Monday, April 06, 2015

Q & A with...... R. Ann Siracusa!






1.             1.  Tell us about your newest release.
All For A Dead Man's Leg is the first book in a humorous romantic suspense series featuring a young tour director, Harriet Ruby, and a mysterious spy.
Meet Harriet Ruby, a well-balanced MIT graduate with a degree in languages, whose life has been good but ordinary and predictable. Wanting new experiences before she settles down to a career and family, she accepts a position as a tour director in Europe.
Meet Will Talbot, a handsome Europol spy and covert operative for the US government with a dark troubled past, major trust issues, and dissociative amnesia. Driven by guilt over something he believes he did, he has a penchant for rescuing innocent victims caught up in dangerous circumstances.
Harriet’s first solo stint as a tour director in Spain and Morocco is going well until they get lost in the medina in Tangier. There, one of her tourists becomes ill. Harriet needs to find a doctor, can’t speak Arabic, and doesn’t know how to get out of the walled city. A handsome and mysterious stranger, Will Talbot, examines the tourist, pronounces him dead, and offers to help her smuggle the body out of Morocco. At this moment, Harriet’s once-predictable life turns upside down. Little does she know that getting out of Morocco is only the beginning of an incredible adventure in pursuit of murders, smugglers, terrorists, and a meaningful relationship.
2.            What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your story?
First, that I really enjoyed writing in the first person; second, that I could write humor. But the most important thing I learned was to let the characters take over and write the story. When my characters do something surprising or unexplainable, instead of taking it out as being inconsistent with the story or "out of character", I go with it and see what happens. Usually, the characters know something I don't.
3.            Do you have any interesting quirks or rituals?
I'm sure I do, but they're so second nature to me that I don't recognize them. I wish I had a good story, like the ex-policewomen author who puts her Glock on the desk to warn her family not to interrupt when she's writing, but I don't. I just swear a lot in Italian and crave chocolate.
4.            What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?
I've been a prolific reader since I was a child, so many authors have influenced me. I admire and have been inspired by so many of them. Those who influenced my style most have been Sid Stebel (a professor of creative writing at USC), Dick Francis, Katie MacAlister, and Janet Evanovich.
5.            What does your family think about your career as a published author?
My husband and children are proud and supportive of me, but only my daughter has read at least one my books. My parents, who both passed away before I was published, always encouraged me to go after my goals; they would have been delighted.
6.            Besides writing, what other interests do you have?
            My hobby is quilting, and my avocation is world travel and studying other cultures. My trips to foreign lands fuel my novels, and I'm always looking for something about the country or culture which presents a unique situation. I just returned from a trip to Antarctica which doesn't offer much in the way of ancient cultures since no one has ever lived there but is incredibly fascinating and a true inspiration.
            I also used to ride motorcycles and quads in the desert and play classical piano.
            I love to read and go through spurts of devouring many books in a short time, then not too many for a while. I consider this all part of my passion for writing.
7.         Can you tell us what's coming up next for you?
In addition to the release of the next several books in the Tour Director Extraordinaire Series, I'm editing a completed amateur-sleuth murder mystery set in Los Angeles, and just beginning a murder mystery set at the research station at the South Pole. I'm also researching a historical about the incarceration of the Japanese-American during WWII. None of these fall into the romance genre—at least not yet.
8.            How can readers connect with you online?
I love to hear from and talk to my readers.
URL                         http://www.rannsiracusa.com
FaceBook               https://www.facebook.com/ann.siracusa?ref=ts
Twitter                     https://twitter.com/AnnSiracusa
Google Circles       https://plus.google.com/105467292422978603982/posts
Linked In                http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=44524334&trk=tab_pro
GoodReads           
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2993012.R_Ann_Siracusa
Pintrest                   http://pinterest.com/pin/265008759296224058/

Book Buy-links
Breathless Press      Breathless Press Buy-Link
Amazon.com`           http://www.amazon.com/R.Ann Siracusa
B&N                            Barnes and Noble Buy Link
BookStrand               http://www.bookstrand.com/all-for-a-dead-mans-leg
***
Book Blurb
A dead tourist, a prosthetic leg, and a gorgeous secret agent...just another day in the life of a Tour Director.
Meet Harriet Ruby, a well-balanced MIT graduate with a degree in languages, whose life has been good but ordinary and predictable. Wanting new experiences before she settles down to a career and family, she accepts a position as a tour director in Europe.
Meet Will Talbot, a handsome Europol spy and covert operative for the US government with a dark troubled past, major trust issues, and dissociative amnesia. Driven by guilt over something he believes he did, he has a penchant for rescuing innocent victims caught up in dangerous circumstances.
Harriet’s first solo stint as a tour director in Spain and Morocco is going well until they get lost in the medina in Tangier. There, one of her tourists becomes ill. Harriet needs to find a doctor, can’t speak Arabic, and doesn’t know how to get out of the walled city. A handsome and mysterious stranger, Will Talbot, examines the tourist, pronounces him dead, and offers to help her smuggle the body out of Morocco. At this moment, Harriet’s once-predictable life turns upside down. Little does she know that getting out of Morocco is only the beginning of an incredible adventure in pursuit of murders, smugglers, terrorists, and a meaningful relationship.
Book Excerpt – Chapter 1
Looking back on it, I could see everything would have worked out fine if Archie Philpot hadn't chosen that particular time and place to die.
Not that he did it maliciously, mind you, nor did he exactly choose. But I'm sure if he'd thought about the welfare of the many—our tour group, to be specific—as opposed to the convenience of the one, he might have staved off the event for another ten or twelve hours. Then there would have been no problem.
Well, not exactly no problem.
But perhaps I should start when everything began to fall apart.
My name is Harriet Ruby, Tour Director Extraordinaire. Or so I'd thought. I had just begun to believe my first solo stint in Europe was a roaring success when we got lost in the medina—the ancient walled city—in Tangier.
"Let's stop here for a moment," I called to my tour group.
While they assembled, I glanced around at the souk, the market place within the city walls. It was a maze of tiny shops, tents, and winding passageways crowded with Moroccans.
"I'm never going to find my way out of here." I pulled out my cell phone and punched in my driver's number. Mario knew the route and spoke Arabic, but he had gone to fix a flat tire on our bus while I herded our fourteen tourists around the medina. That was two hours ago.
No answer.
Harriet, this does not bode well for your goal of a long and successful career in the tour business.
With the back of my hand, I swiped at the perspiration popping out on my brow. "Please stay right here and don't go anywhere. I'll be right back."
All of them smiled and nodded. Grimacing, I hurried to one of the tea shops we had passed to look for someone who spoke English. No luck. I was only gone for two or three minutes, I swear—well, maybe it was five or six—but when I returned to the place where I had left my tourists, they were gone.
This was not starting out to be a good day.
"Mez Harri Boobies!" The shrill cry sliced through the confusion of sweating bodies crowding the market. An arm shot out of nowhere, and a brown hand clamped my wrist. I swallowed my shriek of surprise. Tangier was rife with hands that grabbed at foreigners.
"Mez Harri Boobies, you come queek," the man whispered in my ear. "Mezter Pillpot no good, yes? You come."
"It's R-u-b-y, not Boobie." I repeated my name for Mr. Takamura, one of the three almost-English-speaking Japanese tourists in the small group I was directing through Spain and Morocco. While my name was not destined to be in lights on Hollywood marquees, for the past twenty-four years, it had served me well enough. I had a sentimental attachment to it.
Without a reply, he released my arm. Insinuating his slight body into the crush of street peddlers, dirty children, and veiled ladies, he moved quickly out of sight. With a deep sigh, I tucked my Adventure Seekers sign under my arm and followed him, devastated by the foreboding that I would be nicknamed "Hairy Boobies" for the rest of my career as a tour director, which might not be very long after this little incident.
He penetrated farther into the ancient market through twisted, narrow passageways filled with malodorous bodies and a myriad of colors rippling in the heat—red, blue, amber, purple of clothing, goods for sale, food, tents. In pursuit, I skirted white-robed Moroccans bartering for goods, men sipping mint tea, and women painting the hands of girls with rich sienna-colored henna. The humid air, replete with an exotic mixture of scents—ginger, curry, rare perfumes, cigarette smoke, donkey dung—stirred my senses. The crowd babbled in many languages, counterpoint to the lilting melody of the seruani pipes.
"Wait!" How in the world had they gone this far in such a short time?
He hesitated for an instant, turned, and waved. Then he disappeared again. Finally, Mr. Takamura stopped in a small plaza with a colorful tiled fountain in the center, a calm refuge in the midst of chaos. In stray beams of sunlight, tiny motes of dust danced in the thick atmosphere. The Japanese gentleman waited for me to catch up, then smiled and bowed.
My gaze followed his nod. "Ohmigod!"
Archibald Philpot of London, the eldest and most distinguished of my tourists, knelt doubled over the lip of the fountain, hurling his guts. Oh, boy.
My tourists—three American and two Swedish couples and the other two Japanese—watched with helpless concern on their faces while a growing knot of Moroccans glared at us,  mayhem glinting in their dark eyes.
The disbelief and thin-lipped anger on their faces indicated they were not pleased about the desecration of what was probably their water supply. I couldn't blame them. This could get dicey. A drop of sweat dribbled into my eye.
Edith Johnson, a ditzy fiftyish blonde trying to look thirty, was the first to see me. She clapped her hand to her bosom and cried, "Thank goodness you're here, Harriet. Do something."
Who, me?
I dropped down beside Archie. His complexion was grayish-green, his rheumy eyes were glazed over, and by the stench, I guessed the poor man might have a case of diarrhea. My stomach heaved. Swallowing hard, I managed to maintain my tour director decorum. This was definitely not in my job description.
***
Author bio
R. Ann Siracusa is a California girl who earned her Bachelor of Architecture degree from UC Berkeley, then went immediately to Rome, Italy. On her first day there, she met an Italian policeman at the Fountain of Love, and the rest is history. Instead of a degree from the University of Rome, she got a husband, and they've been married going on fifty years. In Rome, she worked for as an architect and planner for a land development company for several years until she and her husband moved to the US.
Now retired, she combines her passions—world travel and writing—into novels which transport readers to exotic settings, immerse them in romance, intrigue, and foreign cultures, and make them laugh.
Her first novel, a post WWII mafia thriller, was published in 2008.  She now writes for Breathless Press which has published five books in the romantic suspense series, Tour Director Extraordinaire, one sci-fi romance, a time-travel romance, and three short stories.
She loves to hear from her readers and can be contacted through her website, Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus.


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