Win a $20 GC - Casablanca: Appointment at Dawn by Linda Bennett Pennell

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Linda will be awarding $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Describe a typical writing day. Are you a morning, afternoon, or night-owl writer?

All three, actually. When I am in writing mode, I write until the scene, chapter, etc. is finished. I’m a little compulsive that way. I basically can write anywhere and at any time, given the creative urge.

Can you tell us about your current work-in-progress?

My WIP is set in Miami and Havana. It is told in alternating historical and contemporary timelines and features history professor Liz Reams from Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel. This time, she is chasing the history of Meyer Lansky, the Mob’s accountant and a founding member of Murder Incorporated.

What inspires you when you’re writing?

I am inspired by the act of creation. Seeing characters and a story that had not existed until they appeared on my laptop is simply a thrill and a joy for me. I guess it must be that right-brained thing. It seems to have taken over much of my life and time!

What’s your favorite item on your writing desk?

Uh…I don’t really have a writing desk, as such. I’ve got a couple of desks, but I don’t use either for writing my novels. By default, my MacBook Air is, I suppose, the answer to your question. I sit on the family room sofa or in my favorite chair to do my writing.

What’s your favorite genre and why?

It’s a tie between historical fiction and mysteries. If it is a historical mystery, all the better! I love anything set in the past and I adore solving the crime! History has been my passion since I was a small child and mysteries are just so darned entertaining!

Any advice you have for a blossoming author?

Rejection is a painful, but necessary, part of the road to publication. Learn what you can from negative feedback and move on. Nothing kills motivation like negative thinking and self-talk, so first and foremost, be kind to yourself. It’s good for the creativity.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

I sing 1st soprano with the Texas Master Chorale and my church choir. I also volunteer with my church and local arts organizations.

What or who inspired you to become a writer?

Writing is something I always wanted to try my hand at, but life, family, children, and work didn’t leave much time for it. Now that I am retired and the kids are independent adults, there is enough time to give writing the attention it deserves.

How long have you been writing? How long as a published writer?

I have been writing since 2006. My first novel came out in 2013.

Anything else you’d like to share with your readers?

Nothing other than to thank you for being such a gracious hostess!

Just for fun:
Do you have any pets?

We have a German Shorthaired Pointer who is completely sure she’s a little girl. She complains bitterly that all other family members have seats at the dinner table and it is very unfair that she does not.

Who’s your favorite musician/band?

My favorite musicians are composers Morten Lauridsen and Ola Gjeilo.

Here is Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna, some of the most beautiful music it has ever been my privilege to sing:

Here is Gjeilo’s Sunrise Mass. While this is not my choir singing, I did have the privilege of singing the Mass as part of the Texas Master Chorale’s performance for the 2015 Texas Choral Directors Association conference.

What’s your favorite vacation spot?

Oh, so many favs, so little time and/or money!! I love the Blue Ridge Mountains, our wonderful national parks, and traveling in the UK and Scandinavia.

Do you like coffee or tea?

Both. Coffee in the morning and sweet tea thereafter.

Did you go to college? If so, what was your major?

Yes, I attended several colleges and universities. I hold a BA in history from Valdosta State University in Georgia, a M.Ed. from Georgia State University, a Professional Reading Specialist certificate from Sam Houston State University in Texas, and a Principal’s certificate from Prairie View A&M in Texas. With all those college hours, I guess you could say that writing in one form or another has been my life!

Are you a full-time writer or do you also work in another field? If so, what field?

I now consider writing my career, but I do occasionally fill in as a substitute administrator with our local school district.

Casablanca, 1943: a viper’s nest of double agents and spies where OSS Officer Kurt Heinz finds his skill in covert operations pushed to the limit. Allied success in North Africa and the fate of the First Allied Conference—perhaps the outcome of the war—hang on Kurt’s next mission. The nature of his work makes relationships impossible. Nonetheless, he is increasingly torn between duty and the beautiful girl who desperately needs his protection and help.

Sarah Barrett, U.S. Army R.N., is finished with wartime romance. Determined to protect her recently broken heart, she throws all of her time and energy into caring for her patients, but when she is given a coded message by a mysterious dying civilian, she is sucked into a vortex of danger and intrigue that threatens her very survival. The one person who can help Sarah is Kurt Heinz, a man with too many secrets to be trusted.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Kurt watched in dismay as the man in gray picked up his fedora and rose from the table next to the one recently vacated by the two women. This had to be his contact. The man had watched Kurt on the sly since he arrived at the restaurant. Moreover, the guy matched the description right down to the red pocket square in his suit breast pocket and the thin, pale scar running along his left jawline. Making a quick decision, Kurt pushed his chair back and tossed some cash on the table.

"It's been interesting guys, but I'm calling it a night. Use this to cover my tab."

"What's the rush, Heinz? We haven't even ordered dinner."

"I guess my sins are catching up with me. It's return to quarters and bed for me."

"You headed back with us on the return flight tomorrow?"

"Nope, I'm here with the Old Man for the duration. You boys have a good trip."

The street was nearly deserted when Kurt stepped out onto its glistening concrete surface. Misty rain created halos around the sparse street lamps and obscured most objects more than a few feet distant. Only the two women, Sarah and Agnes, stood under an umbrella waiting for a taxi. Kurt watched them from the restaurant's portico. Focused on their conversation, they seemed oblivious to anyone behind them.

Glancing to his right, Kurt saw his man in gray scurrying toward the cross street. He stepped onto the sidewalk and crept along a good twenty paces behind. When his quarry slowed at the corner and looked back over his shoulder, Kurt stepped into the shadow of a doorway behind the taxi stand and waited. If this guy didn't want to make contact, he wouldn't appreciate being followed.

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 American 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 her or himself, "Let's pretend."

I reside in the Houston area with one sweet husband and one adorable German Shorthaired Pointer who is quite certain she’s a little girl.

"History is filled with the sound of silken slippers going downstairs and wooden shoes coming up." Voltaire

Facebook ~ Website ~ Twitter

Buy Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel, Confederado do Norte, When War Came Home, and Casablanca: Appointment at Dawn. a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thank you for hosting
Lisa Brown said…
thank you for the chance to win :)
Thank you for hosting me!
Rita said…
I liked the interview.
Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed reading the excerpt and interview :)
Thank you, Rita and Victoria!

Betty Woodrum said…
I enjoyed the post, thank you!
So glad you did, Betty!
Ally Swanson said…
Wow! Loved the excerpt and the interview! This book sounds like such an interesting and intriguing read! Looking forward to checking this book out!