Monday, June 27, 2016

The Purse VBT

When Lydia Blackwell visits her dying father for the last time, he reveals the deeply hidden truth about her mother. After the funeral, the stranger Derek Meade gifts her with a gorgeous antique purse. But before she has the chance to connect with the man who knew her father intimately, Lydia finds Derek murdered in his home.

Lieutenant Sonja MacIntosh is assigned to investigate Mr. Meade’s death, but her career on the force never prepared her for Lydia Blackwell. As Sonja works to solve the murder, Lydia takes the greatest risk of her life in leaving Chicago to search for clues to her mother’s past. Their instant attraction surprises them both, but even through the chaos Lydia can’t deny the intensity of her feelings for the strong willed Lieutenant.

Lydia’s possession of the antique purse throws her already chaotic life into a whirlwind of kidnapping, blackmail, vengeful mob bosses, and mind-numbing revelations. Through it all, Lydia must find the strength to accept herself – and those closest to her – despite their darkest secrets.

As she walked into the bedroom, the smell of her father’s cologne lingered even through all the sickness that had been in the air. Stepping over to the deep walk-in closet, Lydia opened the double doors to reveal her father’s suits, ties, and shoes. She made a mental note to have Rosita donate her father’s clothes so they didn’t hang like a shrine. She stared at every inch of the closet until her eyes fell on a small shoebox buried on the top shelf. Lydia retrieved the step-ladder from within a hidden compartment in the closet’s wall and stood on it to pull down the shoebox. Without thinking, she strolled over to her father’s bed, sat down, and went through all the memories kept in the cardboard box.

Many were just baby pictures of Lydia, and then she discovered a picture of her mother when she was pregnant. How beautiful she was; she looked so happy and carefree. What in the world could have happened? More questions, no answers. Lydia decided to keep the picture with her. Digging deeper yet into the box, she also found pictures of her father and Derek together. They made a handsome couple, though it was still difficult to believe her father had been involved with a man. At least true love hadn’t escaped him as she’d previously thought.

Julie, thanks so much for stopping by. So, tell us a little about yourself.
Thank you, it’s my pleasure. I am from the Midwest, born in Iowa, and have lived most of my fifty-one years here. In my day job, I work with mentally ill adults. I have worked with disabled people for over twenty years. So many stories!

How did you get started writing?
I started writing poetry when I was a teenager, but I never really thought I could write a novel. I was in awe of authors I read and how they wove a story together. When I was in college, in my late-twenties, I wrote my first novel, and it just came together. I was amazed how much I enjoyed it.

What was the inspiration for your book?
A friend of mine showed me an antique purse she told me was sitting in a drawer at her grandmother’s house. Her grandmother said, “Your drunken grandfather probably won it in a poker game somewhere.” I started thinking about all of the places it could have been, the history of it, etc. It took on a life of its own.

What’s the one genre you haven’t written in yet that you’d like to?
Literary fiction, though I don’t have a story in mind, yet, it’s something I’ve wanted to do. I want to do a story that is meaningful and hits the heart and soul of an issue—something people remember.

Are there any genres you won’t read or write in? Why?
Fantasy or science fiction. I don’t have enough of an interest to be knowledgeable. I have recently read a science fiction book called Prime Infinity by Ricky Dragoni and was surprised I liked it. It was a combination of science fiction and mystery written in first person which intrigued me.

What are you up to right now? Do you have any releases planned, or are you still writing?
I am in the process of editing my second novel, Dreamers and Thieves, which is due out in February 2017.

Here is a summary:
     In Bellevue, Nebraska, Marshall Galloway slaughters his parents and three sisters before blowing them up in the house his father built in a meticulous and devious plan to acquire his father’s business before his father changes his will. He thought he took care of everyone, but he left one sister, the youngest, Jade, for dead. It was his biggest mistake.
     Joseph Harding, a widowed horse rancher from Colorado, is driving on a back road when he sees debris from a massive explosion and nearly hits a woman standing in the road. She doesn’t know who she is or where she is from.
     Marshall Galloway gets away with murder and inherits millions from his family’s estate. For fifteen years, he builds the business and becomes a ruthless player in real estate properties and construction, escalating his father’s old company into a global market.
     Joseph Harding takes the girl with amnesia back to Colorado, to his horse rescue ranch. He names her “Grace” and teaches her horse therapy and a skill. Grace lives her life as an adopted daughter of Joseph for nearly fifteen years and helps to run the ranch. The only token she has of her former life is a jade green bracelet she was wearing. Her life is once again thrown into turmoil as tragedy happens and forces her to start over. Grace goes on with her life, and it would be good…if it weren’t for her brutal nightmares. As Grace makes new changes for the ranch, there is publicity that reaches Galloway Industries and Marshall Galloway himself. He wants her property. Grace, independent and stubborn, refuses to sell. The woman gets to Marshall, and he doesn’t know why…until he sees the jade green bracelet.
     Fifteen years later, he has to finish the job before she realizes the reason for her nightmares.

Alright, now for some totally random, fun questions. Favorite color?

Favorite movie?
Benjamin Button

Book that inspired you to become an author?
The Awakening by Kate Chopin. This was published at the turn of the century, and the author was blacklisted and banned. The book involves a woman who felt trapped by her marriage, her children, and the stifling attitude of the times. These were times when a woman was not supposed to have thoughts of her own or defy her husband or any man. The “awakening” is actually several that she has during the course of the book. I read this in college for a literary class and have been mesmerized ever since. It’s also relevant today with everything going on in politics.

You have one superpower. What is it?
Like Wonder Woman, I would like to have the Lasso of Truth. Something to make people always be honest so there can be no doubt.

You can have dinner with any 3 people, dead, alive, fictitious, etc. Who are they?
My grandmother, Ellen Degeneres, and Jade (a character from my second novel). My grandmother and I would have her favorite—fried pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy, and creamed peas. I miss her humor and her laugh. Ellen Degeneres, I would love to sit and talk with her over coffee and a scone about how she really feels about being so public (and give her my book). Jade, I would love to prepare a homemade meal for her, have a glass of wine, and learn more about horses!

Last question: Which of your characters are you most like and how/why?
I think I am most like Lydia from The Purse. She seems quiet, but she’s got a lot going on in her head that no one has a clue about. Sometimes she’s flighty and doesn’t know what she’s doing, but eventually finds her way.

That’s all from me, thanks so much for taking the time to stop by!
Thank YOU! I enjoyed the questions!

Author Bio and Links:
Julie A. Burns is a native Iowan born in Marshalltown, Iowa and raised in Davenport, Iowa. After her parent’s divorce at age 7, she took to writing, whether it was her diary or poems about people she met or situations that bothered her. After graduating from high school in 1983, she spent time working as a Nurse’s Aide in different nursing homes in Iowa. In 1989, she gave birth to a daughter, Brittany and raised her as a single parent. In the same year, she enrolled at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology in 1994. Since then, Julie has spent time working with developmentally disabled adults and the mentally ill throughout Iowa and also in Wyoming, where she lived for 6 years. Julie currently lives in Waterloo, Iowa with her spouse. When she’s not writing, she enjoys being a grandmother to 3 year old Sophie.

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  1. Do you have any name choosing resources you would recommend?

  2. Great interview and I love the Purse. I can't wait till Dreamers and Thieves come out!!! Never say never to Fantasy, I will ave you writing with me in that genre!!! Soon very soon...Love you