Friday, June 2, 2017

Interview with Lee Cooper, Heroine of Turning the Tides by Nell Castle

Where are you from? Somewhere in South Korea. My American parents adopted me at the age of two. I’d only been at the orphanage for a few months, and they were told almost nothing about my history. I only have one memory of the orphanage, and it haunts me. 
Did you have a happy childhood? My adoptive family was great, trying to give me every opportunity to thrive; pushing me to achieve academically like my brother and sister. It was hard to live up to their standards sometimes.   
Where do you live now and what do you do for a living? Is there something you'd rather be doing? I just moved to Pomegranate Key, a small island off the coast of Florida, and took a job at a social services agency. I help teen moms become good parents--kind of ironic, since I don’t have much experience with kids. My parents are finally proud of me, though, since it took me so long to get my psychology degree. They worried I’d never find a job in the field. They’re just glad I dropped out of art school and quit dreaming about a career as a painter. 
What's going on in your life right now? I’m trying to help one of my clients reunify with her son. She’s being accused of abuse and neglect, and she only gets one hour of supervised visitation a week. No one seems to believe her except for me. Even though she’s too strict with her son, and she has a hard time showing affection, I truly believe she loves him. And he needs his mother in his life. 
Is there someone special in your life? No. I mean, not really. I mean, there’s a guy….It could never work. He’s just a player. His real name is Bricker Kilbourne. Bricker, ha. Sounds like an adult film actor. He’s never been serious about a woman in his life. 
How did you meet? What's his/her family like? The first time I saw him was on the beach, but I’m sure he never noticed me. He’s one of those super good-looking guys that all the women fall for. He’s a bartender at Whistler’s Grille, and when he waited on my table, we basically hated each other immediately. So it was just the worst possible luck when I found out he’s the guardian ad litem for my client’s son. All he sees is the bad in my client. I’ve tried to get him to look a little deeper, but he’s really stubborn. He doesn’t realize that everybody isn’t lucky enough to have a mother like his. Corinne Kilbourne is one of the strongest, most amazing women I’ve ever met, and she doesn’t let multiple sclerosis stop her. Bricker adores her, I have to give him that. His dad died a few years ago. He was a successful lawyer and an all-around great guy, from the sounds of it. I don’t know where they went wrong with Bricker.  
What's keeping you two apart? Well, for one, we really shouldn’t even be dating while my client’s custody case is up in the air. Not that there’s any risk of Bricker actually getting serious with anyone. He just wants to conquer all the women on the island. I could never trust him. We keep getting thrown together, and I just have to keep my wits about me. I’m not going to be another notch on his belt. 
What one thing could you do that would make you feel like the relationship will work out? Look, there’s no way I’d ever put my hopes into a relationship with a love-’em-and-leave-’em guy like Bricker Kilbourne. I know what it’s like to be abandoned. I’ll never let myself be in that situation again. 
Blurb: Ever the black sheep of her adoptive family, Lee Cooper has finally buckled down to a responsible job as a social worker in Southwest Florida. Defending her client against charges of child abuse awakens buried memories of her own abandonment in a Korean orphanage. Can she remain objective for the sake of the child?
Bricker Kilbourn, the court-appointed guardian, doubts Lee's judgments--and his opinion might determine the little boy's fate. He's got his own family issues and haunting secrets to keep. Falling for a woman is not part of the plan.
He's running from the past. She's searching for answers. Will their resolution to protect a child bind them together or wrench them apart?
Amazon  The Wild Rose Press 


The Gulf waters were turbulent, rolling toward the shore like the underwater shrug of a giant’s shoulders. Diffuse orange light lit the sky, brightening to a manic yellow as the sun settled into the horizon.
A storm was coming.
Wind whipped her hair into her eyes as she started down the long dock toward Bricker’s boat. Against the darkening sky at the end of the dock she could just make out the silhouette of the Tequila Mockingbird. With each wobbly step, she fought the nylon skirt clinging to her legs like a drowning man to a mast.
Heart pounding, she forced herself onward, arms out to her side for balance. A wave washed the lip of wooden planks and growled away like a dog straining at the end of its leash. She stopped, paralyzed. What if the waters washed over the dock? She’d drown in this surf.
She sank to her knees, gripping the dock cleats at the plank edges with fingers as cold as bones. To her left, the sky was charcoal gray, bleeding into blackness. White light pulsated from behind the dark clouds. Lightning. How long before it struck overhead?
Squeezing her eyes shut, she stifled the urge to scream for help. It was too windy. He wouldn’t hear her. Why hadn’t he answered his phone? She should run back to the safety of her car, now, before the waves washed her off the dock. She glanced over her shoulder at her car across the road. It was solid; secure. Dry. If she went back now, she could make it before the clouds opened up overhead.
But if she turned back now, she’d never see Bricker Kilbourn again.
With a strangled cry, she wrenched herself up and staggered forward. Gusts of air blew her hair into her eyes, and she shook her head like a wet dog. Thunder rumbled from far out over the ocean. Streaks of lightning scorched the skies above Bricker’s boat. She rocked back on her heels as the walkway swelled beneath her. The waves were growing stronger. If she didn’t get off this dock soon, she really might die out here.
Amazon  The Wild Rose Press 
Nell Castle grew up in western Pennsylvania and graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia. Since then, she's lived in Key West, Anchorage, Sarasota, and Virginia Beach. She moved back to northeastern Ohio to raise her kids closer to the family homestead, but looks forward to moving bck to a gentler climate. Until then, she revisits white powder beaches and craggy mountain tops only in her writing. Turning the Tides is her second release with The Wild Rose Press.

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  1. Thank you for hosting me today, Sharon!

  2. Thanks for introducing us to the main character and to the book. Few novels explore the heart and mind of a social worker and advocate for children. I applaud Nell Castle for imagining and showing the romance of a person so dedicated to service.

  3. Thank you, Elizabeth. I just think social workers deserve a great romance as much as anyone!

  4. I agree with the other comments regarding showcasing such thankless careers yet so vital to us all. However, I would not have a beating heart if I didn't say I was completely drawn in to the excerpt describing the oncoming storm and Lee's attempt to reach Bricker. The imagery, the desperation, the drive to continue in the face of fear has me wanting more. Nell has such a way of bringing the reader into the moment and I anxiously look forward to diving into this story.

    1. :) It was fun writing a scene where the heroine had to brave the elements to get to her guy. Thanks, Trish!