Loretta Wheeler is my special guest today. She
is an author who lives in the South along with her Australian husband, their
cat Lil’ Dickens, and their dog, Jack. Both pets are rescued fur-persons who are
very much loved. Most of Loretta’s writing is set in southern locales, whether
in the thriller or romance genre. She says she writes of southern things
because most of her stories speak to her in a southern accent. Something she
recognizes easily since her own is so strong.
What is the title and genre of your novel? Why did you select them?
The title is,
Southern Breezes/The Verandah. I chose the title because I was looking for
something to indicate what the story was about, what tone it set, so Southern
Breezes, lets the reader know they’re in the south. And because all the books
will be set in Galveston, it’s usually breezy
with all the wind from the Gulf. For the subtitle, I chose the vicinity in the
series that this particular book relates to most, which is Shelby Alexander’s
verandah. There’s a lot of activity going on there, both physically and
What inspired this novel? How did it come about?
I had never
read cozy mysteries until a few years ago. I was ill for a period of time and
wanted something that was fun, light and yet had a touch of mystery to it. So I
began reading a few cozy mysteries and loved them. I found I woke with a smile
on my face each morning after reading them before bed. Then I thought, I wonder
if I could write these? I’m normally a darker writer, so people seldom see my
humor and lighter side in my work. Then I thought, why not set them in Galveston? It’s not far from
me, easy to get to for research, and full of history. And I began. The
characters lined up immediately with one addition I didn’t see coming. That was
Dusty, a fourth character with a mouth that makes everyone whoop.
it’s set in Galveston, the first ghost walked right onto the page...but there’s
one more...another one I didn’t see coming and I think if I’ve written it well
enough, the reader won’t either. We’ll see.
Could you tell us a little bit about the heroine and/or hero of your novel?
Oh, my. You
know asking an author if they could tell you anything about any of their work,
you better pull up a chair. I’ve begun to think people who don’t write, give us
a wide berth at parties!
Alexander, the heroine, is a New York Times Bestselling Author. Everything in
her life at this moment looks like a story out of a fairytale. Everything’s
darn near perfect. She’s just gone through a bad divorce, but come out on the
other side with minimal damage. She’s not only had the dream of making the New
York Times list come true, but she’s just purchased a portion of the house her
Aunt Sookie owned in Galveston. This is where she went every summer, along with
her girlfriends, and the place where they all dreamed of living when they grew
up. So, that’s her second wish come true.
But fate has a few other things in mind. A gorgeous guy, Boone Dawson,
shows up, and Shelby doesn’t do gorgeous.
Ever. But he seems like he’s going to become part of her landscape, at least
for a time, because he’s just completed the renovations on her house and has a
few loose ends to clear up. And along with him, is the town dog named Charmin’.
Short for Prince Charmin’, which he’s not. He’s anything but. Both have entered
her life with a bang, showing up frequently, and both are concerned about
something going on, on her verandah and in the apartment. It’s something they
can’t see, but leaves behind the traces of a sensuous fragrance, along with
frequently opened verandah doors.
you tell us about some of your other published novels or work?
I’d love to. Author hat on, remember? Lol All my work can be
found on my website, www.lorettawheeler.com or on Amazon.
First of all, there’s the prequel novella to the Southern Breezes series, titled, Christmas on the Strand. It’s also set in Galveston, and introduces you to most of the people in the town, including the clairvoyant Terence Whittaker. http://tinyurl.com/mrvmosc
Southern Breezes/The Verandah just released and it’s the first novel size
book in the series following Christmas on
the Strand. This is a cozy, romantic piece with a touch of paranormal. It’s
based on an author who returns to Galveston to live, with life looking almost perfect when
she does. But her life’s quickly disrupted by an architect, who’s drop dead
gorgeous, and who’s accompanied by a scruffy town dog who decides Shelby, the
author, is going to be his owner. And quick on their heels comes the eerie
sensation that something is inside the house, something that no one can see,
but is always accompanied by a sensuous fragrance. https://tinyurl.com/lg7946x
Next is Siren’s Call. This short story serves as a bridge between
Southern Breezes/The Verandah, and the next book in the series,
which I’m currently working on. Siren’s Call is highly sensual,
so a bit more spicy than the other works. This is the story of
Michael, a secondary character in the Southern Breezes series.
And it explains why he is obsessed with sculpting one particular
mermaid, over and over again. https://tinyurl.com/km9ds8r
Then I have a novella size book, titled The Pan Man.
It’s a YA Paranormal, set in California, and is the story of a young girl, heading off to college, who has a recurring dream of Pan calling to her. She eventually sees a gypsy at the local fair, who informs her the dream has great significance. This was my first YA and placed in a contest on Long and Short Reviews. goo.gl/lR2oiJ
Mischief and Mayhem is a novella in which
an author is being stalked by a killer and has chosen to live outside of town
with her two cats near a derelict amusement park, rather than stay so visible
in town. The cats, Mischief and Mayhem, are on high alert, and wind up coming
to the author’s aid...although it costs them at least one of their nine lives.
Not to worry though, even though one of the cats carries a singed smell now,
they still have eight kick-ass lives remaining. http://tinyurl.com/hd8pst3
Dark Pleasures is a short story, originally published in a
suspense anthology. It’s based on a serial killer in Houston who’s set his sights on a criminal psychologist
who’s been assigned to his case. This anthology placed number one (#1) on Preditors and Editors. http://tinyurl.com/gr4w2cu
A Butterbean Named “A” is a children’s story that I wrote many years
ago and finally published. It’s about a little girl who finds a butterbean and
along with her grandmother, plants it near the fence line alongside a very
talkative climbing rose bush. https://tinyurl.com/jgkh3jp
What are you working on now?
A couple of things. First, the second book in
the series, Southern Breezes/The Siren’s
Shop, and a couple of short stories that keep dancing through my head.
Literally. There’s a strong dance scene that sets the mood.
made you start writing?
I’m not your
typical author. I started late in the game. I had written a few pieces when I
was in high school, but did follow that path. I was more inclined toward
commercial art at the time. It was much later that I found I wanted to write. I
had posted an online story and allowed others to participate, and found I had
so many comments about my writing, that I decided to write it formally. I
already had the outline and had been writing the piece when I opened it up
online, allowing others to create their own characters, but I wanted to go back
to my original story and write it. That’s how I began. When I moved back to the
United States from Australia, I had a request for
one of my short stories to go into an anthology. I submitted it and they immediately
took it. That story was Dark Pleasures, which is now a
standalone short story available on Amazon. From there, I just kept writing,
having some of my work place in contests, some be published, and others released
What advice would you offer to those who are currently writing novels?
Don’t worry about it if you hit a wall, or if your receive rejections. Keep
writing. Find critique partners that work well with you, ones who are drawn to
your writing voice and who are knowledgeable. And this next piece of advice is
just my opinion; I know others who feel differently. If you need a break, take
it. Some of your most well-known authors take them. It lets your Muse wander.
Trust me, the Muse will always return, and never arrive empty handed. Mine
always comes with even more plots and ideas. I guess that’s why I’m drawn to
short stories and novellas, because my Muse lays so many tales at my feet after
a vacation. There’s no way they can all be novel size.
Where and when will readers be able to obtain your novel?
Southern Breezes/The Verandah is already available
and can be found here, on Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/lg7946x All of my work is on
Amazon or my website: www.lorettawheeler.com
trailer for Southern Breezes/The Verandah, can be found, here: https://youtu.be/e7F4W2U_NIs
*I want to mention
that I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Christmas on the Strand and can highly recommend it.
is offering one free Kindle e-book copy to one person who comments. Please
leave an e-mail address for contact if interested.
Comments and questions for Loretta are welcome here!