17 February 2008

New Release: Jennifer Mueller

Our guest for Sunday Promos this week is our long-time contributor Jennifer Mueller. Her newest story is called Havana Holiday, set in 1930s Cuba, released through Red Rose Publishing.

Havana Holiday by Jennifer Mueller
Is it true, what happens in Havana stays in Havana? Five women are about to find out...or are they?

Five stories, 4 days, 3 nights, 2 times the fun, and 1 heck of a good time. Dahlia, Eve, Nora, Alice, and Marianne; when five women who work together in depression era Boston save up for a trip of a lifetime to decadent Havana, anything can happen. With seductive Latin men and rich vacationers at every turn who wouldn't enjoy dancing till dawn, the parties, the nightclubs, the beach, the gambling, and there’s always more than one side to a story.

Who can ask for more--fun, sun and hot men to tempt and tease?

Where do you find your inspiration for your characters? Your settings? Your storylines?

I tell the story differently than most. It is five stories from the five women all telling about the same four day period. I actually wrote Eve's story as a stand alone, but was told it was too short for a publisher, so I went, well heck! There are four more women and all sorts of things hinted at but never explained because it was all Eve's story. In looking at all the resources, several mentioned the old guide books for Havana and so each of the women ended up with one of the entries as their theme. Eve is dancing, Dahlia is music, Marianne is gambling, Nora is naughty nights, and Alice is seeing the island. Their adventures all mingle together though. You can't read it thinking that they are all separate, characters pop up from one to another, plotlines too. Dahlia for instance is being followed and almost kidnapped, but only by reading the other stories do you find out the whole story.

How did you choose the 1930s for your story's setting?

I never wanted to write about the revolution and all that. With it still in essence being an issue, it seemed a hot topic. But 20 years before that, Havana was a decadent city, full of anything goes. It really is what leads up to the whole revolution in fact. Batista the president let the American mafia in to run the casinos because they had lost so much business due to becoming so corrupt, and no one wanted to go. Batista was living like a king on kick backs and profits from the mafia-run casinos, while most of the country had nothing, and they fought back. By the end of the 1930s, Havana was literally a mafia town. They held big meetings of different families even. It seemed a perfect time to really write a story.

What is the hardest part of setting a story in this time period?

Well there are all numbers of people alive today who would still remember the era. I was worried all the time that I would get something wrong and be told so. I found out I have a half Cuban woman on my Yahoo group and I asked her to look it over for the Spanish. When she was done she told me it sounded exactly like the stories her parents told her about the old country so I think I got it right and my Cuban slang should be authentic too.

What unusual historical is next for you?

I have quite a few but this is the newest:
Ghosts in the Night
Ceylon 1923
Andrew Townsend survived the trenches only to come home to find most of his family had died in their relative safety. When the last uncle dies and leaves him a plantation in far off Ceylon, he drops his life in London and sets out for a new life. Only he finds out the past doesn’t let him go so easily. With a lay about friend tagging along, and not to mention a case of shell shock that brings to mind the war at every turn, he's more ghost than man. But the woman across the way, as much a ghost as he, is able to help the visions of war as everything he knows is falling apart. Digging up long dead secrets is the only option and it's enough to get them killed.

If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing?

I have a degree in forestry and a travel agent certificate. I've been a stay at home mom of the last seven years, so I'm actually looking into a job again now that my daughter is in school. Well see what happens.


Thank you so much for having me as a guest, and please visit my website to see more about my books.


Prize Draw: Leave a comment and you're in with a chance to receive a copy of Havana Holiday. The winner will be chosen at random next Sunday. Be sure to check back next week to find out who has won!