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By L. Dean Murphy

In this romantic suspense thriller, nothing can stand in the way of Jordan Jakes launching a missile in a remote desert of Iran—not even Ben Johnson, the NASA scientist she’s targeted. Against all odds, Ben follows Jordan, placing not only the mission at risk, but also the world’s fate. Everything hinges on the strength of their love.

Daco added, “On a larger scale, THE LIBRA AFFAIR is about finding balance, a home-brewed war to alter international allies and rebalance global economic powers. It focuses on obstacles Jordan Jakes faces to complete her mission successfully, but on a deeper level these impediments also parallel the difficulties faced in her personal life.

“In our personal lives, like yin chasing yang, we constantly seek balance. In the story, Jordan is too guarded. She chooses a career to hide from life; as a result, her need to control what enters her world leaves her scaling the perimeter of life when all she really wants is to find love and happiness.”

Not unlike performers Cher and Madonna, debut Daco (pronounced with a soft a and long o, sort of like “Dahco”) writes using a single name. Her physicist father formulated the name from General Theories of Relativity. “The derivative (D) of acceleration (A) at the speed of light in centimeters per second (C) is equal to zero (O), where C is the same in E equals mC². My father had a sense of humor; there is no change in acceleration of light-speed, the fastest we know of, so I guess that makes me the speed of light!”

Compelling scenes Daco said are when “Jordan talks to Ben about balance in life and how they can never solve all their differences, but can achieve a workable balance. And at the end when another character is dying and Jordan suddenly has to face her flaw—not dealing with the death of her own parents and how she’s allowed that to shape her life.”

This obviously is why Daco chose Libra for the title. Scales, representing balance, depict her profession as an attorney (“blind justice”) and astrological sign Libra.

What inspired her novel? “Fascinated with thrillers and spy movies, the idea for THE LIBRA AFFAIR spawned one Saturday morning over coffee and a newspaper. Hot topics of the day were Iran, nuclear war, China, trade imbalance, and espionage. The story grew out of questioning how to achieve balance in the world.”

Daco has advice for aspiring writers. “Go for it and don’t let anyone stand in your way. If you think you can’t, not true, you can. But do your homework. Go to conferences, learn the craft, what’s expected, and just finish the story. Dream big!”

When asked if she was a plotter or “pantser” Daco said, “When I conceive a story idea, I know where it’ll start, some points along the way, and how it ultimately ends. I don’t always know what’s around the corner. Sometimes, I find my characters locked in and haven’t a clue how I’m going to get them on the move again, but that’s what makes the process of developing a story interesting. The real magic of writing is when I see all the different threads come together at the end.”

Concerning rewriting Daco said, “I generally write the story straight through, and tend to look over the last bits from the day before, to add or correct details. For the most part, I’m so focused that I power through the work at the speed of light. That’s the first draft; editing is more down to earth.”

Daco doesn’t think of herself as a series writer. “When I finished THE LIBRA AFFAIR, however, I had a new story in mind. It would actually continue nicely, so I wrote it as the sequel, titled THE SCORPION AFFAIR. I’ve envisioned a third, but that’s backburnered for now. I’m also completing another round of edits on a YA entitled CHINABOUND. In January, I started a mainstream novel, SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS.”

For research and setting, Daco travels at light-speed. “My characters roam the globe, so I constantly search the Internet for facts. Google Maps is invaluable and I love going to eye level to a place I’ve never been. I don’t write in painstaking detail so I give myself creative license—as a friend said, it’s fiction.”

Daco opined about eBooks. “Everything in print seems to have that component. Students from kindergarten through university get iPads or are required to have computers for most of their work. It’s a new world. As to me, I find it harder to adjust because I prefer tree-books. I like the feel of pages, turning them. I suspect in twenty or fifty years, books will be relics. With information available at light-speed, and the voracious appetite of readers demanding instant access to a good read, why stand in line? Moreover, for published and aspiring authors, opportunity abounds. Despite concerns over quality, look to the basic economic model for the marketplace. I think we can count on supply and demand taking care of quality control issues.”


When not practicing law with her husband at Auffenorde & Auffenorde, P.C., Daco writes novels and manages the busy lives of two children. Her education includes a B.A. and M.A.S. from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and J.D. from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law. Her memberships include ITW, Romance Writers of America, Authors Guild, and Alabama State Bar.

To learn more about Daco, visit her website.

Dean Murphy
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