Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Reunion

Kelli here. I'm off in Los Angeles and San Diego this week on book tour, and luckily for us, the very talented Mira debut author, Leslie Tentler, agreed to be our guest! Welcome, Leslie! :)

By Leslie Tentler

This week’s assignment: Imagine you’re at your high school reunion. Set the scene. How would you describe what you do? How would you answer questions about the gruesome aspects of death or the too interested positing about how to kill a spouse?

As I enter the country club, the location of choice for reunions in my small hometown, I’m trying hard to recognize faces...because I’ve vainly decided not to wear my glasses. I’ve also (equally vainly) decided to wear high heels that I can barely stand up in and oh, yeah, my Spanx are killing me.

Despite my inability to see or walk, I’m quickly drawn into the closest group of reunion-goers. Much laughter and hugging and squinting at nametags ensue (the latter by me), as do the updates on who’s doing what these days. Eventually, the question comes around: “So what do you do?”

Me: “I’m a writer.”

Reunion-goer: “Cool! What do you write?”

Me: “I write romantic thrillers...”

Reunion-goer: “Tell me about your book! What’s it about?”

And this is where it gets weird. In MIDNIGHT CALLER, my debut novel, an FBI agent returns to his hometown of News Orleans in search of a serial killer. A killer known as “The Vampire” because he drains the blood from his victims. As in exsanguination. By cutting their throats. It’s probably more than I need to tell my former classmates, but I’ve downed a couple of glasses of wine and the normally subdued me is becoming chattier.

I probably also reveal that the murders take place in New Orleans’s Goth community. And that “The Vampire” likes to enjoy a little blood cocktail himself after a hard day of exsanguination.

By now, the weaker spirited of my classmates have drifted away. One of them shakes her head and mumbles, “That doesn’t sound very romantic.” One guy remains, however, and even with all the time that’s passed I’m pretty sure he’s the same guy who used to steal the cadaver pigs out of biology dissection class. He’s in insurance sales now, but he’s still interested in the morbid and he has lots of questions – about the stages of rigor mortis, blood lividity and how to poke a thermometer into the liver to determine time of death. Clearly, this guy’s already read the book or he’s way into CSI and wants to prove it. Either way, the conversation is heading even farther into Creepyville, so I excuse myself in search of the ladies’ room.

“Talking shop” isn’t always such a great idea.

Leslie Tentler is a debut author for MIRA Books. Her first novel, Midnight Caller, is available now. For more information, visit


Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Sounds like the guy was boning up on becoming the "Vampire." Or maybe he thought that kind of talk would turn a gal on.

leslie tentler said...

Sue Ann, I guess I DID start the whole conversation in the first place by talking about the gorier details of the book, right? I probably sounded like his dream girl. ;-)

Kelli Stanley said...

Welcome to Criminal Minds, Leslie--thanks for being here!! :)

Hope MIDNIGHT CALLER is flying off the shelves--and that you sold one to your former classmate! ;)

leslie tentler said...

Thanks for having me, Kelli!

Meredith Cole said...

Thanks for being our guest today, Leslie! And congrats on your debut.

leslie tentler said...

Thank you, Meredith!

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Ah, the downside of having a weird job! Sounds like you got through it OK though.

Welcome to Criminal Minds and a huge congrats on MIDNIGHT CALLER!

leslie tentler said...

Rebecca, thank you and thanks for having me!

Gabi said...

Don't you just now the creepy guy spending all his time in the biology lab would find you when your were defenseless with no vision and sore feet? This is why I don't go to reunions but thanks for reminding me it is the right answer.