Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Wednesday Spotlight with Dale Thompson
A Girl’s Best Friend. A warm welcome for Dale Thompson!
Sharon: Thanks for joining me today, Dale. I know how busy you are and appreciate you taking the time to chat with us. I hope I didn’t interrupt your creative muse. Speaking of which, does the writing spirit come in spurts…or is it always a work in progress?
Dale: Funny you should ask. My work seems to go in spurts, but that isn’t really true. When I’m working on a simple romantic comedy, the story flows onto the screen as fast as I can type. In my longer, more intricate works, it’s anything but smooth. But even while I’m doing mundane chores, my mind is busy filling in details of what I’m going to write.
Behind the bar, Oliver is busy filling two highball glasses with ice. With great ceremony, he pours precisely 2 ounces of Kahlua and 2 ounces of cream into each glass. Whistling, he plops in the stirrers and stirs five times. Adding the club soda, he stirs once and places the cocktails on a serving tray. Next, he shakes a generous portion of Fiddle Faddle in a bowl.
Yes, here we go then. Your Smith 'n' Kerns and some caramel popcorn.
Sharon: Thank you, Oliver. Raises her glass in a toast. Cheers. Dale, I hope it is to your liking?
Dale: It’s perfect.
Sharon: Now, that we have our drinks and snacks, let’s talk about A Girl’s Best Friend. Tell us a little background. The setting? The main characters? The genre? The general storyline?
Dale: This started as a typical spy story, but shortly after I started writing it, 9/11 happened and our world was upside down. After waiting a few years I went back to it, realizing it had to be different. Hence, we have a spy running for his life with his own people trying to do him in. Laura’s part in the drama grew as I wrote. That’s when I realized it was perfect for romantic suspense and crafted the crazy weave of a star-struck girl with a mature covert agent.
Sharon: How about reading us a blurb and excerpt?
Glamour gal and slippery spy ratchet between ecstasy and despair as they unravel separate webs of deception in their lives.
Laura Margolin has been promoted to liaison between her Miami TV jewelry company and their new owner, Vermeer Inc., in Amsterdam, but it seems Heinrik Vermeer had ulterior motives when he promoted her.
Hayward Lazarus narrowly misses an assassin’s bullet on his way to his European covert mission. Then a colleague is garroted before they can meet and Laz is on the run. Add to that, his car blows up in the Miami airport lot, a bomb meant to take him with the car, and he’s in a world of hurt.
What better place to hide out than in a beautiful TV celebrity’s condo? Read A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND to see how that decision turns their lives upside down; how her career is blown, he dies heroically—and they live happily ever after.
He leaned closer, intent on kissing her lips, until she pulled back. “Mr. Lazarus! Ward? What are you doing?”
It was instantly clear he’d overplayed his hand. He could ill afford a scene on the chance he’d been followed onto the plane, but he didn’t want to destroy the fledgling relationship he’d worked so hard to develop. Laura Margolin was a woman he couldn’t walk away from as he might have with someone less intriguing.
“I’m terribly sorry, Laura. I didn’t mean to offend you.” He paused to read the dark look of suspicion on her face. “I’d say this is your first foray into Europe.”
“Yes, it is.”
“Well, there you have it. I’m afraid I mistook you for one of the modern cosmopolitan ladies so prevalent on the continent. If you’ll forgive me for saying so, I’ve never met an American lady who plays that part so well.”
“What has cosmopolitan to do with casually flirting with a total stranger?”
“Please forgive me, I beg of you. You see, in Europe when a gentleman meets a lady and they seem to bond, as you must admit we have, it is customary for the man to pursue intimacy. Not to do so is considered gauche but I didn’t realize you would be unfamiliar with the practice. You must confess that at least a part of you is in favor of the possibility.”
She wanted to deny his claim, though her heart still beat at twice the normal rate. Because, to some extent, she wished she’d gone along with the game. It had been a long time but she could hardly have found a better candidate to rescue her from her long-endured self-inflicted celibacy. But this would not be the time to confess that to anyone. Especially to this man.
“I’m sorry if I over-reacted, Ward. You see, I’m actually an old-fashioned girl from the Midwest. Not that I’m a prude. I have nothing against sex. It’s just that in my world, the sex comes after a man and a woman get to know each other.” She hesitated, blushing. “Very well, know each other...”
Another pause. “Intimately, if you know what I mean.”
“Intimately, yes. I see.” His eyes betrayed the fact he was laughing at her.
The audience stands and claps enthusiasticly.
Sharon: My goodness, that’s quite a teaser to your writing ability. How did the theme for A Girl’s Best Friend come about?
Dale: Having a young woman all wrapped up in the world of precious jewels and a spy who uses different names at the drop of a cap, There’s a capper at the end of the story that brings the title full circle.
Sharon: Tell us about the research for this book. There’s an awfully lot stirred into the mix. We have a glamour girl and a spy, deception and mayhem, and a whole lot of chemistry and trouble. Add to that, we have a lot of ulterior motives. Tell us about the research.
Dale: In the beginning, I had maps and charts, photos and diagrams. Making Amsterdam come alive was my biggest challenge. It’s an amazing city, beautiful but with a dark undercurrent.
Sharon: Have you been to Amsterdam?
Dale: (grinning) Not in person. One of my daughters had gone there, on her way to a similar liaison assignment for a huge Swiss corporation. Like Laura, my girl is beauty star gorgeous and had her share of fending off amorous cosmopolitans. (laughs) I took her description of her trips to Europe to synthesis Laura’s adventure.
Sharon: What is a typical writing day like for you?
Dale: I get my wife off to work (she’s a tax accountant. A darn good one, I might add.) Then I go in and start up my computer, thinking about what I want to get done. I usually write for one to three hours in a block. Sometimes it’s in one project, but sometimes it’s touch up work on several.
Sharon: For my female guests, I ask their favorite music so that Oliver can steal a dance. But knowing that you are a long-time professional musician, you have a lot to say on the subject of background music while you write, don’t you? Fill us in, Dale.
Dale: This question hits a nerve with me. As a professional musician, I enjoy writing while playing classical music in the background. Real classical music, such as Bruckner, Mahler, Prokofief, Debussy. I also like jazz, real jazz, not rock or other recreational music. While working on my new mystery novel recently, I listened to Peter Nero and Teddy Wilson among others. My main characters were both pianists, she a concert pianist who loved Debussy, he a jazz performer whose style resembled the above musicians. I think authors limit their emotional range by surrounding themselves with pop songs and groups; most of whom, contrary to convention, couldn’t perform real music if their lives depended on it. ‘Trust me, I’m a doctor.’ LOL
Sharon: Well, folks, that gives me a pretty good idea of how important detail and setting is in Dale’s writing and life. I agree. Music really adds to the mood and atmosphere of the story and can create a certain aura of suspense. The right song and the right instrument is so vital in putting the author and reader in the scene, drawing one in. Well said, Dale. Can you tell us a bit about your current work in progress? The WIP you are working on?
Dale: At the moment, I’m working on the second book in my new mystery series. These books will each have different crimes while the principal characters repeat. It’s a bit tricky since my female protagonist ends the first book in a deep coma.
Sharon: You know I am a real stickler for legends and incorporate them into many of my stories. I enjoy collecting one from each of my guests. Do you have a favorite legend that you can share with me?
Dale: Not offhand. I loved all the classic legends when I was a child, though, and they affect my writing, I’m sure.
Sharon: And here comes Oliver with dessert, a lemon meringue pie. While we dig in with gusto, can you tell us where readers can buy A Girl’s Best Friend and your other books and where they can get in touch with you?
Dale: Glad to. http://www.whimsicalpublications.com
Sharon: Thank you so very much for being my featured guest today, Dale. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you. The best of luck to you in all future writings.
Dale: It’s been my pleasure, Sharon. Good luck with your work.
After long careers in music and business, Pat Dale settled back with his pen and began a writing career. Fourteen years later, he has a dozen novels, a pair of novellas, and dozens of short stories to show for his efforts. He delights in creating scenes that cause his readers to laugh. There’s a darker side, though, where he enjoys crafting some really spooky tales that put those readers on the edge of their seats.
Dale lives in mid-Missouri with his wife, three cats, and two dogs, where he can relax in the scenic beauty of the heart of America.