Today, Manic Readers is pleased to host author of romance with a punch of suspense, Rebecca E. Neely. She’s sharing about herself, her inspiration, some more about her debut novel, A Mighty Good Man, and her latest writing project.
Can you tell us a little more about yourself?
My roots are important to me, and I feel very blessed to have grown up in the close-knit, hard-working family I did, in a small town in Western Pennsylvania. My father was an English teacher, and he loved language and literature, and I grew up loving it too. My mother is also a voracious reader, and we read many of the same authors, including Clive Cussler, Nora Roberts and Agatha Christie. Short stories might be my favorite genre—some of my favorite authors are D.H. Lawrence, O’Henry, Poe, and Jack London.
I grew up in my family’s restaurant business, and at an early age, I was cooking, washing dishes, waitressing and handling money. It was an amazing opportunity—one that most children don’t have—to learn about business, to meet interesting people, both the customers and the employees, and to eat great homemade food!
I earned a B.S. in Accounting and worked in that field for over a decade. Accounting is very left-brained, and people are often surprised I’m now a writer—what many consider a ‘right-brained’ field. However, I believe the attention to detail required by that discipline has helped me to succeed in my writing career.
My father always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and I followed in his footsteps, starting my own freelancing business about fifteen years ago. In that span of time, I’ve had the pleasure of working with clients all over the country, and I’ve interviewed dozens of people who are passionate about what they do. That kind of energy is contagious. I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with vintners, casino executives, cedar harvesters and truck drivers, and owners of small and large business of every description. The stories they’ve shared will stay with me always. Still, I longed to create stories of my own, and in the last several years, I’ve focused more on writing fiction, specifically, romantic suspense.
I sold my first book, A Mighty Good Man, to Soul Mate Publishing last year. The journey has been incredible. I’ve met so many talented, generous people and learned so much, about my writing, and myself.
What inspires you?
I find inspiration all around me—in the news, on social media, at work, at home, at the store, at the places I travel to with my family and friends. I find inspiration in people, those that are close to me, and in complete strangers, in the stories they tell, their triumphs, hardships, the gestures they use, the clothes they wear. I think there’s a lot to be said about finding inspiration in ‘every day-ness.’ If I’m feeling burned out, a trip to the craft store, and drinking in all those colors and textures and possibilities, feeds my right brain and my creative soul. Taking a walk somehow helps me work out problems I encounter in a storyline. I think the most important thing I can do to stay inspired, though, is to ‘show up.’ and that means sitting down at the keyboard and starting to work even if I’m not feeling particularly inspired, or tired, or whatever. Pretty soon, things start clicking. That’s when the magic happens.
Are you working on anything new right now that you can share with us?
Yes! I’m thrilled to share that I’ve very recently signed a three book deal with Soul Mate Publishing for my Crossing Realms paranormal romance series. My first book, A Mighty Good Man, is a contemporary romance/romantic suspense novel. I wanted to write something completely different, and world building fit the bill. I got to work creating, and literally filled several notebooks with ideas, characters, and language, and the basis for Crossing Realms was born. An estimated release for The Keeper, Book One in the Crossing Realms series is late 2015/early 2016.
What have you learned along your writing journey? What advice can you share, and what is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Advice that’s helped me is to set daily writing goals, and word counts, if you really want to finish your book. Keep reading, and writing. Read new authors, or books outside your comfort zone. Write every day, to keep your imagination active and fertile. Spend time with other writers. Oh, and shut your smart phone off! The best advice I’ve ever heard might’ve been from my father, who told me you have to work at being happy. I find this applies in just about every area of my life.
Without further ado………A MIGHTY GOOD MAN
Her personal and professional life on the skids, a family emergency forces writer Hank Jerry to return to the small town, and the aunt, she left behind.
Fresh out of prison, Jack “Gent” Darcy is bent on cutting ties with the Creds, but when you’re a war counselor in a national gang, they don’t let you just walk away.
Injured and on the run, Jack lands on Hank’s doorstep, and makes her a proposition she can’t refuse: write his story about life inside one of the most powerful gangs in the country. It’s simple – she’ll get her career groove back, and he’ll bury the gang, then disappear – his version of freedom.
Only problem is, they can’t help falling for each other, and they’ve both got something to hide that could blow up in their faces. With time running out and gang enforcers closing in, will the trust they’ve forged survive the ultimate test?
Well, he’d wanted hidden, and now he was hidden. Her Aunt Henry would’ve done the same, she knew. Certainly the roundup of misfits who’d odd-jobbed their way through here over the years bore testament to that. If he needed a doctor, she’d see to it. But the police, and whoever was after him? That was his concern, not hers. Hank wanted no part of it.He could just park it in the cooler for a few minutes, stay out of sight while the help clocked in, and be on his merry way. She’d make sure of it.
Fists pounded on the door she’d just locked. She jerked to attention, pushing off the cooler. “Pretty sure that ain’t a Jehovah’s Witness,” she muttered. Shit! This wasn’t part of the deal. Now what?
The pounding continued. Whoever was on the other side wasn’t going away. If she didn’t answer the door it would only make things worse, most likely for her and ‘Cooler Man.’ Hank forced her feet to move. Act calm. Think calm.
Just in case that didn’t work, she unearthed the Smith & Wesson .32 revolver her aunt kept stashed in one of the utensil drawers, and shoved it in her pants pocket.
Adrenaline and fear pulsed through her, propelling her forward. One foot in front of the other. No big deal. She’d answer the door, see about the fist pounder and then he or she, or they, would leave. Or she could get shot. Yeah, right. No big deal.
Raised on a down home blend of Johnny Cash, Jack London, Sherlock Holmes, the Steelers, and all things small town, Rebecca feels blessed to have grown up in a close knit, fun loving and artistic family. Her mother, a voracious reader and scratch cook, and her father, an entrepreneur, English teacher and lover of literature, taught Rebecca and her brother to work hard, aim for the stars, and live life.
With music, books and laughter as constant companions, she grew up working, cooking and eating in the family’s restaurant business. A certified book and hoagie junkie, Rebecca thrives on live music, mysteries and the outdoors. She’s a cheddar enthusiast, and lover of cats, teddy bears, hot coffee, cold beer, thunderstorms, the blast of a train’s whistle, the change of seasons, country roads, woodpeckers, spoon rings, cool office supplies, and the Food Network.
She’s a sucker for a happy ending, and strives to write the kind of stories she loves to read—those featuring authentic, edgy and vulnerable characters, smack dab in the middle of action that explodes from page one.
Careers, past and present, include freelance writing, accounting, mother, problem solver, doer and head bottle washer.