Guest Post with Lauren Rico

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Hi Everyone!

I am excited to be here today to bring you a guest post from the talented Lauren Rico. If you recall, I have reviewed a few of her books here before. Today, I am excited to share a post she wrote for you all.


Making Mayhem
By Lauren Rico

I’ve been fortunate enough to live in several different places over the course of my life. And while that transiency was tough at times, it enabled me to meet so many wonderful and diverse people. I was also exposed to all sorts of local traditions, cuisines and dialects.

For instance, in North Carolina, I found most folks to be easy-going and casual with a southern drawl as sweet as the tea they served up with their barbecue. On Long Island, on the other hand, I found most folks to be fast-moving with an edgy accent. They were also a more stressed out—probably because of the traffic. Or maybe because they don’t have N.C.’s barbecue and sweet tea!

When I create the worlds that my characters live in, I often draw from my own personal experiences. In my book Solo, Shepherd College bears a striking resemblance to my undergrad alma mater. In my Reverie trilogy, my characters spend time in and around places I’ve visited on Long Island and Manhattan. It’s my memories of these places that I pull out of the deep dark recesses of my mind to use as fodder for my stories.

In my newest novel, Blame it on the Bet, I’ve created the fictional town of Mayhem, Minnesota. It’s way up north in the area they call the Iron Range. My main character, Hennessy O’Halloran, has inherited her father’s pub. When her nemesis and soon-to-be-love-interest Bryan Truitt shows up off the plane from L.A., he wonders if he’s walked into a David Lynch movie. Or maybe even an episode of the Twilight Zone. After all, the cats wear sweaters, the local priest plays matchmaker and the owner of the Little Slice of Heaven Pie Shop is a woman who can tell your fortune based on your pie selections.

Oh. Yeah. We got your quirky in spades here, folks!

I’m sorry to say that while I have never come across a town like Mayhem but I have spent several years as a resident of St. Paul, Minnesota. From my first days there, I fell in love with the hearty, funny, welcoming people all around me. I was so homesick and in no time neighbors and colleagues became dear friends. They taught me how to winter over my roses using a technique called the “Minnesota Tilt.” I learned that the local Catholic Church sometimes holds polka masses and that a common delicacy is lutefisk—whitefish cured in lye. I never could manage the courage to try that one! And, like every other Minnesotan, I counted down the days until the Minnesota State Fair—home of cheese curds and all manner of foods on a stick.

So, while Hennessy and Bryan and the rest of the residents of Mayhem may not be exact replicas of people I’ve known, they all share the qualities that I loved best about my time in the Midwest and the people who lived there... hard work and humility, kindness and devotion to family and loved ones.

Come to think of it, I suppose you could find those traits in a lot of places around the country—and even the world. But believe me, there’s something just a little bit magical about Minnesota and I hope I’ve managed to capture that in Blame it on the Bet.
Of course, Bryan needs a little convincing the first time he lays eyes on the town...

                        It’s taken me the entire day to get to this godforsaken speck on the map. Three flights and one harrowing drive through the Arctic Circle later, I pull into the town of Mayhem, Minnesota. What a name.
            The first thing that strikes me is the snow.
            This is not the snow of film and television—light, fluffy, glittery flakes of goodness that serenely float down from the heavens. The snow I see now is heaped into scuzzy piles in parking lots, against buildings, and lining the sidewalks like filthy, muddy icebergs. This snow is pocked and scarred from rock salt. It’s dirty from sand and grime. This is not angelic snow. This is angry snow. Snow with an attitude.

Blame it on the Bet is a sweet, quirky romance with no graphic scenes of intimacy and very mild profanity. It’s available now from Entangled Publishing.

Thanks Lauren!!! 

Happy Reading!

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