So glad to welcome you here today, Liz! I have heard some fantastic things about Carina Press and believe they are going from strength to strength. I am following executive editor, Angela James on Twitter and she seems so friendly and approachable. Could you tell us a little bit about the editing process? Did you enjoy it? Oh, and who designed your cover? Gorgeous!
Now I've asked another three questions, shall we start the interview, lol??
1) Who is your favourite author and why?
You mean ONE? Oh, my gosh, I usually have a list. J However, if I’m picking one, I think it’s Kathleen Gilles Seidel. While her stories are great, it’s her voice that makes her my favorite. I’ve said before that I’d read the back of toilet paper packages if I knew she was writing the copy.
2) When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I was ten years old, an un-popular, un-athletic geek in the fifth grade. At recess, I’d sit in quiet places and write stories on lined paper. I didn’t call myself a writer, but I knew that’s what I was.
3) Describe your writing space?
I don’t have one anymore. A laptop makes me portable, so I work where I want to be at that particular time. The unfortunate part of that is that I have books, papers, and all the requisite “stuff” that goes with writing all over the house.
4) What are you reading now?
Christmas stories! Once I read this year’s offerings, I do a lot of re-reading of old ones. I have an amazing number of Christmas anthologies on my keeper shelf.
5) How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?
One More Summer, which will be released by Carina Press on January 2, 2012, is my fifth published book. I’m not sure I have a favorite, but this one is truly the book of my heart. (There are numerous manuscripts under the bed, but you didn’t mean those, did you?)
6) What comes first, plot or characters?
People, who almost always come to me fully named and flawed. And then the place. Since I can’t plot my way out of a paper bag, plot is always last. Word by excruciating word.
7) Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
There are times when nothing works and I panic because I’m positive I’ll never again be able to write a publishable word, and my writing has slowed down so much over the years that I worry it will one day just stop, but usually I can write. Something.
8) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I sew. When I retired, I announced (publicly, of all things—what an idiot!) that I would make bed-size quilts for each of the Magnificent Seven, my grandkids. I’m on Number Five by now, but what was I thinking?
9) Tell us about your latest book?
One More Summer is the story of Grace, the ultimate care-giver, and Dillon, who didn’t show up for her prom fifteen years before the story starts.
The last line in a LaVyrle Spencer book, Forgiving, was, “And they slept, delivered.” Grace and Dillon’s story is indeed one of that kind of deliverance. I can’t promise to have written it as well as Ms. Spencer told hers, but that line has been a beacon for me as a storyteller.
Grace has taken care of her widowed father her entire adult life and the ornery old goat has finally died. She has no job, no skills and very little money, and has heard her father’s prediction that no decent man would ever want her so often she accepts it as fact.
But she does have a big old house on Lawyers Row in Peacock, Tennessee. She opens a rooming house and quickly gathers a motley crew of tenants: Promise, Grace’s best friend since kindergarten, who’s fighting cancer; Maxie, an aging soap opera actress who hasn’t lost her flair for the dramatic; Jonah, a sweet, gullible old man with a crush on Maxie.
And Dillon, Grace’s brother’s best friend, who stood her up on the night of her senior prom and has regretted it ever since. Dillon rents Grace’s guest house for the summer and hopes to make up for lost time and past hurts—but first, he’ll have to convince Grace that she’s worth loving…
“This is supposed to be a prom.” Dillon pushed aside his dessert plate. He gestured toward the backyard. “The dance floor waits.”
Grace got to her feet. “Remember how fragile these glass slippers are.”
He nudged one of her bare feet with the toe of his sandal. “Damn near invisible too. Isn’t technology something?”
Dillon and Steven had placed citronella torches in the yard, and the scent of the oil blended with that of the flowers. The Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody” filled the air and Dillon put his arms around Grace’s waist. Gently, not pulling her close. She rested her hands lightly on his shoulders, suddenly shy. Other than aerobics classes in the church basement that Promise had dragged her to, she hadn’t danced since high school.
As they moved across the lawn, however, his arms tightened and her hands crept up around his neck, the left one with its glaring white bandage held palm out. His muscled legs moved against hers, but the motions they made were liquid, graceful, and she wished whimsically for a waltz and a flowing dress.
The song changed, and he sang close to her ear. The grass dance floor was cool and damp beneath her feet, the star-filled sky a splendid ceiling, the flickering torches the most romantic of lights, the subtle scent of roses a seductive aroma. Almost against her will, Grace’s eyes drifted closed as his lips lowered to hers. The ambiance was lost on Grace as Dillon’s kiss took over her senses. All she felt were his hands splayed on her back, his body flush with hers. All she smelled was the pleasant mingling of charcoal smoke and Irish Spring soap that lingered on his shirt and his skin. She tasted only his mouth, flavored with wine and coffee, and she couldn’t get enough of it.
After the third kiss, when her insides were a roiling mass of sensation and emotion, she murmured, “Geezy Pete.”
He said, “You got that right,” and stroked a hand up her back. “What’s this? You didn’t wear a bra to the prom?”
She brought her injured hand into his line of vision and waggled it. “I couldn’t fasten it.”
His hand came around between them to cup one small, denim-covered breast. “What a shame.” He found her nipple and worked the bead of its tip between his fingers.
A low moan slipped uncaught from her throat. Clutching her composure like a lifeline before it disintegrated completely, she said, “The music’s stopped.”
“Do you really think so?” he whispered, and teased her lips with the tip of his tongue until they opened.
They had danced their way to where they stood among the trees. When she opened her eyes again, she caught sight of a torch to their left, anchored into the ground beside the single step that led inside the gazebo.
“No decent man in his right mind’s going to want you, girl.”
“No, Papa,” she whispered, caught in the horror, and moved restively in Dillon’s embrace.
“Gracie?” His voice was soft, gentling.
“I need to go in.” The words sounded much more urgent than the situation demanded, but she couldn’t unsay them.
“Okay.” He answered immediately, and turned her toward the house, but didn’t release her. “I’ll take you back.”
Steven and Promise weren’t on the back porch. The candles had been snuffed, but the dishes remained on the table. “Leave them,” Dillon said, leading her firmly past the mess and into the house. “Steven and I will take care of it. You go on up.”
She nodded and moved toward the stairs, but turned when she stood on the second one. “Dillon?”
“Yeah?” He smiled at her, the expression not erasing the frown of concern between his eyes.
“Thank you. The ‘prom’ was wonderful.” Without waiting for a reply, she ran the rest of the way up the stairs.10) What’s next for you?
I wish I was one of those who could tell about their multiple-book contracts, but, alas, I’ve never had one. I’m writing a sequel to One More Summer right now, but there are mutterings in the back of my mind that tell me it might not be the right time for that.
Thank you so much for having me. I’ve enjoyed visiting.
Visit me at http://www.lizflaherty.com
Find me on Twitter @LizFlaherty1
Or on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/lizkflaherty?ref=tn_tnmn
Great to have you here, Liz - I am heading over to follow you on Twitter! Questions? Comments? Liz is waiting to hear from you...