Welcome to Author's Spotlight
with Stacy Eaton
Today we have Louise Golden with us from Almost Paradise written by Laurie Hanan.
Welcome Louise! Have a seat and bring on the story!
Ever dreamed of waking up to a perfect, perfectly ordinary day in Paradise?
Well of course!
Open the cover of Almost Paradise. Come on—do it. If you dare.
Ok fine, here I'm opening it up.
Feel the gentle breeze, hear the rustle of ginger plants outside my window, smell the perfume of tropical blossoms in the air.
Yes! I almost can!
How about those sunrise colors? Incomparable.
Oh the sunsets!
I came to Oahu a year ago. This amazing life I’ve created here is helping me heal from wounds of the past. I find comfort in the everyday sameness of my job as a mail carrier, safety in the anonymity my uniform provides. My life is low-commitment—I do my job and go home. I don’t bother anybody and I expect people to leave me alone, as well.
The perfect life!
On my route, I take the time greet the elderly folks who wait for me to bring their mail. You’ll see by the smiles on their faces that my visit is the high point of the day for some of these people.
That is such a nice thing to do!
When I get to Mrs. Santo’s house, she isn’t waiting for me beside her mailbox. Where could she be? I’m concerned. She’s in her eighties and has no family here—no friends to speak of, either. I doubt anyone would notice she’s gone. I’m trained to watch for signs that an elderly customer is in trouble. If mail starts to accumulate in their box, I’m to contact the authorities.
What a great thing to be trained on, not that I wish you would ever have to use that training, but you know... So what happens?
But what if Mrs. Santos needs help now? After searching her house, I go to the police station and convince a skeptical officer to take a missing person report. Things go downhill from there. My life starts to unravel and my anonymity is shattered as I’m pulled into a mystery with abductions, car tails, a celebrity pool party, exotic dancing, smuggled artifacts, and of course, murder.
No! Bye bye peaceful life!
As if all this isn’t problem enough, my love life is a disaster. My boyfriend Brian is a Vietnam vet who has his reasons for being unable to commit. My landlord Dan flirts with me shamelessly—but I’m convinced he’s gay. Ilan is an Israeli stunt man who is oh so easy on the eyes. But he’s young enough to be my son. Well, almost.
Wow... paradise - Oahu - murder - mystery and multiple men! Perfect!
We all want to be different, so what is the one thing you wish your creator had done differently with you?
There are so many things I wish were different—my shyness, my ineptitude, the shape of my nose, the list goes on. But you say I can pick just one thing? Then I’ll have to choose my past. If things hadn’t transpired as they did, maybe I wouldn’t be so shy or so inept. Maybe I’d be some sort of super hero who grabs life by the horns and kicks it in the butt. My mother died of cancer when I was fifteen. I mean, who wants that to happen? When she got sick, my father told us we weren’t to talk about it. We went about our lives pretending nothing was wrong, when we should have been saying good bye. In the last weeks of my mother’s life, my brother and I were shipped off to summer camp. Relatives we barely knew retrieved us and brought us home to a funeral I can’t remember. To make things worse—as if there’s something worse than losing your mother—my father blamed me for her death. He said if I’d been a normal daughter and treated her with respect, my mother might be alive today.
Part of me knows I didn’t kill her, but another part of me has always believed him. I ran away from home when I was seventeen, and met my soul mate three years later. Amos and I spent a lot of years together. We knew we had a good thing going—knew it would be forever. Well, forever lasted until Amos got high and went out in search of the perfect wave. Ever since that day, even when I’m surrounded by people, I’m essentially alone.
Oh my gosh!
If you could have added something to the story, and your creator would have let you, what would that have been?
I would’ve added a happily-ever-after ending. One where all my problems are solved, I marry the man of my dreams—a rich man so I never have to work again, and all my character flaws are sorted out.
lol.. I'd wish the same thing!
What do you love best about yourself? What do you like least?
Honestly, it’s hard to think of myself in terms of like, much less love. But if I must come up with something, I’ll say my best attribute is a compelling need to help people and animals who are in trouble. It’s also what lands me in the most trouble.
My least favorite trait is my insecurity. I have trouble making decisions and I avoid confrontation at all cost. Life would be so much easier if I could just believe in myself.
What part of the book was the hardest for you and your creator to work through?
The scene where I’m assaulted on my mail route took the longest to get right. I’d certainly never been physically attacked before, and my creator had never written a violent scene. We had to work it out so there was suspense, surprise, and lots of drama without going overboard with the gory details.
Yes those scenes are hard to write if you never had an experience - much easier to write what you know.
Is there a sequel for this book? If so, what do you want to accomplish in the next book. If not, do you wish you could continue your story?
One sequel is already out, entitled How Far Is Heaven? It catches up with me three years after the first book. It’s Christmas, never an easy time for mail carriers. But for me, the season of good cheer is about to become a nightmare. Exhausted after a long day of delivering mail in nasty weather, I’m heading back to the station when, through the heavy rain, a ghostlike figure appears in my headlights. I hit the brakes, but it’s too late. The girl is taken to the hospital, unconscious. Who is she? What was she doing in the middle of the road on a rainy night, dressed only in an oversized tee-shirt? Why hasn’t anyone reported her missing? When Jane Doe regains consciousness, she remembers nothing—not even her own name. I befriend the frightened girl, who then disappears. I’m suspended from work during the accident investigation, and use my time to search for the missing girl. Meanwhile, with the holiday in full swing around me, I’m confronted with religious traditions I feels no connection to. And how in the world am I supposed to sort out my relationships with the four men in my life? Each of them seems almost right, yet so completely wrong.
That's sounds great!
We’re working on the third book in the series. One thing I sincerely hope for is to work things out in my love life and settle down with someone I can trust.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Before I go, I have to mention a couple of very cool kids who live down the street. Emmeline is ten years old. She’s a vegan, cleans cages in a no-kill shelter, and will talk the ears off anyone willing to listen. My favorite part of any day is coming home to find her waiting for me on my front steps. Her five-year-old brother Jackie is a bit harder to like, but he’s to grow on me, as well. Oh—and they have this really great dog named Dazy who follows them everywhere and is smart as a whip. The three of them always make my day. Thanks for taking the time to chat with me. I hope you’ll pick up one of my books and visit me again real soon. Aloha.
Thank you Louise from coming to join us! Your stories sound great and I will be checking them out!
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To learn more about Laurie Hanan