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Leslie *not looking the least concerned*: Can I have some of that? *pointing to the grog*
Hellion: *handing her grog as she barrels on* I mean, when you said you’d answer any question, I suddenly realized I’d get to find out which of the Bombays did in JFK. I’m very curious who the shooter on the grassy knoll was. I’m hedging my bets that it was Virginia, since she was later picked off. So am I right? And are the Bombays primarily Republican or Democrat…or do they play the wild card and vote Independent? How will they be voting this November, you think?
Leslie: *blank-faced* Sorry. That information is classified. The Bombays made me take the blood oath too. As far as politics, they are split. Liv and Gin are obviously liberals. Dak is more or less apathetic, I'm afraid. Paris plays things close to the vest and all Carolina can think about is getting more grandchildren. If one of the parties introduces that as a platform - she's likely to vote for them.
Hellion: That Dak! *giggling, clearly crushing on a completely fictional character* Okay, now, I suppose we should probably explain what you write about to those who haven’t read your books yet. You write a mystery-romantic series of books about a family of assassins. The first one was about Gin Bombay, a mom just like you or the Boatswain, trying to make ends meet and get that monkey off her back by the name of Vivian the PTA Nazi—and oops, Gin happens to also be an assassin. Cue chaos and laughter. How did you come up with this series? And what’s been the most fun about writing this series so far?
Leslie: I was writing a completely different warped novel when I had a dream about the Bombays. The name Gin Bombay popped up and the whole family wouldn't shut up so I had to sit down and write about them. I think the bizarre situations are my favorite things to write. I love tormenting my characters. I guess I have a little pirate in me.
Hellion: *roguish look* Don’t we all? Do you find the cat-o-nines particularly effective on unwilling characters? No? Oh, sorry, pressing on. I’m particularly amused by the dating problems Gin had in the first book. It is Karma times ten when she meets the man of her dreams, and he happens to be the bodyguard of the guy she has to kill. I know you say repeatedly that none of this stuff is based off your real life; however, Gin manages a Girl Scout troop; and coincidentally, so do you. Gin lives in the Midwest; coincidentally, so do you. Gin is married to a hot Aussie-former bodyguard…tell the truth, you are too, aren’t you?
Leslie: You got me! It's true - I live in the Midwest, have a Girl Scout troop and am married to a Bodyguard. He's not Australian though. That would be pretty hot. I guess it's true you draw upon what you know and some of these situations may have actually happened (the part about the Girl Scout training is 100% accurate - right down to the video) but I am not training my girl scouts to be killers. Although it was funny that at a Pampered Chef party, the leader of the local boy scout troop said she was afraid of my girl scouts so maybe there's something there. *looks thoughtful, then hopeful* Is there a merit badge for piracy?
Hellion: Not yet, but we’re making some to distribute at conferences. Like a Jolly Roger with writing quills. *poked by Boatswain* Never mind. Are you going to RWA this year? Will you be doing a book signing? Do you do book signings in Missouri? Any plans to do so?
Leslie: Not a firm believer in transitions, are you?
Hellion: No, no, I’m very focused. Look, an undead monkey. *uses her gun to shoot monkey, which immediately bounds back to life and starts eating another banana*
Leslie: I LOVE undead monkeys! I will be in San Francisco for the book signing at RWA and I'm signing in Chicago at the Spring Fling conference. I don't have anything lined up in Missouri but that's just because I'm lazy.
Hellion: Damn, I knew I shouldn’t have changed my plans about the Spring Fling! I’ve got to start pirating more. *shakes head* Guns Will Keep Us Together hit the shelves just last month (and incidentally flew immediately into my cart and came home with me), and features Gin’s brother, Dakota Bombay, a complete and total hottie with great hair. I have to ask this very important question about Dak—which hair gel was discontinued that he misses so much? What is he using now?
Leslie: Well, Dak goes with the big ticket items. It's something he can only order off Sephora (which he probably wouldn't like me telling you). It was an extremely traumatic time in his life. I can't say what he uses now - but would be shamelessly open to endorsements (Hello, PRADA?).
Hellion: You really are a pirate. *laughs* It seemed in Gin’s book (and this may be totally wrong), but Gin seemed slightly less klutzy than Dak. Am I wrong in this assumption—do women make cleaner hitmen, you think? I remember thinking in the first book, Dak seemed so suave, so…smooth, but in reality, he’s rather (adorably) goofy.
Leslie: Of course, women are far more lethal than men. Look at the pirates Anne Bonney and Mary Read, who staved off an attack while Calico Jack and the others huddled below decks. History doesn't lie!
Hellion: Very true. And when he went to hang, she said, “If you had fought like a man, you wouldn’t have had to die like a dog.”
Leslie: I prove my point. As far as Dak, he looked so suave in ‘Scuse Me While I Kill This Guy because he was only a superficial character. Once he had his own book, we got to see him in an average setting - and everyone looks goofy in an average setting. I'd like to tell you I'm writing this while wearing haute couture but instead I'm wearing sock monkey jammies.
Hellion: *tsking* Looking the part of a pirate is very important. *hiding her I Love Jack Sparrow pjs beneath her coat* Never mind, moving on. Also in this book, you brought back a family favorite: Coney Island, the carny. Now this philosophical showman was funny in the first book, but he really brings something to this book. Okay, maybe that’s because you described him as a Daniel Craig and therefore every time he made it onto the page, I wanted to peel off an article of clothing, preferably his…but I was curious: will he be playing a more central part soon? Say his own book, where he gets to be all philosophical and hopefully occasionally naked? And more importantly, do you suppose I could have a role in that naked part? *jabbed in the ribs by the Boatswain* What? Have you seen Daniel Craig?
Leslie: Book 4 - which I'm currently working on - is all about the Conester. And yes, he's totally hot. As for the loofah scene, I think I'd be more partial to having you oil him up as a gladiator or something like that. Anyway, I'm having fun with it. He has a much dryer sense of humor than the other Bombays so I'm trying out two points of view in this book - the other being the heroine.
Hellion: Oil, loofah, I’m totally flexible—you don’t mind telling Coney that, do you? *poked yet again in the ribs by Boatswain* Right. Oh, yes, your third book in the series is about Missi, who has the fun task of creating toys for all the assassins. What’s her book going to be about? Can you tell us? And her sons are about to come of age where they will do their first kill, aren’t they? Will that play a part?
Leslie: Actually, the boys had their first professional kills at 15. Missi's book takes place on a cheap, Canadian rip-off of Survivor. The boys help her out, but are secondary characters. I imagine they will have their own book someday.
Hellion: That sounds fun! I am so excited about this book…and Coney’s book. Okay, okay, last question, and I’ll let you go back to that important task of writing Coney’s book…and putting in that scene where I get to loofah, oil, whatever him. *jabbed again* What? I am serious. Fine. What’s the single most important thing you think new writers should keep in mind when they’re trying to push through and finish their books?
Leslie: Just get it done. And if you don't like it - move on to the next book until you nail it. Gin's book was my fourth full manuscript and I learned a lot from the first three (but I'd rather walk the plank than ever see them in print) but I knew with Gin's book that this was it.
Hellion: *looks at crew* Look, she subscribes to the “As IF” mentality. Imagine that. *tries not to look smug, fails* Okay, okay, I’ll stop hogging the interview now. *trampled by Sin* Leslie, I think you’ve been an excellent interrogatee, um, guest pirate—and I suppose I should give my crew an opportunity to ask you some questions. Crew?