Being popular isn’t the same as being loved. At the exclusive Violet Crab, the club headliner is Carla Rose, a torch singer with a voice as delicious as the rest of her. There’s nothing delectable about the strange, bloated mermaid who washes up under the Santa Teresa pier, wearing seaweed and a red dress, though—and nobody wants to know about Carla’s last swim. She’s all alone.
THE VIOLET CRAB is the third Kahlo and Crowe mystery, following Girls in Pink and Hau Tree Green. This is southern California in the dying days of 1947—ocean breezes and palm trees, the taste of a gin fizz mixed with lavender neon. It’s LA noir, as bright and colourful as today.
THE VIOLET CRAB author, Bob Bickford, sat down with The Big Thrill to discuss his latest installment of the Kahlo and Crowe mystery series:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I hope they have fun. Writing is supposed to be for readers, not so authors can hear their own voices in the mirror.
DiAnn Mills, author of the new thriller HIGH TREASON, lives up to her tag line: Expect an adventure. One look at her Instagram feed (@diannmillsauthor) gives you the big picture of not just a writer, but also a community leader, a traveler, a fashionista, and a coffee connoisseur.
In fact, she roasts her own beans and starts the grind (both literally and figuratively) at 5 a.m. during the week. “My most productive time is in the mornings,” she says. “At 5:30, I’m on the treadmill working through social media for the day and then my current story. By 7:30, I’m ready for coffee and breakfast. The afternoons are filled with writing blogs, marketing and promotion, learning about the craft, reading, etcetera.” Which is how Mills built a burgeoning career in publishing with over five dozen novels, three non-fiction books, and a barrage of short stories and poems.
HIGH TREASON, about an FBI agent who teams up with a CIA operative to stop the assassination of a Saudi prince on U.S. soil, is her latest published endeavor. It is the third and final installment in the FBI Task Force series, which also includes Deadly Encounter and Deep Extraction. “The objective is to show how the FBI work with other agencies and law enforcement to stop and prevent crime,” says Mills. “Each agency has its specialty, and a task force can be effective and efficient.”
Mills went straight to the source to research interagency relations between the CIA and FBI for her new novel. “The FBI is an amazing resource,” she says. “A special agent answered my questions, pointed me toward other research, and generally encouraged me.” Mills admits this wasn’t the most challenging exploration she undertook for the book. She talks about going “down a path that led to medical research, a trip to MD Anderson Medical Center here in Houston, feet on the ground experiences with the various settings, and lots of ‘think’ time.”
When her mother disappears, Jessica Hargrove’s life begins to unravel. And her problems are only just beginning. A horrible secret has been revealed, threatening to destroy three generations of her family, and the one person who may be able to help her is the man she’s never stopped loving, the man who once broke her heart.
LAPD Detective Sean Burke is back in his small hometown, pondering if his career in the big city is what he really wants anymore. As painful as it is to see Jess again, she needs him. He can’t walk away when she’s about to lose everything she holds dear. But will what he discovers ruin their second chance at love?
DEADLY DECEPTION author Marissa Garner spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing the latest book in her Rogue Security series:
Like many crime fiction writers, Lynette Eason has always loved mysteries. She grew up reading Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, hooked by the idea that they were “just basically kids who solved mysteries.” Between those childhood favorites and a later love of Alfred Hitchcock, it seemed only natural that, when she finally began to write, it would be in this genre.
Asked about her writing journey, she says, “I started writing in 1999, but it took a few years before I decided to pursue publication seriously. I began attending writing conferences and working with a mentor and in February 2007, got the call that Harlequin’s Love Inspired line wanted to purchase my first book, which released in February 2008.”
Since then, Eason’s books have hit the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists and have won numerous awards, including the prestigious Carol Award. Her latest novel, OATH OF HONOR, is the first of a new series and was inspired by her love of the Tom Selleck television show Blue Bloods. “I’ve always loved the show,” she says, “so when it came time to write up the next proposal, I decided I wanted to write about a law enforcement family. I brainstormed the family and gave them all law enforcement jobs. Except for Ruthie. She’s the black sheep. She rebelled and became a surgeon.”
So how does a South Carolina mom of two with no police background write about a family of law enforcement officers? Primarily by interviewing law enforcement personnel and attending Lee Lofland’s Writers Police Academy, where she not only got to meet some of her favorite authors, like Kathy Reichs and Lisa Gardner, but also got to experience “some pretty cool things” like being an eye witness to a staged hostage situation and shooting at the bad guys in a virtual situation.
Let’s welcome Eason to The Big Thrill.
As a seventh-generation Texan, bestselling author Elizabeth Goddard was lulled to sleep as a child by the hum of the oil pumps. That rhythmic, oddly surf-like sound may have made her sensitive to the rhythms of language as well, and thus been partially responsible for her lifelong love of writing. She wrote poetry and short stories throughout her childhood and started her first romance novel at fourteen. She was also a voracious reader, tackling 2001: A Space Odyssey and Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth in the fifth grade.
Since then, she’s written more than 30 romantic suspense novels. Her 2011 romantic mystery, The Camera Never Lies, is a 2011 Carol Award winner, and she’s a double finalist for the prestigious Daphne Du Marnier Award. But she has an analytical side too. She has a degree in computer science, and before leaving the work force to homeschool her three small children and pursue her dream of becoming a writer, she worked in high-level software sales.
Her readers appreciate her uplifting, faith-based stories. When they’re feeling blue, they can pick up one of her books and forget their problems for a while. For Goddard, that means she’s doing her job. On her website, she says, “Sometimes we simply need an escape from the stress of life and the tragedies happening around us in this fallen world. We need to be refreshed and inspired, lifted from everyday life.”
This month, we welcome Goddard to The Big Thrill to share a little about her writing journey and the inspiration for new release, TEXAS CHRISTMAS DEFENDER.
By Terri Nolan
In her pre-writing life, Marissa Garner was a CPA. She’s not sure when she made the switch from left brain to right brain, but she finds words more fun than numbers. But her left brain years gave her the organizational skills she uses as a pantser. And as such, she can write anytime, at anyplace. Her favorite location is the family room couch, known as Command Central. It is there where she has created her latest novel, RISKY REDEMPTION, the first in the Rogue Security series.
Jake Stone is a retired assassin who begrudgingly takes an assignment because his handler insists the target—a woman—is a traitor and a security threat. The woman, Angela Reardon, does have a secret past and hidden struggles, but it’s not what it seems. As Jake investigates and gets closer to his target, he questions the mission’s justifications.
Garner’s novel is non-traditional—she doesn’t follow the usual romance formula or color inside the lines. The story is told in alternating timelines, past and present, and two points of view: the hunter and the prey. The plot structure doesn’t get hung up on its cleverness as it interweaves each story. And when the past and present meet? There is a surprise. True suspense.
This month, The Big Thrill chatted more with Garner about the thrilling first book in her new series.
ASAC Steve (Mac) McKenzie is out to prove himself by leading a task force investigating a series of murders in the heart of Washington, DC. His undercover work in an antigovernment compound twenty years earlier is related—as is the sweet, innocent girl he befriended back then. Now that girl is a beautiful woman, and she has something to hide.
Tess Fallon spent a lifetime trying to outrun her family’s brand of bigotry, but someone is threatening her anonymity by using the anniversary of her father’s death to carry out evil crimes and she’s terrified her younger brother is involved. She sets out to find the truth and comes face-to-face with a man she once idolized, a man she thought long dead. As the crimes escalate it becomes obvious the killer has an agenda, and Tess and Mac are running out of time to stop him.
Will the perpetrator use a decades-old dream of revolution to attack the federal government? And will the fact that Tess and Mac have fallen hard for each other give a cold-hearted killer the power to destroy them both?
Bestselling author Toni Anderson spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her latest book, COLD MALICE:
Scorpio obsessed, with a mind as strong as twisted steel, Henry Slater, suave, sophisticated, sexy, intelligent, and wealthy is the perfect man—except to women who tell him what he doesn’t want to hear.
Dr. John Trenton is called back to NYC for a case close to his heart, while NYPD Detective Samantha “Sam” Wright and forensic psychiatrist Doctor Frank Khaos, conflicted about their on-again-off-again relationship, take on another case—a serial killer who’s orchestrated sixteen murders across the United States over a nine-year period. The seventeenth victim is Sam’s best friend, Carrie Baines. When forensic science connects Frank to Slater, Frank is pushed to delve into his past, something he swore never to do. Meanwhile, due to the interstate nature of the crimes, the FBI gets involved, convincing Sam to go undercover. But Slater is clever, and Sam is no match for him. Will her psychic skills and police training be enough to survive this close encounter with a killer, or will she end up as his eighteenth victim? And even if she lives, is her relationship with Frank really over?
Ronnie Allen, author of SCORPIO: THE SIGN BEHIND THE CRIME, recently sat down with The Big Thrill to discuss her latest novel:
Bestselling author Melinda Leigh describes herself as a “fully recovered banker” whose writing career began as a dare.
“The best things in my life have happened ass backwards,” she says. “I never planned to be an author. But I was a voracious reader from very early in my life. I was a nerdy child and had more fictional friends than real ones. After my children went to school, my husband and I discussed my return to banking (shudder). At the time, my husband worked long hours and traveled frequently, so we decided it would be better for our family if I remained at home. Part time work was not an option in banking.”
Since she usually had a book in her hand, her husband challenged her to write one. Her first book, She Can Run, took two years to finish. She says, “Since I wrote it before I learned anything about writing, I spent the next two years taking workshops, learning the craft, and revising the first dreadful draft into something someone else might want to read.”
Apparently not one to do things halfway, Melinda is now a Wall Street Journal bestselling author, whose 21 romantic thrillers have sold more than three million copies combined. Her books have been shortlisted for multiple national and international awards, including a RITA® Award, the romance genre’s highest honor.
Nick Mancino always gets what he wants—until now. Despite his seductive persistence, brainy, beautiful scientist Kay Hudson continues to elude him. However, Nick was a Navy Seal and an FBI Special Agent, so giving up isn’t an option. Kay’s got no business being tempted by anything. She’s on the verge of risking her reputation, her career, her very life, to blow the lid off a deadly bioweapons conspiracy. But Nick won’t let her face her demons alone…and they will have to face down an enemy that could consume them…and the entire world.
Author Lisa Marie Rice recently sat down with The Big Thrill to discuss her latest novel, MIDNIGHT FEVER:
Bored fashion house CEO seeks new challenge and decides to put herself forward to model the next range of lingerie. The mysterious photographer entraps her into starring in his sex film. They both get more than they bargained for as they embark on a “guiltless” sex-filled relationship. Plans get disrupted by sex trafficking. The photographer, who is filled with guilt following a motor bike accident, discovers his “father’s” secret and love conquers all.
Mollie Blake, author of GUILTLESS, took time out of her busy writing schedule to answer some questions for The Big Thrill:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I want readers to escape to a world of luxury and danger whilst feeling good about themselves when they come back to their own world. I hope to give them confidence to try new things, or revisit things they used to like. I hope they are captivated by the characters and fall in love with the good guys. I also add a note that “Help is out there” if anyone is suffering from abuse of any kind, with references at the back of my books to charities and phone numbers on my website.
Raised by a family of survivalists, FBI agent Mercy Kilpatrick can take on any challenge—even the hostile reception to her homecoming. But she’s not the only one causing chaos in the rural community of Eagle’s Nest, Oregon. At first believed to be teenage pranks, a series of fires takes a deadly turn with the murder of two sheriff’s deputies. Now, along with Police Chief Truman Daly, Mercy is on the hunt for an arsonist turned killer.
Still shunned by her family and members of the community, Mercy must keep her ear close to the ground to pick up any leads. And it’s not long before she hears rumors of the area’s growing antigovernment militia movement. If the arsonist is among their ranks, Mercy is determined to smoke the culprit out. But when her investigation uncovers a shocking secret, will this hunt for a madman turn into her own trial by fire?
Award-winning author Kendra Elliot took time out of her busy schedule to discuss her latest release, A MERCIFUL TRUTH, with The Big Thrill:
By Terri Nolan
Amanda McKinney left the timeclock world of workaday stress to become a fulltime mother and writer. She made the right career move. THE WOODS is the first novel in the Berry Springs series and there is plenty of murder, crime, and romance.
Dr. Katie Somers, a successful archeologist, returns to the small town of Berry Springs to sell the family home after her sister’s mysterious death. Katie expects the task to take a week. She doesn’t expect the distraction of handsome Jake Thomas nor the dead bodies they find. When they become suspects Jake embarks on a parallel investigation. As the pair delves deeper into dangerous territory they grow closer. But their new togetherness and their lives are threatened when Katie closes in on the answer to the question of who killed her sister.
But Detective Angie Pallorino hasn’t forgotten the violent rapist who left a distinctive calling card—crosses etched into the flesh of his victims’ foreheads. When a comatose Jane Doe is found in a local cemetery, sexually assaulted, mutilated, and nearly drowned, Angie is struck by the eerie similarities to her earlier unsolved rapes. Could he be back?
Then the body of a drowned young woman, also bearing the marks of the serial rapist, floats up in the Gorge, and the hunt for a predator becomes a hunt for a killer. Assigned to the joint investigative task force, Angie is more than ready to prove that she has what it takes to break into the all-male homicide division. But her private life collides with her professional ambitions when she’s introduced to her temporary partner, James Maddocks—a man she’d met just the night before in an intense, anonymous encounter.
Together, Angie and Maddocks agree to put that night behind them. But as their search for the killer intensifies, so does their mutual desire. And Angie’s forays into the mind of a monster shake loose some unsettling secrets about her own past. How can she fight for the truth when it turns out her whole life is a lie?
THE DROWNED GIRLS author, Loreth Anne White, discussed her latest novel with The Big Thrill:
After the devastating loss of her husband in Iraq, Morgan Dane returns to Scarlet Falls, seeking the comfort of her hometown. Now, surrounded by family, she’s finally found peace and a promising career opportunity—until her babysitter is killed and her neighbor asks her to defend his son, Nick, who stands accused of the murder.
Tessa was the ultimate girl next door, and the community is outraged by her death. But Morgan has known Nick for years and can’t believe he’s guilty, despite the damning evidence stacked against him. She asks her friend Lance Kruger, an ex-cop turned private eye, for help. Taking on the town, the police, and a zealous DA, Morgan and Lance plunge into the investigation, determined to find the real killer. But as they uncover secrets that rock the community, they become targets for the madman hiding in plain sight.
Wall Street Journal bestselling author Melinda Leigh spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her most recent novel, SAY YOU’RE SORRY:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I write twisted fiction that is rooted in reality. I want readers to be challenged to think outside of the box and perhaps see a perspective they never considered before.
Remy Boudreaux is back in his hometown, New Orleans. He’s there with three of his fellow Dallas SWAT officers for a week of training with the NOLA PD. On the eve of a tropical storm, Remy and his buddies prowl the French Quarter. One tantalizing scent captures Remy’s senses, forcing him to follow until he is face to face with Triana Bellamy—his beautiful high school crush.
After reconnecting, Remy and Triana are close—very. Remy struggles to keep things casual. Ever since his partner—and first love—was killed on the job, he’s kept women at a distance.
But when a mysterious wolf pendant ropes them both into danger, Remy’s protective instincts kick in. He may have to reveal his true self…and hope Triana accepts him.
New York Times bestselling author, Paige Tyler, spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her latest novel, WOLF HUNT:
Kat Martin is a well-oiled writing machine.
She’s written 68 historical and contemporary romantic suspense novels, been published in 20 foreign countries, and has had 15 novels in a row on the New York Times bestseller list. I wanted to ask her if I could rub her head for luck, but instead I asked about the secret to her prodigious output.
“The secret to my productivity is that I don’t have kids and I am a workaholic!” she says. “Plus, I love writing. Also, my husband loves writing, so that’s mostly what we do.”
With a major in Anthropology, she’s clearly fascinated by people and their motivations. “Anthropology is the study of people,” she says. “Every writer is an amateur psychologist, so they kind of work together.”
She brings this understanding of human psychology to her latest novel, BEYOND REASON. Carly Drake, a strong-minded girl-next-door who has recently inherited her grandfather’s trucking company, and Lincoln Cain, a wealthy competitor with a checkered past, both struggle with a fear of love and the vulnerability that goes along with it. In their shared commitment to solving the murder of Carly’s number one driver while honoring her grandfather’s memory, both begin to lower their emotional defenses. The result is a satisfying read with a good balance of action and romance.
Here, Martin chats with The Big Thrill about her new book and her writing process.
By Wendy Tyson
We met forensic psychologist Claire Britten in Chasing Shadows, Karen Harper’s South Shore Series debut. Claire returns in FALLING DARKNESS, Harper’s third novel in the series. Once again the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author takes readers on a thrilling ride. With a twisting plot, compelling characters, unrelenting suspense, and a rich setting, readers won’t be able to put FALLING DARKNESS down.
I recently spoke with Harper about FALLING DARKNESS, her fascinating writing career, and her tips for maximizing suspense in crime fiction.
Please tell us what FALLING DARKNESS is about.
Claire, her husband Nick and her daughter Lexi are fleeing by plane from a criminal mastermind out to stop them from exposing him to the FBI. But their plane is sabotaged and plunges into shark infested waters near Cuba—and that’s just the start of their attempt to hide out until their enemy can be caught. The WITSEC program plans to hide them in northern Michigan for the winter, but they have to find a way to get there first—and survive.
Exactly why should P.I. Vince Sutton take his ex-wife’s case? Because she, assistant district attorney Simone Armstrong, put his brother in jail? Because the ambitious spitfire still drives him crazy? No, he’ll take it because “The Avenging Angel” makes him a deal he can’t refuse. Sparks fly when Vince works all-too-closely with Simone to locate her missing key witness…but in the process, they are drawn into a cold case. As much as he tries, Vince can’t deny that he’s never gotten over beautiful Simone, but can he admit his feelings to her—and himself? And can he save her from the danger that’s heading their way?
Bestselling author, Anna J. Stewart, discussed her latest novel, REUNITED WITH THE P.I., with The Big Thrill:
Was there anything new you discovered, or surprised you, as you wrote this book?
Simone and Vince have had vastly differing experiences with the justice system. Where Simone dedicated her life to it, believes in it, lives her life by it, Vince doesn’t have nearly as much faith. Figuring out a way for the two of them to work together to solve this disappearance while respecting the other’s opinions opened up an interesting level of communication between them. It also changed both of their minds to a certain respect, which I think is always a good result.
Each day could be her last…but not if he can help it.
Tara Parrish is the only person ever to survive an attack by the Lone Wolf Bomber. Scared and emotionally scarred by her near death, she goes into hiding with only one plan—to stay alive for another day. She knows he’s coming after her, and if he finds her, he will finish what he started.
Agent Cal Riggins has had only one goal for the past six months—to save lives by ending the Lone Wolf’s bombing spree. To succeed, he needs the help of Tara Parrish, the one person who can lead them to the bomber. Cal puts his all into finding Tara, but once he locates her, he realizes if he can find her, the Lone Wolf can, too. He must protect Tara at all costs, and they’ll both need to resist the mutual attraction growing between them to focus on hunting down the bomber, because one wrong move could be fatal.
Susan Sleeman recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her latest novel, FATAL MISTAKE:
DiAnn Mills wrote her first book on a Big Chief notepad with a #2 pencil. Asked about her journey toward becoming a bestselling author of Christian romantic suspense, she says, “I always enjoyed creating story, deepening characterization, and placing heroes and heroines in difficult places. The older I got, the more trouble those characters got into. But I didn’t take writing seriously until 1996 when my husband said, ‘Stop telling me you’re going to write a book one day. Just do it. Quit your job. I give you one year to see if anything is published.’”
A Type A personality, Mills took his challenge seriously.
“My new job was writing,” she says, “and I approached it with passion and enthusiasm.” She read how-to books, attended writing workshops and conferences, became involved in writing and critique groups, and wrote a set number of words every day. Two years later, her first book was released. “Not sure if my husband ever regretted the challenge, but I will say he’s my best cheerleader. He believed in me when I didn’t.”
DiAnn believes her readers should expect an adventure, and she does her best to deliver. To ensure an authentic experience, she once rode the line with the Border Patrol in McAllen, Texas. Another time, she traveled to Southern Sudan to research a novel.
When an international ring of sex traffickers kidnaps an eight-year-old girl in Boston, FBI Agent Lucas Randall heads undercover. But his rescue operation goes disastrously wrong and Lucas barely escapes with his life. Now the ruthless traffickers are hunting him down, along with everyone else who threatens their operation.
Computer expert Ashley Chen joined the FBI to fight against evil in the world—evil she experienced firsthand. She has mad skills, and deadly secrets, and once she starts working with Lucas, she also has big trouble, because after years of pushing people away, she’s falling for the guy. The feeling is more than mutual, but as Ashley intensifies her online pursuit of the trafficking ring, her traumatic past collides with her present and suddenly Lucas can’t tell which side she’s on. And as the case escalates into a high-stakes game of cat and mouse, it turns out Ashley isn’t the only one with something to hide.
If neither can trust the other with their secrets, how can they trust each other with their hearts?
Bestselling author Toni Anderson recently discussed writing COLD SECRETS with The Big Thrill:
Arriving at her secluded cabin to find her brother missing, Olivia Kendricks follows his trail into the woods—until two shooters take aim at her. She only escapes when ex-detective Zachary Long, her brother’s friend—and Olivia’s first love—comes to her rescue. Now as they run for their lives in the snowbound wilderness, they must search for her brother while figuring out why someone wants them dead. And though Zach’s police force training may be what will save them, it’s also what once drove them apart when he gave Olivia up to chase his dream. In a freezing landscape as deadly as it is beautiful, they’ll have to let go of the past…and face down powerful men willing to kill to keep secrets buried.
Bestselling author, Elizabeth Goddard, recently took time out of her busy schedule to discuss writing FALSE SECURITY with The Big Thrill:
When feline shifter Dreya Clark is escorted from police interrogation by two secret agents, she thinks she’s dodged a bullet. That sexy detective Braden Hayes caught her stealing red-handed. When she finds out what she has to do to stay out of jail, suddenly she’s missing the hot cop with the piercing gaze. She’s being recruited for her shifter abilities by the Department of Covert Operations.
WILL DANGER RIP THEM APART?
Braden has been chasing the smart-mouthed cat burglar for years. But when Dreya’s taken away, he knows their game of cat and mouse has turned deadly-serious. There’s no way he’ll let her go off alone. Fur flies and temperatures flare as Braden realizes Dreya is much more than she appears. Thrown together on a dangerous covert mission, this unlikely pair will have to rely on each other to make it out alive.
Paige Tyler sat down with The Big Thrill to discuss her latest novel, HER TRUE MATCH:
Housewife assassin Donna Stone must be more than just ready for her close-up if she’s to stop a terrorist cell intent on exposing the United States’ vulnerability to an attack on American soil. The only intel provided to Donna, Jack, and their mission team at Acme Industries is that it will take place during a live broadcast of a reality TV show. And wouldn’t you know it: each of the other housewife contestants has dirty little secrets that make them and their husbands very probable Persons of Interest. So, who is the terrorist who wants to hold these celebrity housewives hostage—and worse yet, kill them off in front of their adoring fans?
Author Josie Brown recently took time out of her busy schedule to discuss her 14th book in the Housewife Assassin series with The Big Thrill:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
Those who take on the profession of covert ops have real lives, and complex personal dilemmas. Despite this, they are driven by a true sense of mission.
By E.M. Powell
I’m sure we’ve all come across the ‘Why I Write’ statements. They come in as many forms and in as wide a variety as there are writers. Yet few can beat Kat Martin’s “I write simply to entertain” in its succinctness—and its modesty. Martin has written more than sixty-five novels, with sixteen million copies of her books in print in more than twenty countries. She’s a regular on the prestigious New York Times bestseller list, with her most recent releases, the romantic suspense BOSS Inc novels Into the Fury and Into the Whirlwind both taking top ten spots. By anyone’s reckoning, that’s a heck of a lot of people entertained. Those legions of readers are about to be joined by more with the release of Martin’s third BOSS Inc. title, INTO THE FIRESTORM.
For those who don’t know, BOSS stands for Brodie Operations Security Services, an operation headed up by ex-cop Ethan Brodie. INTO THE FIRESTORM has Ethan’s bounty hunter brother as its hero. Luke Brodie is chasing international criminal, Rudy Vance and $600,000 fee he’ll collect if he brings in Vance. Trouble is, there’s another bounty hunter in pursuit of the despicable Vance, too. And this one is a young female who’s new to the job: Emma Cassidy, less than five feet tall and with the most intensely personal reasons for wanting to get Vance. As this is a Kat Martin novel, the sexual tension between Luke and Emma is there from the start. Add the gritty realism of the world of the bounty hunter that Martin brings to life so well, and you have another high-octane, page-turning read.
Real life has provided some help for Martin’s fiction. She says she based elements of the courageous, likeable Emma on a very well respected bail enforcement agent in Texas. She also had a trusted advisor. “A close friend of mine, Bob Burton, was at one time the #1 Bounty Hunter in the US. I modelled Emma’s mentor, Booth Childers, after my friend. He was also a bodyguard. Bob was enormously helpful in providing info for several of my books.”
Elizabeth Goddard began writing novels when she retired from a career in software sales to home school her children. Fast forward to last month, when her 25th romance, UNDERCOVER PROTECTOR, hit the shelves.
The book follows Special Agent Grayson Wilde who is undercover at a tiger sanctuary, where he believes the owner is involved in a wildlife trafficking ring—until she is almost killed. Now, the two of them must work together not only to save a generation old tiger oasis, but to survive.
Goddard’s previous works have garnered conspicuous success, including bestseller status and literary awards. Her romantic mystery, The Camera Never Lies was a 2011 Carol Award winner. She’s a double finalist in the 2016 Daphne Du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense for her books Buried and Backfire in the Mountain Cove series, and a 2016 Carol Award finalist for Submerged.
In this interview for The Big Thrill, Goddard talks more about her new release, and what fans of her work can look forward to next.
Your new novel, UNDERCOVER PROTECTOR, is set on a tiger sanctuary. This isn’t a setting one runs across every day, even in fiction-writing circles. How did you come up with that?
I run across a lot of different settings in the stories I read and that makes it hard to come up with something original. I’ve trained myself to constantly be aware of my surroundings and things that interest me or I’m passionate about, and I put those ideas into a file for when I’m ready to start a new proposal or story. When I lived in Oregon there was a big cat sanctuary we visited and I always wanted to write about them—they’re magnificent creatures. When I came up with my wildlife special agent hero, I knew that was the perfect time to include the tigers.
Winter Austin has translated her ability to verbally spin a vivid and detailed story into writing deadly romantic thrillers. SINS OF THE FATHER spotlights newly pinned deputy Jolie Murdoch, whose first big job as a McIntire County deputy is to locate a missing girl. What Jolie doesn’t expect is to stumble upon a corpse—the girl’s father—with a prime suspect hanging around the crime scene. But why would local bartender Xavier Hartmann go off the deep end and bludgeon a man to death? A former Marine, barely coping with a traumatic brain injury, Xavier has no memory of what happened at the crime scene.
Will Jolie do her sworn duty or buck the status quo to give her and Xavier’s newfound passion a chance?
SINS OF THE FATHER is the third book in the McIntire County series. What can you tell The Big Thrill readers about the series and how your characters have evolved?
I started the series out with one book, not knowing for certain if it would become a series. When secondary characters came onto the page, sort of creating their own stories in the process, it was a foregone conclusion to continue. PTSD in its many forms seems to be the driving factor behind the books, but it’s mostly the murder plots and how the characters react to them. And as in SINS OF THE FATHER, how the villain has a personal connection to the main character.
At their core, the books in the McIntire County series are romances. I’m not an “insta-love” kind of writer. The relationship with Jolie Murdoch and Xavier Hartmann in this book was slower yet, because they barely know each other, and well, Xavier’s being looked at as a suspect. A huge conflict of interest there for Deputy Murdoch.
When Maddy McKay and Quinn Holcombe don’t show up for Quinn’s surprise birthday party, his friends know that something is very wrong. Their search turns up little beyond evidence that Quinn and Maddy just decided to take off for a long overdue vacation. But it soon becomes apparent that they did not leave of their own accord.
Maddy awakens in a cement room with no idea where she is. But it’s not long before she realizes she’s in the clutches of a madman exacting revenge by hunting. His prey of choice? Humans. Now Maddy and Quinn must run for their lives, hoping to find their killer before the next game begins. Because if they don’t win this game, they die.
Author Lynette Eason took time to discuss her latest thriller with The Big Thrill:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
First, I hope readers are thoroughly entertained by the story. I hope they also realize that true love is worth pursuing and not giving up on. I hope they come away better people for having read the book.
WHO WILL WRITE THE BOOK OF LOVE?
When scholarly Miss Ivy Wareham receives word that she’s one of four young ladies who have inherited Lady Celeste Beauchamp’s estate with a magnificent private library, she packs her trunks straightaway. Unfortunately, Lady Celeste’s nephew, the rakish Quill Beauchamp, Marquess of Kerr, is determined to interrupt her studies one way or another…
Bequeathing Beauchamp House to four bluestockings―no matter how lovely they are to look at―is a travesty, and Quill simply won’t have it. But Lady Celeste’s death is not quite as straightforward as it first seemed…and if Quill hopes to solve the mystery behind her demise, he’ll need Ivy’s help. Along the way, he is surprised to learn that bookish Ivy stirs a passion and longing that he has never known. This rogue believes he’s finally met his match―but can Quill convince clever, skeptical Ivy that his love is no fiction?
Author Manda Collins recently discussed her novel, READY SET ROGUE, with The Big Thrill:
How does this book make a contribution to the genre?
I think this story has a place in both the tradition of the Agatha Christie English Village murder mystery, as well as in the vein of historical romantic suspense such as that of Amanda Quick and Stephanie Laurens. Because I cut my reading teeth on both mysteries and romances, my favorite novels combine the two and the very best have a bantering couple working together to solve a murder. I hope READY SET ROGUE compares favorably to other books in this vein.