The Blue Dolphin by Robena Grant - Free Book!!!!
Updated to add: Robena has generously offered to give away a free PDF file of The Blue Dolphin to a lucky person who comments on this blogpost!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Robena Grant has written three books in her series, Desert Heat. I talked about the first book, Unlock the Truth, which I highly recommend here. After reading the second book, The Blue Dolphin, which I also highly recommend; I asked Robena if she would let me interview her and she graciously agreed.
Thanks so much for putting me in the spotlight, Judy. It's my pleasure to be a guest on your blog, and I'm thrilled that you enjoyed The Blue Dolphin.
Question 1: As a former massage therapist I loved the idea of the Blue Dolphin therapy and I had to bing it to see if it was real. And it is! So have you had Blue Dolphin therapy?
There was a young spa owner who lived in La Quinta. She started a therapy called Virtual Dolphin Therapy and was actually on several TV talk shows speaking about it. I knew of it because I went to her spa for a monthly massage. While I never actually took the therapy myself, she explained it, gave me a tour of the room and a brochure about it, and gave me permission to use it in my book. Between the time the story was written and then became published, the spa owner met the man of her dreams, sold the business and relocated. Just to be on the safe side I changed the name of my dolphin therapy. : )
Question 2: Your heroine, Debbie Williams, is strong and vulnerable at the same time. Her two weaknesses are her daughter and a light case of asthma that acts up when she is stressed or excited. The asthma made her all the more endearing. What made you decide to give her asthma?
I'm glad you saw Debbie as vulnerable yet capable. She has her weaknesses due to an arrested emotional development, in that she had her daughter at such a young age, felt guilty, and tried to always be the "good girl" afterward. I used asthma to show that she is easily stressed and when her condition is weakened she can easily get asthma or a panic attack. I suffered with mild allergic asthma when I first moved to the U.S. and it was frightening.
Question 3: Your hero, Jack Davis, is a DEA agent who has just lost his partner. Your portrayal of him in the book seems very realistic. He arcs into a much more settled man and less of a loner, also in a very realistic manner. Do you know someone like this or did you create him from nothing?
I created Jack from what I thought it might be like to live a life like he does. To assume an identity and to go undercover, to live life without commitment because he feels it's better not having to be responsible for a loved one, to be a loner and self-sufficient, and yet to have that capacity to love although it's suppressed, and of course that meant for me that I could give him that happiness he deserved.
Question 4: I’ve spent some time in the desert in the southwest and the west and the town of Almagro with all of its quirky characters could be one of many towns I’ve actually visited. Did you model it after a specific town?
I interviewed a deputy at the small La Quinta PD. I found it interesting that the deputies are contracted out of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. My deputy wanted me to make the town La Quinta, but I explained about karma. ; ) In my mind the town is south east of La Quinta where there are many citrus farms, date plantations and other farming and that makes for a nice contrast to the wealthy, golf- loving, second-home owners in the city proper.
Question 5: Janet Evanovich says that when she writes she starts with a crime. Your Desert Heat series definitely has crime. Kate George says that she starts with a character. Your books have great characters. Where do you start? Plot? Character? Or somewhere else?
I really think character is plot. The story grows out of how the ordinary character, when thrown into extraordinary circumstances, deals with the situation. The plot thickens due to the decisions the character makes, and the trouble she gets into from her choices. But I'm also a very visual person and often times it's a location/setting that speaks to me first. Then I pop in a character and what I think might be an interesting journey, do a lot of daydreaming until I know where I want my story to begin and end, and then I start typing. The story always evolves out of character, and often I'm totally surprised.
Robena was born in Australia but now resides in California. She has two adult children, loves reading, travel, working out, and has three vices: dark chocolate, strong coffee, and red wine. And that's why she has to keep her gym membership current. She may be contacted at www.robenagrant.com where she blogs on a slice of life on most Mondays, or at FB, Twitter, and Google +.
Unlock the Truth - good. The Blue Dolphin - even better. Imagine how good Desert Exposure is going to be. (Hint - it was nominated for the RWA Golden Heart award in 2012).
Unlock the Truth and The Blue Dolphin are available now until May exclusively through amazon for kindle only. They will come out in other forms in May. Publication date for Desert Exposure is to be announced.
You walk in the room. You keep your clothes on. You lie down in a water massage bed where jets of water send pressure through your body. All around you the walls are screens for a film of dophins and their sounds. You are surrounded by dolphins as you are being massaged.
I love the idea. What about you?