Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Linda L. Picl’s character on September 8th and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of recently meeting Ginger Ring, the author of The Gangster’s Kiss, and I asked her if she’d let me borrow one of her main characters, Grace Sullivan, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Ginger in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Grace Sullivan!
Marie Lavender: Hello, Grace. Please have a seat.
Grace Sullivan: Hello. Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Marie: We’re going to start out with some simple questions, okay?
Character Grace: Sure.
Marie: So, Grace, what is your occupation? Are you any good at it? Do you like it?
Grace: I worked for my father at his law office. He was a prominent judge here in Hayward County. It wasn’t the bee’s knees by any account but there isn’t too much to do here. I did learn a lot and hopefully it will help me with whatever I decide to do in the future.
Marie: Oh, okay. Great! So, what is your family like?
Grace: It is just my brother Daniel and I now that my father has recently passed.
Marie: So sorry to hear about your father, Grace. What did your childhood home look like?
Grace: I still live in the family home. It is out in the country and used to be part of a big farm. The house feels empty now, but then it has felt that way since my mother passed many years ago.
Marie: Do you have any hobbies? What do you enjoy doing?
Grace: I enjoy gardening, reading, and cooking. I use to play the piano but that was years ago. My new friend John, well, actually he is my bodyguard but he is such a handsome fella, I can’t help but like him…John has been teaching me a few new things. I’ve learned how to drive a car, shoot a gun, and drink moonshine. It is quite scandalous but I can’t help it. John has inspired me to do, and try, a lot of new things.
Marie: Wow. What is your greatest dream, Grace?
Grace: To leave Hayward County. It is a big world out there and I want to see it. I also want to meet the man of my dreams and have a family. Lately I’ve begun to wonder if John is the man for me. Even if he isn’t, I still want him to take me away from here.
Marie: I do understand the need to see the world.
So, what kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?
Grace: I wish I was more confident. It is 1928, women have so many more opportunities now but I still feel like a shy violet. Since meeting John, I am getting braver and eager to be the best that I can be. I want to leave this place and pursue my dreams, but I worry about leaving my brother.
Marie: I understand.
I’m going to throw another random question at you now. Who was your first love?
Grace: I’ve never been in love, but the feelings that I have for John are different than I’ve ever experienced before. I know he may have done some things illegal, but I feel like he is the only one I can trust. Horsefeathers, I think I am falling in love with the man.
Marie: Wow, I can’t wait to read this book!
So, Grace, what’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?
Grace: I witnessed a murder. It was horrible, not just one guy was killed but three! I didn’t know what to do. I ran and called the cops but they weren’t much help. The mob has all the cops on the take these days.
Marie: Oh, no! That’s horrible. I’m so sorry you had to see that. Now I know why you have a bodyguard. Well, let’s move on to something a bit lighter.
What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?
Grace: Well, ever since I read about Zelda Fitzgerald, I wanted to be a flapper. I even ran away to St. Paul, thinking I could be a singer at some swank club. That didn’t turn out too well. I got a job as a waitress but when things went wrong, I was on the first train back home.
Even if that would have worked out, I don’t think that would be the life for me. I will always be just a small town girl. I would love to cook for people and maybe open a restaurant. I want to fall in love, get married, and have a family of my own. Lately, I always picture John in that dream with me, but don’t tell him that. Why the man has half the ladies in town mooing over him already, including me.
Marie: So, who is your role model?
Grace: My mother. She was always elegant. Never worn pants, always a dress and her pearls. She was very active in town with the church, school, and helping out veterans from the Great War.
Marie: Grace, you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question…Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?
Grace: I don’t really dislike anyone, but those Anderson sisters flirt too much with John. Why, just the other day they stopped by to give him some of their Apple Pie Elixir. It’s pure moonshine. Don’t they know it is illegal to make alcohol during prohibition and pass it off as medicine?
Marie: (Laughs.) Sorry, I know you meant that seriously. What is your deepest desire?
Grace: I have several. For my brother to get out of the mess he has gotten himself into with the gangsters. He offered them safe haven in Hayward County for a piece of the action. Daniel is in too deep and I am so frightened for him.
I want that murderer Killian to leave me alone and finally, to leave Hayward County with John.
Marie: I do understand, Grace. So, what is your greatest fear?
Grace: That I will lose my brother and John and there isn’t anything that I can do about it.
Marie: I’m sorry, Grace. I hope it gets better.
Well, thank you for visiting us today. I wish you so much happiness in life. (Waves goodbye to Grace.)
Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective. We have Ginger Ring on the stage today. Hi, Ginger!
Author Ginger Ring: Hi. Thank you for having me here.
My pleasure! We just got to talk to the heroine of your story, Grace. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?
Ginger: Grace is a very intriguing character. I named her after my grandmother Grace. She was always elegant and I don’t ever remember seeing her dressed in pants. The character Grace is another matter. She is all over the place. The story takes place in 1928. There were a lot of changes for women, but being from a small town she didn’t feel like she had a lot of options. Grace dreams of being a big city girl, takes off, and after witnessing a crime, she ends up running back home. She is flighty, flirty, and is totally unprepared for meeting a handsome, tall Irishman named John O’Malley.
Marie: Oh, wow! He sounds like my kind of hero. So, what are your character’s greatest strengths?
Ginger: The character John is a little unusual compared to most heroes in today’s stories. He isn’t a bad boy, he is basically about the nicest person you would ever want to meet. As time goes on, he realizes that he wants to do more than help Grace; he is falling for her. He fears for her safety and tries to teach her things so if something happens to him, she will know how to survive. I think Grace’s biggest strength is that once she makes up her mind about something, she will do anything to make it happen.
Marie: What, do you feel, are her greatest weaknesses?
Ginger: I feel that Grace is stronger than she thinks she is and it has taken meeting John to realize her strengths.
Marie: What are some of her favorite foods?
Ginger: Grace loves to cook and bake so she loves all kinds of foods.
Marie: Oh, me too!
What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?
Ginger: I don’t think Grace realizes her potential and strength.
Marie: Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?
Ginger: Grace is very flighty. I know at that age I sure was, so I hope people will identify with her and relate to the way she feels she needs to react to certain situations. Right, or wrong, she does what she feels she needs to do to survive.
I do admire that!
Well, now that we have a real taste of Grace Sullivan, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.
What first gave you the idea for The Gangster’s Kiss?
Ginger: I don’t remember what initially gave me the idea for the story, but I love history and this is basically the history of the area in which I live. It is hard to find a place here that wasn’t robbed, slept at, or visited by gangsters in the era. I had visited Al Capone’s Hideout, north of here several times, the first time when I was eighteen. It is the place that John first sees Mr. Capone. I just recently visited another popular gangster hideout this week that will be featured in the second book, The Gangster’s Woman. All these places come with secret tunnels, ghost stories, and tall tales that have been passed down from the owners. I like to mix them all together and hopefully come up with something interesting that readers will enjoy.
Marie: Wow, that’s great! A woman after my own heart. I write historical romance as well.
So, what is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?
Ginger: This was my first full length book so I tried to plot most of it out but once I sit down, all bets are off. I also drive a lot for work so I spend a lot of time in the vehicle sorting things out in my head.
Marie: I hear you on that. I can be anywhere when I’m organizing a book in my head.
So, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing The Gangster’s Kiss or getting it published? What would you do differently the next time?
Ginger: The only problem I have come across is finding my target audience and marketing. I am very shy so I really struggle with getting myself out there. It’s been hard to get people to read my book but once they do, I usually get a message saying that they couldn’t put it down and really enjoyed it. I recently started a group with another author of 1920’s books and we are trying to reach the audience that already loves books from this era and will hopefully carry their enthusiasm for the story into the masses.
Marie: Wow, that’s great that you could pair together for such a venture.
Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog. And how apropos is that, considering what a great love story The Gangster’s Kiss appears to be. Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this awesome book by Ginger Ring, a rising star!
Here is the blurb for The Gangster’s Kiss:
John O’Malley’s sister is missing. All the clues of her disappearance lead to Hayward County, Wisconsin and the crooks and questionable sheriff that reside there. Pretending to be one of them, John takes a job as bodyguard for the sheriff’s beautiful sister, Grace. It seems like the perfect way to investigate their crimes and corruption, but when someone threatens to kill Grace, the job proves harder than he thought. Is she an innocent witness to a crime, or just as guilty as everyone else?
Grace Sullivan just wanted a normal life: find a good man, get married and have a family. She has had enough of looking the other way while her brother hides behind his sheriff’s badge to conduct shady dealings. Hiring a gangster named John to watch her is the final straw. When a face from the past threatens her life, she is forced to put her life in John’s hands, but as time goes on, all she really wants is to be in the gangster’s arms.
Amazon Kindle U.S. and paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Gangsters-Kiss-Love-Dangerous-Thing-ebook/dp/B00LZFHEXA/
Universal Amazon link: http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00LZFHEXA
About Ginger Ring:
Ginger Ring is an eclectic, Midwestern girl with a weakness for cheese, dark chocolate, and the Green Bay Packers. She loves reading, playing with her cats, watching great movies, and has a quirky sense of humor. Publishing a book has been a lifelong dream of hers and she is excited to share her romantic stories with you. Her heroines are classy, sassy and in search of love and adventure. When Ginger isn’t tracking down old gangster haunts or stopping at historical landmarks, you can find her on the backwaters of the Mississippi River fishing with her husband.
And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Ginger Ring, here are some of her author links:
Amazon author page:
Webpage and blog:
Facebook writer page:
Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Grace Sullivan, the female main character of The Gangster’s Kiss, and Ginger Ring, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by! It was so fun to have you here! 🙂