We've recently talked about Alexandra Allred's novel, Damaged Goods.

MyReadingLounge is very happy to say "Welcome!" to this great author for today's stop of the Blog Tour. 

Today we're meeting a special person: Damaged Goods' main character, Joanna Lucas. She has an amazing story to tell, and I bet she'll reveal something about her author...

Hi Joanna! Would you please introduce yourself to our readers who may not be familiar with your story?

I still can't believe people are listening to our story.  It's all so surreal. I never meant for this to become such a big deal.  Or, at least, I never imagined being a part of something so big. I am just an everyday woman who tried to start a life over after leaving my unfaithful and abusive husband. But I guess I should back up.  For a proper introduction, my name is Joanna Lucas.  I moved from the Hamptons after a very public, very messy divorce and hoped to renovate an old farm house and establish myself in a quiet, sleepy town.  Boy, was I ever wrong!

What do you do for a living?
Today, I am so proud to say I am living a dream as a sculptor and I run an animal sanctuary. I never fully believed in my own talent as an artist until I moved to Marcus and met my amazing friends.  Before my move to Texas, I was always told I was wasting my time, that I wasn't any good and I believed it. Who would have believed a crazy protest, an outrageous act of rebellion could have set me on course to live a dream? I still can't believe it. As for the animal sanctuary, I laugh almost every time I think about it.  Me! I, along with my friends, run a non-profit organization that rescues, feeds and houses exotic animals that were abused and/or thrown away by careless and thoughtless people. It is an honor to do this.  It's a tribute to someone we love.  Again, it's crazy.  It is a crazy life I live.
Where do you live?
I live in Marcus, Texas.
In one of the first chapters of Damaged Goods it's said that you're reading a book. I bet you like reading. Which books are you taking with you in Texas?

This is such a fun question.  You know, I was a bit of a book snob before my adventure began.  I have always loved biographies, history and historical fiction. When I moved to Marcus, I did have several boxes full of books that included The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard, Close to Shore by Michael Capuzzo, Weird Sisters by Elanor Brown and books by one of my favorite author, Erik Larson.  But today, you would never believe what books I have on my nightstand. Raising Emus: The Proud Bird that Lays the Emerald Egg by Carrol Ridlen, Real Stories of Big Cat Rescues: Tales from the Exotic Feline Rescue Center by Melanie Bowlin, A Wolf and His Man by Elizabeth Parr and We Bought A Zoo by Benjamin Mee. Oh, how my life has changed!

Your new home in Texas represents the new life you're beginning. Are you going there alone? Do you have a family?

When I moved to Marcus, I truly thought I was all alone.  I come from a very dysfunctional family, riddled with addictions and, well, denial.  This is difficult to discuss but I knew at a very early age that the only way I would survive was if I escaped.  I guess that was how I wound up with my ex-husband.  At the time, he seemed like the solution.  Well, his money seemed like the solution.  I had been so poor, I thought that money would solve my problems. All I managed to do was move from one dysfunctional family to another.  When I moved to Marcus, I thought I was done with people.  I didn't trust anyone.  I didn't want to trust anyone because it places you in a very vulnerable position. But now I have a family.  And I never knew that family could be like this.  We have a trust, a kind of bond that I cannot describe.  I love my sisters.  I love my husband.  And, yes, I consider my animals to be very much a part of the family.

What about your friends? What role does friendship have in your life?
They found me.  I was lost.  I was so lost and didn't even know it.  But these insane, crazy, nutty women just swooped into my life and changed my world.  The didn't just find me, they discovered me.  Until they came into my life I didn't know who I was.  Now I do and I owe them everything.

What do you consider are your strengths?
My strength is my home.  Shady Land. I know that might sound a bit odd but my home is our base for ... for everything.  We, the group of us, built our home despite the fire, big industry and naysayers.  We built this home in honor of lives lost and for the animals and for us, the survivors.  It is where we all come to love and laugh, celebrate and pay tribute.

If I say "love," do you think about someone -- or something -- in particular?

This makes me smile.  Thank you for asking this because it gives me pause to think about love.  When I came to Marcus, I honestly thought I would know know real love, be it in a sexual relationship or a friendship.  A family?  I just didn't think it existed for me.  So when I hear the word "love" I see the faces of the family I have today.  My girls.  Roberto.  My animals.

Would you tell us something we don't know about your writer -- Alexandra Allred?
She craves a Shady Land of her own.  The daughter of an Military Intelligence Officer, she moved all her life.  Every time she met a friend and felt settled in her new home, new orders came in and the family was packing again.  She dreams of having a home - a safe and healthy home - filled with friends and family (and animals) where she can finally settle down.


Thank you, Joanna, and thank you, Alex Allred!

Here's a gem for our readers!

Meet the real Suzette Lee, Sue Pope, with Alex Allred

Who's the author of Damaged Goods
Alexandra Powe Allred graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.A. in History, saying, "As everyone knows, once you get a degree in history, all you can really do is teach or write. I'm just doing what I can!" As the daughter of a (now retired) U.S. Diplomat, Allred traveled all over the United States and around the world. Her writing career began before graduation with several pieces on bi-lingual education with national education publications.

But the real stories began while living as a youth in Moscow, Russia. Under a communist regime, imagination and the ability to create stories was the very best way to beat boredom (and the freezing cold!). As her career was taking off, Allred embraced her second passion -- sports. She trained for and made the U.S. women's bobsled team in 1994, becoming the first U.S. National Champion. She was named Athlete of the Year by the United States Olympic Committee and garnered much worldwide attention as she was also 4 1/2 months pregnant at the time! Her training regimen was (and is) used by the United States and International Olympic Committees for pregnant athletes. Following her retirement from the sport in 1998, Allred returned to the literary world with The Quiet Storm.

While living in the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, NY, she was able to talk to Olympic and National athletes from all disciplines and share with sports enthusiasts. From there, her career was launched. She did adventure freelance writing for Sports Illustrated, Muscle & Fitness for Her, and Volvo magazines. She held a sports column, worked as an editor for NOW magazines outside Dallas, Texas and began working as a Clean Air advocate, often testifying before the EPA.

Today, she writes (mostly) fiction, teaches kinesiology classes for Navarro Community College while enjoying her family and animals in Texas.

Thanks to TWCS Publishing House for providing the ARC and the opportunity to participate in the blog tour.


Post a Comment

Follow me on Twitter!