Friday, August 6, 2010

The Dark Side: Shirl Henke

The Dark Side aims to shed light on that deep, dark, mysterious side of an author, a face that she rarely, if ever, shows to the public. What secret is she hiding behind that enigmatic smile on her official photo (if any)? what juicy tidbit is she keeping from the world? What are some of the things that she liked, things we would never know, because it's not part of her bio?

Today, we have with us SHIRL HENKE, author of LOVE LESSONS AT MIDNIGHT, who regaled us in a previous post with some fun facts about her book and an exclusive excerpt.

Remember, think dark, dark, dark...

What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you? 
The most embarrassing thing that ever happened to me was meeting a guy I had dated and stood up back in college.  He came to make a safety inspection at the house my husband and I were considering buying.  Even though it had been over twenty years, I recognized him because I remembered his name.  But since I had changed my hair color and wore no make-up the day he came for the appointment, I hoped he would not know who I was.  My name was now Henke, after all.  We exchanged smiles and introduced ourselves as any polite strangers would, but I got an uneasy feeling that he knew.  He gave no overt indication anything was amiss.  We were paying him to inspect the house, after all.  The house passed every test.  Yeah, but he remembered me, all right.  We found out later that there were numerous code violations we then had to pay for instead of the sellers because our new home had “passed” the inspection before we bought it.  Ah, well, I had stood him up on that second date because he was a jerk even then.  Some men never change.

Imagine that for some reason, your lights suddenly went out! What would be the first thing you’d do or say?
When—not if—the lights go out in our house, I know exactly what to do.  Before we bought our home in the woods, we were warned about power outages around the area.  They’re so common, we keep a big stock of candles and flashlights upstairs and down.  I usually say, “Oh, the lines are down again.  I’ll light the candles, Jim.  You go fire up the generator.”  He takes a flashlight and heads to the garage to start our 7500 HP generator.  No point being afraid of sudden darkness in the Henke household.  It happens multiple times a year and I wouldn’t trade my wonderful yard for anything.  Besides, candles are romantic!

What is the most romantic thing your husband/SO/date has done under the cover of darkness?
The most romantic thing my husband has ever done occurred on the night of our 30th wedding anniversary.  We were supposed to have a late dinner at our favorite restaurant, but instead he surprised me.  He drove to the small motel where we had spent our wedding night and pulled the car up to the door of the very cabin we’d occupied.  I was speechless as he came around the car and opened my door, then carried me into the room.  Candles were flickering, a bottle of iced champagne was ready to be popped and thirty long-stemmed roses were strewn across the bed.  Jim had arranged with the motel manager to have everything ready for us.  We spent a most memorable night.  I still have three of the dried roses preserved in a goblet in my breakfront.

What is the one thing fans wouldn’t know about you unless you tell them? 
One thing my readers do not know about me is that (believe it or not) I was painfully shy and insecure during my childhood and adolescence.  I grew up with all kinds of disfiguring skin conditions and horrible allergies and did not find relief until I was in college.  That isn’t exactly a confidence builder for any girl, especially one who was the only redhead in her grade school class and was teased mercilessly about being a carrot top..  

Who is your favorite dark character? Why? 
My favorite “dark character” from a book would have to be one of my own creations, Conal Quinn from Night Wind’s Woman and White Apache’s Woman.  I based him on an actual historical figure I read about in my research on the eighteenth century Southwest.  There was an Irish mercenary who became governor of one of Spain’s colonies, in what is now our state of New Mexico.  This charming fellow really went around the bend, slaughtering the native inhabitants and making necklaces of their ears which he actually wore!   Conal Quinn was the father of the heroes in both novels, who were half brothers.  But Conal was a complex villain, a man who had been driven from his home by the English and lost his whole family.  He turned, naturally enough, to England’s deadly enemy, Spain, for work as a soldier.  They sent him to a harsh, unforgiving desert land far different from his green memories of Ireland.  Conal possessed good looks and charm and his fortunes rose before madness claimed him.  I like to think that the small good in him was passed along to his sons Joaquin and Santiago, who were worthy heroes indeed. 

Lightning Round

white or dark chocolate : Dark chocolate, yum!
milk or coffee :
Coffee, black and strong
night or day :
Day, sunny mornings especially
coke or 7-up :
Neither Coke nor 7-up because I dislike soda pop
New York cheesecake or black forest cake :
Cheesecake always!
vampire or werewolf :
Neither vampires nor werewolves as I'm not into "goolies"
football game or candlelit dinner :
Candlelit dinners are sooo romantic
ebook or print :
Print books I can hold in my hands
spring or autumn :
Spring when my garden comes to life
sweet or salty :
Salty as I always have craved salt more than is good for me
kitten or puppy :
Kittens because I have always been a "cat lady"
cook or take-out : 
I love to cook and don't much care for fast food

Shirl Henke's LOVE LESSONS AT MIDNIGHT is now available at Book Depository (print). This title is also included in the list of giveaways for our ongoing contest.

Shirl Henke's other title:
Pale Moon Stalker


dor said...

Very interesting interview. Those books are a must well.
I am still thinking what is the most embarrassing thing that happened to me...wierd eh? There's gotta be something.

dorcontest at gmail dot com

Darlyn said...

Your husband is so sweet!I would cry if my future husband do that.Lucky you!

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