An FBI agent and a Navy SEAL race against time in New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin’s newest Tracers novel.
Laura 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?
LG: 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 http://www.LauraGriffin.com or on www.Facebook.com/LauraGriffinAuthor.
Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of SCORCHED.
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.
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.
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!
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 http://www.lauragriffin.com/books/exposed.php#excerpt.
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 www.lauragriffin.com.
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!
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.
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 http://www.lauragriffin.com/books/scorched.php#excerpt.
Remember to comment for a chance to win a signed copy of Scorched!
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!
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 www.facebook.com/LauraGriffinAuthor or visit www.lauragriffin.com.
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!