When they asked me what Deborah Coonts could write as a guest post, I said I'd love to see an interview with her character Lucky O'Toole. Coonts' new book, Lucky Catch, is now available, so it's the perfect time to catch up with Lucky, or, if you haven't yet read one of the books, to meet this Las Vegas troubleshooter. Thank you, Deb, and Lucky.
INTERVIEW WITH LUCKY O'TOOLE
Conducted by: Deborah Coonts
Today we are delighted to have with us, Lucky O'Toole, the Vice- President of Customer Relations at Babylon Enterprises, the parent company of major Vegas Strip properties the Babylon and the soon-to-open, Cielo.
DEBORAH COONTS; Welcome, Ms. O'Toole.
LUCKY: Delighted to be here, and call me Lucky.
DC: Vice-President - a pretty lofty title. What do you do, exactly?
LO: Titles are bones given to employees so they feel special and keep doing the work they were doing before. So, I am what I have always been, the Babylon's chief problem-solver.
DC: What does that mean?
LO: Well, if anyone in the hotel, including guests, entertainers, high-rollers, gamblers, patrons, our celebrity partners who partner with us in five star restaurants, nightclubs and performing venues, if any of them have a problem, I'm their go-to gal.
DC: Sounds juicy. Can you give us an example?
LO: Well, recently, we hosted a celebrity chef contest called the Last Chef Standing.
DC: It was hotly contested, as I recall.
LO: Yes, a couple of chefs were murdered and the prize truffle for the contest went missing.
DC: And it fell to you to help solve the crimes?
LO: It was personal.
DC: Ah, yes, your lover, Jean-Charles Bouclet was implicated.
LO: I can't talk about it. It's an ongoing case.
DC: Let me ask you this: How are you handling the triumphant return of your former lover, Ted Kowalski, also known as the Great Teddie Divine, Las Vegas' premier female impersonator? Am I right in understanding he is going to be performing in his former venue at the Babylon?
LO: We are in negotiations.
DC: I bet. Sounds...complicated.
LO: (Lucky laughs.) You have no idea.
DC: Your job sounds like it is very demanding. How did you come by the skills necessary to handle it?
LO: Being raised in a whorehouse helped. My mother is a former hooker and madam of the best whorehouse in Nevada, Mona's Place. It's in Pahrump. There I saw all manner of bad behavior. I learned to deal with it and to sometimes defend myself.
DC: You really are a walking billboard for Vegas, aren't you?
LO: My father is Albert Rothstein, one of the men who shaped Vegas from a mob-ridden speak-easy of a town to the glitz and glamour it is today. I didn't know he was my father until recently - still getting used to the idea.
DC: So, he didn't pull any strings to get you where you are?
LO: I've clawed my way up the corporate ladder like anyone else. Spent time in every aspect of the operation from bartending to housekeeping, to the banquet kitchen.
DC: And your mother?
LO: My mother is simply, Mona. And most days, she's my biggest problem of all.
One lucky winner will receive an ebook copy of Lucky Catch. By 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 28, either comment here with your email address, or send your name and email address to me at Lesa.Holstine@gmail.com if you don't want to put it on the blog. If you email me, use the subject line "Win Lucky Catch." That's all I'll need, your email address, so I can forward it to Deb's publicist, and they can make arrangements with you.
More about Deborah Coonts, herself? Here's what she writes.
I am proof positive that sex sells...and persistence pays off. After fifteen years learning the craft of writing, I am now officially, an overnight success. And it's been a long road to get here...
My mother tells me I was born in Texas a very long time ago, but I'm not so sure - my mother can't be trusted. These things I do know: I was raised in Texas on barbeque, Mexican food and beer. I've lived in every time zone in the U.S.; the most memorable stint being the time spent in Las Vegas, where I currently reside and where family and friends tell me I can't get into too much trouble...silly people.
The only constant in my life (besides my family, who deserves hazardous duty pay for sticking with me) had been change (my mother is still waiting for me to group up). Silly woman.
But all of this career ADD made me incredibly unemployable. Hence the whole writing thing.
Actually, I've known from a young age that somehow stories would be a large part of my life, but my path to telling lies for a living (okay, not lies per se, but variations of the truth, for sure) has been circuitous. If someone had just told me when I was a kid that I could actually be paid to daydream for a living, life would have been soooo much easier. But they didn't. And I never saw a 'daydreaming' booth at all those Career Days I attended.
So, initially discouraged when unable to locate anyone willing to pay me to read books, go to the movies, or attend the theatre, and in need of providing for the best child in the world, my son Tyler, I spent years being someone else - an accountant (blech), a business owner (pretty fun), a lawyer (loved law school, hated practicing law), a pilot (giddy and terrifying at the same time). but through it all, I wrote. Along the way I wrote the world's worst novel, a slightly more well-crafted buy equally as poorly plotted novel, several non-fiction feature articles (my first sales!), multiple humor columns for a national magazine (more sales!), and, finally, the novel that sold, Wanna Get Lucky?, the first in a series to be published by Forge Books. The series is a Sex and the City meets Elmore Leonard in Vegas kind of thing, if you can imagine that. Okay, have several glasses of wine, then think about it...makes imagining easier. Anyway, the books are sexy, wry, romantic, and slightly naughty mixed with a little murder and mayhem - shaken, not stirred- then illuminated by the bright lights of Las Vegas - one of the truly magical cities in the world.
Many of my friends have asked me how in the world I came up with the Lucky series. The way they asked led me to believe they thought mind-altering substances might have been involved even though they knew the worst I do is a glass of fine Pinot-Noir. The answer to their question is actually very simple: let your fifteen-year-old male child pick where you live, follow his dream to Vegas, then keep your eyes open.
Hey, it worked for me!
Deborah Coonts' website is www.deborahcoonts.com
Lucky Catch by Deborah Coonts. Cool Gus Publishing. 2014. ISBN 9781621251828 (paperback), 258p.