Today I'm privileged to have as my guest an as yet undiscovered author, Leia Davenport, who has a work in progress titled "100 Shades of Blue and Gray". Leia received a seven figure advance for the work, so I'm very excited to learn more about it.
Me: Welcome, Leia. Thanks so much for joining me today.
LD: My pleasure. It's wonderful to have a chance to talk about my new book.
Me: Tell us a bit about yourself.
LD: Oh, there's not much to tell, really. I'm a housewife with three kids. (Laughs). I live in Charleston.
Me: Charlestown? Boston?
LD: No, silly, Charleston. You know, South Carolina? Fort Sumter?
Me: Oh, right. Isn't your book set during the Civil War?
LD: Well, my heroine, Melody Anne, doesn't call it that. She lives in Atlanta and she calls it the War Between the States. Yes, it's a historical romance that begins in 1861 and ends...well I haven't got to the ending yet, But I might take my characters through the entire war. Maybe a series, three or four books.
Me: That's ambitious.
LD: Oh, it really isn't. I mean it will only take me a month or so to write the first one and I expect the others will go just as quickly.
Me: How can you turn out a book so quickly?
LD: Well, you know, all that editing and revision stuff, it just seems so...unnecessary. I mean, it's a story. Stories don't need a lot of editing. I just use my spell checker and that's good enough.
Me: That's certainly one way to do it. Would you share something from the book?
LD: I'm so glad you asked me that. I brought along a few paragraphs. I was hoping you might include them as a kind of sneak preview.
Me: Would you like to read them to me?
(We paused while Ms. Davenport opened her portmanteau and pulled out a sheet of paper.)
LD: "Oh Rhett," Melody Anne exclaimed meaningfully, "this terrible war. I don't know what I'm going to do while you go off to fight those damned Yankees. Whatever will I do?"
Me (Interrupting): Wait a sec. Wasn't Rhett the name of one of the characters in Gone With The Wind?
LD: Well, I don't see what difference that makes. I mean it's a good, strong male name and readers will already think of the South when they hear it. You know? And Rhett is VERY strong, well endowed, with stamina, if you get my meaning.
Me: Sorry, please go on.
LD: Where was I...oh, yes. Rhett looked meaningfully at her. He was dark and handsome in his gray officer's uniform with the curly gold stripes on the sleeves. His eyes were blue and hard, as hard as the sword hanging by his side, as hard as the marbles in the fish bowl. He was a hard man, indifferent to her concerns. But his indifference didn't make any difference. He had ignited a fire within her and only he could quench it. The muscles under his shirt moved seductively. Melody Anne felt herself getting hot and wet.
"Oh Rhett," she said meaningfully.
He came close, took her in his muscular arms. The strong, male scent of him almost made her swoon.
"I must have you. Before I go off to die." He took her hand and placed it on his swollen organ.
"Oh Rhett," she exclaimed.
He kissed her, a hard, indifferent kiss. He threw her down on the daybed and ripped her bodice open.
"Oh, Rhett," she cried meaningfully, fumbling at the wide leather belt around his waist. "No, no, we mustn't."
"Yes, we must."
His trousers fell around his knees. His sword clanked on the old yellow pine floor put in by her daddy when he'd first built the plantation house years ago right after he'd emigrated from Ireland to this gentle land of peach blossoms and happy people and become a successful gentleman before Momma died of the fever and little sister Harmony was called to the angels before those damned Yankees and that ugly Mister Lincoln got set to ruin everything.
"Damn these petticoats," Rhett exclaimed passionately with passion.
LD: Well? What do you think?
Me: I'm in awe. You seem to have captured something definitive. It's hard to put a name to it...
LD: Well, that's what I was trying to do.
Me: Thanks for coming today, Leia. Perhaps we can do it again and you can share some more of your book with us.
LD: Well, I'd love that. Thanks for having me.