by Eileen Carr
When Lily Simon finds cops in the lobby of the high school where she’s a guidance counselor, she’s not surprised: cops and adolescents go together like sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. But when the cops take Jamila, a Muslim student, into custody for a crime she didn’t commit, Lily’s high school becomes a powder keg.
Police think Jamila is responsible for a hit and run, and since she’s not talking, they have no choice but to keep her as the main suspect. And since the victim—a young soldier recently returned from Afghanistan—is lying unconscious in the hospital, the whole town is taking sides on whether or not Jamila’s arrest is religious persecution. Determined to find the truth, Lily teams up with a reporter to uncover what really happened the night of the hit and run.
Shelby went to her room, pulled the basket of old stuffed animals out of her closet, and dug down under the teddy bears and bunnies and puppy dogs until she found the bottle of vodka. She ran her hand up and down the cool, clear glass already starting to feel how it would calm her, steady her, heal her.
Maybe it didn’t have anything to do with her. Maybe it was all a coincidence. Maybe Miss Perfect Princess Jamila had really done something wrong and had to suffer the consequences like everyone else.
She got a juice glass from the cupboard, poured in a healthy slug of vodka and added orange juice. Then she drained the whole thing in one long gulp. She stashed the bottle of vodka, rinsed her glass and put it in the dishwasher, and started watching the episode of Survivor she’d DVRed. She floated on the couch, feeling warm and soft, like all the hard edges of the day had been somehow sanded off.
“Hey, sweetheart, how was school?” Her mom bustled in the front door, kicked off her shoes, and dumped her purse on the credenza by the front door.
Every day. How was school? Did you have a good day? What did you have for lunch? So many questions and none of them mattered. None of them meant anything.
“Fine.” Shelby didn’t look up from the TV.
“That’s it? Fine?” She stood there, hands on her hips, waiting.
“Yeah, Mom. Fine. That’s it.” Shelby felt her heart kick up a little. It always did that when she lied. She hated it. She pulled the blanket she was under up to her chin.
Her mother came over to the couch and sat down next to her. “You feeling okay, honey?”
Thank God, she’d popped that piece of chewing gum in her mouth five minutes before. No way would her mom smell the booze on her breath over the blast of watermelon and lime. “I’m fine, Mom. Just tired.”
Her mother brushed her forehead with her hand. “You look a little flushed. You sure you’re okay?
Shelby rolled her eyes. “I’m fine, Mom.” If she only knew how far that was from the truth. Shelby was so far from fine, she wouldn’t be able to find it with a GPS.
It is my pleasure to welcome Eileen Carr, author of Veiled Intentions, to Room With Books!
Eileen, what do you do when you are not writing?
Oh, my. I do a few things. I have a part-time job as a claims investigator for a private detective agency. My hours vary, but it does keep me busy most weeks. I like to jog and bike. I’m an avid crocheter. I pretty much always have a project involving yarn going. I have a lot of wonderful friends that I enjoy spending time with and am very close with my family. I read a lot. Have you noticed that cleaning my house doesn’t seem to be anywhere on this list? There’s a reason for that.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way?
Honestly, really too many list. My choice to write Veiled Intentions was actually influenced in part by Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, though. I’d read the book and was thinking about it quite a bit. I kept asking myself who I would be in the book. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be Miss Hilly, but would I be brave enough to be Miss Skeeter? Would I be willing to look at what other people were shrugging off and step up? Veiled Intentions is my effort to be as bold as Miss Skeeter.
Can you tell us about any challenges you faced in getting your first book published?
My very first book was with a small press. The challenge wasn’t so much getting it published as getting anyone to notice that it had been published. Trying to get it on shelves and get reviews was challenging and that was back in the day when there still were lots of brick and mortar bookstores. Even though I only made enough money to get a semi-decent hair cut from that book, it was still really important to me. It gave me the confidence to say that I was a writer. That was huge for me.
If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
I’m so boring. I think I would choose being able to fly. It just sounds so amazing. Does everybody choose that?
What was your first job?
Other than babysitting? That would be working in an ice cream shop. I know a lot of people who work in a place like that eventually come to hate the food they serve. Not me. I still adore ice cream. I don’t necessarily want to be covered with a layer of it at the end of the day, but I still love it.
What are the genres of the books do you write?
I write or have written in several different genres. I wrote some chick lit novels. They were such a blast to write. So fun. I also write romantic suspense and urban fantasy. Currently, I’m working on a cozy mystery series.
Who do you consider your main audience to be?
I think it depends on which genre I’m writing. For Veiled Intentions, I would think women between the ages of twenty and fifty. Which isn’t to say that guys wouldn’t like the book or teens or, well, anybody else. I’m a bit of a girly girl and I think that’s reflected a bit in the way my characters view the world.
Out of all of your characters, which is your favorite?
I have major crushes on some of my heroes. Both Josh from Hold Back the Dark and Zach from Vanished in the Night and now Joe from Veiled Intentions make my heart beat a little faster. Melina from the Messenger series I write as Eileen Rendahl is definitely a little bit of wish-fulfillment for me. I wish I was that sassy and strong. I don’t have to pick just one, do I?
What does your writing schedule look like?
I try to write every day. Even if it’s only a paragraph or two, I think it’s important to stay in the story and keep it moving. Life doesn’t always allow it, but that’s my preference. Most days I can squeeze in an hour or two. I’ve had to learn to be flexible about when that happens, but that’s probably good for me.
Do you use your OWN experiences?
My own. My sisters’. My friends’. Things I’ve overheard people at coffee shops tell each other. I’m shameless. Everything is fodder.
Was it easy to pick the title for your book?
This one was. That hasn’t always been true. Or sometimes I pick what I think is the perfect title and it gets changed.
If you could pick one profession, other than author, which would you choose?
I’d be a therapist. I think people are fascinating and listening to what makes them tick would be amazing.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on a super fun cozy mystery series about a woman who owns a gourmet popcorn shop for Berkley Prime Crime. I love the characters and the setting and the puzzle aspect of writing a mystery.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Chocolate chip cookie dough
Night owl, or early bird? Night owl
Red, or white wine? I’m totally seasonal. White wine in the summer and red in the winter.
Roller Coasters or Water Rides? Neither! I hate rides! They’re too scary!
Swimming in the ocean or a pool? Sitting by the ocean, but actually swimming in the pool. I like to be able to look down and see what might be grabbing my legs.
Walking or fitness club? Both, but outside is my druthers.
Any last words?
Thanks so much for having me! This has been fun!
Thank you for chatting with our readers and for allowing Room With Books to be part of your tour!
Eileen Carr was born in Dayton, Ohio. She moved when she was four and only remembers that she was born across the street from Baskin-Robbins. Eileen remembers anything that has to do with ice cream. Or chocolate. Or champagne.
Eileen’s alter ego, Eileen Rendahl, is the award-winning author of four Chick Lit novels and the Messenger series.
Eileen will be awarding a $10 Amazon/B&N gift card to five randomly drawn winners via Rafflecopter during the tour.
Room With Books encourages our readers to follow the tour and comment.