Sunday, April 28, 2013

Trapped Under Ice by M.J. Schiller: Character Interview and Excerpt: Featured Author

 


 

Hi! I’m author M.J. Schiller and it’s my pleasure today to introduce you to two of my characters from TRAPPED UNDER ICE. My friend, author RT Wolfe, has agreed to interview them for me. Take it away RT!

RT: Hello, all. I’m RT Wolfe and I’m happy to be here today with you all and excited to be talking to Chad and Beth. I believe this is the first time you two have been interviewed together, am I right? (They nod.) Although I’m pretty sure Chad has had an interview or two.

(Chad laughs.) A few.

(The famous rock star lounges on the couch, one long arm stretched out along the back, behind Beth.

His long legs stick out in front of him, crossed at the ankles. Beth is sitting up a little straighter, and she is playing with her ring, twirling it and pulling it off and on as if nervous, though smiling.)

 

RT: But we’re going to leave you off the hook for a minute Chad and start with Beth. (Both exchange a surprised glance.) You get to talk all of the time so I thought I’d let Beth take center stage for a change.

Beth: Oh, okay.

RT: Tell me about yourself, Beth.

(She glances at Chad, then give a little high-pitched laugh. His hand subtly slips down onto her shoulder and I see he gives it a squeeze.)

Beth: That’s such a broad question. Umm…

RT: For instance, what is your occupation?

(Now she gives a genuine laugh.)

Beth: I’m a lunch lady.

RT: Really?

Beth: Yes. I work in a small, private elementary school. It’s a great job! I get to work half a day, nap, then start the day over again by beginning the chores I need to get accomplished at home.

(Chad sits up.)

Chad: She’s a writer, too. A damn good one!

Beth: Chad…

RT: Really? I had no idea.

Beth: They’re just romances.

(Chad interrupts again.)

Chad: They’re really good. She writes about families, and—

(Beth laughs and squeezes his knee.)

Beth: MY interview…

(Chad grins at her, sits back, and motions as if zipping his lips.)

RT: Beth, what are your strengths and weaknesses?

(Her brow furrows a little as if concentrating.)

Beth: I’d say one of my strengths is my ability to understand people and sympathize with them…it helps me as a writer to develop my characters. (Chad shifts a little as if he wants to say something but Beth and I stare him down.) My weaknesses…I have so many of them.

(Chad straightens up now, turning his head to look at Beth).

Chad: You do not!

(He bends forward to lock his fingers together between his knees, resting his forearms on his legs as he stares at her. Beth continues.)

Beth: Because I’m sympathetic, I tend to worry a lot about the people I love…

(Chad nods.)

Chad: You do do that.

Beth: Because I worry a lot, I tend to talk a lot to verbally think things through, and so I’m not very good at keeping secrets.

(Again Chad nods.)

Chad: True!

(Beth slaps his knee, laughing.)

Beth: Shut up!

Chad: Okay,okay! Geez!

RT: Zip it, Evans! (I instruct.) It’s her turn to talk. Now Beth, what’s your family like and how does your upbringing affect you now?

Beth: Well, we’re not the type of family who talks a lot over the phone.  But when we’re together, we are laughing all the time. We can be a bit irreverent at times.

RT: What is your earliest childhood memory?

Beth: I remember as a baby picking up the phone and being fascinated by the dial tone.

Chad: You do? You never told me that.

(Beth shrugs).

Beth: It never came up.

RT: What tangible object would symbolize you?

Beth: Oooh, that’s a hard one. Hmm…a laptop? Sometimes it feels like a growth.

RT: Describe Chad. What was your first impression of him and did it change over time?

(Beth gives the man seated next to her what could only be described as a wicked grin. Chad’s eyes twinkle in challenge.)

Beth: Obviously he’s tall and sexy! (Chad’s smile grows.) But you can see that. You want to know about the real Chad. The Chad the cameras don’t see. (Her smile dims a little and she takes his hand. Chad watches as her hand moves across his.) He’s sweet, great with my daughter, Cassie. (She smiles here.) Two peas in a pod. He’s fiercely loyal to those he loves. (Chad shifts in his seat, looking a little uncomfortable.) He’s kind of quiet, at times.

RT: Really?

Beth: Yeah. Roger is the boisterous one…Chad lingers in the back. Yet when he comes on shows like this, or when he’s performing, he’s more animated. Or when it’s just family.

RT: Is there anything about him that you would consider a flaw?

(They stare into each other’s eyes and it’s almost like there’s a little conversation going on there. I feel like I’m intruding. Beth rubs his arm.)

Beth: He cares too much some times. Like me. But he keeps it all inside. (She looks up again at me, as if remembering I’m there. She stops touching Chad, although still holding his hand.)

(I find my own voice has gotten quieter.)

RT: Beth, what would you say you want out of life?

(She sighs. Dropping her head a little.)

Beth: What do I want out of life? (There’s a pause. Then she turns to look at Chad and smiles.) Whatever life has to offer.

RT: Has life handed you any major disappointments?

(She nods.)

Beth: I lost my husband, Cassie’s father. But I can’t really say that is a disappointment because I was blessed to have the time that I did have with him. Does that make sense? (I nod.) It was hard to go on without him, but I had Cassie, and friends… (She trails off and I glance at my paper to find another question, searching for something lighter.)

RT: If you had an unexpected free day, what would you do with it?

Beth: Spend it with Chad. (She leans into him and squeezes his hand.) Maybe do some writing.

RT: Okay. What CD is in your CD player right now?

(Without hesitation she answers.)

Beth: Trapped Under Ice.

(Chad laughs.)

Chad: No way!

Beth: Yeah. I was listening while we were getting ready this morning.

RT: Okay, Beth, you’re off the hook.

Beth: Thank goodness! (I can see her body relax.)

RT: But not you, Mister.

(Chad raises his chin.)

Chad: Okay. Shoot.

RT: Well we spent a lot of time with Beth, so we’re going to hurry through yours.

Chad: No problem.

(I glance at my sheet.)

RT: You don’t have to tell me about yourself. You’re plastered all over the papers all the time…we know your occupation. How about this, why? Why are you a rock star?

Chad: Hmm… (He frowns, considering this.) When I was growing up, it was just me and my little brother Davy, you know, from the band. (I nod. David Evans plays guitar and sometimes keyboards for Trapped Under Ice.) I worked in a grocery store, so we didn’t have a lot of money for luxuries, such as television, or electricity even, sometimes. But what I did have was this one guitar. It was about the only thing my father had ever given me. I played it to entertain us. And even after Davy fell asleep, I’d play it to entertain myself. When I’d play it I wouldn’t worry about how much peanut butter was left for Davy’s lunch in the morning or stuff like that, and I wouldn’t be so angry about…things.

RT: What’s your family like and how does your upbringing affect you now?

(He blinks once, his face tightening.)

Chad: Let’s skip that one. You said we’re short on time.

RT: Okay. (I skim through the questions on my page, earliest childhood memory…he doesn’t seem to want to talk about his past…) What tangible object would symbolize you?

(He sits back, appearing more relaxed.)

Chad: That’s easy, my guitar.

RT: Well, tell me how you two met? What was your first impression of Beth?

Chad: Well, she just about floored me. I mean those eyes could stop a train.

(Beth swats at him.)

Beth: Stop! (She tilts her head in my direction.) Tell RT how you met me!

(He hesitates, takes a big breath and says—)

Chad: It was backstage at one of my concerts. These two bozos attacked Beth and Cassie—

(Beth pipes up, with a teasing smile.)

Beth: And Chad came to our rescue!

Chad: I did not!

Beth: Yes, you did!

Chad: Well,yeah, sort of. But you thought I was a thug.

Beth: I did not! (Chad raises his eyebrows.) Okay, maybe a little. But it was still a beautiful moment.

(He snorted.)

Chad: Which part was beautiful? When I was beating the hell out of the guy, or when he was beating the hell out of you.

(Beth narrows her eyes at him, still smiling.)

Beth: You’re ruining the story, you know?

(Chad pats her hand, then looks at me, raising his eyebrows.)

Chad: Romance writers!

(I glance over my questions again. I’ve done enough interviews to tell they are getting antsy. I mentally cross through several questions.)

RT: Okay. Aside from Beth, tell me about your best friend. (They look at each other and start laughing). What? What?

Chad: Well, my best friend is Roger.

RT: Oh! (Now I get it. I’ve interviewed Roger before. He’s crazy! A great guy, but certifiable.)

(Chad gains control and starts numbering things on his fingers).

Chad: Roger is…a smart ass. Always showing off. Manic about band affairs. But he’s…phenomenal! (Beth nods her head in agreement.) He’s— (Chad laughs again.) —always there for me, for any of us. (He looks up at me, his brown eyes sincere, and I almost fall into those eyes. I catch Beth’s looking at me though and straighten up.)

RT: One last question…if you owned a CB radio, what would your handle be? What would Beth’s be?

Chad, confident: Mine would be Rocker. And Beth’s would be…Foxy Mama!

(Beth smacks his arm again.)

Beth: Everybody was Foxy Mama! My mom’s handle was Foxy Mama! No wait, it was Foxy Lady. But it’s the same thing.

Chad: No Foxy Lady is—

They say together: Jimi Hendrix!

Chad: Your mom had a handle?

Beth: Yeah.

Chad: Okay… You’re handle would be Killer Eyes.

(Beth grins.)

Beth: That’s better.

RT: Well, that’s all I’ve got. Thank you for sharing yourselves with us today.

Chad and Beth: Thank you for having us.

Beth: It was fun!

Now, here’s more about TRAPPED UNDER ICE:

 


 

Rock star Chad Evans’s tortured past hides just beneath the surface. Even fans screaming out his name in ecstasy can’t drown out the screams of his childhood. He can usually keep it under control, but not always. Tonight the alcohol doesn’t seem to soothe.

Part of the crowd, Beth Donovan smiles, really enjoying herself for a change. But her smile isn’t usually this bright. It is the kind of smile that masks sorrow.  Three years just isn’t long enough to get over losing Paul. 

When a vicious attack behind stage brings this unlikely pair together, something changes inside of them both. But can a jet-setting superstar and a Midwestern lunch lady ever manage a real relationship? And even if they can, will the person sending Chad death threats take it all away? Or is it their fate to remain forever trapped under ice?
 
You can find TRAPPED UNDER ICE at Amazon, BN.com, the I-book Store, and other e-book retailers.
 

 

Chad rang the doorbell, nerves making him tug at his shirt sleeves to straighten his shirt. Everything had to go just right tonight. Beth opened the door and light fell on the porch. “Damn!”
            She laughed. “My, you do have a way with words.”
            “Let me see this!” He whistled, stepping in and circling around her so he could get the full effect. Beth had on a longer emerald dress, with four straps crisscrossing her upper back before plunging downward and long slits gliding up her legs. Again, her hair was swept up, making her neck seem so much more inviting. He returned to face her, admiring her from the front. He laughed. “I’m sorry, it’s just…damn!” He shook his head.
            “Oh stop,” she mumbled, her face flushing as she hit him with her handbag.
            “I love the way you blush.” Chad touched her hot face and gave her a kiss.
            When he pulled away, she blurted out, bubbling over, “I’m so excited. So where are we going?”
            “Ah-ah-ah. Not yet. You need to wear this.” He pulled a silky, black scarf from his suit pocket.
            “Ooooh. What kind of kinky thing am I in for?”
            “You little vixen!” Chad gave her a sharp swap on the derrière. He positioned himself behind his date again and brought the scarf over Beth’s head to tie it behind her as a blindfold.
            “What are you up to?” she asked coquettishly.
            Chad leaned into that tantalizing neck, annunciating each word in her ear with a seductive whisper, “Try not to anticipate.” Then, unable to resist, he kissed her there.
            She squirmed with delight. “Oooh. That’s so much better when I can’t see you.”
            “Uhhh…is that supposed to be a compliment? ‘Cause, it doesn’t sound like one.”
            “Oh, silly. You know what I mean.” She tried to reach for him. “I can’t find you to kiss you,” she whined in frustration.
            “That’s part of the fun,” he teased, his voice now coming from in front of her. “Okay,” he continued, leading the way, “you need to take a step down onto the porch. Where’s your key?”
            “In my bag.”
            He took her handbag and locked the door. As he moved her toward the steps, another arm supported her on the right. “Wow, Beth! You look fantastic.”
            “Thank you, Pete. So he roped you into this, too?”
            “No rope needed. I wouldn’t miss this for the world.”
            Chad shot his usually tightlipped bodyguard a warning look, which Beth, of course, could not see. After the two men got her safely in the limousine and closed the door, Pete commented, “If you don’t propose to her, I will.”
            “Just you try it, old man,” he returned with a grin.


 
 

I was born in the heart of Tornado Alley, and I’ve been a bit mixed up ever since. Not really, but I’ve always wanted to use that line. The medical community has established no solid connection between the place of my birth and my off-beat personality.

I grew up in St. Louis and graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a degree in English education. I left the workforce, however, when my kids were born. Unbelievably I now have an eighteen year old and sixteen-year-old triplets! Yes, I write to escape teenagerdom. Although I love them dearly. I also escape via rock concerts and karaoke. My first book, TAKEN BY STORM, was published by Crimson Romance last fall, and my next book, the second in the ROCKING ROMANCE COLLECTION, titled ABANDON ALL HOPE will be coming soon!

You can find me at www.mjschiller.blogspot.com , or MJ on FB, or Twitter.

You can find TRAPPED UNDER ICE at Amazon, BN.com, the I-book Store, and other e-book retailers.

Thank you so much for having me, Chad, Beth, and RT Wolfe on today!
 
 

6 comments:

MJ Schiller said...

Thanks for having me, Chad, Beth and RT Wolfe here today. It was fun!

terriponce.com said...

Fun interview! I LOVE reading about characters and their perspectives. Always adds dimension to a story! I wish you continued luck with Trapped, MJ! Gotta love the rock stars!

MJ Schiller said...

Thanks, Terri! Character interviews are fun to read and to write! I appreciate you stopping by to check it out!

RT Wolfe said...

I loved this book! The interview was hearing a deleted scene. Thank you, M.J.!
-R.T. Wolfe

MJ Schiller said...

Almost could have been, you're right, RT. You did a great job interviewing (;

(RT actually allowed me to use her name as the interviewer because I thought it would just be weird for me to interview my own characters. I'd already know the answers to the questions I was asking. After all, as their creator, I do know them fairly intimately.)

MJ Schiller said...

By the way, Laurie, I love the banner you made for me at the top! Looks sharp! Thank you again for allowing me to come on your blog and tell people about the first in my ROCKING ROMANCE COLLECTION, TRAPPED UNDER ICE!