Friday, May 11, 2012

Lost In Italy Character Interview: Trent & Halli

This interview was unveiled at World Literary Cafe, but I also wanted to post it here for readers to enjoy as the interviewer tried to have a serious talk with Trent from LOST IN ITALY. Halli had to jump in to try to keep him in line. Enjoy!

Stacey Joy Netzel

Interviewer:  For those who might not have read the book, please introduce yourself and tell us a little about the book you star in.

“Hi.  I’m Trent Tomlin, here to tell you all about Lost In Italy. Yes, I’m that Trent Tomlin—the movie star.  But first the book, then we’ll get to me.  I’ve given some thought as to why Stacey Joy Netzel used that title, since we were never technically lost. Well, Halli thought she was for a little bit, but seeing as I kidnapped her, I knew where she was all along. I guess her siblings were lost, so that makes sense, but the book is about our journey—mine and Halli’s—not Ben and Rachel, so maybe it doesn’t. Plus, they didn’t really get lost, they were taken hostage.”

“Oh, boy.  Can I interrupt here, Trent?”

Trent turns toward the shadows off-set where the female voice came from:  “By all means, sweetie pie.”  (leans forward to say very quietly)  “Halli Sanders, my better half.”

Halli:  “Stacey decided on Lost In Italy for two reasons.  One, I was lost for at least the first three or four chapters.”

Trent:  “But—”

Halli:  “And two, we were both figuratively lost until we found each other.”

Trent:  “Figuratively lost?  I think you’re over thinking it.”

Halli:  “If anyone is over thinking it’s you.  Just tell them about the book.”

Trent shrugs:  “Well, apparently, Lost In Italy is a book about two figuratively lost people who find each other.”

Halli: “Trent.”

Trent:  “Along the way there are car chases, gun fights, suspicion of trafficking of endangered animals, murder, hostage taking, daring rescues, a bit of drinking, some great lovemaking, more action—”

Halli:  “I think the readers are looking for something more like a DVD back cover blurb.”

Trent:  “Oh.  In that case... Halli Sanders spent two years planning the trip of a lifetime to Italy. Her itinerary did not include being stranded by her siblings, kidnapped by a sexy American movie star—I love the sexy part of that by the way—dodging bullets, or fleeing criminals in a car chase around Lake Como. And that’s just in the first three hours.  Trent Tomlin—”

Halli:  “They can read that on the back of the book.”

Trent huffs in frustration:  “Then why do I have to explain it?”

Halli:  “They want it in your point of view.  A brief description of what the book is about.”

Trent:  “It’s a hundred and twelve thousand words.  That’s three hundred and forty-five single spaced print pages.  You want me to be brief?”

Halli:  “Yes.”

Trent thinks a moment:  Lost In Italy is a wild ride of action and adventure, with some murder and danger thrown in for good measure.”

Halli groans:  “Too generic.  You lived it, Trent, tell the readers what it’s about without giving away the plot.”

Trent:  “This is too much like work.  Where’s my script?” (quickly glances in the direction of Halli’s growl)  “I’m kidding! brief.  Okay, here goes.  The catalyst of the story is my brother Sean’s death a couple months earlier. The Italian police ruled it a suicide but I didn’t believe them, so when the book starts I’m investigating with a retired Italian cop and Halli accidentally video tapes that cop getting shot by the suspects.  I kidnap her to keep her safe, the killers take her brother and sister hostage to negotiate for the evidence, and that’s when the action and adventure begins.  How’s that?”

Halli:  “Good as it’s going to get, obviously.”

Okay, then, moving on... We all want to be different, so what is the one thing you wish Stacey had done differently with you?

Trent:  “She could’ve made me less handsome. I mean, being undercover is hard when all the girls—”

Trent winces, grins, and then turns an innocent expression toward Halli: “What?”

Halli:  “Put the ego away for the interview.  There’s enough of it in the book.”

Trent turns back:  “Okay, fine.  I’ll tell you this, I wish Stacey had given me superhuman powers or something.  Being invincible would’ve been great because getting shot really hurts.”

Halli: “I said don’t give away the plot!”

Trent:  “All I said is getting shot hurts.  Everyone knows that.”

Halli:  “And now everyone knows you get shot in the book.”

Me and Troy on my research trip to
Italy this past fall...and yes, this is
the same brother (he's my only brother)
who left me behind in 1996
Trent:  “So?  There’s lots of guns and shooting, so it stands to reason someone got shot.  At least it wasn’t you.”

Halli:  “Oh my God, would you shut-up?  You’re going to ruin it for them.”

Trent rolls his eyes:  “She’s bossy in the book, too.”

Halli:  “I am not.”

Trent:  “You are too.”  (swivels to glare into the shadows) “Whose interview is this, anyway?”

Silence from the wings.

Trent swivels back:  “That’s right.  I apologize for my producer’s interruptions.  Please continue.”

If you could have added something to the story, and Stacey would have let you, what would that have been?

Trent:  “Seriously, super human powers.  Then I could’ve taken down Alrigo, and Lorenzo would—“

Halli:  Don’t give away the plot!”

Trent throws up his hands:  “I’m not going to.  Geez.  But come on, don’t you think it would’ve been fun to leap buildings in a single bound?  Fly through the air?  Catch a bullet with my bare hand?”

Halli:  “It’s a romantic suspense, Trent, not a paranormal fantasy.  And if you could’ve done all that, Stacey wouldn’t have had to write about you kidnapping me to save me, and we probably never would’ve met.”

Trent frowns, contemplating Halli’s retort:  “I hadn’t thought of it that way.  I guess I’m okay with being shot.”

Halli:  “You guess?”

Trent:  “You know what I mean.” (motions with his hand for the next question)  “Quick—move on before I dig myself deeper.”

What do you love best about yourself? What do you like least?

Trent:  “What do I love best?  Come on, what kind of question is that when I’ve been ordered to keep my ego under wraps?  I’ll get yelled at for anything I say.”

Halli:  “You make me sound like a nag.”

Trent:  I don’t make you sound like anything, sweetheart.  But wait, I got it.”  (under the guise of shifting in his director’s chair, he leans forward to whisper) “And she’ll love this.”  (sits back again and speaks normal)  “What I love best about myself is that I’m smart enough to recognize a good thing when I see it.  I got the girl, didn’t I?  Shain never sticks around for more than a kiss or two and a little bit of fun.  He’s totally missing out.  Never should’ve left Emma in High Lonesome. Come to think of it, I’m going to have to talk to Eastwood about that.”

Halli:  “If they haven’t read the book already, they may not know who Shain is.”

Trent: “That’s right.  Sorry.  Shain West is the old west movie character that made my career. He’s to me like Indiana Jones is to Harrison Ford.  Only younger and better looking.”

Snort of laughter from the sidelines, and then Halli:  “Can you imagine if he didn’t try to control his ego?”

Trent, ignoring Halli: “To answer the other part of your question, what I like least...?”  (rubs his chin thoughtfully)  “My lack of humility.  I mean, I really wish I could learn to—“

Halli:  “Oh, pluu-eese.  Next question, for everyone’s sake.”

What part of the book was the hardest for you and Stacey to work through?

Trent: “Well...I’d have to say she had a hard time convincing Halli to warm up to me.  I mean, she already knew how charming I could be, but Halli—”

Villa Bottini in Lucca, Italy
view from the back garden
Halli:  “That’s something Stacey and I had to work through, not you.”

Trent:  “And I’m so glad you did, baby.”

Halli:  “Can you try to be serious for one minute and answer the woman’s question?”

Trent’s smile fades:  “I barely talk about stuff like this with you, and now you want me to tell complete strangers?”


Trent sighs.  More silence as he contemplates his boots and fiddles with the leather stitching on his western costume vest:  “The stuff with my dad wasn’t easy.  And my brother Sean.  I told you his murder started all this, and it really took me awhile to believe in my heart that his death wasn’t my fault.” (glances toward the shadows) “I have Halli to thank for that, and her tenacious stubbornness.  Which then made the end of the book that much harder, too.  There was the one part where I thought...” (pauses, swallows hard, and shakes his head) “Let’s just say, trying to keep her safe took about ten years off my life.”

Halli:  “And you still look great, honey.”

Trent’s serious expression softens to a loving smile.

Is there a sequel for this book? If so, what do you want to accomplish in the next book.  If not, do you wish you could continue your story?

Trent:  “Sequel—yes! You see the rock I put on her hand? Our story is nowhere near ended. But since the next one is Ben’s book, and Halli and I had enough adventure to last us for a few years, we’ll confine our excitement to the bedroom.”

Halli:  “Hey!”

Trent leans forward to whisper again: “She’s still shy about things like that in public. It’s so cute.”

Halli stands up and moves into the light, holding her phone:  “You’re due back on set in five so we’re going to have to wrap things up.”

Trent’s million-dollar movie star grin lights up his face and his ego visibly rushes forward:  “That’s her excuse to get me alone. Now that she acknowledges my irresistibility, she’s on me all the time.”

Halli: “Trent!  That’s it, interview’s over.”

Trent’s sexy laughter echoes across the soundstage:  “Isn’t she beautiful when she’s angry?  Sometimes I rile her up just to see those blue eyes spark.”

Halli’s gaze narrows.  She crosses her arms over her chest.

Trent lifts his palms up to ward off her advance:  “Easy, sugar.  One more question and then I’m all yours.”

Do you have anything else you'd like to say? 

Trent:  “I have a question for you.  If you end up talking to Ben, can you find out what happened with that Italian hottie, Evalina?  Because he refuses to talk about her.  They were supposed to go to dinner, and—”

Halli:  “She’s not going to talk to Ben, his book isn’t written yet.  You want to find out what happened with Evalina, you’ll just have to read the book after Stacey writes it.”
Trent:  “Well that’s not fair.  Sleeping with the main character’s sister ought to get me more than that.”

Halli:  “It gets you great sex.  Now thank the readers for letting you waste their time and let’s get going before Clint texts me again.  Your massive ego is holding up production.”

Trent grins and winks:  “See?  Irresistible.  But on a serious note, I do thank you for taking the time to sit with me, and Halli, to talk about when we were Lost In Italy.” (he leans close)   “Hopefully my joking didn’t get too out of hand.  Truly, Halli’s the irresistible one, just don’t tell her I said that—I’m already at her mercy.  And you’re definitely going to want to watch for Ben and Evalina’s story.  If Ben’s not talking, I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be one hell of a book.”
While Trent and Halli were along the shores of Lake Como, Ben and Evalina
will be traveling through the more rural parts of Italy.
Storm clouds over Rome as Troy and I drove
into the city the night before we flew home.

Get ready for another wild ride as Ben and Evalina...


(Coming soon!)

Pick up your copy today to finish the wild ride!


BN: (after May 30, 2012)

Smashwords: (after May 30, 2012)
(formats for iBook Store, Sony, Kobo, PDF, EPUB and other ereaders)
Thanks so much for reading and reviews are always greatly appreciated!


  1. I read this on the World Wide Cafe and enjoyed then. Liked it even more now. But I love the photos from your research trip. Especially the one withe the stormy sky over Rome.

  2. Thanks, Casey. Isn't that photo awesome? I took it through the window as we were driving in. My poor brother, I kept saying, "Oh my God, look at that sky!" and finally he's like, "Um, I'm kinda driving here." so I shut up and showed him the pictures later. LOL

  3. cool interview. Love That Trent!
    Awesome pics of Rome, too. You must have the best brother in the world to take you there.

    Lost in Italy is destined to become a classic!

  4. Thanks, Lily! My brother definitely has his moments. :)

  5. Just read Lost in Italy again. Even better the second time! The whole time I was reading it, I was picturing it as a movie. This book would make for a great movie-one I would definitely go see!

    Thanks for writing such a great story. Can't wait to read Ben's story!

    1. (sorry for the late reply)

      Thanks for letting me know, Elise! I'm just happy when readers enjoy the book--but it's awesome to know someone read it a second time. :)

      Now I hope Ben's story can compete.