An interview with guest blogger Shaunna Gonzales

Welcome to my blog, Shaunna. I enjoy hosting other Desert Breeze authors. Can’t wait to learn more about you and you newest release.

What made you decide to become a writer? After reading most of J.K.Rowlings’ Harry Potter series, I craved more great reads and went to the local library. After spending months wading through awful fiction, one touting its prize winning status, I threw it across the room. (In my weakened condition it only made it to the bed for a soft landing.) “I could write better than this!” I grumbled. My hubby, ever understanding of my turbulent moods answered with a calm, “Then why don’t you?” It wasn’t long before I set out to do just that!

Who inspires you? I’d rather answer “Who and What.” Many things. This novel, Dark Days of Promise, was initially inspired by Christmas and the young women I was working with at the time. It mutated as the season passed to what it is today after my being inspired by a few friends, veterans, some dealing with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.)

What would you like your readers to get out of your writing? It is my hope that readers will become more aware of PTSD. It effects more than the veterans and their families, those who love them. It isn’t unusual for me to be talking with someone and get this “Oh, they are dealing with Post Traumatic Stress” this way or that way. The “Disorder” part, as far as I have learned, comes from intense stress, such as battle and other potentially fatal situations. Some deal with PTSD with faith and prayers on the one hand while others use counseling and sometimes drugs to manage the disorder. But for me, my PTSD is rather low key and manageable.

Where did this idea come from? Would you believe me if I said the Lord? I had this love story so smooth that it bored me, the writer to tears, literally. I knew I had to “speed” it up, give it something to make it fly but didn’t know what. I prayed and pulled my chair up to the computer. My fingers flew with very few mistakes, something that is unusual for me. That scene is in the book with very few changes — only a few grammatical corrections. I’ll give you a hint: Victoria goes flying!

Who was your favorite character to develop?
SS Kelly Chase. I fell in love with him and still don’t know him! He’s quite the man of mystery.

Any advice for aspiring authors? Write what you know and love. Write for yourself, not your imagined perfectly matched editor or publisher. Should you one day find them, they will, if they know their stuff and we all hope they do, bruise you and your precious fledgling novel. (Smile – those bruises heal and make you both better.)

What can we expect next from you? My current project is a Time-travel Romance. Trish Larsen, having failed the bar exam yet again just before her thirtieth birthday, takes Grammy at her word and uses the antique talisman for more than a pretty babble, though surviving in 1885 might prove more difficult for a modern woman than Trish imagined.

Where can we purchase your book? On the Desert Breeze Publishing website and at many other online outlets, including Amazon and Barnes and Nobles.

Here is an excerpt:

My senses distilled, the clean lemon scent of Janine’s home intensified. This specter existed as no spirit at all… but a soldier in army fatigues wearing the ranking emblem of an officer on his chest. His frame seemed to fill the whole corridor. Intimidated by his size, if not his rank, I gave him my immediate and full attention.

“Can I help you?” His voice rumbled with authority. He positioned himself, taking the defensive, his booted feet shoulder width apart, his elbows inches from both walls, blocking the space.

I managed to regain a smidgeon of composure. “I should ask you the same.” My voice sounded self-assured. I wondered where it came from while feeling so inferior to him. “Why? This is my home.”

I lost my balance, stumbling back a couple of feet, my surprise giving way to embarrassment. My hand went to my hair to comb it before I remembered it stayed in place as a messy bun. I dropped my hand wishing I knew what to do with it.

“Oh… you’re Kelly.” I stammered, unsure of myself, my jaw going slack. I struggled in desperation to right it.
Now I see the resemblance to his pictures. Janine needs newer ones and dang, he doesn’t quite look the same as the picture I have. He’s… wow. Take a picture Vick.

“You are?” he asked, still very much in charge.

“Huh?” I couldn’t think of anything else to say. His charismatic presence stupefied me. I hadn’t blinked, lost in the depths of his eyes.

He folded his arms making his biceps bulge under his fatigues. I dared to raise my chin in defiance. I’d give him no more, at least not until he retreated an inch. He didn’t give it to me. I retreated, feeling foolish in comparison to his alpha-male claim of the hallway.

“Interesting name.” His timbre reflected a pleasant nature. Of course standing toe to toe with him in Janine’s hallway of small-antiquated proportions disintegrated my defense.

“It’s nice to meet you, Kelly.” Smooth girl. You are so dead.

“I’d like to say the same.” His cautious mantle of soldiering remained on guard.

“Then why don’t you?”

“Because I don’t know your real name.” His eyes betrayed his annoyance for a split second before a shield of secure soldier mastery descended.

“Vicki.” I lowered my chin waiting for him, my body poised, expecting his response.

He failed to give me one while his eyes bored holes through me.

“Kelly, meet Vicki, our neighbor.” Janine called from her room, her voice reflecting her personable nature. Did she really need to make introductions this way? Did she peek around the corner to watch this? I couldn’t be sure with the wall of solid muscle between her doorway and myself. I imagined Janine’s face as she overheard our stilted conversation. The humor of the situation flooded over me, bringing a smile to my lips.

Kelly’s answering smile altered his expression, and his body language. Almost duplicating his masculine smirk in the photo I possessed, softening the solid mass of muscle without diminishing his potent dynamics.

“Excuse me. I came to see Janine.” I didn’t dare push past him.

“Mother?” He called over his shoulder, still guarding the hallway. “Do you feel up to having a visitor?”
“I always feel like visiting with Vicki,” Janine answered from her room.

Kelly stepped aside, placing himself against the aging wallpaper as though afraid I might give him some dreaded disease if I happened to brush against him. I did brush against him as I passed. Dang he’s big. I entered Janine’s bedroom to find her reclining on several pillows. She appeared tired, her skin lacking its usual healthy glow.

“Janine, are you feeling all right?” I asked in concern.

“Better now. I called you this morning when I fell. As luck would have it, I fell against the telephone table, knocking it to the floor with me. Kelly came home quite unexpectedly and helped me to bed.”

“I’m sorry,” I apologized, feeling guilty for going to lunch. “It took longer at the bank than I thought. After, Farley insisted on taking me to lunch. Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. Would that be Farley Wilson?”

“Yes, you know him right?”

“Early forties, nice dresser and a smooth talker. He missed his calling as an insurance salesman,” Janine answered appearing a shade worse.

“You look tired. I shouldn’t bother you with my issues. Will Kelly be here long?” She seemed more fragile than usual.

“Actually, he’s been busy seeing to my needs and hasn’t said yet.”

“I’ll let you two get to catching up.” I patted her hand and retreated the way I’d come. So much for asking her for her opinion of Farley.

Kelly stood at the kitchen counter, draining a jug of milk. He must have heard me approaching. He lowered the jug, wiping his lips with his sleeve. For a brief instant he wasn’t a soldier, but a young boy caught in the act. A sheepish grin filled his features. Then his expression changed, his eyes capturing me as if holding me in animated suspension.

Yum. Delicious tingling filled me. Wow, what has he done to me? I thought I’d outgrown this silly attraction to a man in uniform. Not. I focused on my feet, willing them to keep moving toward the door. The traitors stopped and turned toward him. My mouth joined the mutiny.

“Nice to meet you, Kelly. Your mother’s mentioned you often.” I sensed a smile curl my lips hearing my way too formal effort at breaking the ice. Can’t you do any better, girl?

“You, too.”

Is it animalistic charisma emanating from him or danger? It didn’t matter which. I’d always proved a sucker for both. Vick, you need to remove the sign on your forehead beckoning these guys. That’s two in one day. He said no more, and I hurried out the door, my knees masquerading as jelly.

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1 Comment

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One response to “An interview with guest blogger Shaunna Gonzales

  1. mary hagen

    Your interview and the first part of your book hooked me. Good Luck.
    Mary Hagen, SECRET TO HOLD, February 2013

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