November 1, 2007

3 Questions with Jana DeLeon

Oh hi. I cannot crazy any farm plans, because I have to leap in the car and go!
Scott and I are heading to Callaway Gardens for Hiking, butterfly seeing, and kissing. The kids are here with my parents for too much candy eating, no bedtime, and other assorted grandparental spoilings. SO EVERYONE IS HAPPY.

While I trit trot away in my boots, allow Jana DeLeon to entertain you with tales about her new book UNLUCKY the story of a woman SO unlucky she turns it into a profession; she works “cooling” cards on her uncle’s casino boat. As long as the crooks invited to his special poker tournament don’t win their money back, she’ll get a cut of the profit.

But Mal isn’t the only one working some major mojo. There’s a dark-eyed dealer named Jake Randoll who is really an undercover agent, and for a Yank, he’s pretty darn smart. Smart enough to enlist her help to catch a money launderer. As they race to untangle a web of decades-old lies and secrets amid a gathering of criminals, Mallory can’t help hoping her luck’s about to change….


JJ: As a Southern writer, I think everything is about locationlocationlocation. How did growing up in Louisiana influence your work?

JDL: Growing up in Louisiana is the reason I write. Without the culture and the fascinating people to draw from, I don't think I'd have any stories to tell. I plan on setting all my books in small bayou towns. I try to create settings so large they become a character and the characters, well, some of them are already walking among us. I think a lot of people are fascinated by the bayou culture and I'm thrilled to be able to give them a little taste of that.

JJ: So, you've weathered the release of your debut novel with grace and aplomb---How is the publication of a second novel different?

JDL: The second book was so much harder. My debut novel did well and garnered great reviews and public accolades, which is great, but that means the next book has to be better. When you write humor, you've got to be very careful not to spend too much time thinking about all the pressure or you don't relax enough for the funny dialogue to flow. UNLUCKY was a difficult book for me to write, but I worked it out and in writing my proposal for the next book, I didn't have the difficulties I did writing UNLUCKY at all. UNLUCKY was a huge growth process for me and I'm really glad it happened. Now, I believe in myself and my ability to put out a great book, under a deadline, AND still be funny.

JJ: What the heck are "coolers?"

JDL: A cooler is a person so unlucky that casinos hire them to sit at a hot table and shut the other players down. I came up with the idea for UNLUCKY because unfortunately, cooling cards is a job I'd be really good at.
My husband and I got married in Vegas in 2000. Before we left, I studied and studied blackjack combinations, determined to beat the house. Unfortunately, I have absolutely, positively NO LUCK. In fact, my luck is so bad that when I sit down at a table, not only don't I win, everyone else starts losing too. So I came up with Mallory Devereaux, the unluckiest woman in the world, who needs to make some money fast and decides to do it by "cooling" cards at a poker tournament of criminals.

While writing UNLUCKY, I contacted several casinos, both in Louisiana and Las Vegas. None of them would confirm or deny the existence of coolers.

Posted by joshilyn at November 1, 2007 7:45 AM

OMG- Rumble on the Bayou is on the keeper shelf- ended up buying multiple copies because I kept lending it out and it kept getting "eaten" or "lost" or something- woo hoo- now I have another yummy sounding book to go for- can't wait

Posted by: CC at November 4, 2007 12:19 AM