FROM THE DESK OF
DONA PENZA TATTLE, ESQ.
ASSOCIATE WRYE BALDERDASH
“Oh the weather outside is frightful, but m’dear it’s so delightful cause it’s the month of hearts and roses, soooooo let it snow, let it snow, let it snoooowwwww!” Tattle throws out her arms as she belts out the song.
“Huh?” Wrye looks at her and blinks. “Aren’t you sorta mixing holidays? Not to mention those that don’t live in cold weather climates, and….”
Tattle interrupts him. “I’m just so excited about it being the Valentine month. So, much romance, so much love….”
It’s his turn to cut her off. “So much chocolate.”
She grins. “Well, there is that, but I am also excited because we are highlighting the delightful Jeanne Arnold, a young adult romance author, whose debut novel STUBBORN has recently been released followed by THE HAUNT OF THIRTEEN CURVES in June 2014.”
“Well, let’s get ready.”
Tattle picks up a picnic basket. “Already ready, Freddy, for our monthly Love of Literature Leap!”
“Whoooo’s Freddy,” echoes as the two disappear from the office and land in Jeanne’s kitchen, where she is diligently tapping away on her laptop.
“Ta da!” announces Tattle and immediately brings out her mysteriously bottomless basket, a steamy hot tea pot filled with chai tea, another pot of hot chocolate and a filled coffee pot, along with cutlery, china plates, scones, strawberry jam, sweet cakes, tea cakes, and, of course, chocolate. “Hope we’re not late,” Tattle announces as she arranges everything around the laptop. “And welcome to our gossipy…errr…chit-chatty world.”
A bottomless basket of anything that resembles a baked good is always welcome on my desk. I’ll take a coffee, black. Thank you.
“Hmmmm, I guess we are a bit unconventional while doing an interview, but, you and your stories are so interesting, we just had to pop in and find out more about you. So, first question: If there was an alien invasion, and you could only take one thing, would it be your laptop or a bottle of water or your stash of candy? ” asks Tattle.
Wrye rolls his eyes. “What sort of question is that? Shouldn’t you ask her about her book STUBBORN?”
“I’m getting to that.”
I would take the laptop. No question.
“Very responsible answer. Now, about STUBBORN, from what we can see, this book has been inspired by your own teenage years, and your fabulously romantic marriage. Our spies errrr…. ummm…. I mean, our reliable sources tell us you married your high school sweetheart. In light of that, do you see your hubby in your hero?”
I did eventually marry my high school sweetheart, so I have plenty of inspiration. I always use bits and pieces of my husband’s personality in all of my books, including STUBBORN. My male love interests have his dry wit and sarcasm and some physical features. Each of the Halden brothers in Stubborn has one of his characteristics.
“And,” adds Wrye, “Tell us a little about that story?”
STUBBORN is set in present day Williston, North Dakota, the epicenter of America’s latest and most explosive oil boom. Seventeen-year-old Avery Ross is sent across the states as punishment to help her aunt run a boarding house for oil field hands. When a boy with a sultry Texan accent comes to her defense, Avery has no clue that his actions will lead her into the most explosive summer of her life. She discovers a connection between her aunt and the striking boy and becomes entangled in their battle over oil rights, loyalty, and love. Avery falls for the brooding, younger brother, Gabriel Halden, against her aunt’s forewarnings and creates more tribulations than any of them could anticipate.
Tattle sips her tea, adds two more teaspoons of sugar that magically appear on the table. “Which of the three heroines that our mole ferreted out are you most like, Avery Ross, Marcella Jackoby, or Eliza Roussin?”
“Our mole doesn’t ferret out anything. He’s in a cage,” Wrye whispers.
Tattle waves her hand away and awaits Jeanne’s answer.
There’s a little of me in each of them. I’m emotionally related to Marcella Jacoby from The Haunt of Thirteen Curves. I had her innocent, reserved personality as a teen. I wasn’t shy but I was quiet and observant. I found myself writing myself into that story, feeling my heart tug for both of her male love interests the way she does. As for Avery Ross in Stubborn, I had her fighting personality deep inside me as a teen. I still do. And I fell for the boy, just like she does. Yet physically I’m nothing like her. And when my character Eliza Roussin had to make a choice between following her heart or her calling, she and I definitely were thinking alike.
“By the way, for those of you who don’t have a pet mole, Eliza Roussin is from Jeanne’s current project, THE WORST POSSIBLE WAY.” Tattle nibbles on a sandwich. “Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Are you a good liar?”
“You don’t have to answer that!” Wrye gives Tattle the hairy-eyeball that suggested she was either insane or rude.
“I’m just trying to get to know her better. After all, liars are the best writers. So, spill, m’dear, just how good a liar are ya?”
I’m a fabulous liar. I plan to make a killing as the best liar in the publishing world.
“Now, think food, savory or sweet, meaty or veggie, creamy or gritty? If you were a food, what food would you want be?”
I love crunch and salt so anything in a noisy bag that I have to fight to tear open is perfect for me.
Wrye takes to the food question and adds one of his own. “After Avery leaves New York for North Dakota does she experience a difference in culinary cuisine?”
She has the pleasure of eating lefse, a flat Norwegian potato cake that resembles a soft taco. In North Dakota, everyone refers to soda as pop. Other than that she’s surrounded by Gabe Halden’s candy stash, but she doesn’t have a sweet tooth or the need to keep Willy Wonka in business like he does.
“Good response, Jeanne. Now, just one more question, and you can get back to work. If you could live your novel STUBBORN for several days, which part of the book would you like to be in and which character would you be?
Oddly enough, I’d chose to be Avery Ross when she’s wandering through her high school aimlessly, despondent and distressed over a boy after a tumultuous, heart wrenching summer. Knowing what surprise she has coming…I’d suffer just to be part of it.
Tattle realizes the entire basket of goodies had re-packed itself, indicating the wonderful interview was over. “Oh, m’dear, it is time to leap back to our office. It has been a treat to spend time with you and we will certainly add your stories to our TBR list. Even though we’re far…far…far…far…faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar from our teen years, we can still enjoy a romantic venture of those gone-by-days.”
Wrye nods, “Young adult romances aren’t just for the young, but for the young in spirit. Thank you so much for allowing us to invade your kitchen.” He offers a gentlemanly bow.
Thank you for the pleasant distraction. I’m always happy to share stories about my writing and I would never turn down visitors offering treats.
The duo appear in their office.
Hope everyone enjoyed our visit with Jeanne Arnold. Until next month, keep reading!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Created and written by
Angelica Hart and Zi
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