The series was thought out and put together by Harlequin. I'm the first of six authors asked to participate in the series. I can't tell you how excited I was to hear that we were doing a K-9 Unit series! The other authors and I worked closely together to connect the books and the characters.
2. The heroine, Cassie, is a foster mother. What is your special connection to her?
My youngest daughter was adopted. We met her when she was seven. She'd been in an orphanage in China for three years and then in foster care there for four. My husband and I were able to meet her foster family in a hotel room in China. I'll never forget the way Lizzie hugged the little girl she'd spent four years raising. It broke my heart and filled it. I was so happy to see that my daughter had been loved, and so sad to realize that Lizzie and Qian would probably never see each other again. When I wrote Cassie's character, I spent a lot of time thinking about that moment. I thought about the care and love that had been poured onto a child who would be adopted and loved by someone else. What a beautiful and astounding thing that is. It takes very special people to foster children, and I wanted to do Cassie's character justice. Hopefully, I did!
3. What first draws Gavin and Cassie together?
Gavin is working on a case that brings him in contact with Cassie. Cassie is leery of police officers, so Gavin has his work cut out for him! He's a by the book guy, but he can't keep from falling for Cassie. They were such fun characters!
4. What inspired you to start writing romantic suspense?
I have always loved the genre. My mother is a huge fan of gothic romance, and she let me read her books when I was a young teen. I cut my teeth on Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart, and I still love a good gothic novel. I think romantic suspense was just a natural progression of that love.
5. How do you come up with the names for your characters?
I often use names of people that I know. Or, I'll use quirky names that aren't very common. I love fitting the name with the character's personality, and that can be a challenge. Once or twice, I've changed a name a few chapters into a book because it just didn't seem to fit.
6. Do you have any say in the design of your book covers?
I give cover ideas and send photos to my editor. These are used to help design the book.
7. Are you a plotter or a pantser?
A pantser who has had to learn to be a plotter? I sell on proposal now, so I have had to learn to outline my books before I write them. It often takes me as long to write the synopsis and first few chapters as it does to write the book! I'd like to say that I follow the outline closely once I finish it, but that couldn't be further from the truth! I tend to write the synopsis and then go on my merry way being a pantser and writing whatever comes into my head. So….maybe I am both.
8. How would you describe your writing style?
I'm like a truck driver. I push through to the end. No veering off onto other roads or taking little side trips. I have a goal and I stick to it. I don't go back and edit until I've completed the first draft. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad one, but it works for me.
9. If PROTECTION DETAIL was turned into a movie, which Hollywood actors would you cast for your characters and why?
Oh. Wow. Can I say that I have no idea?! I watch documentaries on the history channel or cooking shows on the cooking channel. And, I read books. The last movie I watched was…I don't even remember! :0)
10. What are you working on next?
The fourth book in my Mission: Rescue series. The heroine's name is Harper, and the hero is Logan. She's a potter, and he's a hostage rescue specialist. They make an interesting and challenging pair!
Musings from Shirlee:
Bon Appétit and a Book: There's something warm and homey about a couple of yummy cookies and a cup of hot tea. Add a good book, and it's the perfect way to spend a dreary afternoon or a cold night. My all-time favorite cookie is as easy to make as it is delicious. Even better, it's a six ingredient cookie! Quick, simple and delicious!
Mexican Tea Cake Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp . vanilla
2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cups finely chopped pecans
extra powdered sugar
Mix butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add flour and salt. Stir in pecans.
Chill dough for an hour.
Preheat oven to 350.
Roll dough into one inch balls and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes. While cookies are still warm, roll them in the extra powdered sugar.
If you can, let them cool before eating.
If you can't, grab your book, your tea or coffee, find a comfy chair and enjoy!
Love Lesson Learned:
Cassie and Gavin aren't looking for love. They don't even want it. Sometimes, though, what we aren't looking for has a way of finding us. As I wrote PROTECTION DETAIL, I was reminded to keep my mind open and my heart ready. Even for someone who has been married for twenty-one years, these are important things. It is so easy to miss opportunities to show love to the ones who matter most. While we're living our busy lives, we can miss what is right in front of our noses and take for granted the things that we should cherish. Writing PROTECTION DETAIL reminded of how fleeting life can be, how quickly time passes and how important it is to express my love and appreciation to my husband. Not in big and grand ways, but in small ways, in gestures of compassion and tenderness that I sometimes forget to offer, I can build on the bond we already have and strengthen the foundation we laid years ago.
What Faith Can Do, Kutless
Worn, Tenth Avenue North
I Need a Hero, Bonnie Tyler
Song for a Winter’s Night, Gordon Lightfoot
Make You Feel My Love, Adele
This is My Now, Jordin Sparks
Revelation, Third Day
Safe, Natalie Grant
Hero, Mariah Carey
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