Please welcome Angelle Trieste with her novel Devil Falls. You can head out and buy it here!
1. How did you get started with your writing?
Unlike many published authors, I’d never had any burning ambition to be a
writer. But I have always been an avid reader. It wasn’t until I finished
college and had three years of management consulting that I decided I wanted a change in my life. I quit my job and moved to Japan to concentrate on my writing, and it’s been one of the most challenging and fun things I’ve ever done in my life.
2. What/who is your biggest muse?
How about everything? It’s never just one big thing, but a combination of
little things. For example, for DEVIL FALLS, it was the recordings of
Jacqueline DuPre and Yo Yo Ma, Heather Whitestone, my trip to Belize (which BTW rocked; everyone should get to swim with sharks 😉 ), random web surfing during which I found out about albino Dobermans, etc.
3. Is there a character in one of your books you connect with the most?
It’s always the main characters from my work in progress. All my previous
couples have a special place in my heart, but since I’m spending so much
time with my current heroine and hero, they’re the ones I’m most connected
with at this moment.
FYI — Currently, that’s Ginni and Marcus from my paranormal romance
featuring an incubus court.
4. What do you like to do in your free time other than write?
I read (of course), play with my Winter White hamsters, go out for walks
with my boyfriend, watch lots of foreign dramas and anime and try to talk
with the locals in my horrible Japanese.
5. What are some of your favorite books? Any genre or author.
Right now, I’m rereading C. S. Friedman’s IN CONQUEST BORN. It’s a space
opera but underneath it all is the most twisted love affair between two
uber-alpha characters. I’ve read the book three times before, but every
time I get something new out of it.
When I’m in the mood for old favorites, I reach for classic Linda Howard. I
adore her Mackenzies. They’re hawt.
Oh, I forgot to gush about my new discovery: Ilona Andrews’s Kate Daniels
series. It’s dark urban fantasy. Very original, utterly riveting. (And
Curran is absolutely perfect for Kate.)
6. Where is your writing sanctuary?
My home office in the kitchen. I can see my hamsters from my desk, and I
get a lot of sun in the morning. 🙂
7. How did you celebrate “selling” your first book?
Uhh…I updated the bio section of my standard query letter template.
My boyfriend and I went out for a very nice meal.
8. What is your favorite thing about Samhain?
I like it that the people there are business-minded and courteous.
9. Is there something you would like to see more of in RomanceLandia?
I’d like to see more people talking about the books they like. With
publishers reducing their marketing budgets, etc. it’s harder to get
noticed, esp. if you’re a new / midlist writer. When readers talk about
books they’re excited about, it can create buzz and make a difference. I’ve
discovered a lot of great new-to-me authors through word of mouth.
10. Tell us about your editor.
She is, of course, utterly sublime. 🙂 No, she is easy to work with and
really wants to make each story better. She made some very good suggestions for DEVIL FALLS.
The big sign by the dock should have read “Welcome to Purgatory” rather than “Welcome to St. Cecilia”. Victoria stepped over the row of old tires that kept the ferry from banging into the dock. Blazing heat enveloped her as she stood on the rough boards of the pier. She blotted the sweat on her face with a cheap blue handkerchief and sighed at skin-toned smudges on it. Melted makeup wasn’t going to help her win over a recalcitrant subject.
Her thin cotton blouse clung to her like Saran Wrap. Cringing with distaste, she peeled the material away from her back. The seagulls that had followed the boat for the last half hour wheeled overhead, screeching at each other, and an odor of rich, damp soil mingled with the salty ocean scent. The air was so humid she might as well grow gills.
Two old taxis waited at the end of the dock. She got into the least beat-up one and told the driver where she wanted to go, using the Spanish phrases she’d been practicing for the last few days. He nodded and started off.
They traveled up into dense green hills. As they rose higher, Victoria watched the island unfolding behind her, a patchwork quilt of tans and greens that eventually dropped into the ultramarine sea. After about ten minutes they came out onto a plateau of sorts. They passed a small plaza that had four or five stores with tin roofs. Other than that, fields stretched away in every direction.
The driver continued for a couple of miles before turning off the main road and going down a dirt track that started out bumpy and rapidly got worse. Twice Victoria had to put a hand on the ceiling to keep from hitting her head. Finally, the driver stopped and pointed. Victoria saw it, not more than five hundred yards away at the most. Greyhaven, in all its glory.
She paid the driver and got out with her bags. The heat immediately assaulted her again. Sighing, she started down the path, her suitcase bumping along behind her.
As she walked, the mansion grew before her like a cruel, dark monster. Set flush against a high cliff to its right and with a river curling around the front like a moat, it was situated like a fortress, all large blocks and turreted corners. A dense mangrove forest lay at the back of the manor and off to its left, extending past the other side of the river. Steam rose from it, as though witches were brewing something in its depths. Despite the heat a little shiver went down Victoria’s back.
The muted sound of water grew louder as Victoria approached the gates. It was Devil Falls, the waterfall she’d read about. Although the manor’s name was Greyhaven, the estate itself took its name from the falls, which plummeted over the cliff that marked the edge of the island on this side. Local legend had it that several people had been caught in its waters and plunged to their deaths.
A tall wrought-iron fence encircled the estate, and purple-green vines twined around the black rods as tightly as lovers. Victoria looked for a buzzer or bell but found none. She pushed at one gate, then the other. Neither budged.
Putting her hands on her hips, she took a step back and looked through the gate and down the path lined with tall palm trees. She could call out, but she doubted Damien Kirk could hear her even without the waterfall. She had her cell phone, but she didn’t know his number. Actually, she wasn’t even sure her phone would work here. The service seemed patchy at best in the Caribbean, and St. Cecilia, a small island off the coast of Belize, wasn’t exactly a place multinational telecoms were hustling to cover.
Maybe there was a caretaker? As she looked around, she noticed large patches of shadow sliding over the landscape. She looked up at the sky again and sighed. Her day just couldn’t get any better. A storm was coming and she didn’t have an umbrella. The travel agent had advised her to take one, but she’d forgotten the night before when she’d packed.
Thank God her laptop bag was waterproof. Still, she made a mental note to get an umbrella as soon as possible.
First things first, though. How to get in? Maybe she could climb over the gates…although technically that would be trespassing. But since Damien knew she was coming—his agent had assured her of this—he might forgive her once she explained that she couldn’t reach him from the outside. It was either that or wait until someone in the mansion noticed her.
All right. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.
She approached the gates, hiked her conservative cotton skirt up a bit, put a foot down on the bottom horizontal bar and gripped the top bar to pull herself up.
Sudden vicious barking startled her, and she jumped backward, almost twisting her ankle in the process. Her skirt caught on a leaf in the gates’ elaborate ironwork and ripped a quarter of the way to her upper thigh. Adrenaline pumped through her veins, and her heart raced as if she’d completed a hundred-meter dash.
Two large dogs, one white and one black, charged down the road, small puffs of dirt exploding from under their paws. In no time they were at the fence, snarling and snapping their jaws. If it hadn’t been for the gates…
Doberman. She stared at the white dog. She’d never seen a white Doberman before. Its eerie red eyes focused on her as it stuck its snout between the rods. Its teeth gleamed, sharp and ready.
The dogs pushed against the gates, their weight causing them to sway and creak in protest. Victoria took another step back. Fear, lumpy and cold, lodged in her throat. The shock combined with the heat and humidity made her feel faint. Darkness swam before her eyes, and she gasped.
Breathe, Victoria, breathe. You’re not going to faint, not before an important interview.
“Easy, boys,” she said, keeping her tone low and soothing.
She cringed at the underlying tension in her voice and the louder volume of the dogs’ barking. She knew enough about them to know that they were attuned to their prey’s fear.
Recovering a bit, she crossed her arms and watched the dogs from a safe distance. They couldn’t bark forever, but they made a loud noise that rang in the air better than she could. Maybe that would attract the attention of someone inside.
“Amadeus, Ludwig, sit!” came a sharp command.
Victoria looked up and to her relief saw a man trotting toward her. An umbrella dangled from his hand, and casual but expensive clothes wrapped his long, lean frame. He was gloriously golden, with a face that rivaled Lucifer’s in the moment of his fall from grace.
Damien Kirk. A cellist celebrated the world over.
The magazine photos didn’t do him justice. They had failed to capture the magnetic vividness of his blue eyes and the electrifying vitality of his presence. She could feel it through the gates, even over the ferocity of the dogs, and she had no doubt he had dominated the vast concert halls, driving the crowds wild. Her heartbeat picked up the pace, and it wasn’t all from relief.
His keen gaze skewered her and pinned her to the spot. She’d chosen one of her best outfits, but what was the point now that her shoes were dusty and her skirt ruined? Looking at him, she felt as small and insignificant as a poor, grubby child standing next to her rich and popular classmate.
“Who are you?” Damien’s voice was impatient and hostile. Yet even the hostility couldn’t hide a rich baritone that sent a frisson of thrill down her spine despite the growling dogs and oppressive heat.
Victoria ignored his tone and came toward the gates. “Mr. Kirk, my name is Victoria Benedict.” She extended her hand toward the bars with a smile. “I believe you’ve received—”
She snatched her hand back as the dogs lunged at it and crashed against the gates.
“Amadeus, Ludwig, stop it!”
They reluctantly obeyed, their resentful eyes still on her.
Damien’s gaze zoomed back to her.
“You’re that meddling writer.” His eyes looked her up and down, a flicker of dismissal. “I thought you’d be older and uglier.”
Delivered with hauteur not even the queen of England could match, the appraisal irked her, but she maintained her professional demeanor. “Thank you.”
“It wasn’t a compliment. You’re rather old and ugly, just not so much as I’d imagined.”