Friday, 14 October 2016

Author Interview: Arie Pavlou and Charlene Keel

Charlene and Arie will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

If your book were made into a movie, who would you want to play your main characters?
Both: We’d love to see Charlize Theron as Eden, who’s married to the congressman, and Joe Manganiello as Kaleb, the chef who falls in love with her. James Franco would be terrific as Mitchell, Eden’s ego-driven, abusive husband. As Mitchell’s controlling, domineering mother, either Judith Light or Susan Sarandon would be ideal.

How do you come up with the titles of your books?
Char: Sometimes, in the beginning, a title seems obvious but that can change as you get deeper into the novel. Sometimes it can be an ordeal. When J. Gabriel Gates and I wrote The Tracks Trilogy, we labored (along with the entire HCI Books editorial staff) to find a title for the first book. Nothing we came up with seemed right. Then we did some research on train terms and found Dark Territory, which was perfect.

Arie: It was a lot easier with The Congressman’s Wife. Our original title was The Perfect Wife, which Eden is always trying to be (before she meets Kaleb), but that had been done and done. With political campaigns gearing up shortly before the release of this first installment of The Congressman Trilogy, we realized that The Congressman’s Wife was a better fit.

What does your writing space look like?
Char: It’s all for creature comfort. I have a small desk in my bedroom and a typing table in my living room, with laptops on both.  This way I can write wherever the muse strikes me, or do a quick bit of research that suddenly occurs to me. It also helps to change locations according to what else is going on in the house.

Arie: I like to make notes on an airplane when I’m traveling. That’s when I get a lot of ideas.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
Char: My writing schedule doesn’t leave much time for hobbies. In addition to writing novels, I also ghostwrite books and screenplays for others so I’m always on deadline. But I find odd moments to play with my two little dogs. To relax, I watch TV. Unabashedly, I confess—television is my guilty pleasure. I enjoy dramas and sitcoms but I don’t watch daytime soaps anymore. I don’t want my characters sounding like soap opera lovers. For examples of good, snappy dialogue, I watch reruns of Mad About You and Gilmore Girls.

Arie: When I have a few days off from my chef duties, my wife Liz and I like to go to exotic, out-of-the-way places. When Eden and Kaleb have their lovers’ getaway to Jamaica, it’s based on some of my actual experiences visiting that country.

What is your favourite color?
Char: To wear, blue or pink. On a cover, I like a splash of red. As editor or managing editor of magazines like Playgirl, For the Bride and Black Elegance, I learned that red will always draw the eye (this was back in the day, when people actually bought paper magazines off a shelf in a bricks-and-mortar store). A solid red cover (like The Congressman’s Wife) is even better. When I worked at Playgirl, we did a solid red cover that featured Dweezil Zappa. It was one of our bestsellers.

Arie: I don’t know. I don’t think I have one. Do most guys have a favourite color?

What is your favourite pleasure food?
Char: It’s a toss-up. Either an Eggo Thick & Fluffy waffle with a smear of Jif peanut butter and a bit of Polaner All Fruit apricot jam, or a bowl of Walmart Great Value raisin bran. But it must be Great Value.

Arie: A big, juicy cheeseburger with a side of extra crispy fries.

What is your favourite season?
Char: When I lived in New York, it was fall. In South Florida, where I make my home now, it’s winter when things cool off a little. When I lived in Cedar Glen, a small mountain village not far from Los Angeles, it was definitely winter, with the Blue Jay Christmas parade and a hint of snow in the air.

Arie: I also love winter, especially when Liz and I can get away to places like Jackson Hole, WY, for skiing, as Eden and Kaleb do in The Congressman’s Wife.

What is your favourite television show?
Char: It depends on the season, and now there are so many. I remember when there was one TV season for first-run, and then during the summer we got reruns. I like The Black List, Major Crimes, Lucifer, Downton Abbey and Hell on Wheels. I adore Graham Norton. With American chat shows, I watch only the opening monologue (for the political jokes) but with Graham Norton, I watch the entire show. He’s brilliant.

Arie: I don’t have one. I’m always traveling. I’ll be interested to check out the new version of MacGyver, though.

What is your favourite movie?
Char: It’s not a movie, it’s an epic miniseries.  Steven Spielberg’s Taken (not the one with Liam Neeson), about alien abduction. I think it aired on TV only twice.

Arie: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I love Willie Wonka, especially the Gene Wilder version.

Who is your favourite actor?
Char: Christopher Walken. There’s a scene in Sarah Plain and Tall, when he first sees that his farm has not been destroyed after all. He has four separate, subtle, heartbreaking expressions in his eyes and on his face in the space of about three seconds. That was my undoing. He’s been my favourite ever since.

Arie: Yeah, Christopher Walken is cool. I also like Robert DeNiro.

What is your favourite song?
Char: My Rosary, sung by Mahalia Jackson, which is not a religious song. It’s about love. I’ve sung it to my daughter and my granddaughters, and any baby I happen to be holding for more than five minutes. Sometimes I sing it to my dogs. They seem to like it.

Arie: I think it depends on my mood.

What is your favourite comfort clothing attire?
Char: Loose-fitting slacks or shorts (I live in a tropical climate) and tees, made of 100 per cent cotton.

Arie: Jeans and tees.

What books might we find on your bedside table?
Char: I have a bookcase next to my bed, filled with reference books, including The Women’s Desk Reference, New York Public Library Book of Chronologies and Bartlett’s Quotations.

Arie: I’m a chef and I like to stay up on what other chefs are doing, so cookbooks—the more exotic, the better.

Describe yourself in three words.
Char: Honest. Loyal. Fearless.

Arie: Adventurous. Creative. Spirited.


All Eden Bancroft has ever been to her high-profile politician husband is a trophy wife, born and bred for the part. She believes she has no choice but to play it—until she meets a talented chef and restaurant heir who makes her feel loved for herself alone. The more her husband uses and belittles her, the more deeply Eden falls for Kaleb. Even with Mitchell’s congressional campaign in full swing, the lovers manage to find brief stolen moments together. When her husband is wounded by a bullet from a disgruntled lobbyist, Eden must stay by his side. What she learns can set her free, if she has the courage to take a stand.

A Moment Alone

Kaleb had been standing close enough to hear it all—not that he’d intended to eavesdrop.  He only wanted to try and give her some kind of signal—to beg, if necessary—to get a moment alone with her.  When he heard her husband’s caustic words, Kaleb wanted to punch him.  He wanted to take Eden’s hand and lead her out of there, away from the complete jackass her husband seemed to be.

Instead, he followed her into the room where coats were checked for the evening.  The maid who’d taken them was nowhere about, and Eden was digging through the racks when Kaleb walked in.  She looked up, surprised.

“We need to talk about it,” he said.

“About what?”  She found her wrap and Mitchell’s Brooks Brothers overcoat, draped them over one arm and turned to face him.

“About this thing between us.”

“That’s not very original.”

“I feel it and I know you feel it.”

“Look, I’m very flattered,” she began but he cut her off.

“We don’t have much time.”  He moved closer, aching to touch her.  “Your husband will come looking for you any minute.  Just tell me when and where I can see you again.  Alone.”

“You can’t,” she said.  “My husband is running for congress.  It’s . . . it would be impossible.”

“No,” he insisted.  “I don’t know why we met or how we’re going to pull this off but I do know one thing.”  He was speaking so softly now that she had to move closer to hear him.

“What?” she asked, her lips just inches from his own.  They were of equal height and he could see how well, how perfectly, they would fit together.

“I won’t give up.  I want to make love to you.”

“At least once?” she countered.

He moved closer still.  “Once will never be enough for us.  You know that, too.”

She sighed, lightly, and her sweet breath lingered on his cheek for a moment before she moved away and broke the spell.

“My husband is waiting for me,” she said.  “You’re a little crazy, you know?  You need to forget about this.  I’m married.  I have kids.  I don’t have time for an affair.”

“Have lunch with me.”

“Sorry—too busy.”

“Just let me talk to you.  Give me two hours—maybe over the weekend.  Then if you never want to hear from me again, that’ll be it.  I swear.”

She didn’t say anything for a moment, as if she was considering it.  “As intriguing as that sounds, I’m afraid it’s impossible.  I’m going to the season opening at the Village Resort up in Hunter this weekend, with my best friend.”

“Your husband going too?” Kaleb persisted.

“No.  He has a previous engagement.  Not that it’s any of your business.”

He opened his mouth to answer but Mitchell’s voice rang out in the foyer.  “Edie—let’s go.  Where are you?”

She flashed Kaleb a warning look and called out softly, “Coming, Mitchell.”  Then she left, quickly, before her husband could see Kaleb standing in the shadows.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Charlene Keel has written over a dozen novels and how-to books as well as multiple episodes of popular TV shows such as Fantasy Island and Days of our Lives.  Her Dell book, Rituals, was the basis for the first made-for-syndication soap opera.  Recently she co-authored The Tracks, a YA supernatural trilogy.  Shadow Train, the final installment, won a Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewer’s Choice Award.  Keel has also written screen adaptations of novels by bestselling authors, and has worked as editor or managing editor for a few international magazines.  In her spare time she ghostwrites books and screenplays for celebrities, doctors, corporate moguls, spies, strippers and anyone who has an interesting story to tell.

For more information:
Website: -
Follow Charlene on Twitter -
Charlene Keel on Facebook -
Blog: Red Sky Book Blog -

Arie Pavlou is a popular chef who attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and then perfected his craft at some of the top-rated Michelin restaurants in France and New York.  He has lived and worked in France, Cyprus and the U. S. and is an avid world traveler who speaks five languages.  He enjoys all sports and has a talent for knife-throwing, which he perfected at Le Cordon Bleu.  Currently Chef de Cuisine at the renowned Bridgehampton Inn in New York, his specialties include Caramelized Baked Alaska, Winter Salad, Roast Lamb Fondue, Wild Game and Poached Pears with Mint Ice Cream.  The Congressman’s Wife is his first novel, and he’s currently writing a cookbook.

For more information:
Arie Pavlou on Facebook -

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Do you have a set schedule for writing, or are you one of those who write only when they feel inspired?

    1. Oh, Mai - I love your questions (and thanks for following the tour). I have a schedule. I try to treat writing like a 9 to 5 job. Otherwise, I'd just sit around and talk about writing.

  2. congrats on the tour, the book looks great, and thanks for the chance to win :)

    1. Thanks for following along on the tour, Lisa. Good luck on the giveaway!

  3. Ok I love Joe Manganiello, so I would love for that to happen! LOL! I really enjoyed following your book tour and reading your excerpts and interviews. Best of luck with this release and with the rest of the trilogy! I look forward to reading it! Have a great weekend! :)

  4. Don't we all - who could not love Joe Manganiello? Thanks for folowing the tour and reading all our stuff. Good luck with the giveaway!

  5. Replies
    1. You're welcome, Tammy! Thanks for following the tour and good luck with the giveaway.

  6. I enjoyed following the tour and learning about The Congressman's Wife, sounds like a great book!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Eva. Good luck with the giveaway. I know you'll enjoy The Congressman's Wife.

  7. I have enjoyed the tour. Sounds like a great read.

    1. Thanks for following the tour, Rita. Good luck with the giveaway!

  8. I enjoyed the interview and excerpt. Since The Congressman's Wife is the first book in a trilogy will these characters make an appearance or be a part of the next books in the series? Thanks for the chance at the giveaway

    1. Hi, Maria - Most of the characters will continue in the next books, especially Alice, the publicist who's in love with the congressman. The second installment is The Congressman's Mistress and Alice will have a starring role. The third and final book in the series will be The Congressman's Executioner. Thanks for stopping by!

  9. I enjoyed the interview. Nice getting to know the author

    1. Thanks, Amy. I've enjoyed this tour so much, especially the opportunity to interact with readers. Good luck with the giveaway!

  10. I've enjoyed following the tour for The Congressman's Wife and I'm looking forward to reading it. Thanks for sharing all of the excerpts and interviews along the way :)

  11. Hi, Victoria. Thanks so much for following the tour, and for reading the excerpts and interviews. Good luck with the giveaway!