Jen: Today we welcome Roz Lee to Romancing the Book. Roz, will you share a short bio with us?
Roz: USA Today Bestselling Author, Roz Lee is a displaced Texan who lives in New Jersey with her husband of almost four decades, and Bud, an overly large rescue dog who demands regular romps in the woods no matter how busy his parents are.
The mom of two daughters, Roz collects Depression glass, and teacups with rose patterns. Her favorite food is Tex-Mex, and she’s never met a piece of chocolate she didn’t like.
When Roz isn’t writing, she’s reading, or traipsing around the country on one adventure or another. Warning—she brakes for antique stores!
Roz is a member of the Author’s Guild, Romance Writers of America, Local Chapters – New Jersey Romance Writers, Los Angeles Romance Authors. She is also a member of Liberty State Fiction Writers, and New Jersey Authors Association.
Jen: Tell us a little about your newest release.
Roz: Suspended Game just re-released in paperback. Here’s the blurb:
After five years spent proving his innocence in a gambling scheme, Jimmy Doyle Walker is back on the field for the Washington Diplomats. Given one season to demonstrate he can still contribute to the team, he guards his secrets well, knowing exposure of his unorthodox sex life would create a career-ending scandal. When he meets Evelyn Gardner, she tests his resolve, and he risks everything to show her the delights to be found in his arms.
Living day-to-day as a switchboard operator, Evelyn Gardner loathes the sexual cravings that cost her the home and family she’d always dreamed of. When she meets Jimmy Doyle Walker, the sexy first baseman for the Washington Diplomats, at a church revival meeting, he challenges her beliefs and her expectations. Determinedly, he seduces her through erotic letters, sensual gifts, and sexual play, until she dares dream she can have satisfaction and respectability.
Too bad her father, the preacher, seems set on ruining not only their reputations but also their lives.
Jimmy Doyle requested the empty booth in the back so they could have a modicum of privacy. For a moment, he was afraid she would balk, but she surprised him by squaring her shoulders and following the waitress as if his request didn’t have scandal written all over it. She took the seat with her back to the restaurant, which suited him just fine. She’d be less guarded with her facial expressions if she knew only he could see them. He had every intention of learning all he could about her in the time he’d been given. Starting with her name.
As soon as the waitress left to fill their beverage orders, he said, “I don’t even know your name.”
He saw the lie in her eyes. There would be honesty between them, if nothing more. “Don’t even think of lying to me.” He tempered the authority in his voice, knowing somehow that unleashing his full dominant nature on her at this point would send her running, and he wasn’t going to lose her.
She opened her mouth, then closed it. Finally, she said, “Evelyn.”
He raised an eyebrow, silently demanding more.
“And where are you from, Evelyn Gardner?” He’d drag every scrap of information out of her if he had to, but he hoped by the time he said good-bye to her this evening, she’d feel comfortable enough to answer anything without hesitation. Gaining her trust would be the first step to owning her.
The waitress set two sweating glasses of iced tea on the table, then pulled an order pad and pencil from the pocket of her apron. “What’ll it be?”
He nodded at Evelyn. “Anything you want, sugar. My treat.”
“You can. Let me buy you dinner.” He hoped his tone conveyed that there were no other expectations connected to the offer. He simply wanted to feed her. Letting him take care of her basic needs was something she would have to get used to.
She raised the menu, looked it over quickly, then placed her order. It wasn’t much, but he’d see that she ate it all. He ordered, handed the waitress both menus, and turned his attention back to the fascinating woman across from him. He couldn’t remember wanting to know every little thing about a person the way he did her. She was going to be a challenge. Once he could restrain her, he’d devise ways to make her talk. Ways they’d both enjoy. His dick stood at attention, ready to heed its master’s call.
He lifted his glass to his lips. “You were saying?”
Evelyn’s lips caressed her glass. He watched the muscles in her throat work as she swallowed. Christ, he couldn’t wait to wrap his hand around her throat and feel those same muscles contract as she swallowed his cum.
“I grew up in central Virginia.”
Patience. Her answer was vague, but he sensed that she was telling the truth. He prodded for more. “Family?”
Her gaze flitted away; then her eyelids closed, and she shook her head. He recognized shame when he saw it. He’d seen it often enough. “I won’t think less of you, no matter what you tell me.”
She pressed her lips into a thin line. So, she wasn’t ready to tell him her story. He couldn’t blame her. He wasn’t ready to tell her everything yet either. He backed toward safer ground. “What do you do for a living?”
“I’m a switchboard operator.”
There were few jobs a respectable woman could hold, and that was one of them. He laid his hand on the table, palm up. “Let me see your hand.” He was a perverted fuck, and he knew it. Wanting to see the hands that shoved things in and out of tiny holes all day amused him.
She rested her gloved hand on his palm. There was a tiny stain on the tip of her index finger—a small imperfection on an otherwise perfect canvas.
His eyes met hers, held her gaze. “I want to see your hands.” He tugged on the fingers, one at a time until the worn glove slid free, leaving her bare fingertips resting on his skin. Fuck. He was going to lose it right there, and that was not acceptable.
Sliding his hand beneath hers, he clasped his fingers around her wrist. Her pulse raced as fast as his, another reason he shouldn’t be doing what he was. Neither one of them was ready for what he wanted to do with her, but it was only her hand, he reasoned. Touching her this way was inappropriate as hell, but he couldn’t stop. He needed to feel her skin, and it was imperative that she get used to him touching her. It was never too soon to begin teaching her to accept him.
“Keep your eyes on mine, sugar. Don’t look away, no matter what.” He explored her fingers with his thumb, rubbing it along the length of each one before repeating the process, this time gently nudging into the soft flesh between each digit as he went from one to the next. When her eyes dilated and her breath grew shallow, he almost came in his pants. Shit, she was a natural submissive, and he couldn’t wait to have her completely under his spell. The things he’d do to her body. The pleasure he’d wring from both of them.
“Your hand is incredible, sugar. I can imagine these fingers shoving in, pulling out. All. Day. Long.” He turned her hand over and began massaging her palm with his thumb. “Does your hand cramp at the end of the day?”
“Sometimes.” Her lips barely moved as she formed the word.
He pressed his thumb hard into the center of her hand. Her fingers instinctively curled inward, encasing his thumb in the sweetness of her embrace. He returned to stroking her skin. “And do you massage the ache away? Alone? In your bed?”
Heat crept from the prim lace collar of her dress to her neckline, yet she held tight to his thumb. God, he could do this all night, tease her, stoke her need. One day soon he’d take care of her himself, but tonight, it would be enough to know that the hand he held in his now would be between her legs tonight, massaging away the ache he’d put there.
The clatter of plates and squeak of rubber soles on linoleum alerted him that they were soon to be interrupted. He glanced up and noted the waitress headed their way. With a gentle smile, he tugged his thumb from her grasp and pulled his hand to his side of the table. Turning her face to the wall, Evelyn tucked her hands into her lap.
Once the waitress left, he reached for her again. “Give me your other hand.” She hesitated for only a second before presenting her gloved hand to him. He stripped the garment from her fingers, set it atop the other one. “Eat.”
Jen: What what age did you discover writing? Tell us your call story.
Roz: Do I have to mention my age? LOL Can I just say one of my kids was in high school and the other in college? Yep, I’m a late bloomer! Seriously, I don’t know how anyone with young children finds time, or the necessary brain cells to write. I’ve met some of these types, and they intimidate the hell out of me!
That being said, I wouldn’t be writing if not for my kids throwing a cliché at me. They grew up watching me read every chance I got. Armed with a library card, I kept a stack of books with me at all times. I read while I waited in the car for them to get out of school. I read sitting in the stands while they were at softball practice. I read between pitches at games. (Yes, this one boggled lots of minds, but it kept me sane.) I read in the lobby of the dance studio with all that infernal tapping going on. I read while everyone else watched television.
So one day, the girls thought they were being humorous. They told me I’d read so many Romance novels I could probably write one. Did they think their stay at home mom/chauffeur/cook/housekeeper could write a book? Heck, no! So, I set out to prove them wrong.
It took a few years to relearn to write. It took a few more to learn how to write a Romance novel, but in August of 2010, I sold my first erotic romance, THE LUST BOAT, to Red Sage Publishing.
Twenty-five books later, guess who’s laughing now?
Jen: Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
Roz: To my knowledge, no. Not unless you count my oldest daughter who has a PhD and has several articles in trade publications. I do have some cousins who are professional musicians – a talent that completely passed me over!
Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Roz: History never being one of my favorite subjects, I never thought I’d write a historical, but this idea came and wouldn’t leave, so I had to give it a try. Thankfully, SUSPENDED GAME is set in 1936, so research material is plentiful, especially since its set in Washington, D.C.
Thanks to the internet, I was able to access everything from weather reports for D.C. in the summer of ’36, as well as street maps, news reports, and tons of photos of people and places. I also made a trip to Cooperstown, NY to the National Baseball Hall of Fame to get an idea of who the prominent players at that time were, how the players dressed, what kind of equipment they used at that time. I was especially interested in how games were reported on and communicated to the public at that time and how the teams traveled to out of town games. I think I took about a thousand photos on that trip!
A favorite research item was the 1936 Sears and Roebuck Catalog. I found it available at Ancestry.com. I admit to spending hours shopping the 900+ pages to get an idea of what my characters would wear, and the cost of clothing and household items. Did you know bras were very new to the market then? LOL Yeah, and they were marvels of engineering, too! Take a look sometime. You’ll never complain about your bra again. ☺
Jen: How do you come up with characters names?
Roz: Oh, this is a good question, and rarely asked.
Sometimes names just pop into my head, like Elgin Huddleston in Still Taking Chances. I heard his name in my head (looks around for men in white coats) one day while driving. I knew I had to tell his story, but it took me months to figure out what that was.
I’ve been known to rob the grave for names. Yep. Caudell Wayne in Sweet Carolina is named after one of my long-deceased relatives. I saw the name Caudell on a tombstone in the family plot and had to borrow it!
In the case of Jimmy Doyle Walker in Suspended Game, I have two stories. First, the character is the grandfather of Doyle Walker who is the manager of the Texas Mustangs baseball team in my present day Mustangs baseball series. That name came first, and is, oddly enough, the name of a real person – my high school World History teacher. Yes, he knows I borrowed his name, and is thrilled. Seems he always wanted to manage a Major League team! LOL I gave him that chance.
The second part of that story is that my husband had a relative named Jimmy Doyle. The name sounded perfect for my Southern bred baseball player, and it tied in nicely with my existing character, Doyle Walker, so I appropriated it.
Bottom line – if you don’t want me to use your name, better give me a pseudonym when we meet!
Jen: What do you do in your free time?
Roz: Free time? What’s that? LOL
Being serious here – I read. I make time to read every day, even if it’s only a few pages. On the weekends, I love to shop antique stores and flea markets. I collect Depression Glass and teacups with a rose pattern. I also love to take a forgotten piece of furniture and upcycle it into something new and useful. I wish I had more time to do that. If I ever give up writing, I’ll probably open a store to sell stuff I’ve salvaged. I don’t see that happening anytime soon though.