Monday, 10 August 2009

Character Spotlight ~ Janice Thompson's Bella Rossi & D.J. Neeley

Today the
spotlight shines on Bella Rossi & D. J. Neeley

I am so looking forward to Janice Thompson's latest offering, Fools Rush In. Love and laughter sound like a great recipe to me! Janice's spotlight has only increased my enthusiasm :)

Enjoy taking a look into the characters that are pivotal to her new Weddings by Bella series.

Over to you, Janice:~

Brief physical description

Bella Rossi is a 29-year-old Italian-turned-Texan. She lives with her very large Italian family on Galveston Island. Bella is medium height and very slender, with long, dark curls and dark eyes. She’s quite pretty, but doesn’t really see her beauty as others do. She’s very trendy and loves great clothes and purses. She comes from a long line of beautiful Italian women who care very much about their appearance and their clothes. However, she’s not hung up on those things.

Think Jennifer Garner (only, imagine her with long dark curls)

D.J. Neeley (Dwayne Neeley, Jr.) hails from Splendora Texas, where all of the guys wear blue jeans, button-up shirts and cowboy boots. He’s got sandy-colored hair and blue eyes. D.J. (29) is tall and dashing, but completely unassuming. Bella falls in love with his rich Texas twang (a deep southern drawl that woos the woman).

Matthew McConaughey (with a deep Texas twang)

Strengths and weaknesses

Bella is insecure on several levels. Her family has just handed over their family run wedding facility to her and she takes her new job as manager/wedding coordinator very seriously. However, she’s more than a little nervous about running the family’s business into the ground. On the up side, she’s charming and fun, and gets along well with everyone. She’s also an animal lover. Best of all, she loves her family (to a fault) and loves the Lord whole-heartedly.

D.J. is a slow-drawlin’ small-town country boy who is loved by everyone who meets him. He works in construction, so heading to Galveston Island after Hurricane Ike just makes sense. He gives much of his spare time to helping folks rebuild after the storm. D.J. is kind-hearted and has an extremely generous nature! On the down side, he has a hard time saying no to folks, so he gets taken advantage of on occasion. This doesn’t really bother him. D.J. sees much of what he does as ministry.


Bella tends to faint when she gets nervous (and meeting D.J. makes her VERY nervous).

D.J. helps his brother (Bubba) at championship barbecue competitions

Inspiration for the characters

I often loosely base characters on real people. However, I can say in all honesty that Bella and D.J. were truly “inspired” characters. She encapsulates all that is fun and crazy about living with a big family. He encapsulates all that is tender and quaint about growing up in a small town in east Texas.

Background to the story

This entire story was birthed out of one line: If Uncle Lazarro hadn’t left the mob, I wouldn’t have a story to tell. That line came to me while on vacation in 2007. I didn’t have a clue who Uncle Lazarro was or why he was bothering me on my vacation! Turns out, he was Bella Rossi’s uncle. She (the illusive character I didn’t even know yet) was trying to tell me the story of her how wacky Italian family came to live on Galveston Island.

With Bella leading the way, I sat at my laptop and pounded out the prologue to FOOLS RUSH IN. By the time I reached the end of it, I knew this would potentially be one of the funniest books I’d ever written. The story began to unfold in my mind. Bella would take her family’s wedding planning business and update it, offering themed weddings. She would need a deejay for her first-ever Boot Scoot’n Wedding. She would hire one, sight unseen, but would figure out pretty quickly that he wasn’t a deejay. . .his name was D.J. (Dwayne Neeley Jr.).

In spite of this calamity, the two would work together to pull off a great country-western themed wedding, and would fall in love along the way. Talk about fun! The more I got to know these two characters and their wacky families, the more convinced I was this book would make people laugh. And sing! Music played an integral role in the writing of this story. I listened to Dean Martin’s song “Mambo Italiano” a zillion times as I wrote FOOLS RUSH IN. Readers will find his song titles interspersed throughout the story.

Can't wait, Janice - thank you so much for sharing. Look for my review and interview with Janice in the weeks to come :)

On Thursday the spotlight shines on Judy Christie's Lois Barker from her debut novel, Gone to Green ~ it looks like another beauty :)

Relz Reviewz Extras

Visit Janice's website

Buy Janice's books at Amazon or Koorong


Janice Thompson said...

Thank you so much for posting this! Reading it again made me realize why I'd fallen in love with Bella and D.J. in the first place! I can't wait for you to read the book!

CeeCee said...

I can't wait to read the book. Thanks for the spotlight! Bella faints when she's nervous, haahaha!

sugarandgrits said...

WOO-HOO!! I cannot wait to read this entire trilogy! All of the books sound wonderful.

Thank you for sharing with us. :)

Jen said...

Sounds like a great read. Thanks Rel and Janice

Jenny said...

I'm really looking forward to this one as well. Loved reading the background for the story.

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