Today I have the pleasure of having Allison Ryder and Wilfred Hoyt on my blog. They’re visiting us from Texas and have some tidbits to share about each other and their story. Thanks for joining me here.
Please settle back, get comfortable, and tell us a little about yourselves.
As you mentioned, my name is Allison Ryder and this is my husband Wilfred Hoyt. I’m not sure what you want to know, but we live in a small town in Texas. I’d moved away, but my mom got sick and I went back to take care of her. After she passed away, I went to work at an animal shelter. I just adore animals. I’m not all that interesting, but I guess I have my moments.
(You can’t see this, but her husband is frowning a bit.)
Her last name is Hoyt, and my name is Wil. I build things. That’s why I moved to Texas. For a while, after my sister and her husband died, it was just me and my niece Lizzie, but Al was pretty pushy and kinda bullied me into marrying her. I mean, I don’t mind so much now, but…
(Now she’s rolling her eyes at him.)
You’re such a dork, Wil. Forced you…you begged me to marry you…
Okay, so there is a minor difference of opinion on the marrying matter. Can you share a couple of random thoughts about yourselves, something that will surprise your readers.
Wil: Women scare the hell out of me. I’m not a small guy, but women are just plain terrifying, all of them. Does that count as two? All right, second, I had no idea what a romantic guy I am. I mean I can throw down some romance, and the women eat it up. Okay, Al eats it up. Cause I’m not allowed to romance other women now. Wish I had figured that out before I met Al…no, that’s not what I mean…
(She’s sighing with strained patience.)
Allison: I never ever expected to get married, not to a hot guy, anyway. I figured I would be one of those old Texas spinsters who had fifty cats. Since I work with animals, though, they probably would have been raccoons and squirrels or something. And you know what? I’m a great mom. When I married Wil I got instant family. The cool part is that I didn’t have to birth no baby. Childbirth scares the hell out of me…which could be a problem soon.
Fifty cats, racoons, squirrels… It’s a good thing you married Wil and get to share and love his kid. Can you share with us something about your ordinary world (daily life) before the upheaval to your life?
Wil: I can’t even remember “ordinary.” When Lizzie came to live with me, I was overwhelmed with grief over the death of my sister, but I knew I had put that aside for her sake. Then there’s that damn dog, Hoyden. Oy! Before Lizzie and everything I used to love just sitting at my desk and figuring out where walls would go and how big rooms should be. I really enjoyed my time alone–the peace and quiet.
Allison: I got so used to getting up every morning and going to care for the animals at the shelter that I think I forgot how to be around people. I never had to meet any of their expectations. The peace and quiet was everything to me.
Peace and quiet can be overrated. Tell us what upset your ordinary world and brought you into contact with each other.
Wil: Allison tried to run over me with her car in the rain.
Allison: I did not. You ran behind my car when you were putting those stupid flyers everywhere.
Wil: Hey, I was trying to find the dog.
Allison: Oh, you mean the dog that almost put me in traction and ruined every article clothing I own?
Wil: (blushes) Yeah, that one.
Apparently there is a difference of opinion on the situation, typical. So, what did you first think of each other?
Allison: He was hot…wet, but hot.
Wil: Crazy lady driver…hey, you thought I was hot? (smug grin)
Allison: Arrogant much?
Don’t get a big head, Wil, but you are kind of hot. Let’s talk personal goals… Did you get in each other’s way of obtaining a goal?
Allison: It was really hard at first, when I realized Wil was the reason I was going to be unemployed. He was ruining the only thing that really mattered to me. It hurt…a lot.
Wil: See, it was different for me. Allison was the answer to the problem I didn’t realize I had. Meeting her made a huge impact on my life and Lizzie’s life as well.
Did either/both of you have to deal with any trials while your relationship developed?
Wil: Have you ever known a person who wasn’t happy unless they were jumping to conclusions? I mean never giving anyone the benefit of the doubt, no matter what.
Allison: I said I was sorry. But you really didn’t do anything to make me think different of you. You just kept setting me up with your little shenanigans. I mean what are you twelve? (giggle)
Wil: No and it’s a good thing for you I’m not. (wink)
Okay, now it’s getting a little…uh…hot in here. Focus, you two. Did anyone try to interfere in you reaching your goals?
Wil/Allison: Crazy Aunt Grace!
Allison: That’s not fair, she’s really come around since…
Wil: Since you put her in her place and smacked her with a big ol’ can of Whoop a…
Allison: Really? In an interview? Clean it up. She was just really hurting and the only way she knew how to deal with it was to make our lives a living he…
Wil: gutter mouth!
You two are such fun! Did you feel an immediate attraction to one another?
Allison: Did I mention how hot he was? But sheesh, what a pain in the butt. I was pretty sure I didn’t want to get involved with him. Figured he was some smug playboy who would break my heart.
Wil: The first time I got a good look at Al, she was covered in mud and trying to back peddle out of an insult. Not so much the perfect woman, but there was something about her that just kind of knocked my good sense for a loop.
So it was love and resistance at the same time. Who compromised first in an attempt to make peace in your relationship?
Allison/Wil: I did.
Wil/Allison: You did not.
Allison: I guess maybe he actually did, but now that I’ve said that his ego is really going to swell.
Wil: If you want to know the truth, Al came to me and offered me something that I never would have expected.
I suppose we’ll have to read your book to find out what that was. Fine. When did the heat between you first start firing up?
Allison/Wil: Sex is awesome. (laugh)
Wil: I don’t think either of us really expected it to flair, but it didn’t take long and once it had, we could barely keep our hands off each other, even when we were fighting.
Yes, sex can be awesome…and a problem, too. What led to the moment when you thought everything was lost between you?
Allison: I don’t think I really ever thought there would be an “us.” I mean, we had a plan, but I never expected it to last.
Wil: Al isn’t always so good at letting her real feelings be known. She tends to react and then try and cover it up with flashes of anger.
Allison: Are you saying I’m a hot head?
Wil: You said I was “hot.”
I understand. Men. You managed to make things work between you after some ups and downs. Would you go through all of that again?
Allison: I’m one of those people who believe that you take what you are given. I wouldn’t change a thing because if I did, I wouldn’t be where I am now. One little change could lead me to a hut in Thailand.
Wil: I’d travel to Thailand to find you.
Allison: Awe, you’re sweet.
I think it’s time to say, “Get a room, you two.” Thanks for being here today and sharing your story.
Now I want to talk to your author, Karen Syed.
I don’t even know how to answer that. I have always been a writer. Cheesy teen poetry, crappy short stories as a young adult, and finally books. I guess I decided to be an author when my life hit rock bottom and I lost my identity. I gave up writing…for about eight hours, then realized that was crazy and decided I wanted to write books that made other people feel good like the books I read. To this day, I write for the readers, which is why I never got published in NY, I would not conform. I told the stories I wanted to tell.
(Starla) I have no wish to conform to the NY publishing houses, either. I write for my readers, and I write for myself.
What do you do to get away from the stress of writing?
No, no. I write to get away from the stress of everything else. I don’t find writing stressful at all, never have. Now editing…whole nudder ball of wax. That sucks and makes me need mac and cheese and fried chicken.
Do you use a pen name? If so, why?
I used to write as Alexis Hart. I don’t know how schizophrenics do it. Being two people is too darn hard to keep straight, and everyone always knows who you are. Made sense in the beginning, but now I am darn proud to be Karen L. Syed and that goes on everything I write.
(Starla) I agree, being two people is darn hard to keep straight. But I write as Starla Kaye, S. K. Fero, Skylar Faye, and under my real name later this year. Yes, it’s confusing, but I actually have a reason for each name.
Where do you find inspiration for your stories?
Where don’t I find inspiration. TV commercials, people watching, newspapers, lyrics to music, other people’s books (not the plagerism thing), a few times I have heard a cool name and it instigated a story idea.
Do you have a regular writing process?
Hahhahaa, heehee LOL snort heeheee. Yeah I keep it in the dresser right next to my million dallar bill. Snort.
Do you have some “words of wisdom” for other writers, especially new writers?
Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it well. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you will never succeed. You write whatever the hell you want to write and if anyone tries to convince you otherwise, you give me their name and number and I will tell what’s up.
The biggest reason for failure among writers is the lack of support and encouragement. Surround yourself with people who get it, even if they don’t write. Write from your heart and let YOUR dreams guide you to where you are meant to take it.
Now let’s talk some book specifics about Lost and Found…
Title: Lost and Found
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 53,300 words
Publisher: Echelon Press
Buy Link: All Romance EBooks
What was unique to this particular book?
It’s not unique in any way except that it is written in my voice. The story has been told a million times, but not from the point of view of MY characters. No romance novel is truly unique. But my style is my own and that shines through in the telling. I like to think of this book as sassy, much like me.
Was there anything that surprised you while writing this book?
I will admit that I did not see this book going the direction it did. I do not plot, but I wrote this for Silhouette (a defunct line- Yours Truly) but by the time I got to the end of the story it didn’t fit their guidelines anymore and it had taken on a life of its own.
Did you have a favorite character in this books?
Honestly, I love everyone in this book, but Hoyden, the dog, is a hoot. I had not written a book with an animal in it and this one has several. The story would not have been the same or even come close to working if not for Hoyden.
Did you have a favorite scene?
Oh yes. There is a scene where Allison goes to Wil’s for a cookout and while trying to have a discussion with him, she notices his butt. Seriously, I laugh every time I read it.
Did you have a scene that was particularly hard to write?
The sex scene. Everyone says the sex scene is totally hot, but I HATE trying to write them and I am never satisfied…with the scene, not the sex…well the sex either…the sex in the book…I once tried to write erotica and well…snort. I don’t.
Will there by any sequels to this book?
I seriously thought about writing a book with Lizzie as the heroine, but no solid story has come to me, so I really doubt it. I wrote this book twelve years ago, so I think it is safe to say, that ship has sailed.
Allison Ryder is not having her best day. Thanks to the Texas weather, the placement of a seemingly insignificant flyer on the windshield of her car has opened up a big ol’ can of worms. First, there’s the near miss with a dreamy brown-eyed man (Did we mention his not-so-charming attitude?). Then there is the overzealous new neighbor (a big wet dog who wants to play with Al in the rain). Then there is her dear and meddlesome best friend who wants everyone to be happy (her parents should have named her Cupid). All in all, things can’t get any worse!
Will Hoyt can’t believe he’s lost his dog. He wonders how he’ll ever be able to care for his niece if he can’t keep a pooch in hand. The flyers seemed like a good idea, until it rained, and the crazy lady in town tried to run over him. It’s taken some time to fall into a place where he could care for his late sister’s teenage daughter (What was he thinking? She’s a teenage girl!) The good news is that the dog has been found…but by the crazy lady. Things could be worse!
Even the rain can’t smother the sparks that fly between Will and Allison, so is it any wonder that their relationship will have to face off against chaos? (Did we mention the marriage?) But of course love is not all peaches and cream when Will faces the possibility of losing everything he holds dear.
“Leave it to Mother Nature.”
Lightning flashed across the darkened sky, immediately followed by a deep roll of thunder. Allison Ryder turned the key in the ignition of her precious classic 1965 Mustang and the engine roared to life. She reached forward with trembling fingers and flipped the windshield wiper switch.
“Oh, would you look at that,” Allison said, annoyed by the gold-colored paper swishing back and forth across the front window of her car.
“Settle down. It’s just a flyer,” Katie consoled.
“I know what it is.” Allison snapped at her best friend as she stumbled back into the downpour. “Lord, I hate Texas storms.”
With the icy cold rain pelting down onto her head, she reached to snatch the flyer off her windshield; or tried to. The swish of the rubber blade pulled the paper out of her reach and then tormented her by tossing it, along with a stream of water, back at her. A moment too late, she figured it probably would have been easier if she’d turned the wipers off first. The blade snapped back toward her again and sent another stream of water directly at her face. “Crud!”
She finally ended up with a wad of wet paper stuck to her fingers. Infuriated by the whole situation, she jumped back into the car and shook her hand, trying to get the soaked paper loose. It landed on top of one of the bags settled in the back seat.
Once a week she made the trip into the heart of town to buy groceries and every week someone stuck one of those stupid flyers on her car. According to the numerous advertisements, she could lose twenty pounds in twenty hours. She could find Mr. Right through her VCR. Heck, she could even increase her annual salary by one hundred times by simply using her home computer. With all the wonders of the flyer world, her life should be perfect. “I hate it when they do this in the rain. Don’t they know what a mess they make? What right do they have?”
“They should all be shot at dawn.” Katie said from the passenger seat, her green eyes sparkling and a knowing grin spread across her face. “To hell with free enterprise and all that stuff.”
“Oh stop patronizing me,” Allison snapped playfully.
“What did I say? I’m just voicing an observation on your behalf.”
Katie turned her head away and Allison reluctantly smiled as her friend’s rosy cheek twitched. “You might as well laugh, before you explode. Lord knows I don’t want your twisted sense of humor splattered all over my nice leather seats.”
“Oh that’s sick, Al.”
Allison grinned. “Oh yeah, like you aren’t, giggle girl.”
“Not me. I have absolutely no desire to laugh at you.” Katie snorted.
“What kind of person has so much time on their hands they can walk around tormenting people with useless pieces of paper?”
Katie pushed her overly long brown curls out of her eyes and sniffed. “What kind of person lets a piece of paper ruin her day?”
Allison glanced over the back of her seat and stretched to see around the van parked next to her. Not seeing anything, she stepped on the gas and the car rolled slowly backward. “You just don’t get it. Someone had to cut down trees to make the paper this is printed on.”
“It happens,” Katie acknowledged.
“Then someone pollutes the air with all the machinery that makes and prints the paper.”
“And this is what’s got your knickers in such a twist? For heaven’s sake, Al, plant a tree.” Katie settled into her seat and checked her seatbelt as the car started to back up.
Al’s foot went instinctively to the brake pedal and the car jerked to a stop. Staring into her rearview mirror, she looked through the rain smatterings into a very deep, brown pair of eyes glaring in at her. A split second later, she noticed the man the eyes belonged to, leaning half up on the trunk of her car. She slammed the car into park and jumped out into the rain. Thank God she hadn’t been moving fast enough to hurt him.
“Why me, Lord?” she mumbled.
He raised head up and the hood of his rain jacket slipped back. Dark hair hung, dripping around his face.
His angry gaze locked on her and she fought the urge to step back. “Oh my.”
“What are you trying to do, kill me?” he shouted.
She stared, mesmerized as the creases across his tanned forehead deepened.
“Hel-lo. Anybody in there?” he asked sarcastically.
Allison could barely hear him over the car’s engine and the rain, but he didn’t sound happy.
“I’m sorry. I looked and didn’t see anyone. Are you okay?”
“Yeah, fine for someone who just almost got run over by a crazy woman driver. Didn’t anyone ever tell you cars can kill people if you don’t know how to drive them?”
“I just couldn’t see around the van,” Allison offered, apologetically. The man turned to walk away and she noticed the hood of his plastic jacket sagging from the weight of rainwater quickly filling it up.
Large cold drops fell onto her head, dripping down her face as she shook her head against the chills. Her damp collar sagged against her neck. Still disquieted by his intense stare, Allison looked around her. Several cars drove past, splashing muddy water up onto their legs.
The irritated man shook his leg and mumbled in her direction. “If you couldn’t see, you shouldn’t have gone.” He turned back and glared at her.
“That makes no sense. I would have had to wait until the owner of the van came out. Perhaps you should have looked to see if my reverse lights were on.”
“Well forgive me; I had other things on my mind.” He pushed his hair back and reached for his hood.
She opened her mouth to warn him about the water, but he held up a hand to silence her.
“Don’t tell me, let me guess.”
She tried again to speak, but he went on without giving her a chance to say anything else.
“You’re sorry. Do you know how many people are killed by careless drivers who have no business out driving in the rain?”
His eyes turned dark and something sad flashed across his features, but the anger quickly returned. Rain dripped down inside her jacket, drowning what little patience she had left and she decided he could use a good cooling off. “Actually, I wanted to tell you . . . oh, never mind.” She stifled the nervous giggle threatening to erupt from inside her. “Do you want my name and address or anything?”
He stared at her. “Why? So we can date?”
This man’s arrogance riled her and she struggled harder to hold her tongue. “In case you’re hurt.”
“No. I’m fine. Just try to be careful in the future. I’m still young and I’d like to live long enough to grow old.”
AUTHOR CONTACT INFO
Author Website: Karen Syed
Facebook: In the Midnight HourReggie Ridgeway
Twitter: Echelon Press
Amazon Author Page: Karen Syed
Email: [email protected]