Throughout the month of April, I’m featuring fellow eXtasy Books/Devine Destinies authors. In the interview chair for today are authors Judy and Keith who write for the imprint Devine Destinies. They’re here to talk about their latest release The Adventures of Harry Putter, a sweet, humourous romance.
Judy and Keith on Writing:
1. First, what’s your favourite scene in the book? Not in regards to writing, but reading, and why?
Judy and Keith: Evelyn’s spoilt and feels entitled. I enjoyed the last scene best. It showed hope that she was beginning to grow as a person.
2. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Judy and Keith: This is extremely difficult to answer. In our opinion change is an author’s worst enemy. Every time we re-read the story, there are things we could change…but if we indulged ourselves, the story would never end.
To give an answer, maybe add an epilogue…and jump ten years into the future.
3. Share a “side story” about the characters.
Judy and Keith: Not sure what you’re looking for.
Evelyn: She starts spoilt and doesn’t want to fail. Gifted at golf, but is in awe of her father, so doesn’t try. By the end, she starts to believe in herself and discover true emotions.
Harry: He’s the opposite and starts from nothing. He surprises himself and out of character puts himself at risk. His reward, he discovers Evelyn’s faults.
4. If you could spend time with one character from your book, who would it be? And what would you do during that day?
Judy and Keith: Has to be Harry. All I ask is one round of golf!
5. Did the characters hijack the story or did you feel like you had control of your book?
Judy and Keith: The characters always hijack the story. We’re firm believers that writer’s block is caused by not listening to your characters.
6. How did you come up with the title for your book?
Judy and Keith: The book’s a golf comedy, and it’s a play on words.
7. If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the leads?
Judy and Keith: A young Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
8. If your book was a candle, what scent would it be and why?
Judy and Keith: Rosemary.
9. If your book had a theme song, what would it be and why?
Judy and Keith: Rocky…fight on.
10. If your book was a colour, what would it be and why?
Judy and Keith: Orange.
11. What did you edit out of the book?
Judy and Keith: Nothing. Did major changes to the flow. The first version flipped from Evelyn to Harry. This caused problems with cause and effect which we thought could confuse the reader.
12. What can we expect from you in the future?
Judy and Keith: We usually write children’s and young adult stories. So…it all depends!
All About Judy and Keith:
1. What is something unique/quirky about you?
Judy and Keith: We’re high school sweethearts and forty-plus years later, we’re still together.
2. What are some of your pet peeves?
Judy and Keith: Bullies and not being fair…the list goes on, but those are the big two.
3. Where were you born/grew up at?
Judy and Keith: England…in a town that used to be the capitol of Mercia.
4. Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Judy and Keith: Getting older. Young at heart.
5. Who is your hero and why?
Judy and Keith: Mother Teresa…she lived a life of service to others and is an example we can try to follow.
Judy and Keith on Reading:
1. What book do you think everyone should read?
Judy and Keith: C S Lewis, the Narnis Series.
2. What do you think about the current publishing market?
Judy and Keith: Difficult to get noticed.
3. If you could have been the author of any of your fave books that you’ve read, which book would you choose and why?
Judy and Keith: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, it opened our eyes to new possibilities.
4. Share your favourite character from a book that you’ve read, and why they are your fave.
Judy and Keith: Has to be Peter Pan…the eternal child…no responsibilities…wow!
5. On average, how much do you read every week?
Judy and Keith: I try to read one or two books a month.
Title: The Adventures of Harry Putter
Author(s): Judy and Keith
Genre(s): Sweet Romance, Comedy, Golf
Heat Rating: 2
Publication Date: January 24, 2020
Publisher: Devine Destinies
Book Length: 82 pages
Harry Putter’s my name, and golf’s my game.
Blurb: Evelyn’s a trust-fund baby who desires true love and not a gold digger. She takes a job as a bartender at a private golf course to sample life on the other side of the tracks and meets Harry. She knows he’s a conman and only interested in getting you to part with your money. Can Evelyn get a cheetah to change his spots?
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Evelyn wandered into the study, slammed the door shut, and started picking up random items. She picked up a bust, blew off a dust cloud, and muttered, “What does the house-cleaner do? She wanders around twice a week with a duster,” then louder, “Dad, I’m bored.”
Mr. Jackelyn stopped reading, looked up at his nineteen-year-old daughter, and sighed. “What’s the problem this time?”
“It’s Toby. He’s only interested in money. My money. They all are. I want to meet a real man, not these puffed up spoiled rich kids or hangers-on. They smile and don’t mean it. I hate them all.” Evelyn pouted and shook her long curly hair.
He smiled. You have more than your fair share of suitors—a trust-fund-baby who doesn’t have to work is a definite catch. You’ve matured—five-feet-five inches tall, one hundred and ten pounds, long brunette hair, brown eyes, and a smile that melts the coldest heart. “If you stay within this gated community, you’ll never meet Mr. Right. I should have sent you to the local public high school. You’d have interacted with a mixed group of teenagers and know how the majority live.”
“Why don’t you give me a job at your golf course?”
“Would you go incognito?”
“If the workers knew you were the boss’s daughter, they’d treat you differently.”
Evelyn rested her head against the wall. “I suppose that’s true. Let me think about it.”
“Don’t wait too long. September will be here in a jiffy, then you’re off to university.”
* * * *
September came and went, not once, but three times. Evelyn graduated from Loyola with an arts degree. The intervening three years had been full of drama, including an engagement which broke up days before the actual wedding day. Her fiancé had wandering eyes. Ironically, at her hen party, a girlfriend told Evelyn who he’d slept with during the summer, and that was that.
“Dad, I want a year off.”
Mr. Jackelyn laughed. “What now? You’ve put Mom and me through an emotional wringer. One minute, Toby’s only interested in your money. Next, you’re engaged, then it’s all off. You never told us why?”
“He cheated on me.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. A year off? I thought you wanted to study for your master’s in journalism.”
“I do, but I’m not ready. The fiasco with Toby is too raw. I want to do what normal people do. Is that offer to work at your golf club still open?”
“Yes. You want to work in the restaurant and serve tables?”
“Not the restaurant. I fancy the bar. I’ll start as a hostess and work up to tending the bar.”
“You’re on your own, no favors. The manager will know you’re my daughter, but no one else will. You good with that?”
“Perfect.” Evelyn stood on tiptoe and kissed her dad’s cheek.
“Remember, the bar’s top-of-the-line and exclusive. It is open to the public, but the majority of customers are members and their guests. Dress appropriately. No miniskirts or low-cut blouses. It’s not a pick-up joint.”
“Isn’t that why it’s called the nineteenth hole?”
“Maybe, but they don’t expect a birdie and definitely not a hole-in-one.”
What shall I wear? Be modest—white slacks, pumps, and a conservative navy-blue blouse. Evelyn waited outside of Mr. Grind’s office. Can’t believe Dad’s making me interview. She heard a deep male voice shout, “Come in,” and nervously entered. I was expecting mahogany, thick rugs, and a painting of Dad accepting the claret jug on the wall. It’s plain and functional.
“Take a seat. I know you’re the boss’s daughter, but you’ll get no favors here. Before you complain to your father, he’s given me strict guidelines.” He glanced up from the computer screen. “I like your dress sense. Be modest. This isn’t a dive. Mr. Jackelyn wants you to understand this business from the bottom up. To this end, you’ll start at eight in the morning and work a half-day in a department I specify. Your afternoon shift will be in the bar. Gordon is expecting you at one. You start on Monday, and you’re working the starter’s office for the first few weeks.”
“What will I be doing? Any training?”
“First question, answer the phone, make reservations, keep the inventory fully stocked, and look after the cash register. Second question, training is called on-the-job. You’re smart, you’ll figure it out. Remember, if you screw up, it’s family money you’re throwing away. That’s it. Dave’s expecting you Monday at eight.”
Mr. Grind turned away and started tapping away on the computer keyboard.
I suppose my interview’s over. Guess I’m hired. Evelyn quietly turned, headed out, and went straight to the starter’s shack. I’m impressed. This is upscale. There’s even a booth to check out your swing, complete with video equipment and playback. Thank God, it’s got air-conditioning.
A male voice asked, “Can I help you?”
She turned and read his name tag. Dave. He’s cute. I wonder if he bought the logo’d golf shirt. “Hi, my name’s Evelyn. I start on Monday. I was wondering if you could show me the ropes.”
“You’re keen. Can’t wait to get up to speed…and on your own time.” He raised his eyebrows. “Shadow me for an hour. On Monday, I’m here from six. Once the early birds are away, it’s pretty quiet. I use that time to restock.”
“I’m not used to getting up that early. It’s still dark. How do the golfers see?”
“They know the course.” The phone rang. He flicked to speaker and answered, “Hello, you’ve reached the starter at Argyll’s Country Club and Golf Course. My name’s Dave. What can I do for you?”
“Hey, Dave, it’s Bryan. I’m looking for a tee-time two weeks from now around eight in the morning.”
“Bryan, you’re in luck. I have a tournament that day, and the first group will go out right after you. Can you remind me of your member number? I have to enter it to reserve the time that far in advance.”
“A as in apple, six…five…two…nine…zero.”
“Thank you. Mr. Bryan Duffer, I have you at eight on the fourteenth. How many will be in your party?”
Dave put the phone down and turned to Evelyn. “Be polite. One of the perks of being a member is you can book two weeks out. The regular public can only book a week ahead and get the leftover dregs. The ground staff will be seeding soon.” He picked up a sheet and waved it. “The head-groundskeeper, Geoff, gives me a cheat sheet. Mention any restrictions before you make a reservation. For instance, members don’t like sanded greens. Oh, at this time of year, especially with reseeding, no one is allowed on the course if there’s a frost. Walking across the grass kills the new shoots.” Dave noticed Evelyn’s puzzled look. “The weight snaps the shoot at the base. There is no recovery, and it results in footprints of dead grass all over the fairway. Those tee times are forfeited. The players can hang around for a walk-on. I put their names on a first-come list and can usually squeeze them in before noon.”
Evelyn smiled. He fancies me. I can tell as he keeps glancing at my boobs. I must remember to wear a tight top. Pity, there are no sparks for me, but I’ll have him eating out of my hand by the end of my first day. He’ll make a nice puppy. “I’ll see you early Monday morning. Do I have to clock-in?”
“No. We use an honor system.”
“I see you’re wearing one of the golf shirts on sale. Did you purchase it, or is it a perk?”
“I bought it. There’s a forty-percent employee discount. Do you want to buy one?”
Now, I’ve done it. I have to pay for one, but it’s family money. I’ll get a size too small. He won’t know where to look. She smiled. “Why did you think I asked? I’ve fallen in love with this lime-green one.”
Dave rang up the purchase, and Evelyn paid cash. I’m incognito. While I’m here, I may as well check out the bar.
Evelyn headed over to the clubhouse and took the curved stairwell to the upstairs bar and restaurant. She gasped. What a view of the eighteenth green and fairway! You can see the approach shot and then watch the players putt out. She chuckled. No putting out allowed…at least not on the premises. She watched a player hit. It was a towering shot and landed on the green but spun back into the deep bunker protecting the green.
She muttered, “What a shame.”
A male voice commented, “Don’t speak too soon. That’s Harry. There’s always a bet with him. He probably boasted he’d be pin high.”
“Well, he lost.”
“Wait and see. His opponent’s bump-and-run found the edge of the green. That’s a tough putt. It’ll be an easier shot out of the bunker.”
“No, did you see them just shake as they approached the green?”
“I can guess. He doubled up.”
Harry hit first. The shot came out high and true, followed by a blast of sand. The ball landed four feet in front of the pin, trickled forward, hung on the edge of the hole for a second, then dropped in.
Evelyn jumped up and cheered.
“Don’t cheer too soon. If Mr. Elton makes that forty-footer, he’ll halve the hole, and Harry loses the bet.”
Evelyn watched as the putt approached the hole. “Isn’t it going too fast?”
The ball hit the hole, lipped out, and ended up leaving a five-footer.
“That’s not a gimme either. It’s a slider and easy to misjudge. Bet he misses it on the high side.”
Evelyn grabbed his hand. “You’re on.”
Mr. Elton lined up the putt and tapped it extremely softly. The ball rolled, started to turn, but not enough, and stopped two inches beyond the hole.
“How could he miss that?”
“Easy. You owe me a bet. I will collect. What can I get you to drink?”
“A tonic water, easy on the ice, with a slice of lemon. You work here?”
“Yes, as you can see by my name tag.”
“Gordon. My name’s Evelyn. I start on Monday.”
“Lucky me. You checking the place out?”
“Yep. I’m working as starter in the morning and up here in the afternoon. This place is plush.”
“We do cater to an upmarket clientele. Dress extremely conservative. We have a reputation to uphold.”
“Spoilsport. I’m not on the clock.”
“The slacks and blue top are perfect. No micro-skirts or low-cut tops…that’s all.” Gordon handed her a tonic water. “It’s on the house.”
A young, clean-shaven golfer walked in. He was muscular, big—at least six-foot-four, wearing tartan knickerbockers tucked into gray socks, a red golf shirt with a blue body warmer, and a matching plaid cap. He took off his cap as he approached the bar, exposing a full head of brown hair that matched the color of his eyes.
Evelyn exclaimed, “Hey, Payne, I saw your lucky bunker shot.”
“To quote a famous South African golfer, the more I practice, the luckier I get. Gordon, I’ll have my usual.” He joined Evelyn at the bar.
“Coming up, Harry. Did you win?”
“It was close. Ten grand was on the line.”
“You live on the edge. Be careful. We have a couple of members who don’t like being hustled. You’re good, but one day you’ll pull one too many rabbits out of the hat. A broken hand or kneecap, and your golfing career will be over before it’s started.”
“I hear you.” The young golfer turned to Evelyn and held out his hand. “Hi, you guessed wrong, my name isn’t Payne, it’s Harry Putter.”
She laughed. “I don’t believe you. My name’s Evelyn. I start working here on Monday. You look too big to be a golfer. Shouldn’t you be a linebacker?”
Harry pulled out his wallet and flashed his driver’s license.
“Harry Putter. Who’d have guessed? Are you a professional?”
“I plan to be. You need money to turn pro. I’m building up a nest egg the only way I know—by playing golf…for money. If all goes well, I’ll have sufficient cash to go to Q-school and qualify for the Web dot com tour. It’s then a short step to the PGA tour. Size helps. I’m six-four, two-twenty pounds, and drive the ball three-twenty, but you win or lose the hole in the last fifty yards. I spend ninety percent of my time practicing my short game and walking the course. It’s amazing what you can learn from simply rolling a golf ball across a green.”
“Now, who would have thought that?”
“Sarcasm, I like that in a woman. It keeps me on my toes. Can I buy you a drink?”
“I’ll take a rain check. Gordon, see you on Monday.” She turned and gave Harry a radiant smile. “You know where to find me.” He’s super cute. This gig gets better and better.
Judy and Keith write children’s stories. Each story tries to emphasize a moral and has to pass the acid test, would they be happy for their own grandchildren to read it.
They were both born near Tamworth in the UK, met at high school and have now been married for over forty years. Judy initially followed a medical career as a radiographer and ultrasound technician and in her spare time gave piano lessons. Keith followed a career first as an electronic engineer and later as a program manager.
In the mid-eighties, they relocated to Los Angeles, where they now live in the South Bay. Keith is semiretired and Judy changed her profession to a cosmetologist, which she still does part-time.
They have two children and two grandsons.
Find Judy and Keith: Facebook Page | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page | Devine Destinies Author Page