The Big Thrill Discusses FROM AN UNKNOWN SENDER with Traci Hunter Abramson, Sian Ann Bessey
After spending a busy holiday season putting drug smugglers behind bars, CIA operative Cole Bridger is looking forward to spending a quiet Christmas in Vienna with his girlfriend and fellow operative, Isabelle Roberts. But when Isabelle is tasked with investigating a string of suspect financial transactions and redirects a suspicious package to a museum in Amsterdam, she inadvertently places Cole’s cousins in the crosshairs of a drug smuggling ring.
Lars and Marit have no desire to be drawn into the deadly dealings of the criminal underworld, but when Lars’s sister, Tess’s, life is placed in danger, they willingly join Cole and Isabelle in their efforts to uncover the mastermind behind the drug smuggling ring. Unfortunately, the two couples’ involvement does not go unnoticed. And though each step brings them closer to the truth, they also reveal a startling picture of greed and corruption at the center of a dangerous organization that will stop at nothing to retrieve what it has lost.
Authors Traci Hunter Abramson and Sian Ann Bessey recently spent time with The Big Thrill to discuss their latest international suspense, FROM AN UNKNOWN SENDER.
Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?
We knew we wanted each book to take place in a different European city. Since we didn’t have time to travel together before writing this book, we made a list of where we had both been. Amsterdam topped the list. From there, we simply considered some of our favorite moments and sites around the city. That story fell into place from there.
A novel is such a major undertaking; there’s the writing of it, of course, then you’re spending months and months revising, polishing, and then promoting it. How did you know this was the book you wanted to spend the next couple of years on?
We probably shouldn’t admit that this book only took five weeks to write. That’s the beauty of writing with someone else—you only have to do half the work. Basically, we both knew we wanted to continue this series and spend more time with these characters we have come to love. We simply had to wait for both of us to reach a good stopping point with our individual projects to take a month or two off to work on writing this one. Once we started, the story just flew onto the page. More often than not, it was because the characters hijacked the story and dictated what would happen next.
When you first created your protagonist for this book, did you see an empty space in crime lit that you wanted to fill?
The story is pretty evenly balanced between our four protagonists. The space we really wanted to fill was to provide strong female characters who are resourceful within their respective spheres. Marit, a fashion model, is observant and intuitive. Isabelle, an undercover CIA operative, often uses her finance background to open up new clues. The two male leads, Cole and Lars, provide a demonstration of strong family ties and a sense of loyalty to be admired.
In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?
We hope readers will get a fun taste of life in Amsterdam, some insights into life in the CIA, and enjoy the sense of family that these characters enjoy.
What can you share about what you’re working on next?
Traci: I’m working on a new political intrigue and looking forward to starting on the next book in this series with Sian. My next release will be Jim & Katherine, which is a sweet romantic suspense, due out in March 2024.
Sian: My next release is The Provincial Peer, a Georgian historical suspense, which will come out in May 2024 followed by A Kingdom to Claim in July 2024.
Traci Hunter Abramson was born in Arizona, where she lived until moving to Venezuela for a study abroad program. After graduating from Brigham Young University, she worked for the Central Intelligence Agency, eventually resigning in order to raise her family. She credits the CIA with giving her a wealth of ideas as well as the skills needed to survive her children’s teenage years. She loves to travel and recently retired after twenty-six years coaching her local high school swim team. She has written forty-five best-selling novels and is an eight-time Whitney Award winner, including 2017 and 2019 Best Novel of the Year. You can find out more about Traci and her books at www.traciabramson.com, on her various social media pages, and in her Facebook group, Traci’s Friends.
Sian Ann Bessey was born in Cambridge, England, grew up on the island of Anglesey off the coast of North Wales, and now lives in Southeast Idaho. Americans think she has a British accent; British people think she has an American accent. She can’t hear her accent at all but the name of the small Welsh village, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, still rolls off her tongue.
To learn more about the authors and their work, please visit their website.
FROM AN UNKNOWN SENDER with Traci Hunter Abramson, Sian Ann Bessey