Book Giveaway & Author Interview: Cruise Quarters by Cara & Ray Bertoia

Welcome to Authors Cara & Ray Bertoia.


On a summer break from her teaching job Cara took a summer job in Lake Tahoe and didn’t leave for many years. Raymond was studying at City University in London when he saw an advert ‘Train up To Be a Dealer, see the world’. He took that advice and worked as an inspector in casinos all over Europe, from Moscow to Greece. The couple met while working on a cruise ship in the Caribbean. Raymond jumped ship to be with Cara and they married after a whirlwind romance. Their knowledge offers a rare insiders look at casino operations.

The couple also walked 500 miles across Spain, Their movie of the trip, Camino De Santiago – A Walker’s Guide, is a popular guide to the Camino. You can find them at


If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
I would go into the future to see how this all works out. It seems like this is the end of times, but for two thousand years it has always been the end of times, according to someone.

If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?
A stack of books, my 200 favorite of CD’s and my glasses.

What is one book everyone should read?
I think it is Saint Maybe by Anne Tyler, the story is about how one decision you make can change all the lives around you. The moral is: Do you have the character to rectify the things you put in motion?

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
The peppermint ice cream that my husband Ray makes for me, I am very lucky he also bakes bread.

If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose?
I would choose my father, he died very suddenly and I was too young to have asked him all the question I now want to know the answers to.

Night owl, or early bird?
Definitely a night owl, I don’t even like to get up until noon. I got into the casino business because I could work nights and enjoy my days in Lake Tahoe.

One food you would never eat?
I would never eat the insides of anything, no hearts, no kidneys, and no haggish. Which is not that easy since my husband is from Scotland.

Pet Peeves?
People who think they have a really good sense of humor.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
You should read my book, because it is the first book written from a female croupier’s point of view, and it’s funny.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
My husband and I have started a blog, Table Games Confessions. We are giving newbies advice on gambling.

What inspired you to want to become a writer?
The love of reading, I read so much that eventually I felt I wanted to tell my own story.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
I came home one day to find out that my novel was chosen Read of the Week at My book had only been out a few months so I was really surprised and flattered.

Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
In my novel Saran and Paul are based on the story of my husband and I. We met on a cruise ship and were married four months later.

What is your dream cast for your book? If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play the lead role and why?
For the character Sarah, I would choose Emily Proctor from CSI Miami. She would have to die her hair auburn. I asked Ray who he would cast for Paul and he immediately said Collin Farrell.

Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters?
One day my husband gave me a picture of us and the words to my favorite song. True Companion by Mark Cohen, it is one of the most beautiful love songs. It always makes me cry.

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Write and take classes or join critiques groups so that you can get used to criticism because you are going to get plenty of it.

If you could choose only one time period and place to live, when and where would you live and why?
Here and now. Nostalgia seems nice but these are the Good Old Days. Who could live without flush toilets or air conditioning?

Who are your favorite authors of all time?
I loved Charles Bukowski because he showed me that writing could be simple and clear. Doris Lessing because she asked the tough questions about being a woman before anyone else did. I also like Tom Wolfe because you can live inside of one of his novels.

What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had?
I met a sports agent in Tahoe, who asked me to write a treatment for a television series. I got cold feet after I took a meeting with a famous producer. I had never written anything before and as I said before I hadn’t learned how to take criticism.

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
My father once said, “You have to make your own mistakes, nobody can make them for you.”

Favorite Candy?

What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year?
The Way with Martin Sheen about the Camino de Santiago in Spain, Ray and I walked it a few years ago.

If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
Better Than Expected.

What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you’d be embarrassed to admit?
Happily Divorced with Fran Dresher. It is so corny, but it makes me laugh.

Finish the sentence- one book I wish I had written is….
Harry Potter because then I would be rich very, very, rich.

Favorite places to travel?
Europe, I love to walk for miles through its beautiful cities.

Cruise Quarters: A Novel About Casinos And Cruise Ships

The crew of the Regal Star resemble a mini United Nations, hiring people from all over the world. But unlike the UN, Regal Cruise’s employees present a united front above decks as they attend to their passenger’s every need. Below decks though, that is a different story.

Sarah Seldon is a croupier on the luxury liner. After many unhappy endings, and burnt out on shipboard romance, she is determined to forget about men and concentrate on becoming a casino manager. On land women face a dearth of GOOD men but on a ship giving up men would take willpower. The mostly male crew exists to serve her every need. Handsome Italian waiters bring her food, the Filipino steward cleans her room, English officers play poker with her and the Welsh plumber fixes her sink. She leads a cushy life, sleeping ’til noon, eating gourmet food, and the topper – she gets to wake up in beautiful new place everyday. All because she works in a casino, a place so bad it has SIN in the middle.

After college she took a summer job at Lake Tahoe in the casino business and became a member of the Church of Gambling. She has been in the gambling business long enough to know that in order for a gambler to be successful, they must have Lady Luck on their side. But a gambler also has to follow the rules of basic strategy. When love unexpectedly sneaks up on Sarah on the magical island of Mayreau, she wonders whether she could apply the rules of gambling to love? What if she could write Sarah Seldon’s Basic Strategy of Love?
Book a cruise and travel with Sarah and the crew as they work, play, feast, and fall in and out of love, all while the ship sails around the globe, stopping at exotic ports of call. Along the way, from Venice to Barcelona sight-see in the Med, shop in St. Martin, take an eco-cruise down the Amazon, and feast in Glasgow. Let the crew tell you their own stories as they sit in the hallway in the wee hours of the morning. While the ship travels to new destinations, tired and tipsy they share tales of love and betrayal.

Giveaway Details:
1 nook copy, 1 kindle copy & 1 paperback
Open Internationally
Ends 11/3/11

Optional Extra Entry:
When love unexpectedly sneaks up on Sarah on the magical island of Mayreau, she wonders whether she could apply the rules of gambling to love? She decides to write Sarah Seldon’s Basic Strategy of Love?

Number seven on her list is:
Never get involved with someone who blames all his problems on others; you will soon be one of the others.

For an extra entry: Leave a comment on this post sharing one of your basic strategy’s of love.