By Deborah Coonts,
Author of Lucky Stiff
When my then fifteen-year-old son suggested a family relocation to Las Vegas, my then husband and I started packing. Okay, maybe we didn’t think it through, but after five years in suburban Maryland we had yet to find our niche, so we were ready for a change. Little did I know, the story I had been looking for was lurking in Sin City. In retrospect, perhaps it should’ve been obvious, but back then I was pretty naive.
With bags packed and good wishes ringing in our ears (The one I remember the best was: You’re going to finish raising a hormonal teenage male in Las Vegas? Are you on drugs? I’m still thankful those ‘friends’ didn’t call Social Services), we packed two cars and a moving van and headed toward the bright lights.
A lot of people say Vegas is an acquired taste — not for me.
Where else outside of maybe New York City can you watch an everchanging cross-section of the world parade past and still go home and sleep in your own bed? Absolute heaven for a storyteller.
However, it is true that everyone sees something different in Vegas.
I see magic.
And this is the Vegas I wanted to write about. The fun stuff. Not bodies buried in the desert. Not mobsters. Not fools losing everything. But the real Vegas. The forty-five million visitors a year — each of whom are on a mission of mischief, the celebrities, the singers, the shows, the amazing shopping — that Vegas.
Wanna Get Lucky? is the beginning of the story. Of course, the story had to be set in a huge strip casino/resort, and since I’m a storyteller, not a reporter, I created my own — The Babylon. And who better to tell the story than a woman in her early thirties (old enough to know better, but young enough to ignore it) who is the Head of Customer Relations?
On a roll, I wrote the first sentence of the story — I’m big on beginnings — then came to a screeching halt.
Great, forty-three words into the next Great American Novel and I had writer’s block. This was going to be harder than I thought.
That’s when I started hearing voices.
At first, I thought maybe this ought to worry me, but then I remembered an interview with P. D. James. When asked how she came up with her stories, she said something to the effect that she sat in a room with her characters, listened to what they had to say, then wrote it down. I was so there. And, by all accounts, Ms. James did all right. So, if it was good enough for her, it was fine for little ol’ me.
Lucky, my protagonist, was the first character to speak to me. Apparently fed-up with my waffling, she spoke up loud and clear — she told me her name — while I was minding my own business sitting on the porch at the Grand Lake Lodge in Colorado. Vacation interrupts. Two women and one man (my then husband) do not make a great vacation. Of course, if we’d been in Vegas, that would’ve been just an interesting evening . . . or so I’ve been told.
But I digress. Being given my protagonist’s name was a good start, but I was hoping for more. Lucky didn’t disappoint — she introduced me to her friends: The Great Teddie Divine (Las Vegas’ premier female impersonator who is straight and, understandably, has a tough time picking up women), Miss Patterson (Lucky’s plucky assistant and a cougar), the Beautiful Jeremy Whitlock (a private investigator and prime cougar bait), The Big Boss, and Mona (Lucky’s bordelloowning mother).
The whole female impersonator thing sort of opened the door for me. I mean, some of the impersonators in this town are amazing. And then I started wondering . . . well, anyway, I finally ended-up wondering what would a straight guy do if he spent his professional life sheathed in Oscar de la Renta? How would he do with women? Of course, this being my fantasy, I decided he might do all right. Think about it. A man who can speak Jimmy Choo? A man who can help me with make-up (I’m not a girly-girly.) A man who would not only know who Rodgers and Hammerstein were, but who could even hum a few bars of I’m Gonna Wash that Man Right Outta My Hair. All this and sex too? Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she? So, Teddie was born.
The cougar thing . . . well, I’m of a certain age — old enough to find that concept interesting. Enough said.
And who wouldn’t wonder what it would be like to have a mother in ‘the business’? This is Vegas after all.
The cast set, I actually had to come up with a story. Porn stars and spouse swappers?
The genesis for the porn star angle was a chapter of a book, Skin City by Jack Sheehan. Jack is a Vegas author and quite wonderful. The vignette he wrote that inspired me was a recitation of his attendance at the real adult film awards held in Vegas each January. I laughed so hard I had tears rolling down my face. So, of course, I had to have porn stars — of my own creation, of course.
And the spouse swappers — that idea came right out of Sixty Minutes.
Put the two together, along with a young woman who falls out of a tour helicopter, landing in the middle of the Pirate Show in front of Treasure Island, add some Vegas magic, and romance . . .
So, do you Wanna Get Lucky?
© 2011 Deborah Coonts, author of The Lucky O’Toole Vegas adventure series
Deborah Coonts, author of Lucky Stiff, says her mother tells her she was born in Texas a very long time ago, though she’s not totally sure — her mother can’t be trusted. But she was definitely raised in Texas on barbeque, Mexican food and beer. She currently resides in Las Vegas, where family and friends tell her she can’t get into too much trouble. Silly people. Coonts has built her own business, practiced law, flown airplanes, written a humor column for a national magazine, and survived a teenager. She is the author of the Lucky O’Toole Las Vegas adventure series.
Her first book, Wanna Get Lucky?, was released in 2010.
For more information please visit http://www.deborahcoonts.com, and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter
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Thank you, Deborah. I love that Lucky named herself 🙂 I hope she introduces you to many more characters! I can’t wait for her next adventure.
12 thoughts on “Guest Post: by Deborah Coonts”
I have never been to Vegas, but this book and post makes me want to hop in the car and explore! Great post today! It was very entertaining!
Heather, I think this is the best author guest post I’ve had on the blog. Thanks for stopping by 🙂
This is a very funny lady. I’m tempted enough to put her books on my list.
An interesting and informative guest post and funny to boot, many thanks Deborah.
I just got a copy of Wanna Get Lucky? and am looking forward to reading. It sounds like a fun story. Thanks for the background info.
What a fun guest post! I bet the people watching in Las Vegas is second to none.
Nice guespost 🙂
Lol, yes I want to get lucky
I loved Vegas! I keep trying to get my hubby to jump on a plane and just go for the weekend. The books sound great and I loved your author post!
Somehow, my posts are getting posted…sorry about that. I am certain it’s due to operator error–hopefully, I am traveling up the learning curve.
Anyway, thank y’all (I’m currently visiting family in Texas, sorry) for your support. I’m glad Lucky tickles your funnybones…that’s our goal. Personally, I find Vegas charming, much as Lucky does (I wonder why?)
Lucky’s adventures continue in LUCKY STIFF (out in paperback tomorrow), a novella, LUCKY IN LOVE, to be published digitally on January 17th, and the third full-length installment, SO DAMN LUCKY, out in hardcover on
I’m currently dribbling as fast as I can on the fourth, LUCKY BASTARD. I’m really close to the end if I can get Lucky to just sit for a bit and tell me the rest of the story….
Thank you so much for having me here and for your enthusiasm!
The author sounds like an interesting and funny lady. I bet this is a fun series Mary.
I’ve been to Vegas several times and even considered moving there too. My husband LOVES Vegas. Great guest post, and I have books 1 and 2. I’ll be moving Wanna Get Lucky up the list.
I’ve only been to Vegas once and wasn’t a fan. But then I was sick so maybe I should give it another chance. I just finished a mystery (The Missing Ink) set in Vegas and loved it. I’ll have to give this series a try.
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