Greetings. It’s great to be here, promoting my debut novel. Let me back up a bit: My name is Arlene Hittle, and my first published novel, DIVA IN THE DUGOUT, was just released by Turquoise Morning Press. I’m trying to spread the word.
I’ve always wanted to be an author. In high school, trying to be practical, I decided to major in journalism so I could make money writing while I tried to break into fiction. Turned out to be a good decision, I guess, since I didn’t sell my first novel until I was 41.
The short blurb: A bad-boy shortstop faces the toughest test of his career: fatherhood.
It’s a romantic comedy with a little sizzle and a dash of cute. I had to be careful not to let their four-year-old daughter, Tara, steal the show because she was so much fun to write.
The cover blurb:
Can the Condors' bad boy step up to the plate and knock out a home run for fatherhood? And if he does, will his daughter's mamma be ready?
After a successful stint in drug rehab, Arizona Condors shortstop Dave Reynolds is still trying to outrun his bad boy reputation. When the team's new owners tell him to shape up or be fired at season's end, he vows to change. He doesn't count on fatherhood playing a part in his transformation.
Melinda Cline makes a rash decision: take solace in the arms of a sexy-as-sin ballplayer whose name she insists she doesn't want to know. Big mistake. Now a single mom to a four-year-old, Mel strives to live as quietly and cleanly as possible. But fate intervenes and she comes face to face with the man who insists on being included in their daughter's life. The attraction between them is still strong, but it may not survive Dave's reputation or his attempts to do the right thing.
DIVA is the first in a planned series following the fictional Arizona Condors, tentatively titled “All’s Fair in Love and Baseball” or just “Love & Baseball” for short. I’ve signed with TMP to publish two more in 2014. The first, BEAUTY AND THE BALLPLAYER, is my 2011 Golden Heart-finaling manuscript. It stars the team’s catcher, golden boy Matt Thatcher, who you meet in DIVA. The second is a still-untitled story featuring young Greg Bartlesby, the Condors’ first baseman, who also shows up in DIVA as a party-hearty rookie. Let’s just say Greg has a lot of growing up to do.
It’s a complete cliché, but I do my best writing at Starbucks, before work. My day job is actually a night job (3 p.m. to midnight), so I wake up, have breakfast, (sometimes) work out (not often enough) and hit the Bux. I get so much more done there than I do at home, with three dogs trying to slobber on my laptop, trashy daytime TV and chores competing for my attention. It’s gotten so that even the scent of coffee gets my creative juices going.
High school: Your glory days or a hell you couldn’t escape fast enough?
A little of both. I went to a small high school (less than 400 kids) and was in a class of about 70. (I graduated 6th of 69.) I wasn’t super-popular, but I was always busy thanks to the drama club and band. Marching band season was my favorite; concert band season was torture. If I never hear “Carol of the Bells” again, it’ll be too soon. The flute part consisted of playing the same four notes, over and over and over until I wanted to throw the sheet music across the room.
I was eager to escape the confines of high school, though. I couldn’t wait to get to college to reinvent myself. I purposely picked a school no one from my high school was attending—although my real reason for going to the University of Evansville was their British campus, Harlaxton College (featured in exterior shots for the Liam Neeson/Catherine Zeta Jones movie The Haunting).
One of the hazards of growing up in a small town where everyone knows you is your inability to truly change. People keep seeing you as you were, rather than for the person you’ve become. My heroine in DIVA, Mel, runs into that problem. After getting knocked up and becoming the talk of the town, she spends the next several years trying to change the good folks of Brannen’s opinions of her. And then Dave comes back into her life and threatens to undo all her efforts.
Fall. Without question. I love the rich colors of autumn leaves and the cool-but-not-cold temperatures. Both are a bit problematic now that I live in northern Arizona. It’s colder at 7,000 feet—and pretty much the only colors we get are green (pine trees) and gold (aspen).
Lucky for me, there’s a fantastic maple grove just down the road in Oak Creek Canyon. With just a 30-minute drive, I can get my fix of fall leaves.
Funny you should ask. Even a couple of years ago, I’d have been firmly in the print camp. But as ebooks started gaining in popularity—and a lot of my writer friends started e-publishing—I got an e-reader. I was soon singing their praises. I even wrote a column called “In defense of the e-reader” for the newspaper I work for. It was a reply to our features editor, who wrote a column about why paper books rule.
And now, with DIVA coming out in ebook format, it turns out switching loyalties from print to ebook was a wise choice.
Plus, I just read Stephen King’s 11/22/63—in hardcover—and that thing was a doorstop. I’ve gotten so used to my e-reader that it was awkward to schelp that book around. It was an excellent story, though—I’m still thinking about it a week later.
Favorite book when you were a child?
Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books. I loved that series so much that one summer, my parents planned a family vacation that followed Laura’s westward migration. We started in Wisconsin (where Little House in the Big Woods was set), then went to Kansas (Little House on the Prairie), Minnesota (On the Banks of Plum Creek), South Dakota (From the Shores of Silver Lake onward) and finally down to Mansfield, Mo., where Laura and Almanzo lived after they were married.
My website and blog can be found at ArleneHittle.com.
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