Battle of the U.S. Marshals – Diaz vs. Morgan!

On February 5th, two Harlequin Intrigues hit bookstore shelves: THE MARSHAL’S WITNESS, by Lena Diaz, and DANGEROUS MEMORIES, by Angi Morgan. Both authors are here today, both stories feature yummy U.S. Marshal heroes, so let’s have some fun! Sarah Andre will interview Lena Diaz and Lena will interview Angi Morgan. Kinda like a game of tag.

This is Kiss and Thrill’s own Lena Diaz…

Lena Diaz

Cover-The Marshal's Witness - Lena Diaz

And welcome Angi Morgan

Morgan Angi-Headshot


Lena, let’s begin with you: This is your first Intrigue. How did you alter your writing from your single title romantic suspense novels?

LENA: It has been quite a challenge! Single-titles aren’t constrained by word-count/length, and pretty much the only ‘rule’ is a ‘happily-ever-after’ (HEA)  ending. Total freedom. Intrigues, on the other hand, have very specific requirements. Shorter pages (212 vs 350) an action-packed plot, few to no subplots, and hero/heroine have to be together on almost every page.

The trick is to read a lot of Intrigues and learn pacing, flow and expectations of the line. Then cater your writing to the constraints, but still offer something fresh and new. No easy feat, but I’m enjoying it immensely. I can’t wait to see what readers think of my first Intrigue!

What are your favorite types of heroes and plots?

ANGI: Strong heroes who have something to learn and actually laugh when they learn it.  LOL  I love realistic settings and situations that could actually happen to a character (okay almost happen). Then I force it to happen with the one person who can change their life forever. My stories are fast-paced and take only a few days to play out, so to make the love story believable, I like heroes and heroines who have known each other prior to the story opening. I think true love takes a bit of time to happen.

Where did you come up with the idea of a US Marshal and WitSec?

LENA: I do love, love, love alpha males, so I try to think about different law-enforcement types of jobs that would work in an Intrigue. When I thought of the hero as a U.S. Marshal I wanted a heroine who would be the one person he’d NEVER want to be with. Who is that? A criminal, of course! It was so much fun putting these two totally opposite characters together and weaving their story. They had to work really hard for that HEA ending!

ANGI: Honestly? My proposal had been rejected and my editor said the only thing she liked in the story was that the hero was a WitSec Marshal. So I knew I had to write a US Marshal and thought, “how would a WitSec protector know the heroine before having to protect her?” Then the story wrote itself.

Pick Hollywood stars for the roles of your heroine and hero.

LENA: I’m one of those people that prefers no faces on book covers because I want to picture my hero and heroine in my mind my own way. But…Sandra Bullock? I can see her being the fish-out-of-water heroine that Jessie is in the book, and then her inner strength as the story progresses. For the hero, Ryan, if I’m shooting for the top here, how about Ian Somerhalder? The smoking hot vampire from The Vampire Diaries? A little young for my hero, but HOT.

ANGI: Oh, wow. This is actually very hard for me. Joe Manganiello was the inspiration for Levi. (×580-splash/)

And I have to admit that I don’t do too much staring at the heroine inspiration for my stories ( big grin ), it’s mainly the guys. So I was very surprised when I received my cover and wow !! The heroine looks exactly like the character I wrote. I love the DANGEROUS MEMORIES cover. I think my husband did an awesome job on the book trailer, really bringing Jo to life. If I had to choose, it would probably be a young Nicole Kidman with auburn hair. (YOUTUBE LINK: )

Pretend you were forced into WitSec. Where would you hope to end up living?

LENA: My dream location would be the Tennessee Smoky Mountains. They are so gorgeous and littered with the most beautiful waterfalls.

ANGI: Florida Gulf Coast: If I have to leave Texas…might as well live in the sunshine with a beach nearby.

What identity (new name and profession) would you hope to be saddled with?

LENA: I can’t imagine a profession I’d love more than being an author, so hopefully I could still do that. If not, maybe a librarian or a bookstore owner.  My first name would still  be Lena (they teach you at Witsec to keep your first name if possible) but my last name would be something sensible that didn’t attract attention, like ‘Davis’ or ‘Smith.’

ANGI: I like my name, but if I have to change…let it be Sydney. If money weren’t an issue, please let me run a beach rental shack. I can’t think of anything more fun than to spend the day on the beach watching the ocean. But believe me, I’d still be writing whether they allowed me to publish or not. These characters scream to be put on the page–and I hate voices screaming at me.

 What scenario would be a horror show?

LENA: A horror show to me would be to live in a big city and work in an office.

ANGIE: Alaska. I don’t sleep when the suns up. Period. And the idea of year-round snow…oh my, I’m shaking just at the thought. I’d love to visit, but please don’t make me stay.

What’s next for you?

LENA: I have 2 more Intrigues coming out this year and an Avon ImpulDiaz-ExplosiveAttraction-Coverse single-title. My next release is April 23rd, a Harlequin Intrigue: EXPLOSIVE ATTRACTION. The hero is a police detective and part-time bomb squad technician who must protect the heroine from a serial bomber.

ANGIE: I just sold THE MARINE’S LAST DEFENSE, a former Marine now Dallas PD homicide detective. PROTECTING THEIR CHILD is on shelves in May. Here’s a quick sneak peek:

AngiMorgan-ProtectingTheirChild      “Your wife is a dead woman.” Jorje Serna, as he left the courtroom a free man, pointed directly at Cord McCrea.

      The evil words closed Cord’s throat in a moment of fear. Just a moment that pierced him as fast as the bullet that had broken his back. The ache around the scar was real enough. He recognized it. Fought it. Shoved it aside.

      Free on a technicality after three years in prison. Short years for the crimes Serna had committed. Incredibly long years as Cord’s life as a husband and Texas Ranger unraveled.


Both Lena and Angi are giving away a copy of their books, so two lucky commenters will win!  Q: If you had a choice of NOT testifying and keeping the life you have, or testifying against a criminal and being forced to give up your friends, family and career to go into WitSec, what would you do? Check back on Thursday to see if you are the winner! (Snail mail address must be in the US or Canada to qualify for a print copy, otherwise winner gets choice of Nook or Kindle copy of book.)

Angi: LENA & everybody at KISS & THRILL !! Thanks so much for inviting me to share the page with you today. Having Lena’s debut Intrigue alongside shelves with mine is awesome. So happy for her. And yes, I’m happy to have another Intrigue there as well. I’ve wanted to write for Intrigue since the line first premiered at Harlequin and I’ve wanted to write for Silhouette (now Harlequin) since I read my first romance way way back in Jr. High.


“From the echoing shots in a cemetery straight through the hair-raising conclusion, this story of missing memories and murders will rattle readers from the opening pages, as they guess and guess again who the real culprit is.”  4 1/2 stars from Romantic Times Magazine

~ ~ ~

Angi Morgan writes “Intrigues where honor and danger collide with love.” She combines actual Texas settings with characters who are in realistic and dangerous situations. Angi has been a finalist in the Bookseller’s Best Award, Romantic Times Best First Series, Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence and the Daphne du Maurier. 

For more information on Angi and her titles, visit her at You can also follow her on FACEBOOK or TWITTER @AngiMorgan

For more information on Lena and her titles, visit her at You can also follow her on FACEBOOK or TWITTER @LenaDiaz

Posted on February 5, 2013, in Author Interview, Author Spotlight, Lena Diaz, Sarah Andre and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 62 Comments.

  1. Welcome Angi and Lena!
    As co-host I had the honor of reading Lena’s THE MARSHAL’S WITNESS last month and BOY, does it sizzle! I emailed her saying “I told myself I would read one more chapter and then get on with my day, but you’d end every single chapter with such a tense hook I would have to read one more and one more…:

    Finished the book in one sitting…testimony of a very busy woman!

    Angi, I love your excerpt and premise. Do you outline your stories and know the plot points you’re writing to or just have a vague idea of characters and conflicts?

    As for the WitSec question….only if I could take my husband with me (I thought the program allowed all family to go.) I figure if the defendant wants to get you he’ll want to get at your family more. Maui would be super… 🙂

    Good luck in sales ladies, and I am really looking forward to April releases…I think you’ll be dueling again, right?

    • Sarah, what a nice thing to say. I’m so glad you enjoyed my book. I have been so slammed I haven’t been able to finish Angi’s book yet – but I can tell you it really delivers. I’m so eager to get to the end! Love the characters and action. As for WitSec, yes they will take your whole immediate family in the program (spouse/kids) but you have to say goodbye to your extended family. Can you imagine never seeing your parents again? Or cousins? Aunts? Uncles? I have a HUGE extended family. That would be devastating to me and I honestly don’t know if I could do it. As for April releases – YES! Angi and I both have releases with Intrigue in April. We get to be release sisters again. I couldn’t imagine a more fun and supportive release-sister either. She’s a great author and an absolutely wonderful friend.

    • Thank you for the awesome welcome. You’ve all made me feel very excited about my release. And Sarah, I hope everyone has great sales. No buts, no secretly hoping I do better (okay, maybe better than the other 4 HI –LOL).

      DO I OUTLINE MY STORIES? Weeellll… yes, for the synopsis that I have to submit to my editor. But honestly, I let the characters surprise me. It’s much more fun. I got stuck in my April/May release and took a look at the synopsis to see what was supposed to come next. Shoot, I couldn’t use any of it since the hero and heroine had taken me on a different journey. But the characters are always there in my head.

  2. Sarah, thank you so much for hosting me today, and allowing me to share hosting duties so I could also host fellow Intrigue author Angi Morgan. I will pop in and out today to comment. I’m going on a tour (sort of) with my hubby. We’re traveling around town to snap pictures of my first Harlequin Intrigue on the bookstore shelves. So exciting!!! And I’ll be looking for Angi’s book too. We have so much in common – fellow Golden Heart 2010 sisters, both have our third book out today, both our books feature US Marshals. Such fun to be Intrigue sisters together!

  3. I am so happy to hear about the success of fellow Unsinkable GH sisters! I love US Marshall books, especially since I am now in the midst of watching Justified.
    That WitSec question is hard since I still have children at home. If it was just me and my husband, we’d testify and take off to start a new life–a bit scary but could also be really interesting. But since we’re still raising kids, I would do whatever kept my children the safest.

    Good luck, ladies on your releases. I am very proud of both of you!

  4. Great reading about two debut Intrigue authors! A little partial to Lena, but I am sure Angi’s book will be a good read, also! Going on a book hunt today, but not quite as extensive as you & George. Hoping to get the author’s signature! Lena? Congratulations, we are very proud of you! Your MIL!

  5. I’m excited at how much is happening for both of you ladies! The books sound fabulous. Ah, my poor TBR pile. And book budget.

    The testify question is harder than it should be. I’d love to say, “of course, I’d testify,” but it probably depends on the circumstances. Just send me somewhere with mild weather and the beach. I’ll even learn a new language. Maybe French? Italian? I’m easy. 😉

    • The emotions of being in the WitSec program were great issues in the series IN PLAIN SIGHT. They dealt with every aspect of Witness Security. So, for me, it’s much easier to understand the struggle of living this way.

      DANGEROUS MEMORIES deals with a child who grew up in the program, who really wasn’t the witness. The Dept. of Justice has no legal obligation to protect her when the murderer resurfaces. Those emotions were very exciting to try and get on the page.

    • Gwen, thanks! I’m so excited too! On my way to another Barnes and Noble as we speak…er…type. Crossing my fingers the February Intrigues will be there!

  6. I would testify because if the person is a criminal then they need to pay for their crime. I would survive and start over with my life. I would have to have my kids with me though. That would be my only stipulation. I would want them to pay for their crime.

  7. Angi, and Lena congratulations on your new releases! And Sarah, awesome job as usual!

    I’ll be honest, I had never read a HI before, but when I read Lena’s THE MARSHAL’S WITNESS I was just blown away. There’s a lot to be said for that whole lot of action H and H together on every page thing. I LOVED the story in every way.

    Angi, I can’t wait to get my hands on your story! Especially now that I know what I’ve been missing. Thank you so much for joining us today, and for your generous giveaway! I’m off to download DANGEROUS MEMORIES now.

    • HEY CAREY!! I’ve heard several people say that they became fans of HI overall because they just “had” to read my first release. LOL Especially friends from high school.

      I can’t wait for you to get your hands on my story either. I’m very interested to hear what people think.

    • Amy, what an awesome compliment. There really are some amazing writers in Intrigue. My favorite is Paula Graves. Everything she writes brings shivers and chills to me. She’s a truly gifted writer. I hope to be half as good as her one day!

  8. Congratulations on the book releases! I can’t wait to read them both! I would testify. I can’t imagine going through life and knowing that there is a bad person out there roaming the streets that I could have put in prison. Who knows if you don’t testify they could kill again. Thank you!!

  9. Yes, put that way, Deborah, it really is a moral obligation. And if hubby can come with…I say ‘let’s do it!’

    Angi and Lena. Is the the same as witness protection? If so, why did they change the name?

    • Sarah, as far as my research showed, the program has always been called The Witness Security program (WitSec). I think Witness Protection is just the TV Movie term.

    • I think it might also be that lots of witnesses go temporarily into witness protection. It might be just until they catch a criminal or until the trial is over. Might even be because they’re a potential flee risk. All levels of government supply witness protection and many times U.S. Marshals are brought in to provide that protection or protection while being transported.

      Witness Security is the federal government program. I believe the “crime” has to be something the federal government would be involved to prosecute. I know there are exceptions. Don’t quote me, but that’s my understanding. I think. Would love someone to correct me if necessary.

  10. Congrats Lena and Angi on your releases! I hope to get to a store this afternoon to pick them up!

    Hmm… as far as the question goes, it is complicated with the kids, but I couldn’t imagine not testifying if I knew my testimony would make a difference. And if it were so dangerous WitSec was necessary, I imagine it would also be dangerous if I *didn’t* testify, in which case I’d do it in a heartbeat to protect my kids.

  11. mandacollinsauthor

    Congratulations, ladies! Both of you sound like you’ve got an exciting take on the Witsec Marshal service an I can’t wait to read them!

    As for testifying versus witness protection, it would depend on the crime. Though I guess if it wasn’t something heinous, then there would be no need to put me in witsec. So, I guess I’d have to testify. Especially if it meant keep in someone else from becoming a victim.

    Thanks for visiting, Angie! And congratulations again, Lena! I’m so proud to be your friend.

  12. Thanks for being with us today Angi…(Lena had no choice, she HAD to show!)

    Best of luck to both of you, they’re terrific action-packed stories!

  13. I cannot wait to read both books! Lena and Angi, you are both fantastic. And Sarah, you give great interview, too. LOL. Now, everyone, stop reading and go and buy these two books!


  14. Nice interview. Maybe not testify.

  15. Our very own Carey Baldwin marched into her local Barnes and Noble looking for Angi and my books and they weren’t out yet. So what did Carey do? She got Ernie-the-B&N-clerk to get copies from the back and shelve them so she could send the picture to me and Angi. Carey – you are totally AWESOME! And I’m still chuckling. Wish I could have seen you in action!

  16. Great interviews ladies! I am looking forward to reading both of your books. As for testifying, I really don’t know what I would do if the criminal didn’t know I had info. If they did know about info I had, I would testify and enter WitSec. If I didn’t, everyone I knew would be in danger and I would constantly be looking over my shoulder.

    • Hey Lisa, Mind if I use that premise for a story-line? Actually, I think witnesses are in this situation all the time, some get to testify incognito for this very reason now.

      • I need to add…that even if they testify and very few people actually know about it, some crime syndicates have a very long reach, bribe/threaten clerks or jurors and still can find the witnesses. I’m certain it always depends on the circumstances, but it’s better to be safe and keep your loved ones safe, no matter what the sacrifice.

      • Go ahead, I’d love to read about it. 🙂

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