I’m excited to turn the spotlight on a friend and fellow author, LaNora Mangano. Welcome, LaNora, to A Writer’s House! After the interview, there’s a blurb from LaNora’s exciting new release. Tell us more about your book?
Hi Kathleen! Thanks for so much for having me on your blog and I’m so happy to be here. My current release, out May 13th, is called Love Encounters. It’s a paranormal involving ghost hunters.
The premise of the story is that Barnes Paranormal Society (BPS) is a successful African American family run business. However, due to the excess of investigation assignments coming in, it becomes clear that additional paranormal investigators are needed.
Kevin Bradford, an experienced investigator, is hired on to BPS and has to work through a few misconceptions with the beautiful boss’s daughter, Shelly Barnes, who happens to be his partner.
Together, they investigate some incredible haunted locations, involving possession and amazing finds. In the process, they also discover that their feelings for each other are very real.
Ghost hunters, haunted houses and love. What more could a reader want? What was the inspiration for this story?
I love to watch ghost shows. Just about all of them, and one day while watching Haunted Collector, I wondered if his daughter could have a “thing” going with one of the investigators and how cool that would be.
In addition to that “what if” scenario, I was targeting a publisher who only published interracial romances and being in one myself, I thought I would give it a shot. So I wrote my first interracial romance book and made them my two lead ghost hunters.
I used many real life incidents in my story as I drew from experience and it was fun!
Many writers use their own lives as inspiration, but it can be a double-edged sword as we walk the line between reality and fiction. Did anything in particular stump you about this current book? How did you overcome it?
Well, in my book, my heroine is in New Orleans, in particular the French quarter, and she happens to get possessed by a very charming French woman. Shelly doesn’t speak French but Kevin speaks it fluently. I, myself, speak very little of it. So as this woman communicated I found myself using Google translate a lot. It was very fun and I hope it brings a touch of authenticity to the story.
Having grown up in south Louisiana, any story that shines a light on such a wonderful area is near and dear to my heart. You’ve published several books so far, which is exciting, and I know there are more in development. What’s your favorite milestone in your career so far?
My favorite was when Soul Mate publishing contacted me expressing interest in contracting my 6 book series, called Emergency Calls. I was able to share it with my husband who beamed at me with pride in his eyes.
I know your family is very proud! And I love following your Facebook stories about your sons’ conversations around the dinner table, especially about your writing. Kids have such a unique take on things. What would your 12 year-old self think about where you are now?
She’d say, “I knew you would do it. You always make your dreams come true.
Obviously a very smart young lady!! I remember the first time we met in Indiana, thinking the same thing. I knew you would make it. You are very determined and driven, and so very talented! What’s next for you?
I’m actually working on a couple of projects about the same time. I had a release in December 2014, called A Dad for Christmas and it has turned into a series. Book 2 is A Protector for Lisa, Book 3, A Time out for Trent and Book 4, A Date for Dana.
In addition to working on those, I’m also working on a follow up book to my ghost hunting book…..might as well make a series out of that one too.
Once all of those are on their way, I’m going to pull out a very full length book I wrote and finish it.
WOW!! You have so many projects going. And they’re all quite different which is amazing. You must have a special place in your home that helps you channel your creative energy. What’s your writing space look like?
My writing space has always been the far left corner of my micro-suede sofa recliner for the past 10 years. I have sat in the same spot all of that time and unfortunately it is very worn, but very comfortable. Love it and I will hate when I have to get rid of it
I’m sure those that know you best are not surprised by your success. Help our readers get to know you better. Tell us five fun facts people wouldn’t guess about you.
*I love roller coasters, but I’m afraid of heights.
*I was a huge tomboy when I was little and I’d have bike races and foot races with boys and usually win.
*I love tacos
*I’m a fan of all superheroes made into movies. Ironman 3 is my new favorite (Sorry Wolverine)
*On my first ski trip in Wisconsin, I skied down a hill so fast that when I purposely fell, my blue jeans left a skid mark 100 feet long.
I know this book is very near and dear to your heart for many reasons. Tell us why.
When I sat down to write this book, my intent was to write an interracial romance because being in an interracial marriage, I might be able to add validity to the characters and depths that some people didn’t always believe existed. I used several character traits and wonderful qualities of my husband for Kevin’s character and small parts of my life real life experiences for Shelly, then I combined my love of all that’s Ghost Hunting and made it the basis of this book. It was so much fun to write it and I hope that you do enjoy it.
I dedicate this to my very own knight in shining armor and the man who told me early on to get used to the fact that he loves and cares about me and never wanted to see me get hurt.
True to his word, he spent the rest of his life trying to protect me and take care of me and he did a wonderful job.
I dedicate this book to the love of my life and my Hero.
Love You, Honey.
Thank you, LaNora, for sharing your time, your writing and yourself with us at A Writer’s House. I know our readers are curious about Love Encounters, and I don’t want to keep them waiting any longer.
Encountering ghosts and spirits is one thing, but what happens when you encounter love?
Shelly Barnes loved working for her father’s business, Barnes Paranormal Society, of qualified ghost hunters. When the assignments began to be more than BPS could handle, they had little choice but to expand the business by hiring on other paranormal investigators.
Owner, Ed Barnes, prided his company for being a successful, black-owned business that started as a hobby and turned into one of the leading paranormal societies in the surrounding states. When he hired Kevin Bradford, he knew the man had years of experience under his belt and would make a great addition to the team.
When Shelly met Kevin, she was intrigued by him instantly and it had nothing to do with him being Caucasian. After working assignments together, they meshed in every area of the job. And for the first time in years, someone cared about her opinion, style and technique as well as her safety.
Until Kevin and Shelly hit a breaking point where the truth was demanded. What exactly was this thing pulling at them? Kevin wanted Shelly, but Shelly was hesitant to flaunt their interracial relationship status to the world, and she didn’t know why.
Her insecurities from her past were threatening her future and she knew that if she didn’t overcome them, she’d end up losing the one man she’d ever loved.
In the world of ghost hunting, they encounter ghost, spirits and possession, but no one expected to encounter an everlasting love.
A final thought from our special guest…
My biggest fan for this book to come out has always been my sister-in-law, Nora Mangano. She has always been one of my cheer leaders in telling me that I can succeed in this career and she was the person to take me to my first RWA meeting, and wheel me in with my broken leg and all. I’d like o acknowledge Katy Larsen, Mary Ellen Jones, Vito Mangano, Joe Mangano, and finally last but certainly not least, Joe and Ellen Mangano for their continued support and love over the past year. As you read this, I hope you will be able to see little glimpse of Chris throughout the book.
Love you all.