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the-echo-of-violence.JPGBy Jeannie Holmes

Allison Brennan describes Jordan Dane’s books as “… romantic suspense [that] sizzles with an effective blend of hot romance and cold suspense. Intense and satisfying.” I completely agree. I had the pleasure of meeting Jordan last year at Bouchercon in Indianapolis and have enjoyed reading her books ever since.

So you can imagine my sheer delight when I was given an opportunity to discuss the latest installment in the Sweet Justice Series, The Echo of Violence, with Jordan.

The Echo of Violence is the third book in the Sweet Justice Series and is due from Avon (Harper Collins) August 31. What’s it about and will we see any returning characters?

I was inspired to write this book after seeing a TV documentary on a real life tragedy about a missionary couple who had been kidnapped and held for ransom by terrorists. The desperation and tragic outcome gripped me, so I told my version of their story with characters I wanted to introduce to my Sweet Justice series. Basically, my dark mercenary Jackson Kinkaid has found a way to launch his own war against the drug cartels. Like a modern day Robin Hood, he steals from criminals and gives money to charities, even though on the surface, he appears to be working for the cartels.

He’s beyond caring about his image. He’s got another agenda, but there’s much more to him than this Robin Hood facet of his life. And his story will unfold as the story goes on. After his dear friend, Sister Kate, is one of the hostages taken (along with several Haitian children and others) at a missionary school fundraiser in Haiti, he is driven to track the terrorists into the treacherous mountains of Cuba, but after he’s wounded, he can’t do it alone. He’s forced to trust an old enemy, Garrett Wheeler of the Sentinels, head of a covert vigilante organization.

The Echo of Violence is book #3 of my Sweet Justice series and has continuing characters, but this book is primarily told through the eyes of Alexa Marlowe, a strong woman operative who works for the Sentinels. Another familiar face will be the mysterious Garrett Wheeler, her boss and former lover. And my bounty hunter, Jessica Beckett and Seth Harper will also be in this one. They are too much fun to leave out.

Sounds like an action-packed adventure for certain. One aspect I really admire with your writing is the characters. So many of your characters have, shall we say, shady moral standings, such as Jackson Kincaid whom Publishers Weekly likened to a modern-day Robin Hood.

What can I say? I like hanging with bad boys. And like many people, I love an fascinating anti-hero.

Don’t we all? What is it about these types of flawed characters do you find appealing as a writer? Why do you think readers find them interesting?

dane-jordan1.jpgThey are imperfect, flawed, and very relatable, even though their morals are a bit squishy. Writing a character like this makes them unpredictable and it’s more of a challenge to remain true to their dark side as well as give readers a glimpse of their good side. As an author, I love walking that fine line between good and evil and I think characters are much more compelling when they can be tempted to the dark side by just the right circumstance. We all have the potential for good as well as bad in us. I think that’s why these types of characters are more human. Their failings and the conflicts that challenge them make them interesting.

Very interesting, and well said. I think a lot of readers can relate to these types of characters and situations, especially since your books have a “ripped from the headlines” style. How do you find your ideas, but most importantly, keep them timely and fresh?

I get my ideas from real stories. And I file things away as they touch me so I can use the concept later. A theme you’ll see in this series is my fear of global crimes that are hard to prosecute that cross jurisdictional lines and international borders. And the Sentinels’ organization is my way of answering that call to arms, to fight predatory criminals who don’t play by any rules. I think readers return time and time again to crime fiction, because in some small way, they get to see justice done on the page.

The Sentinels use a lot of cool gadgets and technology. How much research is involved with each book?

Researching this book was fun because I had to find the right technology to use, then elevate to the next level, making it more futuristic. A covert agency like the Sentinels is backed by powerful people and countries from all over the world, so it makes sense to give them cutting edge resources. As a writer, that’s challenging, but I do a lot of research and consult with people who know way more than I do.

Consulting others with more knowledge is always great advice, but some aspects are best told from firsthand experience. Do you travel to the places where you set the books, such as Alaska for Evil Without a Face or Haiti for The Echo of Violence?

I lived in Alaska for ten years. And I often write about places I’ve been. I led a pretty full life in Alaska and had many bush adventures, including being a check point operator in the dead of winter on the Iditarod trail for the International Iditaski Cross Country and Snowshoe race. I was chased by a mad mother moose on mile 17 of a marathon race. And I’ve been dropped off in the middle of nowhere to go fishing in the bush for days at a time–countless types of adventures like this. I also traveled enough to know what it’s like to be a foreigner in a country. And I do plenty of research to fill in the gaps of areas I don’t know well. Since I write about dangerous places, I don’t always feel the need to actually go there, but I do tons of research to make everything sound authentic and use experts when necessary.

Wow. Sound like you’ve had quite a few adventures of your own. In addition to your adult romantic suspense novels, you have new young adult books starting in 2011. Do you find it difficult to transition between the two markets when you sit down to begin the next book?

My debut YA is In the Arms of Stone Angels and will be released in April 2011 by Harlequin Teen with book #2 to come. I love writing YA. The voice can be a challenge to keep fresh from book to book, but so far, I’m having a blast. I get to relive my past as well as observe kids now to see what makes them tick. It makes me more of an observer of human nature and I love that. I keep the elements of suspense to my YA stories, because I just love the faster pace and intensity, but YA is much more about the characters. I had to change my style of writing quite a bit, but it hasn’t been hard to work in both genres. If anything, it’s broadened my imagination. I’m particularly drawn to dark and edgy YA books. And there are so many good authors writing it. As a reader, I’m totally hooked on these books. These novels are very cross genre and filled with creativity, so writing these types of stories stretches me as an author.

Teens are so savvy in their reading now I see where crossing from the adult suspense market to the YA market can definitely push you as a writer. In your biography, you state you were an energy sales manager in the oil and gas industries. Have you always wanted to write?

Writing has been part of my life since I was a teen, but I never thought I could make a living from it until I sold in auction in 2006. With my energy job and good financial planning, I was ready for a change and was fortunate enough to rediscover the passion I had for writing and make a second career out of it. I pinch myself every day, amazed that I was lucky enough to become a published author. But even if I never sold, I would still write. It’s a part of who I’ve become. And I love being a member of ITW and love the other supportive writers who are in my life. Thanks so much to all of you–and you know who you are.

I know exactly how you feel, and I’m sure we could go on forever but our time is almost up. Final question: what can we expect to see from Jordan Dane in the future?

I love staying busy. And since I’m writing full time and can write fairly quickly, I want to be challenged by the genres that interest me, if I can bring something new to the table. I love writing YA and am working on book #2 for Harlequin Teen. I also have a paranormal series that is with my agent, Meredith Bernstein. I had so much fun coming up with a series idea that I don’t know why it has taken me so long to discover paranormal. I can’t say much about this series yet, but it will definitely be different with ramped up emotional stakes for the continuing characters.

Thanks, Jordan, for taking time to discuss The Echo of Violence, and I wish you much success!

Thanks so much for featuring me, Jeannie. And continued success on Blood Law and your Alexandra Sabian series with Dell.

Jeannie Holmes
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