Bestselling author and business entrepreneur Jen Talty transitioned from teaching and training business software applications to handling the technical end of a digital publishing company. Along the way, she made the leap from hockey mom to romantic suspense author. And what suspense she writes! Or as NYT bestselling author Jennifer Probst put it, “DEADLY SECRETS is the best of romance and suspense in one hot read!”
DEADLY SECRETS is a romantic suspense thrill ride. Patty Harmon had a plan for her life. What she planned as a “moment” with New York State Trooper Reese McGinn interrupts that agenda when Patty finds herself pregnant. Constantly on the move trying to escape the past, McGinn had vowed never to put down roots. With a child on the way, he decides it’s time to forget the past, but a deadly secret rises from the grave, threatening to take away everything he thought he never wanted.
Jen stepped away from her busy schedule to answer a few questions for The Big Thrill.
DEADLY SECRETS is the third in your New York State Troopers series. Tell us something about the book that isn’t mentioned in the published book description.
One of the themes throughout the book is how family secrets, even if they are intended to protect loved ones, can destroy the person the secret is supposed to protect and potentially destroy future families.
Hmm, irony at it’s best. Rather than a series with continuing characters, Troopers seems to be linked by one of your main characters’ profession – state trooper. Do you intend to write more of the linked stories or will you follow your characters into a new adventure?
I’ve already started the fourth book in the series. Its Stacey Sutten’s story, tentatively titled The Accused. We first meet Stacey in DEADLY SECRETS. What has happened with this series is each book contains a secondary character my readers and I fall in love with and we all want to know their story. I’m not far enough into the draft of The Accused to see which secondary character will be the next story, and if it will be a trooper. Could be moving toward a new series!
Your collaboration with Bob Mayer in Cool Gus publishing is well known. You’ve worked there as the creative technical person and handled digital transformation, covers, editing, and the entire “back end” of publishing. Cool Gus is releasing your current romantic suspense, DEADLY SECRETS. Do you find it difficult to transition from author to editor and also to publisher? Is it more of a challenge with your own stories as opposed to another author?
The hardest part for me is I struggle to do all the things that I do for the Cool Gus Authors. I can promote them. Do their book trailers, covers, create promotional campaigns for them, but I find it very difficult to do that for myself. I also have difficulty making the switch from the daily operations of Cool Gus to being a writer. I usually either have to take my laptop and go write somewhere else in the house instead of my office, or go for a walk and when I return, make sure I shut down social media etc. There is the time management issue as well, but now that I’m an empty nester, that’s easier to manage.
You wrote a “straight” suspense novel, Taming Evil. How did you find that—the story or the process—different from romantic suspense? What led you back to romantic suspense and the NY State Troopers?
I’m fascinated by the darker side of human nature and when I wrote Jane Doe’s Return and Taming Evil, I really spent a lot of time figuring out the “bad guy” in that story. I wanted to understand the antagonist, so that lead me in a very different direction. I found writing straight suspense to be very difficult. I also found myself diving too deeply into the bad guy. I still have every intention to publish some of the work I’ve done in suspense/horror, but my love for a happy-ever-after ending lead me back to romantic suspense. I wasn’t getting that in the other stories.
Character and Plot. One of romantic suspense’s appeals is the balance between the two. A ticking clock. An appallingly evil villain raising the stakes for the relationship. A hero and heroine we related to or empathize with. People we come to care about. I’ve found authors tend to emphasize one or the other element. Which do you prefer? Why?
My first novel, In Two Weeks, is more romance than suspense. The focus is more on the characters. The second book I wrote, Jane Doe’s Return, I really started to focus on the suspense driving the characters and their relationships. Since then, I always start with the suspense part of the story. Both Dark Water and Rekindled have strong suspense plots. DEADLY SECRETS, while it is suspenseful, is more character driven. So I guess my answer would be, I prefer whichever element is going to be best for the story.
What’s next for you?
I’m working on the fourth book in the Trooper series, The Accused, which will be released in the fall. I also intend to put one of the straight suspense novels in the Kindle Scout Program this fall.
Jen Talty is an award-winning author of Romantic Suspense. Dark Water hit #10 in Barnes and Noble and her books have been in the top 50 on Amazon. Jennifer grew up in Rochester, New York. She recently retired from being a full-time hockey mom as her children hung up their skates. She and her husband still live in Rochester while her children travel globe. Jen is the co-founder of Cool Gus Publishing with NY Times Bestselling Author Bob Mayer. Jen does all the cover art, book trailers, eBook Conversions, and also works as a developmental editor.
To learn more about Jen, please visit her website.