Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Interview with romantic suspense author Rachel Woods

Romantic suspense author Rachel Woods is here today chatting with me about Flawless Danger.

During her virtual book tour, Rachel will be awarding an autographed print copy of Flawless Danger to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

As a pre-teen, a young Rachel quickly tired of the Sweet Valley High Series and moved on to work by Sidney Sheldon, Jackie Collins, and Dominick Dunne, which was just the spark necessary to fuel her love of writing. Her first stories were written on a Brother typewriter during long summer days in Texas, where she always had an extra typewriter ribbon and correction tape handy.

Rachel later studied journalism and graduated from the University of Houston where she published articles in the Daily Cougar. She is a freelance writer and blogger with a penchant for melodrama and a frequent traveler to beach locales. Many of her stories take place on the islands, which she has visited around the world.

Rachel writes complex, multicultural stories centered on strong women in jeopardy, fighting for love and their own lives. When not writing, this read-a-holic can be found listening to audiobooks, reading the Book of Jeremiah, or scouring soap opera blogs. Rachel resides in Houston with her three sock monkeys.

Welcome, Rachel. Please share a little bit about your current release.
Flawless Danger is the first full-length novel in the Spencer & Sione Series. Spencer Edwards is a woman, down on her luck and reluctantly entered into a life of crime as a thief. When she steals from the wrong man, she is thrust into more criminal deeds to avoid suffering the consequences of her original theft – certain jail time. She must deliver counterfeit passports to three women and steal a mysterious item from a handsome resort owner, named Sione. But of course, the forces of love take over and Spencer and Sione fall hard for each other. When the women who received the counterfeit passports are murdered one by one, Spencer knows she’s next and her only hope is Sione, the man she was sent to Belize to scam.

What inspired you to write this book?
The concept of a woman who drugs men to steal from them is based on real-life stories of women who have done just that. The idea was sparked by an article I read about a young, beautiful woman in Washington, D.C. who met a man in a bar and took him to her hotel for a nightcap, which she drugged. When the man woke up the next morning, his $50,000 Rolex watch was gone. I was intrigued by the life that woman may have led, what caused her to do those crimes and what would happen if she made a mistake when trying to commit the crime. This was the catalyst for the creation of Spencer Edwards and the telling of her story in Flawless Danger.

Excerpt from Flawless Danger:
Sighing, Spencer shook her head.

She wanted to explain why she’d decided to “date” Ben. She wanted to tell him she’d stolen from him because she was afraid of his feelings, and even more afraid of her own feelings, afraid she would lose herself if she fell in love with him.

But, would he understand?

Could she even explain it?

“So, Step Two is get close to the resort owner,” she said, rubbing her eyes, trying not to cry. “And then what? Get into his closet and steal from him?”

“I told you the favor won’t be anything criminal,” Ben said, an edge in his tone. “There’s no law against getting close to someone.”

“Just how close do you want me to get?”

“Close, but not too close,” Ben said. “When it’s all over, you have to be able to walk away, and not look back. You have to be able to turn your back on him, even if he’s bleeding on the floor, begging you for help.”

He seemed to be unable to resist trying to get under her skin, and this time, he’d gone too deep. 

Deeper than the knife she’d plunged into his gut.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Currently, now that Flawless Danger has been released, I’ll be promoting the book and continuing to work on two books, both of which will kick off two new series. One of the books, which is still untitled, features two characters from Flawless Danger: Sione’s cousin, David Jones and Spencer’s sister, Shady. As her name implies, Shady is not exactly the good girl she seems to be. The other novel is called, tentatively, Deception Island and I’m really excited about it because it has a more mysterious tone, and I really love mysteries. In Deception Island, a woman finds herself the target of a malicious plot as she engages in various naughty escapades.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was a little girl, I spent a lot of time with my paternal grandmother. Often, she would make me breakfast, and as I sat at the table, I would chatter on, telling her all these elaborate stories about our family members and neighbors, some true, and others embellished and/or exaggerated. And my grandmother would listen patiently and then she’d usually smile and tell me, “You tell so many stories, you could fill a book!” I was five years old at the time and I hadn’t written anything, but I really believe that’s when I became a writer.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I can’t wait for the day when I can be a writer full time. But until then, I will continue to go to my day job as a legal assistant working on personal injury cases. It’s hard finding time to write, but on weeknights, I don’t really go out, so I’m able to get a lot of work done during those times.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I write the best when I’m in an area with lots of natural light – whether that is outside or inside in a room with lots of windows.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a spy because I am super stealth and super nosy!

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I’m grateful for the opportunity to share more about my novel, Flawless Danger and myself. It’s an exciting page-turner with several thrilling plot twists. I hope readers will check out Flawless Danger and tell me what they think about the way I like to write romantic suspense. I call it “sexy, dangerous fiction”, and it’s all about when sexy girls find themselves in dangerous situations.

Social Links:

Buy Links:
Flawless Mistake: Amazon | Barnes and Noble
Flawless Danger: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Interview with author Ian Lewis about his new thriller

Author Ian Lewis is helping me kick off the new week. We’re chatting about his thriller, Godspeed, Carry My Bullet.

Ian Lewis prefers not to be bound by a particular genre. Though the inspiration for his work varies, it often finds roots in something he dreamt. He strives for a gritty realism and maintains an interest in the humanity of his characters. His hope is that readers find themselves haunted by his stories in the sense that the narrative sticks with them long after they've finished reading, leaving them with a subtle restlessness for more.

Mr. Lewis is the author of The Camaro Murders, Lady in Flames, and Power in the Hands of One, all novellas. His first full length novel, Godspeed, Carry My Bullet, was released in April of 2016. He has been writing since 2002.

Welcome, Ian. Please tell us about your current release.
The first of a two-part series, Godspeed, Carry My Bullet is a somewhat dystopian thriller that features an alternate history of the United States. The recession of 2008 leads to full economic collapse. Fast forward to 2013 where the story begins, and the country has split into two governments: the Directorate in the East and the United States Valiant in the West.

The story follows several plot lines that tie together in unexpected ways: a would-be assassin, a nomadic survivalist, a preacher turned vigilante, a rookie spy, and a single mother trying to provide for her family.

What inspired you to write this book?
Many of the characters were inspired by coworkers of mine because we had an inside joke where we were characters in a dystopian version of the United States. I always told them I’d write a book about it, just for fun. I didn’t initially intend to release it; however, the story took on a life of its own. At its core, the book is meant to serve as an allegory for failed partisan politics. The idea is that despite the public animosity between our two parties, the representatives from either side of the aisle are really the same people. They’re just as corrupt and untrustworthy as the other.

Excerpt from Godspeed, Carry My Bullet:
Bobby halted and cringed like he’d been caught. He felt as though he had an “I’m carrying a gun” sign taped to his back. He turned to fully face the approaching MP.
The MP strode in short, quick steps. His brow lined his face like the unbreakable edge of a knife. The man’s eyes bulged with an accusatory glare. “Let’s see some ID,” he said.
Bobby considered running, but only for a moment. He instead paused for a long exhale and reminded himself that he wasn’t yet guilty. The MP had made no such proclamation. Bobby knew he was only being stopped because that was what was promised by the flyers posted the day before. “Sure, hang on a minute.”
“I need your labor card and driver’s license.” The MP continued to glare, his eyes drilling imaginary holes.
Bobby nodded, never taking his eyes off of the other man’s MP5 which could pepper him full of 9mm bullets before he could protest. He reached into his back pocket with his free hand and then laid the duffel near his feet so he could fish out his IDs. Please don’t ask about the bag, he thought as he handed over the plastic cards.
The MP breathed in heavy rasps while sweat beaded at his hairline. He examined both IDs and looked at Bobby’s face. Then he looked at the IDs again before handing them back to Bobby. “You on your way to work?”
“Yes, sir.” Bobby didn’t want to divulge any more information than required. He kept a straight face and maintained eye contact.
“What’s in the bag?” The man nodded to the duffel.
Bobby felt all the confidence drain from him. He hoped his color had not followed. It was all he could do to keep his eyes from wavering. Inside, he cursed himself for not having a better plan. This would be his undoing. “Just some clothes. I’m donating them to the poor.”
The MP narrowed his eyes and shifted his weight to the other foot. His grim line of a mouth suggested he wasn’t convinced. “Open the bag.”
Open the bag? Open the bag!? Bobby couldn’t hesitate. To do so would appear suspicious. His only hope now was that the man would fail to dig to the bottom. Fear and remorse mixed into a nauseous swirl inside him. He felt sick and weak, flushed and wobbly. “Sure, no problem.” He leaned over to unzip the bag.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m currently writing the sequel to Godspeed, Carry My Bullet. I hope to release it in 2018. In the meantime, I hope to release a completed novel in 2017 that will stand as the third entry in a loose series featuring a character known as the Driver, who appears in The Camaro Murders and Lady in Flames.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I first considered myself a writer when I received a contract from Untreed Reads for The Camaro Murders. For me, that was validating. Despite the fact that it was a novella in eBook form, I could honestly tell people that I was a published author.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I don’t have the luxury of writing full-time. So I have to make time to write, which means my lunch break at work as well as at night after everyone goes to bed.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I get a lot of my ideas from music. Many times a particular song will have the right vibe or the right lyric to get the creative juices flowing. Often times it’s the theme or mood of an entire album. I think the idea started out with wanting to attempt to write a story based on a Pixies album. I wanted to take the lyrics and make up a story where each song would be a chapter. I never actually did this, but I still think it would be an interesting exercise.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A fighter pilot.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I love when readers provide constructive reviews. If you read anything of mine, please take the time to leave your thoughts. You can purchase Godspeed, Carry My Bullet from your favorite eBook retailer, for only .99 cents during the month of August. Check out the landing page for links. It also never hurts to check out my back catalog with Untreed Reads.


Thanks for being here today, Ian!