Hi and welcome to my blog, Ute Carbone. Please make yourself at home and grab a drink from my hunky cabana boys, Zeke and Jake. So tell us a little about yourself.
Happy to be here, Raine! Love the cabana boys
So tell us a little about your latest book. What inspired this masterpiece?
I thought you’d never ask! I have a brand new romantic comedy called the P-Town Queen.
Here’s the blurb:
Nikki Silva feels like she’s blown up her life even as her brothers tease her about blowing up a boat called the Mona Lisa. Divorced, funding for her shark research cut off, she’s moved back toProvincetownto live with her father in her childhood home. Nikki hopes to regain herself. She’s written a grant proposal for the newly formed Massachusetts Bay Commission to fund a study that will get her back to the sort of research she loves. The commission is run by her ex-husband Ned, who would rather have a migraine than give money to his ex-wife.
Marco Tornetti wants to turn a hole-in-the-wallNewarkspaghetti joint into a trendy bistro. His silent partner, Fat Phil Lagosa, wants to use the place to solicit questionable business deals. When Fat Phil accuses Marco of a double cross and has him taken for a ride by one of his hit men, Marco knows he’s in too deep.
Marco escapes the hit man and takes the first bus out of the Tri-state area, a bus chartered by the Greater Teaneck Gay Men’s Choir and headed forProvincetown. Marco figures that Phil would never look for him in Provincetown‘s gay community. But when he meets Nikki and falls hard for her, he finds that pretending to be gay isn’t as easy as it would seem.
Like most of my stories, P-Town began as a simple idea: A man running from something terrible (a mob hit in this case) goes to a new place and applies for a job he’s not qualified for. He gives himself an alias, Parker Bench, because he’s spent the last day sitting on a park bench.
My husband and I went on a whale watch inProvincetown, Ma and the job became research assistant to an oceanographer and the place became P-Town. P-Town has a vibrant gay community, so gay man became part of the alias. And there you have it!
If you had any super powers, what would they be and why?
Teleportation. I’d love to be able to travel through space and time in the blink of an eye. Though I’d need the ability to get back to home base. England in the middle ages might be interesting to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there!
What genre haven’t you tried yet but want to in the future?
I’d love to write a historical, but I’m a little daunted by all the research. I am trying my hand at a historical romance novella to see if I can manage it in a shorter story.
What is one thing readers might be surprised to know about you?
I can’t tell you my deep dark secrets! It would mess with my mystique! Let’s see though… I’m German by birth. My parents emigrated to the states when I was five.
If we asked your muse to describe you in three words, what do you think they might say?
Head-in-the-clouds, smiles-at-everything and distracted-by-shiny-objects. Okay, that’s more than three, but that’s the muses for you, they never follow directions!
What authors can be found in your library of books?
I’m a bookaholic with pretty eclectic tastes. Favorites include Alice Hoffman, Geraldine Brooks and Elizabeth Berg. But, really, that’s just scraping the surface.
Have any guilty pleasures you want to share with us?
Wine. I love red wine. And coffee, I drink several gallons a day. And chocolate. Dark chocolate. I think I have a theme going here.
Is there anything you’re currently working on that you can give us a taste of?
As I mentioned, I’m working on a historical romance novella, tentatively called “Sweet Lenora”. Historical is something very new for me, so I’m not sure how it will fly.
Here’s a bit of the opening:
On the day of my father’s funeral, the grey October sky opened and shed copious tears. It was good that the sky was so willing to cry as I could not find my own sorrow. It seems I buried it upon learning of his death.
We stood around the gravesite as he was laid next to the mother I had never known. My Aunt Louise looked up now and again from under the awning of her black umbrella to insure herself that I had not jumped in after the coffin or run off into the rain. To Aunt Louise, I was a spoiled and fractious child, not a young woman of twenty with a mind of my own.
“High time you found her a husband,” she had said to Father on more occasions than I cared to count. “It will not do to let her run wild.”
Father hardly let me run wild. I suppose he was indulgent after his own way. My mother had died giving me life. My only brother, Edward, eight years older than I, had sailed on the MaryAnne five years before and we had no word of him since. As I was left as sole heir, Father considered that I need to know about the shipyard. He allowed me free run of the yard’s books. I learned firsthand how the ribs are covered with planks, how to caulk to make the ship watertight and seaworthy.
Despite whatever Aunt Louise may have thought, there were suitors aplenty. My father and my Uncle John ran the largest shipyard in all of Salem. They had shipping interests throughout the seven seas, clipper ships that sailed to the ends of earth and came back deep laden with China silk and India spice.
Letters of introduction were forever filling the salver. I wished them all away. I knew well enough that marriage meant an end to my days at the shipyard. Once married, I would not be able to read as I pleased from Father’s library or walk as I pleased about the town. My days would be filled with endless calls to ladies sitting in dim parlors. In short, I would be as miserable as my Aunt Louise.
The young men came by despite my wishing. They took my handkerchiefs and kissed my hand. They danced me over the floor and promenaded me through the rose garden. I knew they would never love me for the woman I was. When they looked at me, they saw a dowry kindly wrapped in a pretty enough package.
What is your favorite way to relax after a hard day working and writing?
I like to walk in the woods. And I love the theater and good movies. And reading books, of course!
What is one historical figure you would love to chat with and why?
I just finished reading a non-fiction book about Thomas Jefferson. He’s a fascinating figure, at once brilliant and forward thinking, but swayed and prejudiced by the society of his time. I’d love to chat with him
Would you care to mention any upcoming or WIP projects that readers can look forward from you in the future?
I have another romantic comedy, called Afterglow, coming out next January.
It’s the story of a woman who divorces after thirty two years of marriage and has to find a way to get her life back in order.
The P-Town Queen by Ute Carbone
Check out the book trailer
Nikki Silva thinks she’s blown up her life. Divorced, funding for her shark research cut off, she’s moved back to Provincetown to live with her father. Nikki’s written a grant proposal funded by a commission run by her ex-husband Ned, who would rather not give money to his ex-wife.
Marco Tornetti wants to turn a Newark spaghetti joint into a trendy bistro. His silent partner, Fat Phil Lagosa, wants to use the place to solicit questionable business deals. When Fat Phil turns on Marco and has him marked for a hit, Marco knows he’s in too deep.
Marco escapes the hit man and takes the first bus out of the city. Marco figures that Phil would never look for him in Provincetown‘s gay community. But when he meets Nikki, he finds that pretending to be gay isn’t as easy as it would seem.
I went through the door and there, in the corner of the room, was a metal desk and sitting on the desk was the redhead from the pier. I couldn’t have been more surprised if it had been Fat Phil sitting there. My stomach did a loop-di-loop, like I was in the sixth grade and just found out the popular girl had the locker next to mine. I told myself to quit being a dumb ass. I had exactly two cents rubbing together in the pocket of my only pair of pants.
She was talking to the guy from the pier. The younger one that looked like her. She caught me in her gorgeous brown eyes, blinked a few times, and asked if she could help me. “Yeah, yes,” I said. “I’m here about the research. The assistant. Job. Research assistant.”
“Find me an office and they will come,” the guy said.
To which the redhead gave him a look that might have killed him. “And how is it that job applicants magically appear?” she asked him.
“The flyer,” I said. “At Ella’s Place.”
“Flyer at Ella’s Place?” The redhead turned the killer stare at me.
“They weren’t. She didn’t. They were under the counter. I saw. I was. I really need the job.” I took a deep breath. “So if you tell Dr. Silva. I’m available. For an interview.” Jesus, Mary, and Joe, it was lucky that drool didn’t come running out of my mouth.
The guy put a hand on my shoulder and said, real quiet, “She is Dr. Silva,” which really made me feel like a friggin’ idiot.
“Nick Silva? She’s Nick Silva?”
“N-i-k, as in Nicola,” the guy said.
“It’s a mistake. My mistake. I’m mistaken. Sorry.”
“She makes people nervous. But she’s not so tough. I’m her brother, I ought to know. Billy.” He held out his hand.
“I do not make people nervous,” Nik Silva said.
“Ask her about Rusty’s boat.”
Nik sighed. “There is no job. Mr.…?”
And here’s where things got dicey. In giving myself a new identity I forgot to give me a new name. Any self-respecting witness protection program will give you a new name and I sure as hell didn’t want to use the old one. Nikki Silva was kind of staring at me again and my pulse rate was up around two hundred, so I spit out the first thing came into my head.
“Parker. Parker Bench.” I wished, right after I said it, that I could have taken it back. I wished I’d have come up with something, anything, else: Jerry Lewis or Phillip Morris or Captain Crunch. Just about anything would have been better than Parker Bench.