Monday, February 18, 2013

A Little Bit of Madness by Sheryl Brown : Character Interview and Excerpt: RABT Tour Stop



Character Interview: P C Alex Burrows ~ A Little Bit of Madness.

Where do you dream of traveling to and why?

Hmm? Good question. Ideally, I’d like to take Celia somewhere exotic for a dream honeymoon, somewhere secluded preferably, where we could sit back under a palm tree, sipping cocktails alongside turquoise waters fringed by soft white sands. Plenty of sun, sea and se… Er, sports … waters-ports. Unfortunately, on a policeman’s salary I may have to sell my body in order pay for it. There are also the kids to consider, of course, Celia’s two: little Ben, who’s at the into-everything-stage and wouldn’t sit still under a palm tree for more than two seconds - and her teenage son, Drew, ditto, unless he was plugged into his Play Station – once he’d checked out the semi-clad ‘hotties’ in the vicinity, that was. There’s also my daughter, Kelly, to consider. Wheelchairs tend not to go very well on and soft white sand, so …  Disney World, I guess would be my dream destination, mainly because it was Kelly’s, before the accident.

Celia reckons I probably wouldn’t make the deposit for the Caribbean getaway touting my wares on street corners anyway, so we’re saving hard for Disney Land instead. She’s already checked out wheelchair access to attractions. Apparently, most are accessible to people who can be lifted from chairs with assistance, so… it looks like our honeymoon is going to be a bit crowded.

Tell us about your family.

In a word: extended. OK, well, both having children by previous relationships, we’re combining families, as you might have gathered, which isn’t easy. The kids are getting along fine, though.  Luke seems to have taken a bit of shine to Kelly, but don’t tell him I told you whatever you do. He’ll disappear permanently under his Bench cap. Kelly adores Ben, but don’t tell her I said that either. She’s into her kids are soooo juvenile phase. So, the children are good with it. Not too many declarations of war yet. My dad, however…. Well, put it this way, his nickname is Colonel Casanova. He’s currently trying to ‘woo,’ Celia’s mother, Eleanor, who thinks he’s a complete chauvinist. He is, a bit.  Well, a lot, actually, product of his time, you know? Then there are the rest of Celia’s ‘elderly independents’, her old people at the rest home, who Celia sees as her family. I’m thinking family life could get a little complicated. 

What was the scariest moment of your life?

Seeing Celia dangling from a church steeple. That’s probably when I realised how much I cared about her, but couldn’t admit it, obviously, for personal reasons, as well as the fact that she was about to marry that prat … sorry … idiot, Martin. It also brought back stark memories of a previous similar incident, terrifying memories, actually. Do you mind if I offer you an excerpt? It’s difficult to talk about, to be honest.

Alex wasn’t listening. He was off, at a run towards the church. She wasn’t bloody well stuck. He knew it. Her shoulders were hunched. Her eyes would be clamped shut. He didn’t have to see her up close to know that. Her palms would be sweating. He wiped the sweat from one of his own as he took the steps to the roof two at a time. Her mouth would be dry and her heart beating fit to burst.
‘It’s okay, I’m a policeman,’ he said, pushing past an instructor with a stock-of-the-trade reassuring statement. ‘Alex,’ he introduced himself to the lead instructor. ‘What’s happening?’
‘Robert.’ The instructor shook his hand, looking relieved. ‘I’m not sure. She was doing okay. Scared, but doing okay, until that last slide and then—’
‘Air to base,’ said the colonel behind them, holding his mobile walkie-talkie style. ‘Air to base, over. Ah, Alex.’ He caught sight of his son. ‘Bit of situation, hey what? Lorst her bottle, I’m afraid. Happens to the best of us.’ He tsked sympathetically. ‘Now what I suggest is that one of us stays up here and keeps in touch with the ground troops and one of us goes over the edge.’
Alex sighed. ‘Dad. Go down.’
‘Ah, yes, well, I would, of course. Bit of a  dodgy heart though, don’t y’—’
‘Dad, for Christ’s sake, this is no time for war games! Go down the bloody steps, will you?! The, er, women are on their own.’ Alex noted his father’s deflated look and softened his tone.
‘Great,’ he muttered, as the colonel nodded sadly and about-faced. As if bellowing at an old man was going to help the situation. Dammit, he’d have to apologise—later. Right now, as Celia might well be in considerable danger, he needed to do his job.
And, this time, he needed to do it right.
Quelling a sudden queasiness, Alex pulled in a breath and walked to the edge.
‘She won’t budge.’ Robert nodded towards where Celia dangled, looking neither up, nor down, and hearing nothing it seemed, including the other instructor who’d lowered himself and was reaching towards her. ‘She could have her rope caught. It does happen, but personally I think she’s—’
Petrified, thought Alex grimly, as Celia’s terrified tones reached his ears, causing the other instructor to draw back. ‘No-o-o!’ she screamed. ‘Don’t! I can’t!’
The instructor looked up, shaking his head as Celia clung tight to her rope, determined to stay where she was. Unable to do anything but, Alex knew. She was frozen. Literally unable to move, bar an involuntary shaking of limbs. The same debilitating shaking he’d once experienced.
A frightening compulsion to jump. Far from forcing you back from the edge, vertigo forced you forward, the void below sucking the will to resist from you—and you into oblivion.
And if you tried to tackle it, tried to cross that slatted bridge, climb that ladder, abseil … Total shut down. Sheer immobilising terror.
That’s where Celia was. And Alex had been there.
He swallowed hard, and sucked in another deep breath. ‘Let me try,’ he said. ‘I’m trained, don’t worry. Tactical Police Training Centre: Abseil tower, climbing course … I know what I’m doing,’ he didn’t lie, but left out the cognitive therapy course he’d also taken to overcome a fear that had cost him dearer than anything else ever had in his life.
‘She’s a friend,’ he said, as Robert hesitated. ‘She might listen to me.’
Robert debated a second longer, then signalled the other instructor to clear the way.  He helped Alex into his abseiling gear, finally fastening the karabiner to the rope, which would stop him plunging to the ground.
Alex swallowed again. It would work, he reassured himself.
The figure of eight piece of metal, which acted as a brake, might not look very impressive, but it worked.
He’d done that damn abseil tower over and over. Until he could do it with his eyes closed … and without the crippling fear in the pit of his stomach.
‘Kick off against the wall once you’re over.’ Robert instructed. ‘Then you’ll need to kick off two, maybe three times before you’re level.’
‘Got it.’ Alex gave him a tight smile, then nodded to indicate he was ready. Right, okay, he could do this. And he would damn well get it right. This time there would be no indecision. No hesitation. Not this time.
Alex gritted his teeth and kicked off.
No casualties.
Christ, where did that come from?
Alex breathed deeply and tried to still a nauseating flashback.
He closed his eyes and breathed out. Concentrate. He told himself.
It’s too late! Something screamed in his head.
He panted out another breath. It’s not too late.
No fucking voices. Not this time.
You can’t reach her.
Alex wiped his forehead against his arm. He tried hard not to look down.
Don’t. He willed himself.
You can do this. You have to. For Christ’s sake … just do it!
He willed himself on. Willed the fear he’d tried so hard to forget from clutching at his chest. The same paralysing fear had gripped him when his wife needed him most. The fear that turned to out-and-out dread as he’d attempted to talk her down, his heart pounding so loud he could hear it.
Or was that his heart beating now?
Useless, said the voice in his head.
Christ, he was so fucking useless.
There was no point talking to anyone, raking things over, looking for reasons. Not to Celia. Not to anyone. That one single word summed him up.
All he’d had to do was hold on, take one more step toward Nicole—hold all of her. One step and he’d faltered. Jesus. He dropped his gaze, and the ground beckoned and swayed below him.
 Shit!’ he said out loud, sucking air deep into his lungs as his foot slipped, sending him slamming into the wall. Oh, Jesus … He twirled and dangled, closed his eyes and prayed.
‘Alex?’ came a small voice beside him. ‘Alex?’ Celia repeated. ‘Are you all right?’
Alex clung to his rope and tried to focus on the simple act of breathing.
‘You’re not, are you?’
‘Uh-uh.’ He shook his head, indicating he was very much not all right.

What books have most influenced your life?

Er, A Little Bit of Madness by Sheryl Browne?

What are your favorite TV shows?

Dexter. I’m not sure as a policeman I should admit to be being a fan of a serial killer, but I love it. Can’t get enough.

Mad Men. Again, essential viewing for both of us. Love the retro feel to it.

The Hour.  If I’m honest, Celia is more into this. It’s a UK series based around a TV news show. Retro again, but has a very British feel to it. I think it’s growing on me.

What is your favorite meal?

Anything not cooked by me. My cooking is diabolical – and my daughter is brutally honest.

What are you passionate about these days?

Being the kind of father Kelly needs me to be.

What would we find under your bed?

Last time I looked it was Ben. Like I say, the family set up makes things a bit complicated, especially in the bedroom.

You just won a huge lottery what is the first thing you'll buy?

The honeymoon. Version (a).

Now residing in Worcestershire, Sheryl Browne grew up in Birmingham, UK, where she studied Art & Design. She wears many hats: a partner in her own business, a mother, and a foster parent to disabled dogs. Creative in spirit, Sheryl has always had a passion for writing. A member of the Romantic Novelists' Association, she has previously been published in the US and writes Romantic Comedy because, as she puts it, "life is just too short to be miserable."

Sheryl's debut novel, RECIPES FOR DISASTER - combining deliciously different and fun recipes with sexilicious romantic comedy, is garnering some fabulous reviews! Sheryl has also been offered a further three-book contract under the Safkhet Publishing Soul imprint. SOMEBODY TO LOVE, a romantic comedy centring around a single policeman father’s search for love, his autistic little boy and the boy’s Autism Assistance Dog, launched July 1 with an immediate 5* review.  WARRANT FOR LOVE, bringing together three couples in a twisting story that resolves perfectly, released August 1, and A LITTLE BIT OF MADNESS releases on Valentine’s Day 2013.
Social Links:
A loveahappyending Editor and featured Author 
Publisher Page
Twitter: @sherylbrowne
Romantic Novelists’ Association

Contemporary Romance / Comedy
Title: A Little Bit of Madness
Author: Sheryl Browne
Date Published: 2/14/13

Celia Summers, intrepid mother of two, loves her work as an art therapist at The Harbour Rest Home.  She’s proud of her elderly independents’ artwork, even if her partner, Martin, is disparaging of their efforts.  But then, Martin is preoccupied, trying to get his hands on his mother’s home, Charlton Hall, to bail himself out of debt.  To which end, he has to get Celia on side with a fabrication of lies.
Meanwhile, Celia fights to keep The Harbour from being closed.  She’s ready to abseil from a church steeple to bring attention to the plight of her old people, no matter that she might fall and end up splattered all over the flagstones.  When she does fall, however, it’s much more painfully.  Police Constable Alex Burrows, son of Colonel Burrows, is considerate, caring and chivalrous.  He has a wicked sense of humour, which makes Celia laugh, though when she learns of the circumstances surrounding his disabled daughter, she wants to cry.  Alex also has a reputation as a womaniser, which Celia tries to ignore.  His trying to influence his father’s Will though, she can’t.  Alex, who little by little has stolen her heart, appears to be just as much a liar as Martin. 
Will Alex be able redeem himself?  Or is evicting Celia from Charlton Hall, which she and her elderlies have laid siege to, the final straw?


Buy Link
Virtual Book Tour February 14 - March 15

February 14- Reading Addiction Blog Tours - Meet and Greet
February 15 - Jen McConnel - PROMO 
February 17 - Reading With Anacrasia - Guest Post/PROMO
February 18 - Laurie's Interviews - Interview/PROMO
February 20 - Inside BJ's Head - Guest Post/PROMO
February 21 - Beth Art From the Heart - Review/Interview
February 22 - Melina's Book Blog - Review/Interview
February 24 - A Dream Within a Dream - PROMO
February 26 - Books Fore Me - Review
February 28 - Stressed Rach - Review
March 1 - My Cozie Corner - Review
March 2 - Sab the Book Eater - Review/Interview
March 3 - Books For Me - Review
March 4 - Jersey Girl Book Reviews - Review/Guest Post
March 5 - Love in a Book - Review/Guest Post
March 7 - The Book Diva's Read - Review/Guest Post
March 8 - Bless Their Hearts Mom - Review/Guest Post
March 9 - Andi's Book Reviews- Guest Post/PROMO
March 10 - Kaisy Daisy's Blog - Review
March 11 - My Devotional Thoughts - Review/Guest Post
March 13 - My Reading Addiction - Review
March 15 - RABT Reviews - Review


Sheryl said...

Awww, now I know why Celia fell for him! Mind you falling from a church steeple was 'a little bit mad!'... Thank you so much for showcasing Alex soooo perfectly, Laurie! :) xx

Nicky Wells said...

Brilliant interview, absolutely love it. Thanks to Alex for his fabulously honest questions, and a big thanks to Laurie for hosting! Rock on!

Drew said...

Good excerpt... can really picture the look on the faces of both Alex and Celia... the determination to conquer through the fear, and its written in a vey believable way.

Drew said...

Good excerpt... can really picture the look on the faces of both Alex and Celia... the determination to conquer through the fear, and its written in a vey believable way.

Sheryl said...

All thanks to Celia, Nicky. He wasn't very good at sharing before he met her, bless. Thanks to you, too, for stopping by! :) xx

Sheryl said...

Thank you, Drew!! I think we all have our fears and inner demons to conquer. Alex struggled with his, but got there in the end - with a little help from his friends. Thanks so much for stopping by to comment! Really appreciated. :) xx

Harvey Black said...

Thank you for the review Laurie. She's a great author.

Sheryl said...

Thank you for stopping by with lovely compliments, Harvey. You can come again! :) xx