Another fantastic Tuesday has arrived! I’m really pleased to have another Still Moments Publishing author here with me today! Welcome Denise Moncrief!
CERI: Denise, can you tell us all a little about yourself?
DENISE: I’m a Southern girl. I’ve lived in Louisiana all my life. And yes, I have a drawl. Writing is my passion. I tell people accounting is a skill I learned to earn some money to support my writing habit. I’ve been writing off and on since I was seventeen. I have a wonderful husband and two incredible children. They not only endure my writing moods, but also encourage me to indulge my passion.
CERI: Accounting? *shudder* You’re lucky. I’m horrible with numbers. I’d much rather be writing all day long! You say you started writing when you were seventeen. Tell us more about that.
DENISE: I wrote my first “novel” when I was seventeen. It was seventeen handwritten pages on school-ruled paper and an obvious rip-off of the last Harlequin I read. The urge to write wouldn’t let go of me. In my twenties, I started another novel, only to abandon it after Chapter Four or Five. I started writing seriously about eight years ago and now I write every chance I get.
CERI: I bet most of us romance authors have a few Harlequin type stories stored away somewhere. Glad that you persevered and you are where you are now. Where do you find inspirations for your stories?
DENISE: Probably my biggest inspiration comes from my daydreaming. I have an incredible imagination. It made me feel guilty to spend so much time thinking about what it would be like to live in other places and be in other situations and know other people. Then one day I got the brilliant idea to write all those scenarios.
I can find inspiration almost anywhere. An overheard conversation. A picture. A movie. A news report. An abandoned house in Arkansas jump-started a new plot for me once. Some little something will capture my imagination.
CERI: I have the same problem, though I don’t consider it a problem at all! LOL I love to day dream. And old houses are always full of story ideas! Can’t wait to see what you come up with. If your book was going to become a movie, who would you chose to play your characters?
DENISE: My first full-length book, Deceptions of the Heart, will be available through Still Moments Publishing in the Fall of 2012. The main character, Jennifer Cristobal, is tall, blonde, and runway thin. I picture Reese Witherspoon. For the male lead, I’d choose Mark Harmon to play Anson Cristobal.
CERI: Ohhhh! I’ve had a crush on Mark Harmon since I was a teenager and he was in the show 240 Robert! Great choices! Both of them! What is your favorite genre to write? How many do you write?
DENISE: My favorite genre is romantic suspense. Sometimes I add a paranormal or humorous element.
CERI: I admire the ability to write any kind of humor. I’m such a drama queen. I love the blend you have though. Romantic suspense must be challenging. What do you like to do besides write?
DENISE: Reading, scrapbooking, traveling, hanging around with my family.
CERI: Awesome! Okay, now answer the following-
Pick one word to describe yourself: fun-loving
Favorite animal: dog
Favorite comfort food: tex-mex
Spring, summer, autumn or winter? autumn
Favorite book: Gone With the Wind
Favorite movie: Gone With the Wind (see a pattern here?) I sure do! Such a classic!
If you weren’t a writer, what would you want to do? forensics
Best vacation ever: Pacific Northwest and British Colombia
CERI: On to your book. I want everyone to check it out!
My latest release is the short story Snow White and the Seven Dogs included in the April 2012 Unleashed Hearts anthology published by Still Moments Publishing.
Snow flees not only from a criminal investigation for fraud but also from the wrath of her conniving future mother-in-law. Ann Winters is more than willing to let Snow take the fall for her crimes if it will drive a wedge between Snow and her son Anson. With nowhere else to go, Snow escapes to the White’s family apple orchard near Yakima, Washington. Her hideout turns into a not-so-safe haven when the secrets from her family’s past prove to be just as large as her problems back in Seattle. She cringes every time she introduces herself to someone new, but when she meets handsome Eric Prince, he doesn’t react to her Disneyesque name. He acts as if he knows more about her family’s past than she does. Enter seven recalcitrant pooches. Snow isn’t a dog person, but Eric seems to know every one of them, and they know him. Eric and the dogs are determined to protect Snow from the danger swirling around her.
Snow White pushed up on the very tips of her toes, stretching for a ripe, red apple—the most beautifully perfect Red Delicious she’d ever seen. Washington’s orchards had yielded the sweetest harvest in a decade. A nearby bushel basket held some of the year’s best fruit.
She tucked the apple into her already heavy workbag and rubbed the sweat from her brow before carefully sliding one foot along the side brace of the ladder down to the next rung. After both feet gripped the wood, she gulped another breath and attempted another small step toward sweet Mother Earth. When she was three rungs from the bottom, the soles of her feet slipped. She would have landed on her posterior if a pair of strong hands hadn’t wrapped around her waist.
“You’d better be careful,” the man said as he helped her catch her balance. Where did he come from? She hadn’t heard his approach.
Before she had an adequate opportunity to admire the stranger’s good looks, a dog emitted a ferocious bark just ten feet away. A Yellow Lab barreled between the rows, dragging his long tongue behind him. She knew the dog. He wasn’t vicious, just vivacious. Mr. Gorgeous stepped back from the onslaught, bracing himself for impact. No fear shown from his blue-green eyes.
Two huge paws planted on the man’s chest as the animal slobbered love all over his face. To her surprise, he laughed instead of panicked. “Pongo, down,” he commanded.
Pongo? Was that the dog’s name? She called him dog Numero Cinco.
Pongo dragged his tongue across the man’s face one more time before he dropped his big feet onto the ground.
She pointed at the recalcitrant mutt. “How’d you do that?”
A smile played around the edges of the man’s mouth. “Oh, what? That? Pongo and I know each other.” He wiped his face with his sleeve. The smile disappeared, but not the amused look. “My name’s Eric Prince. My mother lives down the road.” He nodded in the direction of Yakima. The logo on the front of his jacket proclaimed him a member of the county EMS team.
She closed her eyes. Most people smirked when she introduced herself. A few giggled before they hid their amusement behind their hand. He smiled, a twinkle in his eyes, as if he already knew her name and was toying with her. She clamped her lips together.
“I knew your grandparents,” he said.
She blinked at him. Her grandmother died last June, and she didn’t remember her grandfather. Some memories were best left buried. But was that any of his business?
“Our families used to be friends,” he added. Expectation radiated from him.
She tilted her head sideways and crossed her arms over her chest.
Pongo nudged him and whined. When he didn’t seem to notice Pongo’s efforts, the dog flopped onto the ground at his feet. Eric shifted from one foot to the other, and then stuffed his hands in his pockets. “I used to work part-time for your grandmother. Ran the stand on the highway after school and on weekends. Sold a lot of homemade applesauce and apple butter. Your grandmother made the best.”
“So I’ve heard.” There was no bite in her tone, just an invitation for further explanation.
The tension between his eyes eased. “I haven’t seen you around here—”
“Then how do you know who I am?”
“Oh, everybody knows who inherited the White’s orchard.” He kicked at a root poking up through the ground with the toe of a work boot. “You’re Snow, aren’t you?”
She smiled for the first time. He hadn’t said her whole name. The temptation to call her Snow White was too much for most people to ignore.
He looked around. “So where’s the rest of the pack?”
As if on cue, six rambunctious canines rounded the end of the row and bounded down the dirt track toward them. Pongo rose to greet them with a loud woof, and a chorus of canine noise returned the greeting. She drew in a deep breath. The seven of them, including Pongo, were hard to feed and harder to control. She’d never been a dog person, but she couldn’t get rid of them if she wanted to. They were part of the landscape and somehow had become her only friends.
The pack surrounded Eric. He dropped to the ground. She feared they would maul him, but instead they took turns getting their ears scratched or their tummies rubbed. He seemed to know them, and they seemed to know him. The traitors.
How do we find you?