Rad-Reader:  I got the feeling that Marianne was confused going home.  Happy but yet not happy was that true if so why?

Carmine:  She certainly has mixed feelings. What Marianne doesn’t realize is that she’s not happy. She has a successful career as a romance writer, but something is missing from her life. She’ll soon realize that she’s been missing her family, her roots, and a sense of belonging somewhere, and of being loved by that special someone who makes your heart sing. She just doesn’t know, at the beginning of the story, what it is that she needs. She’s very independent and headstrong. Who knows if she’d have ever returned to Orcas Island for more than a short visit if it hadn’t been for the dare from her writing group that requires she stay on the island for a period of time, long enough to reconnect and make it harder to leave. As the story plays out, it’s not so much her commitment to the dare that has her staying, but realizing that her family is in trouble and needs her to solve a mystery.

Rad-Reader:  Was it always your intention to have her to discover the photograph on the ferry or were you thinking about maybe later in the story?

Carmine:  I wanted to show, early on, that there was something from the past that connected Jack and Marianne. Fate at play. The photo connects them as it has both of their grandfathers in the picture. The photo is basically a story unto itself. It’s like fate saying “there’s a story behind this picture, and it requires both Jack and Marianne to figure out the connection between the old photo and the mysterious notes at her gate.”

Rad-Reader:  Was it always your plan for Marianne and Jack to meet on the ferry?

Carmine:  Yes. I wanted them thrown together. Forced to connect. Like being stuck in an elevator, so to speak. I believe that fate does that. I like chance meetings. From the get-go, the mystery pulls them both to Orcas Island.

Rad-Reader:  Missy’s boyfriend Gerald, was he always part of your story or someone you decided to add as you were writing the story?

Carmine:  I wrote the bad guy in early. At first, he was just a faceless threat. Then I decided that it would be creepier if the bad guy was someone closer to Marianne than she realized. But Gerald was hard to write. He needed to be charming enough to fool some women, yet questionable beneath the surface in a way that had outsiders seeing red flags. It was also hard to write the younger sister, Missy. Why would she even like someone like Gerald? But Missy felt that she didn’t have anyone to lean on emotionally, so that made her vulnerable to Gerald’s charm. When you’re emotionally vulnerable, you can be fooled.

Rad-Reader:  Was the character Gilly based on anyone you know or did you just come up with her?

Carmine:  Long, long ago, it just took a 15 minute, maybe less, visit with a quirky, eccentric, and gruff personality that has remained with me forever. It was fun to write her. I made her a bristly character, one someone might prefer to avoid, yet, you can’t if you want to find answers to the mystery.

Rad-Reader:  I got the sense that not everyone was happy to see Marianne back on the island.  Was that a true statement or just me?

Carmine:  True. I didn’t want her return home to be one with welcome arms. This created more conflict for the story and also left it wide open as to who might be leaving the mysterious notes. Also, Marianne went to the extreme to avoid her grandfather’s difficult personality. The fallout was that she lost a precious connection with her sister and also lost touch with everyone else in her small town. That left her with few people to ask for help and narrowed her options down to the handsome stranger, Jack Sanders.

Rad-Reader:  Even though she was a romance writer she never thought it strange that people on the island always asked about her grandfather was the one who paid for her and her brother’s college?  She corrected them saying they each got student loans.  She never thought about maybe starting her own investigation

Carmine:  No. Events were moving too fast. Her concerns for her sister were growing, and at the back of her mind is her unease of whether she’ll have another mysterious visitor at the old mansion. All this overshadowed any concern she may have had as to where that rumor had started.

Rad-Reader:  Did you always plan on Marianne’s brother coming to the island or did you decide to add that part as you were writing the story?

Carmine:  I planned early on in the outline to have her brother Ian make an appearance. I needed to introduce him in some manner as he is the hero in Book 2. I will be doing that in each book; introducing the two sub characters who will have their own mystery/romance in the next book.

Rad-Reader:  Was it any more difficult writing with the main location being the island or was it easier than just focusing in on a town?

Carmine:   It was easy thinking of the island as the main location.  

Rad-Reader:  The back of your book says you are from the Seattle area, have you ever lived on the island or visited?

Carmine:  Visited. Growing up, we had a cabin cruiser and went boat camping a lot. So, I have memories of the marinas at these islands in the San Juan Islands, stopping to use the laundromat, refuel, buy ice cream cones, and get back on the boat. As an adult, I’ve visited many times by ferry, spending either a day or the weekend. The San Juan Islands tend to be the draw for a weekend get-a-way to a place where the weather tends to be a bit nicer than what hits Seattle.

Rad-Reader:  Do you like to make an outline for when you write or just start writing and see where it leads you?

Carmine:  I just start writing and see where it leads. Short chapters to begin with, to get the main theme down. I start with the mystery theme, then layer in the romance, and then the secondary issue. I then use the outline to make sure my themes run to the end, make sure I’ve had closure on details, and see what’s missing.

Rad-Reader:  Was it challenging having both of the main characters find things out about the grandfather from the past, or not so much?

Carmine:  Not so much. It gave them a reason to need each other since neither of these independent protagonists were going to admit, at first, that they were interested in the other.

Rad-Reader:  How did you decide in the story to switch to what was going on with her grandfather?

Carmine:  I thought it a great conflict that the one person she was trying to avoid (her gruff grandfather) was someone who she’d need to eventually confront if the mystery was going to be solved.  I thought it created even more conflict that her grandfather had good days of remembering and then bad days. So this made the clues even more elusive. It was also important that his daily routine of watching out the window and keeping a journal made him a key player in saving Missy. He not only saw what was about to happen to his youngest granddaughter, but the task of keeping the journal helped him from slipping further away from reality. Making him able to help at the crucial hour.

Rad-Reader:  Was it your intention to make Marianne feel stressed out or was that just the character?

Carmine:  I didn’t want my heroine to be perfect. It may look like she has the perfect life as a sophisticated woman and a successful romance writer living in a big condo in downtown Seattle, but throw her back in her hometown, put her in a relic of a mansion that’s more than she bargained for, put threatening notes on her gate, deliver a chilly welcome home from her sister, and show her frazzled by the attentions from an attractive man, and you have a woman who is only human, and one now forced to see what she’s been neglecting. Her family.

Rad-Reader:  Did you have to do many rewrites on this book or did the story write itself?

Carmine:  Many, many rewrites. Started this book in 2007. Set it aside for several years. When I began working on the book, again, I had evolved as a writer and a person. So, my main character had to evolve and so did her relationships with others. Both me and my character did some growing up from the start to the finish on this book.

Rad-Reader:  If your book was made into a movie who would you like to play…


Marianne:  Good call on Amanda Righetti

Jack:  I’m thinking Henry Caville with an American accent 😉

Gilly:   Someone like the late Geraldine McEwan

Rad-Reader:  What song best describes your couple or your book as a whole?
“So What – Miles Davis”

Carmine:  Great choice! “So What” lends to both the mystery element and the chemistry between Jack and Marianne, maybe even touches on the nostalgia of the old photo from another era.  

Rad-Reader:  What if you could say to the teenage Carmine?

Carmine:  Be bolder and don’t be so gullible.

Rad-Reader:  Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Carmine:  I wrote my first short story mystery when I was 18. And only I read it 😊 But, when I turned 30, I had this epiphany. I was reading a mystery and I finished the book and set it down. Then it hit me, that I wanted to be a storyteller. I could do this and I would do this. So I started writing on a typewriter. Years later I sent my first novel to an agent. His reply was “your hero is a nerd and I can’t tell what direction you’re going with this story.” So I threw out the manuscript and signed up for my first writing conference.

Rad-Reader:  If you couldn’t be a writer what would you be?

Carmine:  A lyricist. A wannabe singer who isn’t any good. A better cook. An artist of some sort. And the list goes on.

Rad-Reader:  What is your favorite food?

Carmine:  Appetizers

Rad-Reader:  What style of dress, were you made for?  If you could dress during any era and had the body type for it?  You can’t say you don’t have to body type this is the perfect world. 😉

Carmine:   I’m torn between modern day with jeans, T-shirt, and heels. Or put me in an evening gown from the 40s with silk stockings with the seam up the back. Either era, I’d be wearing pink lipstick.

Rad-Reader:  What is your next project and when is it coming out?

Carmine:  Glad you asked. Book 2 of the Barefoot by Moonlight Mystery-Romance Series is titled Nothing but Trouble. Due out March 2018. I’m also polishing up a paranormal suspense due out in 2018.

Rad-Reader:  Where can our readers buy your books?

Carmine:  You can find me on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Rad-Reader:  Where can our readers find you on the Web?

The season of Mistletoe and Christmas Cookies is almost upon us and we are proud to bring you 12 Holiday Romances! Snuggle up by the fire and enjoy this season like never before. From Sweet to Sizzling, From Maui to Washington DC, all our Romances have page turning love stories, plus recipes for Christmas cookies, roasted turkey, appetizers, and more, all from the kitchens of these authors.

Buy links for all books can be found on my website:

1 comment:

  1. I’m sorry this went on later than expected we were at the hospital with Family that are losing their Mom our. She’s one of those great ladies who is a mom to everyone. Carmine I’m so sorry I lost track of time. Char


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