I found writing a new series scary as all get out – whatever that means. Suffice it to say I had a LOT of talks with the editor in my head that told me From Beer to Eternity was crap and that no one was going to want to read a book set in a beach bar in the panhandle of Florida. Fortunately, lots of talks with the Wickeds, Barb Goffman, and a plotting session with Jessie got me beyond that. And since a deadline loomed I put fingers to keyboard and wrote. Here’s a little bit about three of the main characters in From Beer to Eternity the first Chloe Jackson Sea Glass Saloon mystery.
Chloe Jackson – Chloe’s motto – borrowed from her dad – is: a promise made is a promise kept. Which is how she finds herself going from children’s librarian to waitress at the Sea Glass Saloon. She made a promise to her best friend Boone Slidell that if anything happened to him in Afghanistan, she’d go help his grandmother run her bar in the panhandle of Florida – not thinking it would be a promise she had to keep.
This is what Chloe thinks about her career change: The truth was, as a twenty-eight-year-old children’s librarian, I never imagined I’d end up working in a beach bar in Emerald Cove, Florida. In the week I’d been here I’d already learned toddlers and drunk people weren’t that different. Both were unsteady on their feet, prone to temper tantrums one minute and sloppy hugs the next, and they liked to take naps wherever they happened to be. Go figure.
Chloe is short, with short brown hair and big brown eyes. She has two older brothers who had a lot of influence over her. Getting away from them is one of the many reasons Chloe became a runner. They say she has thunder thighs, Chloe describes herself as a basset hound in a family of whippets.
Vivi Slidell – isn’t the little old lady Chloe was expecting to rescue. Chloe is shocked to find out that Vivi doesn’t want her there and ends up lying so she can keep her promise to Boone. Chloe thinks: Maybe I resented that she wasn’t who I thought she’d be. In my head, I’d pictured swooping in to save the day. It had been my noble cause since the day I’d heard Boone had gone missing. His grandma would be grateful. I’d be lauded. The reality was so vastly different from the notion.
Chloe describes her: Vivi was a beautiful woman with thick silver hair and a gym-perfect body. Seventy had never looked so good. She wore gold, strappy wedge sandals that made my feet ache just looking at them, cropped white skinny jeans, and an off-the-shoulder, gauzy aqua top. I always felt a little messy when I was with her.
Joaquín Diaz – Poor Joaquín—he’s the bartender at the Sea Glass and is stuck between his loyalty to Vivi and his growing friendship with Chloe. He’s Chloe’s first friend in Florida and becomes her support system as Chloe traverses interactions with prickly Vivi.
This is how Chloe describes him: Joaquín’s eyes were almost the same color as the aquamarine waters of the Gulf of Mexico, which sparkled across the wide expanse of beach in front of the Sea Glass. With his tousled dark hair, Joaquín looked way more like a Hollywood heartthrob than a fisherman by morning, bartender by afternoon. That combination had the women who stopped in here swooning. He looked like he was a few years older than me.
Joaquín’s hips swayed to the island music playing over an old speaker system. He was in perpetual motion, with his hips moving like some suave combination of Elvis and Ricky Martin. My hips didn’t move like that even on my best day—even if I’d had a couple of drinks.
Chloe asks Joaquín: “Have you ever thought about dancing professionally?”
“Been there, danced that,” Joaquín answered.
“Oh, honey, I shook my bootie with Beyoncé, Ricky Martin, and Justin Timberlake among others when I was a backup dancer.”
“What are you doing here, then?” I was astonished.
“My husband and I didn’t like being apart.” Joaquín started shaking the cocktail, but threw in some extra moves, finishing with a twirl. “Besides, I get to be outside way more than I did when I was living out in LA. There, I was always stuck under hot lights on a soundstage. Here, it’s a hot sun out on the ocean. Much better.”
Kensington is giving away 100 copies of From Beer to Eternity over on Goodreads. Click here and scroll down for a chance to win.
Readers: Do you like meeting characters in new series? Writers: Do you find starting a new series exhilarating or scary?
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