Congratulations to Debby Grahl, whose romantic suspense Island Heat just launched yesterday! The book looks great, and she's gifted us with a sexy little excerpt. But first let's get to know this talented author a little better.
1) What sort of books did you enjoy reading as a child? Did you have a favorite book or series?
I loved Pippi Longstockings and Nancy Drew.
I loved those books, too!
2) What sort of books do you enjoy reading nowadays? I enjoy paranormal and contemporary romance.
I also love mystery cozies. I’m a huge Miss Marple fan.
3) Around what age did you realize that you liked to write? And when did you know that you wanted to write books? First a little background.
I have a disease of the retina called Retinitis Pigmentosa which causes gradual vision loss. I lost the ability to read in my early twenties, but even when I had sight, seeing the printed word was always difficult for me. Reading a book would take me twice as long as a person with normal sight. I was around twelve when I became frustrated with this and began to make up my own stories. As we walked to school, I would entertain my girlfriends with them. It wasn’t until the invention of computers and wonderful screen reading software that I was able to put my stories into print. Everything I type is read back to me.
You are clearly a determined and very talented lady. Thank you for sharing with us.
4) What’s the first thing you wrote that you remember being proud of?
This would have to be the first book I wrote, Decorated to Death. The story and characters are all taken from a neighborhood I used to live in.
5) Tell us about the creative force within you. What inspires you to write, to create?
I’m sure you’ve heard this from a number of authors, but these stories pop into my head, and I have to write them down. One of my books, Rue Toulouse, came about while sitting on our hotel balcony in New Orleans. I was taking in my surroundings -- the sounds, smells, and music, and the story came to me.
I love that. And New Orleans -- it might be impossible for a writer to not be inspired in that extraordinary city.
6) What’s your writing space like?
This is kind of embarrassing. A few years ago, I had back surgery. I couldn’t sit comfortably in my desk chair, and the recliner was the only place I could sit. So I placed my keyboard in my lap and began to type. I thought this was pretty easy, so I’m still there today.
7) Do you have a favorite time of day to write? Any habits or little rituals that put you in a writing mindset?
Mornings are best for me. The house is quiet and there aren’t too many distractions. If I become blocked, I find sitting in the hot tub with a nice bottle of wine helps.
8) Time to talk about your latest release (rubbing hands together). But first, how did you come up with the idea for the series? Are there any interesting tidbits you’d care to share with us?
Island Heat is the second in my Carolina series, Mountain Blaze, being the first. I love both the mountains and the ocean. Island Heat takes place on Hilton Head Island, where I live. I loved being able to describe this beautiful island to my readers and even more fun including some of my girlfriends in the story.
9) I realize that you’ve just published a book. I know what that takes. Still, I can’t help but ask – do you have anything waiting in the wings?
Yes, the third book in my Carolina series will take place in historic Charleston, SC. I have the plot, setting and characters, but can’t come up with a title.
10) Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
I’d like to thank Anastasia for having me today.
Debby, thank you. It's a privilege to share in your book launch week. Wishing you all the best!
And now, Island Heat!
A chance encounter leads to romance and murder.
When bookstore owner Suzanna Shay and writer Austen Kincade meet on a Who Done It mystery cruise, their instant attraction has them more interested in romance than searching for clues. But when the leading actress in the shipboard murder skit, Austen’s publisher’s wife, throws herself at Austen, she’s furious when he rejects her advances and vows to have Austen no matter what it takes.
After the ship docks, with plans for a future together, Suzanna and Austen part, unaware vindictive lies will soon test their newfound love and entangle them in a real mystery that proves deadly.
“There’s a full moon. How about a stroll out on the deck?”
Suzanna, you don’t know him. Think about what you’re doing. Her mother’s voice rang through her head. But as she gazed into Austen’s face, careful was the last thing she wanted to be. She stood. “Let’s go.”
They said goodbye to the Paiges and headed for the doors leading onto the deck. The night was warm with a gentle breeze. Stars filled the velvet sky as moonlight sparkled upon the water.
Suzanna breathed in the salty air. Right now, my life in Charlotte might as well be a million miles away, and I haven’t a care in the world.
“There’s Orion,” Austen pointed. “Studying the constellations is a hobby of mine.”
“I find the stars fascinating. And I love having my fortune told.”
“I can tell you what your future will bring,” Austen replied.
He took her into his arms. “This.” His lips covered hers.
The warmth of his mouth made Suzanna’s skin tingle. This moment came right off the pages of the romance novels she so loved — a moonlit night, a handsome man, and the faint sound of a piano in the distance. She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him back.
He held her close. His kiss, gentle at first, his lips moving slowly across hers, skillfully coaxed her lips apart. Their tongues met, and Suzanna let out a low moan as the kiss deepened. Her body molded to his. She slid her fingers through the hair on the nape of his neck. His hand glided up and down her back. His hard erection rubbed against her, and Suzanna’s passion soared.
Austen broke their kiss and gazed into her eyes. In a husky voice he said, “I want you.”
Suzanna, never one to jump into bed with a man she’d just met, hesitated. Again, for a second, her mother’s disapproving scowl flashed through her mind. She defiantly brushed it aside. There’s no one here to question your actions. Don’t let this perfect night pass you by. Besides, who would ever know? the adventurous part of her brain screamed drowning out any misgivings. Who was she kidding? Nothing would keep her from having sex with Austen. “Yes.” she whispered.
“I suggest we get off this deck before we go any further. Your cabin or mine?”
Struggling to gather her wits, Suzanna nodded. “Mine.”
About the Author
Award-winning author Debby Grahl lives on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, with her husband David. Besides writing, she enjoys biking, walking on the beach, and a glass of wine at sunset. Visually impaired since childhood by Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), she uses screen-reading software to research and write her books.
Rue Toulouse, a contemporary romance set in the French Quarter, medalled as second place in the Readers’ Favorite international competition, and was awarded first place in the Top Shelf Fiction for the Romance category. His Magic Touch, a paranormal romance, is also set in New Orleans. Her latest book, Island Heat, will be released May 1, 2023, and will be the second book in her three-part Carolina series. The first, Mountain Blaze, released November 2, 2020, has received a five-star review from Readers’ Favorite.
Anastasia, thank you so much for hosting me! I'm in the Bahamas and just now got my email.
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It's no secret that I prefer fat HEAs. Where better than in a beautiful romance?
From me to you with a smile.
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