Monday, October 29, 2007

Happy Halloween . . . and Writers in their Own Words

We're getting good, crisp Halloween weather here in the Heartland, and I love it. The nights are nippy, the furnace rumbles on in the morning, and the leaves are turning all shades of red and gold and orange. My husband and I were running some errands over the weekend, and our drive took us up on some of the bluffs near where we live. I kept oohing and aahing over the colors. I finally turned to him and said, "Oh my, I just became my mother." Such is autumn. I am also fully immersed in fall cooking. Brisket. Apple Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce. Then, Apple Pear Spice Cake (which needed a bit more spice flavor, but I'm going to pick up some cinnamon ice cream today which should be just the ticket).

And with all this home cooking and chilly air, what you want is a good book to enjoy when you wrap up in an old quilt with some tea, isn't it. Well, here you go . . .
Jana DeLeon's book UNLUCKY fits the bill. It's getting reviews such as this, “With original, smart and comedic writing, DeLeon delivers a three-dimensional hero and heroine, a community of offbeat secondary characters, a complex and intriguing plot with a hint of the paranormal and a fascinating peek into the world of casino poker.” – Romantic Times Book Reviews 4 ½ Stars!

Now, let's hear Jana in her own words:

How did you come up with the idea for this book?

My husband and I got married in Vegas in 2000. Before we left, I studied and studied blackjack combinations, determined to beat the house. Unfortunately, I have absolutely, positively NO LUCK. In fact, my luck is so bad that when I sit down at a table, not only don't I win, everyone else starts losing too. So I came up with Mallory Devereaux, the unluckiest woman in the world, who needs to make some money fast and decides to do it by "cooling" cards at a poker tournament of criminals.
Are you more driven by plot or by character? I'm definitely more character driven although plot plays a major role in my books since I write mystery hybrids.

Who's your favorite character in this book and why? My favorite character is the heroine, Mallory, because she took what most would deem a disability and made her life work with it.

What's your writing process/writing environment like?
I come up with an idea – a what if. Then I develop characters and a plot around it. My writing environment could be anywhere. Since I'm a morning person, I do a lot of writing in cafes.

What's your favorite part of writing?
Definitely the letters from fans

What's the best piece of advice you've ever gotten about writing? Don't quit your day job

Visit Jana at her blog, too.

And, in the spirit of Halloween and eating, how do you solve the halloween candy conundrum. Do you buy stuff you won't eat, or do you tempt yourself and buy stuff you do like?


kristen said...

Here's how I handle the Halloween candy problem: I buy candy I don't like and then I swear the following year to buy at least one thing I do like, you know, as a little perk for suffering through the previous year...And then I wind up eating nearly all the candy I do like before Halloween and swear I will never do that again. As you might imagine, it's a vicious circle. This was a "candy-I-like" year and I've been bad. Very bad. Next year, nothing but Sweet Tarts and Almond Joy.


Oh, and thanks for the book recommendation!

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Sounds about as good as my plan. I buy some stuff I like, some stuff I don't, with the idea that if there's any left over it won't all be stuff I like. But, of course, I buy more than I think I'll need, and I tend to reach for stuff I DON'T like when I'm handing it out to the kids. So, November finds me with lots of Snickers dark and Kit-Kats to snarf down. And I eat the stuff I don't like.

Oh, yeah, I even like Sweet Tarts and Almond Joys.

Carleen Brice said...

I have a friend who's unlucky for herself but brings luck to others. We were at a charity lunch and we got raffle tickets. She told me, Someone at my table will win because whoever sits by me always wins and I always lose. I won a $50 gift certificate!

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Carleen, how fun for you! Ever thought of taking her to Vegas?

Oh, so sorry about your Rockies . . . but I was screaming in glee last night at the end of the Packers-Broncos game.

The Writers' Group said...

Thanks for introducing us to Jana. What a premise!

As for the candy, I just sneak my kids' when they're at school. Utterly shameless, I know.

Amy MacKinnon