Release date: March 17, 2015
Leaving Amarillo synopsis:
Dixie Lark hasn’t had it easy. She lost her parents in an accident when she was young and grew up in a ramshackle house on a dirt
Ten years later, Dixie and her brother, Dallas, are creating the music they love and chasing fame with their hot band, Leaving Amarillo. But Dixie isn’t enjoying the ride. All she can think about is Gavin, the band’s tattooed, tortured drummer who she’s loved since they were kids. She knows he feels the connection between them, but he refuses see her as more than his best friend’s little sister.
Convinced that one night with Gavin will get him out of her system, Dixie devises a plan. She doesn’t know that her brother has forbidden Gavin from making a move on her-a promise he swore he’d always keep . . . a promise that once broken will unexpectedly change the future for Dixie, Gavin and the band.
The Evolution of Dixie and Dallas Lark
Dixie and Dallas Lark are the brother and sister duo who make up the band Leaving Amarillo along with their mutual best friend, Gavin Garrison. These characters have been some of the most interesting and three-dimensional that I’ve written in my career and I found it particularly interesting that they didn’t end up how I originally pictured them. Sneaky characters went and evolved a bit on me!
My first Dixie and Dallas were quite tame and actually kind of blurry in my mind. He was a sexy, rugged guitar playing, protective big brother and she was a fiddle player caught between life in the orchestra pit and freedom on the open road. As their story progressed, though, I began to see them more clearly. They were that band you get lucky enough to catch playing a late night gig at The Stage or Crossroads in Nashville. That one that you decide to stay and have one more drink just so you can listen to them a little longer—the one you know you will see hitting it big in the very near future because you can’t bring yourself to leave until they finish their set!
I initially pictured Dallas as a slightly more muscular Jensen Ackles type but that evolved a bit due to the ways in which Dixie evolved. She became edgier and grittier than I originally imagined due to her backstory and so Dallas had to toughen up a bit, too. This happens sometimes—I picture a character or story one way before writing and then that changes as I get deeper into it. It’s such an amazing experience—that moment when my characters become “real” and show me who they are versus who I’d originally imagined or expected.
Caisey Quinn’s Inspiration for the Neon Dreams series
Not too long ago (barely over a year), I took a trip to Nashville with some friends. It was one of those last minute “oh my gosh, we have to see this super big artist doing a concert in a tiny venue because they just Tweeted that they’ll be there” type road trips. Unplanned, beef jerky, big gulps, and random road mix cd style adventure. My favorite kind.
However, by the time we arrived at the venue it was packed. Literally. Wall to wall crammed, people spilling out onto the sidewalk, full to maximum capacity packed. Apparently we weren’t the only ones who caught word that a big name artist was going to be there.
We decided to just check out a few local spots instead. In a bar called Crossroads we got comfy, ordered drinks, and started chatting about how bummed we were that we didn’t get to see the original artist we intended to. I can’t even remember now who it was. Here’s why.
As we’re ordering a second—okay, maybe a third—round and deciding if we’re going to just call it a night and get a hotel room or head home (Birmingham is only about three hours away), this glorious sound fills the air. No, it pierces the air, rips through it and grabs everyone in hearing range by the eardrums.
Our conversation—along with many others—ceased instantly. Chill bumps ran up my arms even though it was quite warm and I was wearing a jacket.
Most of the patrons gaped in awe as this young woman played the fiddle as if she’d been born to do that and only that. It was the solo from “Devil Went Down to Georgia” by the Charlie Daniels band and she was rocking it beyond comprehension. Pretty sure even the bartenders stopped what they were doing. The rest of the night was a little blurry, but I know we didn’t leave until that band had played their entire set.
We ended up getting a hotel room but none of us slept. All we could talk about was that band and how amazing they were and how we were kicking ourselves that we didn’t get their name so we could check them out online and hear more. I still look for them when I’m in Nashville and one day I fully expect to hear them on the radio. Whoever they are, they will forever be the band that inspired the Neon Dreams series.
This isn’t the exact band but they’re pretty close! The search continues!
VIDEO LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SKAl1lBDEY
Top 5 Most Played Songs on Dixie Lark’s Playlist
1. I Want You to Want Me – Cheap Trick
2. One Night – Christina Perri
3. Dream – Priscilla Ahn
4. Love Runs Out – One Republic
5. Bluebird – Christina Perri
"But you can’t really have fire. You can’t hold a flame in your hands without getting burned."
"He breathes into me, filling me, and I take his offering greedily,
pulling his tongue and lips into my mouth harder than is appropriate for a first kiss."
"All I can feel is his mouth on my neck, his hands on my hips,
and the promises of what’s to come—literally—against my backside."
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I am a little confused, lost, frustrated, I don't know. Just ugh, after finishing this. And this all surprises me greatly because I'm a huge CQ fan. Huge. She writes a book and I eat it up. But this one didn't have that same CQ feel to it. I didn't connect to the story or character like in all her other novels. I wasn't immediately drawn in like I normally am. the first half moved really really slow for me. It felt like a constant feel of Dixie in her head or complaining about unrequited love.
BUT.. Once we hit half way, then it starts to pick up. Yes, I understand angst, but it almost felt like too much for me. Was the build up worth it once our Bluebird and Gavin collided full speed ahead? Yes, it maybe could've just happened sooner in the plot line.
I love the way Gavin is with her, once he finally opens up. Once he finally lets what's meant to be happen. Their small stolen moments. The looks. The gestures. The small things. As for Dallas, I'm really mad how his storyline played out - with Mandy, the band, the tour, all of it. I'm really mad. I think he's kind of a sellout. Okay maybe I'm just still reeling. But come on! And Dixie, I feel like when she should speak her mind and find her backbone and say how she feels, wants or what happened, she doesn't speak. When she shouldn't have a case of the word vomit, she does. And she has them a lot. Poor girl. Sometimes its internal, okay a lot of times its internal, sometimes not.
But I'm so confused. We had all this build up and I'm not even sure how their stories ended. I know we get more of Dallas, but when will we find out how this story ended? When will the mysteries of Gavin unfold? Will Mandy get pitch slapped? This is where I'm confused. When will our questions get answered? I feel like I have more now than during the story.
I know it sounds like I totally hated this book. And I didn't. It may not have been my favorite CQ book, but I still liked it. Will I pick up her next book, abso-freakin-lutely. While this may not have been my favorite book by her, it may not have been my cup of tea, I still absolutely adore this author and will read anything she writes.
I gave this book 3 stars
About the author:
Caisey Quinn lives in a suburb outside of Birmingham, Alabama
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