Publisher: Rinaldo Write
Publication Date: October 31, 2013
Synopsis: Valerie, a middle-aged woman, leading an average life as a head teller at a bank finally finds her soul-mate, Franco. He's sixteen years younger and studying for a Ph.D. in Archeology, but they click. Suddenly, the evil hand of fate causes their lives to fall into a downward spiral. They lean on each other. Trying to find happiness they happen to commit a little crime - make that a little felony, and dash out of the country. Now they're happy - mostly.
Interview: Q. Please tell us about the inspiration for your current release.
My background has a teeny influence on Valerie's Retreat. Valerie meets a man sixteen years her junior at a local church dance. My wife and I have the same age difference and met at the same kind of place. We still smile at each other when we drive by that dance hall/community center even after fourteen years of marriage. Dang, we're cute! Seriously, like my wife, Valerie is NOT a cougar on the prowl. We met long before anyone heard that term. Valerie wasn't searching for any kind of specific man, she just happened to find Franco. He happened to be younger, and neither of them cared.
Q. How did writing this book affect you?
Valerie had an abusive childhood. That means the victim suffers to some extent from the tragedy for life. Val's last defect from the abuse is that she has trouble making decisions. Her first instinct is to run, even when she's an innocent party. In Valerie's Retreat she suffers tremendous stress from situations that are not her fault. Writing this made me wonder how long a person should receive sympathy for doing the wrong thing. Yes, she had a terrible childhood, but so did many others. Does that excuse the Valerie for the felony she committed? That's really for the reader to decide.
Q. Is there anything you haven’t written about that you would like to in the future?
Oh, yeah! Three books are rolling around in my head. I can't wait to get them out, but working full time and trying to let people know about Valerie's Retreat takes up a lot of time. Eventually they'll be written. The three books before Valerie's Retreat covered a variety of genres and subjects:
A Spy Home is a memoir of a former spy who near the end of his career comes to the realization that his life's work of promoting rebellion in third-world counties for American interests was a waste. Out of bitterness, he steals over nine million dollars on his last mission. The money was meant for a pro-American rebel group in an impoverished country. His retirement is spent learning what he missed at home with his family and wondering if the CIA will figure out he has their money.
Hazardous Choices describes the difficulty a young man has trying to fit in during his first year of college. In Chicago he served as a gangbanger for the vicious Neptune Knights, and in a small Kentucky town where he received a scholarship to play division two football, he tries to fit in with the other students. His understanding of the world doesn't make much sense in this environment.
A Mormon Massacre tells about a young man in his early twenties who had been raised hating the Mormon church. To fight what he believes is a cult, Jeremiah goes undercover as a convert to rescue women from abusive plural marriages.
Q. Which of your characters would you want to be and why?
I don't really want to "be" any of them, but I wouldn't mind being friends with Valerie and Franco, her boyfriend. Valerie's a likable person and fit nicely into her Head Teller position at a bank. Working with people is her strong suit and underneath the surface she has boiling turmoil that she hides. Troubled people are often very interesting, but I wouldn't want to be her.
Q. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
I would love to speak at least one more language. If I could go back and do college all over again, I'd double major in Accounting and Spanish. Those days are past, but I will learn to speak Spanish - someday.
Q. What are you currently reading?
I just finished a book about the American obsession with the game of football and what preposterous lengths we'll go to keep the NFL stocked with talented players. For something a little more lighthearted before falling asleep, I'm reading Pandora's Grave by Stephen England. It's pretty good, and it doesn't infuriate me like The King of Sports: Football's Impact on America did. I'm a college football addict, too, but we must get sports out of schools. Schools at all levels are far too willing to take money from education and pour it into sports. The announcers never mention these little tidbits when you're watching a game.
Q. All of the books you’ve read, which book has impacted you the most?
I'd have to say Three Weeks With my Brother by Nicholas Sparks. I had just been laid off and read where he received a million dollar advance for The Notebook and two other books. I thought,' he's good but I can do this, too!' I've been writing ever since. I understand people are hesitant to give independent authors a chance. Some of the indie stuff IS really bad. If Valerie's Retreat interests you, please go to Amazon and select "Click to Look Inside". If a book grabs you that quickly, you'll probably be glad you got it.
Q. What gives you the most joy in life?
Boating with my family and volunteering for Special Olympics. My daughter is a Special Olympics athlete, and the competitions are intense.
Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I want the reader to follow Valerie's actions and have a strong reaction. Love her? Hate her? Think she's crazy? I'd do that, too? Everyone has different levels of tolerance, compassion, understanding… for the trials other people face. Valerie and Franco face some pretty daunting situations. Valerie's abusive childhood left her few coping skills, but she's forty years old and able to think for herself. What do you, the reader, think about her behavior?
On a personal note, if you are part of a book club, I would be more than willing to be a guest at one of your meetings where any of my books are discussed. Please feel free to contact me through my website or on Facebook.
There are 3 e-copies of 'Valerie's Retreat' for giveaway!
TO ENTER: Please leave a comment with your email address. The winners will be chosen at random once the giveaway ends December 20, 2013.