Thanks for having me here today. I’ve had a wild and crazy ride this week, so I’m happy to sit for a spell and talk to you. Your interview questions were excellent.
I didn’t start writing in earnest until I retired. Calvin, who is also a published writer, encouraged me to pursue my dream. I wasn’t sure if I could—self doubt, you know—so this week’s happenings are especially cherished. Allow me to share. My debut novel, Storm’s Interlude, was voted book of the week at LASR. Then I got the nod from the senior editor of the Honky Tonk Hearts line for my short story, Those Violet Eyes. So, imagine my shock when I also got THE email about a romantic suspense novel, Mona Lisa’s Room. Whew, too much excitement in one week.
As an author, do you take time to read? If so, what do you like to read and who is/are your favorite author/s?
With so much time spend on promotion and writing, I only get to read at bedtime. I read romance and prefer debut or newer authors, although I do have a couple well-known writers I can’t resist, like Jill Shalvas and Linda Lael Miller. Mainly I stick to reading the talented authors from The Wild Rose Press—contemporary, historical, romantic suspense and paranormal. Oh, and erotic, but don’t tell my grandkids.
If you could go anywhere in the world on a romantic getaway, what would you do and where would you go?
Both my husband and I love Paris. We aren’t wild about the 8-hour flight, but it is so worth it. We rent an apartment in the Left Bank, on rue Galande, the street where Calvin lived for the year he took a sabbatical from teaching. This is like going back home for him. We hold hands and walk the streets, soaking in the sounds and smells of Paris. There are certain cafes and shops we visit again and again, like Shakespeare and Company a crammed bookstore across the Seine from the Notre Dame Cathedral. We sip wine, hold hands and share story ideas.
I mentioned a romantic suspense earlier, Mona Lisa’s Room. An art teacher travels from North Carolina to Paris to celebrate her fortieth birthday and start living again after her divorce. While in the Louvre studying the Mona Lisa, she unwittingly foils a terrorist bombing attempt. For various reasons she’s put into the protective custody of a younger government agent. Ladies, let the fun begin.
What is the hardest thing for you to write?
Suspense. Odd that I’m writing a second romantic suspense after struggling so hard with the first one, but if I don’t face my weakness, how can I overcome it? I want to make your heart pound and your breathing grow rapid. I want to have you in the grips of my chubby little hands—trembling with fear for my characters.
Where do you get your story ideas?
From various things. My overactive imagination mainly. Sometimes a past experience surfaces. Here’s an example. We were once sitting at a sidewalk café on a narrow artsy street in Paris. Slowly a young man rode by on his motorcycle wearing angel wings that nearly dragged on the cobblestone street. I’m using that visual in my opening scene of my current WIP, a sequel to Mona Lisa’s Room. How? Oh, now, I couldn’t possibly bore you with the details…
The tag line on my blog is ‘Indulge Your Inner Romantic.’ What do you do to indulge?
Slow jazz music, red negligee, lots of candlelight (at my age I need it), chilled champagne and strawberries dipped in chocolate. Calvin and I have only been married for 8 years, so we are still in the honeymoon stage. We met later in life on match dot com, of all places.
I’d love to share an excerpt from my current release, entitled Storm’s Interlude.
Storm and the man she’d seen earlier turned from a large window overlooking Noella’s rose gardens when she entered the dining room. She was nearly bowled over by the combined power of their testosterone level. Coming back from her run this morning, she’d seen the pair talking next to the police cruiser. She’d chosen to ignore them. Now, observing them up close, the pair seemed formidable, as if they felt they could handle anything or anyone.
Storm’s eyes swept over her red silky blouse and tight black skirt. When his eyes landed on her new red strappy heels with ties that wrapped around her ankles and crisscrossed up to her calves, his eyebrows shot upward. “Well, don’t you look lovely tonight?” She hadn’t been expecting that, nor was she prepared for his smile and winking dimples to fluster her like that.
He looked handsome and virile in a black golfing shirt and tan khakis. It was an outfit that would have gone unnoticed on any other man; but it was his build, his muscles, his power of movement that made it eye-catching. His shoulder-length hair, combed straight back from his wide forehead, glistened blacker than his shirt. Dark eyes bore into hers as he lifted a glass of amber liquid to his lips.
“Thank you.” She cleared her throat, hoping her voice didn’t sound too breathless, too interested, which, of course, she wasn’t.
Storm winked, almost as if he’d read her mind—the scoundrel. “I’d like you to meet Jackson Cole. We’ve been best friends since we were riding tricycles. Jackson, this is Sunny’s nurse, Rachel Dennison.”
Jackson stepped toward her and extended his hand. His smile didn’t reach his eyes, and for that reason she sensed sadness about him. Although he was slightly shorter and thinner than Storm, he gave one the impression of an old watch wound too tight, as though he kept his power tightly leashed. His blond hair was cut in a short military style. So this was the chief of police. Bet the crime level stayed low in this county.
“I’m honored to meet you, Miss Dennison, especially since you’re here to help Sunny.”
“Call me Rachel, please.”
“I’d be honored, ma’am.” Jackson’s handshake was warm and firm. “You took Sunny to the oncologist today. What did he say? How’s she doing?”
“I’m still alive and kicking.” They all turned to watch Sunny enter, wearing the aqua pantsuit she’d bought earlier at the mall. She’d taken extra pains with her appearance, wearing large dangling aqua earrings, makeup and the fake eyelashes Rachel had talked her into buying. A white lace scarf was artfully tied around her bald head. “I heard you were coming to dinner. My, if you aren’t a sight for sore eyes, you handsome rascal you.” She winked, and he smiled a smile that reached his eyes.
Almost as if they were the only two people in the room, he went to Sunny and placed his hands on her face. His eyes searched hers, speaking volumes before he kissed her forehead. Then he enveloped her in his arms. His eyes closed and he breathed her name.
The scene was so painfully poignant tears filled Rachel’s eyes. Storm placed a hand on the small of her back and she gazed up at him. “How long has he loved her?” she whispered.
“Since we were riding tricycles.” He wiped her falling tear with the pad of his thumb. “You’re very gentlehearted, aren’t you?” His voice was deep, sensual. Her stomach fluttered.
He was standing so close to her, his male scent eliciting a very female response. For the briefest of moments, she wanted to lean into him, which was not a good thing. Hadn’t she promised herself not to get entangled with a man again? She glanced at the embracing couple, choosing to ignore Storm’s question. “Then, why...”
“Life gets complicated. People make bad choices and pain happens.” He studied his sister and then focused dark eyes on Rachel. “I take it the fake eyelashes were your idea.”
By the tone of his voice he wasn’t being critical. She’d been prepared to handle critical and rude and overbearing, but not his gentleness. Rachel searched his face. Warmth shone from his eyes, and for the first time, she noticed wrinkles at their corners, no doubt from spending so much time in the hot Texas sun. She fought the urge to reach up to smooth them with a touch.
“Yes. The better a woman feels about her appearance, the stronger she feels. For cancer patients, feeling strong about anything gives them an added boost. In time, her hair and eyelashes will grow back. This is just a stop-gap measure until then.”
He glanced at his sister again. “I see.”
“I talked her into buying some clothes that fit, too. Wearing clothes that hang on you is only a constant reminder you’re sick. Better to feel pretty and alive, don’t you think?”
Storm studied Rachel for several beats. “You focus heavily on the emotional side of the patient, don’t you?”
“Aren’t we ruled by our emotions?” She was, especially at that moment with the heat from his warm hand pressing into the small of her back, the smell of his cologne wafting over her and his dark eyes regarding her intently.
He smiled and leaned so his mouth was near her ear. “Great shoes, by the way.”
She chuckled and looked in the opposite direction, hoping he wouldn’t see her blush. “Sunny called them ‘ho-red.’ We laughed so hard when the shoe salesman fumbled, trying to tie the laces around my ankles and calves.”
Storm glanced at her shoes again. She could have sworn she heard him mutter, “Lucky bastard.”
Come visit me at Vintage Vonnie where I blog. http://www.vintagevonnie.blogspot.com
Or check out my website: http://www.vonniedavis.com