by Audra Middleton
With so many great books to choose from, I thought I’d give you Romance Blogfest readers a chance to meet one of my characters, so you can decide whether or not you’d like to get to know her better. Today I’m interviewing Ray Franklin, uptight accountant and main character in my latest novel, Middle Eight.
Ray, that’s an unusual name for a woman, isn’t it?
Yes, well, if my mother wasn’t from a parallel universe my name might be Jennifer like every other woman my age. If I were Jennifer, I might be driving my kid to soccer practice in a white Volvo. I might have been happy as Jennifer… or maybe not. Anyway, the mights don’t matter. The fact is, I am Ray, an accountant whose life is unraveling like a cheap sweater.
What can you tell us about Van?
Van is a mechanic, but that’s just his day job. Really he’s a drummer. Not just on weekends, but in his soul. Van plays drums like his life depends on it. Sweat dripping off lean muscles, hair flailing. I mean, don’t get me wrong, he’s not my type at all. Seriously, he’s got tattoos and sleeps with groupies. I married an IRS agent.
And how’s that working for you?
Good at first. So good that things had actually gotten a little dull. That is until he started getting all paranoid, making veiled threats. Wondering if your husband is going to kill you in your sleep will suck the boring right out of a marriage.
What’s next for you then?
Good question. My perfectly planned life jumped the rails. I’m not just talking about plan A, but plans B and C as well. It’s crapastrophic. At this point chaos is driving. I don’t know what else to do except brace myself and see where it takes me.
May you find a way to enjoy the ride. Thanks for joining us today, Ray. Now here’s a few more details about MIDDLE EIGHT:
He’s sex, drugs, and rock and roll. She’s spray bleach, spreadsheets, and check lists. Will their relationship hit the charts, or break hearts?
When the normal life Ray has always dreamed of unravels, she finds herself falling for a drummer, coming to terms with her unconventional childhood, and inevitably discovering that normal was never really in her best interest.
The loud clanking of a spoon against a cereal bowl roused Ray from her second slumber. Her nausea was completely gone, but it felt like somebody shoved a few dozen hat pins into her skull. She opened one eye, and found herself staring at someone’s bare feet.
Ray had a thing about feet. Feet were disgusting appendages. Especially hairy guy feet. The Birkenstock trend nearly made her mental. She never even let her husband touch her with his feet. But these feet were different. They weren’t hairy or calloused, for one thing. They were clean, for another, and the right one had a dragon tattooed along the side of it.
“Did you clean my kitchen?”
Ray sat up, squinting with the pain of bright lights and hat pins stirring in her cerebrum. She dug into her purse for the ridiculous aviator shades she’d bought at the last gas station and put them on. Looking up, she saw that the feet were attached to the drummer boy from the band in the bar. Wavy brown hair tucked behind his ear, cobra tattoo hissing on his chest, he wore nothing but a pair of faded jeans. Funny, had she seen this guy in the supermarket last week, she’d have crossed the aisle to avoid him. This morning she couldn’t take her bloodshot eyes off of him.
“Sorry about that. I’m psychotic.” She rubbed her temples, the effort of speaking causing more hat pin sticks. “It’s just, I got up to take some Advil, and I stepped on some Cheerios and so I tried to sweep up the crumbs, but the crumbs were stuck because the floor was sticky…next thing you know I’m scrubbing your floor. It just snowballed. It snowballed and thank God I started to feel sick or I would have moved on to the bathroom, started changing sheets while you were still sleeping in them, who knows. I clean when I’m stressed. It’s my process.”
He smiled and shook his head, shoveling another spoonful of Cheerios into his mouth.
“I’m Ray, by the way,” she said, removing a bobby pin that was poking at her scalp near her temple. Holy crap, maybe those aren’t imaginary hat pins in my head.
“Were your parents hoping for a boy or something?”
“I’m Van,” he said, in between bites.
Van. A flicker of excitement stirred in Ray’s stomach. Might she have stumbled upon somebody else whose parents were too high in the seventies to properly name their child?
“Were you conceived in a van or something?”
He did a combination laugh-choke. “Uh, I have no idea. My first name is Jeff, last name Vandermark. Van’s just a nickname. It’s easier since there always seems to be at least three other Jeffs in any given room.”
Ray sighed. A fun nickname given by friends. She couldn’t relate to that.
“You hungry?” he asked, pointing his spoon at his bowl of Cheerios.
“A few hours ago I swore I’d never eat again. Think I’d better hold off.”
He smiled slightly, and got up to pour himself another bowl. Ray sucked in a breath. When he passed by she got an eyeful of chiseled obliques, angled perfectly, pointing toward the Promised Land. What is wrong with me? Escaping lunatic husband, thirty bucks to my name, dead car, remember? Not the time to drool over drummer boys.
“Thanks for letting me crash here last night. I’d get out of your hair, but I have no idea where my car is. I mean, I know it’s at a bar somewhere in Portland…”
He laughed into his spoonful of cereal and nodded as he struggled with a swallow. “Right. Let me finish eating and we can go see about your car.”
Now available on Amazon & other retailers:
About the Author:
Audra Middleton was born and raised in Washington State where she lives with her husband and their three boys. She gave up her teaching career to raise her children, and in between diaper changes and baseball games, she began writing books. Once she started, she couldn’t stop, even after she went back to teaching.
For more information about Audra & her books:
Web page/blog - http://www.audramiddleton.com
Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/AudraMiddletonAuthor
More Books by Audra Middleton:
Supernatural abilities haunt her. Brainiac students taunt her. The FBI "Freak Squad" wants her.
Will she abandon her extra sensory talents in favor of freedom, or will she hone them to help catch crooks?
An orphan girl seeks the oblivion of the forest while darkness lures the Chosen Son of prophecy, yet they find each other, and their budding love could destroy the very world Goran, the tormented prophet, is trying to save.
A sequel to Watcher.
The seeds are planted. Which will take root, change or destruction?