Carla Interviews Louise Behiel, author of ‘Christmas on the Run’

Christmas on the Run by Louise BehielHello, I’m Carla Roma and I’m sitting here with author and therapist, Louise Behiel in her office in Calgary.  I’m on the couch. I hope she isn’t planning to psychoanalyze me…I don’t have any problems of that nature. When she sees me looking around and up and down, Louise laughs and reassures me that I don’t have to worry. We can sit in this room without doing therapy. Whew. What a relief.

Carla: So tell me Louise, I see books everywhere in this room, but no fiction. What’s up with that?

Louise: There are a few novels upstairs but mostly they’re on my Kindle.

Carla: (running her hand over some of the books) Some of these look pretty heavy.

Louise: <laughing> Some of them are – both in content and in size.

Carla: So how does a person get from reading these to writing a novella set in Bandit Creek?

Louise: I love reading everything but I always reach for romance when I’m relaxing. So when this series came up, I jumped at the opportunity to join my friends and chapter mates in Bandit Creek.

Carla: So tell me a bit about this book.

Louise: Christmas on the Run is the story of a woman who has to confront the scariest question in the world: “What if everything in your life is a lie?”

Carla: That is a tough question.

Louise: Just imagine that you wake up one morning and all your beliefs about your life are turned upside down, and you realize you might lose the only thing that matters to you. What would you do?

Carla: She runs away and ends up in Bandit Creek?

Louise: Exactly, and as we know, everything happens in Bandit Creek.

Carla: There’s been many other-worldly figures in Bandit Creek.  How about your book?

Louise: Afraid not. This is a book about a vulnerable woman and a wounded man determined to protect her. Together they figure out what matters to them and take the steps to make it happen.

Carla: So the heroine goes from running away to taking baby steps?

Louise: Exactly.

Carla: Sound like some of your couch experience in this one.

Louise: I hope so.

Carla: Is there anyone in this book we’ve met before?

Louise: Of course Jack makes his opinion known, as he does in every book.

Carla: Jack is an interesting character.

Louise: He is. I’m very excited to read more of his story which is the next (and last) release in this series.

Carla: Anyone else in this story that we’ve met?

Louise: There are, but you’re going to have to read the story to find out who it is.

Carla: <laughs> Fair enough. I think I’m going to take my leave before you start asking the questions. I have secrets I don’t want you poking into.

Carla interviews Sandy Kelly, author of ‘Up the Creek Without A Saddle’

Hi, Carla Roma here! I recently spotted Sandy Kelly at a live music bar in downtown Calgary and followed her into the bathroom.

Carla: Sorry, I know everyone is told not to corner a writer in the bathroom, but this is the first chance I’ve had to chat with you when you’re not either up dancing or involved in a conversation with all your friends at the table.

Sandy: Ha! Not to worry… it’s actually publishers and agents you’re not supposed to follow into the bathroom. Writers are pretty much fair game! And you’re right – when I drive in from my little town to enjoy an evening of live music, fine wine and fun friends in the city, I’m rarely sitting quietly alone. Unless I’m in the bathroom, of course!

Carla: What’s the best part for you – the music, the wine or the friends?

Sandy: Hmmm… hard pressed to choose a favourite from that list, but I do love the energy that fills everyone up when they’re enjoying live music – indie music, in particular. My friends and I especially love a jam-session when a bunch of independent musicians come together to share their love of music and originality. It’s magic.

Carla: Is that why you have enjoyed participating in the Bandit Creek series? Is it like a jam-session of writing for you?

Sandy: Absolutely! You take a bunch of independent writers who are working hard on their own craft and then mix them all together to follow their own story lines from the same quirky little town of Bandit Creek. Stir in pretty much every literary genre imaginable, add a hefty dose of talent and a generous helping of support… and you have a perfect recipe for a unique and successful series. It’s magic.

Carla: Your story, Up the Creek Without a Saddle, sounds pretty playful.

Sandy: I consider it a ‘Bandit Creek-lite’! My story is one of the last few in a long and diverse story list. The Banditoes have taken readers on such a journey, from mystery to erotica, from children’s fiction to other worlds. I wanted to create something light-hearted and a little goofy. Up the Creek Without a Saddle plunks a very wealthy young woman into Bandit Creek and into the arms of a handsome rancher who believes he is coming to the aid of a beautiful, but poverty-stricken damsel in distress. The story pokes fun at what happens when a simple misunderstanding brings two people together. And when they start telling little white lies in an effort to stay together.

Carla: Sounds fun – thanks for the bathroom chat. It’s time to hit the dance floor again!

Carla interviews Vivien Harben, author of ‘Thief of Hearts’

Hello, I’m Carla Roma. All you Bandit Creek fans hold on tight because we are racing towards our next release. Just like all the others that have preceded it, Vivien Harben’s book Thief of Hearts promises all the fun, spice and adventure we have come to love from all the Bandit Creek Books. Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with Vivien to have a quick chat about her book. Here’s what she had to say.

Carla: Hi Vivien, I’m so glad we have this chance to sit down and chat. Can we talk?

Vivien: Hey Carla, you know we can always talk. In fact getting me to talk is never our problem, it’s getting me to stop that is the challenge.

Carla: (laughing) Too right! Before we get into Thief of Hearts I wanted to ask you what made you want to write books?

Vivien: I have always wanted to write ever since my grandmother used to come and read us bedtime stories. I loved the pictures words evoke in your mind as you travel through any story. In fact I recently found one of my first books, written when I was 5…colored construction paper stapled together with lines of squiggles running neatly across the paper.

Carla: Sounds like a great read!! What was the story about?

Vivien: Well a princess of course!!! Then when I finally tried using letters I started writing fables, the one I finished was “Why Hippo was Green”.

Carla: And so why was Hippo Green?

Vivien: He rolled in the grass of course!!

Carla: Now about Thief of Hearts what can you tell me about where the idea came from to write it?

Vivien: I have always heard the saying “write what you know”. So some of this story comes from very personal experience. I myself was in, survived and overcame a very abusive relationship. It is always a challenge to overcome adversary but to come out the other side still open to and willing to risk loving someone again; well that is real life for me. I wanted something sweet to come out of something dark.

Carla: That is quite intense and remarkable that you can still think that way after what you’ve been through.

Vivien: We should never be defined by the dark hard times we may endure. Rather we should grow from them to try to make our outlook more positive than it was before.

Carla: So how come the hero comes from South Africa? Where’s the connection?

Vivien: I have family that lives there and every chance I get I go back to Africa because that continent draws me like no other. I think I’m still trying to find Harry the Green Hippo! When I can, I like to sneak Africa into my writing just because I love it so much, makes things a little more mysterious too.

Carla: Well you wrote and self-published another book as well. Was Africa in that one?

Vivien: No, Border Passions is an English historical romance. Africa didn’t really fit there. But Bandit Creek? That’s a different story, pardon the pun, isn’t it? After all EVERYTHING HAPPENS IN BANDIT CREEK.

Carla: It certainly does. So Vivien, thanks for your time. I know you have to get back to work.

Vivien: You’re welcome, Carla! It was nice chatting with you.

Carla: So readers, there it is. Our next installment in the Bandit Creek series is ready to roll. Hopefully you too can see the good come from amongst the ashes of something bad. Stay tuned for my next interview and I think we really know after all our books: Everything does happen in Bandit Creek!

Carla interviews Lauren Hawkeye, author of ‘Tempt Me Twice’

Hello, I’m Carla Roma and my latest Bandit Creek interview is with Lauren Hawkeye. I asked her if she needed to put down her knitting needles while we spoke, but she insisted that she could talk and knit at the same time. I can’t complain, since she’s making a scarf for me—and I need it, because brr, it’s starting to get a bit chilly out! Without further ado, here is my interview about Lauren’s erotic romance, TEMPT ME TWICE, available October 15, 2012.

Carla: Tell us a little bit about your book, Tempt Me Twice.

Lauren: Tempt Me Twice is a look at the things people do to make their relationships work. Callie and Austin have hit a rut in their marriage, and this story examines the consequences of temptation.

Carla: Have you always known that you would be a writer?

Lauren: I still don’t know what, exactly, made me pick up my pen for the first time. Looking back now, though, I think the only one who was surprised was me! As a child, I was always that weird kid with her nose stuck in a book while everyone else was on the monkey bars. And I always made up stories in my head about the characters in the books that I was reading—The Bobbsey Twins, Anne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie, and a little later, Little Women and Pride and Prejudice.

Carla: Some of the love scenes in this book were scorching. Is this typical of your books?

Lauren: It’s very typical. Right now I write erotica in both contemporary and historical settings, and the scenes in those books are comparable to what you’ll find in Tempt Me Twice. My paranormals are slightly less hot, but still steamy!

Carla: What does your mother think about the genre that you write?

Lauren: She’s very proud of me. That said, we have an agreement—never, ever will she read one of my books!

Carla: Some of your stories have a HFN instead of a HEA. Why is this?

Lauren: Sometimes when a story reaches its natural conclusion, I just don’t feel like it’s the time or the place for a proposal or a wedding. That’s not how life works. That said, I do try to give the reader some sense of conclusion.

Carla: I hear you have a busy year coming up in 2013. Can you tell us about it?

Lauren: I sure do—I have been so lucky these last few months. The very first book by my alter ego, Lauren Jameson, comes out New Year’s Eve, from NAL Heat. It’s called Surrender to Temptation and will be released in serial format, one section a week for six weeks. I am very excited about it! There will be at least two more books by LJ in 2013. Seduced by the Gladiator, the follow up to my first Avon Red book, will be out in January, and I also contributed a story to an Avon anthology featuring Sara Fawkes and Cathryn Fox, which will be out in June. Then from Harlequin Nocturne I have two Cravings novellas, and a duo vampire paperback with Rhyannon Byrd. Whew! Now all I have to do is write half of those things!

Carla: Whew, is right! And speaking of writing, what do you need to have when you sit down at your computer?

Lauren: Coffee is first and foremost—thought I’m trying to cut down on the caffeine, which means learning to like herbal tea as well. I like to have a candle burning, I’m not sure why. Then I need my computer glasses, my hand cream, eye drops, my Blistex… boy, I’m needy! But without these things I find it hard to focus.

Carla: So your books must be based off of your real life, right?

Lauren: (Shakes head). I get asked this a lot. Um, no, not so much. I do some research, and I read, but mostly I just have a very vivid imagination.

 Carla: Like most authors, you are an avid reader. Which Bandit Creek book has been your favorite so far?

Lauren: I loved Siren’s Song by D.L. Snow, and Bootleg my Heart by A.M. Westerling. Very different stories, but both quality reads! And of course we can’t forget Hard Candy, the erotic version of Jade Buchanan’s Candy Kisses duo. Talk about scorching!

Carla: Indeed! Thanks for the chat, Lauren!

Tempt Me Twice will be released on October 15 at Amazon and Smashwords.

Carla interviews Michelle Pierce, author of ‘Angel Fire’

Hello, I’m Carla Roma and I’m sitting in the living room of author Michelle Pierce, having had a delicious meal of Vietnamese noodles. I’m so full I might fall asleep, but I have a sexy fireman on the brain. *fans self*

Carla Roma: So Michelle, your book features a sexy fireman. What made you choose such a great alpha role for your hero, Jason?

Michelle Pierce: Mostly I knew that my story would feature lots of fire, and I needed a good, life-threatening but heroic job, something that would require the services of a guardian angel.

CR: I can see where that would be one of those professions! How do people get a guardian angel to begin with?

MP: In my story, they aren’t exactly guardian angels, more like fallen heroes themselves. They weren’t always off to save the day, but they die saving someone else. The way that someone is assigned a guardian angel further on is because you have some great destiny or heroic life that entails saving many hundreds of lives.

CR: So if they’re not guardian angels, what are they called?

MP: They’re called Shields. Keira is Jason’s Shield and she’s been working herself to the bone protecting him. She fell for him a long time ago, back in his army days, and now that he’s a firefighter, she’s determined that he won’t die on her watch.

CR: Does Jason know about Keira?

MP: He’s not supposed to know she exists, but when his destiny–and his death–draw near, he starts to see visions of her at perilous moments, which means their time is coming to an end.

CR: So, how’d he take that?

MP: Well, he thinks he’s going crazy, and his boss thinks he has PTSD from being in the military. He’s even gotten a psychiatrist and is taking medication for it, thanks to his visions.

CR: Something really awful must have happened for her to show herself.

MP: Someone is setting fires in Bandit Creek, and they’re not just little fires; they’re getting bigger and are becoming more dangerous, threatening people and their homes. Keira, realizing that Jason can see her, doesn’t trust that Jason will survive. She decides that she’s going to throw all caution to the wind, and reveal herself to him.

CR: Does this freak him out, or does he take it in stride?

MP: He totally freaks. And when she propositions him, to exchange her services for a good time in the sack, he grudgingly agrees to her help. He feels uncomfortable about taking advantage of her, but she assures him this isn’t the case, and he realizes that he’s been celibate for too long.

CR: Now that sounds hot!

MP: I was trying to make this a little hotter than I normally write, and I think I succeeded, and not just because there’s lots of fire.

CR: I think I could handle having a sexy firefighter come save me from a burning building. Know any?

MP: The one I know is taken. And I don’t think Keira would want to share.

CR: Too bad! But I can’t wait to read ANGEL FIRE! It’s out on October 1st, on Amazon and Smashwords.

MP: And just so all your readers know, up until Christmas, I’m donating a portion of my royalties from the book to the Calgary Firefighters Burn Treatment Society. (cfbts.org).

CR: Fantastic! Readers, you can read hot romance AND help out firefighters! Now that’s my kind of book.

Angel Fire will be released on October 1st at Amazon and Smashwords.

Carla Roma Interviews A.M. Westerling

Hi Carla Roma here, enjoying a frosty glass of lemonade in A.M. Westerling’s garden. It’s a hot prairie summer day and even though we’re in the shade of a couple of huge poplars, I need all the coolant I can get. <winks>

Astrid: <walks up with the pitcher of lemonade and sits down> Ha ha, I heard you Carla! Would you like more?

Carla: <holds up glass>. Yes please. And is it okay if I call you Astrid? A.M. sounds so, um, stuffy.

Astrid: Of course. I’m using my initials because I thought my name would get so long otherwise. <pours lemonade> So this is a recipe from my ancient Betty Crocker cook book. You know, the one I’ve had since I got married. It’s my go to cook book. She has recipes for everything!

Carla: <takes a sip> Delicious, thanks. So let’s get started with the interview. Why don’t you tell our audience how we met?

Astrid: Sure thing. In yoga class. I looked over during one particularly long downward dog and there was Carla looking back at me. I think we were both wondering how much longer we’d have to hang out, so to speak. <laughs>.

Carla: <rolls eyes> Yeah, I remember that class. Brutal. We were holding the poses for way longer than 5 breaths. I think the instructor forgot to count.

Astrid: But we survived. Barely. <grins>. And yoga has taught me to listen to my body, which stands me in good stead with my writing.

Carla: How so?

Astrid: <shrugs> Not to force it. If I’m in the zone, I go for it. But if the writing’s not coming smoothly, I’ll put it away and do other writing related activities, like research, or catching up with social media, or even just read another book. It’s always good to see how other authors do things. And if I absolutely can’t get past it, I’ll go for a walk. That’s always good for inspiration.

Carla: How long have you been writing? And what inspired you to start writing in the first place, anyway? And I’ll have some more of that lemonade, please! <holds out glass while Astrid pours>

Astrid: I first realized that being an author was something I could actually accomplish when I attended a romance writing seminar given by two of our Bandit Creek authors, Louise Behiel and C.J. Carmichael. Shortly after that, in October of 2004, I joined CaRWA and I’ve been following the dream ever since. And the reason I started to write? Simple. I got tired of reading books and thinking “How did THIS ever get published?” <chuckles> I really thought I could do better so I sat down at the keyboard and started. Nike has it right when they say “Just do it”!

Carla: And where did you get the idea for your Bandit Creek story, “Bootleg My Heart”? Interesting title, by the way.

Astrid: I’m a NASCAR fan. My husband and I regularly attend the race in Las Vegas.

Carla: NASCAR? As in left, left straight, left, left straight? Stock car racing? That NASCAR? <grins>

Astrid: <nods> Yeah, that NASCAR. Hot cars and cute drivers, what’s not to like! I’ve wanted to do a prohibition era story every since I discovered the roots of NASCAR lie in the bootlegging drivers of that time. They’d fix up their cars and race against each other to see who was the fastest. And, of course, to get away from the federal prohibition agents.

Carla: Hmm, who knew.

Astrid: Anyway, it’s a fun era. So innocent in a lot of ways yet with a dark side. I plan on writing another story set in that period, especially now that I’ve done the research.

Carla: I can’t wait to read this one! Especially after reading Alyssa’s “Prohibited Passion.”

Astrid: <nods> This story has one of Alyssa’s characters, Patrick Sheridan, the Irish gangster. It was fun working with her to get everything to jive. Anyway, I hope you enjoy reading “Bootleg My Heart” as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Carla: Can’t wait!

You can connect with A.M. Westerling at her website, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Carla Interviews Trip Williams on ‘Silent Waters’

Hello everyone, and welcome back to Bandit Creek. I’m on the trail of Bandit Creek’s only male writer, Trip Williams.  At first, I thought that Trip was purposefully avoiding me, but soon I realized he is just that busy!  Always exploring and looking for new leads in the many mysteries that surround Bandit Creek, I finally caught up with Trip as he was coming back from a dive in Lost Lake. I patiently waited as he dropped his tanks and shed his BC vest and gear on the dock. Walking towards me as he stripped out of his wetsuit to the waist, I was a bit taken aback by his unabashed smile and confidence. Uhmm… and not to mention his healthy – condition.

Carla:        You are a hard man to catch up to, Trip – are you avoiding me?

Trip:    (Smiling, he sits beside me outside of Charlie’s Dive Shack) I never avoid a pretty girl, Carla. (He gives me a wink).  I heard you were looking for me but the water was too perfect for a dive this morning.

Carla:    So Trip, what’s it like being then only male writer amongst a bevy of female writers?

Trip:    (He laughs) What man wouldn’t want to have his own private harem?  Seriously though, these beautiful women are amazing writers and I feel very privileged to be a part of this with them.

Carla:    Your main character, Jake McCord, is rumored to actually be you…  How do you feel about that?

Trip:    Well… in all honesty, I guess he’s my alter-ego.  Sure, many of his character traits are the same as mine, but to be that good!  It’s a pretty tall order for any man.  To always win the day and get the girl is not exactly reality.  I can usually win the day but to get the girl (he laughs) is the hard part!  You gals can be fickle.

Carla:    So where did Jake come from?

Trip:    Jake was literally born in the jungles of Tanzania back in ’87.  He has been evolving ever since.  I was working there doing oil exploration when the whole “Mkeri” project was born.

Carla:    Mkeri?

Trip:    It’s a book series that I have been working on.  Mkeri is a village along the coast north of Dar es Salaam. Bandit Creek Books has offered me a platform to introduce Jake to the world.  “Fool’s Gold” was his first intro.  It is a light hearted tale that shows his personality.  “Silent Waters” shows you what I like to call the man behind the gun. You really get to know his mettle.

Carla:    So who is this “Colleen” that keeps appearing in your stories?  I hear that she isn’t quite so fictitious.

Trip:    (He looks away and smiles in contemplation).  Colleen is a very special gal who cuts may hair.  She’s beautiful inside and out, so that is why I have her on my cover of “Silent Waters.”

Carla:    Oh – a love interest maybe?

Trip:    (Laughing and shaking his head) No – just a gal I think highly of and a dear friend.

Carla:    Your story takes a different track from the other Bandit Creek books.  It has a 5 Bandit rating and you seem to have a fair bit of detail. Both graphic and settings.

Trip:    I have always believed that if you are to write a good story, you have to completely draw in your readers.  For me, that only comes with details to help with the visualization.  Sure, some things may be a bit disturbing for some, but that is why we have the Bandit rating system.  Life is not always a romance and even though this story is pure fiction, I have based it upon some real life mysteries and crimes.

Carla:    Care to elaborate?

Trip:    (Winking, he gives me that all too familiar cocky grin) Best leave that to the readers to piece together. After all, what’s a thriller without a little suspense and mystery?

Carla:    (Laughing) Well, it has been great to finally catch up with the elusive Trip Williams.  I can now see what all the talk is about.  I look forward to seeing the response to your Thriller as it launches on July 1st.  Thank you, for joining me today, Trip.  Everyone can join Trip for a chat and catch up on his blog at http://tripwilliams-author.blogspot.ca/ or follow him on Twitter @TripWilliams.  If you wish to chat with Trip personally, you can reach him at Tripwilliamsauthor@gmail.com.

His new Mkeri Series will be launching in the fall of 2012.

Carla Roma Interviews Pamela Yaye on ‘A Night to Remember’

Hello Friends! Carla Roma here, and I’m back in Bandit Creek, interviewing one of my favorite romance authors, Pamela Yaye. When this busy wife and mother first suggested a sunrise hike up the Bitterroot mountains, I turned her down, but when she offered to throw in lunch at the Grey Rose—the only upscale, five-star restaurant in town—I readily agreed. I’m having a heck of a time keeping up with her, but the view is breathtaking, and I haven’t felt this good in months!  

Carla (panting): You don’t wake up at the crack of dawn every morning do you?

Pamela: Yeah, I do, but I go to bed super early. I get seven hours of sleep every night, and wake up feeling well-rested, and ready to take on the day.

Carla:  I read somewhere that you climbed the Great Wall of China. I didn’t believe it, but seeing you fly up this and steep mountain, has made me a believer.

Pamela: I did climb the Great Wall. Just ask my brother; I forced him to climb it with me! (laughs softly) I love being outside, and in the summer I bike for an hour or more every day. Exercise is a great stress reliever, and believe it or not, I do a lot of plotting while I’m out on my bike. Ideas come to me as I ride, and for some strange reason, the most sensual love scenes…

Carla:  Speaking of love scenes, your novella, A Night to Remember, has one that made me blush. (Fans a hand to her face) I had to drink two glasses of lemonade to cool off!

Pamela (laughs out loud): I’m just giving readers what they want. And my fans like scorching, hot love scenes. Even the little, old church ladies. :-)

Carla:  I’ve read all of your previous novels, and noticed that all your books start off with a bang. A Night to Remember is no different. I just love the opening scene.

Pamela: Me too! My favorite scene to write in every book is when the hero and heroine meet for the first time.  Nothing is off-limits, anything goes, and if I do my job right, two things will happen: The reader will be hooked from the first page, and she’ll fall in love with the hero at first “sight” (just like the heroine)

Carla: Well, I certainly fell hard for Michael Mosley. How could I not when he was so smooth  and debonair. Did you model him after a real-life person? Your handsome husband, maybe?

Pamela: I don’t know why, but I get this question a lot. My husband is a hottie, and definitely sexy enough to be on one of my book covers, but all of my characters are a figment of my imagination. I take great pride in creating strong, memorable characters, and I don’t cheat or cut corners when it comes to writing my romance stories.

Carla: The heroine, Savannah Vaughn, is a strong, feisty woman who speaks her mind, and does things her way. As you were writing, was there anything about her that surprised you?

Pamela: Yes, that she was so taken by, Michael, she slept with him the first day they met! I never saw that one coming, and I’m the author. (laughs) Savannah has been disappointed by men countless times, and burned by love, so this time around she’s determined to be smart. But Michael Mosley makes it hard for her. He won’t take no for an answer, and his kisses leave her weak. Poor girl. Truth be told, Savannah never stood a chance.

Carla: All of your novels have a hint of erotica in them. Any plans to write one in the future?

Pamela: I would love to! Erotica is one of my favorite genres, and I think I would have great fun writing a full-length story. I’d also like to write a Christian Romance in the near future. I know, I know, they’re on different ends of the spectrum, but why not? (Wears a cheeky smile) You’ve read my books. You know who I am… Sometimes I’m naughty, and sometimes I’m nice!

Carla: What’s next for you? Besides, killer hikes and long, bike rides, of course.

Pamela: I’m in the process of writing book one in my new series, Seduced by a Millionaire, and I’m having a blast with it. My next Kimani Romance, Evidence of Desire, will be released in September 2012. (Raises her eyebrows, and cocks her head to the right) Carla, make sure you keep a whole pitcher of lemonade nearby, because the love scenes in this book are ten times hotter than what I wrote in, A Night to Remember!

Carla (bursts out laughing): I’m so glad I was able to spend the morning catching up with Pamela Yaye. It was great fun! A Night to Remember, a Bandit Creek novella, will be available on June 15th at Amazon.com and Smashwords. To check out Pamela’s sexy new book covers, or to read excerpts of her novels, go to www.pamelayaye.com or visit her on Facebook.

Carla Interviews The ‘Fool’s Gold’ Anthology Authors

Hi, I’m Carla Roma and welcome to the Powder Horn Saloon – home to country music and cold beer in Bandit Creek, Montana. I’m seated beside Trip Williams, one of the seven writers whose short stories comprise the Fool’s Gold Anthology to be released April 1, 2012. I recognized Alyssa Linn Palmer and Victoria Chatham from previous interviews, but Trip introduced me to Louise Behiel, Julie Rowe, Sheila Seabrook, and Brenda Sinclair.

Carla: Hello everyone. I’m delighted to meet with you today.

Cotton: <bartender approaches table> I turned the music down as Trip requested. Just wave if you folks want a second round. 

Carla: Thank you, Cotton. <bartender saunters back behind bar> Let’s get started, shall we? Now, today you’re sharing April Fool’s jokes that you’ve pulled on someone or been caught by yourself. Shall we start with Victoria? 

Victoria: Years ago I worked in a bookstore in England. A new title on the history of transvestism came in. I composed a letter, supposedly from the publisher, congratulating my boss on purchasing ‘this new and exciting social treatise’. He called friends and family, asked my colleagues if they were responsible. I carried on working, and somehow he missed me altogether. His wife came in later, took one look at the letter, and said ‘Oh, that’s Victoria’. It took awhile to live that one down, but he had to admit he’d been fooled. <chuckles> 

Carla: What about you, Brenda? 

Brenda: Unlike Victoria, I was on the receiving end. Several years ago, The Red Deer Advocate printed a front page story about the City of Red Deer issuing special bags for collecting doggie poop – blue for boy dogs and pink for girl dogs – and I read most of the darn thing, totally annoyed at the idea, until I caught on I was reading an April Fool’s story. I felt rather silly. <chuckles and smiles> 

Trip: I got caught by a newspaper item, too, Brenda. About six years ago, we had a winter packed with heavy snowfalls late into the season.  The sides of my driveway were piled to five feet and the snow kept coming. Unfolding the morning Sun, I was beside myself! The city declared that all streets in front of homes were now the responsibility of homeowners to keep clear. I was spitting mad and would not stand for this! By 9:00, I had written letters to my MLA and Alderman. This, I would not tolerate! At lunch I was informed it was April 1st.  Man, did I feel stupid. Laughing at myself, I could only hope the recipients of my letters found the same humor in them as well. <everyone laughs and sips their beer>

Carla: I travel the world, avoiding cold weather, preferring to lie on a sunny beach. But then I meet with friends for a ski week in Switzerland every year. <chuckles and shakes her head> Whose next? How about you, Sheila?

Sheila: We “sent” 12 employees to a conference at $500/person and stuck the requisition in a stack of paperwork for approval. Our boss marched out of his office, face sweating, hair on end, and told us we couldn’t spend this much money without head office approval or he was going to get fired. When we told him we’d already paid with the company credit card, he looked ready to have a heart attack. Finally we yelled, “April Fool’s Day!” and his chin hit his chest.

Carla: Six thousand dollars! No wonder he almost had a heart attack. <joins laughter> Alyssa, what happened to you?

Alyssa: A friend of mine once blogged about learning he was a father, from a relationship he’d had nine years prior. Of course I believed him, since it wasn’t something anyone would joke about. And later that day, he owned up: it was only a joke. I’d never been so annoyed. I still can’t believe anyone would joke about such a thing.

Carla: Men aren’t always the most sensitive beings on earth.

Trip: Hey, I don’t agree with that.

Carla: You’re an exception, Trip. <smiles> Who’d like to share next?

Louise: I will. My department doesn’t play pranks on each other. One morning my office door was unexpectedly locked. I had a big presentation to finalize for the executive committee, and needed to work on my unnetworked desktop. But my secretary couldn’t find the key, so called maintenance.  He couldn’t open it either.  I steamed from both ears and sweat pooled everywhere. The key guru came but couldn’t open the door.  Panic overwhelmed me. Finally an hour later, my secretary dangled the key in front of me.  “April Fool’s” she yelled.  She’d been notified that morning the meeting was re-scheduled. <smiles and chuckles>

Carla: Julie, finish our interview off. What happened to you?

Julie: The best April Fool’s joke I’ve ever witnessed is one a good friend of mine played on her husband. My friends have four kids. The first two were planned, but #3 happened when the IUD failed and #4 happened when the condom failed. They decided he better have a vasectomy before #5 ‘happened’. April Fool’s day fell shortly before his surgery. She phoned him at work to say her period was late. His response: total silence. So, she went on to say she’d done a pregnancy test. It was positive. He broke his silence at that point with some very creative remarks, which I won’t repeat. Then he hung up. She called him back and as soon as he answered the phone said, “Honey, what day is today?” Then SHE hung up. <lots of smiles and laughter>

Carla: Thank you for sharing these wonderful pranks with me. And I look forward to seeing all of you again one day.

For more fun and famous April Fool’s jokes and pranks, please check out this website:
Top 100 April Fool’s Day Hoaxes of All Time.

Pick up a copy of the Fool’s Gold Anthology to be released on April 1, 2012 .

Carla Interviews Victoria Chatham about ‘Always A Lady’

Always a Lady by Victoria ChathamHello, Carla Roma here. I’m back in Bandit Creek again after a quick trip to England and, as always, I’m thrilled to meet up with one of my authors. Victoria Chatham is English, and I couldn’t think of a better place to chat with her than the Grey Rose Restaurant. Although this is a thoroughly modern setting, the walls are decorated with photographs of historical Bandit Creek, showing the old Powder Horn Saloon, Golden Nugget Hotel and many more. With a fresh pot of Earl Grey tea and a selection of fancy pastries at our disposal, I was looking forward to finding out why Victoria chose the period she did for her story.

Carla: What made you decide to set your story in 1907?

Victoria: There was a series on British TV called Upstairs, Downstairs. It ran for 68 episodes and I loved them all but particularly the first two series that covered the Edwardian era of 1903-1910. From the characters to the costumes, the story lines, the settings, it was classic. I just picked a year and went from there.

Carla: Lady Serena is well travelled for a woman of that time. Have you also traveled extensively?

Victoria: I’ve been to Spain several times, Singapore, New Zealand and San Francisco twice. But I’ve always been fascinated with the history of English and European women who, from the early 1700s to the early 1900s, traveled freely in what was then referred to as the Orient, which meant any country east of Europe. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu visited Turkey in 1717 and reportedly envied the freedom of nude bathers she observed in a Turkish baths. Lady Hester Stanhope, Lady Anne Blunt, Olympe Audouard and Jane Dieulafoy are a few of the many women who toured and lived in Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Mesopotamia, now Iraq, and Persia, now Iran. They were writers and artists, some were archaeologists and Lady Anne Blunt and her husband, Wilfrid, acquired pure Arab breeding stock for their Crabbet Park stud in England.

Carla: Is travel a thread you deliberately put in your novella because you can relate to her?

Victoria: Partly, but more because it has always intrigued me as to where and why people traveled. And remember, gold fields were like honey to a bee and drew people from all over the world. A gold mining town anywhere would have been a melting pot of all nationalities. I hoped to show a little of that with the different characters I introduced.

Carla: Do you think you would have enjoyed traveling like those women did?

Victoria: Not a chance! I like my creature comforts too much. And I can quite see why many of these ladies quickly got out of their corsets and into the comfort of whatever the local costume may have been.

Carla: So there was a strong precedent for Lady Serena casting off her corsets and belly dancing? Can you belly dance?

Victoria: Yes, and yes. I love belly dancing. It’s a terrific workout exercise and you don’t need a partner.

Carla: Do you share any of Lady Serena’s characteristics?

Victoria: Um, I have to say yes on that one. I’ve always been very strong willed and independent and I’m not particularly patient. But then, I’m a first born and a Virgo, so I come by it honestly.

Carla: What is it about Randolph that appeals to women? What makes him a good hero?

Victoria: He’s loyal, handsome, and in the true way of gentlemen, lets his wife be front and centre as her story was much more interesting. In this story anyway.

Carla: Aha! So there is going to be another story?

Victoria: I think so. I like the challenge of pairing a husband and wife team. I’m probably giving my age away, but I thoroughly enjoyed Dashiell Hammett’s Nick and Nora Charles characters in The Thin Man. And the Hart to Hart television series with Robert Wagner playing Jonathan and Stefanie Powers playing his wife Jennifer, so I think it’s a theme that has merit.

Carla: Last question. Can you give a hint as to what the next story will be about?

Victoria: Well, there always have been and, I suspect, always will be spies and Europe has always been intriguing, don’t you think?

Carla: And that’s all you’ll share?

Victoria: More tea?

Victoria Chatham’s Bandit Creek story, Always A Lady, debuts March 15th, on Amazon.com. In the meantime, you can link up with her on Twitter and Facebook.