Detective Kit Piper is kidnapped by mistake, or so she thinks when she manages to escape her captors. She seeks refuge in the cabin Simon Ward occupies, and he finds her flat on her face in the hallway. She’s all purply, and a little mouthy, too, so he can’t figure out why he’s attracted to her. Simon takes her to his parents’ house to recover, thinking she’ll be safe there. Kit likes the Wards, but she wants to get back to work and find the kidnappers. The problem is, Kit may have misinterpreted what’s going on. Plus, she’s beginning to think she wasn’t kidnapped by mistake. Maybe someone wants her dead.
Ann Simas recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her latest thriller, NOW OR NEVER:
Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?
The quick answer: setting, character, plot.
The longer answer: This is the final book in the Fossil, Colorado series. The setting was fixed since the stories take place in Fossil (Pike County) Colorado, which I created. My characters were set, too: Hannah met Noah in Book 1, Georgie and Brant connected in Book 2, and Jules and Beck got together in Book 3. Finally, it’s Simon and Kit’s story. I’m not a person who plots out a whole book before I start writing. When I do research, I take detours. I get brainstorms, I dream, but mostly I’m always thinking about what I’m writing.
I wanted Kit to be a tough cop with a soft heart. Simon, a cop on the state level, has a soft heart, too, but he doesn’t usually show it. The beginning of the book had to have a wow moment, which is why I decided to have someone kidnap Kit while she is sitting on a city park bench, eating lunch and enjoying the mountains. From there, you might say it’s a roller-coaster ride for Kit and Simon….
What attracts you to this book’s genre?
Writing cross-genre books (mystery, thriller, romance) allows me to include so many different elements in a story. Some people call those twists-and-turns and others call them ups-and-downs. It is fiction, so the more twisty-turny-ups-and-downsies I can have in the book, the better the read.
What was the biggest challenge this book presented? What about the biggest opportunity?
The biggest challenge and the biggest opportunity were one and the same in this book: I had to make it completely different than the first three books, even if some of the plot elements repeated (for instance, Jules was kidnapped by her stalker, Kit was kidnapped by someone who wanted her dead). I had a problem when Kit was kidnapped for the second time. I thought and thought about how I could handle the story without another kidnapping, and finally, it came to me. I think the change made for a much better book.
Was there anything new you discovered, or that surprised you, as you wrote this book?
I didn’t expect to cry when I went back to do my edits, but there’s an important part of the story that really got to me. To be truthful, I cried twice. By the time I finally proofed the book, I was on about the tenth read, and I almost cried again.
No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?
Kit had a daughter who was killed in a car crash five years earlier. Her death eventually becomes a crucial part of the story.
Ann Simas lives in Oregon, but she is a Colorado girl at heart, having grown up in the Rocky Mountains. The author of 37 novels, one novella, and one short-story collection, she particularly likes to write a mix of mystery/thriller/suspense, usually with a love story, and sometimes, paranormal or supernatural elements. Three of her books were Finalists in RWA’s Golden Heart contest.
Ann is also an award-winning watercolorist and budding photographer who enjoys needlework and gardening in her spare time. She is her family’s “genealogist” and has been blessed with the opportunity to conduct first-hand research in Italy for both her writing and her family tree. The genealogy research from centuries-old documents, written in Italian, has been a supreme but gratifying and exciting challenge for her.
To learn more about the author and her work, please visit her website.