Friday, September 27, 2013

Nancy Lee Badger Interviews Linda Bennett Pennell

Linda Bennett Pennell stopped by to answer a few personal questions.  Welcome, Linda! Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.  

Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel tells of lives unfolding in different centuries, but linked and irrevocably altered by a series of murders in 1930. 

I am already intrigued! Describe the genre of this particular title, and is the only genre you write in?
I am one of THOSE authors who like to blend multiple genre.  Agents and bookstores may hate the idea, but readers seem to love it. I guess I can blame it on my ADD. My book is historical suspense with romantic elements. I would have added women’s fiction into the mix, but it is appealing to men as well as women, so I think I’ll leave well enough alone.
I love reading historicals. Do you have any rejection stories to share? 
I have tons of them, but nothing worth repeating here! Forget ‘em like last year’s lover and move on. That’s my mantra.
Ha! A good idea. What is your writing routine like?  
I fear I’m rather undisciplined. I have to be in the mood; otherwise, I just end up spinning my wheels and turning out yucky stuff.  Fortunately, the mood strikes pretty often. 
Fortune is smiling on you, if this book is any indication. Is research a part of your writing? If so, where do you find the answers?
Since I write historical fiction, I consider research the first and probably most important step in my writing. Nothing sends me into a snit like reading a poorly researched book with inaccurate details, so I try no to be guilty myself.  Locating the answers? Oh, my! I owe my soul to Google Books (free), Google Scholar (free), Amazon (books purchased), and all of the informational websites! Google, a writer’s best friend!! I probably should remember it in my will!
Do you see writing as a career?
I do see writing as a career, but not as a sole means of support. Eating and having shelter are rather high on my list of preferred creature comforts.
Chocolate is on mine! Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract?
I think the most important thing I can say is this: be kind to yourself. If you are doing your very best to study, learn, and write well, then turn off that blasted internal critic! It kills creativity. I’m not saying forget editing, proofing, or revising. I’m telling you to kill the internal monster that whispers damaging words that undermine your writer’s spirit and suck your soul dry. It’s an evil villain, so kill it and be done with it!
Harsh, but true. Time to lighten up, so please share three fun facts about you that most people don’t know.
Well, let me see. 
1) At one point in my life, I had close personal relationships with gangsters, primarily Crips and Latin Kings. See the contact page on my website if you want to ask how/why.
2) My husband and I bred American Quarter Horses for a time. I can stay on a working cutting horse and work a reining horse. 360 spin, figure eight, sliding stop, dosey doe, flying lead change? No problem!
3) In a moment of newly wed insanity, I agreed to camp across the US and up to Alaska and back. Picture this: seven days one way on the Al-Can highway (really a wide dirt road at the time), no motels, no restrooms, no stores, a truck cap camper sans bathroom, and Canuck’s Revenge all the way. My husband hasn’t pressed the camping issue since!
Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel tells a story of lives unfolding in different centuries, but linked and irrevocably altered by a series of murders in 1930.   

Lake City, Florida, June, 1930: Al Capone checks in for an unusually long stay at the Blanche Hotel, a nice enough joint for an insignificant little whistle stop. The following night, young Jack Blevins witnesses a body being dumped heralding the summer of violence to come. One-by-one, people controlling county vice activities swing from KKK ropes. No moonshine distributor, gaming operator, or brothel madam, black or white, is safe from the Klan's self-righteous vigilantism. Jack's older sister Meg, a waitress at the Blanche, and her fiancé, a sheriff’s deputy, discover reasons to believe the lynchings are cover for a much larger ambition than simply ridding the county of vice. Someone, possibly backed by Capone, has secret plans for filling the voids created by the killings. But as the body count grows and crosses burn, they come to realize this knowledge may get all of them killed.   

Author Linda Bennett Pennell
Gainesville, Florida, August, 2011: Liz Reams, an up and coming young academic specializing in the history of American crime, impulsively moves across the continent to follow a man who convinces her of his devotion yet refuses to say the three simple words I love you. Despite entreaties of friends and family, she is attracted to edginess and a certain type of glamour in her men, both living and historical. Her personal life is an emotional roller coaster, but her career options suddenly blossom beyond all expectation, creating a very different type of stress. To deal with it all, Liz loses herself in her professional passion, original research into the life and times of her favorite bad boy, Al Capone. What she discovers about 1930’s summer of violence, and herself in the process, leaves her reeling at first and then changed forever.

A little bit about the author
I reside in the Houston area with one sweet husband, one German Shorthaired Pointer who thinks she’s a little girl, and one yellow striped cat who knows she’s queen of the house. You can find more information about me, Linda Bennett Pennell at:
How can my readers buy your book?   

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