Today I have the pleasure of welcoming another debut Penguin author, Kathryn Ledson. If you’re a devotee of Janet Evanovich and Stephanie Plum then you need to read ROUGH DIAMOND because Erica Jewell will kick Stephanie’s pert backside into touch! (And this from a devoted Stephanie fan!!!) Snappy dialogue, a rich cast of characters and a hero to die for. What more do you want?
Thanks so very much for inviting me to your website. Let me just say, this whole being published business is so much fun. But wait, before you hit me over the head, I know it’s hard work too. The edits, deadlines, gruelling publicity schedule.
However I’m loving it right now, especially all the surprises. Do you find that out of the blue, there’ll be an email from a new reader who has the most generous, lovely things to say about your work (of course you do), or a call from your publisher with some great news, a request for an appearance somewhere?
I gave a talk at Rotary the other night and when I walked into that elegant, intimate room full of very corporate looking MEN (eek!), I thought, what on earth could I possibly have to say that would interest them? (With a bit of luck, they’ll want my book for their wives or girlfriends.) Well, surprises, they were interested in hearing my story and some bought my book for themselves (all profits back to Rotary, of course)!
Anyway, I’ve been trying to think of something different to offer your readers and I remember how sad I’d been when I realised a few of my “darlings” just had to be killed off. Rough Diamond’s Christmas Day scene really did need to be cut right back. It simply wasn’t adding anything of value, and I was well over the required word count. So here’s a snippet that I loved, and was very sad to lose. It thrills me now though, to see it find a home, and anyone who’s read Rough Diamond might appreciate how awkward this conversation would be for both Erica and her over-the-top-in-every-way mother. Thanks for the opportunity to put it out there, Helene.
A cut scene from Christmas Day at Erica’s parents’ house
I was helping my aunts with the dishes when my mother whispered in my ear, ‘Erica, I want to talk to you.’
I put down the tea towel. ‘What about?’
I followed Mum to the back veranda, which was currently unoccupied. ‘What’s wrong?’
She looked around to make sure no-one could hear us. ‘I think you should show more affection to Jack, dear.’
My mouth fell open.
She said quickly, ‘I mean, while you’re here, today, with appropriate chaperones.’
I glanced around, looking for escape.
She continued, ‘Men like Jack have certain … well … expectations. And they need to know … before they commit to marriage … that their wives … will fulfil … their … expectations.’
How the hell would my mother know this? I glanced at Dad through the door. ‘Mum, I have no idea what you’re talking about.’
Poor Mum was clearly uncomfortable with this line of conversation, which she had in fact caused, but was determined to get a message across to her stupid daughter. ‘Dear, you need to let Jack know that you would make a good wife.’
I blinked at her.
‘In all ways.’
Nope. Still couldn’t think of a response.
She sighed with exasperation. ‘In the …’ she crossed herself ‘…bedroom, Erica.’
I whispered loudly, ‘But you’ve always told us that you don’t believe in sex unless absolutely necessary!’
‘There is no need to use that language!’
‘For goodness sake. Understand what you have here and look after it. That’s all I’m saying.’
‘I have been married, Mum, remember?’
‘Yes, dear, and look what happened.’
Although this was a very good opportunity to send a message to my family that Jack wasn’t going to be around permanently, I felt sorry for my mother who was panic stricken about my lack of affection toward my potential husband and it was, after all, Christmas Day. So, while she was watching, I strolled over to Jack who was chatting with two of my cousins.
I stood next to him and slipped my hand into his. He looked down at me and I smiled warmly at him.
He squeezed my hand. ‘Need something to hang on to?’
My cousins continued chatting with each other.
I whispered, ‘No, my mother just gave me a lecture about the birds and the bees. She said I should be more affectionate toward you.’
Jack leaned a bit closer. ‘So, what comes after hand holding?’
‘Well, I suppose kissing, but not with an open mouth.’
‘What about sex?’
I gasped in mock horror, looked around, and whispered near his ear, ‘Well, in Mum’s perfect world, only on the wedding night and when absolutely necessary.’
‘Yes, but Mum tells me that men like you have certain expectations.’
Jack grinned. ‘You bet we do.’ He turned back to the conversation.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why you need to read the whole book! If that piece made it to the cutting room floor imagine how good the rest of it is! This ain’t no diamond in the rough but a ten carat brilliantine set in pure platinum.
Find more about Kathryn Ledson at: www.kathrynledson.com
Follow her on twitter at: https://twitter.com/kathrynledson
Chat to her on FaceBook
Funny, romantic, and action-packed, Rough Diamond introduces Australia’s own Stephanie Plum – the unforgettable Erica Jewell.
The shock ending to Erica Jewell’s marriage left a huge hole in her bank balance and a bigger one in her heart. And now her life goals make a very short list: no surprises, no debt and, definitely, no men. That is, until she finds one bleeding to death in her Melbourne garden one stormy Friday night.
Jack Jones is a man whose emotional wounds are more life-threatening than the bullet in his shoulder. Under orders, he recruits Erica to his secret team of vigilantes, and Erica suspects her safe, predictable world is about to be turned upside down.
And she’s absolutely right.