Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fatal Fortune by Elizabeth Delisi: Character Interview and Excerpt



What was the scariest moment of your life?

            My fiance Harlan always calls me impulsive. I don’t agree with him…he can be uptight. But I have to admit, I’ve gotten myself into scrapes where my life was in jeopardy. I survived due to my intuition—though Harlan would say I’m just lucky. 

What are your favorite TV shows?

            Ooh, so many to choose from. Like every woman in America, I love “Magnum P.I.” with Tom Selleck. What’s not to like? I also enjoy “Murder She Wrote”—I think Jessica Fletcher and I have our curiosity about solving crimes in common. 

What songs are most played on your Ipod?

            I-pod? What’s an i-pod? Is that some new name for a record player? My favorite songs include “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield, “It’s Still Rock and Roll To Me” by Billy Joel, and my guilty pleasure song is “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton. 

What are you passionate about these days?

            Naturally, I’m passionate about my upcoming wedding to Harlan. I’m also always there for my friends, and anyone who needs my help—and who isn’t freaked out by my psychic abilities. 

What do you do to unwind and relax?

            Cook exotic, interesting meals and make Harlan try them! 

Who should play you in a film?

            Ooh, a film about me? I’ve had some folks tell me I look like a young Joan Blondell. Personally, I don’t see it. I’d rather have Bonnie Franklin play me—she seems pretty spunky and self-sufficient. Or Geena Davis—she’s unorthodox, like me. 

What makes you happy?

            Harlan. Especially when we disagree, because making up is so much fun! 

What one word best describes you?

            How about two words? “Charmingly eccentric.” 

Do your friends think you are an introvert or an extravert? Why?

            Extravert, no question. 

Do you have any special routines or rituals?

            I do a Tarot reading every morning to get a feel for how the day is shaping up. The cards aren’t always easy to interpret, but they do give me clues about what’s coming, if only I can put the clues together properly.

No one in Cheyenne, North Dakota believes in Lottie Baldwin’s psychic abilities; especially not Harlan Erikson, Lottie’s boyfriend and Chief Deputy in the Sheriff’s Office.

When a friend’s husband disappears, Lottie can’t leave it to Harlan to discover what happened to Harry.

Armed with her courage and her tarot cards, Lottie tries to solve the mystery herself, regardless of who attempts to stop her: Harlan, her friend—or the criminal.


Excerpt from FATAL FORTUNE:
November 10, 1980 
Harry Larson turned into the rough dirt clearing surrounding the old Cheyenne water tower. He drove in a wide, slow arc, facing the car in the direction he’d come. He wanted to be ready to leave in a hurry. 
The headlights shone through the rust-covered legs of the tower, casting an eerie shadow like a huge, misshapen spider waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting victim. 
He turned off the lights and killed the engine. Darkness enveloped him. There was no moon tonight. 
As he waited for his eyes to adjust to the darkness, he strained to hear a noise. The roar of a motor, perhaps, or the crunch of tires. But there was nothing; not a sound. 
At last he was able to discern vague objects: the silent water tower humped above him; the withered stalks of a November cornfield on one side of the tower; the nameless, leaning tombstones of an ancient cemetery on the other. 
Then he saw something familiar in the far corner of the lot. A bulky shape, boxy and squat. It was a car. How long had it been sitting there? He hadn’t noticed it when he pulled into the cemetery or when he’d backed into the spot where his car now sat. 
Harry squinted, trying to see better. He thought he could make out a dark figure sitting on the hood. His heart thumped in his chest. 
He chuckled nervously, running his hands through his thinning brown hair. His errand was serious, no doubt of that; but he was letting the overgrown cemetery influence him too much. Next, he’d have the figure flapping a monstrous set of bat wings and flying off into the night. Ridiculous. 
He opened the car door. The cold North Dakota wind rushed in and surrounded him. He got out and slammed the door, trying to retain some of the heat. His eyes never leaving the still figure, he walked away from his car, his cocoon of safety, into the overgrown back corner of the lot. 
He felt the figure watching him as he approached, waiting for him to come close. 
Harry was within fifteen feet now. Twelve. Ten. He could still turn and walk away—run, if he had to. He didn’t have to go through with it. If he didn’t say anything, no one else would ever find out. 
He thought of Janet. Sweet wife. What would she think of him if she knew? Would she want him to close his eyes, to pretend he didn’t see what was happening right under his nose? Would she put personal safety above integrity?
Then, there was Laura. When she grew up, would she be ashamed to discover that her daddy had been a coward? 
Harry squared his shoulders. He’d do what he’d set out to do. He would stop the thing before anyone got hurt. 
He stopped in front of the car where the figure remained on the hood. Having decided his course, Harry plunged in. “I know what you’ve been up to. I know all about it. Did you really think I wouldn’t find out? You didn’t cover your tracks very well.” 
The figure grimaced. “You have more intelligence than I gave you credit for, I admit.” 
“You can’t believe you’ll get away with it. If I found out, then other people will, too. Sooner or later, you’ll be stopped.” 
“I don’t think so.” The voice was thick with conceit. “I have, as the saying goes, friends in high places.” 
“Do you think they’ll go out on a limb for you? Jeopardize themselves, their careers and reputations, to protect you?” 
“Yes. They have to. They’re in no position to do otherwise. I have certain...information about them. Information that could be very embarrassing, to say the least, if it were to come out.” 
“I see.” Harry rubbed his hands together in the frigid night air, stalling for time. “That still leaves me. You can’t possibly have anything incriminating on me, and I don’t intend to back down.” 
There was a short silence. “We’re both reasonable people,” the figure said at last. “I can make it worth your while to keep this quiet. Think of all the things you could do for your family with a large ‘bonus.’ You’ll find I’m very generous with my friends.” 
Harry waved his hand. “No deal. You can’t buy my silence.” 
The dark figure clenched its fists, raising them to chest level. “Then, you give me no choice. You can’t stop me.” 
“Oh, can’t I?” Harry shook his head in disgust. “When you asked me this afternoon to meet you here, I hoped you’d had a change of heart, and I was willing to support you. I would have stood by you all the way. Obviously, I was wrong. I’ve been a fool.”
He turned away and started back toward his own car. The night air was crisp in his nostrils; a light snow was beginning to fall. Though disappointed at the outcome, he felt shaky with relief that the ordeal was over. 
He heard a sudden, furtive noise behind him. Harry jumped, started to turn. Before he could see the source of the sound, face his foe, he felt a crushing blow on the back of his head. A million hot sparks exploded behind his eyes as he sank down toward the frozen ground.
For a moment, Harry lay motionless. The quiet night air was full of unwonted sound: heavy footsteps; muffled rustling; the jingle of keys. The car door slammed and tires spun. Above it all, he heard his once pounding heartbeat slowing as his body relaxed. The last thing he saw was the car’s red tail lights fading into the distance. And then eternal blackness overcame him.

 Elizabeth Delisi wanted to be a writer since she was in first grade, and probably would have written in the womb if she could have convinced her mother to swallow a pencil. But life hasn't always gone the way she planned, and on her road to publication she worked as a motel maid, waitress, secretary, administrative aide, substitute teacher, and newspaper reporter.
Elizabeth is an instructor for Writer’s Digest University. She has taught Creative Writing at the community college level, has worked as a copyeditor for several small publishers, and edits for individuals. She holds a B.A. in English with a Creative Writing major from St. Leo University.

 Elizabeth is currently at work on Deadly Destiny and Perilous Prediction, the sequels to Fatal Fortune, and Knit A Spell, a paranormal romance.
Elizabeth lives in New Hampshire with her husband and feisty parakeet. She enjoys hearing from her readers.


Kemberlee said...

What a fun interview. I love character focuses. Having read this story, I can't wait for the next Lottie adventure!

Elizabeth Delisi said...

Thanks, Kem. It was wonderful getting to "be" Lottie and answer questions as her!

Charlene Raddon said...

That was a fun interview. I adore Lottie.

Elizabeth Delisi said...

Thanks, Char. I love Lottie too--wish I were as brave as she is!

Kim Cox said...

Nice interview, Liz. Hmmm, actress to play Lottie, how about Bryce Dallas Howard? She would be about the same age as Lottie now, right?

annettedrake said...

Great excerpt. Intense. Makes me want to brew a cup of hot tea, snuggle into my warm bed and read! Can't wait to enjoy this book. Best wishes, Elizabeth.