Teri Anne Stanley’s debut novel, DEADLY CHEMISTRY, just released and USA Today bestselling author Ruthie Knox notes that “[w]ith fast-paced, clever writing, strong heroines, and to-die-for heroes, Teri Anne Stanley is definitely one to watch!”
In DEADLY CHEMISTRY, former undercover cop Mike Gibson has been laying low, working as a maintenance man to put his troubled younger brother through college. But when a beautiful scientist enlists Mike’s help to repair the damage done to her lab by a group of vandals, Mike finds that his, and his brother’s pasts, are about to be brought to light. Laura Kane was happy having a secret crush on the hot maintenance man at Tucker University, but when the drug she was studying is stolen, Laura has a chance to get to know Mike in person. The problem is, he seems to know more about what’s going on than any maintenance man should. But then the drug turns up in the wrong hands, and Mike and Laura have to decide if their own chemistry will help, or hinder, the race to save innocent lives.
Teri Anne Stanley has been writing since she could hold a crayon—though learning to read was a huge turning point in her growth as a writer. Teri’s first stories involved her favorite Saturday morning cartoon characters, followed by her favorite teen idols. She has also authored a recipe column (The Three Ingredient Gourmet), and scientific articles (Guess which was more interesting!). Now she writes fun, sexy romance filled with chaos and havoc, populated by strong, smart women and hunky heroes.
What inspired you to jump from your earlier days of writing about cartoon characters, science, and cooking to writing suspenseful, sexy romance novels?
Well, I kind of outgrew the cartoon characters, the science stuff is a little dry (and there aren’t any nekkid parts), and I kind of gave up cooking. Even with just three ingredients—cooking is such a time suck!
DEADLY CHEMISTRY is your debut novel. Why this particular story for your first book?
I work in a research lab in real life, so I’m familiar with the setting. It just kind of sprang naturally from my brain. Like a tumor. It’s taken a lot of outside intervention to get this novel out of there cleanly.
What is the theme, or key themes, of DEADLY CHEMISTRY?
Themes? What are you talking about? Isn’t that one of those things we were supposed to be able to find in stories they made us read in high school? How’s about something like, “Don’t over-think everything.” Or maybe, “Crime doesn’t pay.” Okay, maybe, “It’s good to trust love.” You can see I’m not taking this too seriously.
How hot is DEADLY CHEMISTRY? And which are more challenging for you to write, love scenes or suspense scenes?
It’s pretty sexy, I think. Of course, one woman’s blush might be another person’s yawn! I found the suspense stuff more challenging than I thought I would.
With writing “strong heroines and to-die-for heroes,” what’s your magical process for creating a romantic pair involving a strong woman and a hunky hero?
Magical process? Not sure there’s anything magical about it, but I come up with a “what if” scenario. What if a female scientist didn’t think she was cut out for love? Then I find her the least likely person to fall in love with—a maintenance man. I give him a reason to find her impossible to be with—such as, she’s making the drug that he’s trying to stop—and then toss them into a situation that’s going to drive a wedge between them, and shake it all up.
What research, if any, did you do for DEADLY CHEMISTRY, and did your research have any particular influence on the plot or characters?
The science is all made up. I have no idea if you can make transgenic algae that makes morphine, but I know that you can grow tumor cells in a dish that produce all kind of things, so it seems possible. I didn’t do any specific research for this book, just built off of things that I already know—or invented. Frankly, I’m more worried about my co-workers tearing apart my fictional science than I am about my in-laws reading the sex scenes!
Your main female character Laura Kane is a scientist. How did your background in working in a research lab and writing scientific articles lend itself to creating a believable scientist in Laura?
Some of the fears Laura has, about not being able to have a successful career and a family at the same time, are valid. It’s really hard to be a mom (or dad!) and a full-time scientist. But there are a lot of people who make it work—and a lot of people who compromise. I got off the education train at a Master’s Degree, choosing not to go the whole way to a Ph.D. in academia and the responsibility of maintaining funding for a lab of my own. I’m a better lab rat than an administrator.
You have mentioned that your snarky personality comes through in your writing. How do you mix humor in romantic suspense? And is this something you find easy and fun to write?
I’m not writing comedy. I’m trying to mix everyday humor into extraordinary situations, hoping that we can all remember that even the darkest situations can have bright spots. The suspense/mystery part is hard! I have a tendency to write my way into corners, even when I think I’ve plotted things out fairly well. But I’ll keep trying, and maybe one of these days it will come naturally!
You are finishing up the sequel to DEADLY CHEMISTRY now. Are there any tidbits you can share about the sequel?
Sure! The sequel, tentatively titled DEADLY INTERACTIONS, is about Mike’s brother Evan and the woman who brings him to his knees—the classic tale of Marine Corps Barbie and Science Geek Ken. There are frogs, Costa Rican gangsters, and a good, healthy dose of jungle love!
Teri Anne Stanley has been writing since she could hold a crayon–though learning to read was a huge turning point in her growth as a writer. Teri’s first stories involved her favorite Saturday morning cartoon characters, followed by her favorite teen idols. She has also authored a recipe column (The Three Ingredient Gourmet), and scientific articles (Guess which was more interesting!). Now she writes fun, sexy romance filled with chaos and havoc, populated by strong, smart women and hunky heroes.
To learn more about Teri, please visit her website.