One Killer is in her Blood. The other is in her House.

That’s the first line on the back of Carey Baldwin’s debut medical thriller, FIRST DO NO EVIL. That line gave me chills, and I knew I had to read more. Carey was kind enough to let me read an ARC (advance reader copy) of her novel. The story did not disappoint! The back cover blurb appears below.

One killer is in her blood. The other is in her house.

There’s a killer lurking in Dr. Skylar Novak’s family tree: the gene for breast cancer. That’s why her brilliant brother invented the Bella vaccine. But even if the miracle drug protects her from the cancer that took her mother’s life, it can’t save Sky from the flesh and bone evil stalking her in secret.

When the killer strikes, detective Daniel Benson finds himself in the wrong place at the right time. The bold detective manages to save Sky’s life…just in time for her to return the favor. Survival leads to seduction, and Danny risks everything–his career, even his life, to keep Sky safe. But will the buried sins they uncover cost him her heart?

Danny’s strong arms may hold her close, but only Sky can stop the terror that’s coming next…

Warning: Contents include: One heart-melting hero–good luck getting this delicious detective out of your head. One reluctant heroine–wielding a Glock was never on her to-do list. One crazed villain–an entire flock of baa baa black sheep won’t be enough to put you to sleep. And a lifesaving vaccine with one deadly side effect–murder.

FIRST DO NO EVIL was an absolute joy to read. Why? What makes this story so incredibly, amazingly good? It’s not the plot – although the plot is very good with just the right amount of twists and turns that I like in romantic thrillers. It’s not the characters – although the hero is an awesome blend of sexy alpha AND beta in one delicious package. And the heroine is smart and sassy and independent, the perfect match for the hero. So why did I enjoy this book so much? It’s that special spark, that nearly indefinable star quality, that buzz word editors throw around but is so hard to understand . . . until you see it. What is it? VOICE. What makes FIRST DO NO EVIL so special is Carey Baldwin’s unique voice–her writing style, the way she strings her words together, the very words she uses when building her story.

An interview with Carey Baldwin,

Lena: Tell us a bit about yourself – where did you grow up? Are there experiences in your past, such as places you’ve visited, that inspire and find their way into your writing?

Carey: I grew up in Ft. Worth, Texas. Lots of great characters in Texas. I was originally going to locate my novella from THREE WEDDINGS AND A MURDER, Solomon’s Wisdom, in an actual small Texas town near Ft. Worth. But then, with all the murder and mayhem, I realized that might not be well received! So I invented Tangleheart, Texas.

I also lived in Flagstaff, Arizona for a number of years and taught at the university. I adored the town and set FIRST DO NO EVIL there.

Lena: What else about you might surprise readers?

Carey: I’m left-handed, and I’m terrified of crickets.

Lena: Oh my gosh! I’m picturing a horror movie now, with swarms of crickets chasing people down main street. 🙂 What was your inspiration for writing FIRST DO NO EVIL? And how did you come up with such an awesome title?

Carey: In medical school we were taught the principle “Primum non nocere”, which translates “First do no harm.” This is medical ethics 101. It’s meant to remind physicians that our treatments have side effects, and we should always be mindful of the potential to unintentionally cause injury. At least that’s my interpretation.

In this case, I twisted the phrase to reflect the fact that it’s possible for human beings to intentionally inflict harm on one another. It would be great if everyone could abide by the principle of non-maleficence, wouldn’t it?

As for the inspiration for FIRST DO NO EVIL, I was thrilled when the HPV vaccination against cervical cancer came out. It’s the only vaccine available that can prevent cancer. It also stirred a lot of controversy and tapped into people’s fears. I wondered which cancer vaccine would come next, and how it might be received.

Lena: I love when real life, even indirectly, inspires an author’s stories. What about the character names in FDNE? Or in any of your stories. How do you come up with character names?

Carey: I do enjoy playing with character names. In the case of Skylar Novak, I had an idea that she would be natural and a lover of nature- so “Sky” seemed to fit her personality. The hero, Danny, was stuck with his “little brother” name from my first manuscript. Danny is the baby brother of my very first hero, Christian Benson. I’ve also named a villain in one of my stories-not saying which one-after a guy who dumped me! I have that in common with Taylor Swift 🙂 .

Lena: 🙂 I’ve always wondered how Taylor ever gets boyfriends when they have to be worried they’ll end up in a song. And I’m so with you on the ‘stuck with a name’ thing. We really have to be careful how we name secondary characters. You never know when they’ll have their own story. Speaking of stories . . . FDNE is a medical thriller and really does have a lot of medical spice sprinkled in, which I loved. Have you always wanted to write medical thrillers?

Carey: I didn’t want to write a typical medical thriller, but once I read THE SURGEON by Tess Gerritsen I had an aha moment. I realized I wanted to write a book like that! A wonderful thriller with strong romance and medical elements coming into play. My next book is only medical in the sense that the heroine is a psychiatrist- and her practice of psychiatric medicine is a key element in the plot.

Lena: You recently got married (Congrats!) and inherited a teenager. Was your new daughter an inspiration for the father/daughter relationship in your debut novel?

Carey: Yikes! No. Troubled Katie was already written before I ever met my bonus daughter! But I totally have a thing for single dads, and that’s part of why I love my new husband. There’s nothing sexier (to me) than a great father.

Lena: Dogs or cats?

Carey: Both. Until recently I had a dog and four cats, all rescue. But last year I lost my fifteen- year-old puppy and one of our cats. So now we are a kitty only family. However, the addition of the teenage daughter keeps me from being lonely!

Lena: Ah, that’s so sweet. Favorite movies?

Carey: Notting Hill, To Kill a Mockingbird, Splendor in the Grass, The Hunger Games, One True Thing, and, drum roll please…The Way We Were.

Lena: I love Notting Hill! And there are some oldie-goldies in that list. Moving on . . . One of the things that impressed me most about FIRST DO NO EVIL is how you portrayed the hero, Danny. Instead of being all tough all the time, he has a deep respect for human life and abhors violences, even though he’s an alpha hero. Did you do any research to help you delve into how a policeman feels about his work? Or did you pull upon your background as a psychologist? In other words – what’s your secret for being so great at characterization????

Carey: Lena, Lena, Lena! That’s a lot of questions disguised as one! But thank you for the compliment!

I did interview a homicide detective several times. I also tried to take a homicide-investigation training seminar, but the instructor didn’t want a writer to be privy to real cases and confidential information. Ironically, I was told that if I stated that I needed the information for use in my medical practice, I would be allowed to attend. But lying to the police didn’t seem like a good plan! So I settled for reading the instructor’s classic homicide text instead. I also ordered and read a number of police training manuals known as training keys. I got them from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and I highly recommend these real training manuals.

FIRST DO NO EVIL is not a police procedural. With all the medical details, I thought that adding police procedures would be too much. However, since Danny is a cop, I wanted to be sure I had a bead on how a true detective would react in certain scenarios. I was especially interested in the use of force continuum and how police make decisions about using deadly force.

Lena: I am SO going to have to look into those training manuals. Thanks for the tip! Can you share your call story? It can be the call when you got an agent, or the call (or email?) when you made your first sale.

Carey: Ha! Well I was thrilled when my agent called and offered me representation, but she warned me at the time that romantic suspense was not selling. What a wonderful, and rare, agent to take me on at a time like that. Thank you, Nalini Akolekar!

When Nalini called to tell me Lindsey Faber loved my book and wanted to aquire it for Samhain, I was over the moon. I remember asking Nalini over and over on the phone…”Is Lindsey going to be my editor? Lindsey herself?” Thank you, Lindsey Faber!

Lena: You are definitely in great hands with the awesome Nalini Akolekar (Spencerhill Associates, Ltd.) as your agent. Not that I’m biased of course. (wink – Nalini is my agent too.) Now on to a really serious question. Mac or PC?

Carey: Mac.

Lena: Me too! And it has nothing to do with that gorgeous Mac guy on the Mac vs. PC commercials. Really. Ahem. So what do you do for fun?

Carey: I hike, and I chase wildflowers. I used to love to run, but now I am focused on walking. Got that big 40 Mile Avon Breast Cancer walk coming in about 90 days!

Lena: (Do the wildflowers run from you??? 🙂 ) That’s awesome about the Avon Breast Cancer walk. I hope you raise tons of money for that great cause. Can you share your writing process? Do you write every day? Only on weekends? Do you have set word count or page count goals?

Carey: Not a word count girl. I write until I wear out. I write in the middle of the night and on weekends. I would love to have time to write during banker’s hours. Maybe someday…

Lena: What genres do you like to read and who are some of your favorite authors?

Carey: I read broadly, across romance genres and outside of romance as well.

It goes without saying that my fellow Kiss and Thrill authors, and my co-authors of THREE WEDDINGS AND A MURDER are not only among my favorite authors, they are close to my heart.

Other favorites would certainly include Cindy Gerard, Harlan Coben, Dean Koontz, Julia Quinn, Tess Gerritsen, Stephen King, Eloisa James, Truman Capote, Harper Lee, Somerset Maughn, Allison Brennan, Brenda Novak, Karen Rose, Carla Neggers, Lisa Kleypas, Anne Tyler – see what I mean, the list is getting too long.

Lena: Wow. And I thought I had a long list. All great authors though. We read a lot of the same ones. Now for a burning question. Star Wars or Star Trek?

Carey: Star Trek. I love the pseudoscience!

Lena:  Yes (fist pump). I love Star Trek. What’s your favorite television show?

Carey: I gotta go with “Survivor”. My under-the-bed first manuscript is about old flames who re-encounter one another on the show “Stranded”, based of course on my aforementioned beloved reality show.

Lena: Sounds cool! What future projects are you working on?

Carey: DUTY TO WARN, the second book in the Blood Secrets series. I’m one of those who doesn’t like to spill the premise (I always think I’m so high concept 🙂 ) too far away from completion, but I will tell you it takes place in New Mexico and features “Aunt Faith” from FIRST DO NO EVIL. She’s a psychiatrist and one of her patients turns out to be a serial killer. Of course there’s a fantastic twist!

Lena: White, milk, or dark chocolate?

Carey: Milk chocolate.

Lena: Beer or champagne?

Carey: Champagne. Can I have it with milk chocolate?

Lena: Okay, but only if I get some too! Now for the most fun part of the interview – the infamous free association test. Come on, you know I had to do this. Please say the first word that comes to your mind!

Candy: Cotton
Handsome: Bill
Salad: Waldorf
Big: (Carey’s answer was bleeped out to keep the post family friendly 🙂 )
Sweet: Tarts
Fishnet: Stockings
Music: Country
Hotel: Bliss
Hot: Tamale
Dance: Slow

LenaOkay…I know I’m nowhere near as talented as Carey with the psychological conclusions, but here I go. 

Carey is one hot tamale who secretly wishes she was wearing fishnet stockings while slow dancing to some country music with her handsome hubby Bill after enjoying a romantic, blissful interlude at a hotel where they shared a Waldorf Salad with cotton candy and sweet tarts for dessert!

Carey, thank you so much for being with us today and for putting up with all those questions! Now let’s open things up for questions and comments from our readers. Tell us what you love the most about romantic thrillers!

Commenters: Stop by Thursday and find out if you are a winner! One lucky commenter will win a $25 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice).

Posted on June 26, 2012, in Author Interview, Author Spotlight, book recommendations, Carey Baldwin, Guest blog and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 39 Comments.

  1. What a great interview! Such fun questions. Everytime I hear that romantic suspense is not *selling* I get a sick feeling. That is my favorite kind of book. Happy HEA and lots of hold your breath suspense, how could it not sell?? First Do No Evil sounds like a fantastic blend of romance and suspense and I will Definately check it out … Gotta let the publishers know that’s what we readers want!! Good luck with the new book.

    • Thank you so much Trish! I am equally confounded as to why romantic suspense is on the “outs” with publishers at the moment. I hear that’s changing now, though. It’s never on the “outs” with readers is it? Here’s to romantic suspense!

  2. Okay, Carey, that one opening line has already booked my weekend! What a grabber!

    • Thanks for stopping in Will! We’re really looking forward to your upcoming visit in the hot seat! You see how warm it gets around here…
      “One killer is in her blood. The other is in her house.” is actually the tag-line for FDNE. My opening line isn’t as dramatic. “Dr. Skylar Novak had awakened today with a premonition of happiness.”

  3. Wow, Carey, FDNE sounds amazing. I know my next buy! Fabulous interview ladies.

  4. I know what I love most about THIS romantic thriller- DANNY!!!!! What a hero to swoon over! I am the president of the I Love Danny fanclub 🙂 Happy Release Day, Carey! XOXO

  5. I just want to make sure you guys know that I consider the Kiss and Thrill bloggers the cat’s meow. You have all been such a joy to work with, and I can’t wait to toast each one of you upon your own debuts, and celebrate with those of you who have blazed the trail and are ready for your next release.

    I also want to say thank you to all of our readers! Thanks for reading, commenting and sharing your own ideas. There is absolutely nowhere I’d rather be to celebrate the release of my debut than right here on Kiss and Thrill.

    And Lena, regarding the free association test- you nailed it ☺ !

  6. Speaking for the whole group: HAPPY DEBUT DAY!!
    Can hardly wait to read FDNE, Carey. Loved the interview and to finally have seen your beautiful wedding dress!

    Hope sales soar for you.

  7. Carey, congrats on your debut!!!! I’m so excited to read this book–ever since you tantalized me with the opening and then didn’t send me the rest. 😀 Finally I get to know what happens next!!

    The wedding pictures are wonderful. You are gorgeous and seeing your radiant smile makes me grin right back.

    Lena, thanks for the wonderful interview – I learned a few things about Carey–like the fact that we are both left handed. Are any other K&T ladies equally sinister?

    • Thanks Rachel! LoL. It probably wasn’t finished at the time! Speaking of rockin’ manuscripts – I loved!!! Body of Evidence! Keep us posted.

    • Does mother of sinister count? 🙂 My son is a leftie and so I’ve learned a lot about what it’s like to be a leftie in a rightie world. Things you’d never think of–like trying to write an essay for your English final exam while sitting in one of those desks with the writing surface on the right. Carey, did you face many of those type challenges in med school? Or practicing?

      • Ah yes. I’m scarred from having my teachers tape my paper to the desk in a manner that disabled me! But now I’m proud to be a leftie!

      • Oh and Krista to answer your question a bit further- yes, there are challenges in medicine for lefties. They do have left-handed surgical instruments, but they are hard to come by so we have to adapt. I’m not a surgeon but I did have to go through surgical rotations. Your son may have obstacles to overcome in certain reagards- but he gets to be in our special club 🙂

  8. Carey! I am so thrilled for you and your debut! May you sell early and often! I can’t wait to hunker down this weekend and dive into FDNE! Your wedding pics are gorgeous and I’m so excited that you’re joining the ranks of the published! Especially with Samhain, which, from what I hear, is a pretty awesome publisher. Not that I’m biased or anything!

    Great interview, Lena! I especially loved the word association! Having been subjecte…uh, having participated in one of Carey’s word associations it was nice to see the tables turned! 😉

  9. Thanks Manda! I hear Samhain is a pretty awesome publisher too…not that I’m biased or anything either 🙂 Lindsey is a dream!

  10. Happy, happy release day, Carey! Can’t wait to read FIRST DO NO EVIL! Awesome opening line with your heroine tempting the fates. The next book in the series sounds intriguing too. So many good reads to look forward to 🙂

  11. That is such an intriguing first line! It makes me think that evil comes in many shapes and forms and not all can be seen physically, which is true. Romantic thrillers are wonderful at bringing evil to life…ok maybe not literally but in that it gives a chance for heroes to be heroes and for evil to be beaten. The reseach you did sound interesting and serious and I’m curious to see it incorporated in your story. Of course I also want to “hear” your voice. Congratulations on your release. Yay!

  12. Thanks for being such a trooper and answering my questions, Carey!

    • I’m still smiling over the free association test! And your questions got me started on the material I used for my fresh fiction spotlight! Thanks for all your hard work and a great job making me sweat 🙂

  13. Happy Release Day, Carey. Thanks for sharing some of your beautiful wedding pics.

  14. Happy Release Day Carey!!! So proud of you!

    The cricket thing has me laughing. How did you ever manage to live in D/FW without getting over that? I remember the first time I entered Niemans and there were carpets and trails of dead crickets everywhere — and in every other store, too. It took me a while to realize THAT’s JUST TX!


    • Thanks Diana! It was NOT easy living in Texas with a cricket phobia. One time I was trapped in my car half an hour at Krogers. Cricket Carpet. Then I went through systematic desensitization therapy which worked…temporarily.

  15. What a great interview! And this sounds like an amazing read. And since I know Lena has such good taste, it will definitely be on my TBR list. Congratulations, and looking forward to reading your work!

  16. Happy Release Day!!!
    & Congrats on your recent wedding!! :*
    Can’t wait to read your book & THREE WEDDINGS AND A MURDER : )

  17. Carey first of all congrats on release day of First Do No Evil (I was lucky enough to read an early copy..thank you!). I loved it and I loved this interview you gave. Congrats on your recent wedding – what lovely pictures. And I can’t help but love that you’re a fellow lefty. Can’t wait for Aunt Faith’s story.

  18. Happy release day, Carey!!! I can’t wait to read your book! 🙂 I’m considering it an early birthday present. 😀
    As for romantic thrillers… actually not my go to genre, and yet some of my favorite romances are RS. I also am addicted to psychological thrillers, which is interesting since I CANNOT watch horrors. (And the two are so often intertwined.)
    I think it’s the heightened emotions and the crazy things that really put people through a crucible of sorts. It really shows you the core of a person – and that’s what I love.

    Congratulations again on your new book!

  19. Thanks Lime! We are birthday month twins! Hooray! I hope yours is wonderful. Thursday? Right? This is definitely a psychological thriller, so I’m hoping you’ll enjoy it!

  20. I love the suspense element of the romantic thriller. Can’t wait to read your book.

  21. Congratulations on the book! I enjoyed the interview. I like the action and the mystery.

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