Janice Hanna’s books are always a treat for your funny bone (she also writes as Janice Thompson) with terrific characters and great romance. I’m looking forward to heading to the 1950s with her newest release for Summerside, Love Me Tender.
Over to you, Janice:~
Debbie Carmichael is twenty years old with beautiful brown eyes. She’s a typical tall, lean (tanned!) California girl with blond hair, which she wears in a fifties style ponytail. She also wears the red and white striped waitress uniform known to Sweet Sal’s Soda Shoppe (complete with white apron and white saddle shoes. Of course, she also has a great poodle skirt in a lovely shade of blue.
Johnny Hartman (that’s his Hollywood name, by the way) is a Midwest kid, new to the Hollywood scene. He’s got brown wavy hair and is very handsome, but not in a flashy sort of way. He’s about six foot tall, light-skinned (compared to her tanned skin) and has green eyes.
Even though Reese Witherspoon is older than twenty, she looks really young, especially with a ponytail. I could see her playing the role of Debbie Carmichael.
Because Johnny is a singer with a boy-next-door look, I can almost picture Zac Efron in the role. He might have to be a bit older, though.
Strengths and weaknesses
Debbie’s strength is her love for her family. She’s working hard to make the fundraiser a success so that her dad (who’s been in poor health) can retire. Her weakness is that she wants to fix everything herself. When things don’t go the way she thinks they should, she gets upset.
Johnny’s strength is his singing voice (wowza!) and his spiritual life. He wants to make it big in Hollywood, but not at the expense of his real-life “boy next door” persona. His faith guides him every step of the way.
Debbie, like many girls from the ‘50s, is a little flighty and tends to fall in love with every big star that comes along. She was in love with Pat Boone, then Elvis, then Bobby Conrad. . .and now Johnny Hartman!
Johnny’s only real quirk is that he’s a Midwest boy trying to make his way in L.A., so he often looks and feels a little out of place!
Rel: This is Pat Boone for all you GenY readers!
Your inspiration for the character
The inspiration for this whole story came from a musical comedy that I wrote back in 2000 called “Johnny Be Good.” (Ironically, I’m currently directing “Johnny Be Good” at this very moment at a local Christian theater!) The character of Johnny came from that show/production, but Debbie’s character is brand new. I patterned her after the Peppermints (singing waitresses) in “Johnny Be Good.”
Background to the story
As I mentioned above, the story was patterned (at least in part) after “Johnny Be Good.” However, I should mention why I chose to set the story in Laguna Beach. In the final ten years of my dad’s life, he loved to travel to Laguna Beach. Every summer he would rent a house there and invite all of the kids and grandkids. We had so much fun, particularly when he would take us to Ruby’s diner for lunch or dinner. We always had chocolate shakes and burgers/fries. Yum! I patterned Sweet Sal’s Soda Shoppe after Ruby’s. It’s a typical 50’s soda shop, lots of red, white, black and chrome. Tables and chairs. Cute menus and a great jukebox. Like Ruby’s, Sweet Sal’s Soda Shoppe is on the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway). Directly across the street from Sweet Sal’s? The glorious waters of the Pacific and white, white sand. Here are some links to Ruby’s:
Thanks for the trip to the 1950s, Janice Always enjoy your spotlights!
Relz Reviewz Extras
Character spotlight on Belinda & Georg from Love Finds You in Poetry, Texas
Visit Janice’s website