I’ve begun a Wednesday weekly post to present interviews with authors across all romance genres. Although I’m primarily an historical romance writer, I do read outside my genre and suspect a lot of you do as well. And what’s more fascinating than finding out more about either your favorite authors or new ones? I plan to change up my questions (most of them at least) every three months or so, just to keep the interviews lively.
So now gather round the tea table, grab a scone or cookies, and a cup of tea or coffee and discover a new friend in the writing world.
This week on Be My Guest, I am so very excited to have my BFF, Alexandra Christle here. Alex and I joined Chesapeake Romance Writers on the very same day and over the years have come to enjoy a wonderful friendship. Although Alex has been writing for much longer than I have, she’s just recently gotten a contract for her first book with Deeds Publishing, and is celebrating the release of her first book this coming weekend! So come on in and meet Alex!
Sandra Brown – probably her Texas Trilogy
Who has been the greatest influence on your writing?
My friends from Chesapeake Romance Writers – too many to name. But they’ve encouraged me, inspired me with their successes (and failures), and pushed me when I was about to give up. Without CRW, I wouldn’t be on this blog interview right now. (Thank you, Jenna!)
And Elizabeth Sinclair and Cappy Rearick, who, 20 years ago, believed in me.
Aww, thank you, Alex! But who or what inspires your writing?
Events – I like finding unusual tidbits and weaving a story around them.
Kind of like you did in Between Nowhere and Lost. Okay. I’ve done that myself.
Which of your own books is your favorite and why?
Hitchin’ (coming out this summer, hopefully). It’s partially autobiographical, except I don’t know anyone in the Mafia. Lol I have, however, met people who were in the DEA and FBI
If you could have one wish granted just for you (not world peace, LOL), what would you wish for?
Living closer to my grandchildren, which is something I plan to do.
You’re going to leave me? Oh, the humanity. 🙂
What is the most exciting/daredevil thing you’ve ever done?
Skydiving. Scared the **** out of me and I said I’d never do it again, but if I had the chance now, I would.
I would have died of a heart attach on the way down. *smh*
Who is your favorite non-romance genre author? What is your favorite book of theirs?
I have lots – I like thrillers, so I read David Baldacci, William Bernhardt, Vince Flynn, Michael Palmer. I also love Tami Hoag, who started as a romance writer.
My, my, you do read a lot! Now, tell us a little bit about one of your books.
Between Nowhere and Lost is a love story…not a genre romance. It takes place in the 1960s and deals with racial issues and textile unions. It’s Bridges of Madison County combined with Norma Rae.
What was your inspiration for this story?
I found some information about Darlington Manufacturing Company, a textile union that voted to go union in the 1950s. The owner closed the mill. It’s a heartbreaking event and it touched me deeply.
Just like you said above. So, do you have plans for a sequel to this book?
No, unless my readers demand it. 😉
Consider yourself demanded! It was a great story and I’d like to hear more!
Now, the Infamous Lightning Round: (Choose 5-6 of the questions below)
What is your favorite amusement park ride?
None, and I HATE roller coasters. I will never ride Space Mountain again. I worked at Disney World back in the early 80s.
Tea or coffee?
I like both – mint-flavored green tea is great, but I need my morning coffee.
Beach or mountains?
I love both, but if I could only have one, I’d have to take the ocean.
Chocolate or vanilla?
Chocolate! Dark! On or with anything!
Blond, brunette or redhead? (preferred men’s hair color)
Brunette. I have to really push myself to give a male character light hair. (Although Chris Hemsworth could make me change my mind. LOL)
Would you rather skydive or scuba dive?
Skydive. If I’m going to die, going splat would be faster than drowning. LOL
Would you rather vacation in Hawaii, Vegas or London?
I’d like to just take a vacation, period. Want to go with me?
All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go…any time! LOL
Now let’s give our readers a taste of your love story!
1960s housewife Helen Hodges has reconciled herself to a quiet, childless life in a small South Carolina mill town, but when she has a happenstance encounter with David Drummond, the mill owner’s son, her repressed longings for a child are reawakened and discontent floods over her. David is immediately taken with Helen, but tries, without success, to focus on his problems at the mill and the union takeover looming over his plant.
As the union fight becomes heated, racial tensions emerge and the town is polarized; violence breaks out and the situation intensifies, putting David in danger. Helen’s husband, the union representative, becomes David’s unlikely guardian, and although on opposite sides of the issue, the two men become friends. And as Helen is torn between her duty to her husband and her desire to be with David, as well as reconciling herself with her Catholic faith, events escalate until she learns some life-changing news and rushes to tell David before he leaves town, and her life…forever.
Dina gave her mouth an exaggerated twist. In fact, she never did anything that wasn’t exaggerated. She was my closest and, quite possibly, only friend in Mayfield. “Helen, you can’t give these kids everything they want. You’re their mother, not their friend.”
My head snapped around. “I’m not anyone’s mother.”
My tone caught her off-guard. She held up her hands, palms toward me. “You know what I mean. You can’t be their buddy. They’ll take advantage of you.” She relented somewhat. “Okay, then. Maybe one game. Teach her a lesson, anyway.” She leaned back in her chair and eyed me. I averted my gaze under her scrutiny. “What’s got you so bummed out?”
“Aren’t you meeting Jake for dinner? Don’t you need to go?”
“No. Spill it.”
My mouth scrunched. Keeping my emotions in check had never before been so difficult, but I’d never had reason to be so…discontent. My tone became defensive. “I am not, as you put it, ‘bummed out’. I’m merely…” I searched for an appropriate substitution.
“Depressed? Thinking about kids again?”
I stared at the pale yellow concrete block wall behind her, imagined my finger tracing down and across the lines of grout between each block. She waited patiently for me to speak. “No. Not this time.” I paused, debating. “Fine. I met a man.”
She straightened. “What do you mean, you ‘met’ a man? You have a man. His name is Harold. What kind of man? Where?”
“He was lost.”
“This is the sixties. Everyone is lost. What was he, a hippie? Was he driving a Volkswagen bus with flowers on it? I suppose he was trying to find himself.”
I clucked. “Not that kind of lost. Geographically. He pulled into my drive and asked for directions.”
“Did you tell him the commune is four hundred miles to the north?”
I rolled my eyes. “To Mayfield, nitwit,” thinking my use of her standard verbiage might ease up this onslaught of questions.
Instead, her eyes narrowed. “Harmless enough.”
“It was, until I asked him over for dinner.”
She sucked in a breath. “You didn’t!”
The office door flew open and the boys’ gym teacher stuck his head in the room. “You locking up, Deen?”
“I got it. Later, gator.”
He yanked the door shut behind him and was probably halfway across the gym before his muted ‘bye’ reached our ears.
“So you asked him over for dinner? And you didn’t think Harold would notice?”
“He’s in Connecticut, at one of the other plants.”
“Convenient. All right, lay it on me.”
I told her the entire sordid story, prudently omitting the part about wanting to kiss him.
“You want to kiss him, don’t you? Helen Hodges, I never would’ve believed it. You’re thinking about having an affair.”
Between Nowhere and Lost is available on Amazon.
Please please save the date next Wednesday when I’ll be sitting down with one of my favorite writers, Cara Bristol. No, she’s not historical romance. Head the other way–out into the future or space or perhaps another reality with kick-ass technology and gorgeous cyborgs! Hope I’ve got your mouth watering, so don’t forget next week!