Monday, March 7, 2011

Jana DeLeon Takes Us Into the Spooky Bayou!

interview with Suz

Fellow Bandits and Bandit friends please help me welcome my dear friend Jana DeLeon to the Lair! Jana is a multi-published author who has her first book with Harlequin Intrigue, THE SECRET OF CYPRIERE BAYOU, coming out on March 8th. Jana, pull up a chair and we’ll get the cabana boys to bring you your favorite drink. (Isn't this a great picture of Jana and her dog Bogey reading together?)

Suz: Congratulations, Jana. THE SECRET OF CYPRIERE BAYOU received a 4 1/2 start TOP PICK review from Romantic Times magazine! Can you  give us a glimpse into THE SECRET OF CYPRIERE BAYOU?

Jana: I would call the book a "gothic lite." It's a bit of a ghost story set deep in the Louisiana swamps.

Suz: Your heroine, Olivia Markham is a horror writer, but she has a very unique way of researching her books, doesn’t she?

Jana: Olivia rents reputed haunted houses to stay in while writing her books. She says the location provides the ambience for creating a good horror novel.

Suz: Okay, that's like way too much realistic research for this author! Your hero, John Landry, isn’t quite the caretaker he is supposed to be, is he?


Jana: John in an undercover cop with his own agenda, and Olivia is not part of it. In fact, she's in the way. But he has good reasons for wanting her to leave the house even though he ultimately becomes her champion and protector.

Suz: And he's all secretive, yet sexy, too! One of the best parts of your book is how you made the setting a character in this book. How did you make the bayou feel so alive?


Jana: By writing what I know. I grew up in the bayous of Louisiana. I know the appearance, the weather and the peculiarities of small-town bayou inhabitants well. It's easy to write something so familiar.

Suz: Setting often has big impact on a story. The mansion where the book takes place is La Malediction? What significance does this have to the plot?

Jana: The name laMalediction means "The Curse." Legend has it that the house and all its future inhabitants were cursed by the original owner, who went insane and murdered his wife. The house is isolated deep in the swamp with a single, muddy path connecting it to the closest town. A big rainstorm can leave people stranded at the mansion without power.

(Check out the exerpt here: http://janadeleon.net/harlequin-books/the-secret-of-cypriere-bayou-excerpt/ )

Suz: While this is your first novel for Harlequin, you’ve had several single titled books published. Would you tell our readers about them and how they differ from THE SECRET OF CYPRIERE BAYOU?

Jana: Prior to writing for Harlequin, I wrote five single title contemporary humorous mystery/romance novels. The combination of mystery and romance is the same and all my prior works are set in Louisiana, but the big difference is the humor. While the plots are serious, the humor is a key component to all my previous work. All of my previous books are available in ebook format.(Check them out @  http://janadeleon.net/ )

Suz: What future books do you have on your agenda?

Jana: In July 2011, BAYOU BODYGUARD releases. This book is a related book to THE SECRET OF CYPRIERE BAYOU and finished up the overarching mystery surrounding the house and its history. I have another book under contract with Harlequin scheduled for a release in early 2012. So far, all of my books with Harlequin have that hint of spooky.

So dear readers, Jana wants to know, Do you believe in them and if so, do you think you've ever seen one? One lucky commentor will receive an autographed copy of THE SECRET OF CYPIERE BAYOU.

Thanks so much for having me!

90 comments:

barb said...

is he mine today ????

barb said...

Send him down to me Helen

Hi Jana..... congrats on your book sounds really good.... I don't know whether I believe in spooks and have never seen one but I have an open mind

June M. said...

I don't know if I believe in them, but I don't NOT believe. I have never seen any but I have heard other people say they have. I think that it's just a very active imagination in people but ??? There is always the posibility of it.

Helen said...

Well done Barbara at least he didn't have far to go LOL

Jana
This books sounds really good I do love suspense and mystery with my romance.

As for ghosts and spooks not sure that I beleive but I don't disbelieve either I have never seen one but I reamain open minded anything can happen in this world we live in today.

Thanks Suz for inviting Jana
along today and I will be checking out your other books Jana I do love a good laugh so the comedy sounds great

Have Fun
Helen

Anna Sugden said...

Hi Jana and welcome to the Lair! What fun to have an Intrigue author here - one of my favourite Harlequin lines!

Also v exciting to have your first Intrigue coming out - that's what I'm working towards at the moment. What made you decide to switch to category from what you were writing before?

Ooh how exciting - Gothic lite sounds perfect!

Yes, I believe in them and yes I've experienced them, although never actually seen one (at least I don't think so). Being a Brit, it's almost impossible not to *g*. There are certainly things which cannot be explained.

One of my fave films is The Ghost and Mrs Muir.

Jana DeLeon said...

barb - I think an open mind is the first sign of a highly intelligent individual. I like to say "I don't limit God." I'm not sure what all he put here, but I'm certain we haven't labeled it all. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

LOL June! I totally get that. And in many cases, I think you're absolutely right - the mind is a very powerful tool. But then there's those really credible, non-dramatic, people who say they've seen things and you have to wonder.

Jana DeLeon said...

Helen - I love a good suspense/mystery/romance too. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

Anna - I've always wanted to write for two publishers. It's a smart business decision for a writer, really, especially given how hard a market it is. So I was working on my proposal for Intrigue before things went south at Dorchester, but I'm glad I did it early and had something to write when my single title world came crashing down.

I've read the Intrigue line for over a decade and couldn't imagine writing anything else. I love the books. I love an external plot driving internal conflict. And Intrigue gave me an opportunity to write a lite gothic, something that I don't know I have the ability to do at ST length.

I am working on two ST proposals, but there's only so many hours in the day. One day, I'll get back to them. But in the meantime, I'm working with a great publisher and couldn't be happier. :)

Good luck with your own proposal!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Barb! Congrats on nabbing the GR! Make him do some work down there in Oz!

Like you, I'm not one who's seen a ghost, but am not above keeping an open mind should one want to visit!

donna said...

Woohoo on entertaining the GR today, Barb. :)

Jana - Congrats on your first Intrigue. I do believe in spooks/spirits b/c of past experiences. Your book sounds wonderful - love that it's a suspense.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey June!

That's sort of what I think, the possibility of spooks or ghosts is enough to keep my mind open about them!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Helen!

This books sounds really good I do love suspense and mystery with my romance.

I think you'll like this one, Helen! And there's just enough spooky to keep you turning the pages!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Anna S!

England is full of ghosts, spirits and spooks, isn't it? I mean I'm thinking MacBeth and MacDuff haunt somewhere over there in Great Britain.

And I'd suspect Henry the VIII's two beheaded wives are probably trolling around the Thames, too!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Morning, Jana! Welcome to the Lair! If you look to the right you can see the cabana boys starting their days! (I'm thinking Mimosas or Belinis would be appropriate at this hour!)

Speaking of ghosts, do you know a friend of ours says she has a ghost living in her house? Yep. Jo Davis swears she has her own personal ghost!

Susan Sey said...

Good morning, Jana & Suz! I love a good ghost story, mostly because I don't believe & have never seen one. Therefore, it's a safe way for me to get my willies out in a nice, safe environment.

Mind, I don't DISbelieve. Just because I've never seen a ghost doesn't mean they don't exist. I'm pretty self-centered but even I don't believe my range of experience is the entire range of experience available. So the idea of ghosts--heck, of an entire invisible plane of existence just beyond my reach--is pretty cool. So sign me up as a fan & a wannabe-believer. :-)

Looking forward to getting my hands on your book, Jana!

Addison said...

Jana:

Congrats on the new release and your launch with Intrigue! I love the line and I LOVED this book (which I got to read early thanks to that wonderful advance order feature at eHarlequin!) :-)

I'm so looking forward to what comes next.

Addison

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Jana: I love an external plot driving internal conflict.

This is such a great device to keep the action moving, especially in a smaller category book. How do you handle pulling the romance into such a tight, fast-moving plot?

Kathy Ivan said...

Hi Jana!

Congratulations on the Intrigue release. It definitely sounds like my kind of read, I love a bit of spooky, send shivers down your spine kind of read.

As to whether I believe, who knows what could be out there. I haven't seen anything personally, but I don't discount something just because I can't see it.

Good luck with the book.

Kathy

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Donna!
Congrats on your first Intrigue. I do believe in spooks/spirits b/c of past experiences.

Ooo, this sounds good! You know us writers, we love a good story. So what experiences have you had?

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Susan!

I love a good ghost story, mostly because I don't believe & have never seen one. Therefore, it's a safe way for me to get my willies out in a nice, safe environment.

Isn't it great how we can suspend our beliefs when we read books? Spooky books are one place that I do that, but I'm careful not to read them late at night while hubby is sleeping or too many in a row. Paranoia is NOT a good look on me! hehehe

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Addison!

I loved THE SECRET OF CYPRIERE BAYOU, too! Can't wait to see what happens out there in the next book.

Wonder if the history of the mansion will have ghosts popping in and out!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Kathy!

Always good to see you pop into the Lair!

It definitely sounds like my kind of read, I love a bit of spooky, send shivers down your spine kind of read.

Since you write RS, too, I figured you'd love this book. Jana has lots of twists and turns in this book to keep you and the ghosts hopping!

Jana DeLeon said...

Suzanne - I would love to have a ghostly visitor at least once before I leave this earth. I think it would be cool!

Jana DeLeon said...

Cool donna! You're the first poster that's claimed past experience. I am so jealous!

Jana DeLeon said...

Suz - I love a good cabana boy in the morning. :)

And mimosas are perfect to start a Monday!

Sandy Blair said...

Hi Jana and Suzy,
Great interview that definitely has me looking forward to reading the story. Spooky mansion, curses and a determined handsome hero! Woot!!

Sandy

Jana DeLeon said...

Susan - I love a good ghost story for the same reason. I like to think about the possibilities of things I've never seen. But there's hope....

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks, Addison!!! I'm so glad you enjoyed the book. Did you finish it with the lights on?

Jana DeLeon said...

Suz asked: How do you handle pulling the romance into such a tight, fast-moving plot?

I write really lean and make sure that when the reader is in a character's head, they get the character's thoughts on the other person as well as the situation. Then there's dialogue and action. A hesitant movement. The drawing away of an arm when one touches another. The light flush on a neck. It's all indicators of sexual tension and is easily worked into even an action scene.

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks, Kathy! I agree - love the shivers. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

Hi Sandy! I'm so glad you dropped by as you're not in the neighborhood any longer. Hope you're doing well!

Slush said...

Ha! Congrats Barb, great job on nailing that chook.

Jana, welcome to the Lair. Your book sounds mysterious and fun. Congrats on the upcoming release.

To answer your question: I have seen a couple of ghosts and believe it or not my DH has his own paranormal team. The experiences he has shown me are to say the least chilling.

Personally, the MC of your story has balls of steel. I wouldn't write or rent a haunted house for a million dollars.

Slush said...

Jana, btw if you want to experience something ghostly just let me know. I will put you in contact with my DH and he can take you on an investigation.

I will say this you find more interesting things after the investigation vs. during.

Jane said...

Congrats on the new release, Jana. I do believe it's possible they exist. I've never felt or met another presence with me in a room or elsewhere.

Jana DeLeon said...

Oh Slush, I would love to see stuff your husband has found. How cool is that!

Tracy Garrett said...

Hi Jana! *waving madly*

Yes, I believe, although not from concrete personal experience, more's the pity.

CONGRATULATIONS on THE SECRET OF CYPRIERE BAYOU! I'm really excited about this book, Jana--I just have to find enough time during daylight to read it. lol

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks, Jane!

Jenn3128 said...

I believe its possible for some folks to see things, but I haven't seen anything, yet. I'm super excited to read this book, I love books that take place in Louisiana!

Jana DeLeon said...

LOL Tracy! Yes, daylight hours are sometimes scarce in a writer's world. I hope you find some soon. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks, Jenn! I hope you enjoy it!

Minna said...

Well, I've never seen a ghost, but supposedly one of cousins did when he was a kid.

Jana DeLeon said...

Minna - It's funny how almost everyone at least knows someone who knew someone, right?

BJ said...

I think he spends more time with Barb than me....LOL

Welcome Jana :0)
Congrats on the Books they sound wonderful!!!!!
Now as for the Question of the day:
Do you believe in them and if so, do you think you've ever seen one?

Sure why not? there's no telling if I've seen them or not...I mean what do they look like??? Hmmmmm, bet no one thought to wondering that question...LOL
Too many CRAZY things have happen NOT to believe in them and who knows maybe that unknown person was them...

Minna said...

Jana, in this case, I used to know the ghost, too. When he was still alive, anyway. I certainly haven't seen him after his death, unlike my cousin, who wasn't even when the man in question -and his cat- was still alive.

Jana DeLeon said...

BJ - Well, I never thought about the appearance angle. I suppose we may have all seen one and just assumed it was a regular person. Great point!

Jana DeLeon said...

Minna - so maybe he's haunting a place or object?

Minna said...

*Sigh* Meant to say "wasn't even born". Anyway. Evidently he haunts a place. Here's the story:
My grandmother's brother used to live nearby, he visited us at least twice a day with his cat -who followed him everywhere- and in order to come here he had to walk past our cousins' summer cottage. He also hated dogs, for some reason. Eventually he died and his cat had to be put down. Now, some years later my cousins who own the cottage told that their son had this imaginary friend, an old man who hates dogs, who has a cat and who passes the cottage with his cat couple of times a day in order to visit my home. They claimed, they hadn't told anything to their son about the old man who used to live near by.

Jana DeLeon said...

Wow Minna - that's really interesting and so cool coming from a child. Thanks for sharing the story!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Welcome to the Lair, Jana!

BIG THANX to Suz for inviting you to join us!

Your new Intrigue sounds great, Jana. Can't wait to get my hands on it. As for ghosts and goblins, I think Shakespeare had the right of it: There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in our philosophies.
;-)

AC

Jana DeLeon said...

Aunty - I totally agree with that take!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Barb, he's clearly feeding his Tim Tam addiction!

Suz, thanks for inviting Jana here today. Jana, what an incredibly fascinating interview and congratulations on the RT Top Pick! How fantastic is that? The book sounds great. I'm a great fan of a good gothic - grew up on Victoria Holt and have multi volumes of ghost stories on my bookshelves, like a little shiver before I turn the light out at night.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Sandy!

I had a feeling you'd want to read Jana's book. After all your first book, A MAN IN A KILT had a hero who was a ghost!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Slush!

To answer your question: I have seen a couple of ghosts and believe it or not my DH has his own paranormal team. The experiences he has shown me are to say the least chilling.

Okay, now that gives me goose bumps!!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Jane!

I've never experienced a ghost or spirit either, but have a nurse friend who won't walk down a certain corridor of her hospital as she had been accosted by more than one spirit there! So I believe there are people more sensitive to the spirits than others.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Tracy!

I'm really excited about this book, Jana--I just have to find enough time during daylight to read it. lol

Good idea! I read it over two nights. yeah...it only added to my night time insomnia!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Jenn!

I'm super excited to read this book, I love books that take place in Louisiana!

You should try downloading Jana's single titles then. They ALL take place in Louisiana!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey BJ!
Sure why not? there's no telling if I've seen them or not...I mean what do they look like???

LOL, no we didn't did we? And I imagine there are some we experience that have little form for us to recognize!

Jana DeLeon said...

Anna - I love Victoria Holt, too, but I have to say, I think Barbara Michaels is my favorite. Great reading, especially on a dark and stormy night. :)

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey AC!


BIG THANX to Suz for inviting you to join us!


No problem, AC. Jana is one of my favorite DARA chapter mates and I've been wanting to get her into the Lair for some time!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Anna C!

You're up late (or is it early, I can never remember) over there in Oz!! Not reading a gothic book are you?

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Jana - Welcome to the Lair.

Love the sound of this intrigue and the cover is awesome. A real standout! Cute photo with the dog.

As for ghosts - I would love to see one, but so far it ain't happening. I've gone to haunted hotels, haunted restaurants, haunted bars - nothing. However, I know lots and lots of people who have had an experience with a spirit. My editor says that my accounting profession likely scares them away. Heck, this time of year I scare just about everyone, earthly and non - away. The power of the IRS (grin).

Wishing you lots of sales -

Jana DeLeon said...

LOL Donna! I've stayed in haunted hotels too and never saw a thing. And get this...I'm an accountant! At least, I was until a couple of years ago, but I still do taxes for friends/family. That's too funny!

Beth Andrews said...

Welcome to the lair, Jana, and congrats on your Intrigue! The Secret Of Cypriere Bayou sounds fabulous!

When it comes to ghosts, I like to keep any open mind though I've never had any ghostly encounters *g*

Jana DeLeon said...

Beth - well, there's still time, right? :)

Slush said...

Jane, you can watch investigation footage and evidence on their website at www.2stpi.com

I suggest watching Investigation #4 or #5. The evidence videos are a little chilling, but you need a set of headphones plugged into the PC or Laptop.

Enjoy the ghosties!

catslady said...

I think anything is possible!! I enjoy suspense and it sounds like you have a sense of humor too!!

Cath's Chatter said...

My oldest daughter (13) and I are convinced there is a spirit or presence in the main entrance way of our 100 year old villa. We quiet often 'feel' like there is someone down the hallway and often have that 'out-of-the-corner-of-your-eye' sighting!!!
Sounds like this book is right up my alley...good luck with it ♥

Jana DeLeon said...

catslady - Well, of course, I have a sense of humor. That's where I started. But I still love a good ghost story. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

Oh, Cath, how interesting! I think the older your house, the more likely you are to come in contact with things you can't explain.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Donna!

A real standout! Cute photo with the dog.

I LOVE that picture of Jana and Bogey! He looks like he's really enjoying the book, doesn't he? I wonder if he likes spooky stories.

Nancy said...

Barb, congrats on the bird!

Jana, welcome! And congratulations on the release of your first Intrigue. I like active settings, and this one sounds great.

Kate Carlisle said...

Welcome to the Lair, Jana! Congratulations on the book and on making the move from humor to suspense. Wow, I've already got chills from reading your excerpt so I've got to read the rest of this book! I really like your title and the cover, too. Very unique for Intrigue.

I believe in all sorts of strange phenomena since I've seen some bizarre, unexplainable things in my life. :-)

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Ooooooooooo Slush. I'm gonna have to check that investigation site out!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Cath,

My oldest daughter (13) and I are convinced there is a spirit or presence in the main entrance way of our 100 year old villa. We quiet often 'feel' like there is someone down the hallway and often have that 'out-of-the-corner-of-your-eye' sighting!!!

Okay...that would make me want to avoid the main entrance!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Nancy!

You know, the Bayou seems like a living thing, so it give an errie feeling to the book that lends to the whole gothic feeling!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Kate!

I believe in all sorts of strange phenomena since I've seen some bizarre, unexplainable things in my life. :-)

And this would explain why you write cozy mysteries?

Louisa Cornell said...

Good on you, Barb! He's in search of more Tim Tams!!

Welcome, Jana !! You write about one of my favorite parts of the country! I went to grad school in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and spent quite a bit of time in New Orleans and in a number of little bayou villages with friends. Spent many a night eating gumbo and dancing to zydeco under the cypress trees. Gotta read this book!

Everyone here knows the story of my youngest brother's imaginary friend when we lived in England as children. His imaginary friend was actually the ghost who haunted the house where we lived. The brother of our landlord, he died in the house!

My other brother and his wife are actually part-time paranormal researchers. He was a complete skeptic until an interesting experience in the 100 year old farmhouse where they live changed his mind.

I've had those "out of the corner of my eye moments," but most of the ghosts who visit me are animals I have owned. I've felt the presence of my wonderful Great Dane, Glory and I have felt a brush of fur and smelled the scent of my Great Pyrenees, Sherlock. The first time it startled me. Now it just brings me a great sense of peace.

Karilyn Bentley said...

Hi Jana,
Congrats on your book! I believe in spooks, used to see them as a kid, but it's been a long time ago. :)

Hannah Dennison said...

Hi Jana -
Congratulations on your book - I am excited to read it ... especially because I HAVE seen a ghost. My cottage in England was haunted - my cat saw him first. He died in 1868 suddenly - and he frightened me half to death!

Cassondra said...

Woooot!

Good grab, Barb!

Cassondra said...

Jana, welcome to the lair, and congrats on your new release!

Cassondra said...

Oh, to the question....do I believe in the spooky? Yes, I do. And yes, I've seen them on many occasions. Too late to say much more, but we've been working on a 160-year-old house for 10 years, and they're hard to ignore after a while.

Cassondra said...

Oh, forgot to say, Suz, thanks for bringing Jana to the lair!

Jana DeLeon said...

Great story, Louisa! And yes, I know exactly where Hattiesburg is. You're just around the corner. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

Oh, Hannah, a haunted cottage in England?!?! That's just like a movie!

Jana DeLeon said...

Cassondra - I bet you could tell some tales! I would love to buy a really old house, complete with a couple of NICE spirits.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Jsna, I love your sense of humor and enjoy your books. Can't believe you still have time to create shawls, too!

By the way, I DO believe in spooks and have seen several. I only tell writers, though. People who have voices in their heads understand more than the general populace. LOL

Nancy said...

I adored your Mudbug series, Jana, and I know I'll love your new suspense, too! You are awesome, and this is a fab interview!

Yep, I believe in ghosts and have seen them. I had bunches in my TX house, but only one has shown up here at the beach. She's older and turns on the makeup mirror when she wants my attention. Ghosts would be even cooler if they did housework. :)

Thanks, Suz and Jana!

Light,
Nancy Haddock

susied said...

I absolutely love gothic books. I have many that were published in the 60s-70s. I look forward to reading this one as I've had it on my wish list since I first heard about it.

Ghosts? A Catch-22 with me. I don't believe it till I see it and I can't believe what I just saw.