Fellow Wild Rose Press author, Alana Lorens, is visiting today on her blog tour for her romantic suspense CONVICTION OF THE HEART, released on June 8 from The Wild Rose Press.
Hi, Alana, and thanks for being my guest!
Tell us about CONVICTION OF THE HEART.
CONVICTION OF THE HEART is a story that’s very near and dear to me, because I’ve been a family law attorney for twenty-five years, and I’ve gone through some of these things that my heroine Suzanne Taylor has gone through. More importantly, I know the depths of despair that domestic violence survivors have to live in every day. Exposing some of these “perfect husbands” for what they really are have brought me some of the best days of my career.
BLURB: Family law attorney Suzanne Taylor understands her clients’ problems—her own husband left her with two babies to raise alone. Now that they’re teenagers, her life is full. The last thing she wants is the romantic attentions of a police lieutenant, no matter how good-looking.
Lt. Nick Sansone is juggling the demands of a new promotion, and doesn’t need complications either. But when he sends a councilman’s battered wife to Suzanne for help, he realizes he wants to connect with the lovely, prickly lawyer on more than a professional level.
They are soon confronted with a different battle, when the abused woman’s husband threatens retribution. The powerful, well-connected councilman can damage both their careers—not to mention hurt those they love. Can they bend enough to admit they need each other in a time of crisis? Or will a husband’s revenge take them down before they ever get a chance?
What are you working on now? Do you have any releases scheduled for this year?
I’m currently working on a YA trilogy set after a terrorist attack on the United States that used a bioweapon targeting Caucasians, where a young Chinese girl and her father have the power to save the rest of the world.
In July, my women’s fiction novel SECOND CHANCES, will be released from Zumaya Publications, and here’s the blurb for that one: Inessa Regan, a 10-year associate at a Pittsburgh law firm, gets a pink slip when the economy tanks. Insecure, her pride wounded, she flounders helplessly until she meets Kurtis Lowdon, a man 15 years younger than she, an Iraq War veteran with cancer. He helps her take the first steps back from the pit of despair after she loses everything that defines her.
First as her client, then as her landlord, then as her partner, Kurt shows her the power of believing in oneself. Their journey is tainted with secrets from Kurt’s own past, as well as some of the horrors of war that have followed Kurt and his friends home from overseas. When his cancer returns, she must take control of her own life and fight to survive.His battle teaches her how to live; and she risks everything she holds dear to save him.
In September, my contemporary romance THAT GIRL’S THE ONE I LOVE comes out from The Wild Rose Press, and also in September, my novel about psychic vampires, LOVE ME, KISS ME, KILL ME will be published by Hydra Publications.
So I expect I’ll spend the rest of the year on promotion! J
How do you come up with ideas?
The question is usually, when do those voices in my head quit talking?! There’s always a “what-if” conversation going on in there somewhere. In SECOND CHANCES, I was thinking about the state of the economy and knowing that everyone gets laid off, even lawyers, I wondered what a lawyer who thought her career was set for life might do if she got a pink slip. In one of my fantasy elf stories, I envisioned a woman coming across a glass slipper on the sidewalk, and wondered what she’d do—would she try it on? What if it broke? What if little men appeared out of the blood she left on the sidewalk? What if…
In this story, I tackled the idea that an independent, strong woman doesn’t really need a man—but what if the right one shows up anyway?
Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, character, or…?
I actually have two different schools of thought on this. I’ve written several stories during NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month—where in the month of November, writers will create a story of 50,000 words or more between the first and last day of the month. For those, I start with a pretty strong outline, a cast of characters and a definite direction to go. (www.nanowrimo.org)
But for other books, I’ve just started with a premise and maybe a heroine, and let things come together as they would, at least in first draft. That’s the great thing about second drafts—you can always fix up and polish all those crazy plot bunnies that wormed their way in the first time around!
Do you have a favorite time of day for writing?
I don’t have a specific time. I’m definitely not one of those who rise before the sun comes up to write, because my brain doesn’t start till I’ve had a couple cups of good coffee. I used to write in the evenings, but as I get older, I find my thoughts scatter more easily after 10 p.m.—though I’m not in the bedtime-at-sunset set yet!
I’ve taken mostly to grabbing one to two hour stretches during the day, putting on soundtrack music I know works for my creative process, and just speed writing a down-and-dirty draft, 1,500-2,500 words. I’ll sort through them later. I also carry a notebook with me and use it to scribble scenes or detailed outlines while I’m waiting at school, at the doctor, or have 15 minutes down time.
What is your favorite scene from this story and why?
The scene where Suzanne thinks she’s got herself together, a fine working woman who doesn’t need anyone, but when she arrives at the courthouse, Nick Sansone happens to be waiting at the elevator. He flirts with her all the way up to her floor, and she does a fine job of discouraging him. Then he steps close enough she can smell his cologne—and it’s her favorite. So much for that.
What is your favorite memory from childhood?
My parents divorced when I was young, so I had a lot of not-so-good memories from childhood. But every summer, I got to stay with my grandmother on her Indiana farm, away from the conflict and step-mother mess. Waking up there each morning with the fresh smells of farm air (she didn’t have cows! So it was still fresh), listening to the locusts keen, riding the tractor with my grandfather, even just sitting on the old wrought iron chairs on the front porch, looking out over the cornfields… These were times that really rescued me.
These are few of my favorite things:
1. Good coffee
2. Witty humor—think Joss Whedon’s Firefly or even Monty Python and the Holy Grail
3. Children’s laughter
The judge took a recess. As he left the bench, Suzanne saw smug satisfaction cross Greg Morgan’s face, and the look he gave Maddie, the one that said “You’ll be back.”
The only minor blessing was that Maddie hadn’t seen the look. Through the whole hearing, she’d stared into her lap, where her hands twisted and pinched each other, white with tension. Even in a $500 suit and shoes at least half that, the woman hadn’t had the courage to do more than whisper an answer to anything the judge asked her.
Suzanne stood as the courtroom cleared, doing the best she could to remain a physical barrier between the Morgans, despite her own distaste for the man. Frank Rosenblatt packed his papers into his briefcase without saying anything further to his client, ignoring Greg’s penetrating stare at the other table. Those eyes, so full of passion—be it obsession or hatred—had the power to frighten Suzanne. She didn’t want Maddie to have to deal with them.
“Call me Tuesday,” Frank murmured to his client, then after a nod to Suzanne, he left the courtroom. As soon as he’d cleared the door, Greg walked right up to Suzanne, perhaps a foot from her. Well within arms’ reach. It was all she could do not to shove him away.
“Don’t think you’ve won here, counselor. Our dance has scarcely begun. I’m going to take that bitch down. But that’s not all. You chose the wrong side in this case. I’ll destroy you, and yours. All of you.”
Even before she faced him, Suzanne could feel his presence, a red-hot ball of anger. Since she didn’t have Maddie’s expensive wardrobe to act as a shield, she’d have to wing it. She turned slowly and looked Greg Morgan in the eye.
“I’ve heard that speech before…where was it? Oh, yeah. The Wizard of Oz. ‘You and your little dog, too.’ As I recall, that character didn’t survive till the happy ending.”
His hand, closed into a fist, came open as she finished speaking, and for a moment she thought he was going to hit her right there in court. She didn’t flinch, though, not wanting to give him the satisfaction of knowing he could get to her. She glanced inside the bar for the broad-shouldered bailiff, but he was occupied, flirting with the court clerk. By the time she looked back at Morgan, he’d stepped back with a wide smile.
“Someone’s not going to get out alive here. That much is true.”
He started to whistle then, and turned away, walking out of the courtroom as if he had no care in the world. Frozen, she watched till the door closed behind him. A little whimper behind her caught her attention, along with the shout of someone in the gallery. Maddie had fainted.
Alana Lorens (aka Barbara Mountjoy) has been a published writer for over 35 years, including seven years as a reporter and editor at the South Dade News Leader in Homestead, Florida. Her list of publications includes the non-fiction book 101 Little Instructions for Surviving Your Divorce, published by Impact Publishers in 1999, stories in A Cup of Comfort for Divorced Women, in December 2008, and A Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Parents, in June 2009. Her Clan Elves of the Bitterroot series (as Lyndi Alexander) is available from Dragonfly Publishing; THE ELF QUEEN in 2010, THE ELF CHILD in 2011, and THE ELF MAGE in 2012.
Her newest release (as Alana Lorens) is SECRETS IN THE SAND, in the Crimson Rose line from The Wild Rose Press. CONVICTION OF THE HEART is her sixth published novel, which will be followed in July 2012 with SECOND CHANCES, a women’s fiction with romantic elements story. The Wild Rose Press is also publishing her contemporary romance novella THAT GIRL’S THE ONE I LOVE later this summer.
When she’s not busy writing, practicing law or teaching, she takes care of a husband and a bunch of kids and blogs on a variety of subjects, including autism, science fiction and life at Awalkabout.
Convictions of the Heart Book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a84IZoH-JKw
DUAL BOOK/BLOG TOUR!!
CONVICTION OF THE HEART (release date June 8, 2012)
And SECOND CHANCES (release date July 2012)
The first and Second books of the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyer Series!
Come by the following blogs or live booksignings and leave a comment to be entered in a drawing—at the end of the tour, Alana will give away one ebook copy of each book and one paperback copy of each book—Four lucky winners!
10-July Babette James
10-July Nancy Jardine
13-July Pippa Jay
14-July Second Saturday—Live appearance, booksigning and mini-seminar, Meadville PA Market House
16-July Jessica Aspen
19-July Cathie Dunn
23-July Mackenzie Crowne
27-July Barbara Bettis
30-July Joan Swan