First off—thanks, Apryl, for such an awesome event. You rock! This is my second time to participate and I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed last year.
Second—I feel blessed to be in the company of so many great writers. You always find the cream of the crop!
Now let's get to a maybe-not-so-revealing interview, seeing as how these folks are tight-lipped and value their privacy.
Interviewer: I'm here today to talk to the two main characters of Broken, the third installment of The Raiford Chronicles. Let me introduce Neely Rivers. We briefly met Neely in Heartless. You're a tattoo artist, correct?
Neely: Yes, but I don't like to talk about myself much. Talk to Raif, please.
Interviewer: All right. Guys and gals, this magnificent specimen of man flesh is Raiford Gautier, the twin brother of Raiford Reynolds, whom we met last year. Yes, you heard me right—both are named Raiford. Mr. Gautier tell us a wee bit about that strange fact.
Raif with dimples etching his face: First, thanks for the compliment. Second, call me Raif. Yes, Ray and I were born to a young teenage rape survivor. She gave us up for adoption and we were placed in two different homes. Somehow, both sets of parents chose the name Raiford.
Interviewer: Your brother refused to tell us anything about you last year.
Raif: We were sort of a surprise to each other in Lucky Thirteen. We met for the first time when we were 30.
Interviewer: Ah, yes. And how long has that been now?
Raif: Twenty years.
Interviewer: Both of you have gone through a lot and still look mouth-watering. I find it hard to believe you're fifty.
Raif: We have for certain. We met each other and both of us fell in love in Lucky Thirteen. Strange thing is that I was his number one suspect as a serial killer when we first met. Obviously, I wasn't a murderer, and instead of going to prison, I helped stop a killer and met my wonderful wife. (Raif's blue eyes mist and he chokes up.) (Neely pats his hand and gives him an encouraging smile.)
Interviewer: I'm so sorry about your loss, but you've gone through a lot more than just that.
Raif: (Nodding) Yes. Both Ray and I. In Heartless, Ray gained a son he never knew existed, and I gave that same young man a kidney. Ray also got another little girl. (He chuckles) Cherie has some fun in store for her father in the fourth book that will be out in the fall—Whatever It Takes.
Interviewer: Let's talk about Broken. What will you tell me?
Raif: (He dances his eyebrows.) There are four funerals, four weddings, and four babies.
Interviewer: Oh, come on! Give us more! Neely?
Neely: All I'm allowed to say is that Raif inspires me to live again.
Neely: Well, I was brutally attacked and left for dead.
Interviewer: Raif, who dies? Who gets married? Who has babies?
A voice: Don't badger my husband.
Interviewer: Did you hear that?
Neely: Hear what?Raif: (He covers he mouth to keep from laughing out loud.) Let's just say Chris
isn't completely gone. I wouldn't suggest testing her.
Interviewer: So? You did hear that voice.
Raif: (Giving a nod) Often, but I'm surprised your heard her. She's selective about who she talks to.
Interviewer: I'll keep that in mind. At least tell me something. Give me a little bait. (Interviewer looks around.) I promise this isn't badgering.
Raif: I'll tell you this—All law enforcement involved in catching the very bad person in Lucky Thirteen become targets, as well as a couple of civilians.
Interviewer: You are as frustrating as your brother.
Chris: I'm warning you.
Raif: So my darling Christine told me on more than one occasion. (He gives her a lopsided grin.) And still does.
Interviewer: (Head shaking) You have to give us something to chew on.Raif: Okay. After tragedy, love blooms as beautifully as Neely's tattoo.
(He caresses the full-bloom rose that goes all the way down Neely's arm)
Interviewer: (Arching an eyebrow.) Well, that little touch screams a lot. How does Chris feel about that?
Neely and Raif Together: Read Broken to find out.
Raif: And if you haven't already, read Lucky Thirteen and Heartless, available on Amazon in paperback and for Kindle.
Interviewer: Before I dismiss you, I think we have to speak to one more person—your creator, who just came into the room just like she did last year. She's rather sneaky. Janet Taylor-Perry , how could you kill…?
Janet: (Finger to her lips.) Shh. Folks really need to read Broken. But, believe me, I bawled like a baby when I did it.
Interviewer: A few folks have questioned the thriller over the romance aspect of your work, and some say of this one that there's too much in the way of family dynamics. What do you have to say about that?
Janet: I say this is romantic-suspense. But this entire series is about an unshakeable family.
Interviewer: Will you give us any insight into the stories' development?
Janet: Only to say that the adventure is far from over. Whatever It Takes is on track for an early fall release, and it will conclude the saga of The Raiford Chronicles. For now, be sure to read Broken. It was a finalist at the Faulkner Wisdom Competition last year.
Interviewer: Remind us where to find your books.
Janet: All are available on Amazon in both paperback and for Kindle.
Neely laughed and looked into space. She said reticently, "I actually met the perfect man once."
"Oh, really?" Esther tucked her chin to her chest and stretched her eyes wide. "Do tell."
"It doesn't matter." Holding a pastry, she waved her hand as if erasing a blackboard. The white powdered sugar dusted the air like loose chalk. "He belongs to someone else. He's married and very much in love with his wife…"
Drizzle accentuated the melancholy the sea of black-clad mourners felt. The haunting strains of the solitary bagpipe playing "Amazing Grace" caused those in attendance to shiver. Police Chief Raiford Reynolds rose and stood behind the flag-draped coffin. He caressed the length of the casket and then looked up at the faces staring at him. "I"—He shook his head—"I can't do it this time." Ray sat down, unable to perform a eulogy and laid his head on his wife's shoulder.
Parker Reynolds left the place he had been occupying with the honor guard and stood in the spot his father had vacated. He looked at the faces in the throng…
Through sobs, Raif said, "I can't wait until tomorrow. I'm angry now. I'm crying now. I'm broken now.” He squeezed the wine glass he held, toppling the top as the stem broke. Merlot mixed with blood dribbled down Raif’s hand as Ray grabbed the broken glass to keep it from shattering on the cobblestones at their feet.
…Why, for God's sake? Ray, I'm telling you right now: _____ was just the beginning of something very ugly, very evil."
He fell into his brother's open arms.
"Janet Taylor-Perry is the mistress of suspense, and she has pulled out all the stops in this third installment of her Raiford Chronicles. What a web of intrigue spiced with romance! I enjoyed every moment."—Lucy Crowe, author, Sugar Man's Daughter.
"Prepare to bury a favorite character. Who knew murder and redemption could be so entertaining? Third in a series of must-read books."—Norm d'Plume, author, Into the Mind of God.
Lucky Thirteen Excerpt:
Larkin rubbed her eyes and tried to shake the cobwebs from her brain. Fatigue weighed on her. She became conscious that her right eye was no longer numb and was beginning to throb. Realizing there was nothing she could do alone in the dark to free herself, she took two of the Advil and rested on the pillow. She tried to pray, but her thoughts flew in a hundred directions. She felt a connection to her best pal, Cyclops, and instructed him to send her some help. Silly thought I know, but any haven in a storm. As she drifted into a fitful slumber, she dreamed of blue eyes, the bluest she had ever seen. The eyes seemed to be in pain and darted to and fro as if frantically searching for something. An irritated, frustrated voice, the voice she had heard earlier in the evening, a familiar voice, accompanied the eyes. “I have to find Larkin. I won’t let her die.” The eyes seemed to stare directly at her, and she could not break their gaze; neither did she want to. She found solace in those eyes.
"Psychological and spiritual entanglements at their best." –Judy H. Tucker, editor, Christmas Memories from Mississippi.
"A thrill ride that keeps you guessing." –John L. DeBoer, author, The Side Effect.
During his life, Robert had been both Ray's best friend and arch rival. Looking at his lifeless body from behind the crime scene tape now, Ray tried to remember why there had been so much animosity between them. Yes, it was about a woman, one of many Robert chased. Mia Godchaux, my fiancée turned to Robert when I got shot. Later, Robert tried to conquer Larkin, but the love between us endured. "My wife is no pushover," he mumbled. I can't think about this now. I need to focus on the task at hand. God! Robert—murdered.
"Sequels are not supposed to be better than the original, but Heartless is just that." –Wynne Huddleston, 2014 Poet of the Year, Mississippi Poetry Society.
"A story that touched every emotion. Ms. Taylor-Perry knows how to tug heartstrings." –Joss Landry, author, Mirror Deep and I Can See You.
Interviewer: Janet, how can folks find out more about you and your work?
Janet: I can be contacted at my author page on Amazon, http://goo.gl/05zUwN, my Facebook page, http://goo.gl/z3FFxx, email, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter, Janet Taylor-Perry @mom5kidz421, and at my new blog, http://janettaylor-perry.blogspot.com/. But I'll tell you wee bit about myself:
I'm originally from Laurel, Mississippi, and have a Bachelor of Science in Social and Rehabilitative services from University of Southern Mississippi and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Belhaven University. Like, Larkin, I've been a teacher for grades three to twelve in English, social studies, and gifted.
I've entered lots of competitions and have had a number of things place well at the Faulkner Wisdom Competition. Lucky Thirteen was a semi-finalist and Broken was a finalist.
I am the proud mother of five, an avid reader, and a freelance editor. I love anything historical from antique cars, just like Ray does, to old cemeteries. Historical fiction is one of my favorites, and my favorite authors are Edgar Allan Poe, John Steinbeck, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charlaine Harris. My favorite books of all time are The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas and Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes. However, I hate coconut and raspberries.
I write across genres, but everything I pen has some amount of romance included, even when I try not to write it. It just seems to creep in of its own volition. Romance is sneaky that way.
Last, you, my readers, have my daughter to thank for The Raiford Chronicles. She read the original first three chapters of Lucky Thirteen and literally threw them across the room saying, "Momma, if you make Ray a killer, I'll never read another thing you write." Thus, my foray into multiple personalities took a sharp turn, and I now have four books in the series.
Interviewer: I've enjoyed talking to the three, I mean four, of you today even if you don't give much away. I hope to have you back.
Janet: Maybe after Broken you'll want to hear more before you get to Whatever It Takes. And after this, I'm still debating on which series to do next—I have four more ready to go.
Interviewer: Wow! Just let me know.
Janet: I will.
Janet, Neely, and Raif Together: It's been our pleasure.
Interviewer: (Holding up the books) The Raiford Chronicles: Book #1, Lucky Thirteen; Book #2, Heartless; Book #3, Broken. Get your copies today before the next treat, Whatever It Takes, which will most likely be full serious drama, romance, and maybe some other-worldly input, comes out fall, 2015.
Check out the other authors in the blogfest!!!
Check out the other authors in the blogfest!!!