Up Close: Christine Feehan
Courageous Men and Dangerous Women
By Dawn Ius
New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan has a deep-rooted respect for the military and the sacrifices soldiers and their families make in order to protect us and our freedoms. That respect is evident in her work—particularly with her popular Ghostwalkers series, a military sci-fi collection of works that continues this month with book 16, LETHAL GAME.
“I love writing about courageous, heroic men who have a code of honor and who are willing to sacrifice for their country, team, family, friends, and total strangers,” she says. “The men in this series allowed themselves to be experimented on in order to be super soldiers and do more for their country. The women were genetically altered and trained under horrible circumstances, but they retain their humanity, compassion, and ability to love. Plus, the women are equally courageous and dangerous. These characters are wonderful to write.”
Feehan’s passion for writing is evident. In addition to the 16 novels in the Ghostwalkers series, she’s the author of six other series, totaling more than 80 books. Perhaps even more staggering, several of her novels from each of those seven series have hit the New York Times bestseller list.
With that kind of success cache, it might be tempting for some authors to rest on their laurels a little. The opposite is the case for Feehan, who with LETHAL GAME shows she is still very much on top of her game.
In this latest Ghostwalker installment, we are introduced to Malichai Fortunes, a rough-around-the-edges soldier forced into recoup after an injury took him temporarily out of duty. It’s during this rehab that he meets Amaryllis, a striking beauty hiding much more than desire behind those electric blue eyes.
Of course, nothing is black and white, and the page-turning plot unravels with enough twists and turns to distract you from the electrifying romance budding between Malichai and Amaryllis. Almost.
The truth is, Malichai has fast-tracked himself to becoming one of Feehan’s most beloved male characters, and with good reason.
“Malichai is a soldier all the way. A man who loves family. Loyal. A patriot. He has no idea about real relationships but he’s always willing to give his best,” Feehan says. “He grew up on the streets of Detroit with his two brothers and he learned loyalty and dedication, family and fighting through that experience. He extended his family through the military, but he never thought he’d find a woman of his own.”
It’s not a spoiler to suggest that Amaryllis could be that special lady—but Feehan’s path to romance is anything but cliché. Romantic suspense, she says, is all about balance.
“It took some time for me to find a blend I thought worked,” she says. “I read The Bourne Identity and loved the way the two worked together in order to survive. I loved that premise and found that by reading those I consider masters at writing suspense with romance woven in (I don’t enjoy it as much without the romance), I always learn skills.”
With such an impressive backlist to her name, it’s safe to assume that balancing the narrative is only one of many skills she’s picked up along the way. There’s a reason her fan base continues to grow with each new novel—her characterization (as evidenced in LETHAL GAME with Malichai and Amaryllis) is second to none. Constant conflict keeps the suspense high. And every novel concludes with a satisfying arc that leaves you wanting more.
And if LETHAL GAME feels different, somehow better than her other books—well, that’s part of Feehan’s fundamental goal: “to strive to improve every story.”
“Each book feels different because for me the characters are so real,” she says. “When I revisit them it’s like seeing old friends but learning about a new couple and their story. [LETHAL GAME] had a new setting, a mystery, so many moving elements and it made me cry, which few do.”
It’s almost surprising Feehan has time enough to even do that much analysis. She admits to being a “very, very disciplined” writer, with a work ethic instilled by her parents. Not to mention Feehan’s martial arts background. It certainly doesn’t leave much time for anything other than writing—which is good, since Feehan’s 2020 is looking like it might be a banner year.
After LETHAL GAME, Feehan’s Shadow Flight comes out on May 5th, Desolation Road on July 7th, Dark Song on September 1st, and Leopard’s Rage on November 10th. Whew!
“In addition to all of that, Walmart is releasing the Ghostwalker series with new covers exclusive to Walmart,” she says. “This is a busy year for me!”
For an author who clearly has no trouble putting words to paper, that might be the biggest understatement of the new decade.
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