Interview with Meredith Montgomery

This interview took place prior to Meredith meeting Elliott Fraser! 

Welcome Meredith. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and the part you play in Katherine Lowry Logan’s contemporary romance The Last MacKlenna.

When Katherine told me she wanted to include me in her story, I said no thank you. Although I do live in a glass house, I’m a very private person. From a very young age, my father told me that everything I did reflected on the family winery. I had to excel in the classroom, score the most goals, and run the fastest. I had to be the best. And when I dressed up for functions at the winery, I was expected to look glamorous and hold my own in conversations with vintners, politicians, and movie stars.

I bet that was a lot of pressure. How did you handle it at such a young age?

As a teenager, I rebelled and showed up at a cocktail party in ripped jeans and a t-shirt. I wasn’t rude to anyone, but I didn’t go out of my way to be pleasant either. My father didn’t say anything, and he didn’t punish me. He didn’t have to because the winery employees I had known all my life showed their disappointment in a myriad of ways. They left the room when I walked in. They didn’t invite me to join them for lunch. They ignored my birthday. Needless to say, I toed the line from that point on.

What about your mother. Were you close to her?

She died when I was born. I was an only child and didn’t have any aunts or grandparents. The closest to a mother figure in my life was dad’s secretary. We were close enough that I could ask her questions that young girls ask their mothers.

Tell us about your education. I assume it’s wine related?

I have a Masters of Business Administration and Bachelors of Science degree from UCLA. Although my background is finance, I found my niche in marketing. I spent ten years directing the winery’s marketing efforts. When my father died, I moved into the president’s office.

That must have been a hard transition to make.

It hasn’t been easy. There has been a male Montgomery at the helm since the winery was founded in 1853. It’s not that the employees object to having me as their boss, it’s my own feelings of inadequacy. Now that we’re about to launch my legacy wine, I’m scared to death. What if it’s not well-received? I review the financials daily. I know what lackluster sales could mean for the company. We’ve invested four years and hundreds of thousands of dollars in research and development. If the wine is not a success, we’ll have to sell off part of the company.

Wow. I can see why you’re scared. How do you handle your stress?

I’m forty-two, a widow, and I’ve never had children. My life is the business. I live it and breathe it. And I run. I’m currently training for a Boston Marathon qualifying race. If I can stay healthy, I should meet the 3:45 qualifying time for my age group. For me, the term “staying healthy” has two meanings. Staying healthy to run and staying healthy to live. You see, I’m a breast cancer survivor.

I didn’t know. I’m sorry to hear you had to go through that. How long ago was it? 

It’s been five years. I had a mastectomy. The disease didn’t spread to the lymph nodes so I didn’t have chemo or radiation. I got lucky. I do regular breast self-exams and have annual mammograms. Everything’s been good so far.

You mentioned that you’re a widow. You’re a beautiful woman. I’m sure you get asked out all the time. Are you dating anyone now?

My husband died two years ago. I’ve had a few dinner dates, but I don’t have time for men. And to be honest, the men I’ve met are intimidated by a wealthy, successful woman. And the wealthy, successful men want women much younger than I am.

If you met someone who wasn’t intimidated by your wealth and success would you consider a relationship?

No. Yes. Maybe. Let me just say the man would have to be extraordinary, and I’m not sure there are many men out there who would meet my criteria for a boyfriend.

Oh, you have a list. Tell us about your perfect man?

He has to love wine and horses and annual trips to Scotland. He has to be passionate about what he does, whatever that is. His balance sheet has to match mine so there’s no fear that he’s dating me for my money. His plane doesn’t have to be bigger but it would be nice if he had one. He has to be physically fit and extra points are given if he’s a runner. Looks are important, but they’re not everything. Generosity, a good heart, a wonderful sense of humor, and a circle of caring friends are “must-haves.”

It looks like you’ve got it covered. Do you think there are any men who can meet your qualifications?

Honestly, no, and I think that’s why my list is so specific. I don’t really want a man in my life right now. I have too much going on and I don’t need the distraction of a relationship. Maybe after I launch my new wine I’ll be more open to the possibility, but not right now.

Are you saying if the perfect man came along you wouldn’t pay any attention to him?

Not at all. If the perfect man came along, I’d probably fall right into his arms.

 

Living History Flight Experience on Board a B-17

Flying on a seventy year old airplane was never on my bucket list, but sometimes adventures come along that are life changing. This was one of them. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

There is nothing comfortable about flying in one of these planes. There are sharp edges everywhere and you have to climb around things to get from one part of the plane to another. At least it wasn’t sixty degrees below zero as it was when our boys flew bombing raids during WW II.

The Texas Raiders B-17 is an authentically restored B-17G and one of only nine (9) B-17 Flying Fortresses left flying at any given time.

“The Texas Raiders was assigned to the Gulf Coast Wing of the Commemorative Air Force in Houston, Texas.

The GCW has continued to upgrade and restore the aircraft to its original combat configuration by adding the ball turret and top turret. All of the work was carried out by the volunteers of the CAF group in Houston. At the present time, the top turret is undergoing assembly prior to installation on the aircraft. This will complete the last major restoration item within the aircraft. When completed, TEXAS RAIDERS will be one of only a few B-17s which have operational top and ball turrets.”

After the flight on Monday, I posted several pictures on Facebook, but here they are all together, along with my running commentary.

The opening scene of THE EMERALD BROOCH takes place inside the B-17 in May, 1944. I now know what it feels like to be up in one of the Flying Fortresses. Thank goodness no one was shooting at us!

5:37 Time to go
5:45 We’re getting ready to take off
5:46 Revving engines
5:46 Loud
5:46 Clear skies. Adrenaline pumping
5:47 We’re moving. This is too cool.
5:47 Made the turn. Ready.
5:48 We’re off
5:48 Wheels off the runway
5:48 We’re up
5:48 Smooth so far. Can walk around soon
5:49 Unbelievable!
5:50 Can get up now
5:59 WOW!!
6:00 From the cockpit – smooth ride. Windows are open. Can’t hear a thing
6:01 Wonderful
6:04 Hair blowing everywhere
6:06 Just as smooth as flight to NYC. Maybe smoother. Top of the plane wide open
6:08 Time to head back. I’m in my seat again.
6:09 The seat belt is impossible to figure out
6:09 Landing now
6:09 Wheels down
6:09 Screech
6:10 Safely back
6:11 That was a BLAST!!!!
6:18 Wow! What a trip

— in Richmond, Virginia.

If a sixty-five year old grandmother can do this, YOU can, too! Go for it! But be sure to braid your long hair before the flight. It took a bottle of condition to get out the tangles.

To book a flight to see what it looks like to ride on “Texas Raiders” click here.

Research Trip to Visit World War II Museums

Yesterday, I began a week long research trip to visit World War II Museums in New Orleans and Savannah, culminating in a ride on a World War II B-17 Bomber in Richmond, VA. The opening scene of THE EMERALD BROOCH takes place on a B-17 during a bombing mission over Germany.

Last night we stayed at the Big Cypress Lodge in the Bass Pro Shop in Memphis, TN. WOW! What an experience.

We had dinner at Central BBQ, which is right across the street from the Lorraine Motel. The motel  is now a civil rights museum. The building looks like it’s been in a time capsule since April 4 1968, the day Martin Luther King was shot.

The Bass Pro Shop is incredible – complete with alligators. The facility inside the Pyramid just opened last week. I can’t say enough about the shop and lodge, and that compliment is coming from someone who doesn’t hunt or fish – but my characters do!

  
 

Now we’re on our way to New Orleans and the National World War II Museum. What fun!  Stay tuned. There’s more to come!

Happy writing and running, Kathy