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Behind the Book – Relatively Risky: The Big Uneasy 1

The (Mostly) True Story Behind the Writing of Relatively Risky

(Program note: I launched these interviews last century as an attention-getting device. This time my motives are much more pure. Really.)

Me: So! Here we are, back again with the interviews. I have to be honest, it feels a little weird.

I: I feel neglected. I still had things to say and you weren’t around to ask.

Me: Um, I didn’t go anywhere. Can’t go anywhere without you.

I: You’re not going to start singing or anything?

Me: Because I can carry a tune? Not.

I: Hey, you started doing those Facebook Dead Author Live things.

Me: Can we get to the interview?

I: I was just waiting for you.

Me: (sighs heavily): So, Relatively Risky. This book had a bumpy ride to publication, didn’t it?

I: It did. I originally wrote it as a proposal for my then-agent.

Me: That was different for you.

I: Yeah, I write seat-of-the-pants and into-the-mist…

Me: (sotto voice) Splat on the bottom of the canyon…

I: …so trying to write enough of a story to interest an editor was terrifying. When I try to plot and plan, my brain thinks I’m done with the story and wants to move on. I was so afraid this would happen if they accepted it.

Me: And then an actual NY pub editor liked the proposal.

I: Well, sort of. She said she love, love, loved it and would I change, change, change it completely. LOL

Me: And then she asked The Question, the one we’d been dreading.

I: It wasn’t really asking. She told me my characters had to have actual sex. Which is kind of hilarious, because they were, you know, fictional. I don’t think fictional characters can have actual sex. And if they came to life, they wouldn’t want her peeping in on their actual sex.

Me: So you told her no.

I: Why yes, I did. And good-bye interested editor and agent.

Me: You were bummed.

I: I was and I wasn’t. I knew I wouldn’t be happy doing something that I didn’t want to do, but it felt like a big knockback. And at the same time, my then-library publisher changed the terms of their contract. I told them no, as well, so it felt like a lot of doors were closing all at the same time.

Me: But…

I: All the negatives freed me to keep writing books that engaged me, instead of books that could be marketed by big publishers. I might have felt a little relieved I didn’t have to write that book. I put it in a “virtual” drawer and moved on with other projects. Time passed, years even, and then a friend, who had read the few chapters I wrote to go with the proposal, found it on her computer, re-read it and emailed me about it. I opened it up, read it and thought, “I don’t hate this.”

Me: You had to rework it some, though, didn’t you?

I: I’m not sure I had to, but I wanted to. I needed to go into the mist with it, so I kept the characters and the location (New Orleans) and dumped everything else. Well, except the opening scene where Nell and Alex meet for the first time when he is getting mugged. I still like that scene.

Me: I like that one, too. So, Nell was still an artist…

I: …and Alex was still a cop with twelve siblings (The Baker’s Dozen) and the title became Relatively Risky

Me: Do you—

I: No, I don’t remember what the original title was supposed to be.

Me: Moving on from touchy author…and the series is called…

I: The Big Uneasy, because it is about murder, mayhem and high jinks in the Big Easy.

Me: The series has grown a bit.

I: In addition to Relatively Risky, there is a short story called “Family Treed,” the second novel in the series, Dead Spaces, and a novella called Louisiana Lagniappe. Hopefully, we’ll be able to do interviews about some of them, too. And I’ll be working on the next book in the series this year…

Me: Is that a hint to wrap this up?

I: Yes.

Me: Well, then, is there anything you’d like to add?

I: One thing I worried about in writing about New Orleans was capturing the magic, the sights and scents. You see, I always felt like an outsider looking in, because I wasn’t born in New Orleans. But a friend who did grow up in New Orleans told me it was like visiting New Orleans to read Relatively Risky. That was a high compliment from her. So, if you’ve always wished you could visit the Big Uneasy, but don’t have the time or the money, grab a copy fo Relatively Risky and take an armchair journey to the city that care forgot. Well, most of the time.

Me: Until the next time, happy reading!

Here’s the blurb that the editor didn’t see:

Crime solving is a family affair—and a Family affair—in the Big Uneasy.

Nell Whitby is starting over in New Orleans, getting a publisher for her children’s book, sketching tourists in the French Quarter, and leaving the tragic death of her parents behind. When a handsome detective asks her for a date, her fresh start seems perfect…until a dangerous family secret bubbles up from the past and puts her life in jeopardy.

The oldest of thirteen children, detective Alex Baker has two goals in life: solve murders and avoid anyone under the age of ten. That is, until the day the quirky children’s book author foils a carjacking, becomes a target for the mob, and makes his libido sit up and reconsider the whole no-kids thing. If he doesn’t protect her, she’ll be the next body to turn up in his homicide investigation.

As bullets start to fly, Nell can’t resist her sexy bodyguard or ignore her past, and Alex must protect the irresistible kid-magnet who has them both in the crosshairs.

Dive into the first installment in a series reviewers are “grinning and loving.

*****

So dear Readers, do you have any additional questions for Me or I about Relatively Risky

Perilously yours,

Pauline

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