Interview with Author Darlene Deluca

She sees a bestseller and heartwarming keepsake; he sees exploitation.

Darlene, I’m excited to have you visit my blog today. Tell us about your new release!

The Story Between Us is a heartwarming, sweet romance that released Aug. 26 – on my 60th birthday! It’s about a children’s book author who is drawn to a delightful young fan who’s experienced a family tragedy – and the gorgeous uncle who’s become the boy’s guardian. She wants to help them as they deal with the sudden, overwhelming changes in their lives. As she becomes friends with the pair and they spend time together, she gets a great story idea based on one of the boy’s memories of his parents. She envisions adorable illustrations and a treasured keepsake for this charming little boy. She’s excited about the idea – until his uncle accuses her of exploiting the boy.

Here’s a snippet from an advanced review:
“An utterly charming tale of life, loss, and finding love in unexpected places. A heartwarming and delightful read from start to finish!” ~~~InD’tale Magazine

In romance, you write about heroes and heroines. What’s the most difficult thing about
writing characters from the opposite sex?

I actually like to write heroes. And some of them are my favorite characters. One of my all-time favorite lines from a review is about one of my heroes: “Deluca does a particularly great job creating a McDreamy-worthy main male character whose patience and tenderness evoke sigh after I-wish-he-was mine sigh.” –InD’Tale Magazine

I don’t write “alpha-holes.” And I don’t write about egotistical, arrogant billionaires. So maybe my guys are more Betas than Alphas, but I like nice guys. Sure, they tend to be athletic and strong. They drink beer and watch sports. They may talk in grunts and act clueless sometimes, but they’re smart and hard working. I guess, for me, the trick is to make them well-rounded. I like my characters to wrestle with a difficult situation. Reed, the character in my new release, has unexpectedly become guardian of his six year-old nephew. There’s a whole range of emotions that goes along with that.

What is your favorite childhood book/author?

I spent a lot of time reading as a kid. I’ve always loved books and libraries. When I outgrew the small public library in walking distance of my home, I began taking the bus downtown to the main Wichita library. More books! My all-time favorites are both series: Laura Ingalls Wilder and Trixie Belden. I prefer character-driven stories over plot-driven. Even though Trixie Belden books were “mysteries,” the characters drew me in. I connected with them as though I was part of the group. I loved their relationships and how they related to each other in their quest to solve the mysteries. I still have my worn and tattered copies of both sets.

What is your current writing project about?

The book I’m working on now is a Christmas romance. Working title is Christmas at Tall Pines. It takes place at a lodge in the snowy mountains of Utah near an exclusive ski resort. This is my first book where the hero and heroine knew each other and have been apart for several years. They were high school friends, but he moved away and they lost touch. They meet unexpectedly at the lodge the weekend before Christmas. Originally, I thought it would help move things along at a quicker pace to eliminate the get-to know-you build up. And it does. But maybe too much! I’m now finding that I need more plot points and action scenes to make it a full-length novel. I’m going to have to find that sweet spot!

What did you edit out of your most recent project?

Well, according to my critique partners, my heroine was a little too bitter and snarky toward the hero when they run into each other at the lodge. She’d had a huge crush on him in high school and was hurt when he moved away and disappeared from her life. So I took out some rather pointed, direct remarks. I still want her to be a strong character, though. At this point, they’re 30 years old. Instead, I gave her a little introspection and allowed her to laugh at herself. She puts on a smile – and her big-girl panties – and is cordial. It’s Christmas, after all, and the past is water under the bridge.

Darlene, thanks for stopping by today! This sounds like such a fun and interesting story. Good luck with your new release!

The Story Between Us Blurb

Her agent warned her not to get attached to a fan. But children’s book author Kristen Hanover is about to break the rules. Kristen meets a young boy who is a victim of a tragic accident and is drawn into the heartbreaking situation.

Six years ago, Reed Armstrong never imagined he’d actually become guardian of his sister’s boy. Now he is, and most days he’s not sure he’s up to the task. When he and Dylan meet Kristen, Reed downplays his nephew’s crush on the author. But as their lives become unexpectedly intertwined, he finds himself captivated as well.

Trouble is, she sells stories for a living. Does she truly care about Dylan…and Reed, or is she using them for her own career advancement?

Book Excerpt:

Reed pulled his keys out of his pocket. In the doorway, he folded his arms and leaned against the casing. “Can I ask you a question?”

Chest pounding, Kristen forced a smile. “Of course.” She took a couple of steps toward him and braced a hand against the back of the sofa.

“Is writing your only reason for being here?”

Heavy, charged air closed around her. How to answer that? Honestly, of course, but…how honestly? “Well, writing is my goal for sure. But—” She glanced around the room before looking at him again. “I’d love to ride my horse, er, Star, and spend some time with…with people I like, too.”

As he pushed off from the door, a slow grin spread across his face. “Sounds like an excellent plan.” He sauntered closer. About a foot away, he stopped. “You’re good with dinner at the main house tonight Don’t let Dylan bully you. You decide.”

She gave a shaky laugh. That was the plan, right? She couldn’t remember for sure. Her brain was going fuzzy. “I’d love to,” she managed to say.

He leaned closer, his breath warm on her cheek. She braced herself for a friendly peck, but when her eyes fluttered shut, his lips grazed hers. Hovered there, and when she thought her legs might give out, Reed caught her arm and pulled her slightly toward him, his lips covering hers again.

Sparks exploded in her brain, and she grabbed hold of his arm. All of her senses came alive and responded to the unexpected deluge.

A long moment later, he pulled back and brushed a thumb across her cheek. “See you in about an hour.”

Kristen could only nod. As soon as the door closed behind him, she collapsed against the sofa. She ran a finger along her bottom lip. That kiss…Oh, man. The chances of her getting any writing done this weekend just dropped from unlikely to who-said-anything-about-writing?

Author Bio

Darlene Deluca writes contemporary romance and women’s fiction, and likes to explore relationships – what brings people together or keeps them apart. Her intent is to bring to life interesting characters that readers can relate to in real-life situations that combine a little fun, plenty of drama (with perhaps a tear or two), and big helpings of friendship, love and self-discovery, and will leave readers either cheering or sighing with a satisfied smile as they turn the final page. The Kansas City author enjoys getting lost in a good story with a glass of tea, a bit of dark chocolate and a warm, sunny beach.

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