Today, I have author Gail Chianese in the interview chair. She’s here to talk about her latest release Tell Me Lies, book one in the Camden Point Mystery series, a paranormal romance. Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.
1. What inspired you to write this book?
Gail: I love writing friendships in my stories, so when I started thinking about Lexie, I asked myself two questions to start:
- Who does she hang around with?
- What does she do?
I also wanted something totally different than my other books, and I’m a huge Nancy Drew fan. So, I thought it would be fun to write about two female private investigators. But that still sounded pretty average. My next question was, “how can I shake this up and make it a little different?” Since, I love ghost stories, especially where the ghost is more life-like. Think, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Topper, Beetlejuice, The Sixth Sense. I decided that they needed a ghost in their lives. Now Vinnie isn’t your average ghost, he’s kind of a wiseguy. Actually, he was a mobster in his “former” life. But he’s a good guy now, he’s just dead and he really tries to help Lexi and Kat, but even ghosts don’t know everything.
2. What can we expect from you in the future?
Gail: Definitely more books set in Camden Point, my fictional town in Connecticut with more ghosts. There’s at least two more Camden Point mysteries. Kat’s book will come out in 2021, and I’m planning a third that will give Vinnie a chance to tell his tale a little more. I’ve also got two romance novellas set in Camden Point that feature a different helpful ghost.
3. Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Tell Me Lies?
Gail: Camden Point Mysteries centers around the lives, loves, and cases of LexaKat Private Investigative Services. Book one is Tell Me Lies and while it will feature both Lexie Smith and her business partner/lifelong best friend Kat Jones, it’s going to center on Lexie. She’s the more reserved of the two. Lexie’s parents are a bit controlling and aren’t not crazy about their daughter being a PI, but they mean well. She’s is very independent, loves junk food, especially pizza and already has the only man she needs in her life. He’s loving, loyal, very furry and drools a lot. But nobody’s perfect. At least, that’s what she thinks until she lands a new case, one that she’s very reluctant to take as it means working for family and with the guy who once broke her heart.
Kat Jones is a bit feisty and loves her job as a PI. While others would describe Kat as beautiful, she really doesn’t see it and besides, it’s looks are just a product of DNA. She can be a bit impulsive and hot headed, but she strives to be the good girl. Always, unless someone breaks her best friend’s heart.
Also working at LexaKat, PI Services is Vincent (Vinnie) Mattetuci. Former wiseguy and ghost. Vinnie is your stereotypical Italian mobster from the Bronx, but he’s got a heart of gold, especially when it comes to Lexie and Kat. He’s spent their whole lives looking out for them and now he’s their “intern” and “expert consultant.”
The love interest: Raphael (Rafe) Barandas. Picture your favorite tall, dark haired, tanned celebrity crush and enter it here. But Rafe is more than a pretty face. He’s a guy who fell in love with a girl (he feared) was out of his reach. The son of a fisherman, he wanted more. So, when the “opportunity” knocked and allowed him to leave the small beachside town he grew up in, he jumped at the chance. Now, a dozen years later, he’s back home, burned out on big city crime and politics. He’s looking forward to time with his family, a low-stress job (because crime in Camden Point is nothing compared to NYC, and maybe a chance to reconnect with the girl he still loves. Give him a cold one, a basket of hot wings, with the Yankees playing (he’s a bit of a rebel) and he’s a happy guy. Try to harm those he’s charged with protecting or the one he loves and he’s your worst enemy.
4. Where did you come up with the names in the story?
Gail: Generally when I’m trying to come up with names, I flip through an old baby name book. I also pull up a baby name website, like Top 100 Baby Name of XXXX, to see if that name was overused for the age my characters would be. Then I try to picture what that person looks like and decide if the name fits them or not.
5. What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Gail: Everything. No, honestly, I loved writing this book. I loved the friendship between Lexie and Kat. I loved Vinnie and playing around with what he could do and what he was going through. And I loved giving Lexie and Rafe a second chance at happiness.
6. How did you come up with the title of your first novel?
Gail: The first book I ever wrote was Dangerous Enchantments. It’s tucked away on my bookshelf where it will stay. It’s a paranormal and the title just fit the story line. Tell Me Lies was like that too, as it relates to what happened in the past and what is happening at the present.
7. Who designed your book covers?
Gail: Tell Me Lies’s cover was done by the fabulous Rebecca Pau at The Final Wrap. She’s so great to work with because she listens to what you want and then makes it ten times more fabulous.
8. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Gail: In Tell Me Lies? No. I’m really happy with how it came out. In Disarmed by Love, the last single title before this one, yes. I would have written an epilogue and if/when I get the rights back, I will add one.
9. Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Gail: I learned to trust my gut and to not worry so much about the end product, to just have fun. If I write a book, I loved writing, and had fun with, readers will love it too. (At least, I hope so!)
10. If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Gail: This is always such a fun question. Sometimes, when I start writing I have a clear vision of what actor/actress would play a role and other times I don’t. It’s those other times that lead to the rabbit hole known as the internet where I spend way too much time looking at pictures and playing casting director. For Lexie, I think I’d pick Odette Annable. Most might know her from her role in the Supergirl. For Kat, it would definitely be Blake Lively. Not only does she have the look, but has Kat’s feisty spirit. Just watch her and Ryan together to see what I mean. For Rafe, I could picture Diogo Morgado totally for this role. As to Vinnie, I think I’d have to go on a talent search. I sort of picture him as a slightly younger Vincent D’Onofrio or Vince Vaughn.
11. If you could spend time with a character from your book, who would it be? And what would you do during that day?
Gail: I know if I asked this of most people who have read the book, they would tell me Vinnie. He’s a lot of fun and you never know what’s going to come out of his mouth. I think he’d be a lot of fun to go ghost hunting with. But for me, I’d hang out with any of my four main characters. I think a beach party at Lexie’s house would be a lot of fun.
12. Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
Gail: Both really. In Tell Me Lies, all of the main characters are totally from my imagination. Some of the secondary characters are based and even named on people in my life (with their permission, of course).
13. Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
Gail: I tend to outline my stories, which help me keep a pretty tight reign, but every now and then those characters show a little free will and go skipping along their own merry way.
14. Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
15. It’s got it all: a great mystery, a wonderful love story, a complex plot, great banter especially between the two best friends, a wise-cracking ghost, a strong heroine, and a sexy, overprotective, yet sweet hero.
16. Have you written any other books that are not published?
Gail: I have completed book two in the Camden Point Mystery series, which will come out in 2021. I also write women’s fiction for a book club publisher, Annie’s Fiction, and a couple of those have not come out yet.
17. If your book was a candle, what scent would it be?
Gail: The ocean with hints of star gazer lily.
18. What did you edit out of this book?
Gail: Lexie’s “hot and erotic” dream because I felt like it slowed the pace down. I also edited out a flashback scene showing Rafe’s teen betrayal for the same reason.
19. Is there an writer which brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Gail: Honestly, there are so many. I’d love to sit down and talk mysteries with Mary Burton. Talk with her about how she gets her story ideas, balancing the mystery with the romance and just really, everything she knows.
20. Share some fun facts about the book.
- Fun facts: I’m part of a ghost hunting group (Connecticut Ghost Investigations) with my husband and a couple of our friends. I have stayed the night in a haunted hotel that had a bordello (now closed), and I’ve seen, what I believe, was a ghost before.
- FF2: There are several friends that might recognize themselves in this book.
- FF3: When I listen to 80’s rock, I type faster.
Title: Tell Me Lies
Series: Camden Point Mystery Book 1
Author: Gail Chianese
Genre: Paranormal Romantic Mystery
You’d think with a guardian who’s a ghost, she’d see everything coming. But nope, that’s not how it works. That’s not how any of this works.
Blurb: Private investigator Lexie Smith has a mostly perfect–okay, satisfying life. A successful, if not super lucrative business with her best friend. A wonderful, loving companion named Bear–sure, he’s a little furry and he drools, but nobody’s perfect. A house on the beach and a wisecracking supernatural “intern” named Vinnie, who knows everything there is to know about crime and her nonexistent love life. Things are good, even if the cases are somewhat tame, until a dangerous assignment forces her to turn to the last man she can trust: Rafe Barandas, local police detective and the man who broke her heart years before.
After a decade in New York, Rafe has returned to his small hometown, burned out on big-city politics and crime. He’s looking forward to the quiet life, until he’s thrown together with Lexie (and, unknown to him, her phantom familiar) to solve what starts out as a simple B&E but quickly escalates. Leaving Lexie the first time was a huge mistake. Now that he’s got another chance, he’s determined not to blow it, so long as the job doesn’t get in the way.
As Lexie and Rafe get closer to solving one case, old hurts come back to haunt them and a new threat emerges. Can they put past lies and mistrust behind them long enough to thwart a cunning foe who seems to know every step they take and will stop at nothing, even murder? Or will one of them pay the ultimate price before they take their second shot at love?
“Gail Chianese explodes onto the paranormal romantic mystery scene with a slow-burn, second-chance romance that readers of the genre are sure to love!” –Elicia Hyder, bestselling author of The Soul Summoner series
“In Tell Me Lies, the characters are fresh, the plot is complex, and the readers will definitely savor the piquantly sweet sex scenes. But it’s the side-splittingly hilarious banter that is the frothy icing on this multi-layered whodunit.” –Josie Brown, author The Housewife Assassin’s Handbook series
It was a perfect spring evening for spying. The moon hid behind the clouds. The majority of the oceanfront homes on this stretch of the beach were still vacant for the season and their target? Well, he was finally cooperating.
It was a private investigator’s dream. Or it should have been, except Lexie Smith hated everything about this case.
“Have you gotten the picture of the lying-cheating-rat-bastard yet?” Kat Jones asked for the tenth time.
“No. Now hush, before we get caught.” Lexie shifted her butt to sit firmly on the tree branch and glanced towards the neighbor’s house on the left. They had come home early. Just her freaking luck. Hopefully the cool breeze blowing off the water would keep them inside.
Lexie turned back to their assignment. Her firm, LexaKat P.I., had been hired to prove Mr. Salvatore Figerello, the aforementioned lying-cheating-rat-bastard, was engaged in an adulterous affair. Over the course of the last week, Mr. Figerello, the LCRB, had not cooperated in proving his wife correct, until tonight when he’d brought home his administrative assistant.
Talk about a cliché.
Both, she and Kat, her best friend and business partner, were armed with telephoto lenses ready to obtain proof for their client.
“She’s pretty,” Lexie said.
“What a cute belt.”
“I think it’s supposed to be a skirt.”
“This blows,” Lexie whispered. This was not how she pictured her career. Where were the cases in which she got to hunt down the bad guys, recover stolen jewels and artwork, or reunite long lost loved ones? It was moments like these that made her question her career choice. “I’d rather be working insurance fraud. Does he really think she’s in love with him? He’s twice her age.”
“More like in love with his bank balance.” Kat scooted further out on her branch. “Move your foot so I can get a picture of the tramp while she prances in front of the window. Now, if he’d just shut up and make his move, we could get what we need and get out of here.”
“Let’s not take any more infidelity cases, okay? Watching him flush his marriage down the septic tank over a quick ego boost is depressing. Not to mention, I feel slimy.”
“Okay with me, but last I heard you liked to eat.”
Her stomach grumbled as if agreeing with Kat. “I could stand to lose a few.”
“Right. Speaking of eating, it’s still early and since you blew off your date with Benjamin Franklin Bacon the Fourth, we should go get dinner when we’re done. Maybe catch a movie?”
“I’m not dating Ben. My mom wanted me to round out the dinner party numbers.” She took a few more pictures and paused. “Isn’t Paul at home waiting for you?”
“Does Ben know that and no, Paul had a thing. So dinner?” She smiled over her shoulder at Lexie. “We could get bacon burgers.”
“Seriously, how can you date a guy with the last name of Bacon? I’d be hungry all the time. I’d be like one of those dogs in the commercial—‘Bacon, bacon, baaaacon, I smell baaconnnn.’ He needs a nickname like B4, and then I won’t always be thinking of eating.”
As if that could ever happen. “Again, not dating. Now shush. We’re here to do a job, not discuss my social life. Besides, if you ate more than rabbit food you wouldn’t always be hungry.”
Not wanting to have the conversation, Lexie snapped a succession of pictures of the LCRB and mistress as they moved into a tender embrace. She’d gone out with Benjamin a few times and the sizzle didn’t even fizzle. He was a nice guy that she knew her parents hoped would end up being more than her plus one at social functions, but she just didn’t see it happening. They needed to stop pushing him on her before he got the wrong idea and wound up hurt.
“Just a couple more minutes and we can wrap up this case.”
“Speaking of social lives.” Kat scooted back to look her in the eye. “You never did say what you thought about a certain former resident’s return and his position as lead detective with the police department?”
Keeping her eye on the assignment, Lexie refused Kat’s invitation to discuss the topic of Rafe Barandas. Yeah, she’d heard about his appointment with the department. Witnessed him making his way around town, saying hello to the business owners, getting to know the new people in town. Lexie had several near misses with the detective to date and she planned to keep it that way.
Getting reacquainted with her former flame, no matter how hot he’d become, was listed on her agenda under the never doing section.
Gail currently lives in beautiful Connecticut, but originally hails from sunny California. She is the mom of three amazing kids, the wife of a 27 year Naval officer and the rescuer of three furbabies.
In her spare time (what little of it there is), she likes to ghost hunt with her hubby, geocache with her family and lock herself away with a great book. Currently, she’s attempting (keyword there) to learn to knit. Wish her luck, she’ll need it. And, she’s dreaming of the day when she can take her next trip. Where will it be? Only time will tell. Check her out on Instagram to see her words of wisdom, her travel destinations (past and future), what she’s read, and maybe enjoy a chuckle or two: https://www.instagram.com/authorgailchianese/
Her books have been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award and EPIC eBook Awards.
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