What would you like to tell readers about yourself?
* I live in an old Cape house with my daughter, too many books, and a red-and-white Siberian husky born on Halloween. After working in Washington, D.C. for several years and traveling to Russia, Europe and Pakistan, I moved back to New England. I’m the author of the romantic suspense novel Vertigo, which is available as an E-book from Amazon Encore and in paperback from Wild Rose Press. Collateral Risk, the follow-up novel to Collateral Damage (which features Dalton’s boss Nick Doyle and scientist Mia Lindgren), is forthcoming from Wild Rose Press. When I’m not working on fiction, I write poetry, teach literature and am still trying to learn how to cook.
Today Gwenan Haines will be talking about what sparked the idea for the story.
* After my first book came out, some of my family and friends asked why I hadn’t written about anything based on the years I spent in Washington, D.C. To be honest, I wasn’t sure. I suppose the answer is that the idea for Vertigo took hold and wouldn’t let go until I got the story on paper (well, on laptop, anyway). But my friends and family were right—the years I spent working in the nation’s capital were filled with events and characters I knew I could use. So when I sat down to brainstorm about ideas for novel #2, Washington was the first setting that came to mind. I love the idea of political intrigue, at least in fiction, and reading the news gave me the premise for the story. It’s a simple question, but a frightening one, I think: What would happen if you mixed a political election with terrorism? Strange to say, I wrote the entire novel before the current election and never considered the idea that my book might end up coming out in such a controversial year, when the subject of terrorism has become so prominent in the national debate. My story has some key differences from the current election though I do think it raises some of the same issues.
* But there’s another very important part of my story—maybe the most important part—which is the romance between Hill staffer Laura Drake and FBI Agent Dalton Ross. Both Laura and Dalton have suffered intensely in the past. Both are afraid to get involved in a relationship—or to trust anyone at all, for that matter. As Laura and Dalton try to figure out just who is behind the death of the top staffer in Laura’s office, they’re also struggling to get beyond the secrets that have nearly crippled them. Laura especially has learned to cope by hiding behind a veil of normalcy. She doesn’t want to be noticed so she goes out of her way to make herself invisible. When she meets Dalton something about him draws out the fire in her, right from the beginning. It’s always been there but she’s buried it far below the surface of her demeanor. As for Dalton, he sees himself in Laura because he’s been hurt as well. But Laura also represents someone totally different from anyone he’s met before. After years of hunting down criminals (not to mention a cheating ex-wife), he’s become jaded. Not only does he not believe in love, but he’s lost his faith in humanity in general. Laura helps him find that again.
* At the end of Collateral Damage readers get a glimpse of Nick Doyle, Dalton’s boss at the FBI. Nick is one of the main characters in Collateral Risk, which is in the editing stages now and should be out early next year. He’s also a damaged hero (I’m a total sucker for wounded warriors) and when he meets scientist Mia Lindgren he is on forced leave from his job. The NWA, the same terrorist group from Collateral Damage, is back in Collateral Risk, posing new a biological weapon threat that – strangely enough – has also figured in the news over the past year.
* His eyes locked onto hers. “You don’t sound too sure about that.” What was it about him that made her pulse quicken? Was it “sexual chemistry,” a phrase Zoe always used when explaining her latest one-night stand? Or fear, an emotion even more basic—and more dangerous. “I am meeting someone,” she said quickly. “Or I was.”
* “Now you’re not?”
* Before she could answer the bartender appeared and set down two pints of beer in front of them. Her companion paid, sliding the lighter pint toward her. “I’m Dalton Ross, by the way. And you would be—”
* “Well, Laura,” he said after a slight pause, “I hope you don’t mind Pilsner. Didn’t figure you for a Guinness girl.” He raised a glass of dark liquid to her and took a swig. “To new friends.”
* Laura raised her own glass and took a tentative sip. “And to old ones, too.” Was it her imagination or did his eyes visibly darken? Before she could decide, he was again the charming redhead hitting on her in a crowded bar.
ANNOUNCEMENT! Gwenan Haines will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour! So be sure to leave a comment AND use the Rafflecopter below. Also, visit the other tour stops for a greater chance of winning!
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