Shannon here: Linda Wood Rondeau shares an exclusive interview with her characters from her latest Mystery Romance, Ghosts of Trumball Mansion. Use the link to sign up for Linda’s newsletter, then comment you did and/or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing for winner’s choice of Linda’s e-books. If you’ve already signed up for her newsletter, say so in a comment to enter. Deadline: Jan 7th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Linda:
Interview with Henry Fizgibbons and Sylvia Fizgibbons aka Lana Longstreet from Ghosts of Trumball Mansion:
I’m here today with Henry and Sylvia Fitzgibbons, owners of Fitzgibbons & Associate Publishing House. Sylvia, a romantic suspense author, publishes under the name of Lana Longstreet, the house’s foremost author. After a long separation, the couple has come together for a summer in Sylvia’s Connecticut home. Henry left the mansion soon after they moved in, complaining of ghosts. This summer, Sylvia is desperate for Henry’s help. The roses are in disarray and the job is not an easy fix. Since Henry loves the roses, the only spot, he says, where he finds peace when in Connecticut, Sylvia has demanded he take charge of the project, since she has an encroaching deadline on the first book of her Johnny Galant series. Henry thought his stay would be short. But when the housekeeper is injured in a car accident, Sylvia is even more dependent on Henry to help with managing the daily needs of the estate. Though Henry proverbially can’t even boil water, he agrees. The longer he stays, the hope of a reconciliation deepens … if the ghosts will permit it.
- My first question is to Sylvia. Or do you prefer to be addressed as Lana Longstreet?
I have lived almost exclusively by that name since Henry and I separated. However, lately, I realize that my author persona has been a huge problem in our marriage. Although I would never tell Henry, I understand why my persona, almost a possession of sorts, disturbs him. I don’t know how to go back to being simply Sylvia Moore Fitzgibbons. Henry’s initial agreement to move in for the summer to help find a solution for his beloved rose gardens was, perhaps, a romantic gesture. But he did it for the roses … not for me. However, his offer to take over for my housekeeper, though cooking way beyond his abilities, was the most romantic thing he’s ever done for me. The thought of a spatula-wielding Henry made me laugh but also began the slow melting of my heart.
- Who would like to answer this next question? Where is the most romantic place you have ever been … together, that is?
May I, Henry? You probably barely remember. But I think our most romantic place was Central Park … the night you proposed.
I do remember, Sylvia. And it was the night we showed the best of ourselves.
Henry looked so romantic in his white tux … a Don Johnson look-a-like. I thought we’d gone out to celebrate his promotion to senior editor at the sports magazine where he worked. We dined on pheasant and danced until midnight. He was always such a good dancer. Then after the last tango, when we returned to our booth, the piano played softly while he sang, “You are the Sunshine of my Life.” I was aghast. I didn’t even know he could sing. He proposed, most eloquently by the way. Then we rode in a hansom cab through Central Park until dawn. That was the happiest I’d ever been in my life.
- Do either of you have a favorite romantic restaurant?
I’ll take this one, Sylvia.
During our long separation, Sylvia and I would meet at Chez Phillipe’s in Manhattan before our Wednesday business meetings. She always dressed like a model. When she would let Lana Longstreet go to sleep and simply be Sylvia, I often desired her. During those times, I felt needed. During my infrequent and short stays in Connecticut, we’d eat at Regina’s. Though the ambiance was nice, Lana Longstreet would never disappear. I longed for our times at Chez Phillipe’s.
- Do you have a favorite song?
I’ll answer this one, Henry.
“You are the Sunshine of My Life?”
I can never hear the song, without picturing Henry. It reminds me of how much in love we were at one time and gives me hope we can find each other again.
Do you think there’s hope for us, Henry?
- Henry, what about your Sylvia melts your heart every time?
Sylvia, I wish you depended on me more.
I remember those days when we were poor but oh so happy. We could only afford one dessert so we’d share a blueberry pie. And sometimes, the juice would run down Sylvia’s chin. I’d wipe the dribble away. Then she’d glance at me with so much love. I keep hoping and looking for that glance once more. Lana Longstreet is like a queen on her throne. No way does she allow the slightest imperfection.
Oh, my darling Sylvia, please allow your beautiful imperfection to shine through again? Need me … not just for the roses.
- And now, Henry. One last question. How soon after meeting Sylvia did you know she was “the one.”
For me, the old cliché of love at first sight held true. I started to walk home in the rain—my apartment very close to my work—when I saw this waif lapping the rain, her hair as stringy as spaghetti. She was holding an umbrella. Why didn’t she want to use it? I sidled up to her and offered mine, pretending I was waiting for the bus too. Something told me, I had to know her. She looked so lost and in need.
“Oh, I’m just trying to understand how rain feels on skin, what it tastes like,” she said. “I’m a writer, and I’m doing research for an article I’m working on. I quit my job today at the fashion magazine. I got a contract for my first novel. ”
We hadn’t realized we both worked in the same building. But this was the only chance I’d have to get to know her. Something told me, I wanted her to be in my life forever. I’m claustrophobic and avoid cars, buses, trains, and elevators. She didn’t know. But I rode the bus to find out where she lived and to get a date. I never regretted facing my fears. Even though our marriage has been difficult, I’d ride the bus all over again.
Thank you, Sylvia and Henry, for the interview. I do hope this summer of mishaps will somehow bring you back together, and you will renew your love or perhaps fall in love as if it were the first time.
Question for Readers: Do you think reconciliation for a couple, who have technically separated for fifteen years, even possible?
About Linda: Award-winning author, Linda Wood Rondeau writes stories that grip the heart, inspired by her nearly thirty years of social work. When not writing or speaking, she enjoys the occasional round of golf, visiting museums, and taking walks with her best friend in life, her husband of forty-five years. The couple resides in Hagerstown, Maryland where both are active in their local church. Learn more & connect:
Linda’s Website (where you can sign up for her newsletter)
About the book – Ghosts of Trumball Mansion: Lana Longstreet is his star author … and the nom de plume of his estranged wife, Sylvia. Though he still loves her, how can he live in a home where ghosts deride him at every turn? Maybe the time has come to officially end any obligation to his wife’s Connecticut estate and be free of their torment.
Though she still loves her husband, Sylvia Fitzgibbons is tired of the charade of a marriage. She’d ask Henry for a divorce, but the children are planning an anniversary party in August, and she has a deadline for her Johnny Gallant suspense series in the same month. Then there are the decaying rose gardens, the only allure drawing Henry to the estate and her launch parties.
Henry agrees to help with the garden repair, but his hopes for a quick departure are smashed when Sylvia’s housekeeper is injured. He is drawn to Sylvia’s helplessness like a femme fatale. As the couple draw on each other for support, the malignant forces within the home become increasingly aggressive.
Something evil conspires against them that only Faith can conquer.
Come back Dec 30th for Donna Schlachter!