Today we have with us one of the best romantic suspense authors out there! Her Bodyguard and Black Ops Inc series have gotten rave reviews everywhere and we can't wait to read more from her. Now we get to know her a bit better. ;)
Welcome to Under the Covers, as you probably already know we are fans of your work and are very excited to have you here today!
Thanks Francesca. I really appreciate that and your invitation to chat today.
You have a brand new series called the One-Eyed Jacks, which is a spin off from the BOI series. Can you tell us a bit about this new series?
It’s always difficult to say good bye to a group of characters in a series. I fond it a huge problem when I was wrapping up the Body Guard series. Luckily, Gabriel – the Archangel – Jones showed up along with a couple of his buddies in the last BG book and showed me the path to a brand new series – Black Ops Inc. That same lucky accident happened while I was writing the 2nd to the last book of the BOI series. The BOI’s needed an extra pilot and called on their old buddy Mike – Primetime – Brown to help them out of a jam. The same thing happened with Mike as happened with Gabe. He was just larger than life and I knew I needed to tell his story – and of course add some buddies to the mix. So, here’s the down and dirty on One-Eyed-Jacks:
The One Eyed Jacks (a multi-branch military task force formed in 2002 and disbanded in 2005) got their nick name because of the uniqueness of their experimental unit, their tight camaraderie, their slightly reckless reputation, their favorite downtime/pastime of high stakes poker and because each of them made a pact to always carry a One Eyed Jack playing card (either a Jack of hearts or a Jack of spades) as their lucky charm and a sign of unity.
Today, only three men of the original detail are still alive – Mike – Primetime - Brown, Bobby – Boom Boom -Taggart, Jamie – Hondo – Cooper. On their last mission in Afghanistan, all three were dealt a losing hand and now share one common bond: The military that they proudly served cut them loose eight years ago with a ‘less than honorable’ discharge when their team led a covert operation that went south and the powers that be laid the blame squarely on their shoulders. To the dismay of the prosecutors of the Navy, Army, and Marines military tribunals, the most serious of charges could not be proven, which negated the possibility of court martial and prison but still ended in their separation from the service.
Now Brown, Taggart and Cooper lead separate lives in separate countries, have all dropped out of ‘normal society’ and not only live with the lie that led to their military separation but with the weight of the deaths of both their task force team members and several innocent civilians haunting them.
For these three men, life is now all about getting by, about forgetting the past, dealing with the anger and coping with the hand they’ve been dealt. None of them intend to break the status quo – until a mysterious woman confronts and forces Brown to ask questions about what really happened in Afghanistan and how those events played into a current national security threat. She dangles bait Brown can’t resist – the means to clear his name, deliver justice and expose the master mind behind the death of his teammates and his own downfall.
Only nothing is ever as simple as it seems. It’s going to take the help of Taggart and Cooper to bring down the men who set them up. The three wronged men with three strong-willed women by their sides, set out on their quests to write several wrongs, finally find peace, justice and the women who can complete their lives.
Readers met Mike Brown in the last book, LAST MAN STANDING. What would you say is Brown's greatest strength? What is his greatest weakness?
Brown’s greatest strength is his moral compass and his sense of humor. His biggest weakness is his inability to deal with a past that haunts him which in turn led him to a struggle with alcoholism and disenfranchisement with life in general. Of course, no one would know because he hides all the pain behind his ridiculous sense of humor.
How many books do you have planned in this new series?
At this time, there are plans for three books – KILLING TIME, RUNNING BLIND, and TAKING FIRE, but then, I was only going to write 3 Bodyguard and 3 Black Ops Inc books :o) so you never know.
What does your writing space look like? Is it clean or messy? Any visual would be nice.
My space is fairly tidy – unless I’m on deadline crunch and then all bets are off. Here’s a link to some photos My hubby planted a flower garden for me so I can see it out my window. It’s gorgeous right now. I’m also going to be adding a 75 gallon fresh water aquarium to my office space soon. I can’t wait!
Oh, Lord, You don’t want to know. It’s a mess. Let’s see, make up case, car keys, book marks (don’t leave home without ‘em LOL), tums, wallet, tissue, sunglasses, phone, old grocery list, several receipts, mini flashlight, photos of grandkids … fuzz and lint :o)
What are three essential items you require in order to write?
A solid block of time, a warm up with a game or two of spider solitaire and or scrabble, soft music playing in the background.
What's the best part of being a romantic suspense author?
Oh, the fans and my writer buddies. I love the inter action – just wish I wasn’t such a slow writer so I could spend more time on FB and Twitter but I need to keep my nose to the grindstone or I’d never get a book finished.
How do you balance the suspense and the romance aspects in your books to make the perfect combination?
Well, I’m not sure I always hit the perfect combo but thanks. It is a balancing act. A good, intricate exciting plot is essential to me. Sometimes I have to sit back and remind myself that even more essential is the relationship. So I always keep what happening with my H/H in mind on several levels. The action should move the relationship and visa versa. I like to think that when I look back, I’ve dovetailed the two elements but it does take a lot of thinking and reworking and rewriting to make it happen. Wish I could tell you it was some magic formula but it’s not. It’s just a lot of planning and adjusting.
You've done some incredible research and met real-life heroes and heroines. What would you say has been the best experience you've had as you researched for one of your books?
Oh, there are so many wonderful experiences. Of course, my opportunities to meet and work with so many of our military is at the front of the list. But, my experiences zip lining, white water rafting, jumping off a cliff, shooting most of the weapons I reference in my books – the list goes on. And I hope it will keep growing.
Thank you so much for taking the time to chatting with us for a bit.
Thanks for stopping by and please check out my website or my Facebook Fan Page to catch up on my latest news.