I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match.
This week’s guest: Thea Devine
1. If you could revisit any favorite period in your life for a day, in approximately which year would you be found and what would you be doing?
The year I met John — 1964 — at a party; we were there with other dates, he brought his date home, came back to the party, and as he walked in the door, I walked right into his arms — and I stayed there for 52 years.
2. Sure, it’s like picking a favorite child, but which one or two of your titles do you secretly love just a little more than the others?
TEMPTED BY FIRE — my first Regency and how much I loved writing it: the language, the propriety, the clothes. It wasn’t just Jane Austen — you can fall in love with the Regency period all on its own.
3. Will you be glued to the screen during the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, will you catch the recaps, or will you ignore the games completely? Any favorite events?
I am glued. Favorite events: ice skating (all forms), snowboarding, skiing … and all extreme versions. I do none of these sports, but I can dream.
4. Dogs or cats? Pedigree or mutts?
I wasn’t raised with pets, and the first thing John said after we were married was, we’re getting a dog. He’d always had dogs. And then we found a kitty cat (our Kippy) in a dumpster, and we fell in love with cats. And from then we always had both, and at least two of each.
5. How many books have you published and in how many genres and sub-genres?
Twenty-seven books and about a dozen novellas, all either erotic historicals or contemporaries. My books were some of the first to be reviewed as erotic romance, even though there were constraints. We had to use what I called “everyday household words” and still make our readers feel the experience. And they did.
6. Favorite female singer/rocker over 60: Tina Turner, Deborah Harry (Blondie), Stevie Nicks, Gloria Estefan or _________?
Oh, Stevie Nicks for sure. “Rumours” is one of my favorite albums and her voice — rich, indelible … love love love.
And Adele. Don’t know if she’s over 60, but she’s 100% for me. [Editor’s Note: Adele Laurie Blue Adkins is 29. 🙂 ]
7. If you were marooned on a deserted island with plenty of food and water but with only one book to read and re-read, which title would you hope for?
GONE WITH THE WIND, [by Margaret Mitchell], which, for me, was a different book every age I reread it, including recently, with my sister-in-law. It surprised me to no end how much more history there was than romance. And you know, when I was sixteen and first read it, I was swooning over the romance.
8. What is the first thing you do when you finish a book?
Put it down and think about it. If I really loved it, why? If I didn’t, why not? How would I do it differently?
9. Which Disney princess (or prince) do you wish you were more like? And which one are you really most like?
You’ve got me here — I grew up with Cinderella and Snow White — one passive, one active. I’m afraid I wasn’t a princess-y kind of little girl.
10. Who was the first person, besides your mom and dad, who told you that you could write?
Nancy Drew. I started writing because of Nancy Drew — I wanted to create stories like that and I don’t know or remember why. It just seemed like something I wanted to do, so I started writing. Writing something coherent at age 8 or 9 was a reward in and of itself. As for encouragement — I don’t remember anyone specific, except my dad who, when I was fourteen, bought me the most expensive typewriter on the market. Nothing more needed to be said.
11. What are some of your non-writing talents that readers might find surprising? (Keep it PG please.)
I love to crochet. I’m left-handed and my right-handed mom tried in vain to teach me. It turns out I crochet right. I also play guitar (3 majors and a minor) right-handedly. I’m a sixties folkie; John and I lived in Greenwich Village back then, which was the place to be for folk music. I had grown up listening to Burl Ives, Roy Acuff and other country stars of the era, because my mom loved that music AND she could yodel. I wanted to, badly, but there are some things you just can’t inherit. I also love to write lyrics, songs, poems and doggerel. The last lyric I wrote was about John’s complaining he couldn’t tell if I was talking to him or to myself (which I do — a lot).
12. Names some things that have changed in publishing since your first book was published.
13. Have you ever, even for a moment, forgotten that one of your characters was…you know…fictional?
No, but I sure fell in love with Nick Galligan in HIS LITTLE BLACK BOOK and Doug Rawls in SEX, LIES AND SECRET LIVES.
14. Do you own at least one purse (or twenty) from a well-known fashion designer, or are you more the bag-to-carry-my-junk-in type?
I’m a big-bag-to-carry-my-junk kind of girl, which John facilitated by buying me a nice large and beautiful bag every year for Christmas. He bought the designer names. I shopped the thrift shop.
15. Offer a piece of advice to new writers that you wish someone had given to you at the beginning of your career.
Keep writing no matter what. You have the most control over this. And you’ll get better at it. You’ll get to know when it’s too much and when it’s just right. You’ll know when to gloss over and when to drop details, and many other subtleties that you’ll discover when you’re not looking.
I’ve been an author for more than 30 years, and I’m still refining how I write. When I look at old manuscripts, I can see vestiges of how I write now and how much I’ve learned. You will too.
His Little Black Book
By Thea Devine
… He came in with two cups of coffee and handed her one, made exactly the sway she liked it.
She slanted a startled look at him, and in that moment, she saw what Delia had seen: the bafflement, the resistance, the hunger, the restraint, the desperate wish that her choices hadn’t been so heedless. She saw the difference between a hedonist who had only wanted to play the game by his rules for his ongoing pleasure, and a man whose sole goal was centered all on the woman he had chosen.
This thing between them had everything to do with her — what made her her, the mystery of her, and his need to know the things about her that complemented the opposite things in him.
The spark, the attraction had nothing to do with her body or sex, although there was that too. She understood that the detective in him was really a romantic under the skin, and he wanted to believe. He almost could believe because he wanted it so much.
But for his own moral peace, he had to push her away because any relationship for him wouldn’t be a cavalier display of power.
It scared her how much he knew, how much he saw. Whereas she knew virtually nothing about him — barring he was a voracious reader, he loved music, he made good coffee, and he was neat, tenacious, irritating, sarcastic blunt, and on every level, exciting. Superficial things overlaying what was beneath.
But when she looked at him, she felt enfolded. She saw cozy nights and shared lives; she saw the kind of man a woman would want to marry…
And in that moment, she fell in love…
HIS LITTLE BLACK BOOK, a 2006 release from Pocket Books, may be purchased through these retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million.
Thea Devine‘s books defined erotic historical romance. She’s the USA Today bestselling author of 27 steamy historical and contemporary novels and a dozen novellas. She was the recipient of RWA NYC’s “Lifetime Achievement Award”, and honored by Romantic Times for being a “Romance Pioneer”. Learn more about Thea through her website, www.theadevine.com, and connect with her on Facebook.
Call Me Home
(Thea’s Work in Progress)
Oh damn. The problem of Bobby Sainz had her all tense and on edge. Jack Tierney had specifically asked her to deal with Bobby’s father since she’d known Bobby, he said, and she’d handled estate matters in New York.
She waved at a recent client, as she turned at the Corners. Here, catty-cornered, were The Cup ‘n Sup, the post office, town hall and, in a lovely old house that backed the lake, the town library.
Marco Sainz’s house was in a prime ten minute walk-to-town location.
In no time it seemed, she stepped up onto the sun porch, pausing a minute to look at the lake, and then noting a battered truck parked on the shoulder of the road. But there was always a battered truck parked somewhere on the roads around here, she thought as she opened the door.
Immediately the atmosphere felt charged.
Someone’s here …
She dug for her cell phone and left the door open as she moved slowly into the living room. Nothing had been moved or changed, but something was different. Or she was imagining things.
She went into the kitchen. Everything clean and pristine as before. Into the larger of the two bedrooms – and she stopped. Suitcases here, thrown carelessly on the bed, a grocery bag on the floor.
Oh dear God …please, no …
“Hey! Don’t move …”
A hard ruthless voice behind her, shocking her. She whirled, her cell at the ready … “Bobby …?” Her heart stopped, her breath caught. He was tall, muscular, and gorgeous. Hard body, hard gray eyes, long hair threaded with gray falling into his eyes. Hard voice, deep, rich, demanding, “Who the hell are you?”
Carrie let out her breath. He didn’t recognize her. Good. He was more formidable than she’d imagined. with that hard scowl and an animal magnetism that subtly infused the air. The pull was almost irresistible.
She resisted. “Carrie Scott, Bobby.”
“Jeez …” He stared at her for a long moment. “Carrie?” Not the Carrie he remembered, the one with the big blonde hair, tight skirts and barely buttoned blouses. The Carrie with the crush that had nearly crushed him.
“Carrie Scott, Esquire,” she amended coolly to put a measurable distance between them. Or was it a chasm, between the elite lawyer and the hard bitten military man? “Nice to meet you too, Mr. Sainz.” She held out her hand.
He brushed it aside, almost afraid to touch her. “The hell. What are you doing here?” Carrie? Really? With that long thick braid brushing her breast like a caress, wearing jeans and sneakers? And silk? Why the hell had that registered?
He barely heard her answer, he was so stunned..
“I check up on the house once a week. I do that for all my absentee clients. Where there’s renovation, there’s temptation. And an empty house? They take anything they can sell when they can get away with it …”
She stopped abruptly, aware he wasn’t listening.
They stared at each other for a long time. She was certain he was seeing what she saw: their younger faces superimposed over the adult, and how much they’d changed and how much they were still the same.
Memories cascading suddenly — how she had been: sassy, cocky, beautiful even then, intelligent, sure of herself, crazy crushed on Bobby Sainz. Following him around, surreptitiously, she’d thought. Dressing provocatively. Doing things to make him notice her.
Oh God. Had it been like that? Had she been like that? She’d been so sure of herself. Fifteen, for God’s sake. Thought she knew it all …
And then, the morning at the lake.
Bobby broke his gaze first, and turned abruptly to stalk to the front door.
“Thanks. Nice of you to drop by.” Goddamn it, she was beautiful. Still.
And she was his past as much as anything else in this town – which meant, despite that girlhood crush, she could be his worst enemy.
Carrie followed him slowly. “I was your father’s lawyer, Bobby. We have things to discuss. I’d like you to come to my office … at your convenience.”
He was standing by the door, tall, predatory, savage, his anger potent and tangible, as if she were the one who’d stoked it up.
Maybe she had. The past was never that far away, it seemed. She did not like him in that moment. She saw then the hard reality of what the past twenty years had done to him. He was an exile. There was no softness in him. But there never had been. And there was nothing of the boy she’d crushed on so futilely. This was another person from another place; he didn’t belong here.
“All you have to do is come to the office and sign some papers, Bobby. You don’t even have to stay here.”
“Really? Nice welcome home, Lawyer Carrie. Chasing me out after I’ve barely just walked in the door?” How could anyone be so beautiful and such an absolute bitch? Nothing had changed in all these years. “Thanks for the drive-by.”
“I walked,” she said coldly. “My hours are ten to four, the office is on Main, the green house by the One Stop. Any time this afternoon would work.”
“I’ll be in touch.” He slammed the door behind her, and she stood there, stone frozen for a long moment.
What just happened in there?