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Kendra Elliot: Secrets Hidden Chilled and Buried in Bone

KFELLIOTTWe have a special treat for you guys today: An interview with Kendra Elliot, author of the Bone Secrets series, along with  a giveaway of a signed copy of her latest romantic suspense novel, BURIEDDon’t forget to comment below for a chance to win.

I’ve been hearing wonderful things about Kendra and her books, so I’ve been itching to have her as our guest. Before we get to the interview,  here’s some information about her lastest release, BURIED.

What reviewers are saying about BURIED:

Buried by Kendra Elliot took me by surprise. ‘Engrossed’ is too mild a word for what I felt while reading this amazing romantic suspense novel.” —Morgan Doremus, RT Editor; RT Book Reviews Seal of Excellence Nominee

“Romantic suspense fans, drop everything — cooking, cleaning, even the dog can wait — because you will have your nose buried in Buried for the next 24 hours. Elliot once again proves to be a genius in the genre with her third heart-pounding novel in the Bone Secrets collection. The author knows romance and suspense, reeling readers in instantaneously and wowing them with an extremely surprising finish. Plus, returning characters from her first two stellar stories make a guest appearance with gusto. Elliot’s best by a mile!” —RT Book Reviews Top Pick, 4 1/2 stars

“A page-turning blend of romance, thrills, and danger! HIDDEN is a winning debut from a new star in romantic suspense.” –Allison Brennan, New York Times bestselling author

MARCH 26, 2013

Reporter Michael Brody is used to getting answers. The one that’s eluded him, though, for twenty long years is learning what happened to his brother Daniel the day his school bus disappeared. When the remains of the other children are discovered—and Daniel’s aren’t among them—a desperate Michael calls upon the sole survivor of the tragedy, Chris Jacobs, hoping he will finally break his silence.

Constant fear of being found by his kidnapper has driven Chris into hiding. The only lead Michael has is Chris’s sister, Jamie. Strong and impenetrable, she’s capable of burrowing deep into Michael’s heart. As they race to find Chris, Michael and Jamie somehow find each other among the decades of wreckage. But locating Chris may not be so easy. Now grown, his scars go far deeper than skin.

In Buried, the next thrilling Bone Secrets novel from bestselling author Kendra Elliot, a damaged hero digs deep into his terrifying past…and unearths a chance at love for the future.

Welcome Kendra! 

Carey: Kendra, you’ve got a smashing success on your hands with your Bone Secrets Series which includes HIDDEN , CHILLED, and your latest release, BURIED. Can you tell us how your background in dentistry influenced the series?

Kendra: Thanks, Carey! I spent 16 years as a dental hygienist. I have a sister who is a hygienist, a sister who is a dentist, and a brother-in-law who is a dentist. My dentist from when I was kid would die laughing to know I went into the field. I was the kid with four cavities each visit. Part of keeping my dental license requires I complete continuing education classes each year. I loved the forensic identification courses and when I was looking for an idea for HIDDEN, I came up with a forensic dentist who identifies remains by their teeth. She loves what she does, but she’s not comfortable working around some of the nastier aspects of the medical examiner’s office.

Carey: What do you see as the unifying theme for the three books?

Kendra: Each book has a different main character that works in a different forensics specialty. HIDDEN has the forensic odontologist, CHILLED has a forensic nurse death investigator, and ALONE (January 2014) has a forensic anthropologist. BURIED features the odontologist and anthropologist as secondary characters.

Carey: I frequently get asked the question, “Where do you get your story ideas?” But what I often wonder is where do certain characters come from. Is there anyone in your real life who has inspired a character in one of your books?

Kendra: My younger sister was a big part of the inspiration of Lacey, the forensic odontologist in HIDDEN. My sister is a dentist and was a NCAA gymnastics champion. I based a lot of Lacey’s background on my sister’s experiences. I had already written the scene where Lacey’s home is broken into and some jewelry stolen, when my sister’s house was broken into and they took her jewelry. It was freaky.

Carey: Erm..That really is freaky! Michael Brody and Jamie Jacobs are the protagonists in BURIED. What quirks, if any do these two have that make them unique?

Kendra: Michael is an investigative reporter who is freakishly intelligent, but can’t live by the rules. He likes to take short cuts to get what he wants and usually breaks the law while doing so. The heroine, Jamie, is an elementary school principal. Her life is based on rules and order; it’s how she keeps her sanity. These two butt heads like crazy but of course can’t get past their attraction. 😉

Carey: Michael and Jamie have the common goal of locating Jamie’s brother Chris. What else draws them together?

Kendra: Outside of animal attraction?  Michael’s brother vanished in the same incident as Chris two decades ago. Chris didn’t return for two years. Both of them lost their siblings as children and have strong empathy for the other’s experience.

chilled-cover-250Carey: Kendra, you’ve received glowing reviews for your trilogy, and are consistently praised for your in-depth forensic knowledge. What types of research have you done in order to deliver such authentic accounts?

Kendra: Blushing here…I read a lot. I have shelves full of forensic manuals and devour other authors’ works who write in the same specialty that I do. I have access to a medical examiner, but I try not to bug him with questions too often. Amazingly, Facebook opens up access to a whole bunch of experts. I refuse to be a pest and dig hard to find the answers to questions before I bug a friend. As a hygienist, I had a patient who was a chemist for the Oregon State Forensics Lab…talk about a boring job. It was not CSI.

Carey: Let’s get personal. Which character in your stories is most like you, and in what way?

hidden-cover-250Kendra: Hmm. There’s a little of me in all my female characters. I’m a bit introverted and hide my emotions like Victoria Peres, seek the best in people like Lacey, and I’m a tiny bit OCD like Jamie in BURIED. (Ask my family about recycling and the proper way to load the dishwasher.) Sometimes I wonder if the people who really know me are nodding their heads as they read my books, saying, “That’s exactly what Kendra would do.”

Carey: LOL about the proper way to load the dishwasher. If anyone needs lessons see either Kendra or me! What books are on your keeper shelf?

Kendra: Everything by Lee Child, Robert Crais, Tami Hoag, Lisa Gardner, Karen Rose, Allison Brennan, and Michael Connelly.

Carey: What can readers expect from you in the future? Will there be more Bone Secrets books, or is there a new series on the horizon?

Kendra: ALONE comes out January 2014. The forensic anthropologist, Victoria Peres from HIDDEN and BURIED will finally have her chance at happily ever after. I didn’t want to write about her, because she intimidates the hell out of me and comes across as a cold b%tch. But my editor loved her in BURIED and pushed for me to write her story. She was right, of course. I’m contracted for two more Bone Secrets novels after ALONE. There is the possibility of a Lacey Campbell (my HIDDEN heroine) short story this summer…I’m waiting on the details! Facebook   Twitter  Blog

Kendra, Thanks so much for joining us today and for your generous giveaway! Please come back soon! Readers don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered for a chance to win a signed copy of BURIED

Carla Neggers: Carey spotlights the New York Times best-selling author

Carla Neggers, Photo by Julie Ireland

Hang on! There’s an interview with the New York Times best-selling author of more than 60 novels, Carla Neggers, and a chance to win autographed print books, e-books, and a t-shirt!

But first I want to talk about those books.

SAINT’S GATE is a complex suspense involving a murdered nun and a missing painting that holds the key not only to a series of current day thefts and homicides but to past mysteries as well.  In this book, Carla lives up to her reputation for delivering atmospheric romance by transporting the reader to small-town Maine, as well as Dublin, Ireland. If you are a lover of rich, lush detail and multi-level storylines, I think you will truly enjoy this.

The romance between the main characters, Colin Donovan and Emma Sharpe, is strong enough to bear up in the midst of a big plot. I feel not only the sexual sparks, but the deep emotional connection resonating between Colin and Emma.

A cast of fascinating secondary characters, in particular, an Irish priest with quite a story of his own, rounds out the book.

The story is complex and satisfying, and all the threads are tied tightly into a satisfying knot. But I was left wondering- Carla, what the heck is a bean-hole dinner?

SECRETS OF THE LOST SUMMER.  I can only reiterate that Carla Neggers is a master of atmospheric romance. This contemporary love story will transport you to Knight’s Bridge Mass.  where Oliva Frost is renovating a historic home. Enter the owner of the dilapidated neighboring home, Dylan McCaffrey, and the journey to discovering secrets of the past begins. Another strong cast, a satisfying mystery, and of course a love story, spells another win for Carla Neggers.

An interview with Carla Neggers,

Carey: If you were stranded on a desert island with one other author, yes the real author, not a book, who would it be and why?

Carla: I have so many writer friends! I’d pick one of them. Preferably all of them. I have lots of authors from the past that I’d like to meet, but too risky on a desert island if they turn out to be…well, not someone you’d want to be stranded on a desert island with.

Carey: LOL. Sounds like there’s going to be a full-out party on your island. What is your favorite book?

Carla: I don’t have one favorite book but I often turn to Mary Stewart and Rex Stout for a “comfort” read. I remember discovering a musty copy of The Moonspinners in our town library. Loved it. And Nero Wolfe…I especially love his early cases and the depictions of New York in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.

Carey: Nero Wolfe is one of my favorite detectives too, but I haven’t read any of the books in a long while. I’ll have to revisit one soon. Do you have a favorite song?

Carla: No one favorite song, either. It depends on my mood. Right now I’m into Irish music. I love the traditional musicians like the Chieftains, but I also enjoy the Young Dubliners, especially their album All Due Respect, and Dropkick Murphys—nothing like The Meanest of Times for a jolt of energy!

Carey: How did you come to write your first manuscript?

Carla: In a tree! I was a kid. I grew up in the country with six brothers and sisters, and I’d go off on my own and climb a tree with a pad and pen and write. I had several manuscripts by the time I graduated high school…all still safely out of public view! I continued to write fiction through college and finally submitted a manuscript to an agent shortly after my first child was born. The agent took me on, and I eventually sold that book.

Carey: I love that story, and I am amazed that you had several manuscripts completed before finishing high school. A sign of a born writer. Do you have a personal hero?

Carla: My husband is one of the finest men I’ve ever known.

Carey tries to refrain, but then gives in to saying, “Awww!”

Carey: Which of your series or which of your books is your favorite?

Carla: I’m afraid I’m not any good at these “favorite” questions! To me, each book and each series stands on its own, and I’m always excited about the book I’m writing.

Carey: Which of your books would you suggest for a reader if they could only read one?

Carla: Whichever one appealed to him or her! I’d read the first few pages and go from there.

Carey, sheepishly:  Do you have a favorite among your female protagonists and why?

Carla: Again, I don’t think in terms of “favorites.” I’m enjoying writing about Emma Sharpe, an art crimes expert with the FBI who happens to be a former novice from an isolated Maine convent. Emma’s full of surprises! We meet her in SAINT’S GATE, out now, and then again in HERON’S COVE, due out in late August. Order SAINT’S GATE here.

Carey: You write so convincingly about the art world in Saint’s Gate. Do you have a background in art?

Carla:I don’t have a formal background in art but it’s long been an area of interest and study for me. I studied music at Boston University’s College of Fine Arts and roomed with artists who became lifelong friends. And my son’s a graphic designer!

Carey asks, and then ducks for cover: Do you have a favorite among your male protagonists and why?

Carla: That “favorite” word again! Colin Donovan, a deep-cover FBI agent, is every bit Emma’s match in SAINT’S GATE and now HERON’S COVE…and he has three hard-headed brothers.

Carey: I noticed all those brothers! I hope that means a long series of Donovan books. I know Saint’s Gate is the first in a new series for you, can you tell us some secrets about what’s in store for Colin Donovan?

Carla: Colin Donovan and Emma Sharpe return in HERON’S COVE (September 2012), when his world as an undercover agent and her world as a Sharpe—a family of art crime experts—collide.

Carey: Please tell us about your upcoming release, Secrets of the Lost Summer.

Carla: SECRETS OF THE LOST SUMMER marks my return to contemporary romance…but, of course, there’s a puzzle to be solved. Olivia Frost gives up a career in Boston to return to her little hometown to turn a historic house into a getaway. Just up the road is an abandoned house with junk in the yard. A real eyesore. She tracks down the absentee owner to clean up the place…but Dylan McCaffrey has never heard of Olivia or the town, or even knows he owns a house there. Turns out his treasure-hunter father left it to him. But why? Dylan heads to New England, and the fun goes on from there. Lots going on in this story!

Carey: What motivated you to go back to your roots in contemporary romance for your latest release, Secrets of the Lost Summer?

Carla: Simply put, the idea. I was gripped by it. I often write about small towns, secrets, adventures…SECRETS OF THE LOST SUMMER has all that…and a jewel thief! I’ve appreciated how readers have embraced the story. Order SECRETS here.

Carey: Is there a story you are itching to write, but haven’t done so? Do you foresee yourself ever writing that story and under what circumstance?

Carla: SECRETS OF THE LOST SUMMER was a story like that. It was a bit different, and I was itching to write it…and I did! Now it’s turned into a series, and I’m writing the next book, THAT NIGHT ON THISTLE LANE.

Carey: Your novels are noted for their strong atmospheric elements. What draws you to a particular setting, and how do you make that setting come alive for readers?

Carla: For me, the setting is almost like another character, and I enjoy bringing it to life for the reader. SECRETS OF THE LOST SUMMER is set in a fictional town near where I grew up on the western edge of the vast, beautiful Quabbin Reservoir (which plays a key role in the ‘secrets’!). SAINT’S GATE and HERON’S COVE take place in Maine, Boston and Ireland…three of my favorite places. I’m going back to Ireland soon to research DECLAN’S CROSS, the third in my Sharpe & Donovan series.

Carey: I love this You Tube where you talk more about SECRETS and the setting that inspired you. Readers will be interested to know that you took most of the photos used in this video.

Carey: And finally, Carla, I’d like to ask if you have a special cause that is close to your heart?

Carla: I’ve been doing what I can to help people here in Vermont to rebuild after the catastrophic flash floods that struck our mountainous state in late August. Two of the little covered bridges at the bottom of our hill were casualties, but the detours are minor inconveniences compared to the jobs and homes lost. There’s progress every day, and Vermont is definitely open for business. Come visit!

Carey: Carla, thank you so much for being with us today and for putting up with all those favorites questions! Now let’s open things up for questions and comments.

Commenters: Don’t forget to stop by Thursday and find out if you are a winner! One lucky commenter wins an autographed copy of  SECRETS OF THE LOST SUMMER, SAINT’S GATE and a t-shirt from the lovely Carla Neggers! A second commenter wins an e-copy of SECRETS OF THE LOST SUMMER and SAINT’S GATE! 

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