Posted by Gwen Hernandez
The first time I met New York Times Bestselling Author Laura Griffin, I made a complete fool of myself. We were sitting on a bus during a very informative tour of MacDill AFB in Florida, and I told her how much I enjoyed her book about the prison break.
She gave me a confused look. Oh, wait, crap, Allison Brennan wrote that one. *head slap*
Laura took it like a champ. After cringing and apologizing, I was able to wax rhapsodic about her book Thread of Fear, which I had recently read.
And she kept talking to me.
Once I got to know Laura, I realized she was a smart, fun, interesting woman with a background in journalism that had her asking great questions of the airmen we visited with that day. And from reading many more of her books since my awkward mistake, I can tell you first hand that she’s a fabulous writer.
Laura’s brand of romantic suspense is dark and edgy with plenty of sexual tension and sensuality. Her heroines are just the right combination of vulnerable and independent, with interesting occupations. And her heroes are, well, yummy. Many of them are stoic, law enforcement-types. Protective, stubborn, intense, and loyal.
She must have forgiven me my early gaffe, because she agreed to run along the Hudson River with me during the RWA National Conference in NYC last summer. And more recently, she agreed to join us here on Kiss & Thrill to answer a few questions.
Be sure to chime in with your own for a chance to win an advanced reading copy (ARC) of her upcoming release Twisted.
LG: The Delphi Center is a cutting-edge crime lab where an elite group of forensic scientists known as Tracers work to solve the toughest crimes. Investigators look to Delphi for help with their most challenging cases.
UNSTOPPABLE features two of my favorite characters from the series–Kelsey, a forensic anthropologist, and Gage, a Navy SEAL. These two have been so much fun to write about, and they’re getting their own book in the fall–entitled SCORCHED.
GH: Ooh, I loved Kelsey and Gage. I can’t wait for more. Is Delphi inspired by a real place, or is it wishful thinking?
LG: It’s a combination of both. I got the idea when I read about a new body farm (or decomposition research facility) being built in central Texas, where I live. I decided to create a fictional body farm for my books, and I added the crime lab, where the very latest forensic technology is used to help police solve cases. The Tracers who work at this place each have their own personal reasons for being dedicated to their cause.
LG: GUNS AND ROSES is a labor of love on the part of the authors over at MurderSheWrites.com. We’ve been doing the blog together for years, and we wanted to put together a book that combined all of our different voices so readers could find us all in one place. It’s been such a fun project!
GH: For more on the anthology, readers can check out last week’s post with the whole Murder She Writes crew. Is “Nightfall” related to the Tracers series, or is it a stand-alone work?
LG: “Nightfall” is a stand-alone, but I might have to pay Holly and Colin (the characters) a visit down the road at some point. Whenever I write a short story, I end up wanting to give the characters a whole book.
GH: Are there any particular authors you read that influenced your work or your decision to write romantic suspense?
LG: I remember when I first read Linda Howard being so excited to discover books that had all my favorite elements rolled into one–suspense, romance, lots of emotion.
GH: I love Linda Howard for the same reasons. She always delivers. Who are some of your favorites right now?
LG: I’ve been reading Lisa Gardner, Lee Child, Tami Hoag.
GH: You were a journalist before you turned to romantic suspense. Do you think your background as a journalist helped or hurt your fiction writing? How?
LG: The journalism background made me overcome shyness about interviewing people. Now meeting people and doing research is one of my favorite aspects of writing a book. So many wonderful ideas come from meeting people face to face.
GH: What’s next for you?
LG: I’m having so much fun writing the Tracers series, and I’ve been thrilled with people’s response. I just signed a contract for three more books, which I’m excited about because I’ve got more characters to talk about. After TWISTED this spring, the next book is SCORCHED in the fall.
GH: Ooh, yay, more Tracers! 🙂 Anything else you want to share?
LG: I want to thank all the readers who have reached out to tell me what they think of the stories. Writing can be a solitary occupation and it’s such fun when readers get in touch to say that a book resonated with them for some reason. To me, that’s what books are all about.
Check back on Thursday for the winner of the Twisted ARC!
Posted by Sharon Wray
According to the MSW team, Guns and Roses is “a collection of ten never-before published short stories and novellas, each penned by a MurderSheWrites blogger, inspired by our mutual love of suspense and romance. Some of them are dark and tense; others are light and wild and might give you a few new laugh lines. Most are loosely connected to existing popular series, yet all stand entirely alone. Many will make you chuckle, one or two might make you cry, and there are a few that will require the use of a fan and cold water.
We are the authors behind the long-running (and, we say humbly and happily) quite popular MurderSheWrites blog. Started in 2005, the MSW blog has always enjoyed a large and lively audience of readers, writers, and publishing industry experts.
All of us are primarily, but not exclusively, writers of romance and suspense, enjoying a wide spectrum along both those popular bands. Among us, we have over 150 published novels, numerous appearances on the New York Times Bestseller lists, dozens of industry awards, and, yeah, more than twenty kids. Thanks to amazing and palpable synergy, we are also close friends who love, respect, admire, and depend upon one another.
Sharon: I have so many questions, but since our readers can’t wait to hear more about Guns and Roses, I’ll keep them short. First, who came up with the idea for the anthology or was it done through a virtual early morning latte chat?
MSW Team: Allison mentioned it first about a year ago and we were all like, yes! I believe we had been drinking that day! Then life and deadlines got in the way. Lori/Lorelei or was it Laura? One of L’s brought it back up this past fall. We decided now or never and let’s really push ourselves and shoot for a Valentine’s Day release! We missed it by a week, but when you read Guns and Roses, you’ll see that the quality is tops and well worth waiting the extra week. We’d just like to mention that Guns and Roses can stand beside anything New York produces and kill it!
Sharon: Who got to pick the fabulous title?
MSW Team: Miss Lori Armstrong aka Lorelei James came up with that killer title.
Sharon: Who did the cover and which author had final say on the design?
MSW Team: Designer Kim Killion did an amazing job! We all had the final say. LoL. I can still remember the ten of us voicing ten different thoughts and opinions. Oh, the flurry of emails that ensued. Luckily, we had a very patient designer, and in the end, Kim came through. One thing all of us agree on is: We LOVE the cover!
Sharon: How did you decide the order of the stories? Alphabetical? Age of oldest child or pet? Cup size?
MSW Team: We did the cup size thing first but there was some boob envy getting in the way. But for the most part, Allison came up with good reasons for the order. Then we ran it by our editor, Charlotte Herscher for some advice on the matter. She liked what was suggested and we ran with it. We start off with Rocki’s wonderful Bullet Catchers and wrap up with the indomitable Bobbie Faye, with all kinds of goodness in between!
Sharon: Did you have an outside editor read through Guns and Roses before publishing?
MSW Team: Absolutely. We’re pros, but not perfect; we hired one of the best in the business, Charlotte Herscher. She did an amazing job! Our copy editor, Debi Murray was quick and efficient, and our proofreader and formatter Amy Eye has the eagle eye for details. She was amazing. And ever so patient. Ever ever so patient. We heart her.
Sharon: How long did Guns and Roses take you all from first concept to upload?
MSW Team: Roughly three months. And the work involved was Herculean. But put ten amazing brains attached to ten driven writers, and we made it look easy. It was a lot of work. But a happy chore, executed with passion and friendship. We’re all still friends!
Sharon: How will you measure the success of Guns and Roses?
MSW Team: The first and most important benchmark is we’re all still talking to each other! Secondly, we learned a lot through the process, so next time it will be a breeze! But at the end of the day, sales will play the biggest part in the equation. While we know we produced a unique quality product, we need people to buy it so we’ll want to do it again. And so far the sales look good.
Sharon: Thanks so much. Now on to the good stuff. All the sexy and exciting details about Guns and Roses!
PI Julie Collins trails cheating lovers, which leads to questions about her relationship with Tony Martinez.
Sex crimes detective Selena Black puts her career and life at risk to prove that high-profile attorney Greg Keller is the brutal River City Rapist before he strikes again.
“The Housewife Assassin’s Bloody Valentine”
CIA contract assassin Donna Stone’s idea of Valentine’s Day?A couple’s massage with her mission’s leader Jack Craig—not breaking out of a Mexican prison, then stopping a massacre by an international terrorist cell.
“Bobbie Faye’s Whacked Out, No Good, Really Sucky, Hot Mess of a Wedding”
Bobbie Faye Sumrall, Cajun Contraband Days Queen, gun expert, and ultimate professional in being in the wrong place at the wrong time, absolutely, positively does not want to go through with the wedding that Trevor’s forcing her to agree to, but she soon finds out she has more important things to worry about—like surviving the plot to make her disappear when she’s set up as a fall guy for the theft of a priceless religious icon.
“Blood and Roses”
When insurance investigator Anastasia Miller sets out to retrieve the rose-hued pink diamonds stolen in a recent heist, she finds herself working alongside former flame, deputy U.S. Marshal Jake Monroe—the man she loved enough to leave behind.
Alone on an icy road at nightfall, Holly Henriksen puts her trust in a charming stranger and soon discovers he is keeping a dangerous secret.
“King of Hearts,” a Rough Riders short story
Deputy Cam McKay deals with a murder/suicide case on Valentine’s Day.
“A Punishing Night”
While investigating the stabbing death of a student at his own alma mater, Detective Joe Bashir confronts painful memories and makes an intriguing new acquaintance.
“Pick Your Poison,” A Bullet Catcher Novella
When Bullet Catcher Benjamin Youngblood sets out to track and trap an assassin, he’s forced to trust a sexy flower farmer who could be as dangerous as her homegrown poison.
For Detective Cash Cantrell, hunting down a University serial killer is as routine as strapping on his gun each morning. Until he comes face to face with meddlesome coed, Rebel Yell Culpepper. He doesn’t know if he should arrest her or kiss her, but one thing Cash knows for sure, Rebel is key to finding the murderer, and the killer knows it too…
Thank you for sharing the Guns and Roses‘ success story today. We wish all of the MurderSheWrites authors the best of luck. And for our readers, if you leave a comment you will be eligible to win a FREE copy of Guns and Roses! Check back tomorrow to find out who won.