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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Interview of Author Darlene Deluca

Today I'm pleased to present an interview of romance author, Darlene Deluca.
Latest Book: Meetings of Chance. Released April 1, 2013
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With a degree in Journalism, Darlene Deluca began her writing career as a newspaper reporter, then moved into corporate communications, writing and editing for business-related employee, company and industry publications. She spent twenty-five years in Corporate America before launching into the world of fiction writing.

Deluca writes about people and their relationships – what brings them together, what keeps them apart, what brings them joy or annoys the hell out of them. Her intent is to bring to life interesting and ‘real’ characters that readers can relate to in real-life situations that combine a little fun, plenty of drama, and big helpings of friendship, love and self-discovery, and will leave you either cheering or sighing with a satisfied smile as you turn the final page.

Books have always been a part of her life. She was influenced as a child by Trixie Belden and Laura Ingalls Wilder. Today, she reads a little bit of everything, and one of her favorite things to do is to curl up with a cup of tea and get lost in a good story. Darlene lives in the Midwest, (that’s where the fam is), but when the temperature plummets and the ground turns white, she often longs for a distant sunny beach.

Her completed novels fall into the genres of women’s fiction, contemporary romance, and mainstream with romantic elements.

Q: What part of the book is the easiest for you to write? Why?
A: I’d have to say the end. (those words are much fun to write, too!) I enjoy wrapping the story up with a satisfying ending. I particularly like happily-ever-after endings. I really like the endings of both of my published books and the ones I’m working on. Beginnings are much more stressful – to come up with that one or two lines that are going to grab the reader. That’s not easy.

Q: If one of your books became a movie, which celebrity would you like to star as one of your heroines? Tell us about your heroine.
A: What popped into my head is my current work in progress, working title is Redemption. Mandi, the heroine is a little quirky, fairly young and already has some pretty major issues to deal with. Living in a mobile home by herself, she works two jobs and studies on the weekends for her online class. She keeps to herself (until she meets the hero, of course), puts up a pretty tough front, but is a caring, compassionate person. I envision someone like Jennifer Lawrence, who starred in Silver Linings Playbook as Mandi.

For a hero, I’d have to go with Josh Lucas for Matt in Unexpected Legacy. An intelligent, gorgeous guy with an understated sense of confidence. My husband and I both chose Lucas independently!

Q: Do all your heroes and all heroines look the same in your mind as you “head write”?
A: Definitely not. I think it helps to develop them and stay in character if I can visualize them as individuals.

Q: Do you eat comfort food when writing? If so, what food inspires your imagination?
A: Oh, man, I like to munch while writing. Or, rather, when my fingers aren’t typing and I’m thinking, I tend to do the hand to mouth thing. Nut mix is good for that. And I’ve discovered chocolate-covered jelly beans by Jelly Belly that are perfect for writing!

Q: What hobby do you enjoy when not writing?
A: Of course I enjoy reading, and my book club, but I’d have to say my favorite pastime is having lunch out with friends. That’s my social life. I attempt to garden, but find it frustrating . . . weather, bugs, rodents. I always start the season optimistically and put together beautiful patio pots. Unfortunately, my lovely flowers often end up being bunny food.

Q: What is your favorite romance book that you’ve read?
A: I’d have to say I have two very favorites. They both go back a ways, and have stuck with me over the years: Paradise by Judith McNaught, and Montana Sky by Nora Roberts. I love the characters in these two books: Matt and Meredith, and Ben and Willa. When I get stuck in my writing, or need to re-focus, these are two books that can help get me going again.

Tell us where to find you:

Matt Dalton’s world is spinning off its axis. Without warning, he’s thrown into the world of parenting a teenager. Matt meets his son for the first time when the sixteen-year-old is dealing with the consequences of a tragic car accident. Not only has Brady lost his best friend, he faces disability and scars both physical and emotional.

Determined to do whatever it takes to give his son a second chance, Matt looks to his alma mater to step up and help Brady regain his athletic abilities and sense of self. But sparks fly when he meets the high school principal, the captivating Kate Austen. Kate is ready to take Brady under her wing, but to her that means helping him refocus and find a new passion – using his brains rather than his brawn. Kate fully expects the younger Dalton to come with issues and challenges . . . his father may prove to be the biggest one of all.

Though the chemistry is hard to ignore, Kate fights to keep her personal feelings and professional life separate. At the same time, Matt struggles to gain his son’s trust, and Brady must face the road to recovery and find a way to accept the changes in his life.

Matt sat back down, resting his arms against her desk. When his eyes met hers, she was taken aback at the pain she saw there.

“Kate, I’ve known Brady less than a year.”

“What?” Kate stared at Matt. He wasn’t making sense.

“Before the accident I didn’t know he existed. He was abandoned by his mother several years before that and raised by his grandparents.”

“I don’t understand,” she said, rubbing her temples. “Brady’s not your son?”

A look of regret flashed across his face.

“He is my son.”

She listened with growing trepidation as Matt told her the story of his becoming a father. Her concern changed to empathy as the emotional impact became clear. She could imagine the turmoil for everyone involved. When he finished and waited for her reaction, she struggled for words. What could she say?

Impulsively, she reached out and touched his hand. “Matt, I’m so sorry. That’s– I don’t know what to say.” Abandonment. What an ugly word.

“Pretty incredible, huh.”

“Wow. I wondered about his mother, since you’d never mentioned her.”

“We don’t know where she is, and I have legal custody of Brady now.”

“He’s lucky to have you,” she said softly.

Matt gave a harsh laugh. “I’m not sure he’d agree with you. He’s angry, and confused. I’m sure you can understand that. Angry at me, angry at his mother, his friends, the system – everything.”

“How could he not be?” she asked, wiping tears from her eyes.

They were both silent for a moment. Kate regretted adding to Matt’s anxiety. “God, that’s a lot of shit for one kid to deal with.”

Matt rubbed a hand along the back of his neck. “Yeah.”

“Thank you for telling me. Like I said before, everyone at Western is going to do everything we can to help Brady. I want him to be happy here.”

Matt flashed her a sheepish smile. “I know. I feel like a complete schmuck questioning you about the activities. I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay. I understand. Listen, I had Brady’s tests graded right away. He got an eighty-two and an eighty-six, so he’s all set. He should be proud to do that well after everything he’s been through.”

Matt nodded. “Thanks. That’s good news.”

He lingered in front of her, and Kate shot him a questioning look.

To her surprise, he reached out and put a hand on her shoulder. “Kate . . . would you like to have dinner with me sometime?”

She braced a hand against her desk. Heat rushed to her face as her heart pounded. She swallowed hard before attempting to answer. “You mean . . . as in a date? A dinner date?”

A lazy grin spread over his face, causing her heart to slam against her chest.

“Yeah. Like a date. Dinner out. You and me.”

She looked at the floor, very aware of his warm hand still on her shoulder, and his eyes watching her.

Slowly she looked up, and shook her head. “I can’t,” she whispered. “I’d love to Matt, but I’m sorry. I just can’t.”

He hadn’t moved. Instead, his hand moved up and down her arm. When she started to take a step to the side, he stopped her with his other hand.

“Why not?” he asked. He bent his knees to look into her eyes. “Is there someone else?”

She chewed her lip a moment before answering. “No, but I can’t date the parent of one of my students.”

“What?” His eyes narrowed as they bore into her. “Is that a school policy?”

She looked away. “No. It’s not an official policy. But it’s not the way I operate.”

“Kate, I’m not married. It’s not like we’d be having an affair or something.”

“It just doesn’t look right, and I don’t ever want any suspicion of favoritism or inappropriate behavior.”

“Ah. I see.”

He was quiet for a moment. When she finally looked up, his mouth claimed hers.

Heat surged through Kate, and her mind reeled, as his lips moved over hers, warm and searching. His hands pressed her back, and he stepped closer, deepening the kiss.

Dazed, she tightened her grip on his arm when he abruptly pulled back.

“Might be time to re-think your position,” he said, lightly brushing his thumb against her lips.

Her lips were still buzzing when he closed the door behind him.

Holding on to her desk for support, she twisted around, and sank into her chair, her head spinning. Damn! Why now? Why couldn’t she have met him two or three years ago?

Re-think her position? She couldn’t. She absolutely could not get involved with a student’s parent – especially the parent of Brady Dalton. Not when the school would be doing so much for him. She’d never hear the end of it. The speculation alone would be enough to get her hauled in front of the Board, and possibly fired.

She couldn’t risk it. Wouldn’t risk it. Not now.

Anything else you’d like to add?
My debut novel, Unexpected Legacy, recently advanced to the quarter finals in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition.


Melissa Keir said...

What a big turn in your life from Corporate America to full time writing! Congrats! I also long for the beach, especially during the long and this year never ending cold winter!

Molly Daniels said...

I LOVED the Trixie Belden series! Between my sister and I, we owned nearly all of them:)

Cara Marsi said...

Enjoyed your interview. I love Trixie Belden. I still have a few of the books. Your new story sounds wonderful.

darlene deluca said...

Hi everyone! Thanks for having me on your blog today! So fun to meet new authors and readers and chat about books!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful cover, Darlene, and the story sounds wonderful. I agree with you about writing a book's ending - it's one of my favorite parts, although hard to say goodbye to characters I've lived with for a while. Congratulations on your debut's success!

Anonymous said...

Your style is so unique compared to other people I've read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you've got the
opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this site.

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