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 welcoming one of my oldest online friends, Daryl Devore. Daryl and I belong to an online critique group (that’s how we met) and we’ve been great support buddies over the years. She writes sweet to quite hot, and her new release, What Happens in Bancock, belongs in that latter category.
Now, without further ado, please meet my guest!
Daryl Devore (@daryldevore) lives in an in old farmhouse in Ontario, Canada, with her husband, a large salt water aquarium full of fish, a black cat named Licorice and some house ghosts. Her daughter is grown and has flown the nest. Daryl loves to take long walks up her quiet country road, or snow shoe across the back acres and in the summer, kayak along the St. Lawrence River. She has touched a moon rock, a mammoth and a meteorite. She’s been deep in the ocean in a submarine, flown high over Niagara Falls in a helicopter and used the ladies room in a royal palace. Life’s an adventure and Daryl’s having fun living it.
Welcome, Daryl! I’m so happy to have you here. Pull up a chair and let’s chat!
We’re all dying to find out a bit more about you. (Even I don’t know a whole lot about you, even though I do know some things!)
So, my standard first question: Who has been the greatest influence on your writing?
This is a major shout out to an awesome critique group – Rom-Critters. I’m not going to name all of you because I’ll miss someone. Critiquing your chapters and reading your comments and suggestions on my chapters has dragged my writing out of the newbie zone and into a more professional standard. I’m not perfect, but I am a lot better than I used to be and I couldn’t have done it on my own. I thank you all.
Rom Critters is where I got my start too, Daryl. Great bunch of authors!
Now, who or what inspires your writing?
Diane. No, not the Goddess – although she’d love being called a goddess. Diane is my husband’s former secretary. Both are retired now, but over the years we became friends and she loves to read. Romances being her favourites. She’d read one and either gush about it for days or just rip it to pieces. Listening to her, I began to see what “a reader” is looking for and she became who I write for. I know you can’t please everybody – but when I’ve written a book I know there are 2 people who will like it –Diane and me. Everybody else who likes is a happy bonus.
Which of your own books is your favorite and why?
It isn’t so much my favourite- because I’m guessing that’s usually the latest release. But FL.E.S.H. is the book where I found my voice. There is a massive change from Capri’s Fate to FL.E.S.H. All the little things I was supposed to learn sort of came together in that book. I eased back on description, deepened the point of view and sharpened the humour. My latest, What Happens in Bangkok, I can see how my voice and my style continues from FL.E.S.H. Two completely different stories, but exactly the same in the under layers.
That’s really cool that you could have the objectivity to look at your writing from a distance and see what changes you’d made.
What is your favorite holiday and why?
I’m a Christmas person. The whole house is decorated – every room has something, plus lights outside. There are stockings hung on the stairs – we don’t have a fireplace. Fun little gifts are stuffed into those – my daughter and her husband made chocolate covered caramels this year – everybody got a handful of those. There is always a huge pile of presents under the tree. If something is in a set and can be broken into separate gifts – it happens. Like a set of mitts, scarf and a toque – there’s 3 separate gifts right there.
Dinner is the whole English Christmas thing: turkey, mashed potatoes, and steamed pudding for dessert. And everyone is involved in making it. With the funny part being – my dad – the patriarch – passing down the carving duties to my husband – the host – who passes it to the son-in-law – next generation – who passes back to my dad until one of the women shouts – “Somebody just carve the D*mn turkey!”
Oh, and the final touch – Christmas Krackers – those things you pull and they pop and there is a paper hat, toy and a joke inside. Rule is – everyone must wear the hat. It’s just part of the fun.
I have never done Krackers, but I would love to try it–if I could find them here.
If you could have one wish granted just for you (not world peace, LOL), what would you wish for?
Okay – so you took world peace away – hmmm. I’d wish that stupidity was banished. The stupidity of racism – of bigotry – of hate. With all of that gone – then maybe we could get world peace after all.
Oh, but one could hope, Daryl.
What is the most exciting/daredevil thing you’ve ever done?
Submitted a book to a publisher and was published. It’s terrifying putting your first book out there. Heck, it’s terrifying putting your 10th out there. The “what ifs” nearly drive you crazy. What if – no agent likes it – no publisher wants it – the readers hate it. It’s enough to make you find a cave and crawl inside.
Well, I’ll give you that. I used to have to psych myself up to hit the send button–which I swear was the hardest thing I’ve ever done next to childbirth.
Do you have any hobbies/passions outside of writing?
Yoga is my passion. I’ll hit at least 3 classes a week. I’d do more, but I live way out in the country and it’s a long drive into the city where classes are. I do Hatha, Yin, Flow and Restorative. My teachers are fabulous and funny, yet still challenge me. I’ve even done wall yoga which involved hanging upside down.
I feel sore just reading that! LOL
Who is your favorite non-romance genre author? What is your favorite book of theirs?
Agatha Christie. I have all of her books. I love old English mysteries. On a cold, miserable day, I’ll curl up with a hot chocolate, get the woodstove roaring and settle into a fabulous read. Favourite one of her books – no idea – I’d have to go back and read all of them again to figure that out – which sounds like a fantastic idea.
Oh, I adore Agatha Christie mysteries! Loved the Miss Marple books. I wanted to live in her village. 🙂
Now, tell us a little bit about your newest book.
What Happens in Bangkok is my latest. It was known as Book with No Name for about 2 years. I’m horrible at titles. Then Jenna – yes, the hostess of this blog – came up with the title for me and I will be forever grateful as it is perfect!
WHIB (What Happens in Bangkok) is the story of Erika and Darien – one owns a drag queen club in Bangkok, Thailand and the other is an international rockstar.
I taught performance art at an arts school and while not all my male students were gay – there were some very memorable ones. I based one of the drag queens on a “flaming diva” student whose initials are MAL.
What was your inspiration for this story?
Normally, I don’t have any inspiration for a book. I just write. But for What Happens in Bangkok – there was an exact moment when the book blossomed. My husband and I were driving down to my daughter’s in NC. If a song he didn’t like came on, he flipped the satellite radio channel. He landed on the The Seventies on Seven and after a few minutes – Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive came on. I was just sitting there, staring out the window, thinking about it having been the gay anthem. I turned on my laptop and wrote 3 chapters of a book that I didn’t know I was going to write. Which turned into a 3 book trilogy.
Now that’s a cool story!
I am a fanatic about my character names. Are the character names special in any way?
I’ve been labeling my heroines alphabetically as I write my books. First character – Arianne, 2nd – Branwyn, 3rd Capri, 4th Derry (not published yet – heck, it isn’t even written yet – only a couple of chapters), 5th Erika, 6th Fuchsia, 7th Giselle (a Christmas book – hopefully out this Christmas). There is an out of order – R – but that was due to a publisher’s request for a twisted fairy tale and I picked Little Red Riding Hood.
Do you have plans for a sequel to this book?
What Happens in Bangkok is book 1 of a 3 book trilogy and all 3 are written. A 4th tried to get itself written, but I cut it off at the knees and included everything in book 3.
Now, the Infamous Lightning Round:
What is your favorite amusement park ride?
Roller coasters!!!!!!!!!!!! The more curves, drops and loops the better.
Tea or coffee?
Neither. Can’t stand the flavor of either. Hot chocolate when it’s cold. Diet pop or water otherwise. Diet Coke is my go to and all of my characters – who drink pop – drink it.
I don’t even drink alcohol. Don’t like the flavor – beer – wine – hard stuff – yuck! My dad is a wine connoisseur and he’s given me some very expensive wines to sample. Just tastes like bad grape juice.
Beach or mountains?
With a personal motto of – Sun. Sea. Sand. Obviously the beach!
My happy place is walking along an ocean beach with sand crunching under my feet and water lapping at my toes. I am at my calmest and most blissed out in those moments.
Chocolate or vanilla?
What is vanilla??? I adore chocolate. I have numerous chocolate only cookbooks with fabulous recipes and photographs. Perusing through them is like chocolate porn. I used my love of chocolate in my twisted fairy tale – Sexy Red Hood – the scene involved whipped cream and melted chocolate.
Would you rather skydive or scuba dive?
Neither. Totally and completely neither. The concept of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane baffles me. Yet, in a future book in this series the hero convinces the heroine to go skydiving with him.
Scuba diving – My husband and daughter are scuba divers. They took me snorkeling. I was fine until I saw the shipwreck and then flight or fight kicked in and I bolted to the surface – ran across the top of the water – and raced for shore. No idea why. Just can’t do it.
Would you rather vacation in Hawaii, Vegas or London?
Since I’m a beach person – Hawaii! I’ve been to all 3 places and I love them, but Hawaii would be my number 1.
What’s the one thing you would never do?
I’d like to say kill someone, but if a bad person was seriously threatening a member of my family – I’m not sure that I wouldn’t pull the trigger. Which is bizarre as I’m Canadian and we have strict gun laws. Actually, I’ve never seen a gun that wasn’t attached to a police officer’s hip.
That was super fun, Daryl! Why don’t we let everyone get a peek at What Happens in Bangkok?
Here’s the blurb for What Happens in Bangkok, which is currently available on Amazon!
To save Darien’s life his brother asks, “Can you walk in high heels?”
Erika Bailey, owner/manager of a drag queen club in Bangkok, Thailand has happily settled into all aspects of her new life, except for her lack of a love life. When a new diva auditions, Erika is bewildered over her instant attraction to the blond God, Apollo.
Darien Scott is on vacation after a world tour and mistakenly figures the safest place to be is at The Black Dragon with the head of a Triad. When the club is hit, Darien is the only person to get out alive. Now he’s running from the police and a Triad. Mistake number 1.
Disguised as a drag queen, he’s hired by Erika, but falls hard for his new boss, then struggles with not coming clean with her. Mistake number 2.
Can he fix his mistakes and find a life filled with love or is he headed straight for mistake number 3?
Erik leaned on the balcony railing and stared down at the crowd of patrons partying in her club. They were laughing and buying over-priced and watered-down booze, just the way it was supposed to be. The strobe lights bounced off the glitter and tinsel, adding blinding sparkles to the atmosphere. Overhead, four massive disco balls turned, spitting out flashes of light, randomly illuminating either patrons or the leopard print wallpapered walls. And best of all, Bangkok was a half a world away from home, which couldn’t be more perfect.
She’d made it through her second year. She hadn’t expected to jump straight into an owner/managerial position, but the opening was there and she grabbed it. The learning curve had been steep, although she now felt like she had her feet on the floor and her head squarely on her shoulders. Life wasn’t perfect, but it was good. She took a deep breath and enjoyed a sense of calmness.
“Hey, Boss Lady.”
She shifted to look at Sebastian, her stage manager. His chest muscles bulged under his white t-shirt, the rips in his jeans hinted at strong thighs and the ever present headset rested on his scruffy brown hair. He sat on one hip and flipped a hand to point behind him. “It’s just cray cray back there. Shangri–Lay’s havin’ a hissy fit.”
Stifling the urge to pound her forehead on the brass railing, Erik asked, “What’s the little diva’s issue this time?”
“Well, she’s screamin’ somethin’ ’bout Ra-chell took her pink scarf and the new eye shadow that matches it. Ra-chell says she didn’t. She bought ’em this afternoon when she was out shoppin’. You know Ra-chell ‘n shoppin’. She gets a paycheck and it’s gone. But no way Shangri–Lay’s gonna believe her. She’s threatenin’ to rip out her hair extensions.”
Erik placed her palms on the cool railing and pushed upright. “Lead on.” She followed the harassed stage manager through the club, the pounding bass drowning out anything more he might have said to her. In the evening gown laden, makeup strewn topsy-turviness of the dressing room chaos ruled. Two partially dressed people rolled on the floor, entangled in each other’s arms and legs, with fingers gripping hair and voices screeching. The other performers stood alongside, cheering their favorite.
Erik grabbed a nearby glass, tossed the contents in the sink and filled it with cold water. She pushed her way through the crowd and flung the contents on the fighters.
“Ah! My makeup.”
“Excuse me?” Erik lifted an eyebrow.
What Happens in Bangkok is available at Amazon and eXtasy Books.
Next Wednesday my special guest is Lauren Smith. Author of more than twenty novels, novellas and short stories, Lauren is also a fellow contributor to an anthology of Regency novellas that releases on Valentine’s Day: Her Perfect Gentleman. An anthology that I’m also a part of. So stay tuned for Lauren next Wednesday and a post-Valentine’s treat!