Today we are interviewing Contemporary and Paranormal Romance Writer H. D. Thomson. She is giving away a copy of THE LONG ROAD HOME.
Alexis: Hi H. D., thank you for visiting Happily Ever After Thoughts. Can you start by telling us why you decided to write romance?
H. D.: Wow, that is super simple to answer for me at least. I LOVE the happily ever after. Yes, it might be a fantasy but I love feeling like everything is going to be good at the end. I guess that’s why I also avoid tragic movies. I really hate being let down and sad at the end of any movie or book.
Alexis: I won't watch movies with sad endings either! I guess we know your book THE LONG ROAD HOME has a happy ending :-) Can you tell us what it is about?
H. D.: A road trip from New York to California. Here is a short blurb of the story rather than try to explain the plot of the story:
Travel across the country with her old lover, John McDonnell–and his girlfriend? Impossible. But Clarisse Madison is desperate. Terrified of flying and unable to drive long stretches because of a knee surgery, she sees no other way to get from New York to San Diego and her sister’s wedding.
Three years ago, a plane crash disfigured her leg and destroyed her career as a model. Self-esteem crushed and fearful of rejection, Clarisse severed her relationship with John. Now, forced to travel across the country with him and his girlfriend, Vivian, she is determined to hide her disfigurement. Driving through state after state and mile after mile, though, she begins to fall in love all over again.
But can anything come of it? Can she overcome her pride for the sake of love?
Alexis: I really enjoyed this book. I think we can all take something from it. Where did you get the idea for this story?
H. D.: I’ve always liked stories that have road trips. At least the funny ones and not the ones where a killer is chasing the main character. The Sure Thing is one of my absolute favorites with John Cusack. Actually any movie with him in it is just FINE. J There’s of course the Vacation series with Chevy Chase in them. So I started thinking of various road trips and what I could do to a hero and heroine. I always start off with ‘what ifs’ and then just go from there. Of course, in THE LONG ROAD HOME I had to add a lot of road blocks and bizarre happenings to Clarisse and John as they make their way across the country. I must say I wasn’t very nice to them. I even decided to add a current girlfriend into the mix.
Alexis: Yes, you did make it a challenge for your characters :-) What are your favorite character traits of Clarisse and John?
H. D.: Wow, I never thought of that. I think when it comes to Clarisse, she never blamed anyone for her career being ruined. She picked herself up and went on. I love John’s determination and his belief in himself and what he wants in life. He’s followed his heart and works in a field (Photography) that he loves.
Alexis: You also write paranormal. Can you tell us a little about that side of your writing career?
H. D.: I love writing paranormal just as much as contemporary. What I love about paranormal is that you can do things you could never get away with in a normal contemporary romance. I don’t write about witches or faeries or angels. At least I haven’t gone down that route yet. I like to stretch the imagination, add a bit of a futuristic twist. I’ve always loved super heroes and I think in the series that I’ve been writing, it shows. Or I at least hope it shows!
Alexis: I love super heroes too! Can't wait to read the series. What can we expect next from you? Do you have any new releases coming or a work in progress?
H. D.: Yes, actually my book Shrouded in Mystery is coming out on the 15th of this month. It’s the second in the Shrouded Series. It’s about a man who wakes up with amnesia with a dead body beside him and a loaded gun and duffle bag of cash in the back seat of his car. His only clues to his identity are a driver’s license with the name of Clark Kent and of a photo of a woman in Boston. I absolutely loved writing this series.
Alexis: Now that sounds intriguing. Thank you so much for sharing your stories with us. It's a pleasure having you visit.
H. D.: You are welcome. I really enjoy visiting Happily Ever After Thoughts.
Alexis: For a chance to win a copy of THE LONG ROAD HOME, be sure to leave a comment for H. D.. If I have contact information, I will let you know when you win, otherwise, check the side column for your name on Wednesday under WINNERS.
For more information on H. D. and her books, go to http://www.hdthomson.com
Alexis: Check out this excerpt from THE LONG ROAD HOME
“For all I know the man could be a rapist or-or…”
“Don’t you think you’re getting a little carried away?”
At Jennifer’s raised brow, Clarisse Madison relented and gave a rueful laugh. “I guess you might be right. But this guy’s a complete stranger. I don’t know anything about him, other than what you’ve told me.”
A cool morning breeze drifted through the living room window of Jennifer’s house, bringing the scent of lilac. Clarisse peered through the lace curtains from her chair. In center of the lawn, a large, majestic maple tree, its leaves glistening from last night’s rain, shaded the empty driveway from the rising sun.
Her ride was late, and she didn’t know whether or not to be relieved. She glanced away from the window and eyed her friend with disgust. “You know. You’ve been an absolute miser when it comes to information on this man.”
Jennifer gave her a reassuring smile. “Like I told you before, he’s a friend of a friend. He’s responsible, kind, and even loves animals. You can’t go wrong with that. Don’t worry, you’ll like him.”
“That’s easy for you to say. You’re not going to be stuck in a car with him from New York to San Diego. I haven’t a clue as to what to say to this guy.”
“You used to be able to talk to any stranger,” Jennifer declared.
“That was years ago, when I was young and didn’t have this.” Clarisse pointed at her right leg stretched out in front of her, a self-deprecating smile curving the corners of her lips.
“You could have flown to California and avoided all this.”
Just the mention of flying made Clarisse’s stomach cramp. “That’s impossible. No amount of pushing, shoving, kidnapping or coercion will get me on another plane. The last one nearly cost me my life.”
Jennifer released a loud sigh, lifting her chestnut bangs from her brow. “Well, that’s it then. Getting across the country by train is impossible, and a bus is too cramped and tiring with all the stops and transfers. And since you won’t fly, the only other way to get to your sister’s wedding is by having someone else drive.”
Clarisse smiled fondly at her friend of six years. “I’m sorry. I should be thanking you for finding me a ride to my sister’s place instead of acting the brat.”
The sound of tires crunching across gravel filtered through the open window. Clasping the arm of the chair with one hand and her cane with the other, Clarisse rose unsteadily to her feet. A red, Ford Explorer rolled to a halt in Jennifer’s driveway.
The driver stepped out and slammed the door behind him. He was tall, with long legs and wide shoulders. Thick black hair flowed past his collar to brush his shoulders. He strode across the yard with an inherent grace and confidence that had Clarisse frowning. There was something...
Gripping the windowsill with one hand, Clarisse leaned forward and watched the man reach up and thrust his hair back from his brow. The gesture pulled at her heart, and a tiny bud of apprehension formed in the pit of her stomach. When he drew closer to the house, Clarisse’s alarm escalated. She recognized his blunt facial features and athletic build. The hand on her cane whitened at the knuckles. No. It couldn’t be. It wasn’t possible. She swung around and met Jennifer’s guilty expression. “What’s John McDonnell doing here? Is this some type of a joke?”
“He’s your ride to California.”
“What!” Clarisse stared back in horror. “You can’t be serious!”
“When David told me that John was going to California, I naturally thought of you,” Jennifer replied. “Unlike you, I haven’t lost touch with my old friends.”
Clarisse looked back out the window in stunned disbelief. He was halfway across the front yard. She took in a couple of ragged breaths, but nothing could steady the wild racing of her heart.
“I can’t believe you had the nerve to try to get us together again.” Cane tapping against the saltillo tile, Clarisse limped rapidly across the room and away from the window. “There’s no way I’m going.”
Jennifer rose from her chair and moved to the front door.
“Don’t you dare open that until I’m in another room,” Clarisse warned. “I swear if you do, I—I’ll hit you with my cane!”
Jennifer’s eyes widened in alarm.
“I wasn’t serious,” Clarisse said with a mixture of frustration and dismay. Nervous laughter threatened to bubble up past her throat. “Please just tell him something came up. I’m not prepared to see him.” She brushed her clammy palm across the side of her leg. “You never told him about me, did you? Please tell me you didn’t mention my leg or the crash. I swear—”
“Calm down. I never told him anything.”
“Good. That’s good.” Clarisse nodded. She took another deep breath. “But now you’ve got to make him leave.”
“I can’t do that.”
“You have to,” Clarisse replied in a determined voice, “because there’s no way in hell I’m going to be stuck in the same car with him for over twenty-five hundred miles.” She rubbed impatiently at her brow with the heel of her palm. An unpleasant thought came to mind. “Does he have any clue who he’s picking up from your house?”
“No. I told him a friend of mine hated flying and needed a ride.”
“Do you have any idea how angry he’s going to be? He’ll think I planned this whole thing.”
Flushing, Jennifer avoided her gaze. “Ever since you broke up with him, you haven’t been the same. I know you still love him.”
“I never told you that!”
Jennifer snorted. “Well, it’s obvious you have feelings for the man, for God’s sake. You still have a picture of him in your bedroom. And don’t tell me you don’t!”
“I don’t want to hear this!”
“John isn’t as shallow as you think. He’ll look past your leg. If you’d just give him a—”
Clarisse didn’t wait around to listen to any more of Jennifer’s ravings, but stumbled into her friend’s bedroom and closed the door. Leaning against the oak wood, Clarisse closed her eyes. She needed to calm down. Seeing John so unexpectedly had mangled her composure beyond recognition.
At the sound of the doorbell, Clarisse glanced at her reflection in the mirror then looked away. She disliked the dark turbulent emotions in her sea green eyes and the flush to her high cheekbones.
John didn’t have to find out, Clarisse told herself. Like the mirror, he would see the image she presented to the outside world—flawless skin, a model-thin figure and thick, blonde hair that fell in waves past her shoulders. Nothing more. He would fail, like the mirror, to uncover the imperfect body beneath the clothing.
Unconsciously, she brushed the material of her jeans across her right thigh. She looked down at the cane in her hand, the only visible sign of how her life had changed since last seeing John three years ago.
Laura, her only sister, expected Clarisse to show up in San Diego a week before her wedding. Clarisse’s responsibilities as maid of honor were to assist with the final preparations, and of course, play hostess to her parents, aunts and uncles, and other relatives arriving for the wedding. But most importantly, she needed to be there because Laura had asked for her help and support. And Clarisse wasn’t about to ignore such a request. Laura was family, her only sister. It was the least Clarisse could do after Laura stood by and helped her cope during those nightmarish weeks following the plane crash.
From the living room, a man’s voice penetrated the wooden door Clarisse leaned against. John. She couldn’t make out the words, but she’d know that husky baritone anywhere. Memories of that voice, urgent with need and longing, whispering in the dead of night across crisp cotton sheets, sent a shiver stampeding across the flesh at the nape of her neck.
His voice rose suddenly, indistinguishable but laden with anger. Jennifer, her tone equally angry, retorted something that made John swear. Clarisse cringed, catching herself pressing an ear to the door. Obviously, Jennifer just told him who he was taking to California. If Clarisse’s pulse rate weren’t so chaotic or her mind so dilapidated, she could almost find the situation funny. Maybe next time Jennifer would hesitate before meddling.
Suddenly, the door opened. Stumbling back, she just missed being hit by inches. Jennifer slipped into the room and closed the door behind her.
“Did he leave?” Clarisse asked.
“No, he’s still out there—no doubt pacing the floor and wanting to wring my neck. I don’t think he likes me anymore.”
“I wonder why! It sounded like you were yelling at him from the top of your lungs.”
Jennifer’s lips twisted into a wry grimace. “Yes, well, I did manage to convince him to take you to California. Though, I think I should’ve let him walk out of here.”
The frown puckering Jennifer’s brow rattled Clarisse’s nerves even further. “Why?”
“I’m sorry, Clarisse. When I heard he was going to San Diego I thought it a perfect opportunity for the two of you to get together. I’d always thought you were meant for each other. We were all shocked when everyone heard you’d broken up—”
“Get to the point. What are you trying to tell me?” Clarisse didn’t like the anxiety in her friend’s hazel eyes.
“His girlfriend’s in the car.” When Clarisse didn’t immediately answer, Jennifer frowned. “Didn’t you hear? He’s got his girlfriend with him. He never mentioned someone else coming along—never mind a woman. You’ve got to believe me. I would never have set it up if I’d known.”
“I heard.” Clarisse shoved down her panic and gave Jennifer a wobbly smile. She was beyond shock. “I really have no option now, do I? I need to get to my sister’s wedding on the fourteenth.”
Alexis: Don't forget, for a chance to win this book, leave a comment for H.D. :-)