- What inspired you to write this book?
A few years ago, I heard about NaNoWriMo, which incidentally is going on now. National Novel Writing Month is in November. The challenge is 50,000 words in 30 days. I’m pretty competitive, even with myself. But how to do that? It’s an immense amount of writing. With that in mind and not wanting to get lost in the world of research, I wrote what I knew. As a former EMT with restaurant experience and a love of music, off I went. Rock House Grill was conceived and fleshed out. I made the deadline but then shelved it for a few years. Editing is not my most outstanding talent. Then one day, in 2019, I pulled it out and began to submit to publishers. Do you know how sometimes you think you’ve screwed up badly, but then it works out? Well, in May of 2019, I sent out a bunch of submissions. A few days later, I reviewed those and realized I’d sent the wrong salutation to Wild Rose Press. I sent a new email. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I know you’re the Wild Rose Press.” Believe it or not, an hour or so later, there was a reply requesting the manuscript. The rest is history.
- What can we expect from you in the future?
I’m working on Jazz House, the second in the Impact Series. I also hope to have my second mid-grade independent in the Agent Sam Carter series. The first is The Mystery At Branch Lake. The one I’m finishing up is The Mystery At High Pointe Tower. I have a great time writing these. Aimhirghin, Kingdom At A Crossroad, is waiting patiently for me as well as my second Shield-Mates book.
- Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
One of my favorite scenes in Rock House Grill deals with Aden in rehabilitation after his accident. The character John is based loosely on a friend of mine. Here’s the scene
“Do you need anything?” John, the rehab aide, popped his head in the door. “Can you get your legs on the bed?”
“I’ll be fine.”
The man flinched at his sharpness. Aden took a deep breath. “Sorry, thank you.”
“I know it’s frustrating.” John came in, picked up the grabber, and leaned against the wall. “It might help to talk to someone.”
“I’ve already talked.” Aden grabbed one leg, then the other, lifting them onto the bed. “See, it’s all good.”
The other man didn’t back off, though. “So, you’ve talked to someone. What did they say?”
Aden leaned back, put his arms behind the pillow, and stared at the ceiling tiles. “I would experience anger, frustration, insecurity—blah, blah, blah.”
“And what were you experiencing when I heard you throwing things and stuck my head in?”
Aden closed his eyes. “All of it.”
When he opened his eyes, John stood at his bedside. “You’re still the man you were. It’s a rough patch. You’ve hit rough patches before?”
“Welcome to the other ninety percent of humanity.” The aide stooped down, so he and Aden were on eye level. Laugh lines and slight graying at the temples were the only indications he was older than Aden. “Circumstances change us. We can curse them and let them control us. Or, we allow whatever happens to make us better.”
“I get it.”
“No, I don’t think you do.” John paused a moment, grabbed a chair, and straddled it. “I have this friend. He’s a runner.”
Aden pulled himself up, leaned against the headboard, and snorted. “I’m getting a bedtime story?”
“Yeah.” John laughed. “The guy wants to be in the Olympics. Every day he runs and practices. Every day he gets home, and he hurts all over, especially his feet. Blisters like I’ve never seen. They bleed. But after a while, blisters go away, bleeding stops, and calluses develop.”
“You’re saying I should develop calluses?”
“Wait, calluses are not the point of the story. The guy makes the team. Heads to Atlanta.”
“Did he win?” Aden couldn’t help being caught up in the story. “Have I heard of him?”
“He got sick.” John leaned his arms on the back of the chair. “Pneumonia, the day the meets started.”
“Then all his work was for nothing.” Well, that wasn’t helpful. Shouldn’t this be a story about a winner? “Just like me.”
The other man shook his head. “I didn’t say The End.”
“He went to the hospital and nearly died. But there was this nurse.” John’s eyes went distant. “She was beautiful and determined her patient would make it.”
“Yup. They fell in love, got married, and had a couple of kids.” John pushed the chair back and stood up. “Not the life he’d planned. He regretted not achieving what he’d worked so hard for, but once he adjusted, his life turned out great.”
Aden developed a sneaking suspicion in his gut as the aide headed for the door. “What does this guy do now?”
“He gets great satisfaction in helping injured people get on with their lives.” John closed the door behind him.
- What did you edit out of this book?
There initially was a chapter about Shay and Joanna on duty. The calls that they responded to on one long night. My editor didn’t think it should be in the story. Not moving it forward. Instead, I submitted the chapter to Wild Rose for an addition to their Australia Burns series. Remember the Australian wildfires about a year ago. The Wild Rose Press and the authors all donated stories to raise money for the relief effort. Instead of one book, it became a three books series. 911, What’s Your Emergency, is in the first book of the series.