Sunday, August 2, 2015

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with Christine Donovan, author of BlackJack

Christine Donovan is an International Bestselling Author and a PAN member of Romance Writers of America. She lives on the Southeast Coast of Massachusetts with her husband, four sons, one
granddaughter and four cats. In addition to writing Contemporary Romance, she writers Regency and Paranormal Romance. When she is not writing or reading, she is either painting or gardening.

Her latest book is the contemporary romance, BlackJack.

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About the Book:

Title: BlackJack
Author: Christine Donovan
Publisher: Christine Donovan Books
Pages: 336
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback/Kindle/Nook

Cole Jackson spends fifteen years in prison for a murder he did not commit, the murder of his wife, Lindsey.

His talent as a songwriter and an avid reader save him from the loneliness of the cold, dark and unforgiving prison walls. But as he joins the world of the free again, he struggles with his once again fame, because of his rock-n-roll band, of being a convicted killer and the fact that his self-esteem and self-respect were lost years ago. Prison will do that to you, not to mention drugs, alcohol and an unfaithful wife. He no longer has the drugs, the alcohol or the unfaithful wife. What he has is a tarnished reputation and the determination to find the true killer and restore his life.

Shannon Gallagher's hard work as a writer has finally paid off. She believes her life is complete living in her dream home on the ocean until she meets Cole Jackson. She idolized him at sixteen, cried at twenty-one when he went to prison. Now at thirty-six she meets him and falls instantly in love. But as Cole gets closer to his wife's killer, he puts Shannon's life in danger. Can he expose the murderer and keep Shannon safe?

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Thanks for joining us at our virtual book club, Christine!  Can we begin by having you tell us why you decided to write a contemporary romance?
Christine: I grew up reading romance novels, both historical and contemporary. When I first began writing twelve years ago my first several novels were contemporary romances. I took a break from them to write several Regency romances. Then the pull to revisit contemporary became too strong and I began writing them again. 
We’re very impressed that you are an international bestseller!  Before we get into your latest romance, can you tell us what other books you have published?
Christine: I have three Regency romances out, The Reluctant Duke, The Lady and the Earl, and The Lady Must Choose, which two of the three hit the bestseller’s list both here and in the UK.  The series is entitled A Seabrook Family Saga.
I’m dying to know.  In your book, BlackJack, Cole Jackson spends fifteen years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit and that was the murder of his wife, Lindsey.  So how come he had to take that rap?  Was he set up?
Christine: He wasn’t framed. Unfortunately, his wife was having an affair during the time of her murder and his attorney didn’t want to give the jury motive to convict him on first degree murder. (He was convicted of second degree) The fact that his wife was unfaithful didn’t come out during the trial.  Also, Cole believed in the judicial system and never thought he would be convicted of something he didn’t do. Part of him also didn’t want to drag his late wife’s name through the mud, so to speak. 
The truth of it was, the judge, prosecutor and jury were prejudiced against him for being a young, wealthy, rock-star. The evidence was circumstantial, the murder weapon never found, but that didn’t stop them from convicting him.
Can you tell us more about Cole?  What’s he really like?
Christine:  The before prison Cole, was a twenty-three-year-old rock sensation with a drug and drinking problem. The post prison Cole, is a man trying to rebuild his life with the stigma of being a convicted killer. His previous bandmates drop everything to reform their band, BlackJack.  But even with them behind him, he struggles with being thrown back into the spotlight even though it’s his choice to be there. His love of music saved him during his years in prison, it’s all he knows or ever wanted to do. Besides using his music to acclimate himself in the real word again, he does everything in his power to find his wife’s true killer and will not rest until he/she is brought to justice.
Tell us more about Shannon Gallagher?
Christine: Shannon is a divorced mother with a sixteen-year-old son who is a musical protégé.  She comes from a close family and remains on good terms with her ex-husband. Her successful romantic suspense novels have given her the money and freedom she always desired, but she’s always known something was missing. Deep down she is lonely and hoping to find love again.
Share an excerpt with us?
Christine: Cole Jackson sat in the suite his band BlackJack reserved at the Four Seasons in Boston. Every muscle in his body was tense, making it difficult to pick away on his acoustic guitar. He hated to admit it to himself, or anyone else for that matter, but nerves plagued him like hell. Not nerves exactly, more precisely he was scared shitless. Tonight BlackJack opened their tour in Boston, and his thoughts were filled with insecurities as to how he’d be received. He swallowed, hoping to stop the waves sloshing inside his stomach, causing him to gag. If he managed to keep any food down today, it would be a miraculous occurrence.
He worried about what people saw when they looked at him. Did they see a killer? Or did they see a man who had some bad luck? It shouldn’t matter one way or another to him, but it did. If only he could adopt that, who gives a shit what anyone thinks, attitude. Fifteen years in prison for second degree murder had destroyed his self-esteem and self-respect. There was nothing like going to jail for something you didn’t do.
All his friends, the close few he allowed near, kept telling him to talk about his ordeal, get it out in the open, and things would improve. His soul would heal. Like hell it would. People would just know what he went through. He had no intentions of letting the entire world experience prison life through his eyes. So, he buried the memories in the recesses of his mind, never to be dug up.
Tonight, a new chapter of his life would begin. He was back playing his music, his life’s dream. During his days in jail he had hoped and prayed to play again someday, but he’d never thought it would actually happen. And truth be told, there were days during his prison confinement he surprised himself by seeing another sunrise. So here he sat, his favorite guitar cradled in his arms, his fingers gripping the pick like a vise, and the music he usually played so effortlessly sounding like crap.
“Hey, Cole.” AJ Macleod, BlackJack’s bass guitarist, back-up vocalist and also Cole’s best friend, charged into the band’s suite. “You won’t believe who’s signing books at the Prudential Center today.”
Cole glanced up, not the least bit interested. His mind was heavily centered on tonight’s concert and trying to keep his body from jumping out of its skin. He finally asked, knowing AJ wouldn’t leave until he had his say. “Who?”
“Guess? And ah’ll give ye a hint—ye read all her books.”
“Shit, AJ. I don’t have time for your games. Just give me the damn name of the bloody writer.”
His friend grinned from ear to ear. “Shannon Gallagher.”
Cole caught his guitar moments before it hit the floor.
 “Thought that might get ye.” AJ chuckled. “Man, ye should see yer face. Stunned doesn’t even begin to describe it. Ah’m heading over tae the bookstore, wanna tag along?”
Cole thought about it for all of one second. He had kept a low profile since his release from prison, and he and AJ together might cause people to recognize them. He couldn’t face all the questions and looks that would be directed toward him. Someday he would have to face it, but not today. He just couldn’t do it. All his energy and emotional charge needed to be focused on tonight. Getting through this concert was crucial. If he survived it, his first public appearance since going to prison, he could survive the rest of the concert tour and quite possibly the rest of his life.
He had to admit though, the name kick-started his pulse and made him curious as to what she—he shook his head. “I appreciate the invite, AJ, but I’m staying put...ah, lying low.” He settled in with his guitar once again. “Just going to strum my Betty here and try to relax.”
AJ shrugged. “Suit yourself man. But ah hear she’s quite a looker.”
As Cole watched AJ leave, loneliness slammed into him. “Stupid idiot,” he muttered to himself. He should have gone. It would have done him good to get his mind off tonight.
What’s next for you, Christine?
Christine: The next book after BlackJack in A Standish Bay Romance is Bridget, available now. Mitch, the third will be out this month.  I plan to have several more in the series out next year. Right now I’m writing the fourth Regency in A Seabrook Family Saga Series.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you to everyone at Virtual Book Club for inviting me here today. I'm looking forward to spending the day with you.