Paul Newman was the main catalyst for this book. Both “The Hustler” and “The Color of Money” specifically. They got me thinking about mentoring someone with talent and the whole idea of teaching someone tricks of trades. With him, it was pool, but poker has exploded on the scene and it carries a lot of the same dynamics – even more so – when it comes to learning about playing people. And I thought it could be really fun to explore that dynamic between two people who are obviously attracted to each other, but are going to have basic trust issues because their profession is to literally lie, bluff and beat the other one. Can they ever develop real trust, or will they always be watching and waiting, seeing if the other person is playing them? Or, potentially worse, if they have killer instincts, will they slip into bad habits of trying to game their romantic partner?
I wanted to take that premise and instead of going into a dark and suspicious tone with it, try to keep it light and sexy. Playful. So I tried to come up with characters who have obvious issues, love the game, but are also deeply attracted to each other on a level that isn’t just sexual, but also intellectual and, most importantly, emotional. They make each other laugh and put each other at ease.
Hopefully, readers will find the story overall engaging because of this back-and-forth tension, but also funny because they don’t really have nasty intentions.
I’ve been lucky enough to have been published before, but with the Kindle boom, I thought it was time to try my hand at self-publishing. It’s so inexpensive to do it yourself now, and I’m a big control freak anyhow. So the appeal of having all the control over the book in every aspect was too tempting to resist.
Susan DiPlacido is the author of 24/7, Trattoria, Mutual Holdings, House Money, Lady Luck, Shuffle Up and Deal, and American Cool. 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. Her 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.
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