Interview & Contest: Lourdes Bernabe

Jen: Today we welcome Lourdes Bernabe to Romancing the Book as she tours the internet to promote her book, All of Her Men. Lourdes, will you share a short bio with us?
Lourdes: Lourdes Bernabe is a new Indie- Author from Belleville, New Jersey. In 2013, the 25 year old writer self- published her first novel, All of Her Men, an erotic thriller. All of Her Men is the first novel in the Jolene Hedon series with the sequel due out later this year. Bernabe attended Seton Hall University where she studied Criminal Justice and Religion.

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Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Lourdes: All of Her Men is a dark story about a 26 year old woman named Jolene. Jolene is a woman with many secrets. Suddenly, her secrets aren’t so much a secret anymore. People start to figure out who she is and then of course everything in her life gets turned upside down.

I had set out to write a sexy story but I also wanted to write a story about a killer from a woman’s perspective. There isn’t too much out there with female killers and I wanted to open up that door a little bit.

Jen: How do you remember ideas that come to you at odd times?
Lourdes: Oh Geez, you should see my purse. I have a journal and a black book just for writing notes and things to remember as they come to me. Sometimes, I’ll scribble something on a little piece of paper. When I go clean out my purse I end up reading the notes and either keep or toss them.

Jen: If this book was made into a movie, who do you see playing the main characters?
Lourdes: Jolene – Nina Dobrev/ Mila Kunis
Eric – Alexander Skaarsgard
Bill – Antonio Banderas/Leo Dicaprio

Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Lourdes: I spent a lot of time reading and watching movies/documentaries about serial killers and just killing in general. I had to learn about different forms and reasons to kill. My boyfriend still doesn’t understand why I needed 2 encyclopedias of serial killers. I think he may fear me at times.

Here’s a short excerpt:

Instinctively, my head shot up to see the face of the man standing before me with his hands in his pant pockets. I blinked and started back upwards from his hands, to his chest then neck, only to finally land on his face once more. And by God if it wasn’t the loveliest face I had ever seen. This guy didn’t fit the mold of the type of man you’d expect to find in a place like this.

Well, I couldn’t really say what type of man you would find in a place like this. I took a look around the bar suspiciously to be certain and this man was definitely different.

Most of these guys were older, but not just older. They were decrepit. Some looked to have forgotten to shower in recent days, as evidenced by their dingy clothing and general withered appearance. Showers were probably the last thing on their minds as they took sip after sip of beer after beer. These were hard working labor men from what I could gather from their worn out jeans and tattered workman’s boots. They were dirty, grimy and appeared to be oh so tired. Their sunken eyes conveyed stories of lives wasted away at the slow rate of one drink at a time.

Some of them believed they were in love. They sat there with the pretty young girls at their sides trying to believe, but really just hoping that the girls really did find them that funny. Maybe she really did like him for what was on the inside. The money didn’t matter…Right?

My attention fell back to the man standing before me. His dark brown hair and strong square jaw were the image of pure perfection. He wore a black tailored suit that probably cost more than my entire wardrobe. And he wore it so fucking well. His clothes must have been custom- tailored. How else could you explain how perfectly the pants clung to his hips? The jacket only added to his flawless appeal. The man had taste.

“Mind if I play with you?” he asked. His voice was smooth. “I was hoping to get in a game before I left.”

Oh please come play with me, I thought. But I didn‘t dare say it. “Why not?” I replied. “It’s no fun playing alone.”

“I’m Bill by the way,” he held his hand out to me and we quickly shook hands.

“Jolene. Nice to meet you,” I said as he chalked up his cue. “You break.”

“Likewise,” he smiled. He leaned forward and broke the rack with deliberate intensity and sunk three balls right in. Alright then. He knew how to play. Check.

“So Jolene. What’s the story?” he asked.

“What d’you mean?”

“I mean,” he said as he prepared to take another shot. “What are you doing here? You don’t work here and you didn’t come with friends. No offense. But girls don’t come here for the same reason men do. Therefore, I repeat. What’s the story?”

He missed his shot and stood there waiting for an answer. “Your shot.”

I took aim and shot the cue, ignoring his question momentarily. The ball slowly rolled into the pocket and I took another shot. I missed and stood there waiting for him to shoot. Admittedly, I had no real answer for him. I had no fucking clue as to what I was doing here but how do you say that to a man who looks like he was sent directly from the heavens? But I had to come up with something.

“Trouble with the boyfriend?” he asked. He was digging and I rather enjoyed evading the question as long as possible.

“No.” I said finally. “I needed to get out of the house. Ya know? Do something’ different tonight.”

“Ah,” he said.

“What about you? What brings you here tonight?” I asked as he made yet another spectacular shot. If his pool skills were an attempt to impress me, it was worrrrkkkkking.

“I’d say about the same. I’m exploring. I had to see what the night had to offer.”

I couldn’t, for the life of me, place his subtle accent. It sounded foreign but I couldn’t place the country. His accent wasn’t heavy. Not the type to completely obliterate the English language so as to make it impossible to communicate. But it was there. And it was irresistible. I had to know.

“Where’s that from?” I asked.

“Where’s what from?”

“The accent. You‘re not from around here.”

“I’m Turkish. I moved here just last month,” he replied. “Would you like a drink? How rude of me not to offer you something sooner.” he said. It was so proper. He spoke with such eloquence. You didn’t run across much of it in this area. The men in New Jersey were a no non-sense can’t be bothered type of men. I’m not complaining. I certainly enjoyed the local cuisine on numerous occasions. But I also had finer tastes. Bill was doing a fine job of tickling my curiosity.

“I would love a beer. Sam. If they have it,” I replied.

“I believe they do,” said Bill.

By the time he came back over with two beers I was already setting up the next rack and over the course of the next few games, and beers, I learned quite a lot from my new Turkish friend, Bill. He was 33 years old, unmarried, and without children. He was a psychiatrist which I found interesting but didn’t inquire further. I didn’t ask but I suppose those were the basic factoids one learned when meeting someone new. I likewise, told him I was 26, also unmarried without children. I didn’t mention a boyfriend and he didn’t mention a girlfriend. A tiny detail of which I was sure we were both aware.

I got down to shoot once more and to my surprise, I couldn’t. I tried again. This time I got down and aligned the cue with more concentration and it just wouldn’t straighten up. The balls seemed to move altogether as if on a bed of ice. Shamefully I looked at Bill and admitted, “I think I’m drunk now.” We both laughed a little. “I know I shouldn’t be announcing it like that, but yeah. I’m definitely drunk!”

“Shh…Keep your voice down or the lepers will hear,” he whispered jokingly. “And I believe the common terminology you American’s use is ‘white girl wasted.’” I laughed hysterically at his knowledge of that amazing piece of American culture.

Ahh. I needed some fresh air.

“I’m gunna smoke a cigarette,” I said. “You smoke?”

“I do,” he replied.

I snatched my purse from the bar and practically lit my cigarette before even opening the front door. It was a bit nippy out but the booze did a good job of keeping me warm and cozy. Bill lit his cigarette and stared out onto the highway. Even in my drunken state I could see he was deep in thought. He kept up with my drinking but he wasn’t drunk. Not even a little. This enamored me even more. I didn’t particularly enjoy the company of drunken men. Even if I was drunk.

Bill took yet another pull of his cigarette and turned his attention back to me. He wasn’t a man for wasting words. Which is why he startled me when he suddenly spoke. “I like you Jolene. I don’t know much but I think I like you,” he said.

Normally, this would be the part where if I haven’t already done so, I planned out the untimely death of a new friend. But… as it seemed, that evil part of me lay at bay. I hoped it was resting because I didn’t sense it at all. Why didn’t I want to kill him right here and now?

“You have nothing to say?” he asked.

I didn’t. Not really. But I couldn’t just stand here and say nothing. And so I said anything that might make him more comfortable. “I had fun with you tonight, Bill.” I could have reciprocated with an, I like you too, but it felt strange and awkward. More so, it would have been a lie. I had quite a bit of alcohol in my system, I hadn’t the slightest idea how I felt towards him.

The alcohol was getting the best of me. I was incapable of navigating the jagged directions of my unusually tame thoughts. I couldn’t be sure which way was up nor down. Here I was, standing with this beautiful man and I was at a loss for…words? I didn’t know what to say and I didn’t know what to do. My behavior for the night had been far too questionable. What the fuck was I doing here in the first place? This wasn’t the place for me.

“I gotta go,” I said. I plucked my keys out of my purse and started walking towards the car. I didn’t say good bye. I didn’t wait for him to wave or say anything. I didn’t want a goodbye or anything that even resembled a goodbye. I wanted to flee the scene as quickly as possible. That was my M.O.

I scanned the lot for my Jeep and quickened my pace as I got closer and closer. I heard his steps crackle over the graveled lot as his footsteps followed in my direction. Suddenly, I stopped and pivoted my foot 180 degrees back to face him and he almost walked right through me. He stopped himself no more than 12 inches from my face. My drunken state couldn’t feel the chill but Bill exhaled the visibly cold air into my face. I didn’t shy away. I forced myself to reciprocate his fiercely disarming glare.

Then, as his eyes twinkled mysteriously, he suddenly threw me back against the front of my Jeep. The high rise of the front bumper went straight into my back and I questioned the amount of force he was exerting and winced at the slight twinge of pain. But I didn’t dare move. I wasn’t sure what he would do next, but I wasn’t afraid. Maybe I should have been. I couldn’t describe the perverted feelings or wicked thoughts that raced through my mind. This was so incredibly bizarre.

He cocked his head to the side as he stood before me and smiled. “You sick and twisted little girl,” he said.

Jen: What’s next for you?
Lourdes: I’m currently working on the second installment to the Jolene series. I hope to release it relatively soon. I’m still working on a title, though.

Lourdes has a couple different contests running on her website if you’d like to try to win a copy of All of Her Men.