Posted by Rachel Grant
Today is a special treat because I get to ask the amazing and talented Carey Baldwin about her new release, HUSH, and then put her in the hot seat James Lipton-style and ask her the Inside the Actors Studio 10 questions.
I loved FIRST DO NO EVIL, so when Carey told us her plans for HUSH, I begged her to let me interview her so I’d get to read HUSH before everyone else. I simply couldn’t wait.
HUSH didn’t disappoint. Charlie and Anna drew me in from the first page. Carey’s smooth voice, rich characterization, and deft plotting made the novella an absolute pleasure to read. I’m anxiously awaiting her next release and have a feeling it will be a knock-down drag out-fight between the rest of the K&T ladies and myself over who gets to host Carey then.
To celebrate HUSH, Carey is giving a copy and a box of chocolates from the I Love Lucy Super Store to one lucky commenter. Be sure to check back on Tuesday to see if you are a winner.
Rachel: Carey, I know HUSH started out as something different. Can you tell us about how the story changed?
Carey: Rachel, HUSH was truly a labor of love for me. I wrote the first version of this novella specifically for inclusion in a limited-time charity anthology, Three Weddings and a Murder. Between anthology sales and private donations Leigh LaValle, Tessa Dare, Courtney Milan and I raised over $10,000 for breast cancer research. So thank you readers!
The other novellas from the anthology have already been individually released for profit, and I had planned to do the same with mine. But the truth is, around that time, my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and he eventually lost that battle. I know everyone handles loss differently, but for almost a year, I simply couldn’t bring myself to write.
When I did pick up the pen (okay, keyboard) again, I decided to do a major rewrite of my novella. The inciting incidents remain the same, but the events behind them have changed, and it’s a significantly longer story. The title, HUSH, is also new. I absolutely loved telling Charlie and Anna’s story, and I hope readers will enjoy it too!
Reformed bad boy Charlie “Drex” Drexler returns to his hometown of Tangleheart, Texas hoping to make peace with his dark past and make amends to those he’s wronged. He’s also looking to reconnect with an old flame. But Anna won’t cooperate, new questions tear open old wounds, and his best friend’s wife and baby disappear. Can Drex and Anna mend their broken hearts while fighting for their lives and racing to bring mother and baby home safely?
Click here to read the prologue.
Rachel: I know you have more exciting news to share, so spill.
I’m excited to be part of this brand new line that launches in October with a mix of classic titles (Agatha Christie), best-selling authors and new voices. I fall into the “new voices” category of course!
To quote from Harper Collins’ press release on the new Witness line:
“It’s an exciting collection of brand-new content, international bestsellers not previously available in the U.S., and newly digitized backlist classics. It runs the gamut from police procedurals to literary suspense; historical mysteries to action thrillers.”
Of course I gotta sneak a little romance in there!
My first book, CONFESSION, releases March 4th, 2014. The story centers around a wet-behind-the-ears psychiatrist, Faith Clancy, whose very first patient confesses, while they are alone in session, that he is the twisted serial killer who’s been terrorizing the city.
Rachel: I can’t wait for CONFESSION! Okay, it’s Inside the Actors Studio time, where Carey answers the ten questions James Lipton asks at the end of the show.
What is your favorite word? Mountain stream. Yeah, I know that’s two words. I’m like that!
What is your least favorite word? No!
What turns you on? Really? Geez. My husband and Brad Pitt.
What turns you off? Sardines. Big time.
What sound or noise do you love? Mountain stream. Hmm.
What sound or noise do you hate? I hate the sound of gossip.
What is your favorite curse word? Mother F****** Read my books, you’ll see. 🙂
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Dude, three’s enough!
What profession would you not like to do? Anything involving cleaning.
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? Come on in, your mom and dad are throwing you a welcome home party.
Now it’s our readers’ turn to answer a hot-seat question: What is your favorite word? One lucky commenter will win a copy of HUSH and a box of chocolates!
Posted by Carey Baldwin
Courtney, Tessa, Leigh, and I want to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to our wonderful honor roll donors! These are folks who have made a direct donation to team Bodice Rippers. With only a month left until the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, We’d love to add you to our honor roll. Please consider making a direct contribution. We love big donations of course, but small donations add up. If you can spare the price of a movie, we’re grateful! I never post amounts unless specifically requested. You can donate to our team here.
We are so very grateful for each one of you who has purchased THREE WEDDINGS AND A MURDER, helped us spread the word, or made a direct donation.
The Avon walk for breast cancer takes place September 22, 2012. We’ll be putting our tootsies where our mouths are and walking nearly forty miles for a cause close to our hearts. We’d love to reach our goal of $10,000.
Here’s how things are breaking down so far:
From THREE WEDDINGS AND A MURDER: Royalties received as of August 16th, 2012 $1,655.01 Remember, ALL PROFITS from TWAAM go to the walk.
From Private Donations- $835.00
Actual funds in hand and applied to Avon Breast Cancer Walk=$2,490.01
However, we also are due (but have not yet been paid) estimated royalties from TWAAM-$3,500
Including these royalties our total fundraising efforts as of August 20, 2012= $5,990.01
On the personal side, Team Bodice Rippers has had a wild year.
Courtney has continued to blaze a trail for independent authors everywhere with her New York Times and USA Today best-selling books, and she’s relocated across the country and purchased her first home!
Leigh released her debut novel to critical acclaim. But the big news is she has been blessed with a soon-to-be blessed event! She’ll be cheering us on from the nursery with her newborn bundle of joy! We will miss her terribly on the Avon Walk, but she will be there in spirit and is an integral part of our team. We’re pretty sure delivering her new little guy will be harder than walking forty miles, and we are sending her every wish for a safe and happy delivery.
Carey released her debut novel to critical acclaim, but her big news is she married the man of her dreams and became a “new mom” again to a fifteen-year-old sweetie-pie!
Where does the money for the specific Avon Santa Barbara Walk go? We think you’ll be as impressed as we are. Check out this link for more info on where the money goes.
Thank you all for being part of our journey. We cherish our community.
What’s your favorite way to stay healthy? Or just say “Hello”. I’ll be giving away one e-copy of THREE WEDDINGS AND A MURDER and one e-copy of FIRST DO NO EVIL to one commenter today.
Posted by Lena Diaz
Thank you everyone who stopped by this week to meet Carey Baldwin and learn about her debut romantic thriller, FIRST DO NO EVIL. The lucky commenter who has won a $25 gift card is Rachel Kall (June 26, 7:30pm post)! Congratulations! Please use the Kiss and Thrill contact page on this website to tell us the email address to send your gift card, and whether you prefer Amazon or Barnes&Noble.
Check back with us on Tuesday for a special Kiss and Thrill blog post!
Posted by Lena Diaz
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, www.careybaldwin.com
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?
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!
Big: (Carey’s answer was bleeped out to keep the post family friendly 🙂 )
Lena: Okay…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).