Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Dating intervention by Lynn Ricci : Interview and Excerpt


Sometimes life can get in the way of love.

Vanessa had it all: handsome husband, two beautiful children, a lovely home, and a successful career. She was living the dream life she and her friends fantasized about as girls over hot fudge sundaes…but was it the life she really wanted?

Leaving the life she knew behind was difficult enough, but when Vanessa’s attempt at love with someone from her past falls apart, her well-meaning friends decide an intervention is in order.  Dating for a single mother is harder than it seems and they quickly discover the dating pool has become a puddle, with each blind date being crazier than the one before.


(from the Prologue)

Three Years Ago . . .

The late afternoon sun was still warm that day as Vanessa crossed the parking lot; swinging her trendy brown recycled grocery bag and clicking her high heels on the pavement. She had skipped out of work early hoping to have time to stop at the market, pick up her two daughters from her parents house in the Flats, and be home before her husband, Scott, returned from a three day business trip. It promised to be a perfect spring night for grilling the steaks she just bought and there was a special bottle of red wine waiting at home.

Checking her phone for the time as she approached her SUV, she noticed a missed call. If the woman in front of her with eleven items in the eight items or less line had played by the rules she wouldn't have missed her husband's call. Cursing the supermarket with its spotty reception, Vanessa dropped the bag down on the passenger side and slid in across the sun-warmed seat.

Dialing her voicemail, she listened to Scott’s familiar deep, yet road-weary, voice telling her the meeting didn’t go as planned and he had to stay another night. She listened with a frown as he said he missed her and the girls and couldn’t wait to get home tomorrow. Vanessa felt for him and thought the girls would be disappointed – but wasn’t that the life of a regional salesman? It had been harder to close deals lately and his time away from home had been increasing, like it did a few years ago. Automatically she shook her head to force those thoughts from her mind.

They had shared nine years of marriage. Most were okay, the last few not so good. But what marriage doesn’t have some ups and downs? They were in their prime, had two beautiful children, good health, great jobs, and lived in an affluent community with friends close by. What happened a year ago had just been her own insecurities, or so she was told – constantly.

The phone chirped again as she was listening to the end of his message, alerting her to another call that must have just come in. Hitting delete, she moved on to the new message. In less than ten seconds, she realized her husband was the no-good, lying snake she had suspected all along.

Listening to the second message she heard Scott's voice again. Stronger and happier this time, if not slightly distracted by traffic, saying, ‘Hey honey, it’s me. I told my wife I had to stay in New York tonight but I'm heading back to Boston now. I should be able to pick you up by six. Oh shit.’ Click. Silence. The coward wasn't even smart enough to wait and go through the prompts to delete his own message but, being flustered, hung up saving his lie for her to hear.

Vanessa stared blindly at her dashboard before her stunned brain turned to anger and she realized she was very hot either from the rage coursing through her veins or the simple fact that she had not started the car to lower the windows. Her hand forcefully turned the key in the ignition and the engine roared to life, all the windows racing downward. Anger quickly slid that slippery slope into a deep blackness of utter fury. Fury was good. Vanessa’s typically controlled and refined ways gave out to her hot-blooded Italian nature. She would finally do something about this troubled marriage.

Quickly she swung the SUV out of the supermarket’s lot onto Main Street, cutting off a car in the process. Her foot pushed down on the gas pedal, speeding through her quiet little town north of Boston, heading to her house on west side hill.

Punching her speed dial, Vanessa's first call was to her father. Struggling to keep her voice calm she asked him to keep the girls overnight and promised she would explain later. Let him think it was a work emergency for now, if he knew what was going on he would be at the house when Scott got there and she wanted a piece of him first.

Her neighbors were next on her list. Darcy was her first call and the second was to her next door neighbor Barbara. Although she would prefer to call her close friends, she knew her neighbors were a better choice at the moment given their proximity.

Expertly maneuvering her SUV up the winding cul-de-sac, tires squealing, she saw Darcy up ahead jogging across her front yard. Barbara was already waiting on Vanessa's front porch, her arms crossed in front of her tall, thin frame like she was the one waiting for Scott. Vanessa pulled into the driveway like a crazy woman, slamming the car into park and jumping out; adrenaline running through her veins.

“How much time do we have?" asked Darcy, or it might have been Barbara, she didn't know or care at the moment.

“My guess is an hour.” Not knowing who 'honey' was or where she lived, she only knew he would be in the Boston area by six o'clock. From the many past accusations of infidelity, she expected Scott would rush in with a plausible explanation, words of love, and looks of indignation, as soon as possible.

Immediately the three women took action. “I'll call a locksmith.” Darcy yelled out. She was sure it was Darcy this time as her brain registered her neighbor with a phonebook in hand.

“Okay, Barbara, come with me – we are going to get rid of everything of his from this house!” The two women raced up the stairs to start in the bedroom.

Darcy stood at the bottom of the stairs, still holding the phone and peering through the window next to the front door keeping a lookout.

“Where does he keep his clubs?” Darcy yelled up the stairs. In the bedroom, Barbara was opening the two front windows as Vanessa grabbed clothing from his bureau drawers. They turned to each other and both women smiled. It was the first smile since discovering he was cheating and it felt good on her face. Vanessa yelled back, “Great idea, Darcy! In the garage!”

Two hours after that fateful voicemail error, Scott’s black Audi raced up the curved, tree lined street. The car immediately slowed as the disaster on his front lawn came into view and he pulled the car to a stop at an angle to the curb. Jumping out, Scott jogged around the car to the lawn, looking shocked at the mess and screaming for Vanessa.

The front yard looked like a marital war zone. Clothes, shoes, golf clubs and everything else Scott owned covered their well manicured lawn. With every door and window locked and dead-bolted on the first floor, Vanessa watched from an open second floor window as he ran across the lawn and tried to enter the front door.

“Vanessa!” Bang, bang, bang. Scott's fist pounded on the midnight blue front door. “Let me in!” Bang, bang. “This is ridiculous and you know it! I can explain everything, honey!!”

Vanessa remained quiet in her perch, watching as he stepped back off the front porch and looked up. Still in his white shirt and tie from his business meeting, the shirt accentuated his typically handsome face as it turned from red to purple with frustration. Watching him bend down to grab red striped boxers off the lawn she smiled with some satisfaction of what they were able to accomplish in a short period of time.

“Where are my girls? Are they in there, Vanessa? Let me in!”

Leaning her chin on her folded hands, she stared down nonchalantly which just enraged him. Scott stamped his foot on the stone walkway like a child having a temper tantrum.

“I just want to talk to you!” He yelled, tightly clenching his striped boxers in his hand. “This is MY house, do you hear me?” His Italian loafer kicked at the wooden box that held his watches and cufflinks; contents flying up in the air and settling into the deep, lush grass. He bent over to retrieve what he could and losing all control he screamed, “You are being a complete bitch!”

The floodgates opened and Scott only stopped screaming when he finally grasped that Vanessa was not going to respond. Looking around, he realized a group of neighbors had gathered across the street to watch the show; all finding the need to walk their dogs at the same time. Scott picked up his golf clubs, replaced them into the Nike golf bag and lovingly placed the bag in the trunk.

Thousand dollar suits were stuck in the trees and hanging on bushes like some deranged fashion designer's decorating scheme. Boxer shorts dangled from the lamp post at the end of the walkway and his cashmere sweaters were lying in puddles in the driveway that came mostly from the sprinkler, with some assistance from Darcy and a handy garden hose.

Muttering to himself, he gathered his clothes as quickly as possible under the scrutiny of Barbara and Darcy standing at the end of the driveway with looks to kill. Darcy encouraged Champ, their prized Great Dane, to lift his leg and relieve himself copiously on the hood and grill of Scott’s car.

“Jesus Christ! Darcy? Control that beast!” He yelled, pointing at her dog. Darcy waved with a triumphant smile on her face, seemingly oblivious to her dog. Barbara laughed which provoked him even more.

Scott shoved everything he could into the duffle bag and carry-on he had found in the bushes, and what he couldn’t fit he threw into the trunk and backseat.

Vanessa smiled as the locksmith truck arrived. Scott paused only for a second to tell off the portly locksmith as the poor fellow hustled towards Darcy who was waving him over. Vanessa was fairly sure the locksmith had seen this crazy scene played out before.

Finally acknowledging him, Vanessa yelled, “Hey asshole,” to catch his attention before throwing his iPad down to the walkway below. A note was taped to it stating: I’m done. Don’t come back. Not surprisingly, the iPad did not survive the fall.

When the show was over and the neighbors dispersed, Darcy returned to Vanessa’s house with a plate of lasagna. The two long time neighbors sat at the kitchen island under the funky Venetian glass drop lights that Scott fell in love with on their honeymoon and had cost a small fortune. Darcy opened the bottle of Malbec that Vanessa had sitting on the counter while Vanessa heated the lasagna in the microwave. They moved in profound silence, neither sure of what to say. After Darcy poured the wine she sat on the high back stool and waited.

It took half the plate of lasagna and three quarters of the glass of wine but once Vanessa started talking the whole sordid tale poured out. The original accusation of infidelity almost two years ago based on gut but with no proof. Of the painful and confusing marriage counseling where she was made out to be the bad guy and appeared borderline delusional with Scott painting the picture of the most perfect, patient, and understanding husband in the world. Vanessa had finally accepted she was wrong about her mistrust around the same time the therapist started seeing chinks in the white knights armor. Scott had hastily declared therapy was no longer needed.

Over the last year she had bent over backwards to make Scott happy all the while the frequency of his trips increased with a lot of last minute I-can’t-get-home-tonight calls that she refused to question. All for the sake of saving her marriage because it was the right thing to do. Vanessa had always tried to do the right thing for everyone, putting her own personal needs last.

Darcy listened without interruption. “I had no idea all this was going on! You hid it well."

“Thanks. I didn't want the girls to know anything was wrong, and everyone – my close friends, family, and neighbors – all love Scott so much that I think they even doubted he could do this.”

“They will understand and support you now, I’m sure.”

“Yes, but he played the part of the all American guy and loving husband so well and fit in with my circle of friends and their husbands – even willing to live here in my hometown instead of Delaware where he grew up. It’s going to be hard to break that up along with the marriage.”

Vanessa sipped the last of her wine and poured the remainder of the bottle in Darcy’s glass then hers before she explained. “As teenagers my girlfriends and I would spend hours figuring out our lives; all planning to stay here in town, marring guys who would all become best friends, having kids at the same time, BBQ’s on the weekends after the husbands played golf . . . and for the most part we succeeded. I kept thinking maybe I was the one that must be wrong about the accusations, so I decided the right thing was to stop listening to my gut and work harder to get through this confusing time in our marriage for everyone involved.”

Darcy stared at her wine and then asked her the same question the therapist had asked when the sessions came to an end, “Do you always try to do the right thing even if not right for you?”


Hi Lynn! Welcome to my blog.  I’m happy to get this opportunity to ask you a few questions.  Ready?  Tell us about your current release.


The Dating Intervention is my debut novel, a contemporary romance with a real life mixture of humor and drama. [The storyline unfolds as two parallel stories – current day with the dating intervention and with look backs to her relationship.] At the core, it's a romance - but it's also about women's enduring friendships. In the book, Vanessa’s divorce and subsequent failed attempt at love with someone from her past causes her friends to decide a dating intervention is in order.  Vanessa reluctantly agrees to be led on a new adventure but they quickly find the dating pool has become a puddle and each blind date is worse than the one before.


Tell us about a favorite character from a book. 


Vanessa Parker, the protagonist, is a single mother trying to find balance in her life.  She feels her personal life should take a back seat to her children, of course, but also her career and other responsibilities. Her love life is what suffers because she cannot devote the time and emotional energy into it - or at least doesn't think she should. 


How do you describe your writing style?


Seat of my pants - or a Pantser.  When writing this book, I could "see" the scenes, "hear" the conversations, and typed as quickly as I could!  I wasn't sure how this story would end.  In Cursed, the paranormal novel I am currently writing, I have a sense of the final scene - I just need to keep listening to see how I will arrive to the ending that's in my head.  This doesn't qualify as "hearing voices", does it?


Lol! That’s why I am not a writer, for sure.  There’s just one voice in my head.  What do you do to unwind and relax?


Watch romantic comedies with a bowl of ice cream. Sometimes I add chocolate chips.


Have any of your characters been modeled after yourself?


Although I am similar to the main character in many ways  – divorced and single, had experienced a lost love and my share of bad blind dates –  its not me! I swear!  It's being able to write from experience but with a different slant, cast of characters, situations, story line and outcome.  I actually see some of myself written into each of the five women in the group.

Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?


This book is relatable to many single mothers out there as well as busy career-focused women with not enough "me-time" so it covers a wide demographic. Similar to real life, relationships of all kinds can be an emotional rollercoaster, but this story delivers the happy ending that we all crave. 

Describe what it’s like to be an author in three words.


Crazy, scary, fun.


Beatles or Monkees? Why? 


Ha! Great question! Although Davy Jones almost converted me with his guest appearance on The Brady Bunch, its the Beatles all the way.  Still enjoy listening to them.

Lynn Ricci was born and raised in the Boston area.  Her professional background is in financial communications and she pursues her artistic endeavors of painting and writing while enjoying an active family life with her two children and dog, Fenway.

A writer of several published short stories including Daydreams, The Dating Intervention is her debut novel. More information on novels available and underway as well as samples of her artwork can be found at
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Lynn Ricci said...

That was a fun interview, Laurie. Thanks for having me drop by your blog!

The Loopy Librarian said...

I love stories with happy endings. Thanks for the interview and the giveaway.

Karen Arrowood said...

Oh my. It sounds like Scott got his just rewards, andVanessa did the right thing. I really hope the book ends well for her, but it sounds like more trials and tribulationsa re in store..... I can't wait to see what happens!

Lynn Ricci said...

Thanks for the new follows - much appreciated! And yes, Karen, more is in store for Vanessa and she ends up in a much different place then expected - but life can be an adventure if you follow your dreams . . . :)

Irene M. said...

Excellent interview. I'm a Beatlemaniac myself. Following one's dreams can lead to adventure, but whether the road is welcoming or full of pitfalls is something to consider.