1. What was your inspiration for "Louisiana Longshot?" I don’t really think it was one particular thing. I love fish-out-of-water stories, and the idea of making a tough girl morph into a girly girl appealed to me. I loved the movie Miss Congeniality, and I’m sure that contributed to my storyline. I have also always wanted to be an assassin. It sounds like a really cool job.
2. The main character's nickname is "Fortune." Can you tell us about this nickname? Groups of “tough guys” – firemen, military, cops, etc. – often assign nicknames to each other based on something they’ve done while on duty. If you’re lucky, it was something you did well and not something embarrassing. Fortune claims her nickname came from Soldier of Fortune magazine, but that’s not all there is to the story. Over time, readers will learn more about Fortune’s secrets.
3. Sinful is a great town for a book to be set in. What inspired this unique town? People who have never lived in a small town often have this Hollywood idea of beautiful landscaping and women baking pies that they share with neighbors. There’s no crime, divorce or sadness in them and people even iron their bed sheets. Nothing could be further from the truth, of course. People in small towns are no different than people in cities except that in small towns everything you do is more noticeable, so people go to greater lengths to hide their less-than-desirable behavior. I thought Sinful was the perfect name, especially since a lot of the day-to-day conflict surrounds the two rival church congregations.
4. Anyone who reads this book will find themselves wanting banana pudding when they're done. What made you decide to center the town conflict around pudding? I was raised Southern Baptist-which pretty much answers the question for other Southern Baptists. One of the favorite things to do in SB churches is covered dish lunch/supper. And the staple of all covered dish suppers is the banana pudding. I’ve actually heard a preacher do a sermon on obesity, but provide an “out” clause for banana pudding.
5. The Sinful Ladies Society is made up of an interesting group of women. Without giving too much away, can you tell us about this group? In order to be a member of the Sinful Ladies Society, you have to be an old maid or widowed at least five years. The Sinful Ladies believe that cohabitating with men causes the brain to fog and it takes a decontamination period to return to the naturally occurring sharpness that a woman who’s not entangled with a man has on a daily basis. The Sinful Ladies Society has been overtly running the town since Vietnam.
6. The main character, Fortune, is hiding out in Sinful, but ends up in a whole other mess. Can you give us the basics of how she gets tangled up in a Sinful murder mystery? Fortune is assuming the identity of a librarian/ex-beauty queen who is supposed to be in Sinful to take care of her late aunt’s estate. Along with the house and furniture, she inherited an ancient hound dog named Bones, who digs up a human bone in her backyard her first evening in town.
7. Can you tell us a little about the deputy and his role in the book? Deputy Carter LeBlanc is young, sexy and a former Marine. For reasons yet unknown, he returned to his hometown of Sinful when his military service ended. He has a keen eye and seems to run into Fortune at the worst possible times—for Fortune.
8. Who are your favorite authors? There are so many! But my tried and true favorites are Agatha Christie, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Stephen King. I’m not sure what anyone will make of that combination, but there you have it.
9. Do you have any interesting rituals or habits when you write? First thing in the morning, I write in a local café. I’ve been writing this way for years. I have a favorite waitress, who has become a close friend, who serves as food delivery and secretary as she reminds me when it’s time to eat so that I could make my day job on time.
When working at home, I have to have the television on. I am accustomed to writing with noise, but can’t listen to music. I’m a classically trained violinist and find that music distracts me because I start listening for the different instruments. I always play something on television that I’ve already seen, so I have no compulsion to spend all my time watching it. Netflix on demand movies is perfect for this. I think I’ve been through every season of the X-Files at least 20 times.
10. Can you tell us about any other books or future projects? In addition to my single title humor, I write for Harlequin Intrigue. I have a 3-book related series releasing right now—Oct, Nov, Dec. I have another 3-book related series releasing with Harlequin next summer/fall.
I will release the second in the Miss Fortune series (a follow-up to Louisiana Longshot) Spring 2013. In good news, November 2nd was my last day of full-time employment so I hope to release at least four single title humor books next year.
Louisiana Longshot is available now from Amazon in paperback and ebook.
You can also enter to win a $25 eGiftcard to Amazon for Barnes and Noble courtesy of Jana DeLeon!
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