The ExPat Returneth

Friday, November 16, 2012

Neither Shaken nor Stirred: Sullivan #CharacterInterview from DINERS, DIVES & DEADENDS

Today we welcome Sullivan, a good-looking gangster from DINERS, DIVES & DEADENDS, the first of the Rose Strickland mysteries. The second mystery, LAST DINER STANDING, is out December 3! I've got 5 seemingly random questions for Sullivan and a fun excerpt for you!

1. If I had to write up a singles ad for you, what would it say?

Hello, Ms. Reinhart. May I call you Larissa? Um, you can call me whatever you want. Can you tell your bodyguard to stop cracking his knuckles?

Tell me, Larissa, do I look like a man who needs to rely on a singles ad? But I’ll play. Hmm, how about: Self-made man with interests in various businesses looking for an attractive, confident woman who can keep up with him. In every way. 

Wow. Is it getting warm in here? Moving on...

2. You’re invited to a party. When you arrive, the house is dark, the driveway deserted. You know the address and time are correct and when you try to call the host, you realize you're in a wireless pocket. No bars. What do you do?

First of all, I rarely go to parties unless I’m hosting. This scenario wouldn’t happen at one of my parties. Frankly, the whole thing looks like a setup to me. 

And if I were a paranoid man, and this is all hypothetical you understand, I’d check out the surrounding area, remove my weapon, and cautiously check the back door while my business associate tried the front. If the back door was locked, and again, I personally would never do something like this, but if it was locked, I’d break in and search the house. If anything untoward had occurred, I’d retrace my footsteps and leave the place exactly as I’d found it. No one would ever know I’d been there.    

And now I'm scared again...

3. Shark tank or Grizzly bear hand to hand combat?

I’m a numbers man and I think I’d have better odds with the Grizzly. I might be able to take him under the right circumstances. 

 Good choice, I think.

4. What does the “ideal date” mean to you?

It wouldn’t be an event, it’d be a person. A person who can hold a conversation, has an interesting perspective on things. A person who may not like what I do, but understands it and accepts it. She’d be ideal to me.
That's actually kind of sweet! Ok, sorry I said that.

5. Who’s the flyest chick around and what makes her so fly?

The flyest chick? Well, Rose Strickland is certainly the most interesting woman I know. She can handle herself. She’s stupidly loyal, fiercely independent. And she has these blue-green eyes that look more green than blue when she’s angry. She’s…like I said before, she’s interesting.

Let’s play Madlibs, (but keep it fairly clean for the kiddos):

day of the week: Friday
name: Bertha

place: Idaho
verb: swim
noun: dog
noun: ocean

Fridays were known for two things at Bertha’s Idaho: we swim lots of extra dog and the ocean sucked. 

Good one! Haven't laughed that hard since 5th grade when I did Madlibs for real. The real sentence? From the first line of DINERS, DIVES & DEADENDS. 

Mondays were known for two things at Ma’s Diner: we poured lots of extra coffee and the tips sucked.

What a great opening line! Want to know more about DINERS, DIVES & DEADENDS, the first in the Rose Strickland Mysteries that features the scary Sullivan? 
As a struggling waitress and part-time college student, Rose Strickland’s life is stalled in the slow lane. But when her close friend, Axton, disappears, Rose suddenly finds herself serving up more than hot coffee and flapjacks. Now she’s hashing it out with sexy bad guys and scrambling to find clues in a race to save Axton before his time runs out. 
With her anime-loving bestie, her septuagenarian boss, and pair of IT wise men along for the ride, Rose discovers political corruption, illegal gambling, and shady corporations. She’s gone from zero to sixty and quickly learns when you’re speeding down the fast lane, it’s easy to crash and burn.  

You'll be happy to know the 2nd in the series, LAST DINER STANDING, is out December 3, 2012 from Henery Press!

Terri L. Austin lives in Missouri with her funny, handsome husband and a high maintenance peekapoo.  She’s the author of Diners, Dives and Dead Ends—a Rose Strickland Mystery. She loves to hear from readers. Find her on Twitter, FB,, Goodreads and Henery Press. She and her writer friends have a book chat every Wednesday on Little Read Hens. Check it out and join in the conversation!

And here's the excerpt from DINERS, DIVES & DEADENDS featuring the delicious Sullivan. Have I told you how much I love this book (& Sullivan)? 

It was the voice.  The one belonging to the mystery man from the woods.    

I gulped and stood there, too scared to move forward, too shocked to turn around and run.  The man at the door snatched my arm and pulled me into the apartment, slamming the door behind me.  He plucked the keys from my hand and tossed them on the bistro table.  

I sidled to the left, with my back against the wall.  I kept him in my peripheral view while I studied the man standing in the middle of my apartment.  He was the exact opposite of Scarface.  His blue-black hair was combed away from his perfect face.  His gold eyes—not golden-brown, just gold—glittered in the faint glow of my yard sale flamingo lamp.  With light honeyed skin stretched over strong cheekbones, he was beautiful—like fallen angel beautiful.  He wore a dark suit and overcoat.  He scared me a lot more than the other guy.  It was obvious he was in charge and Scarface was just there for back up.

I didn’t know what he wanted or if he planned on hurting me, but I made up my mind then and there that I wouldn’t go down without a fight.  And I wouldn’t let him see how afraid I was either.  But between you and me, I think I wet my pants just a little. 

“Hello, Rosalyn.  Oh wait, you like to be called Rose.  Please, have a seat.”  He gestured to the futon.

 “Thanks, but I think I’ll stand, you know, since it’s my apartment and all.”  
I felt a massive paw on my shoulder.  “Sit,” Scarface said.  His voice sounded like crunching gravel.

I twisted out of his grasp and my backpack slid to the floor.  I side-stepped away from him, bumping my hip into the closet doorknob.  Since I was scared shitless, the pain barely registered. 
The boss waved two fingers and shook his head.  “Let’s be civil, Henry.  Why don’t you wait in the car?”  

As soon as Scarface Henry left, the mystery man began prowling around my apartment.  He slid his fingertips across the bistro table and snagged my keys, twirling them around one finger.  Then he paused and looked at the red rose keychain Axton had given me as a joke.  “Original.”  He dropped them back on the table. 

Crossing my arms to hide my shaking hands, I glared at him.  “What do you want?”  I kept hold of my bravado, but my knees were knocking so hard I thought I might topple over.   

He walked to the kitchenette and looked at the paper hanging on my refrigerator.  Scotty had colored a picture of me—my head was ten times the size of my stick body.  The mystery man tapped the drawing.  “I can see the resemblance.”  Then he strolled to the cluster of cheap frames arranged on top of my dresser.  He picked up the picture of Roxy and me.  We had our arms thrown around each other and were making smootchie faces at the camera.  He put it down and moved to the next photo.  The one of Scotty when he was about ten minutes old.  I rushed toward him and tried to grab it, but he held it just out of reach.

“Put it down.”  I grabbed the soft woolen sleeve of his overcoat and pulled, but he didn’t move.  I peered up at his face, and he stared back at me.  Our gazes locked and held for a moment.    

He leaned toward me.  He smelled citrusy and spicy at the same time, like oranges and sandalwood.  “I want my property.”  His voice was silky steel.      

I let go of his arm and stepped back.  “I…,” my voice cracked.  “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Don’t play games, Rose.”  He set the photo down and walked to the futon, gracefully folding himself onto it, his arm spread along the back.  “You’ll lose.”


  1. Love it and can't wait to read the second book.

    1. Thanks Dru! I got a sneak preview of LAST DINER STANDING. You'll love it. Maybe even funnier than the first and more Sullivan, which made me happy!

  2. These character interviews are so much fun, Larissa! Terri, I love what Sullivan had to say for himself. :)Diners, Dives and Dead Ends was fantastic, and I can't wit until the fog clears in my world so I can read LAST DINER STANDING! So looking forward to spending more time with Rose and her gang. :) Especially Sullivan...

  3. Aw, thank you! And big thanks to Larissa for having me on. It was fun to let Sullivan take charge. And those Mad Libs crack me up!