Detective Greg Johnson thinks he knows how to handle witnesses. Then he meets Jasmine Taylor. Her brother has been accused of a horrible crime. And Jasmine isn’t telling him the whole truth. He’s racing the clock, and Jasmine, to find out what really happened before someone dies. But can he trust himself to resist this enigmatic—and alluring—woman with a tragic past?
Tara Taylor Quinn recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her latest novel, FALLING FOR HIS SUSPECT:
Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?
Character – I knew Jasmine first, then met her brother.
What was the biggest challenge this book presented? What about the biggest opportunity?
The biggest challenge was showing Jasmine in a way that the reader would understand her. So often we step back and judge from our own perspective, and I had to help the reader slide into Jasmine’s very different perspective to get her intensely emotional and frightening story.
How does this book make a contribution to the genre?
This book shows suspense/danger at its most potent—it’s inside of those you love, it’s in your home, and, statistically, it’s very real. It also ultimately shows that inner strength, love, and hope are stronger than any danger will ever be. That people can experience horrible things and still find happiness if they’re brave enough to be open to it.
Without spoilers, are there any genre conventions you wanted to upend or challenge with this book?
The book is published by Harlequin in their category romance brand, and the heroine is bisexual. My editor thought it might be the first for the brand. We know that’s it’s certainly one of the first. The choice wasn’t a contrived one. It came from the heroine as I was telling her story—I was already into the book before she revealed herself to me. I got in touch with my editor to find out if the story would still work for her, and she approved instantly.
No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?
The story is the 18th book in my Where Secrets Are Safe series. The series revolves around The Lemonade Stand, a resort-like domestic violence shelter I created off the coast of California. My point in starting the series is to show that people who suffer from loved ones who suffer from this horrible disease can recover, learn to trust again, find healthy love and happiness. I am a domestic violence survivor and am living proof of happy endings. Not all books are set at the shelter, but they all involve domestic violence in some form, and the shelter plays a part in every book.
What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?
Heather Graham has been in my writing life for as long as I can remember. In her writing, in life, in everything she does, Heather gives her all. Her generosity of spirit called out to me. From throwing parties to being willing to share anything with anyone, Heather has always been larger than life, always there, always giving, and always with a smile. At a time when support meant everything to me, Heather very graciously agreed to have one of my books tag along with hers in a special release re-issue. I will never forget.
I first met Debbie Macomber when she was writing Harlequin Romance books. She generously shared with me the trials and the successes she’d faced, and then remembered me. She’s had my back so many times over the years, from suggesting when I needed to branch out within the Harlequin brand, hooking me up with an agent, to teaching me how to run an author’s office. She’s quoted on my books, and, even now, if I run into Debbie, she smiles, offers genuine conversation. She remembers me. Debbie, to me, is a conglomeration of every heroine she’s ever written.
What’s the one question you wish someone would ask you about this book, or your work in general? And, please answer the question too!
Q: If you had one message that your work could put out into the world, what would it be?
A: That hope exists and love wins.
The international author of 101 original novels, in twenty languages, Tara Taylor Quinn is a USA Today bestseller with over seven million copies sold. A five-time RITA finalist, Tara appears frequently on bestseller lists, including #1 placement on Amazon lists, and multiple showings on the Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller list. She is a National Reader’s Choice Award winner and has appeared on national and local TV across the country, including CBS Sunday Morning.
Tara is a supporter of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. If you or someone you know might be a victim of domestic violence in the United States, please contact 1-800-799-7233.
To learn more about the author and her work, please visit her website.