by Lisa Diane Kastner
GENRE: commercial romance
Lauren has a dead end job as a waitress at the Oaklyn Diner. She becomes ecstatic when the diner is chosen to be the focal point of an upcoming movie, *Jersey Diner,* starring Jonathan Pearce. When filming ends she moves to California to start a new life with him. Lauren quickly discovers that all that she thought was real and true are in question.
“Before me the television hummed. The remote felt heavy and big in my hands. With the next channel came my favorite interview show. The host, Lawrence Corran, spoke with Jonathan. I couldn’t believe it. They played a rerun of my favorite episode.
The two men were on a stage with a black backdrop. On a table next to them stood glasses filled with water. Lawrence, a small man with a receding hairline, thick horn-rimmed glasses, a goatee, and a rounded jaw, sat across from Jonathan. Jonathan lounged in his high backed chair. If someone else sat in the chair, it would have been overpowering, but he looked confident, relaxed. Mama used to call him a young Sean Connery. His thin black sweater provided a hint of the muscles underneath it. A grey suit jacket hung from his shoulders. The creases in his black suit pants followed the bend of his knees. I wanted to reach in and touch those creases. He glowed with each move and every word. He crossed his legs and formed a pyramid with his fingers.
Wasn’t that screen test for the next day?”
Jonathan looked embarrassed by the question. “Yes. They said they could use someone with my looks and then sent me home.”
I moved closer to the screen.
“How long after that test did you get your first part?”
Now. See students? Don’t get discouraged if they don’t call you back immediately. Even Jonathan Pearce waited to get his first part.” Lawrence flipped to the next note card.
“I was an extra in a military movie called, The Edge of Life.”
My lips moved in time with his.
“I had one line. I said, ‘Sir, yes sir.’” His eyes crinkled with a touch of a smile. I had heard this story a dozen times.
“Again, students. Not only did he have to wait six months but he also had a very small role.”
“After that my next role wasn’t for another year. I took night classes and got a job as a construction worker.”
“That’s how you stayed trim.”
“I wanted to spend my money on classes so I needed a job that would maintain my physique.” Jonathan turned, looked at me and leaned in. “Lauren. Lauren? How are you doing?”
I looked around the living room. I felt self-conscious in my clothes. I tied the knot in my robe tighter and pointed to myself as if another Lauren sat next to me.
Yes. I wondered if you needed anything?” he said.
I hesitated for a moment. My throat dried up as I tried to respond. “I-I-I’m fine.”
Jonathan rested back in his chair, tension eased from his shoulders. “Good. I’m glad to hear it. I’ll be in town soon. We can get together for coffee.”
Did Jonathan Pearce ask me out on a date? “I’m sorry? I mean. Sure. That. Would. Be. Great.
” I reached my hand out to touch the screen. To see if I could be there with him and test if this was real. My fingertips reached the screen’s edge. The static electrified them, covered them in a fuzzy haze that spread up my wrist and traveled down my arm. It prepared me to become one with the images before me. Ready me to become one with Jonathan.
I prepared to break through the barrier of static, glass, and electricity, when Jonathan said, “Lauren, you better get to bed.”
He nudged my shoulder. “I gotta go now. Don’t forget. Coffee.” He winked. “Lauren. Lauren?”
His voice changed to emulate my father’s tone. Now that’s a gross thought. Someone shook my shoulder a little more. A fog broke free from my mind. It forced me to wake up. The television shone before me, my father clicking off the static filled screen.
“You should head to bed now.”
Interview with the Author:
- How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing creatively for nearly 20 years. Before then I was a journalist while in college and often volunteered to do public relations and marketing for the school and for non-profits.
- How long have you been a published author?Well, if we count my first news article then a really, really long time ago. So even longer than 20 years. If we count my first published short story then 2008.
- What titles do you have available?I just edited a story anthology for Running Wild Press called “Running Wild Anthology of Stories: Volume 1”. My first novel, JERSEY DINER, is available as of May 1.
- What made you choose the subject of this book?When I was a teenager, I was on a syndicated television show called, Dance Party USA on the USA network. I had a few fans who went to great lengths to discover my phone number and address. Some even visited me. Luckily, I was a bit naïve at the time and didn’t really understand this was abnormal behavior. So I started to wonder what would encourage someone to go to those lengths. What would be the impetus? And then I started thinking about my own crushes and how I responded to those. The combination of the two and a ton of research is what brought us JERSEY DINER.
- Do you have any new titles coming soon?Although JERSEY DINER isn’t part of a series, the characters pop up in other books like LUSCIOUS which will come out in 2018/2019 which starts on the morning that Lee Therese needs to hand in her dissertation, she is literally run over by Xander. The first words out of his mouth are, “Sorry, Luscious.” Immediately smitten, Lee forces herself to recompose and drive forward with her day and her purpose – to get the dissertation approved, graduate, and start a new life with a teaching job in Hawaii. The catch? Xander keeps showing up at the most unexpected times. What Lee doesn’t know is that Alex has his own dark reasons for moving to Philly.In addition, I’m currently working on a few things. I’m the executive editor of Running Wild Press and I’m working on a novella anthology and on the first book of a new fantasy series called MAGIC FORGOTTEN by Jack Hillman. In addition, I’m working on a new novel series called, NEWLY MINTED WINGS AND SALTY FRENCH FRIES, which will start off with a novella by one of the main characters, Morgan Cruise. Morgan, is a former teen and twenties star who is finding much less glory in her older years. In search of a renewal, she reaches out to a trendy plastic surgeon. Anticipating that he’ll recommend a face lift, instead he tells her to get functioning wings. That’s right, those babies work! Morgan finds herself in flight over the Hollywood Hills and inadvertently runs into a rather long line at the local In and Out Burger starting a chain of events that will keep you enthralled.
- What is your favourite genre and why?I love cross genres. I read just about everything – romance, Sci Fi, fantasies, thrillers, mysteries, commercial fiction, literary, horror … you name it. I like stories that surprise me.
- What, to you, is the most exciting part of the writing process?I love generating new ideas. I love the research. I love writing fresh prose. I love editing (I know … there’s something wrong with me.) I love when I get feedback from a trusted reader and their comments are spot-on. It’s like someone reinforcing my gut instincts.
- If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would you choose and why?
I completely idolize Toni Morrison so I don’t think I’d be able to co-author a book with her. I’d be too intimidated. That said, I’d love to have a cup of tea with her. If she was still alive, I’d love to write with Angela Carter. I deeply admire her magical realism short stories.
Thank you for spending a few minutes with me and my readers. Wish you all the best with this book.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Lisa is a former correspondent for the Philadelphia Theatre Review and Features Editor for the Picolata Review, her short stories have appeared in magazines and journals such as StraightJackets Magazine and HESA Inprint. In 2007 Kastner was featured in the Fresh Lines @ Fresh Nine, a public reading hosted by Gross McCleaf Art Gallery.
She founded Running Wild Writers and is the former president of Pennwriters, Inc. (www.pennwriters.com). She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Fairfield University, her MBA from Pennsylvania State and her BS from Drexel University (She’s definitely full of it). Her novel THE KEEPER OF LOST THINGS was shortlisted in the fiction category of the William Faulkner Words and Wisdom Award and her memoir BREATHE was a semi-finalist in the nonfiction category of the same award.
Lisa presented at a TEDx in Seattle on The Power of Connecting. And presented at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) on the “You Sent Us What?” panel.
Born and raised in Camden, New Jersey The Redness migrated to Philadelphia in her twenties and eventually transported to Los Angeles, California with her partner-in-crime and ever-talented husband. They nurture two felonious felines who anxiously encourage and engage in little sparks of anarchy.
The book is on sale for $0.99.
There is another tour for a book from Running Wild Press — please visit http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2017/04/virtual-book-tour-running-wild.html for more information.
Lisa Diane Kastner will be awarding a $50, a $25 and a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winners (three winners) via rafflecopter during the tour.
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: