the end it was worth the wait. It was shown in one of our movie theaters and I was so damn proud to see the final movie on screen. It was a lot of fun and I like to remember this time.

  • Ellen says:

    I spent 30+ years as a high school teacher and if that wasn’t enough for several years the school sponsored a trip each summer. I was one of those people who was in charge of keeping track and taking care of the kids on the trip. The last trip I took was to Washington DC. My job was to help two of the handicapped kids. They were in a wheelchair and were so excited about being able to make the trip they wore me out.

  • Melody May says:

    My favorite job was working at the Parks & Recreation in my hometown. However, what made it the best what the people I worked with. I also love working in the library when I was at my junior college. I love that they used library congress. Yes, I know I’m a dork, but that’s ok.

  • Thanks to Nancy and Kathy for a fun post. And thanks to everyone who swung by. Don’t forget to check back to see who won the books. Good luck!

  • Diane Sallans says:

    Love these Harlequin & Desire books!
    My most unusual job was probably the summer I worked packing Wilkinson Sword Razors & Blades. They put all us college students on one line and we got so bored – we put messages in some of the packages like ‘Help – I’m being held captive in a razor blade factory!’