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Laura Griffin on her new book Beyond Limits, research, and Navy SEALs

An FBI agent and a Navy SEAL race against time in New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin’s newest Tracers novel.

Beyond Limits book coverLaura Griffin’s latest book, BEYOND LIMITS is out today! To celebrate, she agreed to hang out at Kiss and Thrill and answer a few questions about the new book and her writing process. She’s also giving away a signed copy of SCORCHED—the RITA Award winning book where Derek and Elizabeth first meet—to a lucky commenter.

I’m already counting the hours until I can pull out my iPad at the gym and start reading…

GH: Happy release day! Thanks for joining us on K&T. We appreciate the chance to get into your head a bit. 😉 Your early books were focused on characters working in or around law enforcement. The new books still have that element, but you’ve added Navy SEALs to the mix. What is it about these guys that drew your interest?

LG: Thanks for inviting me, Gwen! My first SEAL character appeared in the novella UNSTOPPABLE, and they keep finding their way back into my stories. What I love about these guys is that they tackle any challenge and they never give up. This tenacity makes them so interesting to write, especially when that never-quit attitude spills over into their personal lives.

GH: Did you discover anything fun, interesting, or surprising in your research for this book?

Laura Griffin headshotLG: In the story Navy SEAL Derek Vaughn is on a rescue mission overseas when he discovers clues of a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. While researching the book I learned about the many ways our country is vulnerable. On the other hand, some of the new tools law enforcement has now are truly amazing. For example, the facial recognition techniques they use now are so sophisticated that it boggles the mind.

GH: When you get a new idea for a book, which usually comes to you first, the premise, a compelling scene, or a character? Do you know what sparked your idea for BEYOND LIMITS?

LG: I used to be a newspaper reporter, and often news headlines will spark the idea for a story. With BEYOND LIMITS I wanted to write about what a SEAL would do if he had inside knowledge of a pending attack on U.S. soil. Would he feel compelled to act or would he be able to leave it up to other people to handle? Derek Vaughn makes it his mission to help, even if it means he has to manipulate a woman he cares about to get inside info about the investigation.

GH: Are there any themes you feel like you keep returning to in your writing? Any idea why?

LG: Many of my stories feature women who are survivors of something. I like writing about people who look deep into themselves to find the strength to keep going even when disaster strikes. I’ve been blessed with some strong female role models, and I think about them a lot when I’m creating a story.

GH: What’s next on your plate?

LG: I’m having fun writing a new book in the Tracers series. It’s called SHADOW FALL, and it features some of my favorite Tracers characters: Mark Wolfe, Mia Voss, Kelsey Quinn. The hero of the story is Mark’s brother, Liam Wolfe, who runs a private security firm and finds himself at the center of an FBI murder investigation. SHADOW FALL should be out later this year, and I’ll keep you posted with details!

GH: I can’t wait! For readers who are new to the series, do the Tracers books need to be read in order?

LG: People ask me that a lot. Each story has a stand-alone suspense plot and each focuses on a different romantic couple. So you can pick up the series anywhere!

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Laura Griffin started her career in journalism before venturing into the world of romantic suspense. She is a two-time RITA Award winner as well as the recipient of the Daphne du Maurier Award. Laura currently lives in Austin, where she is working on her next book. Visit her at or on

Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of SCORCHED.

Laura Griffin’s Hardcover Debut: Far Gone

fargoneOne of my favorite authors, Laura Griffin, has a new book out next week, and this one’s special because it’s her first hardcover release. Congrats, Laura!

FAR GONE is another fabulous addition to her quickly expanding oeuvre. A sexy, stoic FBI agent, and prickly, kick-ass cop, and a homegrown terrorist make for an explosive read that will keep you up long past bedtime.

Laura was gracious enough to stop by K&T to talk about FAR GONE, and give away a Starbucks gift card for one lucky commenter. (The caffeine is for the morning after you stay up all night reading. 😉 )

Your new book FAR GONE is a bit of a departure from your Tracers series. How is it different?

Thanks so much for inviting me to visit Kiss & Thrill!

FAR GONE is my first hardcover book, so I’m very excited about that. I spent a lot of time planning this story before I wrote a word, really trying to get my heroine down. Andrea Finch is a detective with the Austin Police Department who is on leave from her job after a shooting incident when she gets an S.O.S. call from her younger brother in West Texas. Andrea suspects her brother has gotten himself mixed up in a really bad situation and goes out there to investigate.

Did you do any special research for this story?

I love book research! While getting ready to write this one, I went on a police ride-along here in Austin. I love this city (my hometown), but I wanted to see it through a cop’s eyes.

Another big help for me was visiting the LAPD training academy with the suspense writers’ chapter of Romance Writers of America. [GH: That tour was awesome.] Touring their facilities and learning all about their rigorous training was really useful when I sat down to write this book. Also, I got to meet a number of women on the job, who helped me get a sense of what it’s like to be a woman in the male-dominated field of law enforcement.

LauraGriffinCopy 2014 (2)This book isn’t an official part of your Tracers series. Do you plan to write any more Tracers book?

Absolutely! I love writing the Tracers series. And readers will recognize a few familiar faces from the series in FAR GONE. I couldn’t resist bringing some of my favorite Tracers in to help with the forensic aspects of the story.

What are you working on next?

I’m working on the new Tracers book, this one featuring Derek Vaughn and Elizabeth LeBlanc, who first met in the book SCORCHED. I don’t have a title yet, but I’ll keep you posted!

[I loved Elizabeth in this book. I’m excited to read her and Derek’s story.]

Also, I’m excited to be writing a new addition to my Moreno & Hart mystery series with Allison Brennan. The book is called HIT & RUN and it features the female PI duo Scarlet Moreno and Krista Hart. Allison and I have had fun collaborating on this series.

Ooh, more Moreno & Hart. Yay! Anything else you’d like to tell readers?

I hope you’ll enjoy FAR GONE! And I would love to see some of you at the RT Convention in New Orleans this May, or the RWA Convention in San Antonio, where I’ll be signing books.

Can’t wait to see you in San Antonio!

GIVEAWAY! To celebrate the release of FAR GONE Laura is giving away a $15 Starbucks card. Leave a comment for a chance to win and then check back on Thursday.


This book won’t Crash and Burn

AllisonBrennanLauraGriffin_CrashandBurn2500 (2)At K&T, we’re big (really, really big) fans of Allison Brennan and Laura Griffin. So what’s better than a book by either of them? How about one by both of them together?

Allison and Laura have co-authored a new book called Crash and Burn. Part anthology, part collaborative work, Crash and Burn combines two stories starring former cops Scarlet Moreno and Krista Hart who are now partners in a private investigations firm.

Allison Brennan’s Crash has Scarlet Moreno hot on the trail of a killer, while trying to avoid a hunky police detective who wants her off the case. Burn, written by Laura Griffin, follows Krista Hart as she hunts down a missing defense witness and fends off a playboy PI competing for the same fee.

Danger, intrigue, and a few hot kisses ensue.

If you like mysteries with intelligent, kick-ass female leads, you’ll love this book. I know I did! I tracked down Laura and Allison to learn more about the genesis of Crash and Burn.

Laura Griffin

Laura Griffin

Gwen: How did the idea to collaborate on a book come about?

Laura: Allison and I had been talking for years about how fun it would be to write a book together. When we came up with the concept of Moreno & Hart Investigations, the ideas really started flowing back and forth. I knew we’d found our characters.

Gwen: The two of you are good friends. Did your friendship survive the book? 😉 Seriously, though, was working together on the book tricky? What was your process?

Allison: Amazingly, the process was painless. Laura and I knew we wanted to write about two female PIs who bonded over something in their past. We picked Orange County as the setting because it’s a place that has a lot of natural potential for stories, it’s familiar, and we both know the area. We each created our own character—Laura developed Krista, and I developed Scarlet. We each wrote our own novellas and incorporated each other’s character, then read everything and edited where our characters came in so that it was consistent. Then we hired an editor to go through both stories looking for any inconsistencies we missed, in addition to standard editing issues.

Gwen: Crash and Burn has some light romantic elements, but it’s a bit different from your usual thriller/romantic suspense titles. Was there a specific spark that drew you toward mystery?

Laura: From the beginning we wanted this to be a series, so I don’t think we were in a hurry to resolve each heroine’s love story right away. Both Scarlet and Krista have a romantic interest, but it is something that will develop over time.

Allison: I love mysteries where there’s a love interest, but the love story isn’t the focal point of the book. In a true romantic suspense, like Laura and I generally write, we spend more time with the hero and heroine working together. As a writer, I like to stretch and write new and different things, while sticking with my core suspense foundation.

Allison Brennan

Allison Brennan

Gwen: Allison, your character Scarlet Moreno reminded me of a modern day Kinsey Millhone (from Sue Grafton’s alphabet series): loner, former cop turned PI, not looking for commitment with a man, can’t walk away from a mystery. Was Moreno inspired by any other authors you read or shows you watch?

Allison: What a great question that makes me think! I watch a lot of television and read a lot of books, and can’t really point to one character who inspired Scarlet. When Laura and I were first talking about this series, we thought of a female Elvis Cole and Joe Pike from Robert Crais’s fantastic series. But Scarlet and Krista are definitely different from the guys ☺ … I think with any lead character, there are elements that get pulled from the author’s current reading and viewing habits. I watch a lot of crime drama, from Justified to Longmire to Person of Interest. Outside of Castle and Rizzoli & Isles and Bones, there aren’t a lot of really strong female leading roles. I hope there will be more in the future!

Gwen: Me too! Tell us about Moreno and Hart. What makes them tick, and why do they work well together?

Laura: These two women are both strong and independent, but after the harrowing incident at the beginning of the book they are bonded together by loyalty. They are determined to make their business work, to uncover the truth in their investigations, and to tackle the obstacles in their path. Despite their different personalities, their loyalty runs deep and no matter what happens, they have each other’s backs.

Gwen: You definitely left me wanting more of this duo. When can we expect to see more from Moreno and Hart?

Allison and Laura: We’re thrilled you enjoyed the book! We hope to write another Moreno and Hart mystery (or two or three!)—whenever we can fit it into our schedule. Hopefully sooner rather than later!

Thanks so much for being with us today, ladies!

Laura and Allison are giving away an e-book of Crash and Burn to one lucky commenter. Tell us about one of your favorite strong female characters for a chance to win.

More about Crash and Burn:

Trial by Fire …
Three years ago LAPD Detective Scarlet Moreno and rookie cop Krista Hart were nearly killed during a botched sting operation. Now, they’re best friends and partners in the Orange County private investigation firm of Moreno & Hart. But their routine assignments are anything but safe …

Crash …
Scarlet Moreno has her hands full with a cheating spouse case when the bartender at her favorite pub becomes a murder suspect. Worse, the detective in charge of the investigation threatens to arrest Scarlet for obstruction—even when she tries to give him valuable information. Scarlet risks her PI license and her life to find out the truth, absolve her friend, and track down a killer—with or without the help of the arrogant, mysterious Detective Alex Bishop.

And Burn …
Krista Hart is burned out on catching deadbeat dads and philandering husbands when a big-time criminal defense attorney hires her for a choice assignment: find the sole witness to murder the day before the trial. The case could be a boon for Moreno & Hart, but the witness is in hiding, someone is following Krista, and her own client is withholding information. The last person she wants help from is sexy investigator R.J. Flynn, but he claims he’s willing to share intel—for a price. If she can solve this case, it’ll elevate Moreno & Hart above being divorce voyeurs, but first she has to survive, with her life and heart intact.

Laura Griffin Exposed

EXPOSED Griffin (5)Writers often say their favorite book is the last one they wrote. My favorite Laura Griffin book always seems to be the last one I’ve read. In this case, it’s EXPOSED, the 7th book in her Tracers series, which releases tomorrow.

EXPOSED pairs an FBI agent with a forensic photographer from the Delphi Center Crime Lab for a suspenseful read that delivers on the romance too. If you’re already a fan of Laura’s stoic heroes and independent heroines, you’ll love EXPOSED. If you haven’t read her yet, you’re missing out.

GIVEAWAY ALERT! (Keep reading for a chance to win.)

Laura was nice enough to stop by to talk a little about EXPOSED and the research she did for the story. Welcome, Laura!

LauraGriffinPic3Thank you for inviting me back to visit Kiss & Thrill! I love this blog and have discovered some wonderful new authors here.

This week is sure to be a roller coaster because it’s release week. Yay! The seventh novel in my Tracers series hits book stores Tuesday and, as usual, I’m feeling jittery. Launching the book is always the nervous part for me. Writing is when all the fun happens.

EXPOSED was especially fun to write because the heroine is a forensic photographer. As soon as I came up with the story idea I immediately thought “field trip!” I love going out to do research in the field. Maybe it’s because of my background as a news reporter, but any time I write a new book I always have to get out there and interview people. In the case of EXPOSED, I interviewed crime scene photographers and learned all about their fascinating job.

EXPOSED is the story of Maddie Callahan, who is a forensic photographer at the Delphi Center Crime Lab, where elite forensic scientists known as Tracers help detectives solve their toughest cases. Maddie is passionate about her work. She considers herself “the eyes of the jury” and makes it her mission to document every detail of a crime scene in order to help bring criminals to justice.

While interviewing crime scene photographers I learned just how important this job is. Photos can be key evidence at trial and an entire murder case may hinge on something as small as a wad of chewing gum or a shard of glass discovered at a scene.

Maddie has a stellar career, but her personal life needs work. Following a serious loss, Maddie is aloof from people and avoids relationships, especially with men…. until she meets FBI agent Brian Beckman. Brian takes an immediate interest in Maddie after one of her photographs becomes key evidence in his investigation. He’s determined to get to know Maddie and get past her defenses. He is also determined to protect her when it becomes clear that her life is in danger because of something she witnessed through her camera lens.

Writing Maddie and Brian’s story was an adventure for me, and I hope you will like it. People ask me all the time if they need to read the Tracers books in order and that’s not necessary. Each book focuses on a different mystery and a different romantic couple.

If you’d like to read a free excerpt, visit

Today Laura is giving away a signed copy of EXPOSED (U.S. residents only, please). Leave a comment for a chance to win!

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Laura Griffin started her career in journalism before venturing into the world of romantic suspense. Her books have won numerous awards, including a RITA, a Daphne du Maurier Award, and the Booksellers Best Award. Laura lives in Austin, Texas. Visit her Web site at

Get Scorched with Laura Griffin

I always look forward to a new Laura Griffin book, and Scorched—of which I received an advance reading copy (yes, you should be jealous)—didn’t disappoint. The main characters, Kelsey and Gage, first met in the novella Unstoppable, which was a sexy, suspenseful read.

In Scorched they get their own full blown story.

Laura always gives us hot, stoic, alpha men, and Gage is no exception. Unlike many of her previous heroes though, he isn’t law enforcement. He’s a Navy SEAL. And in this book, a good portion of the action takes place outside of Texas. But the Delphi center and your favorite Tracers still have a strong presence.

Scorched delivers more of Laura Griffin’s trademark twists and steamy suspense. You won’t want to miss it. Read on to learn more about Laura’s research for the book.

One commenter wins a signed copy of Scorched, so be sure to let us know you stopped by!

Thanks for inviting me back to Kiss & Thrill, Gwen! I am so excited to celebrate this release day with you all.

My favorite part of writing takes place before I type a single word. It’s the beginning part, when I get to know my characters and start envisioning their adventure together.

Scorched was a particular thrill because I had so much fun with the research. To learn about my hero, Gage Brewer, I read up on Navy SEALs and then interviewed a few—and yes, they are just as impressive in person as they are in fiction!

Gage’s love interest is no less fascinating. As a forensic anthropologist at the Delphi Center crime lab, Kelsey Quinn studies bones to provide leads for homicide investigators. To learn about Kelsey’s character, I interviewed forensic anthropologists and visited a decomposition research center, otherwise known as a body farm.

Ewww, right?

I was a little wary at first, but it turned out to be fascinating. I enjoyed every minute of it and pestered each person I met with tons of questions.

When Scorched begins, Kelsey and Gage are (literally) worlds apart, with Gage and his SEAL teammates on a daring rescue mission in the Indian Ocean and Kelsey leading a humanitarian dig in the Philippines. At the story’s outset, both are harboring regrets about their failed relationship. But when fate brings them together again through a murder investigation in which Gage is the prime suspect, Kelsey and Gage are forced to reach some sort of truce in order to survive the storm of events coming their way.

Kelsey and Gage’s story has all the elements I love to write—mystery, forensic twists, some fun action scenes. And then there’s the falling-in-love part, which I like best of all. I hope you’ll enjoy it, too.

If you’d like to read an excerpt, check out

Happy reading!

Remember to comment for a chance to win a signed copy of Scorched!

Winner of the Laura Griffin April giveaway

Congratulations to Cris, winner of a $10 Starbucks gift card from author Laura Griffin!

Send your preferred email address to: contact @ kissandthrill . com.

Everyone, join us Tuesday when Sarah Andre interviews Sherry Foley, debut author of Switched in Death, and be sure to comment for a chance to win an e-copy of the book.

Have a great weekend!

Getting Twisted with Laura Griffin

We’ve already established that I had a less than auspicious beginning with New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin, but that didn’t stop her from joining us again for the release of her latest Tracers book Twisted, out today.

Read on to learn more secrets about this talented author who always delivers page-turning suspense interwoven with a compelling love story that sizzles. She dishes about Twisted, the Tracers series, her world travels, her best work environment, and what’s coming next.

She’s even offering a $10 Starbucks gift card for one lucky commenter, so ask that burning question. You might get an answer and a latte!

GH: Tell us about Twisted.
LG: I wanted to write a story about a rookie detective working her first big case. Allison Doyle is a tough, no-nonsense cop who messes up sometimes because she lacks experience. But she’s got a lot of heart and she cares passionately about her job.

GH:  I’m excited to read Allison’s story after meeting her in Snapped. Was there a specific catalyst for this story?
LG: Allison’s character was inspired by some of the law enforcement officers I’ve met over the years. I’m really in awe of the women who go out and do police work every day, and I think researching and writing Allison was my chance to understand better what it’s like for them.

The mystery plot was inspired in part by the research I’ve done on criminal profiling. You read about some very dark cases, and the book’s villain is definitely “twisted,” like the title. But I wanted there to be some lightness to the story, too, and that’s where Allison comes in. Her relationship with FBI profiler Mark Wolfe adds another dimension. It’s a mystery, but also a love story.

GH: You’ve made your career in fiction writing romantic suspense. Are there any other genres/subgenres you’d like to try some day?

LG: I love to read (and write) anything with a mystery element to it. Right now I’m really enjoying romantic suspense, but I’ll see where the muse takes me!

GH: You live in Austin now, but like me you’ve moved around some. Do you have a favorite place, or one that was a particularly interesting experience?

LG: Living in Asia was a fascinating experience. I remember this one adventure with some friends in the Philippines. After spending hours and hours traveling by car and jeepney, and then hiking through the wilderness, we arrived at the rice terraces–which are these ancient rice farms carved out of the mountainside. It’s a breathtakingly beautiful corner of the world that I never even knew existed.

GH: Okay, you have all my adventures beat hands down! And I had to look up what a jeepney is… Did any of your characters in the Tracers series surprise you? In what way?

LG: The Tracers characters are always surprising me! They have such different personalities.

For readers new to the series, the Tracers are an elite group of forensic scientists who get called in to help investigators solve their toughest cases. I’ve met such a variety of people while doing research, and when I started the series I really wanted the Tracers characters to come to life. I didn’t want them to be just a bunch of people in lab coats. Each person brings his or her own passions and biases and life experiences to the story.

GH: What type of writing environment do you like? Home/away? Quiet/loud?

LG: Loud works fine for me. I can work in an airport, a coffee shop, a train station. Quiet works, too. The thing that doesn’t work for me is television. If some zany reality show is on, I get sucked in.

GH: Me too! That’s why I don’t work downstairs when the kids are home. So, what are you working on next?

LG: I’m thrilled to say there will be more Tracers books! After Twisted this spring, we have Scorched in the fall, featuring Kelsey and Gage. And I’m working on book seven now, which will be out in 2013.

It’s been a fun series to write. People always ask me if you can pick it up in the middle, or if you have to start from the beginning. You can pick it up anywhere. Each book focuses on a different romantic couple and has a stand-alone mystery plot, so you can jump right in.

GH: I’m so glad there will be more Tracers books! Good thing I got gift cards for my birthday…

Thanks so much to Laura for being with us today. Remember to leave a comment below for a chance to win a $10 Starbucks gift card!

New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin started her career in journalism before venturing into the world of romantic suspense. She is the author of ten novels and has won numerous awards, including a RITA Award for Whisper of Warning. Find Laura on Facebook at or visit

Winner of the Laura Griffin giveaway

Congratulations to Jane (no last name/initial given) for winning the advanced reading copy of TWISTED by Laura Griffin! Please contact us with your preferred physical mailing address within the next ten days to claim your prize (must be in the U.S).

Thanks to everyone who stopped by. Don’t forget to check in next week to learn more about romantic thriller author Leslie Tentler. Have a great weekend!

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