I had an interview with Cynthia Vespia, author of the book Lucky Sevens. It's an interesting read for those that enjoy gambling, vice, the mob, and stage magic, and it's worth a peek at least.
Where did you get the idea for a book about a head of security at a Las Vegas casino? Do you live near Las Vegas? I'm a born and raised Las Vegas native. My father was an entertainer on the famed Las Vegas Strip for over 20 years and my entire family has been involved in casinos, etc. in one form or another. I also worked for a private security company that did guard work for high-end retail shops. So you can imagine I have a great deal of real life stories at my fingertips and they needed to be told, embellished of course as this is a work of fiction, but still sprinkled in a bit of reality. Without revealing any spoilers, can you drop a hint about something important that happens in the book to give people an idea of what they can expect? Well, Lucky Sevens starts out with a major death so imagine where it will go from there! After that you have corruption, alcoholism, strippers, drugs running, a shootout and a little magic. It is your typical day in Vegas. Tell us a bit about yourself, your history, and your passions. As I said I live in Las Vegas which comes with a stereotype. Everyone assumes you live on the Strip, work as a blackjack dealer or stripper, party all night, etc. That couldn't be further from the truth. The fluff they paint in certain books, songs, and movies about Vegas is just that...fluff. We have everyday lives here just as any other city. To be honest, the locals really don't hang out on the Strip unless we have too. There is alot more to Vegas than big casinos which is why I wanted to write Lucky Sevens. I'm a laid back person, I try to enjoy life as much as possible. I like outdoor activities like stand-up paddle board or hiking. I'm fairly active. I was fitness competitor from 2005-2008 so I continue to pursue fitness as a passion. Other than that I enjoy reading and movies, character driven stuff that moves me and also any type of artistic expression. I just took up drawing again and I'd like to pursue photography as well. But writing has always been my first passion. How long have you been writing? What made you take up the pen? I started writing when I was a young kid. I used to read alot and wanted to emulate my favorite authors so I would write out short stories on my sister's old typewriter. Then in high school I discovered author Dean Koontz and it was then that I realized I wanted to pursue writing as a career. I wanted to be able to pull emotion from readers the same way Koontz had been able to move me with his stories. And really enjoy creating characters and worlds for them to play in. Who was the inspiration for your main character, Lucky Luchazi? Lucky's main inspiration came from my father. He's old world Vegas when the Mafia used to run the show and the town was classy. People wore suits out to the casino and it wasn't a destination for kids. It sounds strange but back in those days there was actually LESS crime in Vegas. My dad always used to say "we need to get rid of all the crooks and bring back The Mafia." And its true. The stuff that goes on today in Vegas would NEVER be tolerated by the Mafia. Sure there was crime and corruption but it never bled out into the type of street violence we have these days. Transients, hookers, gang violence, the porn peddlars on the street. None of that would be here. I also got alot of Lucky's quirks from a security guard who trained me to do my job. He had a pocket in his coat where he hid his drinks to sip them throughout the day (granted I don't think his were full of alcohol!) and he had a very specific outlook on people, especially other security guards. So I based a few things off of him. But he is mostly based on my dad. How do you come up with names for your characters? I have a hard time finding the right names, but yours seem to work well. Character names are very important. They need to sound real but at the same time be memorable. Usually when I'm developing my story and my characters their names will pop into my head. I'll mull it around for awhile and see if I like it and then go from there. Sometimes I have to look up surnames, especially if I want a character to be of a certain ethnicity. I did make a mistake early on in Lucky Sevens where I named the lead Lucky Luciano. I happened to be speaking to an agent about the book and she asked me if it was THE Lucky Luciano, the famous mobster! I immediately went back and changed Lucky's surname to Luchazi. The villain of your book is a magician. Were you permanently scarred for life by some horrific Criss Angel-esque magic show you once watched? Ha ha! Actually I have seen Criss Angel's show and no it didn't scar me. I've actually met Criss and he is a pretty unique and interesting guy. But I actually based magician Chris King off my brother. My brother is a magician and his moniker is "The King of Magic" and his persona is based around that. I had his blessing to use that image for my character but I will say that I also embellished quite a bit as well. Not everything I wrote goes back to my bro, just a few things. But that is what writing is about, you create! Which authors/books have influenced your writing the most? As I said Dean Koontz is at the top of my list. I find his writing style to be the perfect amount of description but also pacing that flows and keeps the pages turning. I also grew up reading Piers Anthony and C.S. Lewis and I also enjoy Mary-Higgins Clark. Her writing style also moves fluently. I also loved Robert E. Howard's Conan series and based my fantasy novel series Demon Hunter off his type of old world writing. What author's writing style would you say yours is closest to? I would hope it is Dean Koontz but in reality you develop your own writing style. It helps to do alot of reading though. Reading many different authors will help you develop your own style. I noticed that a portion of the proceeds of the sale of this book goes to help the Colon Cancer Program at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center in honor of Charles and Leona Vespia. Can you give a bit of background? Charles and Leona are my mom and dad. Sadly they both passed away from complications of colon cancer. I remembered that after Sharon Osbourne went through her own colon cancer scare she developed a program at Cedars-Sinai specifically for the research of colon cancer. Because Lucky Sevens is dedicated to my father Charles I decided to donate a portion of the proceeds towards The Sharon Osbourne Colon Cancer Program at Cedars-Sinai in honor of both my mother and father. I recently sent them a check for $100.00. Hopefully in the future I'll be able to raise more but so far that's where we are at. If anyone else wants to help out their website is here: http://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Patients/Programs-and-Services/Colon-Cancer-Program/How-You-Can-Help.aspx Tell us about the future. Any new and intriguing books in the works? I have so many ideas I wish I had more time to get to them all! As of this writing I'm working on a follow up to my Demon Hunter trilogy titled Demon Huntress in which I follow my protagonists daughter as the fate of the free world passes to her to defend. I also have a multi-volume chick-lit type thriller that I'm working on. I will say that most of my work now will have a touch of paranormal in it! Where can we find/connect with you? I'm on the usual social media channels. And I love to answer questions so go ahead and seek me out! www.CynthiaVespia.com www.facebook.com/authorcynthia.vespia www.twitter.com/cynfulcharm