- An author with The Wild Rose Press, I strive to bring authors and readers together with a touch of Heart, Soul, and Happily Ever After. You can connect with me at www.facebook.com/imahayes , https://twitter.com/imahayes, and we can get pin happy at www.pinterest.com/imahayes.
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Interview- LA Kelley- The Naughty List
Happy Monday morning Readers.What better way is there to start getting into the Christmas spirit, then with a good book? And I have just the one for you.
My guest author today is LA Kelley. She's here to share her newest book, The Naughty List, and to answer a few questions. So, LA, I've been lucky enough to already read The Naughty List. For those who haven't, how about starting us off with a blurb?
Not your mama’s Christmas story unless she had too much egg nog or was born with a cheeky sense of humor.
Murder, mystical artifacts, an invisible demon with anger management issues, and an overbearing cupid—not what Rosalie Thatcher wished for on her Christmas list. The holidays had always been a magical time for Rosalie, but not this year. Stephanie, her new manager at Penrose’s Department Store, is determined to make this season the most profitable in the store’s history, even if it sucks the life out of every employee. Introducing arbitrary rules and stealing the affections of Anthony, the cute temp Santa, were bad enough, but forcing Rosalie into the stupid elf hat was the worst. The worst, that is, until she meets a real E.L.F. (Elemental Life Form) named David and gets lassoed into a desperate hunt for the stolen Naughty and Nice List. Now all Rosalie and David must do is dodge a murderous invisible demon and recover the missing artifact before hellhounds track them down. The couple race against time for without the magical guidance of the Naughty and Nice List, the world will tumble toward eternal chaos.
For those of you who are already hooked, don't worry we've got the excerpt right here:
David sunk wearily into a chair in the break room, cradling a disposable cup in his hands. He appropriated the stale coffee from the pot someone forgot to empty out and clean. He barely noticed the bitter taste. Ten minute break…ten minutes was all he needed. The caffeine would keep him on his feet another couple of hours. He rubbed his eyes, willing away the crushing fatigue. Night after night David wandered Penrose’s four floors in a fruitless search, pulling open boxes, checking under counters. Although the nagging pull continued to graze his senses, The Book was nowhere to be found. He’d come no closer to pinning down the location than when he arrived. The mystical connection now appreciably slackened under his mental touch. David’s stomach knotted up in fear. Soon the link would disappear forever. Something alluded him—some special storage area, some door he hadn’t opened. Why couldn’t he find The Book?
In frustration, David drained the last of the coffee. He flung the cup to the wastebasket, overshot, and hit the corkboard on the wall. A clipboard crashed to the floor. He stifled a curse. Bending down to pick it up, his eyes strayed over the top sheet. “Motivation Memo from Stephanie Crowder to all Employees,” he read. “Below are daily reports from Sneaky Shoppers.” Oh brother, Stephanie is a real piece of work. She has her own secret police. He snorted in amusement scanning the list of ridiculous infractions.
“Now, now, Rosalie Thatcher of Customer Service,” he muttered. “Two transgressions—you’ll never get off the Naughty List with that attitude. Imagine, not remembering to say have a special holly jolly holly-day at Penrose’s. I see you were also caught without an elf hat.”
His lips twitched in an involuntary grin. His dad would appreciate the joke. As David replaced the clipboard, he suddenly remembered Rosalie. She was the girl he followed to the security office. The picture of the young brunette with a friendly natural smile popped into his mind. A smile like that couldn’t be faked. She liked people. She liked her job. He wondered how she felt about Penrose’s now.
David experienced a rush of guilt. All around the atmosphere had changed. He was super-sensitive to the yuletide. Magic in the air, holiday spirit, whatever—there was always something indefinably optimistic about this time of year. Even as a kid, before he understood family responsibilities, he sensed the truth. As easily as he now sensed the diminished effect of The Book. Whatever goodwill the season stirred up rapidly faded. Hard-working people like Rosalie paid the price of his stupid mistake.
The young man slipped out of the break room. He had enough time left to make one quick circuit of the first floor before staff trickled in. He worked from the front of Penrose’s to the back corner, ending up at Customer Service. For an instant, his spirits rose. A large box stashed underneath the counter wasn’t there the last time he checked. He ripped off the top, pawing through the contents. Fingering the garish green material, David didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. The oversize ears stuck out like a genetic experiment gone horribly wrong. The lining felt like steel wool. Had the holiday spirit been reduced to this?
A wave of despair enveloped him. “I’m so sorry, Rosalie.”On impulse, David reached into his pocket. He pulled out a gold-wrapped chocolate bar saved for later, swiped from a stash hidden in the store manager’s office. David scribbled on a sticky pad and pressed the note to the wrapper. He slipped the candy under the counter just before a sudden murmur of voices broke the silence. The staff had arrived. He ducked behind a rack of clothing in the back as a girl walked up to the counter, an elf hat tucked under her arm.
She halted in mid-stride. A sharply dressed twentysomething in a skin tight pencil skirt swooped down on her. To get a better view, David carefully eased back the clothes hanging in front of his face. He saw Rosalie’s fingers clenched around the hat. He chuckled to himself. She’s pissed, but hides her aggravation well. Sadhri would definitely approve of her self-control.
“Stephanie,” Rosalie stated calmly, “the hats are extremely uncomfortable. Everyone hates them.”
“Nonsense, they’re fine.”
“If you simply try one on you’ll see—”
“I don’t have to. I know they’re fine. The hats put people in the holiday spirit and cheerful people spend more money.” Stephanie examined her perfect French manicure. “So close to Christmas is an awful time to be out of work.” Rosalie jammed the hat on her head without another word. “Excellent,” cooed Stephanie. “Keep that attitude up and your name will stop appearing on the Motivation Memo.” Without another word, she flounced off.
David knew he should dash-away. Every moment in the open was risky, but he couldn’t take his eyes off Rosalie in the idiotic hat. What would she do?
The young woman leaned against the counter glaring after Stephanie. She bobbled her head back and forth and spouted in a falsetto sing-song:
“I’m a special elf from Penrose’s
I wear the special hat
You are not a special elf
You’re a dirty rat
You don’t belong at Penrose’s
You don’t know how to play
Wiggle your tight ass out of here
Damn you, go away.”
David snorted. Rosalie stiffened and turned around.
“Who’s there?” she called.
Trust me Readers, the book is every bit as good as the sneek peek. Here's the Buy Link you'll need.
The Naughty List is available in paperback and Kindle. The Kindle edition is on sale for $2.99 until November 26.
And now, it's on to the interview questions. Drum roll please.......
LA, Tell me three words that describe yourself starting with A, B, and C.
In psychological terminology, an ambivert is a personality between extrovert and introvert. You won’t find me at a party dancing naked in the punchbowl. Nor will I be hiding in a closet under a pile of coats moaning, “Please, send all the nasty people away.” I’ll be somewhere on the fringes of the crowd, taking it all in, wondering who would make a good character for my next book.
More intense than a bibliophile, I get passionately attached to certain books. (Don’t mess with my copy of Harold and the Purple Crayon or I’ll bite you.) I’ve always had the utmost respect for authors and still feel a bit of a fraud calling myself one. I imagined they walked in a special light, their own personal theme songs playing triumphantly in the background. At the first writers’ conference I attended, everyone kind of looked like me. No halos. No theme songs. I was both enormously relieved and horribly disappointed.
I’m 5’1’’. Nuff said.
You know what they say about dynamite coming in small packages!
Tell me, what are your three favorite things?
1. My son’s brownie recipe. Do not eat at least three days prior to a cholesterol screening.
2. My black flats with the gummy sole. Ugly as sin, not fit to be worn in public, but like walking on butter.
3. My writing chair. Large, roomy, perfect butt-to-overstuffed-upholstery ratio. Most likely, lots of crumbs under the cushions. I don’t have the nerve to look.
What for you is the best part of writing?
Seeing how the finished product comes together and then holding a book with your name on the cover in hot little hands. No better feeling.
What is the worst?
I don’t plot out my stories in advance, so generally after reaching the middle, I wander around with a dazed expression, beating my chest, and exclaiming out loud, “Dear God, what have I done? Nothing makes sense.” After a few days of panic and more than one good slap upside the head, plot points work their way out and I stumble back on track.
Was there any particular inspiration for your characters or story?
I got the inspiration for The Naughty List when I went into Barnes and Noble during Christmas time. All the workers sported Santa hats. I asked the cashier if the managers wore them, too. With an eye-roll she leaned over the counter and whispered, “Of course not. It was their idea.” Aha!—a story about hard-working employees, thoughtless management, and holiday magic is born.
Retail workers are real troupers, especially during the holidays. They are underpaid, overstressed, and must be always smiling and in control, no matter how insane the atmosphere. In my book, people who mistreat them get a comeuppance.
And what a lively comeuppance it is! What is the ultimate goal you have for your career?
I’d love to generate a real income—nothing flashy, mind you. I don’t need my own theme park, but my goal is to eventually make a living at writing and put out at least one new book a year.
After what I've read, I'm sure you'll have no problem doing that and I'm sure once the readers get a glance of The Naughty List themselves, they'll agree. As we wrap it up, can you give us a few links on where to find you.
Amazon Author Page
Thank you LA for being with us today. I've had a blast. Best of luck. And Readers, be sure to keep stopping by. I'll have a review of today's book in a few weeks and I'd love to hear what you thought of it as well.