Today, it’s a real joy to welcome author Jillian Chantal to Romance Novels @Reginaandrews blog! I am thrilled! Jillian, thank you for visiting and I can’t wait to hear what you have been up to. “The Gambler” is your first book in “The Gambler’s Inheritance” Series. How exciting, congratulations! You are always so much fun, so talented..and, wow! So busy! Let’s hear everything, now!
RA: As an author, what makes a book great in your eyes?
An awesome beginning, middle and end. LOL! No, seriously, I think a book is great if the characters are fully developed and make me care about what happens to them. There are a number of books I love because the characters almost become friends. Friends that I miss when I finish the book. I think this is vital as I’ve read a few books where I didn’t care at all about the protagonist and I usually don’t finish those. I used to feel compelled to finish any book I started but as I got older, I decided that was ridiculous and if I can’t get invested in the story, I need to move on to the next one.
RA: Tell us a little about what you are working on.
I’m starting a new novel that has a hero with a disability. The working title is Moon Dance. It’s a romantic suspense. I like to have a lot going on in my stories and as a lover of thrillers and mysteries, I love to add those elements to my tales. It’s a very new story and I’m not far a long in it at all but I’m enjoying the journey of Gabriel and Olga.
RA: What is the hardest scene you had to write in this piece?
The opening scene. I couldn’t decide whether to start with the hero’s point of view or the heroine’s. I have two openings to choose from and have still not decided which will actually be chapter one, scene one. It’s driving me a little bit insane but it’ll all come together in the end. It always does.
RA: Let’s talk about the book you’d like to promote today. How did you come up with the title and where can we find it?
Titles are sometimes hard for me and this book was really no different. The book had two prior titles. I changed once as I thought I had a great idea for a different title. When I pitched the book to an editor, she said I needed to change the title as the one I had gave away too much information. So, I decided to use the hero’s nickname as the title. As this book is a series, I left it to the editor in chief at Desert Breeze Publishing to figure out a series title. She gave me some ideas and the one I chose was The Gambler’s Inheritance.
RA: What was your first reaction when you got a glimpse of your cover art?
Interestingly enough, I went through about four mock-up covers on this one before we hit on the right look for the book. The initial cover was lovely but looked too western. This book is called The Gambler, but none of it takes place in the western United States. When the cover artist sent me the mock-up of the gambling room that looked right for the era (1937), I was thrilled with it.
RA: Please give us a blurb and excerpt!
BLURB: In 1937, Dirk McSwain, known as The Gambler, makes his living on the turn of a card. When his family home is in jeopardy of being lost, he boards the Queen Mary ocean liner, playground of both royalty and the wealthy alike. He hopes to win big to save his property. He meets three beautiful, unchaperoned, Irish sisters the first day at sea and determines to deprive them of some of their fortune. What he doesn’t count on is an obnoxious passenger accusing him of cheating at cards and then dying the next morning. At the captain’s request, he teams up with one of the sisters to try to solve the mystery of the man’s death
and gets more than he bargained for in the process.
The man grabbed her by the shoulders. “Whoa there, filly. This ain’t no horse race here, ma’am.” She jerked back from him as if his hands had burned her. “Sorry, sorry.”
He didn’t let go. If anything, his grip got tighter. “Where’s the fire? I want to steer clear of it.”
Eden tried to jerk away from him as her two sisters came off the elevator themselves. As soon as the man saw the twins, he abruptly let go of her. She staggered across the lobby, trying to catch her balance.
The man looked Lilith and Eve up and down. “My, my, what do we have here? Double my pleasure?” His grin showed his dimples. Very deep dimples that Eden tried to ignore.
“We’re Lilith and Eve McGill. Twins, if you couldn’t tell,” Lilith said. She simpered and struck a pose. She patted her small hat perched over her left eye.
“Lilith and Eve? How interesting.” He tipped his hat and bowed. “Your mum and dad disagree on who was Adam’s wife?”
Lilith’s smile got larger. “They almost caused the Reverend to have a heart attack when they named me Lilith. People think it’s sacrilege. Even though we aren’t Jewish, my parents are into studying the religions of the world. I’m surprised you caught the reference. Most people don’t.” She stopped and patted her hair. “And I guess the name Lilith fits me. I’m a little bit sacrilege myself.”
Eden had recovered herself and stalked over to Lilith. “Stop it, Lil. Mum will kill me if I let you go wild, child.” She took Lilith’s arm. “Come on. Let’s go and leave this…” She looked the man up and down.
“Gentleman,” she paused for effect, “alone.”
The man looked down at the shorter Eden. “Who are you? You’re too young to be the mother. So, who could you be?” He put his index finger to his chin and tapped it. “Hmm. Maybe the serpent?” He slapped his forehead with his hat. “No. You can’t be. The serpent liked to lead people into sin. You seem like the prude of the group.” He turned back to Lilith. “Who’s the wet rag?”
Eden gasped at his rudeness as Lilith laughed out loud. “That would be the big sister, Eden. Eden, bossy britches, McGill to be exact.”
The man laughed louder. “Eden? Really, your parents are a bit insane, aren’t they? They couldn’t get past Genesis?”
RA: Now for the fun stuff. Do you have any guilty pleasures?
Yes, I do. My favorite comfort food is toast with butter and sugar on it. I can only make it when no one is home as they all think it’s gross. When I’m the only one home for dinner, I’ll make it for myself. My maternal grandmother who lived way out in the country always made it and it makes me think of childhood and cold winter days. Living in hot Florida, I sometimes need that escape to the past.
RA: OH, I love toast with butter and sugar, too! Glad we share that, not many folks have heard of it, and it’s SOOOO good! Now, could you please name one (other) thing readers would be surprised to know about you?
I’ve been skydiving and I loved it. I was seriously considering doing it as a hobby until the friend who took me had an accident when his chute grabbed the wind the wrong way. He broke his pelvis. He was laid up for six weeks flat on his back as they can’t set a broken pelvis. I decided I’d better keep my klutzy self on terra firma. BUT, it was amazing when I did it. I also love, love, love roller coasters.
RA: Yikes, thrill-seeker Jillian! So, if you didn’t have to worry about counting calories or fat, what’s the first food you’d reach for?
See above answer about the toast. Also, an Oreo or two (or twelve!) would be good.
RA: Since you write romance, let’s talk. Have you ever read the “Grande Dames” of the genre like Jane Austen, Barbara Cartland, Danielle Steel, Nora Roberts? What do you really think of their books?
Yes, I’ve read some of each of them. I’ve read all of Jane Austen’s work. Barbara Cartland and Danielle Steele not since middle school. Nora Roberts? I’ve read a few. I like the Eve Dallas books, which of course, are written under a pseudonym, but I’ve only read the first few. I’m actually more of a thriller/mystery reader. I do like romance but I want a lot more going on than merely the journey of the love story. I guess I’m an armchair adrenaline junkie.
RA: If someone hasn’t read any of your work, what book would you recommend they start with and why?
It would depend on what era the reader is interested in. I have two historicals which are both with Desert Breeze Publishing. I’d recommend either of them. I love both of those stories. One is The Gambler and it’s a murder mystery. The other is Redemption for the Devil. That one is more of a romantic adventure. For a contemporary, Sebastian’s Salvation is one that’s a romantic suspense and has a pretty wicked villain as does Surfer Bride, which is another contemporary romantic suspense/adventure.
Thanks for spending a bit of time with Romance Novels @reginaandrews’ blog, Jillian! Best wishes for your continued success. Where can readers find you on the Web?
Thanks for letting me pop in. It was fun!