GET READY TO SWOON!
Posted by Sarah Andre
“I’ve fainted two times in one week, Roman. That says something.”
Roman’s heart kicked up a beat. “And the faint dreams?”
“Ugly. Scary.” Color drained from her complexion. “I can’t breathe. I’m dying.”
“Oh, baby.” He touched her cheek, wanting the color to return.
She pulled in a breath to steady herself, her hand gripping Roman’s arm for support. In a voice so soft he had to watch her lips move to track her words, she said, “If Stan changed because of me, he’d want to meet me. Like I said, I need to believe he was a good man, brave enough to face me, know me.”
“So suicide is out.”
“What else is there?”
“In my dreams, I’m being suffocated. Maybe someone killed him.”
Excerpt from SWOON, Rolynn Anderson
Besides creating a unique, tasteful ceremony that celebrates the departed, Jan suffers from syncope (abrupt fainting spells, usually brought on by stress or shock.) They only last a minute or two, but in that time she dreams snippets of murder and mayhem which sets her on a mission to find out what exactly happened to the dearly departed.
Along for the adventure are a cast of amazingly quirky characters, including her black Scottish terrier, Elwood, who tracks shadows, senses villains and predicts her fainting spells. Add in her tumultuous relationship with super-hot Roman Keller and you’re caught up in a unique, fast-paced novel.
Hello again, Rolynn! Both FADEOUT and SWOON are chalk-full of interesting characters. Jan’s father ‘The General’ is written with authenticity and authority. Did you grow up in a military family? I did! My father was an Army officer, dragging five kids and a harried wife through 27 moves, Maryland, Wisconsin, Georgia, Germany, Japan and Korea, to name a few. He loved serving, and luckily, we were resilient enough to manage the upheavals in our lives.
I enjoy how Jan Solvang journals snippets of her obituary. Have you ever done that? Or know anyone who has? My father updated his obituary regularly, but the idea of using an obit as a goal-setting device was mine. I used this concept as a lesson plan for my high school students in English class, because many teenagers have such a vague notion of the future along with low ambitions.
My students were attracted by the lesson because it was a tad ghoulish. My theme: “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up someplace else.” This is a lesson on specificity, too. I promised them (always the idealist!) the more detailed they made their goal-setting obit, the more likely they would get to their designed future.
Pete is a forensic investigator who is legally blind. What is a forensic investigator and how difficult is it for you as a writer to have him help solve mysteries and murders blind? I learned about a blind forensic investigator in a New York Times feature and was boggled by the concept. Pete works freelance for private and public agencies. He studies all the evidence of a crime, giving a fresh ‘eye’ to it. His forte is interrogation of any and all parties involved; he’s known for ‘seeing’ what no one else observes. Pete is bright, funny and calm, a perfect foil for Jan. My editor is in love with Pete and wants me to give him his own book!
How did you dream up the unnaturally perceptive Elwood? A friend of mine has a black Scottie named Charlie who actually DOES track shadows. What does he see, I asked myself…and that’s the path that led me to Elwood’s prescience.
I read up on Mary Tyler Moore’s dog and other animals that are able to help their masters (Mary’s dog warns her when her blood sugar is low). I ended up giving my dog a growth arc; can you believe it?
I’m also intrigued you added syncope as an issue Jan struggles with. What made you think of that? I’m a pantser as a writer, remember, so I make up a lot of stuff as I go along. I needed to have Jan faint so Roman could touch her…connect with her quickly.
I didn’t want to show her as weak or flighty, so I gave her the disease. Lots of research later, and meeting up a woman who has Syncope but still SCUBA dives…I used the disease as a challenge Jan had to overcome.
Favorite place in the world to visit/live? The Tuscany region of Italy.
Me too! Favorite movie? Last of the Mohicans; An Affair to Remember
(Sigh…Daniel Day-Lewis with long hair…I think you and I are twins, Rolynn. 🙂 ) What’s next for you? My editor has asked for the novel I’ve just completed, entitled LIE CATCHERS.
The setting is Petersburg, Alaska, a real-life fishing village settled by Norwegians in the early 1900’s. My heroine, from Petersburg, and the hero, a U.S Treasury agent from Fresno, have two unsolved murders dogging them. One is real and occurred in 1932 (talk about a cold case) and the other is recent (made-up).
My husband and I cruise on our trawler to Alaska in the summers…I can’t wait to tell the world about hot romance in cool, rainy Petersburg, Alaska!
Thanks for visiting us today, Rolynn, and good luck with LIE CATCHERS. For more on Rolynn Anderson’s funeral planner series please visit:
SUSPENSE SPIKED WITH ROMANCE!
Remember to leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of SWOON! Check back on Thursday for the winner’s name. Question of the Day: What’s on Your Bucket List?