Please welcome my guest today, Marian Lanouette!
Devon Ellington: What was the inspiration for the Jake Carrington series?
Marian Lanouette: I was working on another book at the time when Jake popped into my head. He wouldn’t leave me alone until I wrote it down. When I write a story, it’s because a whole storyline magically appears in my head like a movie. Once I started outlining Jake’s story, I realized it was going to be a series and not a single title.
DE: Why did you choose a male protagonist instead of a female protagonist?
ML: I have five brothers and throughout my life I’d take a situation and analyze how each person handled or spoke about it at a later date. I found it interesting that, even as children, men/boys approach an event differently than a woman/girl did. I like to say I think like a guy sometimes, in that I live in the moment and look forward, not backward.
DE: How has Jake’s growth surprised you as the series continues?
ML: Jake’s gone from being a player to having real feelings for a woman (Mia). In this respect he’s learning if he wants happiness with Mia, he’s going to need to compromise and put her fears and feelings first.
DE: Do you see this as a finite series, or will you keep going indefinitely?
ML: No. I have so many stories in my head and outlined involving Jake and his crew. As long as the readers want to read about Jake, Mia, Louie and Sophia, I’ll keep writing them. You see I love them all and it’s fun writing about them.
DE: What are you working on now?
ML: I’m actually working on two books and just proofed a third. I’m three-quarters of the way through Mated for Life, the third book in the Jake Carrington Mystery series. I’m also re-writing my very first book, Loss of Power. This week I turned in a short story titled “As the World Ends” which will be released in two weeks. Plus, I’m flushing out the outline for the fourth book in the series, A Demented Mind. I love being busy.
Thank you for hosting me, Devon.
Excerpt from Burn in Hell:
With her head down, she sat at her machine, waiting on the supervisor to come back—to unlock the machine so she could play again. More than anything, she needed to win. A hand landed on her shoulder, startling her. Jerking away, Kyra turned to see who belonged to the hand. Crap, not the supervisor. Joe Dillon, not exactly the person I want to see right now.
“How’s it going?” Her host sat down next to her.
“Not good,” she whined.
“I’m sorry to hear it. You know you have a payment due soon?”
Double crapola. “Yes, I know.”
“Why don’t you leave the machine for a while? Come have something to eat with me?”
What could he be up to, she wonder?
“Why? Kyra, let’s discuss your loan payment over dinner, explore your options.”
What options? There weren’t any. All week she racked her brain trying to find a solution to the mess. Though a quiet guy, Joe scared her. Deep inside, she understood he could destroy her. Not a person she’d want to cross.
“Kyra? Please, no one’s going to touch your machine. Maybe a break will change your luck?”
“What the hell. I could eat,” Kyra hissed. Something had to change.
“How about a steak?”
They got up at the same time, bumping into each other. Joe sat back down, let Kyra get up first. He followed her as she headed to the Trenton Steak House. Joe grabbed her arm and pointed to the private elevator that went directly to the entrance to the Whale Room. She looked at him. He smiled.
“What’s up, Joe?”
“I think you need a real break Kyra, so we’ll head up.”
Curiosity got the better of her, but she figured she’d find out what he was up to in good time. Then the fear hit her. Maybe she shouldn’t leave the floor with him. She owed the casino seventy-five thousand dollars. Behind on her payments, she spent three grand tonight trying to win her next payment. Stupid—how could I be so stupid? I should’ve made a partial payment with the three grand instead of gambling tonight. They wouldn’t beat up her up, would they? Tasting the bile as it violently pushed up from her stomach, scorching a path to her throat. Kyra couldn’t control the tears that flooded into her eyes when she started to choke.
“Are you all right, Kyra?”
“I don’t want to leave the public floor, Joe.” Kyra’s hands shook along with her entire body. Unable to control her voice as it cracked, her mind searching for an escape.
“I have a deal for you, but I can’t discuss it in an open area. We’ll discuss it upstairs, over dinner.” He smiled.
Oh yeah, she thought, the farmer leading the cow to the slaughter. “What kind of deal?”
“We’ll discuss it upstairs,” he repeated firmly.
“You’re not going to break my legs or anything like that. Are you?” she half-heartily joked.
“No such thing, Kyra. Relax.” Now’s the time too really worry, she thought. Just like the “trust me” phrase, it gave her the willies.
* * * *
Joe Dillon studied Kyra as they rode up in the elevator. To look at her, you’d never guess she’d lost control of her life. He liked her curves, her full lips, and the wild, curly red hair. Shorter than he, she stood about five feet four inches—he didn’t like looking up at a woman. Too many women today were taller than him. He looked into her green, green eyes, his mind taking off in all directions. Not now, Joe. Kyra’s not worth the trouble. He knew she had a son—her divorce a by-product of gambling. The boss told him this morning she was losing custody of her son. What woman gambles to the point of losing her child? Joe thought about the deal he’d be offering her, dragging her down even further. He pushed the guilt from his mind. Not my fucking[M1] problem. Kyra did this to herself. If I ever caught Camile gambling, I’d break her legs. Joe saw what gambling did to families. Too much heartache for too little reward, he mused.
Joe thought of the deal he’d lay on the table for her—two choices—wondering which one she’d choose. Neither was pleasant. I’m only the messenger. That’s how he justified his work. Blinded by greed, these people put themselves in this position with their gambling addictions.
One of ten children, Marian took to writing to explore new and adventurous places. While her friends traveled on planes for vacation, Marian traveled in books. With an overactive imagination, it didn’t take long for her to start creating her own characters and stories. If I Fail, A Jake Carrington Mystery that released in 2012, is the first book in the series.
As an avid reader, she discovered mysteries by reading the Daily News as a youngster. Intrigued by the real life crimes, and how the police worked and eventually solved them, ignited her imagination beyond the ordinary.
An English professor marked her final paper with an A, but wrote a note that said, “Well done, though you’re not Virginia Woolf yet, so add a little action to the story.” That one line had her punching up the action in stories to come.