MEET LOIS CROCKETT
A self-styled "Native Floridian by Marriage", Lois Crockett was born in New York City and crossed the Hudson River in her baby carriage to grow up in suburban Northern New Jersey. A Jersey Girl with a tropical twist, she is living happily ever after with her husband, John, a musician and their calico cat Weeble in South Florida.
Crockett's varied career has included bartending, a broadcasting career as a radio DJ, newscaster and Chief Engineer, as well as positions in the private sector.
Now retired, she enjoys writing full time and crafting stories to entertain and delight. Tough Luck Lane was Crockett's debut novel. Love on the Beach and Straight, with No Chaser, Tough Luck Lounge stories, followed. She is currently working on The Indigo Hour, second in the Tough Luck series, and a collection of Tough Luck Lounge stories for future publication.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE TITLE FOR THIS BOOK?
My husband and I were taking a drive along Lake Okeechobee (I’d never been) and I saw the street sign for Tough Luck Lane. The name of the street so intrigued me as we passed I asked my husband to turn around and go down Tough Luck Lane. We did and there was a pink trailer with roses around it. (Until Hurricane Wilma in 2005). “I was born in a trailer off Tough Luck Lane and, thirty years later, I’m heading out.” Hit me like a ton of bricks and the idea for the story was born.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS BOOK? IS IT PART OF A SERIES?
I was taking care of my father during his long terminal illness and I had joined a little writers’ group at a local bookstore who met once a month. It was fun, only once a month, and writing was something I could do on my laptop while looking after dad. I could not come up with a story for love nor money until we took that drive and I stumbled across that fateful street. Tough Luck Lane morphed into a novel (it was actually just a little story for the group) and the saga continues.
So far, it’s a trilogy: Tough Luck Lane (1/2017), WIP The Indigo Hour (wrapping up this year), The Third Persuasion about one-third done (I got stuck lol) so Indigo took the forefront last year at NaNoWriMo. Makes more sense to have The Third Persuasion third in the lineup anyway.
HOW MUCH OF YOUR BOOK IS BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES OR THOSE OF SOMEONE YOU KNOW?
Some of it is based on my experience as a bartender. Stacey’s car, the beloved Mir (born the same year as the Russian Space Station and about just as expensive to maintain) is a takeoff on my 1987 T-bird.
Stacey, however, is not me. Her character was inspired by a beautiful lady I worked with. I won’t show her picture because I want my readers to picture her for themselves. My friend is a bit taller than I, angular, of a proper weight and lovely build. She’s a bit of a tomboy but all girl.
For my part, I’m a petite, bubbly blonde, a bit on the round side, who loves people-watching and the beach. I’m definitely girly girl with a passion for shoes so that worked its way in somehow. Sidekicks, secondary characters, fellow bartenders and customers are all blends of people I know and my imagination.
A lot of the tale, however, is completely made up! That’s the fun of being an author. You can do anything and as long as the story is properly vetted you can, literally, get away with murder.
WHAT KIND OF RESEARCH WENT INTO WRITING YOUR BOOK?
Well, first of all, it’s told from Stacey’s point of view so the story is told in Central Florida dialect. My husband lived in Central Florida for years (shout out to Umatilla High, his Alma Mater) and he helped me get that part just right.
I met with the Lieutenant of Major Crimes at the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and his superior officer the Major (who had worked with the late Lawrence Sanders of the seven deadly sins series). They agreed to read Tough Luck Lane and give me their thoughts. I was delighted and happily met with them; however, they asked me to change one small detail in the book: could I please change “Deenie’s Diner”? (There actually was a Deenie’s Diner in Pompano Beach on Atlantic Blvd. once upon a time but it was no more many many years ago, I explained) THEY explained Deenie’s is more commonly known as “Deenie’s Hideaway” an adults-only clothing-optional bottle club. Oops! Name changed. They also provided a tremendous amount of insight into police procedure, the look of the BSO uniform, detective protocol, and the like.
At the time I was writing Tough Luck Lane, my nephew was working as a Law Clerk for the NJ State Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Division. I asked him to inform me on the latest scams and schemes and he provided accurate, good information.
Last, but not least, the US Coast Guard had their say as well. The book climaxes on the high seas and, as I get seasick, I wanted to ensure every single detail was correct. The Coast Guard was open and honest with me and while I had to jump through a hoop or two to obtain their assistance, I’m glad I did.
No mention of research would not be complete without the mention of my local library the Broward County North Library. The story is set in 1997, and they had old maps, phone books, informational material for me to pore over. As well as a plethora of books on writing, writers, actual stories and everything one needs to embark on this most exciting and worthwhile journey.
And, of course, finally, interviewing bartenders. That was the most fun research of all.
WHAT CRITERIA DID YOU USE WHEN SELECTING THE COVER FOR YOUR BOOK?
Tough Luck Lane is a Beach Read, so I wanted a sign on a beach. KateMarie Collins at Solstice Publishing did an awesome job translating my vision into an amazing cover.
WAS THERE A MESSAGE IN YOUR BOOK THAT YOU WERE TRYING TO CONVEY?
Not so much a message but meaning. Ten percent of the proceeds of Tough Luck Lane go to Phantom Rescue. They are a non-profit group of former Black Ops guys who go into very dangerous human trafficking hostage situations and free the hostages.
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD CHANGE ABOUT YOUR BOOK?
I’d have to think about that. But, meanwhile, I’d love to give a shout out to K.C. Sprayberry and Melissa Miller at Solstice Publishing as well as Frederick Crook, my Solstice Editor, who allowed me to keep creative control of my vision so it’s pretty much exactly as I set forth when it was completed in 2007.
IF YOUR BOOK WOULD BE MADE INTO A FILM, WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY THE LEADS?
I’m wide open: who’s thirty, flirty and (just a little bit) dirty like a martini these days?
WHEN AND WHY DID YOU BEGIN WRITING?
I’m not being sassy but I write because I breathe. I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I kept it up and became a radio newscaster and later, a technical writer for the private sector. I wrote for a little local magazine every month and just kept on writing. I have a lot of half-baked stories so maybe it’s time to put them in the oven and see how they come out!
WHEN DID YOU FIRST CONSIDER YOURSELF A WRITER?
A lot of people have told me I’m a writer but I actually considered myself to be one when Tough Luck Lane was morphing into a novel.
DESCRIBE YOUR WRITING STYLE.
Easy, breezy, andn smooth. I’m not a literary lion by any means. I’m more like, put on your flip-flops, pop a pop-top, and relax with my book on the beach.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST LESSON YOU HAD TO LEARN AS A WRITER?
Failure is a bruise, not a tattoo. I was agented and failed. I queried many agencies and failed. Solstice picked me up and I bailed, then I went back a year later and they took me on. I’m so pleased with Solstice. They’re a good house and give you lots of opportunity to spread your wings and fly. I hosted my first book signing event - make that “sighing” event and learned much.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU FACE AS A WRITER?
Time management. I’m getting better at that but it still can be a bear and I’m a First Class Procrastinator so… Having too many things going on at once (writing projects). I need to focus on just one or two and FINISH them before I start another!
NOT INCLUDING FAMILY, WHO SUPPORTED YOUR EFFORTS TO BECOME A PUBLISHED AUTHOR?
Mark Malatesta, the Undercover NY Literary Agent, helped me springboard to getting published. He still encourages me to this day.
Jason Whitehead, professional editor at large, is a wonderful editor I enjoy working with.
Frederick Crook, friend, editor, and fellow scribe on the human condition. He “got” Tough Luck Lane and really ran with the ball to edit it and keep the story intact.
Ellen Sitrin, my best friend.
John Crockett, my husband - okay, I know you said NOT family but we weren’t married when I wrote Tough Luck Lane and he encouraged me to develop the novel and still inspires me every day. A professional musician, he knows the pressures of performing and how tough it is and what it takes to make it.
My Solstice fellows and KC Sprayberry, Melissa Miller, and KateMarie Collins. They are amazing ladies and I look forward to a very long and mutually beneficial relationship. Best-selling Solstice authors Debbie DeLouise of Cobble Cove Mystery fame and David Thompson, Sister Witch and His Father’s Sins, are good friends and extremely encouraging. Everyone with whom I have interacted at Solstice - whether for a reason, a season, or a lifetime has been amazing!
Nancy Cohen of Bad Hair Day Mystery fame and Diane A.S. Stuckart or Black Cat Bookshop Mystery fame- these renowned ladies have really given back by way of free seminars, blog talks, and friendship in a big big way.
Joan Harris, fellow writer and dear friend who helped me get my first 90 followers on the Tough Luck Lounge.
WHO WAS YOUR FIRST PUBLISHER AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THEM?
Solstice Publishing is my first publisher and, in that I’m a newbie, I’m learning. But we always learn, don’t we?
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR NEW WRITERS?
Don’t let ANYBODY tell you you’re too young, too old, too this, too that, to write. Write. Think. Plan. Plot. Outline. Wing it. Do it! If you screw it up, start over. Getting published is a conscious choice. Marketing is done by everyone! There is NO such thing as an overnight success. Put in the time and do the work. Yeah, it’s hard but it’s so WORTH it!
WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS?
John D. MacDonald, Jack Vance (Ellery Queen), Mickey Spillane, Raymond Chandler, Sue Grafton, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe and many, many more
WHAT ARE YOU READING NOW?
Bob Brink's "Murder in Palm Beach: The Homicide that Never Died"
WHAT MAKES YOU CRY?
IF YOU COULD MEET ANYONE WHO EVER LIVED, WHO WOULD THAT BE?
Probably Mark Twain aka Sam Clemens. I do believe he has a good head on his shoulders and he'd be fun to talk to over dinner.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOWS AND MOVIES?
The Curse of Oak Island, Ancient Aliens, Autopsy; Movie: Independence Day, Terminator II
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE KIND OF MUSIC?
The Doors, Asia, Spa & Meditation music, Symphonic music, Jazz.
WHAT DO YOU WANT WRITTEN ON YOUR HEADSTONE?
I'm not going anywhere for quite some time. Moreover, when I do, I'll be cremated and my ashes put in Mother Ocean so, no headstone. I am a child of Nature and the Sea, I go back to her after my demise.
THE TOUGH LUCK LOUNGE SERIES
Stacey Jennifer Longacre is a bartender who leaves her hard-bit existence in Okeechobee, Florida. She’s likeable, but with a touch of sand.
Landing in a quirky Key West-style compound in south Florida, she and her new-found crew head off a ring of dangerous bed guys who keep her off-balance while perpetrating their deadly game.
Stacey is no stranger to danger yet she always strives to do the next right thing in spite of her "tough luck" attitude. An “ordinary” woman thrown into extraordinary circumstances, she’s someone with whom you will relate to and cheer on.
What happens when a cute sensitive artistic type meets a handsome athletic lifeguard on the beach in the spring? If bartender Stacey Jennifer Longacre has anything to do with it, they may just find love on the beach. But he's college bound and she's off to Sorbonne in Paris, France to study her art. Will their joie de l'amour continue after the summer has passed?
Come on over to Tough Luck Lounge and relax in a tropical tiki bar.
Straight, with No Chaser features bartender and drunk-wrangler extraordinaire Stacey Jennifer Longacre. She decided she will not be enjoying a traditional Christmas. In fact, if she has anything at all to say about it, it will be just another day in South Florida. Until she runs into Nicholas Densmore, International Man of Mystery and Danger. He hits her beloved '87 white T-Bird, the Mir, with his (rented) Ferrari and she won't let him out of her sight until things are put to rights. However, someone else has them in their sights and it's up to Stacey to help Densmore to safety and win the day.