Mystery, romance, suspense, paranormal. Award-winning author Elizabeth Delisi does it all. She’s visiting the Plain today to talk about her latest e-release, Fatal Fortune, a "Lottie Baldwin" mystery from Tirgearr Publishing.
Welcome, Elizabeth. Tell us something about yourself. Where’s home?
I’ve lived in lots of the U.S. states in my life—at least 11 by my count, some more than once. We now live in New Hampshire, and it’s my absolute favorite. We plan to retire here eventually and enjoy its beauty fully.Hey, neighbor! I live near the New Hampshire seacoast, and yes, it’s a beautiful state. What sparked your interest in writing?
When I was in first grade, one of my fellow students wrote a story instead of doing her spelling assignment, and the teacher praised her for it. I’ve been hooked ever since—even though I had to do my spelling assignment.How would you generally categorize the books/stories you write?
Many of my stories, whether mystery or romance, contain a paranormal element. I like to mix things up genre-wise, but always seem to include a little something that’s way out there.What inspired you to write Fatal Fortune?
A combination of two things was my inspiration. First, my book club magazine advertised a deck of tarot cards. (Click here to see the deck) I’d never seen tarot cards in person, so I purchased the deck and really enjoyed working with them. Second, I saw a TV interview with a psychic who was consulted by the police on missing children cases. That made me think, "What if a psychic who used tarot cards knew something about a crime, but she couldn’t get the police—or anyone else—to believe her?"An interesting dilemma. How did you come up with the title?
I wanted the title to grab the reader’s attention, so I felt a two-word title where the words were contradictory would do the trick. For the first word, I made a list of words implying murder, danger, trouble. The second word referred to tarot or other paranormal skills. The combination I liked best was Fatal Fortune, and thus the title was born.What was the hardest part of the story to write?
The hardest part of any story for me is writing the death of a character. Throughout the writing of a novel, the fictional characters become alive to me, real, and I feel guilty killing them off—even if they deserve it!What was the easiest part of the story to write?
The love scenes between Lottie and Harlan were the easiest. Heck, I was half in love with Harlan myself by the end of the story.I suspect your readers will be too. Do you celebrate when you finish a story, and if so, how?
You mean besides leaping out of my chair, pumping my fist in the air and yelling, "Yes! I’m done!" :) Usually I tell my husband first, and if I look tired enough, he takes me out to dinner. The next day, it’s time to start edits.I'd draw circles under my eyes. What do you like least about writing?
Money—the fact that people think I make scads of it, compared to the real fact that I don’t. It’s definitely a labor of love. Now, if I had Stephen King’s bankbook, that would be different!Name a few titles I’d find if I browsed through your personal home library.
Gosh, I have hundreds of books in shelves all over the house, and more in boxes. Some of my favorite authors are Dean Koontz, Connie Willis, Harlan Ellison, Mary Higgins Clark, and Diana Gabaldon.A good assortment. If you could go back in time, what author would you most like to invite to share a chat and a bottle of wine?
Um…would have to be a bottle of Diet Coke. That said, I think I’d really enjoy meeting Lloyd C. Douglas, who wrote The Robe and The Big Fisherman, among others. He has a beautiful way with a phrase, and some of his books are on my top ten favorite list.You’re marooned on a desert island. What’s the one book you’d want with you, and why?
"How to Build a Boat!" Hah. But seriously, it would have to be Watchers by Dean Koontz. Or The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas. Or The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. Or Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw. Or Gone with the Wind. Or…too many choices!What’s next for you? Can we look forward to a new story in the near future?
I’m working on a sequel to Fatal Fortune, called Perilous Prediction. In it, Lottie is suspected of murdering her ex-boyfriend. She must find out who the real killer is before she becomes next on the list.Lottie’s stories sound exciting. Romantic too! Let’s take a peek at Fatal Fortune.
No one in Cheyenne, ND believes in Lottie Baldwin’s psychic abilities; especially not Harlan Erikson, Lottie’s boyfriend, and Chief Deputy in the Sheriff’s Office. When a friend’s husband disappears, Lottie can’t leave it to Harlan. Armed with her courage and her tarot cards, she tries to solve the mystery herself, regardless of who attempts to stop her: Harlan, her friend—or the criminal.
November 10, 1980
Harry Larson turned into the rough dirt clearing surrounding the old Cheyenne water tower. He drove in a wide, slow arc, facing the car in the direction he’d come. He wanted to be ready to leave in a hurry.
The headlights shone through the rust-covered legs of the tower, casting an eerie shadow like a huge, misshapen spider waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting victim.
He turned off the lights and killed the engine. Darkness enveloped him. There was no moon tonight.
As he waited for his eyes to adjust to the darkness, he strained to hear a noise. The roar of a motor, perhaps, or the crunch of tires. But there was nothing; not a sound.
At last he was able to discern vague objects: the silent water tower humped above him; the withered stalks of a November cornfield on one side of the tower; the nameless, leaning tombstones of an ancient cemetery on the other.
Then he saw something familiar in the far corner of the lot. A bulky shape, boxy and squat. It was a car. How long had it been sitting there? He hadn’t noticed it when he pulled into the cemetery or when he’d backed into the spot where his car now sat.
Harry squinted, trying to see better. He thought he could make out a dark figure sitting on the hood. His heart thumped in his chest.
He chuckled nervously, running his hands through his thinning brown hair. His errand was serious, no doubt of that; but he was letting the overgrown cemetery influence him too much. Next, he’d have the figure flapping a monstrous set of bat wings and flying off into the night. Ridiculous.
He opened the car door. The cold North Dakota wind rushed in and surrounded him. He got out and slammed the door, trying to retain some of the heat. His eyes never leaving the still figure, he walked away from his car, his cocoon of safety, into the overgrown back corner of the lot.
He felt the figure watching him as he approached, waiting for him to come close.
Harry was within fifteen feet now. Twelve. Ten. He could still turn and walk away—run, if he had to. He didn’t have to go through with it. If he didn’t say anything, no one else would ever find out.
He thought of Janet. Sweet wife. What would she think of him if she knew? Would she want him to close his eyes, to pretend he didn’t see what was happening right under his nose? Would she put personal safety above integrity?
Then, there was Laura. When she grew up, would she be ashamed to discover that her daddy had been a coward?
Harry squared his shoulders. He’d do what he’d set out to do. He would stop the thing before anyone got hurt.
He stopped in front of the car where the figure remained on the hood. Having decided his course, Harry plunged in. "I know what you’ve been up to. I know all about it. Did you really think I wouldn’t find out? You didn’t cover your tracks very well."
The figure grimaced. "You have more intelligence than I gave you credit for, I admit."
"You can’t believe you’ll get away with it. If I found out, then other people will, too. Sooner or later, you’ll be stopped."
"I don’t think so." The voice was thick with conceit. "I have, as the saying goes, friends in high places."
"Do you think they’ll go out on a limb for you? Jeopardize themselves, their careers and reputations, to protect you?"
"Yes. They have to. They’re in no position to do otherwise. I have certain...information about them. Information that could be very embarrassing, to say the least, if it were to come out."
"I see." Harry rubbed his hands together in the frigid night air, stalling for time. "That still leaves me. You can’t possibly have anything incriminating on me, and I don’t intend to back down."
There was a short silence. "We’re both reasonable people," the figure said at last. "I can make it worth your while to keep this quiet. Think of all the things you could do for your family with a large ‘bonus.’ You’ll find I’m very generous with my friends."
Harry waved his hand. "No deal. You can’t buy my silence."
The dark figure clenched its fists, raising them to chest level. "Then, you give me no choice. You can’t stop me."
"Oh, can’t I?" Harry shook his head in disgust. "When you asked me this afternoon to meet you here, I hoped you’d had a change of heart, and I was willing to support you. I would have stood by you all the way. Obviously, I was wrong. I’ve been a fool."
He turned away and started back toward his own car. The night air was crisp in his nostrils; a light snow was beginning to fall. Though disappointed at the outcome, he felt shaky with relief that the ordeal was over.
He heard a sudden, furtive noise behind him. Harry jumped, started to turn. Before he could see the source of the sound, face his foe, he felt a crushing blow on the back of his head. A million hot sparks exploded behind his eyes as he sank down toward the frozen ground.
For a moment, Harry lay motionless. The quiet night air was full of unwonted sound: heavy footsteps; muffled rustling; the jingle of keys. The car door slammed and tires spun. Above it all, he heard his once pounding heartbeat slowing as his body relaxed. The last thing he saw was the car’s red tail lights fading into the distance. And then eternal blackness overcame him.
* * * * *About Elizabeth Delisi:
Elizabeth Delisi wanted to be a writer since she was in first grade, and probably would have written in the womb if she could have convinced her mother to swallow a pencil.
Elizabeth is a multi-published, award-winning author of romance, mystery and suspense. She is also an instructor for Writer’s Digest University, has taught Creative Writing at the community college level, has worked as a copyeditor for several small publishers, and edits for individuals. She holds a B.A. in English with a Creative Writing major from St. Leo University.
Elizabeth is currently at work on Deadly Destiny and Perilous Prediction, the sequels to Fatal Fortune. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and feisty parakeet. She enjoys hearing from her readers.
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Fatal Fortune / E-book Available from