Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Number One With A Bullet with Guest Blogger: Leslie Langtry

Welcome author Leslie Langtry
to the Book Boost today!

Here's what she had to say...

"I always wonder what people think of me when they ask me if my first book, 'Scuse Me While I Kill This Guy, was the book of my heart. My answer? I think so...

And then they find out that the book of my heart is about a widowed soccer mom/assassin who's starting a girl scout troop for her kindergartner while hunting down bad guys, as assigned by her family off assassins.

Most authors, when they talk about the Book of their Heart - mean that the love story was so moving to them, they fell in love with the characters themselves. My reasons aren't nearly as deep. Neither are my books.

Gin Bombay's book truly was the book of my heart - although it may be for different reasons than most. It was my fourth manuscript - and the first one that came to me in a dream. Instead of the other three books I'd written, this book didn't fit into any categories. When I first started writing, I tried to write what I thought I was supposed to write. But then Gin came along and I just started writing this strange, funny, dark, action romance.

Why is it the book of my heart? Because I wrote the whole thing with giggling glee - laughing at each page and having more fun than I thought any author should. The book came easily - but I have to admit, the following three books were much, much harder. It was the book of my heart because it thrilled me to write every page. I never expected something so weird to sell. But I was so happy to write it and write it exactly how I wanted it.

Maybe that's why it was the first book to sell? I met my publisher at a huge conference and pitched it to her. She was interested and thought it sounded different. In two weeks, she bought it. On the same day, I got a rejection for it from an agent who told me it would never sell (which teaches you that this business is completely insane). I ended up writing three more books for this publisher.

Then, my husband was deployed for 14 months to Iraq and for other reasons, I had to go back to a day job. I took a break from writing to keep up with everything else in my life. Kids DO need food, it turns out. It was a hard time for me, but the fan mail that still came in for the series helped me get through it all. Another reason why the first book was the book of my heart.

I've since moved on and published these back list books myself. I still get a huge kick out of fans who write me saying they laughed throughout these books. It amazes me that I was able to do that. Book of my heart? It could not be any more so.

A Note from the Book Boost: This sounds like something any mother could relate to! LOL Thanks for joining us and sharing your experience with us. Please tell us more about your book.

Excerpt (edited for length):

The phone rang, causing me to jump. That’s right. I was a jumpy assassin.

“Ginny?” My mom’s voice betrayed her urgency.

“Hey, Mom. I got it,” I responded wearily. Carolina Bombay was always convinced I would someday skip the reunion.

“Don’t use that tone with me, Virginia.” Her voice was dead serious. “I just wanted to make sure.”

“Right. Like I’d miss this and run the risk of having my own mother hunt me down.” For some reason, this would be a joke in other families. But in mine, when you strayed, your own family literally hunted you down.

“You know it makes me nervous when you don’t call the day you get the invitation,” Mom said, whispering the words the invitation. It was a sacred thing, and to be honest, we were all more than a little terrified every time we received one. (Did you ever notice that the words sacred and scared differ only by switching two letters?)

“I’m sorry,” I continued lying to my mother. “I just popped the R.S.V.P. into the mailbox on the corner.” And I would too. No point taking any chances with my mail carrier losing it. That would be a stupid way to die.

"Well, I’m calling your brother next. I swear, you kids do this just to torment me!” She hung up before I could say good bye.

So, here I was, thirty-nine years old, single mother of a five-year-old daughter (widowed – by cancer, not by family) and still being treated like a child. Not that my childhood had been normal, by any means. You grew up pretty quick with the ritualistic blood-oath at five and your first professional kill by fifteen.

To be fair, Mom had a right to be nervous. She watched her older sister, also named Virginia, get hunted down by Uncle Lou when she had failed to appear at the 1975 reunion. That really had to suck. I’d been named after her, which kind of jinxed me, I think.

In case you hadn’t noticed, my immediate family members were all named after U.S. states or cities (Lou was short for Louisiana, much to his dismay, and Grandma Mary was short for Maryland). It was a tradition that went back to our first ancestors, who thought it would be a cute idea to name their kids after locations, rather than actual names. My name was Virginia, but as a kid I went by Ginny. Of course, that had changed in college when everyone thought it was a real hoot to shorten my name to Gin. That’s right. Gin Bombay. Yuck it up. I dare you.

Bombay had been the last name of my family since the beginning. Women born into the family weren’t allowed to change their names when they get married. In fact, the husband had to agree to change his name to Bombay. You could guess what happens if they refuse.

Non-blooded Bombays were allowed to miss the reunion, as were children under the age of five. Bombays had to let their spouses in on the “family secret” by the time the first reunion in their marriage rolls around. It wasn’t exactly pillow talk. And of course, you weren’t allowed to leave the family once you know, or well, you knew what happened.

Most of us didn’t even tell our spouses until the first five-year reunion. I guess I’d been lucky, if you could actually call it that. My husband, Eddie, had died of brain cancer four years into our marriage. And even though I’d seen the lab results, I still eyed my cousins suspiciously. And while I’m fairly certain we haven’t figured out a way to cause cancer, with my family, you never know.

Roma, my daughter, had been born one month after Eddie died. I’d given her the traditional place name, but rebelled against the state thing. I called her Romi. I smiled, thinking about picking her up from kindergarten in a few hours. She was my whole life. All arms and legs, skinny as a stick, with straight, brown hair and big blue eyes, Romi had given me back my laughter when Ed passed.

My heart sank with a cartoon boing when it hit my stomach. Romi was five. This would be her first reunion. She would have to be drawn into that nest of vipers that is the Bombay Family. Her training would begin immediately after. And in a couple of weeks, she’d go from playing with Bratz dolls, to “icing” them. Shit.

Want More Leslie?

Visit her website here: www.leslielangtry.com

Pick up your copy of her book today! Click here.


Marnee Bailey said...

Hi Leslie! :)

I always wondered about the "Book of Your Heart" thing. I remember feeling a wave of elation when I finished my first MS (currently buried in the recess of my harddrive). But I don't think it was the "Book of My Heart."

I do love how you say writing it every day made you happy. I think that's the key.

Thanks for sharing!

Terri Osburn said...

I love these books! And I can't wait for Paris' book. So, uhm, when will that be done again? Huh? HUH?

I've written one MS and I'm not sure it was the book of my heart. But I do love it. I'm more amazed by authors who write a book and then say writing it was the most painful experience.

Leslie Langtry said...

Marnee, I also have books buried in my hard drive. My husband has strict instructions to delete them should I die.

Terri, I'm hoping in July. I'm really, really, hoping!

Sin said...

You can tell that writing these books made you happy. Not only are they awesome books, they are hilarious. Much like the woman who writes them. (Awesome AND hilarious.)

The book of my heart- the main topic is not love. In fact, my heroine wants a divorce from her estranged husband. It's the sarcasm I hear everyday from her that endears her to me.

Now, I'm gonna go looking for that easy button. Nothing comes easy for me. I envy those who have pages fly from their fingers.

Leslie Langtry said...

My Easy Button is flourished with great sarcasm at my house.

Donna Cummings said...

Wait, there's an EASY button? For writing? I knew I was missing out on something!

I am a fickle gal, so I have had more than one "book of my heart". In fact, whenever I try to pin it down to just one, a couple others have to remind me how much I love THEM. LOL

What a great excerpt. I can't wait to read more. :)

Terri Osburn said...

You know July is like...next week, right? LOL! Yay!!

I'd go looking for that easy button but coming from you, I'm afraid of hitting the wrong button. One hooked to explosives.

Leslie Langtry said...

The one hooked to explosives is labelled BOOM, to make it easier for my kids.

Hellie Sinclair said...

These books are hysterical! I picked up the first book at the library on a whim, but knew within the first chapter I would buy all the books. And I did. I hunted them down, told all my friends about them, I probably bought 10 copies of the first book because I kept giving them away as gifts.

I would say my first two books were definite books of my heart, but I'm not sure the current one is. I enjoy it; I'm emotionally attached to everyone, but I don't think it's the same sort of BOMH as the others were. :) But if it sells...

Leslie Langtry said...

Thanks Hellie! You guys are so amazing to me! Every author should have fans like you!

I hope you do get pubbed so I can read them!

Maureen said...

The Bombays are an incredible, fun creation! And just goes to show how very twisted Leslie is...which is why we all lover her so much!

I cannot turn down a book with a good punny title. I just...can't!

And yes, I want the next one, puh-leese!

Leslie Langtry said...

Awwww! You called me twisted! Thank you!!!

Maureen said...

If the twist tie fits... ;-)

Leslie Langtry said...

I really think it does!