Thursday, January 02, 2014

The Writer's View: Linda Bennett Pennell

Welcome to Linda Bennett Pennell, author of Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel. As part of her virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions, she is here to share with us her view. Leave a comment or ask a question for a chance to win a $15 Amazon/BN gift card. You can also click the tour banner to see the other stops on her tour for more chances to enter.

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Thank you for hosting me and for your unique question regarding the view from inside and outside my writing space.

The view from inside my writing space is actually wherever I happen to be at the moment. I should probably be ashamed to admit this, but I don’t really have a dedicated writing office or room. After a career that required great organization and most of my mental, physical, and emotional energy, intense organization isn’t high on my list of desired conditions, hence my never having participated in NaNoWrMo - way too much organization involved! That isn’t to say that I lack discipline, however. I have completed three lengthy historical novels, two with publishing contracts, and I am working on a fourth, but I write in my own time and wherever I have alighted.

The majority of my writing is done in the family room at home in Houston or on the sofa at the beach, usually with the TV on and my husband nearby. I love old movies, even some from the silent era. Lon Chaney, Sr. was absolutely amazing in his ability to convey story and emotion through his facial expressions and body language. He portrayed his characters with a subtly sadly missing from today’s over-the-top extravaganzas. Give me Fred and Ginger, Boggie, Jimmy Stewart, and the like any day over most of what is currently coming out of Hollywood.

The view outside my Houston writing space is of seven acres that were once surrounded by ranches whose pastures were filled with pure-bred Santa Gertrudis cattle. When we moved into our present main residence, there were two other houses on either side of us. Period. Nobody else for several miles. Now Houston has pretty much surrounded the old homestead.

The Gulf of Mexico is my other outside view. We have some really big dunes right off the front deck and then nothing but water as far as the eye can see. There are prettier beaches elsewhere and certainly those that are far better known, but nothing beats the cozy feeling of being part of a tiny coastal village with an active shrimping fleet and oyster house. Best seafood there is and the best kept secret in Texas, maybe the nation!

About the Author:
I have been in love with the past for as long as I can remember. Anything with a history, whether shabby or majestic, recent or ancient, instantly draws me in. I suppose it comes from being part of a large extended family that spanned several generations. Long summer afternoons on my grandmother's porch or winter evenings gathered around her fireplace were filled with stories both entertaining and poignant. Of course being set in the South, those stories were also peopled by some very interesting characters, some of whom have found their way into my work.

As for my venture in writing, it has allowed me to reinvent myself. We humans are truly multifaceted creatures, but unfortunately we tend to sort and categorize each other into neat, easily understood packages that rarely reveal the whole person. Perhaps you, too, want to step out of the box in which you find yourself. I encourage you to look at the possibilities and imagine. Be filled with childlike wonder in your mental wanderings. Envision what might be, not simply what is. Let us never forget, all good fiction begins when someone says to herself or himself, "Let's pretend."

I reside in the Houston area with one sweet husband, one German Shorthaired Pointer who thinks she’s a little girl, and one striped yellow cat who knows she’s queen of the house.

Favorite quote regarding my professional passion: "History is filled with the sound of silken slippers going downstairs and wooden shoes coming up." Voltaire

Facebook ~ Website ~ @LindaPennell


Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel tells a story of lives unfolding in different centuries, but linked and irrevocably altered by a series of murders in 1930.

Lake City, Florida, June, 1930: Al Capone checks in for an unusually long stay at the Blanche Hotel, a nice enough joint for an insignificant little whistle stop. The following night, young Jack Blevins witnesses a body being dumped heralding the summer of violence to come. One-by-one, people controlling county vice activities swing from KKK ropes. No moonshine distributor, gaming operator, or brothel madam, black or white, is safe from the Klan's self-righteous vigilantism. Jack's older sister Meg, a waitress at the Blanche, and her fianc√©, a sheriff’s deputy, discover reasons to believe the lynchings are cover for a much larger ambition than simply ridding the county of vice. Someone, possibly backed by Capone, has secret plans for filling the voids created by the killings. But as the body count grows and crosses burn, they come to realize this knowledge may get all of them killed.

Gainesville, Florida, August, 2011: Liz Reams, an up and coming young academic specializing in the history of American crime, impulsively moves across the continent to follow a man who convinces her of his devotion yet refuses to say the three simple words I love you. Despite entreaties of friends and family, she is attracted to edginess and a certain type of glamour in her men, both living and historical. Her personal life is an emotional roller coaster, but her career options suddenly blossom beyond all expectation, creating a very different type of stress. To deal with it all, Liz loses herself in her professional passion, original research into the life and times of her favorite bad boy, Al Capone. What she discovers about 1930’s summer of violence, and herself in the process, leaves her reeling at first and then changed forever.

Buy the book at Amazon.

14 comments:

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting.

Linda Bennett Pennell said...

Thank you for hosting me today!

Linda Bennett Pennell said...

Thank you for hosting me today!

Susan M said...

Linda, thanks for sharing this with us.

Shauna Allen said...

Great post, Linda! I love the beach as well!

Rita said...

I enjoyed the post. I'm also a huge fan of the old movies, I love them.

megganconnors said...

I love the beach as well. Good luck with the book!

Linda Bennett Pennell said...

Thank you Susan, Shauna, Rita, & Meggan for stopping by!

joanneguidoccio.com said...

Hi Linda, Excellent post! How wonderful to have a view of the Gulf. Must be so inspiring.

Karen H in NC said...

Here I come,,,,dragging my sorry a** in behind me...day late and dollar(s) short! Loved the interview. I'll try to be on time for the stop of your tour!

Judythe Morgan said...

Nice post, Linda. I love knowing where fellow writers do their thing. Good luck with the blog tour.

Melinda Campbell said...

Isn't it always the largest of dogs that think they're tiny little lapdogs? =P Anyway, thank you for sharing today! Can't wait to check it out, sounds very good. =) Best of luck with your success!

cloud.weaver.girl AT gmail DOT com

Mary Preston said...

Loving your outside view.

marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Natasha D said...

Great post!
Thanks for sharing and for the chance to win!
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com