May is I :::heart::: the short story month at my blog. During these next thirty-one days, I’ll be featuring authors of the short story, besides the usual blog posts. Today, I have author Teresa LaBella in the interview chair. We’re discussing her short story Kicking the Tires, story number three in the New Life in Love series, a contemporary romance.
1. What drew you to writing the short story?
Teresa: “Kicking the Tires” was the third story featuring ‘bit part’ neighbors introduced briefly in “Heartland”, the second contemporary romance novel of my New Life in Love series.
2. What do you like most about writing short stories?
Teresa: Some stories may not lend themselves to novel or even novella-length reads. But the characters encourage and inspire me to write the tales they have to tell in fewer words with the same impact as a longer work of fiction.
3. What do you like least about writing short stories?
Teresa: The length of the story has limits and the boundaries can be challenging. But the exercise certainly strengthens my writer’s muscle!
4. Why did you write this short story you are featuring?
Teresa: I wanted to include a storyline of friendship within the context of an adult love story. The unlikely connection between the younger adults moves their respective parents’ love story from tentative attraction to future possibility.
5. Why do you think readers should invest their time in reading the short story?
Teresa: I invest my time in writing the best story I can offer. I write for readers to enjoy the read and take away an emotional connection with the characters in the story told.
Title: Kicking the Tires
Series: New Life in Love, #3
Author: Teresa LaBella
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Heat Rating: Sensual
Word Count: 5,645 words
Publication Date: April 18, 2016
Publisher: 4Wurdz Press
Love and new life in second chances.
Blurb: Jocelyn Ellis, transplanted Chicago police officer turned Linn County Sheriff’s deputy in small town Iowa, uproots her life to save her 15-year-old son Derek. Both mother and son discover their new life purpose with a lonely drama teacher and his autistic daughter in Kicking the Tires.
Shayla leaned bony bare elbows on the counter. “If you don’t mind me asking, how are things with you and your man?”
Jocelyn shrugged and put down her cup. “Comfortable.”
“What do you mean by ‘comfortable’?”
“My duty shifts don’t always match up with Mitch’s nine-to-five and weekends off regular hours in county administration. We get together when we can.”
Shayla squinted middle-aged brown eyes at the much younger woman of color. “Don’t tell me. Let me guess. You cook dinner. He fills his belly. Maybe the two of you watch a movie with Derek. Then he warms your bed, spends the night, stays for breakfast and hangs around until you go to work.”
Jocelyn’s humorless laugh confirmed Shayla’s suspicions. She had touched the raw nerve of truth. “Uh-huh. He’s kicking the tires.”
“Now it’s my turn to ask what you mean,” Jocelyn replied.
“Dating is like buying a car,” Shayla explained. “You have an idea of what you want. So you go out and shop around. You find a few that look good to you. So you do a little research, ask questions, get behind the wheel to see how it feels.” Shayla leaned closer to Jocelyn to make her point. “Now I got no problem with taking a test drive or two. Kick the tires once or twice. But when you start to feel like you’re being taken for a ride then maybe it’s time to go looking again. Because if he keeps kicking the tires and don’t ask for the keys, he’s never gonna sign his name on any piece of paper, if you know what I mean.”
My fascination with fiction began as soon as I could read. Piles of hardcover and paperback novels, mysteries, science fiction and fantasy and Shakespearean plays checked out from the local library entertained me through childhood and adolescence.
My work as a grant writer and consultant requires me to write compelling prose under word count and available space constraints.
The novelist within screams “Let me out!”
Most Sunday afternoons and rare weekday evenings over two years, I ignored the disciplines of the technical writer and let the author have her way. Darien, the dashing chef driven by the pursuit of culinary perfection and hungry for a life-long partner in love. Ali, successful and settled but alone and wary of trusting a lover with her heart. Their separate worlds on either side of the East River – family and friends, fears and doubts, hopes and joys – converged in my imagination and compelled me to describe what they saw and write the words they spoke.
In many ways, my love life mirrored Ali’s. Divorced and doubtful that I would ever find the love of my life, I answered an online post from a man in Toronto, Ontario looking to share “a newspaper in the morning and a glass of wine at night.” He responded. We chatted online, ran up ridiculous long distance phone bills and even bigger credit card balances for round-trip airfares between Iowa and Canada before he proposed and I accepted.
My romance muse was inspired by the story we started in Toronto, moved to Iowa, and continue to write together in Nova Scotia.
Darien and Ali overcoming Reservations. Bonds of friendship to love’s promise and family for Darien and Miranda in Iowa’s Heartland. The place of Belonging for their daughter Marisa with Alistair in the Scottish Highlands.
Romance holds together lives shattered and renewed in the romantic suspense of The UnMatchables Case #1: Danger Noted and intrigue of the political thriller Capital Strings.
Happily-ever-after can and does happen in fiction and real life.