Character Interview with Trent and Leila by Dixie Jackson – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Dixie Jackson will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Thanks so much to the great team here at Long and Short Reviews for hosting me today, the last day of my blog tour. It’s been a blast. I recently sat down with the main characters of Parallax, Trent Wayland and Leila O’Neil, and had a little chat. Hope you enjoy getting to know them a bit better.

Tell us, where did you grow up? Is that the only place you’ve ever lived or have you moved around?

Trent: I grew up in Texas hill country. Unlike my brother, who joined the Corps straight out of high school, I didn’t do any international globe-trotting until he resigned his commission and came home. When he opened S3 and asked me to be his business partner, that’s when my adventures began. Honestly, though, after this last stint all over the planet with Leila, I’m more than ready to settle down and stay home for a while.

Leila: I grew up all over the globe. My dad was a Marine so we didn’t really have a home base. And, yes, we moved around extensively. Our last duty station before I went off to Academy, however, was in Virginia.

What’s your current occupation?

Trent: Co-owner of S3, the security company I share with my brother. House-husband sounds pretty good somedays, though.

Leila: My cover occupation or my real occupation?

What’s in your refrigerator right now?

Trent: I have no idea. Since hiring a chef, I rarely look in there.

Leila: I don’t have a refrigerator right now. Life on the run, you know?

What smell do you associate with your childhood? Is it a happy smell?

Trent: Horse barn, and damn skippy it’s happy.

Leila: I associate a couple smells with my childhood. Boot polish and baked goods. Boot polish reminds me of what I’m trying to outrun and who I’m trying to prove something to. Not so happy. Baked goods remind me of my grandparents’ house. Really happy smell. I only wish some of my Nona’s baking lessons had stuck. Then maybe I’d be a baker right now, somewhere baking, instead of trotting the globe with assassins after me.

What’s a typical Saturday morning like for you?

Trent: Pancakes and cartoons with Lucy from the time the sun comes up until about noon. Then I’m checking in with the office while shuffling through every news channel out there looking for potential hotspots. In the fall, college football games. Go, Aggies!

Leila: Wait, what’s a Saturday? When you’re on call twenty-four-seven, there are no Saturdays and the other days just sort of blend together.

What is your greatest strength? Weakness?

Trent: Loving Leila.

Leila: My greatest strength is also my greatest weakness. My ability to stay focused on the mission. While that’s great for the mission and my handlers, it’s not great for my loved ones.

Did you believe in true love before you met Leila?

Trent: Absolutely! My parents have been married for over fifty years and still get giddy around each other. I had a great example of what true love looks like even when the chips are down.

Leila: I believed in it because my grandparents were madly in love, but I just didn’t believe it was for me. Occupational hazard and all that.

Do you have any regrets? What are they?

Trent: Plenty. But there’s no need in dwelling on them.

Leila: Plenty. And I don’t like to talk about them.

What is your greatest achievement?

Trent: Lucy.

Leila: Lucy.

Is there anything you’d like to tell your writer?

Trent: Thank you for finally telling our story.

Leila: Thanks for letting the kick-butt girls take front and center.

Six years later, Trent Wayland still isn’t over his spring fling. Probably because he was convinced when he married Captain Leila O’Neil, their fling would go on a lifetime. Leila is his soul mate and Trent knows it. He might not admit it on a regular basis, but that doesn’t negate the raw emotion she draws out of him each and every time he thinks about her. Forget the fact his heart splits in two all over again when he’s afforded the luxury of hearing her voice. That doesn’t happen often, however. Leila only tosses a handful of words his way when she initiates the weekly video calls he’s allowed with the other love of his life, their daughter Lucy.

Once upon a time, Leila O’Neil wanted to be a Marine when she grew up. She worked hard, she landed a seat at the Academy, and she was the head of her class. Then her dream was destroyed and she traded it in for a new one at the nearest Coterie portal. She wears so many faces and so many hats, at some point she lost track of her soul. That didn’t really bother her until Trent Wayland came along and almost peeled her dressing room curtain back nearly exposing her innermost person. The real person, the real Leila, who once upon a time wanted to be a Marine when she grew up.

Leila misses the real person, and realizes it at the worst possible moment. With her daughter’s life on the line and Trent on the scene of the crime, Leila figures out she’s been using her hurt and anger to fuel all the wrong goals. In a daring move, she puts it all on the line, hoping it’s enough to gain her freedom from her handlers and her husband’s forgiveness.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Can this wait?” she asked, clearing her throat and speaking in a much lower, calmer voice than she felt like using on him at the moment. “I need to compartmentalize everything that’s coming at me all at once so I can process it in some sort of orderly fashion and manage to not get us killed before we get the chance to talk about what may or may not be going on between us.”

“Do you have a label for that box?” Trent drilled, glaring at her.

“Which one?” She tapped her fingernails against the table and pursed her lips, trying to stay the wellspring of anger bubbling up at his completely inappropriate timing. And if he only knew. Leila had so many boxes she neatly placed things in it’d be easy to completely lose track of the exact number and location inside her head of all them.

“The one you stuff us in every time things reach a point you might actually have to say it.” When his nostrils flared, Leila could no longer hold back the sarcastic cynic she could be so easily.

“Say what?” She quirked one side of her mouth up and all but batted her lashes, daring him to continue down this path.

“You know very well what,” Trent roared, slamming a fist against the table causing the silverware still setting on the edges of plates on the other end of it to rattle and tea to spill out over the top of her unfinished cup, which was most likely cold and bitter by now.

“You’ve not said it in a long while, either, you know.” Leila pulled her now drying hair behind her ears and gnawed on the inside of her lip. Trent didn’t answer, instead just sat back down and grabbed his phone. “I have my reasons but they’re not the same as yours, you coward. You’re afraid.”

About the Author:Born and raised in the heart of the Ozarks, Dixie Jackson learned a love of the written word at a young age. She remembers spinning tales before she could even write them down, but it was the encouragement of her sixth-grade creative writing teacher which would plant the idea that just never seemed to go away. She wanted to someday see her works in print.

Dixie makes her home in the Great Smoky Mountains with her retired Marine husband, two rescue dogs, and her beloved chickens. When she’s not writing, you can find her digging in the dirt and nurturing her plants while plotting the next step in one story line or another. She also loves experimenting in her kitchen, embroidering, quilting, crocheting, tracing her family’s twisted tree, and of course reading.

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  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and, if so, how do you overcome it?

  3. Victoria Alexander says

    I’ve enjoyed following the tour and I’m looking forward to checking this one out. Thanks for sharing all of the great posts along the way.

  4. I love the excerpt and think the book sound really good.

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