Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Carriage Trade: An Interview with Author Lisa Deon and a Giveaway!


How do you get to a "Happily Ever After" when you can't remember where it began?

Please welcome author Lisa Deon as we talk about her book, The Carriage Trade. Welcome Lisa!

First, please tell us a little about yourself.    
 
I grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, which makes me a diehard Cubs fan. In 1995 my family moved to the Kansas City area where we had a farm for eight years. Currently, I live in the beautiful Salt Lake Valley in Utah with my husband, daughter, mother, and three dogs.

What is your favorite non-writing pastime?    

I love to camp, hike and ski, and living in beautiful Utah I have many opportunities to pursue those activities. Summer, winter, spring or fall, there is always something to do here in our awesome outdoors.

Is writing a full-time career for you? If not, how else do you spend your work day?       

I try and spend the first several hours after I wake up writing or editing. I utilize a lot of music to energize and inspire me, so on my way to my part time job I listen to tunes I think could be the "soundtrack" for a chapter or scene. Then when I'm at my part time job as a carriage driver in Salt Lake City I use the ambiance of the city to inspire me. I've been a professional commercial horse drawn carriage driver for eight years now, and I love it. It is the most fun job I have ever had, and no day is exactly like another.

If you had to sum it up The Carriage Trade in 30 or less words, what would you say

How do you get to a "Happily Ever After" when you can't remember where it began?
The Carriage Trade. It's a romance she can't remember and he can never forget

Will you share with us a short preview of The Carriage Trade?    

"Carlos" Farley's life is an open book. Unfortunately, she can't remember most of it.   She's losing her barn manager, Bill, the guy who's been running her horse drawn carriage business while she's been in extended care recovering from an accident. Bill has always been there for her, in fact they've grown up together, but now he wants to pursue the career he put on hold and Carlin's resigned to the idea that he's leaving her.

Bill Fantazma is the kind of guy who always tries to do the right thing. But sometimes doing the right thing is not the right thing to do. He's been in charge of Carlin's care and the business he helped acquire for her, and has accepted the accident and her subsequent brain damage as a chance for a do-over, since his previous actions to attract her affection were less than honorable.

Richard Cooper appears to be the answer to their business problems. Knowledgeable about horses, willing to step in and take over the barn manager position, helpful and solicitous to Carlin, he's not put off by her sometimes bizarre and quirky behavior.

But when Richard sees an opportunity to move in and draw Carlin's affection, Bill realizes just what she means to him and must make a decision; come clean about their past and risk her anger, or step aside to allow Richard to have a romantic relationship with the woman Bill has loved all of his life.

What message do you hope readers take away from the book?       

Everyone deserves to be loved.

What three words would best describe Carlin Farley. 

Frustrated, passionate, fierce.

What is your favorite scene in The Carriage Trade

There is a scene where the hero, Bill, and the heroine, Carlin, are driving a carriage up to a park. The couple in the carriage have an argument and jump out, leaving Bill and Carlin alone. At that point I would have just made the characters turn around and go back to the hack line, but Bill's character took over and they went for a drive in the park. It was an interesting turn of events that I did not plan.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?  

The milieu is the same, but everything else I made up.

Do you share any personality traits with Carlin Farley?    

We're both short, have brown hair, and don't suffer fools well.

What kind of research was involved for The Carriage Trade?    

I did research on Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) and aphasia. I received a message from a neurology nurse working with a brain tumor patient that I nailed the frustration and angst associated with the inability to remember language. The carriage driving stuff I know from personal experience.

Do you have to be alone or have quiet to write?  

I can write anywhere, including while the TV is on or in the car (with someone else driving). I often plug in my iPod and use head phones to cut myself off from the rest of the world when I'm working out a scene.

What has been your greatest pleasure in writing this book?

Drawing back the curtain on a business most people know very little about.

Do you have plans for a new book?  Is this book part of a series?

I'm in the middle of writing The Re-Education of the One Trick Pony, a sequel to The Carriage Trade.  I'm hoping to have it out by January of 2013.

What has been your greatest pleasure or personal success as an author?  

Although I have been a finalist in several RWA chapter contests, my proudest moment came after receiving an email from a fellow writer.  She was on hiatus from writing due to a double mastectomy and chemotherapy treatments. I sent her a copy of my short story, Splitting the Difference, and the email I received in return made me feel so good about my writing. It took her out of her pain for a while and left her dreaming of carriage rides, snowflakes, and a handsome man with a crooked smile going out of his way to be with the girl he adores. And that was what I want the words I cobble together to accomplish; take people out of their ordinary lives and draw them into a fun and fanciful bubble, making them forget any trouble they may have for a while.

What type of hero do you like best?

I'm a big fan of the Beta Male. I'd rather have a guy make me my favorite meal than fly me to Paris in his private jet for dinner.

How do you unwind after a long writing session?

I drink a lot of wine. Wine is my version of chocolate.

Who or what has most influenced your writing?  

Music. I use music to get the emotion for a scene, It also helps with the pacing and energy level.

Is there a genre you wish you could write, but haven’t made the plunge? Which one and what appeals to you about it?   

I have a story cooking on my laptop that is a romantic suspense. I've been doing a lot of research and hope to have it done in a year or two.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?  

Romance readers rock! They are so loyal to their favorite authors, but are willing to try the work of a new writer, too. They are some of the smartest, most interesting, and welcoming people I've ever met.

Do you have a favorite author? Who and why?

Melissa Mayhue. She writes smart, funny, sexy Highlander time travel. Her characters are fabulous and you want to know them better. Her world building skills are superb.

Why did you choose to be an Indie writer and would you choose to self-publish again?    

I had an offer for publication, but I was unhappy with some of the edits the publishing house requested. They also didn't publish in paperback, and were not interested in the sequel. So I went indie. And I'm happy that I did, since I'm a bit of a control freak anyway.

Which authors and books have most influenced your writing style?

I actually write just like I speak. Except I leave out the punctuation. Unless I'm really excited, then I use all the exclamation points I have!!!

Laptop, desktop or notebook and pen for writing?

Laptop. 


The Book
How do you get to a "Happily Ever After" when you can't remember where it began?

Carlin "Carlos" Farley's life is an open book. Unfortunately, she can't remember most of it. She's losing her barn manager, Bill, the guy who's been running her horse drawn carriage business while she's been in extended care recovering from an accident. Bill has always been there for her, in fact they've grown up together, but now he wants to pursue the career he put on hold and Carlin's resigned to the idea that he's leaving her.
Bill Fantazma is the kind of guy who always tries to do the right thing. But sometimes doing the right thing is not the right thing to do. He's been in charge of Carlin's care and the business he helped acquire for her, and has accepted the accident and her subsequent brain damage as a chance for a do-over, since his previous actions to attract her affection were less than honorable. Richard Cooper appears to be the answer to their business problems. Knowledgeable about horses, willing to step in and take over the barn manager position, helpful and solicitous to Carlin, he's not put off by her sometimes bizarre and quirky behavior. But when Richard sees an opportunity to move in and draw Carlin's affection, Bill realizes just what she means to him and must make a decision; come clean about their past and risk her anger, or step aside to allow Richard to have a romantic relationship with the woman Bill has loved all of his life. It's a romance she can't remember and he can never forget.
The Giveaway
Lisa will be giving away 3 copies of The Carriage Trade – Reader's choice for paperback or ebook. International is ebook only. 

The Author

Lisa Deon told stories for years before she ever thought of writing them down. Had it not been for the invention of the PC and Microsoft Word, she never would have, because typing was just not her thing. So much so that her first novel, written in Junior High, was dictated to a friend who was a superior typist, speller and had a much better appreciation for proper grammar and punctuation. Now, with the advent of the previously mentioned technological miracles, you can enjoy Lisa's yarns in the comfort and privacy of your home and use the restroom whenever the spirit moves you, without having to formulate a creative way of escaping her clutches, like faking a heart attack or pulling the fire alarm. If you feel it necessary, you can stalk Lisa online at Facebook or send an email to Lisa@LisaDeon.com which she might answer depending on if you are actually being sincere or if she thinks you are trying to sell her diet water, erection pills, or advise her she has won the Nigerian Lottery. In any case, this "About the Author" is the only place where she talks about herself in the third person. Offline, she has three rescue dogs, a rescue husband, a daughter in the military, a mother living in her basement (of her own free will) a beloved but seldom ridden Appaloosa and is babysitting a Bearded Dragon. Or would that be Dragon-sitting? Either way, her favorite foods are wine and popcorn, her favorite color is dog, and her favorite smell is horse. Not necessarily in that order.
An Excerpt

  From Chapter Nineteen

The opportunity to use the restroom finally arrived, and Carlos took it. Bruce just pulled out, Phyllis was due back in half an hour and Amy should return any minute. She asked the two couples in line to please tell anyone else who showed up that she would be right back. She hurried to the West Gate restrooms and talked security into waiting a minute before he locked her out. We call you the Mormon Mafia, she thought as she begged him to let her use the john.
She gave him a gift certificate when she came out. She forgot to write, "Ask for Bill" across the top. Her pee stop had just cost her $11.60. That was the commission she would have to pay any other driver who gave the ride. Oh well, it was worth it, better than wetting my pants.
She scurried out of Temple Square as quickly as possible without breaking into a run, stopping short when she saw her carriage parked out front, Bill and Tony the Belgian waiting for her. He even turned her string of fancy pink lights on, which she knew he hated. Early in her driving career she had decorated her carriage, adding flowers, lights and speakers for romantic music on the Grove ride.
You're just not a pink flowery kind of a girl, Carlin," Bill remarked, inspecting what he called her 'rolling bordello'.
"You know, Bill, I'm a money making kind of a girl, and in this business the girls pick the carriage and the boys pay. If the boys picked out the carriage, rest assured I'd cover it in beer cans and boobs."
He agreed that she had a point.
She approached the carriage. Bill sat on the box, the last couple standing in the line already seated in the passenger compartment. Carlos looked at them, frowning.
"Wasn't there another couple ahead of you?" she asked.
"I gave them ten bucks to come back later," the young man replied, jerking his thumb at the girl seated beside him. "She likes this carriage. This is the one we want." The girl rolled her eyes and said nothing.
"O–kay." That kind of threw Carlos off; nothing like that had happened as long as she could remember. "Well, your driver's name is Bill and the horse's name is Tony. Do you know what ride you want?"
"Memory Grove," the man answered.
"It's already handled, Carlos. Come on up." Bill patted a spot on the seat next to him.
Carlos looked at Bill and then down at the ground.
"Come on, Carlos, better late than never, right?"
"Hey lady, could you get up there with your boyfriend so we can go? I haven't got all night." The customer's girlfriend elbowed him. "What?" he said to her.
Bill leaned down and spoke so only Carlos could hear. "Carlin, would you consider going carriage driving with me tonight?"
"I suppose," she whispered, non-committal. Standing there, clenching and unclenching her fists, she finally grabbed onto the carriage and heaved herself up, settling in next to but not touching him. She was still mad.
Bill lightly flicked the lines, "Walk on, Tony," and steered out into the lane, making sure not to clip the curb with the rear wheel on his way out.
Carlos had her iPod on with only one ear bud in. Bill picked the left one up off of her shoulder and held it to his ear. Carla Etude played softly.
"Elton John?" Bill whispered. Carlos nodded. "Nice," he said. She knew it was one of his favorite songs. He dropped the ear bud back on her shoulder. Bridging the lines with his left hand, he put his right arm around her, pulling her closer. Carlos stared at his left hand, mildly impressed. She didn't think he knew how to bridge lines. You had to be a pretty decent driver to control the horse with a twist of the wrist.
How long has he been driving carriage? She tried to remember.
He was a junior in college and had turned twenty-one the November after Oscar was born. She had dragged him into the carriage barn the day after his birthday to fill out an application and start the training process. She would have brought him in on his birthday but he had been drinking then, starting his freshman year, and they had spent the day partying themselves into oblivion. Oscar spent the night at the Sommers, cared for by the nanny.
"I don't want to be a carriage driver, Carlos." Bill told her, looking a bit green and obviously nursing a nasty hangover.
Finally she confessed why she wanted him to train. "I've had a baby, Bill, and my bladder control isn't what it used to be. I need you to be ready before Christmas so you can give me a pee break when I need it."
Bill had stared at her through red-rimmed eyes, running his hands across his face.
"You want me to learn to drive a carriage so you can pee?"
To Carlos it made perfect sense. "Yes, Bill. I need you, and I'll pay you, too. And if any of the other drivers need you to spot them for a pee I'll make sure that they pay you also. It could be a goldmine for you Bill. It's a fabulous opportunity."
So she spent the next three days training him, even taking him out and purchasing all the cold weather gear he needed to stay warm. Bill said it looked like she was shipping him off to the Antarctic.
But when the busy Christmas season rolled around and he worked outside in the cold and snow for hours at a time, he had to admit that she certainly knew her stuff. He was warm and dry and made good money from the other drivers, bringing them food and giving them breaks. She was happy because she got to drink coffee and go to the john, and when things were slow Bill would jump on her carriage and ride around town with her to keep her company. They would sit up tight next to each other for warmth and look at the twinkling Christmas lights at Temple Square and the Gallivan Center.
He's been driving for five years. Almost as long as I have if you count the time I took off to go to cooking school, while pregnant and the time I spent in the hospital. And now, but I guess I don't drive carriage any more, do I? So pretty soon he'll be driving longer than I did.
They waited at the traffic light at West Temple. Bill turned his head left to watch for traffic. Carlos studied his profile while he was occupied. He wore the standard carriage driver attire: black jeans, white button down long sleeve shirt, black cowboy hat, black boots, plain black belt. He had on one of his nice shirts, Carlos noted, not one of the usual sweat stained, dirty rags he wore to drive. That's odd; doesn't he have any clean driving shirts? Why the hell is he wearing nice clothing? She thought she smelled cologne. She leaned back and took a more thorough look at him. Does he have a girl friend? Maybe that's why he didn't want to go driving tonight. He had a date. That would explain the good clothes.
Why is he here? She had been so mean to him, attacking him like that, asking him stupid questions like, "Do you think I'm pretty?" What a pathetic idiot she was, unable to operate a small business without running to Bill. "I need help! Come drive for me tonight!" Whining  like a baby. I'm such a stupid ass. No wonder he wants to be rid of me. Who could blame him?
 He'd found Richard to replace him. And yes, while Richard was easy on the eyes, Carlos did not quite trust him. Of course, she was a half-wit. Apparently Bill trusted him or he wouldn't have let Richard get within twenty feet of her. The truth was, she didn't know what to think anymore. And frankly, she was too tired to think about any of it right now.
Traffic cleared allowing Bill to turn. He said nothing, but looked down at her and smiled. She rolled her eyes and looked away, still mad.




4 comments:

  1. Great interview:-) This story certainly has me interested and even more so now that I've read the excerpt.

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  2. Thanks Kimberly, make sure you enter the contest to win one of three copies. And thank you MK for the opportunity to showcase my work.

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  3. It's wonderful having you with us here today Lisa. The book sounds like such a great read!

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  4. Hi! I'm in the US, and would like an ebook format. Thank you for the giveaway! Excited to read your new book! :D

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