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Interview: Susan DiPlacido, Author of Shuffle Up and Deal

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Susan DiPlacido is the author of several books including: 24/7, Trattoria, Mutual Holdings, House Money, Lady Luck, Shuffle Up and Deal, and American Cool. Ms. DiPlacido’s works have won many awards and nominations including: Trattoria was nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Small Press Romance 2005, and her short story, “I, Candy,” won the Spirit Award at the 2005 Moondance International Film Festival. American Cool won the bronze medal in the 2008 IPPY awards and was a finalist in the 2008 Indie Book Awards. Shuffle Up and Deal was nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Small Press Erotic Fiction 2010.

Susan DiPlacido’s fiction has appeared in Susie Bright’s Best American Erotica 2007, Maxim Jakubowski’s Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica Vol. 6 and 7, Zane’s Caramel Flava, and Rebellion: New Voices of Fiction.

Readers can learn more about Susan DiPlacido and her work by visiting the following links:

Website ~ Facebook ~ Blog ~ Goodreads

Could you please tell us a bit about your book? The story? The characters?

Meet Izzy Santillo. She’s a charming-but-lonely thirty-four year old woman who loves poker and harbors a secret crush on the reigning king of Hold ‘em. Meet Nick Nolan, the reigning king of Hold ‘em. On the tables, he’s fast and loose and almost always wins. But when it comes to women, playboy Nick holds his cards too close and always loses. When Izzy and Nick meet in embarrassing fashion at a Las Vegas poker tournament, Izzy’s secret dreams turn into a public nightmare. But despite her humiliation, she may have finally sparked Nick’s interest in something other than cards. Before long, Nick takes a gamble on Izzy and raises the stakes when he offers to help her sharpen her game. But Izzy’s convinced that Nick is bluffing and will fold his hand after he’s had her on the flop. But a string of outrageous proposition bets and steamy trips on the poker tour, from Los Angeles to Miami, make these two fierce competitors realize that it may be time to put all their chips on the table. Will Izzy and Nick pair up? Or will they lose it all if they go all-in for each other? Sit down, ante up, and hang on, as Nick and Izzy get ready to Shuffle Up and Deal.

How did you come up with the title and how much say did you have on the cover design?

I’ve been published with small presses before, but I decided to self-pub this book, so I had complete say on the cover design. I’m happy with how it turned out, because I think it captures the fun and flirty flavor of the book. The title was probably the easiest part, because “Shuffle up and deal” is a standard line in the poker world when they’re ready to play, and it had a nice double meaning for this book, as in dealing with life and consequences.

Do you have a favorite line or excerpt that you would like to share from your book?

Well, I hate to put out my personal favorite, because it’s a dinner scene with Izzy’s whole family as they’re meeting Nick. It gets quite comical, but the humor is based on previous events in the story. I have had several readers tell me it was their favorite passage, too.

What are some of your favorite ways to promote your work?

I do not like to promote my work! It’s very difficult for me because I’m shy and I’d also rather generally talk to people and learn about them and their interests, so it makes me very uncomfortable to prattle on about myself. So, thank you again for having me, and I hope I can give enough information.

What is a typical writing day like for you?

Well, I don’t treat writing like a regular nine to five job. When I start a project, I tend to get obsessed with it and I can work upwards of 18 hours a day writing and typing until it’s finished. Then I immediately dive in and work on editing and polishing. Once I have it where I want it, then I’ll take a break until the next project strikes me, and that could be a month or much longer.

What are some ways that you like to relax?

Oh, I love to swim. I swim a mile and a half every day, and it’s a great way to relax and focus at the same time. I get a lot of great ideas in that time. Vodka also plays a big role in my relaxation regiment.

What author/s do you think are overlooked in the writing/reading world today?

Don Capone and Donna George Storey both spring to mind. They’ve got some great work out that could use more attention. Ellen Meister is a great writer with wonderful stories. I think she’s pretty successful, but should be a household name. And then there’s me, of course. I wouldn’t mind having a few more readers.

What author would you most like to meet and why?

Anthony Bourdain. I know people primarily think of him as a chef or TV personality, but his book Kitchen Confidential is what started him on his successful road, and it deserves the praise it gets. I think he’s not only a fantastic writer, but he’d be a great time to hang out with and eat and drink and listen to the Stooges.

Do you have any upcoming projects that you would like to share with readers?

After Shuffle Up, I have one more book in my Vegas series titled Lady Luck. Though these books are all technically a series, readers can pick up any one and read them individually and not be lost. Lady Luck is one I’m also proud of, because it’s a comic version of Hamlet that centers around a Vegas showgirl who gets conked on the head and believes she’s the human incarnation of luck.

What is something about yourself that would come as a surprise to many people?

It’s no surprise to anyone who’s ever been in a car with me, but I’m a terrible driver.

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