Interview – Delia Latham, author

Delia2webDELIA LATHAM is a born-and-bred California gal, raised in a place called Weedpatch and currently living in the lovely mountain town of Tehachapi with her husband, Johnny. She enjoys multiple roles as Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend, but especially loves being a princess daughter to the King of Kings. She also has a “thing” for Dr. Pepper.

You have a couple of new books out, DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE? (book 1 in the A Smoky Mountain Christmas series) and JINGLE BELLE (the December offering from Pelican Book Group’s Pure Amore Book Club). Kindly tell us about the settings and why they’re important. With pleasure! I kinda love talking about my books… ☺

DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE? is a short story (eight chapters), set in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. The very name automatically brings to mind family ties, down-home values, deeply held traditions…you get the picture. What better place for a cozy Christmas series?

I enjoyed my online research trip through the area so much! Now I can’t wait to visit for real.

JingleBelle_mjpgJINGLE BELLE is set in the fictional town of Pohono, Oklahoma, where my heroine is a highly respected jingle writer for an advertising firm. She’s a born-and-bred Oklahoma girl. The hero, raised in Boston, is a stubborn Italian who owns a chain of restaurants—uhm, Italian, of course.

A mid-sized Oklahoma town is the perfect backdrop for this story because the town’s mentality is one of the obstacles the hero and heroine must overcome in order to accomplish their common goal. Here’s why. It’s populated mostly by dyed-in-the-wool Pohanans who still adhere to a lifestyle anchored firmly in the past, and steadfastly resist progress. Belle’s challenge is to come up with a fun little tune and lyrics catchy enough to make those old-school Oklahomans want to try a Tuscan-themed restaurant when they could get a perfectly good meal in “the Pohono Platters eatin’ place, right thar on Main Street,” and it wouldn’t put as big a hole in their pocketbooks.

Have you ever met a dyed-in-the-wool “Pohonan”? Yeah. You know what I’m talkin’ about. Good people. Firm opinions. Stubborn as ten mules. (Hey, y’all, don’t shoot! Some of my favorite people in the world live in the great state of Oklahoma—and so did I, for a few years. I love the place, and its salt-of-the-earth citizens. But truth’s truth. ☺)

What about the characters in your books, what can you tell us about them? DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE? Laramie (Lari) Buchanan is a sweet Tennessee girl with a bad case of bitter. Not that anyone could blame her…it doesn’t make a gal feel all warm and fuzzy when she finds the man she’s supposed to marry makin’ out with another woman…on the day of the wedding, no less!

Evan Lassiter is the dirty dog who broke her heart. Completely unaware of what Lari saw that day three years ago, Evan is still trying to figure out why the woman he loves jilted him at the altar, without a word of explanation before or since.

Then there’s Lari’s family: Granddaddy and Granny Buchanan. (Granddaddy’s having an 80th birthday bash on Christmas Eve. His request to have all of his grandchildren present is the only reason Lari braved the memories—and the risk of running into Evan—and returned home for Christmas.) Her parents. Her little sister Keni. Her best friend Syd. And three cousins, who show up as heroines in the other three books in the series. (They’re a fun crew!)

JINGLE BELLE – I had so much fun writing this one!

Belle Knowles writes jingles. When her company gets the contract to market Santini’s Italiano, a fancy, Tuscan-themed Italian restaurant, Belle is expected to come up with her best little ditty ever. The Santini brothers need to pull all those busy, harried Christmas shoppers off the streets, out of the shops and into their upscale restaurant—smack in the middle of the holiday season. Sounds like fun to Belle…until Nick Santini makes no secret of the fact that he doesn’t much care for her work—or her, for that matter. Thing is, she’s not too enamored with him either.

Definite fireworks. Right from the start. But they’re both Christian adults. Surely they can get the job done without a major crisis.

Or maybe not…

Other characters include Belle’s boss and Nick’s best friend, Cameron Hilliard; Nick’s brother Alex and his wife Elena; and Belle’s mom, although her role is mostly handled through phone calls, since they live at a distance.

Writing JINGLE BELLE was a fun journey, and I’m seriously thinking of returning to Pohono next Christmas. ☺

Do you have a favorite fictional character you’d like to be friends with in real life? Hmmm…at least one in every book I read. ☺

Oh…sorry…you meant one of my own characters, didn’t you? Now that makes for a hard decision. I mean, I created them…this is like asking me to choose a favorite child.

Maybe Hannah, from Yesterday’s Promise. She’s beautiful, talented, sweet—and she has an adorable little boy I’d love to hug.

But then, there’s also jaded Gypsy…and self-critical Kylie…and loyal Destiny. Those ladies are all from my LeasGift_MJPGSolomon’s Gate series, and I love each one of them. Oh, and Lea! Yes, I choose Lea. She’s the heroine in Lea’s Gift, a Christmas novella I co-wrote with Tanya Stowe for Pelican Book Group’s Christmas Extravaganza 2013. It’s a Solomon’s Gate bonus story. Lea was a (very special) child in Kylie’s Kiss (Solomon’s Gate Series, Book 2). In Lea’s Gift, she’s a (very special) young woman in love.

Do you write other genres? Well, I have a children’s book. Mine! is a rhymed story about a little girl who’s not very good at sharing, but learns something important from a sweet friend.

I also have a “vintage romance.” Goldeneyes starts in 1936 and ends in 1959. It’s set in the little farming community where I grew up—Weedpatch, California. Yep, right amongst the grape vineyards, cotton fields, and—in 1936—farm labor camps.

Romance is what I love to write, but I’m not a big history buff, so “vintage” is about as far as I’m comfortable venturing into the past. That said, I’ve promised someone special a Christian western, so I’m going to have to stick my neck out and give it a try.

What makes your books uniquely yours? God has inserted an angel into almost every one of my books. I did not plan it that way—seriously, the first one showed up in Goldeneyes, and I was as surprised as anyone else. Then I wrote the Solomon’s Gate books, and sure ’nuff…there they were, wings spread and swords drawn.

Then came the Heart’s Haven collections. These novellas are written by me and three other authors. (Each collection includes four books, each book written by one of the four of us.) The whole line-up of collections was built around the concept of angelic activity right from the beginning.

I’m not sure why God chose to place His special messengers in my books, but I welcome them.

What’s next for you? I just signed a contract for a four-book series set in and around Cambria, California. Each book will take place in a different season, with the common thread being Paradise Pines Lodge, which is “kinda-sorta” operated by a sweet, mysterious lady named Angelina Love. Visitors at the lodge don’t stay for only a couple of nights or a week…it’s all season or nothing, and Miss Angie chooses the tenants very carefully. The heroine in each book will be that season’s guest at Paradise Pines, and of course, she’ll find much more than sand and surf during her stay in this lovely little seaside community.

Seashore romance. Love in the pines. And a little touch of the divine tucked in for good measure. In the words of country music star Ricky Skaggs, “Love can’t ever get better than this.”

Of course, I’ll be forced to visit Cambria a few more times to really get a real feel for it. Oh, well. It’s a dirty job but… ☺

Delia loves to hear from her readers. Contact her through her website or send an e-mail to delia@delialatham.net.

ODD THOMAS by Dean Koontz

514Z5s+6MSL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_I just started steaming movies and have made some wonderful discoveries.  One of them was the Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and I am still pining for that wardrobe of hers.  *Sigh*

Another “discovery” is Dean Koontz’s ODD THOMAS.  I’ve never been much of a fan of his not because I don’t like his work but I tend to shy away from the horror  genre.  In other words, I’ve made a judgement call without facts.  (Hanging my head in shame now.)

Well, I stumbled onto the movie and found it wonderful and then realized it was from Koontz’s work.   The premise is this (from Amazon):

“The dead don’t talk. I don’t know why.” But they do try to communicate, with a short-order cook in a small desert town serving as their reluctant confidant. Meet Odd Thomas, the unassuming young hero of Dean Koontz’s dazzling New York Times bestseller, a gallant sentinel at the crossroads of life and death who offers up his heart in these pages and will forever capture yours. 
 
Sometimes the silent souls who seek out Odd want justice. Occasionally their otherworldly tips help him prevent a 91+JZMVsdPL._SL1500_crime. But this time it’s different. A stranger comes to Pico Mundo, accompanied by a horde of hyena-like shades who herald an imminent catastrophe. Aided by his soul mate, Stormy Llewellyn, and an unlikely community of allies that includes the King of Rock ’n’ Roll, Odd will race against time to thwart the gathering evil. His account of these shattering hours, in which past and present, fate and destiny, converge, is a testament by which to live—an unforgettable fable for our time destined to rank among Dean Koontz’s most enduring works.

UnknownThe movie starred Anton Yelchin, Ashley Sommers and William Defoe and was vividly done. The characters were quirky and there was a perfect blend of humor and terror. I recommend it highly.

The story also has a graphic novel for you fans of that wonderful genre.

And, yes, I’m reading the book 🙂

Mahala Church – Books that influenced my life

Anne of Green GablesAs I compiled a list of books that influenced the world or me, it quickly became obvious that Little Womenwhat I learned from a book—new ways of seeing others and history is what made them memorable. Books that not only changed my life, but those of others, filled my mind as I sat down to write. Since I read voraciously, and have since I was a small child, I had to stop listing books when the titles and authors began to fill pages upon pages in a composition book. It took some heavy-duty weaning to get to the list below. Strongly influenced by women protagonists, I’m not surprised that I give careful attention to the development of characters in my own writing. You will, no doubt, find this to be an eclectic list.

The Wonderful Wizard of OzThe first women (girls) who influenced me with their pluck were Anne of Anne of Green Gables (L. M. Montgomery), Jo in Little Women (Louisa May Alcott), and Dorothy in Wizard of Oz (L. Frank Baum). All three protagonists were on exciting quests, and all three achieved what they set out to do—no trivial task for a young girl in the timeperiods in which they lived—regardless of the naysayers.

Books that inspired my life and took me through moral dilemmas are high on my list of The Hiding Placefavorites.  All of these books profoundly affected my view of the world. I discovered new ways of problem solving, new ways of viewing ethnicity, new ways of responding to strife, new ways to value being female, and new ways of testing my faith. This list includes Corrie ten Boom’s The Hiding Place, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Leon Uris’ Exodus, and C. S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters.

Great ExpectationsGreat Expectations by Charles Dickens still holds a special place on my bookcase. Dickens’ study of broken people, those wounded so deeply they cannot see beyond their selfish needs, cannot respond to others with anything but cruelty, and cannot imagine forgiveness. Today, it might well be written as a “serial killer gets even” saga with an emphasis on the over-the-top scenes of blood and gore, but that would not do justice to the cruelty and despair so evident in Great Expectations. It wouldn’t take readers on the roller-coaster ride of love and hate, self-loathing, and retribution to be followed by redemption that Great Expectations does so well and in such depth. It wouldn’t create memorable character studies that, like Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt (another eye-opener and favorite of mine) leave an indelible impression on our lives.

It would be impossible to create a list books and authors that influenced my life without including Agatha Christie Hercule Poirotwho always challenges me to make my little gray cells work overtime and deduce whodunit. Her books are literary puzzles, making me see that all is not as it seems.  The “really good stuff” goes on behind the scenes at home, at work, at large. A lesson I’m glad I learned early. A lesson that is vital for a writer to learn.

The Collected Stories of Eudora WeltyOf great importance to me as a Southerner, a writer, and a woman are the books of Eudora Welty and Flannery O’Connor. They saw: two entirely different visions of life in the South; two entirely different visions of people; two entirely different visions of women. Eudora Welty’s work is jammed with humor, country living, and a clearly defined view of her characters’ emotions and through processes. Like Welty, the women characters are usually independent and excellent problem solvers. Lily Daw and the Three Ladies is a perfect example of small town, meddling busybodies, who get their comeuppance.

Flannery O’Connor, ill over half of her life and dependent on her mother, wrote belligerent tales, dark with anger A Good Man is Hard to Findand cruelty. She deftly portrays the underbelly of human life, exposing our vulnerabilities. Choosing each word with obvious care, she wrote in a style similar to Hemingway, crisp and clear and often brutal. It would be folly to ignore her work. It challenges us to look at things we do not understand and reminds of the fragile line between benevolence and mercilessness. O’Connor’s work is an excellent way to master the art of writing.

Mahala Church is a freelance editor and writer and teaches creative writing for teens and adults through her Barefoot Writing Academy. An accomplished workshop leader and award winning author, Pushcart Prize nominee, and published editor, she enjoys all aspects of writing. The first novel in her trilogy is in “final” revision, shortly to be sent to beta readers. An avid reader of both literary and commercial fiction as well as biographies and memoirs, she particularly likes books set in Britain, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and the Deep South of the United States. You can follow her at http://www.lyricalpens.com.

Interview with Eva Gordon

Eva at StonehengeFantastical Worlds, Page Turning Suspense, Steamy Romance author EVA GORDON

Your newest release is ALPHA WOLF’S PET, Hidden Book 1. Tell us about it. It’s part of a novella series, which follows Mia’s relationship with alpha werewolf Dominic. In this new series the werewolves are born wolf and are turned human once bitten, by yes, a human.fb reveal - Alpha Wolf Pet book 1

Here is the blurb: Mia’s testimony against Russian mobsters forced her to enter the witness protection program. She is relocated to a quaint cottage in Wolf Woods, near Mt. Rainier, far from everyone and everything she loved and cared for. All is calm, until she meets Dominic, the gorgeous ruggedly handsome owner of the mysterious Wolfe Estate. He is all alpha male, domineering, and controlling. The last thing she needs is to get involved with a sexy control freak.

Alpha werewolf, Dominic Wolfe, is the packs’ enforcer. When an attractive young woman moves into a cottage near his territory; his senses are heightened to obsessive proportions. A human pet to meet his desires. Dominic is determined to unveil Mia’s real identity while keeping his own securely hidden. Haunted by the howls and shrieks coming from Dominic’s estate, Mia wonders if she can really trust the enigmatic man she suspects of wanting a dominant-submissive relationship. A man who brings out her darker desires. Will hidden danger keep them from gratifying their burning passion?

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00065]Book 2, Alpha Wolf’s Pet, Kept was just released and Book 3, Alpha’s Pet, Hunted will be released Winter 2015. Then I plan a spinoff from the series. I love all things wolf and werewolf. This last summer I did a workshop on Wolf/Werewolf Lore and just love creating stories with werewolves.

From your website, you’ve got a lot brewing. Your new release is a part of the Wolf Maiden Saga. Can you give us a look ahead on that series? Lycan Gladiator is a paranormal historical (alternative history) where werewolves live amongst us. Each book takes place in a different time period. We hope to have the next novel, which takes place during the time of King Arthur’s court in winter 2015.

You also did a steampunk book – HAND OF MIRIAM. When can we expect the next installment in that series? fb reveal - blogs Hand of Miriam(See The Book Breeze Review of this book in our April 2014 I have book 2 Her Majesty’s Witch ready, but since Hand of Miriam is being read by a NY publisher, I’m waiting to see what happens.

Since you write “other worlds” is there something you’ve incorporated into one of your worlds that you find challenging to live with?  My heroes are all tormented alpha males, which makes my heroine’s independence a challenge for them. Being a stubborn independent woman I’m not sure how I would deal with an alpha male.

Do you have a favorite paranormal character you’d like to be friends with in real live? Gesher, the golem, from Hand of Miriam. I’ve always loved stories about the legend of the golem. The golem character is based on the Jewish mythology that tells of a creature made of inanimate matter such as clay or mud. Golem myths date back to early Judaism and there are many versions of a golem story.

The most famous story is the Golem of Prague. In the late 16 century, Rabbi Lowe created the golem to guard the Jewish ghetto against anti-Semitic thugs. There are numerous other versions, including one in which the golem falls in love and becomes violent. My golem is based on a mixture of several versions, but I then add my own new twist into the old legend and explain who the golem really is, a handsome fallen angel with the power to shift into the golem

New Releases

TheLetting_w8912_750THE LETTING By Cathrine Goldstein

Mild YA Dystopian Romance Released Dec 15 by The Wild Rose Press in print and ebook

“What if the Devil doesn’t know he’s the Devil?” Veronica “Ronnie” Billings never knew she was wrong. It was her job to deliver young girls to the Lettings…a process she never understood…until now. Now, can Ronnie trust her love for her enemy? And will she be strong enough to save Phoenix, her country, and herself? The fate of so many resides within her. Their salvation is in her blood.

perf5.000x8.000.inddDIRTY LITTLE SECRET By Sophia Ryan

Erotic New Adult Released Jan 9 by The Wild Rose Press in print and ebook

Angela and Nick’s one night together sparks a smoking hot secret affair that could destroy everything they’ve worked for. When their secret comes out, Angela has to come clean about what she wants more—the trappings of her privileged lifestyle, or the love of the bad boy who’s oh-so-good for her.

Only on Valentine's DayONLY ON VALENTINE’S DAY by Jackie Marilla

Released January 20th by Books to Go

Dani Cabral, a rancher’s daughter, wants to marry anybody but a cowboy.  Her dream wedding is on Valentine’s Day in the next few months.  Every detail is planned, except for one thing–there’s no groom in sight.

Joe Domingos, Dani’s best friend and pure cowboy, would give anything to have Dani as his own.   He watches from the sidelines as Dani makes her move to Kona and muddles through two disastrous relationships.

When Joe hears rumors that Derek, the city slicker banker, is ready to propose to Dani he has to decide whether he’ll fight for Dani’s love or keep his true feelings hidden.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

Miss Fisher's MysteriesThe Australian Broadcast Company produced a wonderful series based on Kerry Greenwood’s books the Phryne Fisher Mysteries about a 1920’s female detective.

Full of sass and a wardrobe to kill for Phryne Fisher (Esse Davis) solves mysteries with the help of the be-still-my-heart Detective Inspector Jack Robinson (Nathan Page).  Tackling subjects such as abortion and homosexuality not to mention Miss Fisher’s bohemian lifestyle this series is a delight.  Netflix currently has the first two seasons (or series as they call them) and a third season is currently being filmed and set to air in 2015.

Kudos to the set director and wardrobe designer for capturing the 1920’s in all their glory.

Cocaine Blues

As always I think you should read the book first so settle in one evening and gobble down (they are fairly short works) the wonderful books of Kerry Greenwood then grab an episode or two of shear visual delight on your favorite streaming device of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.

Interview with historical author Lynn Lovegreen

Lynn LovegreenJPGLynn Lovegreen grew up in Alaska, and still lives there. She taught for twenty years before retiring to make more time for writing. She enjoys her friends and family, reading, and hitting targets with a cowboy action shooting club. Her young adult/new adult historical romances are set in the Alaska Gold Rush, a great time for drama, romance, and independent characters.

Raised in Alaska you have a deep understanding of her uniqueness and history. How Golden Daysdoes time and place play a role in your Gold Rush series? Alaska is a special place, so I use the beautiful scenery, the exceptional locations, and the dramatic historical events to enrich my stories. The Gold Rush period was a time of independent characters taking control of their lives, especially for women, who could often do more in Alaska than they might back home, so I show that in my characters. To show an example of how I tie all that together, in Golden Days you see how cold Fairbanks gets in the winter, the Chena River taking out the bridge every spring, and I use the scandal involving the town’s founder and mayor, E. T. Barnette, as a plot twist that complicates Elizabeth’s plan to go to art school.

FoolsGold_Ebook-2Are the books related or stand alone? Can I say both? ☺ There is a different main character in each, and you can read them as stand alone books. But the main character in the first is a supporting character in the next and so on, so you can read them as a series too. If you want to read them in that way, Worth Her Weight in Gold is the prequel novella. Then the novels are in order: Fools Gold, Quicksilver to Gold, and Golden Days. (The last one, Gold Nuggets, will be released in 2015.)

Did you have an interesting experience in the research of this book? For Golden Days, I did a lot of reading and such, but the most interesting experience was going to Fairbanks to do some research on site. One day, I went to Pioneer Park and saw the Wickersham House. (Judge Wickersham was an important person in Alaska history, and a minor character in the book.) While there, I explained what I was doing. The docent got very excited, showed me some cool details of the house, and gave me leads on other places to research. That was fun, to see someone as enthusiastic about the history as I am.

What makes the book uniquely yours? Probably the combination of young adult, Alaska history, and romance. I know authors who do some of those elements, but not all of them. I combine my passion for romance, teens, history, and my home in all my writing.

Do you have a favorite historical character by another author? Oh, that’s a tough question. I have a lot of favorites, but the one that comes to mind is Hattie in Kirby Larson’s Hattie Big Sky and Hattie Ever After. I love her spunk and her compassion for others.

What is the one question you wish an interviewer would ask you? Oooh, what a great question! ☺ What advice would I give to teen readers? When you’re having a rough time, have faith that things will change. Your life will get better, and you’ll become the adult you were meant to be. Just be yourself and hang in there.

Do you write other genres? Not so far. I am enjoying what I’m doing right now. But maybe a new idea will pop into my head down the road.

What social media do you participate in? Facebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

This interview also appeared in the January 2015 issue of The Book Breeze.

Judy Davis FP Banner ad