Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Deception with an Italian flavour...

Introducing the minds behind 

Deception Al Dente... 

a new  José Picada, P.I adventure.

By Heather Fraser Brainerd and David Fraser

For a FREE of Deception Al Dente to review
answer the question at the end of this post.
Heather and David...
Your co-written novel has recently been released through Museitup Publishing. Can you tell us a little about what inspired you to join forces to write “Deception Al Dente?"

Heather: We’ve been writing together since we were kids. We just took approximately 20 years off to go to college and have careers and get married and start families. Now that we finally have time to resume our writing partnership, it’s a true joy.

Dave: Our previous masterpiece, done when we were kids, was a mock soap opera featuring a long lost twin and a 20-year-old brain surgeon who only operated while listening to La Bamba. Thankfully, it can no longer be found. Our recent collaboration was somewhat unintended, though. We had both been writing separately for a while when we decided to try something together. It started out as little more than an exercise for fun, but part way through, it became clear that we actually had something pretty good on our hands.

Writing as a team do you take a character each, or a chapter? Are you both plotters? Or pantzers? Can you tell us a little about how you worked together?

Heather: We have a very relaxed back-and-forth sort of pattern. One of us comes up with an idea, we talk about it, and whoever gets inspired first (or has free time) starts the actual writing process. We then email it back and forth, using the change tracker and comment functions to keep each other informed of changes to the manuscript. When one of us finds a good point to pass it back to the other, off it goes. Sometimes we take it to the end of a chapter or section before passing it back. Sometimes we leave off in mid-sentence, or at some other type of cliffhanger moment, just to see what the other will do with it! We’re both a combination of plotter and pantzer, and refer to our method as “driving blind.”

Dave: Yeah, I’d say we’re a “plantzer.” We start off with little to no idea where we’re headed, but by half way through, we have a vague destination in mind. But even then, there’s still plenty of unforseen twists and turns ahead.

What was the hardest/easiest part of writing in a team?

Heather: There’s nothing hard about it, really. We definitely get inspiration from each other. If one of us is stuck, a long phone call usually leads to an “a-ha” moment, and we’re off again!

Dave: For me, the hardest part is the phone bill. We live three hours apart and only see each other in person about five times a year. But when we’re on a roll, we’ll talk on the phone for four or five hours a week. The easiest part is everything else. We’re very in sync as far as the stories we want to tell and the characters we want to populate our little world, so pretty much every idea one of us has is met with, “Wow! That’s great!”

Did you find characters took on a life of their own, or did having the second author help keep control?

Heather: We spend a lot of time discussing our characters so that we both have a firm grasp on who they are and how they would present themselves. Our long conversations, I think, contribute to the well-developed nature of our characters. They do sometimes surprise us, however, in terms of how they develop.

Dave: In general, I think the characters’ personalities stay close to how they’re initially envisioned. Not always, though. Even the boring guy in the corner can end up being the evil mastermind.

Have you both always been writers?

Heather: We both started writing as kids, had other careers, and eventually came back to writing.

Dave: It was little more than a hobby when I was a kid. I was never serious about it until three or four years ago. But I’ve always been an avid reader, which is one of the most important components to being a writer.

Can’t wait to read this José Picada adventure.  Thanks  for talking about  how you co wrote Deception Al Dente.

Where to buy our book: Deception Al Dente 

Having left the dull life of workers’ comp insurance behind to strike it out as a private detective, things aren’t going well for Josie P. Cates.

Her new career isn't as exciting - or lucrative - as she thought it would be. As her bank account dwindles, her first major client finally walks in the door. Chef Marco, a successful local restaurateur, hires Josie to find out who's skimming money from his business. 

It doesn't take long for Josie to discover that things at Bistro Italiano aren’t what they seem. Secrets seem to cling to Chef Marco like splattered marinara sauce. With the help of friends both old and new, Josie unravels a case that takes her from the bistro to the world of deadly dark magic. At least it keeps things from being too boring.

“Hey, doll, is José around?”

It’s kind of embarrassing to admit, but I didn’t hear the speaker enter. I sat with my back to the door, looking out the big window behind my desk, absorbed in people watching while pedestrians passed on the sidewalk below. It wasn’t very stimulating stuff, but it beat sitting there twiddling my thumbs.

Still, I should have heard a prospective client come through my office door. A good private investigator is supposed to have nerves of steel, the reflexes of a cat, and the senses of… I don’t know, something with really good senses. To make matters worse, the guy must have weighed in at two hundred fifty pounds, easy. There’s no way he made a stealthy entrance.

“Um, no, he’s not here right now. Is there something I can help you with?”

He plopped down into the seat across the desk from me. I held my breath, waiting to see if the old wood would hold together under his weight. Like everything else in the office suite, I’d bought it second-hand. The suite wasn’t very big, consisting merely of a small reception room with my office off to the left and a walk-in storage closet to the right.

 I didn’t have much of a budget for decorating, so the place had been completely outfitted via Craigslist. Well, almost completely. I’d also picked up a few things off the curb.

The chair held, at least for now. For its sake, I’d try to keep the meeting short.

“I’m Marco Augustino,” he said as if the name should mean something to me. My face must have been a blank stare, because when he continued, he sounded a little hurt. “Marco Augustino. Chef Marco. I own Bistro Italiano.”

Still, nothing. A glance at my garbage can showed wrappers from all my regular fast food joints. Just the name of it told me that Bistro Italiano was way out of my price range these days. If business picked up, maybe someday. Or, if I did a good job on his case, maybe this Chef Marco would float me some free food. But I’d prefer cash.

“Anyway,” he said with a chuckle, “I need to hire a private dick.”

It wasn’t the first time I heard this particular line, and it probably wouldn’t be the last. Usually, it didn’t merit a response, but something about Chef Marco annoyed me. I slipped into my best intellectual accent, the one used by all the talking heads on the Sunday morning political talk shows. The one that normal people like me use to try to sound smart.

“For what reason, sir, do you require a private investigator?”

“I need…hang on a second.” Marco picked up the name plate from my desk, the one I brought with me when I left the Charles Harrison Insurance Company. “You’re Josie?”

“Yes. I’m Josie.”

He let out a loud laugh. My eyes went to the chair to see if it would tolerate his shaking. It gave one little creak, but held. Thirty seconds or so later, he stopped laughing while wiping tears from his eyes.

“Did I miss something, sir?”

“No, it’s just… José… Josie. Anyone ever mix you two up?”

No, never, since José didn’t exist. But I couldn’t explain the whole thing right then and there. It would take too long and I had a chair in danger.

“Okay, so anyway, I’m doing okay with my restaurant, right? It’s, like, packed with people all night. My kitchen is busy as hell. But for some reason, I’m not making any money. I think someone’s stealing from me.”

“Have you consulted a financial professional?”

“I got me an accountant, yeah. Thing is, since money’s involved, he might be in on it, you know? Plus there’s more to it than just missing money.”

“Such as?”

“Such as someone slashed my tires a couple nights ago. Such as someone leaving hundreds of dollars of meat on a counter overnight so it spoiled. Such as at least once a week someone squashes my cannoli. 

There’s a bunch of other little things, too many to list. I’m telling you, someone’s messing with me, and I want to know who.”

“Do you have any known enemies, sir?”
“What? No! Of course not!”

I gave him a measured, knowing look, just to see what kind of reaction I would get. He began to fidget in the endangered chair. Interesting.

“Well, maybe. I mean, a man in my position… Us chefs are the new rock stars, you know? There might be a lady or two out there who thinks I owe her something.”

Taking a pen and notepad from a drawer, I slid them across the desk to my potential client. “Write down their names, addresses, cell phone numbers, and dates of birth. E-mail addresses, too.” This last was an afterthought, but I thought it sounded good.

Chef Marco muttered something about ladies not giving out their birthdays and then hunkered down over the pad, occasionally consulting his phone, scribbling away in what was sure to be almost illegible handwriting. After a couple of minutes, he straightened up and slid the pad back to me. “What’s next?”
“I do a little recon, see what I can see.”

He looked a bit skeptical at this. “You’re doin’ the recon? What about your boss?”

It took all the self-control I could muster to keep from rolling my eyes. “I do the initial legwork, and then pass my findings over to him.”

He nodded, apparently satisfied for the time being. 
“And if you don’t find anything?”

I gave him a flat gaze, though my mind raced to come up with an appropriate response. “If the research doesn’t turn anything up, then we take it to the next level.”

“What’s the next level?”

“Well, then we…” I paused dramatically, giving myself time to think. The answer occurred to me a beat later. “…go covert.”

“You mean, like a spy?”


About the authors...

Heather Fraser Brainerd is a renaissance woman. After earning a degree in Anthropology, she embarked on an incongruous career as a workers’ compensation insurance adjuster. She rapidly climbed the claims-handling ladder before surprising her colleagues by leaving the high-powered world of lumbar strains and carpal tunnel syndrome to run a child care center. Thousands of dirty diapers and gallons of strained peas later, she decided that maybe the insurance industry wasn’t quite as bad as she remembered. It was. Fortunately, a few brief years into that second stint, she was swept off her feet by the most wonderful man in the world. Now a stay-home mom to three amazing boys, she is able, at long last, to focus on her writing. Heather lives in New York with her family and their crazy pug/terrier.

David Fraser was born on March 25, 1973. March 25, incidentally, is International Waffle Day (Varfudagn in Sweden) and Tolkien Reading Day (The Ring was destroyed on March 25). Elton John shares his birthday. So next March 25, you should eat a waffle while reading Lord of the Rings and listening to Rocket Man. I know Dave will. Before deciding to become an internationally-famous author, Dave held a number of different jobs. He processed small business insurance policy changes, tested software on digital copier/printers, put out little orange flags in pick-your-own strawberry fields, installed internet cable in schools, shelved books in a library, taught college calculus, and handed out raffle tickets at a Barry Manilow concert. Granted, this last job was a one day temp job, but it was awesome. He currently does little fix-up jobs around his house and chauffeurs his kids while trying to find time to write.

NEXT STOP  Helena Fairfax 13th March

For a FREE copy of 
Deception Al Dente, 
to review, answer the simple question... 
What line of work does Josie leave behind?
and email your answer to the author.


Wendy said...

Yours sounds like a very workable co-authorship and from the humour in the excerpt, I'm guessing there will be funny moments in the story. Already I have a sense of the characters through their voice. The chef is one who will be easily hoodwinked. I like that the crime is something other than murder. I love the cover.
Good Luck. I wish you multi sales.

HFBrainerd said...

Thanks, Wendy. We had so much fun writing this book together!

And many thanks to Rosalie for hosting us today!


Rosalie Skinner said...

Hi Heather and David,
Thanks for being here and sharing a little about Deception Al Dente.. I am looking forward to reading this paranormal mystery.
Maybe I should send for a review copy. ;)

HFBrainerd said...

Great idea, Rosalie! You know where to find us. :)
And thanks again for having us!


J.Q. Rose said...

Hey, i like the story behind the story as well as the premise. What an interesting partnership and how you guys developed your story line. Almost makes me wish I had a partner to help write a book, but also such a rewarding friendship. Sounds like a great read. Best wishes!!

HFBrainerd said...

Thanks, JQ! We have such a great time working together. Even on our solo projects, it's wonderful to have a second set of eyes on things. And, being siblings, we can be brutally honest with each other, which really helps us both grow.