Sharon is here to talk about The Haunting of Hotel LaBelle, the first book in the Hotel LaBelle series.
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Q: What's your inspiration for this story?
My husband and I travel a lot for business and pleasure. Over the forty years of our marriage, we have stayed at everything from a stunning boutique hotels to fabulous bed and breakfasts to corporate chains. We even stayed at a Motel 6 in a blizzard in Davenport, Iowa in the late 1970s. It was so cold, my husband had to keep going out and starting the car every two hours so it wouldn’t freeze and we had to put towels at the door to keep snow from blowing in (you may see a theme here). After sharing our numerous travel horror stories with a writing friend, she said, “You should write a book about this!” Ta-dah!! I drew from these experiences to create Tallulah Thompson, Hotel Inspector and her partner and pug, Franny.
Q: What is it about paranormal romance that draws you?
Paranormal events have played a role in my life since childhood. I have always accepted this alternate reality that many others do not experience or recognize. Their disbelief doesn’t dismiss my psychic experiences: dreams that come true, that I think of someone–and that person calls, and that I knew my sister was pregnant before she did. In the 1970’s while a psychology major at the University of Connecticut, I participated in telepathy experiments using the now famous J.B. Rhine Zener cards and other images. My “hit rate” as a receiver was statistically greater than chance occurrence. Curiosity and pragmatism took me down the paths of psychology (BA), neuroscience (MA in Psychology), Nursing (AAS) and finally, public health (PhD). So, it’s really not surprising that I’ve gravitated to paranormal romance as one of my favorite sub-genres to read and to write.
Q: Tell us more about Tallulah Thompson. What makes her a heroine we would root for?
Tallulah is a “grandmother’s grandchild.” When her parents died in a car crash, her grandmother, a powerful Choctaw medicine woman raised her and taught her to hide her gifts from those who would think she was hallucinating. When she arrives in Montana, she finds herself on sacred grounds and the visions become more powerful than ever before. When she meets luscious Lucius, she thinks he’s a real man—then realizes he’s another earthbound spirit. At first, she tells him he’s dead and tries to send him to the light. It doesn’t work because he’s not dead—he’s cursed. She agrees to assist this annoying hotelier, despite her grandmother’s warnings and her internal alarms about this man getting under her skin. A real heroine, she steps up to the plate and helps others, despite potential negative consequences to her life and livelihood.
Q: What about the hero, Lucius Stewart? What makes him a swoonworthy hero?
Lucius is a man out of time, literally. He’s been trapped in Hotel LaBelle for a century, cursed by a powerful Crow medicine woman, Beautiful Blackfeather. He loved and married Beautiful’s daughter, Mourning Dove, however, he refused to move in with his wife according to the Crow way. His thought hotel needed him more than his wife did. When Mourning Dove dies in childbirth, Beautiful curses him to wander the hotel until he learns the meaning of true love—and that person loves him back. A hundred years in limbo watching the world go by has taught him regret and remorse, but he has more hard lessons to learn from the very independent Tallulah Thompson. He too, takes risks, even saving the life of a scoundrel who attempts to burn down his beloved hotel. But the biggest risk he must take is winning the heart of a modern day woman.
Q: And there’s a cute pug, Franny. What role did she play in the story?
Since I write paranormal romantic suspense, there tends to be a lot of tension in my books. The plot races forward, but everyone needs a break from time to time. In The Haunting of Hotel LaBelle, Franny the pug in her so-ugly-she’s-cute way provides an icebreaker between the heroine, Tallulah Thompson, who is alive and the hero, Lucius Stewart, who is stuck in limbo. Lucius is captivated by the pug’s personality, something Tallulah notices right away. “Love me, love my dog!” At times, Franny acts as go-between, clown princess, and snorer in chief. When I needed to write something funny about her, all I had to do was look at my own pug, Agent Frank.
Q: Please share a fun and intriguing fact or experience during the research of writing this book.
As I began working on this book, I fell in love with Frank B. Linderman’s work and became fascinated with the Crows or Apsaalooké Nation. Thanks to the hard work of Linderman in the late 1920s, the world has a written history of the Apsaalooké, or Crow Nation, a traditionally oral culture. As a young man, Linderman became entranced with the West and moved out there to become a hunter and trapper. Over time, Native Americans befriended him and began to tell their stories to him in sign language and through interpreters. The Crows called him the Great Sign Talker and Pretty Shield said he made books speak. Almost a century later, his work crackles with life and takes the reader on breathtaking journeys into another world and another time. If you have not read his books and are interested in Native American stories, biographies, and autobiographies, I recommend beginning with Pretty Shield: Medicine Woman of the Crows and Plenty-Coups: Chief of the Crows. Pretty Shield’s granddaughter, Alma Hogan Snell, offers us more contemporary perspectives with her books, Grandmother’s Grandchild: My Crow Indian Life and A Taste of Heritage: Crow Indian Recipes and Herbal Medicines.
About the Author
After working in health care delivery for years, Sharon Buchbinder became an association executive, a health care researcher, and an academic in higher education. She had it all--a terrific, supportive husband, an amazing son and a wonderful job. But that itch to write (some call it an obsession) kept beckoning her to "come on back" to writing fiction. Thanks to the kindness of family, friends, critique partners, and beta readers, she is published in contemporary, erotic, paranormal, and romantic suspense--as well as textbooks! When not attempting to make students, colleagues, and babies laugh, she can be found herding cats, walking her dogs, fishing, cooking, dining, and laughing with family and friends, or writing.
She is the author of SOME OTHER CHILD, a mystery, DESIRE AND DECEPTION, an erotic thriller, and OBSESSION, a paranormal romantic suspense.