So a few days ago, an idea popped into my head. I’m still new at all this reader-interaction stuff, but I wanted to do something that would be fun. I asked fans on my Facebook page and Twitter feed to submit questions they wanted answered. These could be questions for me, questions about the books, questions about writing, or even questions for the characters. Several people responded, and several of the questions made me laugh out loud.
I’m going to answer those questions here and now. I’ll start with the non-character stuff. Then we’ll have some fun. 😉
Geraldine asks: Where did you go to school, and what do you write?
I went to school in Perry County, Kentucky. R.W. Combs for elementary, Dilce Combs for high school. I was supposed to be in the last graduating class, but construction delays made us the second-to-last. Interestingly enough, one of my uncles was in the first graduating class, way back in 1955, I believe it was.
I write romance, romantic suspense, erotic romance, and romantic parodies. I’m hoping to venture into a couple other genres in this upcoming year.
I have four series – The Shadows/Leroy series (romantic suspense), the Firefly Hollow series (romance with light paranormal elements), the Sunset Motel series (erotic romance), and the Vapid Vixens series (romantic parodies.)
Jaime would like to know the following: Where do your ideas come from? Have these characters been in your head for a long time or do you create them as needed? Will there be more books in the Shadows series? Who is YOUR favorite character?
My ideas come from… I’m not sure where they come from, to be honest. Not all of them. Some come in dreams. Some come from little glimpses of things I see in the real world. But beyond that, I have no idea. I used to tell myself stories when I was a young girl, and then as an adult, in order to go to sleep. Yes, I’m something of an insomniac. And that storytelling led me to where I am now. I still use that time to plot things out, work scenes out in my head.
The characters–both. Some are old friends. Some are new acquaintances. And just like in real life, getting to know them can sometimes lead to some surprises.
I’m not sure is the best answer I can give you about the Shadows series. I do have some ideas I’d like to play with for that series, but the creative muses are riding me pretty hard to do other things first. I’d like to come back to Leroy someday but for right now, other things are going to come first.
Who is my favorite character? Oh, boy. From the Shadows series, I really like Beth and Ethan. Their dynamic just… works for me, I guess you would say. And Jason Hudson. Someone asked me once in an interview which character I’d choose to spend a day with, and I answered Jason. He’d be a blast. He’s such a hoot, and I kind of hate that he hasn’t gotten his own book. I may remedy that some day.
From the Firefly Hollow series, it has to be Owen. He’s so sure that no one will ever love him, and he’s so confounded when he meets Sarah… He just melts my heart. I think Ethan has a little of that, too, and that’s probably why he’s my favorite hero from the Shadows series. Beth just walks in and loves him, and he doesn’t know what to do with her.
Ashley – She, too, asked about the next Shadows/Leroy book. She thinks Garrett Gordon needs his own story, and I tend to agree. Garrett is still a bit of a mystery to me. I’ve struggled for a while now trying to figure out who he is, and he’s just so stoic and surly, he won’t let me in. He isn’t ready, I suppose. And I do have someone in mind to pair him up with… but he’s being stubborn.
She also wants to know what has happened to all the other Leroy characters. Where are they now? They are plugging along. I’ve not quite figured out where I want certain storylines to go just yet, so I hesitate on giving specific answers. If I feel that I can do it justice, I may do a web-based series updating everyone. Little “slice of life” stories to keep you all updated. I’ll keep you posted on that and if I do decide to do that, I’ll send out notice in my newsletter. (If you haven’t signed up, the link is here.)
Now, the character questions. I’ve decided to have a bit of fun with this, so you all bear with me here, please. Those of you who asked character questions, I’m going to “write you in” to this scene. 😉 I hope you enjoy it.
~ * * * ~
When the call from T. L. Haddix went out early this past week for questions from readers for the characters, a collective groan went up from most of the men who appear in the books. The women, for the most part, were pleased as punch. On the date the post was to go live, they “gathered” in a room to do the interview.
“It’s nice to have someone interested in asking us questions,” Sarah Campbell said. “Exciting and more than a little flattering.”
Owen, her husband, looked at her and sighed. “It’s flattering. I’ll give you that. I don’t know how exciting it is, though. You know I don’t like putting on a public face.”
Beth Hudson Moore, who “drove down” to Hazard from Leroy just for this occasion, nudged him with her shoulder. “Oh, now. It won’t be that bad. You’ll enjoy it, I promise. Those two ladies standing outside the green room looked as nice as they could be.”
Owen wasn’t convinced. He quirked an eyebrow and crossed his arms. “Let’s get on with it.”
Beth’s brother, Jason, sent the older man a grin. “You sound just like Ethan would.”
“Doesn’t he?” Beth asked. “It’s sweet.”
Owen’s cheeks flushed, but a hint of a smile played around his lips.
T. L. stepped into the room with a wide-eyed look on her face. “Why am I so nervous about this? You all are getting all the questions.”
“Because you don’t want any of us to be uncomfortable,” Sarah answered. “Don’t you worry. We’re fine.”
“Okay. In that case, is everyone ready? The readers are a little anxious, especially Cory. She’s already run around the building three times, she’s so giddy. She may even squeal,” T. L. warned.
Jason grinned, his dimples and blue eyes making every woman in the room smile back in appreciation. “I’m used to making the ladies squeal. Bring her on.”
Beth smacked him while Sarah and T. L. snickered. Even Owen seemed amused. “You’re a married man now. Behave,” Beth admonished.
“And she hasn’t met you yet, besides,” T. L. told him. “You’re not the man who has her all aflutter.
Everyone looked at Owen, whose face turned pink. “Oh, you’re kidding me. Really?”
“Mm-hmmm. I told you our female readers just love you.”
When he groaned and covered his face with his hands, everyone laughed. Sarah turned to T. L. with a sparkling smile. “This is going to be fun.”
“I hope so. I’ll be right back.”
A minute later, she opened the door and led the two women into the room, directing them to the empty chairs she’d placed around the circle. Once they were seated, she made the introductions. “Everyone, this is DeAnn and Cory. Ladies, you know who these folks are. Well, Cory doesn’t because she hasn’t read the Shadows series yet.”
Beth waved from across the coffee table. “I’m Beth Hudson Moore, and this is my brother, Jason. My book is the second one, Under the Moon’s Shadow, and Jason makes an appearance in all of them.”
“Hey, I get my own short story,” he protested.
She rolled her eyes. “A whopping less-than-a-thousand words in a flash-fiction anthology. Big whoop.” Her wink told them she was teasing. Jason stuck his tongue out at her, and she gently pushed his shoulder.
“Remind you of anyone?” Sarah asked Owen in a soft murmur.
He smiled, looking much more relaxed than he had before. “Reminds me of five someones.”
A tiny squeak sounded from Cory, who was practically vibrating out of her chair, she was so excited. Her cheeks were flushed and her eyes were as big as silver dollars. She kept looking down at her papers, then up at Owen and Sarah. Particularly at Owen.
“Omigod, omigod. I just–you’re so–Eeeep!!! Omigod. He’s real!” Her feet tapped on the floor as she danced in her chair, and she grinned at T. L. “I can’t–omigod!”
Across the coffee table, Owen was looking uncomfortable, but Sarah was chuckling.
Without a word, T. L. handed Cory a paper bag. “If you start to hyperventilate, use this. Do you still want to go first, or do you think you need a few minutes?”
When Cory put the bag over her mouth and started breathing into it, shaking her head no, T. L. smiled and patted her on the shoulder. “DeAnn, looks like you’re first.”
DeAnn’s face was a little flushed, and she smiled at Beth and Jason nervously. “My question was actually about Galen, but T. L. explained that he had to stay home with Stacy and the baby. And she also made us meeting you conditional–I have to ask the question I brought up on Facebook,” she said, sitting forward to look around Cory to make a face at T. L.
There was a good amount of wickedness in T. L.’s answering grin. “It was a good question.”
DeAnn shook her head, but she was smiling. “I wanted to know if I could borrow Galen Gordon for a day or two. So I guess maybe my question was for Stacy, instead of him.”
Beth laughed. “Given the way she beat up on the skanky you-know-what down in Kentucky, I’d say you’d be safer to not ask. Though they both would be flattered that you did. The man is too attractive for his own good.”
“I’m going to tell Ethan you said that,” Jason teased.
“I’m sure you will. He can handle it. He’s not too jealous of Gordon anymore. It usually works to my advantage when he does get a flare of the green-eyed monster,” she told DeAnn with a mischievous wink.
Owen coughed. “I don’t even want to know.”
“You’d know if you read the books,” Sarah told him pertly. “As I understand it, though, Garrett is still single, isn’t he?” she asked Beth. “And he does bear a remarkable resemblance to his brother.”
“Only in looks,” Jason put in. “Once you get to know him, he’s a horse’s–” He scowled and rubbed his arm where Beth had smacked it. “Ow! What was that for?”
“Don’t say that about Garrett. He’s a nice guy. He just has some… issues to work through. That’s all.”
Jason huffed out an offended breath. “Well, I wish Tabby would hurry up and work them out for him.”
T. L. shot him a look. “Really? Tabby? I’m trying to be serious here.”
“Yeah, and you’re just going to have to be a serious Tabby.”
She shook her head. “You characters…. What am I going to do with you?”
“Write more books,” came Jason’s prompt answer.
“Working on it.” She exchanged a look with Owen, who was smiling. “You know how it is, meeting deadlines, keeping up the pace. I just want to rest for a day or two, but my brain won’t let me.”
“You’ll rest when you need to,” Owen assured her.
“So DeAnn, was that all?” T. L. asked.
The other woman nodded. “But this is fun. Thanks for inviting me.”
T. L. shook her head. “Thanks for asking in the first place. Cory, I guess it’s your turn. Are you ready?”
Cory blew out a comical breath, holding the paper with her questions on it out from her chest. “I can’t believe you’re making me ask this. If I wasn’t meeting Owen… I could make you disappear, you know.”
T. L. grinned. “Ain’t skeered. Ask your questions, girlie.”
Cory shot her a fake-evil look and sighed. Not looking at Owen and Sarah, she read from the paper. “Owen. If we were to make sweet, sweet love…”
Sarah laughed so hard, so fast, she snorted. She had to cover her mouth, though her laughter was plain to see on her face as she watched to see how her husband would react.
Owen scowled at her, his cheeks bright red flags. “You laugh. Go ahead. How in the world did I end up being a sex symbol?” He shook his head. “I can’t answer that, young lady. I’m old enough to be your father, you know.”
Cory, mostly over her intimidation, gave an innocent shrug. “You weren’t in the first book. And you’ve only gotten better with age.”
Sarah nodded. “Yes, he has.” She winked at Cory, who winked back. “So is that it?”
“No. Sarah–if Owen and I were to make sweet, sweet love…”
Owen was shaking his head, which was buried in his hand. But Sarah tried to answer seriously. “It wouldn’t be lovemaking. You know that.”
Cory sighed. “I do know that. But a girl can dream. Besides, I have my own Owen.”
“I’m glad. Everyone needs an Owen,” Sarah said with a smile.
“I do have a serious question for the two of you. What is the most difficult challenge you faced while raising your children?”
Owen, mostly over his embarrassment, exchanged a look with his wife. “That is a good question.”
Sarah nodded. “It is. And not easy to answer. We have five great kids. They weren’t angels, not by any stretch.”
“Especially Emma,” Owen added with a smile. “But they never did push the boundaries in ways that other kids tend to. Not even our little hellion. I don’t think our kids are going to be as lucky with the grandkids, though. Eli and Noah have been fighting a lot lately.”
Cory frowned. “Real fighting or just brothers fighting?”
“There’s some real angst there I never saw with our boys,” he answered.
Cory turned to T. L., instantly suspicious. “What do you have planned?”
T. L. spread her hands. “It isn’t me. It’s them. I’m just the transcriptionist.”
Though she didn’t look pleased, Cory turned back to the Campbells.
Sarah continued to answer her question. “I think the most difficult part of raising five kids was just the logistics of it from time to time. That and the worry.”
Owen was nodding. “Even though I was home with them, and Sarah was until after Rachel was born, being a work-at-home dad was a challenge from time to time. I didn’t get to spend as much time with them as I would have liked, especially when I had a hard deadline pressing down on me.”
“Although our kids never really complained about that,” Sarah added. “You did a fine job of balancing things for the most part, and when you didn’t, we let you know before it caused hard feelings.”
When Owen put his arm around Sarah’s shoulders, Cory practically melted in her chair. But she went back to something else Sarah had said. “What about the worry?”
Sarah’s smile was a little sad. “When we first became parents, I thought we’d get them out of the nes,t so to speak, and then we’d be able to relax. But that doesn’t happen. It doesn’t matter if your kids are two or twenty-two, you worry about them.”
“That’s true. Even though they’re starting to settle down and have their own kids, you still fret about them being happy, about their kids being happy, about their spouses being happy. We’re lucky that we have great children-in-law,” Owen said.
“You do have a great family,” Beth surprised them by saying. “What? I read the books. I want to know what’s going on in the alternate universe, too.”
After some idle chit-chat, the question and answer session broke up. T. L. walked DeAnn and Cory out. “Thanks for coming, you guys. I really appreciate it. This has been a blast. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.”
~ * * * ~
And I seriously did enjoy this. Thank you all so much for the interest, for the questions, and for reading the books. I could not do this without your support, and I hope I continue to do you proud. 🙂