Jen: Today we welcome Carolyn LaRoche to Romancing the Book. Carolyn, will you share a short bio with us?
Carolyn: Thank you to Romancing the Book for allowing me to visit their readers today. I am very excited to be here and share the release of my new book.
Carolyn LaRoche grew up in snow country but fled the cold and ice several years ago. She now lives near the beach with her husband, their two boys, two finicky cats and one old dog. When she is not at the baseball field cheering on big hits and home runs, she is busy teaching science to unwilling teenagers.
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Carolyn: In the Shadow of the Shield is the second book of the Secret Lives series. In this book, Diana’s husband Donnie dies suddenly leaving her with a host of unanswered questions and the suspicion that his death may not have been the accident his department leads her to believe. Carter Ryan, a fellow officer and protégé of Donnie is convinced there is more to it and asks Diana to help him find out. Desperate to clear her husband’s name, Diana readily agrees. What she doesn’t count on is falling in love with Carter along the way.
The idea for the series is rooted in my real life experience with a group of friends. We are all what we call LEO (law enforcement officer) wives and spend a lot of time joking with and supporting each other through an online group we belong to. Granted, the series is completely fiction as none of us have worked as dancers or 900 operators but the camaraderie and humor are real.
They were standing very close. Too close. She could smell that musky soap of his again, and it was all she could do to stay where she was. He sure looked good in that uniform. Too good. She moistened her suddenly dry lips with the tip of her tongue.
“Don’t do that.”
“Lick your lips that way. I have to get back on the road in a minute, and that might make me quit my job so I can see you do that again.”
She giggled like a schoolgirl. “Oh, you can’t do that. Your uniform is half the appeal. Don’t you know, once a badge bunny, always a badge bunny?” She tapped the badge on his chest with one finger. “Badge bunny, huh?”
In one smooth move, his arm slipped around her and his lips pressed to hers in a quick kiss. “I hate to leave, Madam Bunny, but the streets of Virginia Beach are begging to be kept safe.”
“What kind of crime is there in a resort town in the middle of the winter?”
“You’d be surprised. Hookers still got pimps to pay, no matter how cold it is. Crack heads still need a fix, and drive-bys are very popular this time of year. The discerning gangster prefers not to freeze the family jewels to get the weekly quota of shootings in.”
“I suppose that makes sense, since it was this time last year when Donnie got mixed up in that supposed meth case.” No sooner had the words left her mouth that they heard the ringing of a cell phone.
Carter let her go and dug into one of his pockets. “That’s the Louie phone number. A text message.”
“What’s it say?”
“He says he wants a pizza with his Snickers and his Mountain Dew.”
“Hold on. Another message is coming in. It’s a photograph.”
“A photo of what?”
“Hard to tell. It’s pretty dark, but it looks like three people. He says he caught them leaving the house, and they are the same guys he saw the other night.”
“Ask him who they are.” Her heart rate picked up at the thought of a possible lead. “Are they cops?”
Carter tapped out a message and then waited for Louie to reply. “Okay, he says they left and locked the place up tight. He doesn’t know who they are, but he is certain they are the same guys he saw the other night.”
Carter typed in another message, then set the phone down on the counter by his radio. It buzzed almost immediately with a message from Louie, promising to let them know the second the men returned, as long as he could have an extra-large double cheese pie. “All right, as much as I hate to go, I need to get back out on patrol. Lunchtime is over.”
“Lunch time? Was I supposed to be a quickie on your lunch break?”
Carter grabbed his radio and clipped it back on his belt. “Trust me, baby, if that was why I was here, there would be nothing quick about it.”
Jen: How do you remember ideas that come to you at odd times?
Carolyn: It really seems that most of my ideas come to me at odd times so I keep paper everywhere. In my car, my purse, on my desk at work, a magnetic notepad on my refrigerator and in my nightstand. I have even been known to text myself if there’s nothing available to write on.
Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest? Most rewarding?
Carolyn: The most challenging part of writing for me is actually finding the kind of time I need to meet my writing desires. I constantly have ideas and characters in my head that I want to give life to but between my other full time job, the crazy schedule my sons’ keep and just managing the day to day things like laundry and feeding the troops I find myself feeling almost desperate sometimes for an hour or two on the computer. The easiest part is the actual writing—when I finally get a couple of hours to work, I can easily write five to seven thousand words at a time. Holding that finished print book in my hand is it- the best and most rewarding part of all the hard work that goes into writing a story you really hope someone will read and fall in love with as much as you have.
Jen: How do you come up with characters names?
Carolyn: A lot of the names I use for my male characters actually come from the players at my sons’ baseball games. If I hear something I like, I make a note of it and keep a running list. Girls’ names I often pull off of “top 100” lists. I’ve been known to let my husband and my sons choose names for me too. I’ll ask them the names of some of their friends or the name of a girl they know with brown hair or blue eyes or whatever.
Jen: What’s the most interesting comment you’ve received about your books?
Carolyn: It wasn’t so much about one book but about the type of books I write. I prefer romance and I especially enjoy mysteries with a romantic subplot. My sister sent me a cookbook for Christmas titled The Fifty Shades of Chicken. The entire thing is a satiric account of cooking chicken in Fifty Shades style. It’s a great book and the recipes look absolutely mouthwatering. What made me laugh the most though was when she said she thought I’d really enjoy that one—because of the books I write. I’ve never actually read the Fifty Shades series nor have I written anything quite to that heat level! A few years ago she sent me the Trisha Yearwood cookbook– things have changed a bit I suppose!
Jen: What’s been the highlight of you career to this point?
Carolyn: Last year, after my very first book release, a reporter from one of my hometown’s newspaper did a wonderful interview and article of me. That was an exciting moment- I felt like I’d finally made my dream come true.
Jen: What do you do in your free time?
Carolyn: Most of my free time is actually spent writing or editing. I still have a full time job and have to fit writing in around that. When I do take a break I enjoy spending time with my husband and our boys. We are huge supporters of our local minor league baseball team and live near some very beautiful beaches. Of course, I love to read and I’m a die-hard fan of 80’s movies.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Carolyn: I’ve just finished the first draft of the third book in the Secret Lives series, When First They Practice to Deceive. This week, actually. I’ll be getting the edits done on that one and expect it to release in early 2016. I’m also getting ready to release the third book in my Defenders of Love series in January. I’ve also begun a new baseball romance series that should be making its first appearance in early spring.