Today I'm pleased to present an interview of romance author Suz deMello.
Latest Book: Gypsy Witch October 2010
Buy Link: http://www.total-e-bound.com/authordetail.asp?A_ID=7
AND: Highland Vampire November 2010
Buy Link: http://www.eharlequin.com
Q: What’s the first thing you did when you received word you’d sold a book?
A: Screamed very loudly, no doubt trashing the eardrums of my editor.
Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? Why?
A: The beginning. I usually start with a really strong image in my mind, and all I have to do is describe it.
Q: What part of the book is the hardest for you? Why?
A: The ending. I'm lousy at writing romantic wrap-up scenes, though IMO some have turned out quite well.
Q: Do all your heroes and all heroines look the same in your mind as you “head write”?
A: Oh, not at all. Some heroes are tall dark and handsome while others are tall, blond and handsome. They're all tall, though, because I'm tall. Oddly enough my heroines are often petite and slender.
Q: What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?
A: Yoga and world travel.
Q: What genre would you like to try writing in but haven’t yet done so? Why?
A: YA fantasy, because I love it so much. I’m a big fan of Rowling, of course, but also love Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare and Melissa Marr.
Where can we find you?
Gypsy Witch BLURB:
The Sacramento Sheriff's Department is no place for airy-fairy wimps, and Ben McCullough is the toughest of the tough. He tells himself he's bedding the luscious Elena Lautari only because she's a babe, not because she's a card-carrying member of the Northern California Church of Wicca. Ben thinks she's a feather away from an arrest for fraud, since she makes a living telling fortunes and making charms for the lovelorn. He can't see her as a lifelong mate even though she's more than a match for him in the sack, and losing her is unthinkable.
But Elena is the real deal, a modern witch of much power and even more restraint. When her daughter, Gina, steals her mother's spell book and uses it to shatter the fabric of existence and release an ancient evil, Elena must put reality back in place—even if she loses Ben in the process. Will Ben and Elena's fragile love be lost with the revelation of her magic?
Maybe, but there are others ready to heal her battered heart. When Ben's partner attempts to claim Elena, will Ben move aside or move in?
Gypsy Witch EXCERPT:
Ben propped himself up on his elbows to better see the naked woman beneath him. Sheened with sweat, Elena’s lush curves glowed in the reddish half-light of her bedroom, curtained in exotically patterned swaths of gauze and silk. A curl of smoke from a lit incense stick scented the air with sandalwood. Otherworldly New Age music flowed out of a boom box in the corner, irritating the hell out of him.
Elena’s bedroom was that of a gypsy witch, and despite the incredible sex he’d been having with her for a month, he wouldn’t allow himself to fall under her spell. Except for in the sack, she wasn’t his type.
They’d met through their kids, eleven-year-olds who’d attended the same summer camp. Now that camp was over, Ben was frankly grateful that Tom and Gina liked to hang out together, since they seemed to keep each other amused and out of trouble. As a single dad, finding activities for his son was tough. Ben hated to admit it, but he sometimes found that Tom was a distraction from his job.
Ben shoved everything extraneous out of his mind to focus on the beautiful woman he was inside. They were the same age—thirty-six—but Elena was nothing short of spectacular. She always wore an enormous topaz on a golden chain that dangled between her breasts. She claimed she focused her power through the jewel. Ben thought that was wacko, but didn’t care.
Too bad she was, literally, a card-carrying nut. He remembered the time she’d shown him her membership in the Northern California Church of Wicca. He’d concealed his smirk only because he wanted to lay her. And that had to be all, he admonished himself. He was a sheriff’s deputy, and couldn’t afford to have a permanent relationship with Elena Lautari. She wasn’t the kind of woman who fitted in with the rest of his life.
He tried to picture her drinking a beer with the other cops and their wives, and failed utterly.
“What?” she asked, running light fingertips up and down his sides, eliciting shivers.
“Whaddaya mean, what?”
“You looked as though you were ten miles away.”
Her caress slowed. “I wonder what the kids are doing?”
“I think they went over to my place. They’re probably watching a DVD. It’s too hot to go outside and swim.”
“Who’s watching them?” Her voice sharpened.
“Aw, Elena, relax. They’re okay. They know what they can and can’t do.”
“Mmmm. Hope you’re right.” She reached for him, this time climbing on top. He wasn’t sure he was ready for another bout yet, but she knew exactly how to turn him on.
* * * *
Hot and dusty, Tom stood with Gina at the corner of 12th and J Streets in downtown Sacramento. Above him, the door of the Masonic Temple was set within a Gothic style arch made of peach-coloured stone. The arch was high and pointed; on each side of the arch, a knight stood brooding, eyes downcast, hands folded over stony hauberks.
He ruffled his short blond hair, trying to cool his sweaty scalp, and glanced over at Gina, who clutched a sheaf of notes in one sticky hand. A basket lay on its side at her feet.
“Can’t we do this on an afternoon that isn’t a hundred-million degrees out?” Tom looked over at the thermometer/clock high on the side of the bank across J Street. It flashed 100 in dots at one second time intervals. As he watched, the number changed to 101, and the time to 2:19.
“We’re actually supposed to do this at midnight.” Gina pushed dark bangs off her damp forehead. “But we aren’t allowed out after dark. Besides, it’s dangerous downtown at night.”
“I know that. Why are we trying to do this if we can’t do this right?”
“You got a better idea?”
“Yeah. Let’s go to Vic’s and get ice cream.”
“We spent all our money on this stuff.” She nudged the basket with her toe. “We might as well go ahead with it. It won’t take very long, and then we can go over to your house and swim.”
He sighed. “Anything to drink in here?” He squatted down and emptied the contents of the basket onto the sidewalk.
“Careful, there’s glass in there. Hey, don’t drink that!” She grabbed a bottle out of his hand. “That’s yucky.”
“Like frog pee? Eeewww.”
"Here." She handed him a bottle of Snapple lemonade.
He drank before passing it back to her. After she’d taken a few gulps, she flipped through the notes and sorted the ingredients for the spell. “Lucky my mom and your dad are really into each other,” she said. “I could never have gotten into her spell book if she was paying attention.”
Highland Vampire BLURB:
Natasha Desmond is a woman on the run. But the castle in which she seeks refuge may harbor a greater menace. She hopes she's found a new love, but does Garrett Kilburn serve the castle's ancient terror?
Highland Vampire EXCERPT:
I had fled as fast and as far as I could. I could run no farther than to the edge of the world, here at the northwestern corner of Scotland.
The gloaming was deep upon the land when I found Kilburn Castle. Isn’t that what Scots called it, the gloaming? That mysterious time between day and night, when blue dusk dims the sky and magical beings wander forth.
I let my little rented Vauxhall roll to a stop and considered the broody hulk of a castle high on a hill above the sea, silhouetted against the deepening night. The crash of the waves against the cliff was interrupted by a car roaring out of the fortress’s gate. It sped past me, almost clipping my bumper in its haste, and raced down the hill, its headlights switching on as it traversed a curve in the narrow road.
Darkness fell, and I shivered theatrically. A light winked on in a small stone gatehouse a few yards from me. It illuminated a sign written in neat script, thick black on white.
That settled it. I got out of the car, shivered non-theatrically—it was chilly—and walked toward the gatehouse, my boots crunching on the stony earth. I rapped on the glass-fronted door.
After a few seconds, it opened to reveal a pale-skinned man, a local from the look of him. I’d noticed that everyone here wore a pallor indicative of little sunlight. His eyes, however, were the green of snapping turtles, and he had hair as dark as the other side of the moon. His beard was burgeoning.
He held a pipe, which on any other twenty-something male would look stupid and pretentious, but seemed natural in his hand.
He was sexy, and I was surprised I’d noticed. I hadn’t thought about sex since Auntie Jacqueline had collapsed and died. But this man’s pale, well-cut lips, high cheekbones and masculine stubble shot my mind straight to deep kisses and hot sex.
“Do you have a bed for the night?” I asked. I tried not to scope out his body, but I noticed that he was fit, if slender, and clad in a dark sweater and jeans, like me.
“I do indeed.” His voice was rich, melodic, accented. “And who wants one, may I ask?”
I stuck out my right hand. “Natasha Desmond.” I didn’t see the point of concealing my identity. I didn’t have a fake passport, and all hoteliers asked for papers.
When he shook my hand, I noticed his grasp was firm, his fingers cool. He released me quickly. “Well, Natasha Desmond, are ye certain ye wish to stay at Castle Kilburn?”
“Sure. Why not?”
A short pause. “Ye’ll be our only guest. Even the staff leaves after sundown.”
I remembered the car that had sped down the hill a few moments ago. “That’s not safe,” I said. “What if I fall in the shower? What about dinner?”
“There’s an emergency cord in the loo,” he said.
Like in institutions. Like in the kind of place my family had wanted to put me. Great.
The gatekeeper continued, “And there’s food in the buttery.”
“The pantry. A buttery was a storage area for liquor,” he explained. “We don’t make whiskey any more, so we use the room for food stores.”
“Oh. All right. I suppose.” I silently questioned the usefulness of Auntie’s billion-dollar bequest if I had to stay in a drafty castle with no staff and dubious food.
But I had gotten myself into the situation by randomly driving around the Highlands. I had no one to blame but the skinny blond girl I saw in the mirror every day when I brushed my teeth. I certainly couldn’t blame the gatekeeper.
“The gate’s open,” he said. “I’ll meet you at the front.”
Good heavens. There was a portcullis. I drove through quickly, mindful of the many films I’d seen which featured portcullises (portculli?) trapping knights, or orcs, or whatever.
Whatever, it was creepy.
I drove into the castle courtyard and passed what looked like a firepit. When I reached the massive front doors of the castle, he was already there. The gatekeeper. How had he done it?
There had to be a quicker way than driving through the huge front gate, I decided, and he’d taken it, along with the terrier that gamboled in his wake.
I got out of the car and opened its back door for my suitcase. The gatekeeper got there first—again—and pulled it out. “Just the one bag?” he asked.
“Yeah. Um, by the way, you are…”
“Garrett Kilburn.” He turned and smiled at me. “Welcome to Castle Kilburn, Miss Desmond.”
“This is your castle,” I said, surprised. I bent to pat the dog, who licked me enthusiastically.
“Indeed it is. Sort of,” he added under his breath.
“Excuse me?” I straightened, wiping my damp hand on my jeans.
“Come along through here.” He ushered me in through the carved wooden doors. Bound with massive dark metal bands, they were straight out of Robin Hood, or perhaps they’d been used on the set of Lord of the Rings. But these were the real thing. “I’m awed,” I told Garrett. “This place is magnificent. I’m honored to stay here.”
He handed me a key. “Let’s see what ye say in the morning.”
# # #
I ate, bathed and went to bed, and by the time dawn rolled around was wondering if perhaps my family was right, and I was crazy.
I’d become convinced that Castle Kilburn was haunted.