Please help me welcome today’s guest, , with a fun and interesting interview, plus, a new release!
Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets?
I’m originally from Georgia and now live in the Midwest. There was a time when my entire family was into genealogy and we did a lot of research on our ancestors. I discovered my great-great-great-greatgrandmother’s name was Icy Snow Blackstone and always thought that sounded like it should belong to a romance writer. When I was living in California, I was a member of the South Coast Writers Club and once we had a speaker who said if a writer wrote in more than one genre, he needed a penname for one of those genres, so his readers wouldn’t get confused. (Not very complimentary to the readers!) Since I was already writing science fiction/fantasy under my real name, when I decided to writer romances, I decided tgo use Icy Snow’s name as my pseudonym.
I’m also a grandmother with three grandchildren, one of whom is a budding writer.
Where did you get the idea for Runaway Brother?
I already had the plot in place—a millionaire dumps everything and runs away from his responsibilities and his brothers try to find him—so the book named itself.
Why did you choose this genre (is it something you’ve written in before)?
I’d already written several romances set in the South, so this one simply followed the others in setting and style.
What is the most difficult thing about writing a book?
- Getting started.
- Sticking with it.
- Finishing the book.
In other words, anything to do with writing a book is difficult! J
What was the most difficult thing about this one in particular?
There’s a show horse in the story. An Arabian named Shazam. I had to do a great deal of research on Arabian horse clubs in Georgia, and how the horses are shown, as well as what kind of riding gear and costumes the owners use when showing their horses. Finding out the names of the various parts of an Arabian rider’s clothing was the most difficult part.
What book have you read that you wish you had written?
Gone with the Wind. It’s definitely the Southern romance to end all Southern romances. It’s been copies in movies and literature and parodied by Carol Burnett (will anyone ever forget her walking down the stairs with the curtain rod sticking out of her dress?) I once read that next to the Bible, it’s one of the top five most read books in the world.
Do you have another occupation, other than writer? If so, what is it and do you like it?
I used to be a medical transcriptionist before I retired. Now? I review books for the New York Journal of Books, so I guess “book reviewer” is my “second occupation.”
What do you love that most people don’t like and wouldn’t understand why you do?
Boiled peanuts. It’s a Southern thing.
Do you collect anything?
I used to collect unicorn figurines. Unfortunately I got so many I had to stop.
What was your first job?
After I graduated from college, I stayed on as secretary to the Chairman of the English Department, a dream job since I was still associating with the professors who’d taught me while I was in college.
What’s the main thing that you could get rid of in your life that would give you more writing time?
Not a thing! I have all the time in the world to write now. It’s making myself buckle down and do it that’s now the problem. I’m getting lazy!
What do you want readers to come away with after they read Runaway Brother?
I’d like them to have a favorite scene from the book that they keep talking about and telling friends about, ending with, “You should really read it. I can’t forget that scene.”
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
75% of my characters are imaginary. That way I can make them as nice, handsome, mean, or ridiculous as I want.
What do your friends and family think of your writing?
For some reason, a good many of them are sarcastic of my writing and always giving me put-downs. One actually said my writing was “run of the mill.” (She’s no longer a favorite relative, I might add.) That’s the reason I don’t talk aloud about my writing to people. (Blogs are different.)
Who is the most famous person you have ever met?
Gene Roddenberry, long enough to say “hello,” and receive the same in answer. I also hosted a houseparty once for George RR Martin, ‘way back when.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
If there is one, it’s that people shouldn’t be forced into roles that others think they should have but should be allowed to pursue their own dreams.
How much of the book is realistic?
All of it could be. There are plenty of towns in Georgia like Oceano. I had horses when I was younger, though not Arabians, and I once dated a guy who owned a motorcycle, so all the info about the Harley is true, too.
How did your interest in writing originate?
I’ve been writing in one form or another since I learned how to make my first words on paper. (They were “cat” and “rat” by the way. I couldn’t figure out how to spell “dog.”) I started out writing comics. I’d watch a movie and come home and draw it out and narrate it. When I was eight, I got a toy typewriter for Christmas, and after that, I started typing out stories. Mostly about horses, since that was the beginning of my “horse-crazy” era, too.
About the Author:
Icy Snow Blackstone was born in 1802, in northern Georgia where her father, the Reverend John Blackstone, was prominent in local politics. She married a minister, raised seven children, and lived there all her life.
Two hundred and five years later, her great-great-great-great-granddaughter began using her name as a pseudonym for her romance novels. The present Icy Snow Blackstone lives far from her Southern roots in Lancaster County, Nebraska, where she continues to write romances.
As of 2017, Icy Snow has eleven novels published by Class Act Books. Her contemporary romance, Tuesday’s Child, was given the Paranormal Romance Guild’s Reviewers Choice award for Best Contemporary Novel of 2014. A SciFi romance, Earthman’s Bride and Vietnam-era romance Jericho Road, have also received awards.
Blurb for Runaway Brother:
At the age of twenty-two, newly-graduated Nicolo Liguori is forced by his three brothers to become care-giver for his father, who suffered multiple strokes. For the next ten years, Nick gives up his own ambitions , working during the day in the family jewelry business in Vanderhoek, New York, and returning to the Liguori mansion every night, to be at his father’s beck-and-call. Then Papa dies and Nick is free…or is he? Carlo, Marco, and Pietro expect him to continue life as usual, but Nick has other ideas. Secretly buying a motorcycle, he starts to work one day and… disappears.
Nick gets as far as the southern coast of Georgia before an accident disables his bike. Stranded, with no idea of the South except what he’s seen on TV, Nick isn’t certain what kind of reception he’s going to get. Then, a pretty Southern miss and a white tank disguised as a temperamental horse named Shazam change his life as they and the citizens of Oceano teach a runaway Yankee about life and love in a small Georgia town.
The track was getting narrower, barely two ruts now with a width of slender, wiry grass separating them. He slowed the bike. Don’t want to get that stuff caught in the spokes and stall the engine.
Nick raised his head, looking around, then gave a loud sigh of exasperation. Okay. So I’m lost. He’d just follow the road to wherever it went, probably to some farmer’s front yard. When he got there, he’d apologize, turn around and get himself back to the main drag. If he could find it.
A broken branch loomed ahead, and he turned his attention to it, guiding the bike around it.
A second branch and several twigs littered the roadway. Nick was so concerned with maneuvering around them he didn’t see the horse sail over the fence, wasn’t even aware it was there until he looked up and found the white shape almost directly in front of him.
He jerked the wheel to the right, forgetting to apply the rear brakes first. The bike skidded, its back wheel rising off the ground as the front one stopped rolling. He had a brief vision of the animal leaping forward, its rider clinging to its back, wide, frightened blue eyes, flying blonde hair…
The motorcycle went off the road, sliding into the ditch and running up the other side, the front fender striking one of the fence posts. It bounced and rebounded, and Nick went flying over the handlebars, flipping in mid-air and hitting the same post with his back. The bike wavered a moment, then toppled onto its side. Nick slid down the post, landing upside down in the ditch, his shoulders crushing coffeeweed into an aromatic mass.
The pounding hooves stopped. He heard running footsteps, opened his eyes and saw someone running toward him. He closed them again.
“Are you hurt?”
This time when he opened his eyes, he was staring at the upside-down face of a very pretty girl, at least she’d have been pretty if her face wasn’t screwed up into such a dismayed scowl.
“Am I hurt?” He managed a growl as he slid further into the weeds and rolled over. “I just hit a fence and got tossed into a ditch! What do you think?” Clambering to his knees, while she plucked ineffectually at one arm, he jerked out of her grasp. “I can get up by my— Ow!”
He’d gotten upright, took a step, and his leg buckled, turning at the ankle “Here.” She slid into the ditch, offering a hand. Reluctantly he took it, being careful not to put too much weight behind it as he let her pull him to his feet. He could see she was worried and he really wasn’t hurt all that bad, but he was angry because she’d been so reckless.
“What the Hell’s the matter with you? Jumping in front of me like that! If I’d hit that horse—”
“What are you doing riding this road? This is private property.”
She was too pretty for him to pretend to stay angry at, so he toned it down, answering her question. “I got lost. I only wanted to find the end of the road and turn around.”
“You have a way to go. The house is about a quarter of a mile that way.” She nodded toward a group of pines thrust into the road, hiding the rest of it from sight. Nick looked in that direction, then back at her. She, in turn, looked at the motorcycle, still on its side in the weeds. “You seem okay. Is that hurt?”
Nick got down on one knee, feeling under the bike. His hand came away wet. He sniffed at his fingers.
Gasoline. He pulled off one glove, exploring gingerly. Something had punched a hole in the gas tank and gasoline was pouring into the grass. He had no idea how, but it didn’t matter. What did was that he wasn’t going anywhere as long as that hole was there.
“Well?” She appeared to be awaiting his diagnosis.
He wiped his fingers on the seat of his jeans. “Gas tank’s got a hole in it, clutch cable’s severed. Is there a motorcycle shop around here anywhere?”
“No, but Marshall’s in town can probably repair it. He does everything from lawn mowers to farm machinery.”
Oh Lord, deliver me from small town handymen! He was about to tell her he didn’t want Marshall touching his bike when he realized, What else am I going to do? Do you have a better idea, Mr. Runaway?
“So which way is town?” He straightened, looked around as if expecting to see the city limits a few feet away.
“Too far for you to push that thing,” she answered, gesturing at the front wheel. “Not with it twisted like that.”
“What do I do then, Miss Not-So-Helpful? Since this is your fault—”
“My fault?” Hands went to her hips. And deliciously slim ones they were, too. Nick had a moment to think she looked anything but angry, though it was apparent she thought she did. Cute, maybe. Hell, he might even say adorable with those blonde wisps floating around her face, but angry? Nope! “Who’s the trespasser? Who had his head down, studying the ground when he should’ve been looking straight ahead?”
“You weren’t ahead of me,” he countered. “You and that white tank of yours jumped a fence and came in from the side.”
“Never mind. Just let me get the bike upright and point me in the right direction, and—”
“I’ll do no such thing.” That made him stare at her, wondering if she was going to walk away, mount her white steed, and leave him stranded knee-deep in Kudzu or whatever-the-Hell these weeds were. “I’ll ride back to the house and get my grandpa’s truck. We’ll put the motorcycle in it.”
She clambered up the bank, running toward the horse now was grazing on the other side of the road. Catching the reins and a handful of mane, she swung into the horse’s back—very gracefully, he noted—then turned the animal’s head and trotted it back to him.
“You stay right there,” she told him. “I’ll be back in a jif.” She kicked the horse in the ribs and sent it galloping down the road.
Nick turned his attention back to the V-Rod. It hadn’t moved. Did he expect it to get up and limp over to him like a dog with a hurt paw, whimpering for sympathy? Shaking his head, he leaned against the edge of the ditch, back against a fencepost.
Welcome South, Brother!
Paper back from the publisher’s website: http://www.classactbooks.com/index.php/component/virtuemart/cat-contemporary/runaway-brother-342013-04-29-03-29-06-detail?Itemid=0