Ms. Quote's WORDS With...
MQ: Helloooo! (yells over edge of crater) Are you Maula Partin?
PM: (looks up) Watch it, lady! A volcano is no place to wear open-toed heels!
MQ: Ow, eek. (gingerly steps off steaming rocks) Ouch, that smarts. But, uh…(peers over edge again) I’m lookin’ for Maula Partin an’ I was told to find her at…(scans surroundings) wherever this place is. (fans face with hand) Boy, it sure is boilin’ here. What are you doin’ down there?
PM: (scrambles to pick up equipment) I’m gathering first-hand material for my book, Changing the Future. And by the way…(leaps over hissing geyser)…my name is Paula Martin.
MQ: Oh, no, it can’t be, sugar. Billy Bob sent me out to interroga -- er, that is, to interview a Maula Partin. She wrote that book you just mentioned.
PM: (pauses and gives Ms. Quote a quick once over) Billy Bob?
MQ: My producer. Why, of course you know him, honey! (chortles) His promotional service is 'Dim the Lights'. All kinds of hip publishers hire him.
PM: Mm. Fitting name. (glances at clouds building on horizon) Okay, let’s get a move on. Is that mike live?
MQ: I’m recordin’ right as we speak. (flashes bright smile) So where is Ms. Partin?
PM: (sighs) How about I fill in for her? Would you happen to have a copy of the book?
MQ: Why, I brought it with me, don’t you know! I'm prepared for all emergencies. Let’s see…(searches through handbag) …silver tube of Black-Eyed Beauty mascara, deluxe pack of Fake & Rake extra-length fingernails, an’ -- here it is! Oh. (blinks) My Make ‘Em Smack peppermint passion flavored lipstick has melted all over it!
PM: (hangs head and mutters) Why me? Why me?
MQ: Oh, goody, you’re wearin’ gloves! (shoves book to Paula) Just wipe off that inky-pinky smear. will ya darlin’, an’ read the blurb to our listenin’ audience.
PM: (grinds teeth, takes deep breath, then clears throat) Lisa Marshall is stunned when celebrated volcanologist Paul Hamilton comes back into her life at the college where she now teaches. Despite their acrimonious break-up several years earlier, they soon realise the magnetic attraction between them is stronger than ever. However, the past is still part of the present, not least when Paul discovers Lisa has a young son. They can’t change the past, but will it take a volcanic eruption to help them change the future?
MQ: What was that word again?
PM: Which one? I just read 78 of them.
MQ: Number seven, volcanol -- or was it victrano -- (waves dismissive hand) Phooey. Anyway, I know you really meant to say ‘ventriloquist’.
PM: Huh. (mouth twists in considering expression) Okay, so my Vulcan, Mr Spock … oh, wrong story, huh? So maybe my vOlcanologist had to learn to throw his voice loudly enough to cause an earthquake to make the volcano erupt? Now why didn’t I think of that?
MQ: Well, you’ll really need to ask Maula Partin, the author.
PM: Ah. Of course.
MQ: Which reminds me. Don’t feel bad an’ I know you’re only a substitute--
PM: (rolls eyes, and turns to grab knapsack, throwing in pad and pencil and length of rope)
MQ: But what can you tell us about her? The author, I mean.
PM: A little about her background? Let’s see, how’s this… Paula Martin had some early publishing success with short stories and four romance novels--
MQ: (squeals) Ooh, I love romance!
PM: Uh, yeah, sure you do. Anyway, as I was saying -- She then had a break from writing fiction while she brought up a young family and also pursued her career as a history teacher for twenty-five years--
MQ: That’s a long time!
PM: It sure is. (hesitates) Did you want to know more?
MQ: (eyes widen) Like what?
PM: Like how Ms. Martin retired from teaching and recently returned to writing fiction, and has had three romance novels published in the last year, with another one scheduled for November publication.
MQ: Really? What’s the names of those books?
PM: ‘His Leading Lady’, published in June 2011, ‘Fragrance of Violets’ in February 2012, and ‘Changing the Future’ in May 2012. All very different, and I’ve been in love with three heroes in a year, too. I’m fickle like that.
MQ: I know what you mean! (winks) Aren’t those romance hunks just the…uh…well, hunkiest thangs you ever did see!
PM: (laughs) I have to agree with you there.
MQ: So tell me, Ms. Partin -- what was the reason for the “acrimonious break-up” between Lisa and that hunky hero Paul?
PM: Well, she thought that he… No, he said that she …No, she blamed him and he blamed her… Anyway, they each got it all wrong – and then they had a big fight. That’s all I’m telling you. You’ll have to “Read All About It” (in Chapter 2).
MQ: Ooh, suspense! I just love cliffhangers! Except when…(moves to find a spot further from crater rim)…they’re so danged hot!
PM: Careful there. Your soles are melting.
MQ: (gasps with dismay) Oh, oodle-doodles! Would you happen to have another pair of She-Girl’s Sassy Stilettos in your carry-all bag?
PM: Sorry. But don’t worry. A storm’s brewing and that’ll cool off your hot foot. (frowns in thought) Or is that hot foots? Hot feets?
MQ: (glances overhead) Oh, then I guess I better get busy as a bee an’ ask you more questions!
PM: I’m listening.
MQ: (clears throat) I’m curious about that Lisa. What course does she teach in college?
PM: She’s head of the TV Journalism Department because she was once – yes, you’ve guessed it – a TV Journalist.
MQ: Television! I wonder if she knows Billy Bob?
PM: (chuckles) Not likely.
MQ: Has she won any awards? My hero is I.B. Nosey of Gum Drop Island fame. I’m sure you’ve heard of him? (doesn’t wait for PM to answer) Gosh, yes, he’s the man! Anyway, your Lisa is bound to know he won the Pukelitzer Award for journalism, right? I don’t have any ideas what the rules might be for winning such a trophy, but shucks, why couldn’t little ol' me have a chance to win that one day?
PM: (has to look away) No question about it. Pukelitzer prizes are always won by people who break the rules – but, of course, you need to know what the rules are first so you know which ones you can break.
MQ: Wow, that is so deep! Oh! (wipes hair off face) The wind’s pickin’ up, isn’t it?
PM: Storm’s going to be breaking. (bends and extracts object from knapsack) Like you said, got to be prepared.
MQ: (points to edge of volcano) What’s that?
PM: Lava flow. We’re going to have to get out of here.
MQ: Wait, I’ve not finished!
PM: More questions? We don’t have time!
MQ: I have to have a good interroga-- um, interview, Ms. Partin! Here, let me see. (flips pages of pad) Oh, yes. The author. Is she from around here?
PM: (spreads arms to encompass surroundings) Do you see anyone living on top of this smoking hole?
MQ: Um, well, where is she from?
PM: You mean, where does she live? Near Manchester in North-West England.
MQ: All by her lonesome?
PM: She’s not lonesome. She has two daughters and two grandsons.
MQ: An’ it says here…(scans list of questions) What else does she do beside write wonderful romances?
PM: Apart from writing…(ties up knapsack securely)…she enjoys visiting new places and has travelled extensively in Britain, mainland Europe, the Middle East, America and Canada.
MQ: She certainly gets around!
PM: She certainly does. And her favourite places are the English Lake District and Ireland.
MQ: But you said she enjoys visiting New Places. Where is that and what’s it like?
PM: New Places is wonderful. It’s anywhere you’ve never been but always wanted to see. She’s been to lots of New Places since she retired, but there are still a Lot More Places she wants to see.
MQ: Maybe she’ll take me with her! Oh, no! Thunder! (casts wary glance to sky)
PM: Right. This interview is over, Ms. Quote. (scurries away)
MQ: (grabs PM’s elbow) Ooh, but you just gotta tell me about that man Chester Ms. Partin lives near in England. Is he absolutely the mostest?
PM: The man Chester? (frowns in confusion) Oh. Chester. (nods) Definitely. Man Chester is famous for once being a Roman fort, then a medieval market town, and then the centre of the 18th century Industrial Revolution in Britain. (smirks) Am I losing you?
MQ: Actually…(gives nervous giggle)
PM: Right. Let me continue. The first ever modern canal was built there, and we had the first ever passenger railway too. (reconsiders) Oh, who am I kidding? These days most people have heard of Man Chester because of its two famous football (i.e. soccer) teams. In Man Chester, you’re either a red (United) or a blue (City) fan, or, in my case, neither.
MQ: Oh. Okay. (gives slow, dazed nod) Whatever that means.
PM: By the way, (turns back briefly) Ms. Martin’s also interested in musical theatre and in tracing her family history. Now, I really have to scoot--
MQ: But how can she do that? Wouldn’t tracing a family history take an awful lot of tracing paper?
PM: Absolutely. (gives mock serious look) Lots and lots – in fact 11 large files full. Trace is possibly the wrong word – unless that also includes squinting at the funny writing in parish registers, and scraping moss off gravestones. Oh, and finding a few skeletons in the cupboards too. Like a great-great grandfather who … no, better not mention him.
MQ: My hair! (shrieks as rain drops fall) I need an umbrella, or a limousine to take me back to shelter!
PM: Only one way off this ‘cano. (pops open inflatable raft)
MQ: What in the world are you goin’ to do with that?
PM: I’m leaving by means via that river of lava.
MQ: B-but…(squints as rain falls heavier) won’t a raft melt?
PM: Are you kidding? I’m a writer and I can create thousands of daring, dashing escape routes. (throws raft on lava flow and leaps inside)
MQ: But you can’t leave me! (stomps foot) My mascara is streakin’!
PM: Stop! (waves arms in warning gesture) Don’t jump in here with those spiked heels!
MQ: (lands in raft, then gives PM small, sheepish laugh) Oops. Did I make that itty-bitty hole?
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Changing the Future
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Be sure to return next month to check out who Ms. Quote's next
victi...uhm...interviewee will be.