This next few weeks will be an exciting time as I officially reveal the cover of my sequel to Wanted: One Ghost, Distilled Spirits. I knew I wanted the wonderfully talented Taria A. Reed to create my cover again since she’d done such a fantastic job on Wanted: One Ghost. As I anxiously awaited her design, I couldn’t even imagine what she’d come up with. When I saw the proof I was floored! I couldn’t have picked a better cover. She captured my characters Millie Taylor and Sean Lightfoot beautifully. See for yourself!
Those eyes are so captivating!
I asked Ms. Reed who the models were and she told me. I wanted to thank them for such a fantastic job. My ghost, Millie Taylor is portrayed by the lovely, Liana Young and her hero, Sean Lightfoot is portrayed by the very handsome, James Rizzo.
I’ve been lucky enough to have the gorgeous James Rizzo with me today. I still can’t believe he is the cover model for my latest novel, Distilled Spirits. How fantastic is that!! Taria Reed seemed to know what I had in mind for my hero, Sean Lightfoot, when she created the cover with James.
So James, I’m going to get right to the meat of this interview. I have an inquisitive mind. I love to research the characters in my books—so I figured it might be fun to ‘research’ the man who portrays Sean Lightfoot for my book cover. As a reader of romance, I like to think that the model actually is the character in the book. As a realist, I know that is not the case so I’d like to see what it is about James Rizzo that makes a perfect character for many romance books.
Loni Lynne: Okay…I need to know (I’m probably old enough to be your mother but humor me), just how young are you?
James: I turned 35 on November 14th
Loni Lynne: Happy Be-lated Birthday, by a few days. 🙂
(Okay, maybe not old enough to be his mother–aunt maybe). I’ve lived all over the United States Michigan, Illinois, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Florida, Hawaii and Maryland, where were you born and did you move around a lot growing up or did you stay in one place?
James: I was born in Wilmington, DE, where I resided until I went to College in 1998. My first big move was to Maywood, NJ to pursue modeling and acting in New York 12 years ago.
Loni Lynne: Since I lived all over the country growing up I ended up going to 13 different schools in 12 years. I loved English Literature, American History and Art. What were your favorite classes in high school?
James: My favorite classes would have to be health and science- such as biology, and chemistry. I’ve always been very creative and fascinated with the human body.
Loni Lynne: You’ve modeled for some great book covers. How long have you been modeling and what made you decide to pursue the career?
James: I have been modeling since I was 20 years old. I decided to pursue it after competing in body-building for almost 3 years. I realized I didn’t want to be grotesque with custom clothes so I decided to trim down and pursue acting/modeling. My first transition from Body-building to modeling was when I participated in a Wilhelmina “South Beach Superstar Search”in Miami, Florida. I won the 2003 top promotional model category and have been doing it ever since.
Loni Lynne: No doubt you won! You would’ve gotten my vote.
Fate has a funny way of leading us where we need to be, how did fate lead you to be a cover model? Do you see yourself modeling ten years from now? Where do you see yourself then? Or are you like me and ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ as far as life goes?
James: I have always been a someone that believes in overcoming life’s obstacles through hard-work and dedication. I can usually accomplish anything I put my mind to. My persistence in a very competitive industry allowed me to become a cover model. I see myself living in California as a working actor 10 years from now. I will continue to model because it has always been a passion.
Loni Lynne: We’ll definitely be looking for you in film and TV.
When you posed for Taria Reed (my fabulous cover artist), did you realize you would end up on the cover of Distilled Spirits? What’s the process for doing a photo shoot?
James: I was not aware I would end on the cover but Taria did mention that she had a few covers lined up for me. Taria originally discovered me through Model Mayhem, which is a great site for discovering new talent for any project. The process for doing a photo shoot usually consists of photographers and models sharing a mutual agreement as far as type of shoot, location, and time frame. The shoot should be convenient for both parties and the details such as wardrobe etc. should be discussed beforehand. I am very experienced and easy to work with.
Loni Lynne: Distilled Spirits is a paranormal romance based on a 200 year old ghost (Millie Taylor) who is brought back to life, kind of, by our hero (Sean Lightfoot). Do you believe in ghosts? What would you do if you were to encounter a friendly entity?
James: No, I do not believe in Ghosts but if I encountered one, it would certainly change my outlook about the deceased. I watch Horror movies frequently and they never scare me, just find them entertaining.
Loni Lynne: You’ve been on the covers of so many great romance novels, I am just going to come out and ask…Do you ever read any of them? If so, do you see yourself in any of the characters?
James: Its funny you mentioned that. I tell my mother all the time, “I’ll keep making them, you read them.” She’s a pretty quick reader and enjoys most of the novels. My mother usually gives me her synopsis upon completion. Sometimes she mentions how certain characters relate to me. I always tell her when I’m shooting another one because she likes to say “looks like I have some more reading to do!” haha
Loni Lynne: I can imagine she’s delighted to see you on the covers. She must be very proud.
It took me a while to find my Mr. Right and live happily ever after for 25 years and looking forward to at least another 25. (Okay, yes…do the Math! Like I said…I’m old.) What about you? Have you found Mrs. Right? Or are you still looking for that perfect someone?
James: I have not found Mrs. Right yet. I will be honest; I’m extremely picky and want to make the right decision. With over 50% of marriages resulting in divorce, I certainly don’t want to rush and regret it later in life.
Loni Lynne: Good thinking. When the right one comes along, it just clicks and you know they are the one.
My ideal date would be a quiet dinner with my hubby downtown and then walking around holding hands on a brisk fall night. (His though is different—he’s such a guy!) I need to know, are you more of a romantic kind of guy or do you prefer a simpler form of dating? Any great romantic ideas to share? What would you consider the ‘perfect date’?
James: I would consider myself very romantic for the right woman. I have cooked dinner for Valentine’s Day before and surprised women with flowers. I really need to be into the girl for my creative/romantic side to come out. The perfect date for me would have to be sharing a variety of favorite food- Italian dishes, seafood, and dessert followed by a lounge with a fireplace, sharing a bottle of wine.
A strong jawline–a dependable man.
Loni Lynne: (Wow! That would be ‘perfect’. Fanning myself…)
Okay, now for random questions, shootin’ from the hip!
- Color: Blue
- Food: Steak
- Movie: Anything Inspirational – last movie was “Fury” with Brad Pitt
- TV Show: Married with Children
- Actress and Actor: Scarlett Johansson/Denzel Washington
- Holiday: Christmas
Loni Lynne: Okay back to some pertinent questions again—If you had your way, where would you like to live? Cabin in the woods/Penthouse apartment in the big city/or a bungalow by the shore? And why?
James: I love the summer months and growing up I would go boating on the weekends with my family. We use to go to Maryland and make a whole day of it- barbecues, water-skiing, jet skiing, and tubing. I enjoy a warm climate all year round so I would probably want to live in Malibu, CA or Hawaii in a beautiful beach house.
Loni Lynne: In your own words, describe yourself (internally—we know you are extremely good looking on the outside) J.
James: I am a very good-hearted person and my friends and family know I am dependable. Loyalty is the biggest attribute my family and I share. Italians are known for this.
Look at that smile…it’s in his eyes, too!
Loni Lynne: I agree. I think those attributes show through in your photos. It’s the strength in your jawline and the smile that reaches your eyes that tells the truth.
If you could pick one thing to change the world, what would that be and why?
James: I wish I could stop the violence in our society and raise more awareness about gun control. There are entirely too many shootings in schools. Children should stay more active in sports and extracurricular activities.
Loni Lynne: A very real issue in our society. It breaks my heart to hear and see it so often in the news.
Thank you so much James for being here today and sharing with us. I know you are very busy and taking time out to talk with us means so much. And again, thank you for being such a great cover model! My book really looks great with you on it!
If you have time to stop by and answer questions from my readers, we would love to hear from you!
See more of James Rizzo at Taria Reed.