Posted in General on March 26th, 2015 by Casey Crow
March is the anniversary of DANCE WITH A MILLIONAIRE. To celebrate, here’s a character interview and a yummy grits recipe because what’s more Southern than a girl from the deep South who can cook cheese grits?
Southern belle Campbell Layne is the rising star of the Manhattan Ballet Theatre, providing she lands an upcoming principal role. The stage heats up, however, when Rod Carrington steps in and teaches her more than she ever expected! Determined as she is to stay focused on the audition that will push her into stardom, dazzling attorney Rod Carrington still proves to be a major distraction especially when he ends up teaching the college class she’s taking in her spare time. Campbell humiliates herself on their first date, but that doesn’t stop Rod from whisking her off to Italy and turning her into quite the vixen. Too bad he also had to use his powerful influence to secure the lead for her. Now she’ll never know if her talent was real or “bought” by the man she thought was the love of her life.
Hi Campbell, can you tell our readers a little about DANCE WITH A MILLIONAIRE?
Sure, but first let me say how glad I am to be here! DWAM is about this Southern belle and rising star of the Manhattan Ballet Theatre, providing she lands the upcoming principal role. Um, yeah, that’s me. I’m totally stressing about an audition that could change my life. All I want to do is stay focused on my career, and I’ll be dog-gone, that’s when Rod Carrington steps into the picture. OMG. The man is freakin’ gorgeous and a total ego-maniac. He simply will not go away, though, as proven when he volunteers to substitute this law school class I’m taking in my spare time. (I’m on the nerdy side, and this is how I like to spend my time – don’t judge). Anyway, against my better judgment, we go to dinner. Basically, I drink too much, embarrass the fool out of myself, and assume that’s the end of it. Oh no. Rod then whisks me off to his Italian villa and helps me become quite the vixen. (No complaining here.) I’m completely smitten until I find out he used his powerful influence to secure the lead role for me. Now I’ll never know if my talent was real or “bought” by the man I thought was the love of her life.
How did you get into ballet?
The story my folks tell is that when I was about two, we were all at my uncle’s horse pasture. (I’m from this tiny town in rural South Alabama.) When Mama wasn’t looking, I climbed up onto the fence and was standing on one of the rails. She knew then that with all that balance I’d either be a ballet dancer or a tight-rope walker. The next week, she enrolled me in dance class.
What’s your favorite part of dance?
Definitely, my most favorite part is getting lost in the music. It transports me into a world all my own, like I’m in this bubble where I feel nothing but the rhythm of the orchestra. Tchaikovsky is my favorite composer and takes me to that sphere like no other. Yes, there are others, composers who reveled in the uniqueness of their music or intricacies of the composition, but no one does it for me like the great Russian magician. His sound is immediately recognizable, too. The peppy theme of The Nutcracker would put the grumpiest of Scrooges in the Christmas spirit. Sleeping Beauty’s “Waltz of the Flowers” causes me to sway in serenity while Swan Lake’s “Dying Swan” exhausts me with grief.
Tell us about your trip to Italy.
Rod, bless his heart, whisks me off on his private jet to the resort town of Bellagio, Italy, on Lake Como. The Swiss Alp Mountains, the lake, all the yellow and cream stucco buildings with orange terracotta tile roofs, and the cobblestone paths were incredible to see. Rod’s home turns out to be a mansion he’s renovating. I love it because it is warm and welcoming and “him.” Bellagio is known for upscale boutiques, antiques, and art galleries. As great as the shopping was, I have to admit, the best part was seeing how the relaxation Italy offered created this new side of Rod I’d yet to see.
Rod wine and dines at some pretty fantasy restaurants then you turn the tables and cook him a home-cooked meal. Tell us about that.
Our first date is at Jean Georges in New York City. I have sea bass and Rod has beef Wellington. Delish! When we are Italy, I think I gain ten pounds from the manicotti, tiramisu, and gelato. Mama taught me how to cook so I finally show off my culinary skills with fried chicken, cornbread, collard greens, grits, mash potatoes, and a carrot casserole. Plus, I bake an apple pie. Rod, I’m proud to say, loved it. In fact, here is my jalapeno grits recipe (as if the book isn’t hot enough):
Jalapeno Cheese Grits
2 cups quick-cooking grits
2 1/2 cups grated extra-sharp Cheddar
1 stick unsalted butter
1 tablespoon hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
3 large eggs, well beaten
2 jalapenos, finely diced
1/4 cup canned chopped green chiles
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cook the grits according to the directions on the back of the package. Remove from the heat and add next 6 ingredients (Cheddar through chilies). Stir well and season with garlic salt, to taste. Pour into a buttered 9-inch baking dish and bake for 1 hour. Let cool slightly before slicing and serving.
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