Monday, February 15, 2016

Get Hooked on a Series! . . . by Kate James (with Elizabeth Heiter)

MIRA suspense author, Elizabeth Heiter, and I are fortunate to share one of the very best editors in the business, Paula Eykelhof. We met through our editor around the time we were both working on our first books for Harlequin. To my great pleasure, Elizabeth and I became friends and now, for the first time, we have releases just days apart. Both books are part of a series and are law-enforcement theme. Seized, the third book in Elizabeth’s The Profiler series, released on December 29th and When Love Matters Most, the second book in my K-9 series, released on January 1st.

To encourage you to read on, I've included pictures of our heroes below!

When Love Matters Most's hero Rick Vasquez, left, and Seized's Kyle (Mac) McKenzie, right.




It's a little unfair that Elizabeth picked Hugh Jackman first for her hero, FBI  Hostage Rescue agent Kyle (Mac) McKenzie, because I think Mr. Jackman would be perfect as San Diego Police Department K-9 Unit sergeant Rick Vasquez. Elizabeth did think of it first so I (grudgingly) let her have him, but you must admit that Rick doesn't look too shabby in the picture either.


So, to celebrate our releases (and because we have a lot of fun working together), we've done a number of joint promotions. For something a little different, I decided to ask Elizabeth to join me for this post to answer a few common questions we get asked. I hope you enjoy our interview!


What was your inspiration for writing books about law enforcement?

Elizabeth: I’ve always been fascinated and awed by the jobs that law enforcement officers do. It’s a natural fit for a suspense series, because then you have a reason to throw investigations at them book after book! I picked the FBI because I wanted a character who would work at the federal level, and who I could send all over the country (or world) if I wanted. And as I had the chance to meet former and current federal agents, it only strengthened my desire to write about these fascinating people who choose to put their lives on the line to protect others.

Kate: I have tremendous respect and appreciation for law enforcement personnel who dedicate their lives to keeping us safe, and I love all animals, with a particular fondness for dogs. In that context, the K-9 trilogy was a natural outcome for me.

I have to admit, having a lot of fun doing the research was a great motivator, too. I know Elizabeth can relate to that comment!























PC Hilton of York Regional Police in Ontario is a K-9 officer and trainer, and is partnered with explosives detection dog Max. PC Hilton was extremely generous with his time, knowledge and expertise, and I loved meeting Max.




Max has his own police badge and “business cards!”


PC Hilton also gave me some “light” reading material!

Elizabeth: I totally agree! The research is one of my favorite parts! Before I started my Profiler series, I read a ton of books on the FBI, profiling and serial criminals. And with each new book, I tend to find things that interest me to work the plot around, so I can do more research!


The lounge area at the FBI Academy at Quantico. The green vests belong to regular Special Agents and the blue ones are for HRT (the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team). I loved visiting Quantico and it gave me so much knowledge for the books!

Me at the range at Quantico; FBI weapons specialists taught us how to fire various weaponry used by Special Agents (including tactical agents) in the field. (When I chose to wear heels that morning, I was unaware they were going to let us shoot!)


Elizabeth, what three words would you use to best describe Kate’s When Love Matters Most?

Elizabeth: Rather than me coming up with the words, I borrowed them from a review by RT Book Reviews: action, tension and romance.


Kate, what three words would you use to best describe Elizabeth’s Seized?

Kate: Ripped-from-the-headlines (to cheat a little and make that one word!), intense, and suspenseful.


Can you tell us if you’re working on anything else at the moment?


Kate: My next release will be the third book in my K-9 trilogy. The working title is When I Found You, and it’s scheduled for release on July 1st. It’s the story of K-9 Unit captain Logan O’Connor and San Diego International Airport chief of security, Ariana Atkins. Here’s a teaser:

Is she part of the solution . . . or the problem?

Security breaches at San Diego’s international airport are putting passengers at risk, and bringing the competence of the airport’s chief of security, Ariana Atkins, into question. With explosives being the weapon of choice, Police K-9 unit captain Logan O’Connor and his bomb detection dog, Boomer, might be the airport’s best line of defense. But is the airport targeted or does the perpetrator have another motive? And when it comes right down to it, can Ariana trust Logan with her life . . . and her love?

Elizabeth: I’m about to get revisions on my fourth Profiler book, Stalked, which continues to follow FBI profiler Evelyn Baine and Hostage Rescue Team agent Kyle “Mac” McKenzie. A little hint of what’s up next for Evelyn:

The secrets we keep can be deadly…

When a teenager goes missing, leaving behind a note that foretells her own death, FBI profiler Evelyn Baine is put on the case.  The suspects are numerous: the girl’s estranged parents, her too-smooth older boyfriend…even a possible human trafficking ring out of a nearby college campus.  But the closer Evelyn gets to the truth, the harder someone works to make sure his secrets stay buried…even if it means he has to bury Evelyn, too.


Do you ever take characteristics or nuances from close friends or family when working on character development and if so has that friend or family member noticed and what was their response to it?

Kate: I read an article some time ago that referred to fictionalizing facts. I believe every author does this to a degree. I certainly do.

Writing about what I know or have experienced leads to a more genuine, believable story, in my opinion. My background and experiences provide a wide variety of ideas and perspectives, and I hope they serve to enrich my writing. Although I don’t do it consciously, I’m certain I’ve taken characteristic and nuances from people I now and given them to my characters. No one has called me on it yet!

Elizabeth: While I’ve never straight-up tried to write a person I know, I have definitely borrowed characteristics and traits of people and blended them into characters! I think it’s natural – writers are observers by nature, and part of what we see ends up finding its way into our books. No one has called me on it either…except for with Evelyn! I’ve had people tell me they see pieces of me in her! (I choose to believe they’re talking about her determination and not her social skills! <G>)

Kate: I can definitely say that your social skills are far superior to Evelyn’s! You raise a good point, though, because my friends have said that they see pieces of me in my heroines!


What’s your favorite treat?

Kate: Anything with chocolate in it!

Elizabeth: I’m with you, Kate! If it involves chocolate, I’m there.

What’s your favorite place to read/write?

Kate: Although we sold it recently, my husband and I were fortunate to own a beautiful cottage in Lake of Bays in Ontario on the shore of a small lake. We had a guest suite on the main floor overlooking the lake. It was one of my favorite places to read or write.





Another favorite spot—weather permitting—is our gazebo in the backyard of our house. You can probably appreciate why this view would be inspiring! That’s me in the picture with my critique team, black Labs Harley and Logan!




Finally, when the snow if falling outside, I like to read or write in my office at home. I love to curl up in a comfortable recliner facing the fireplace with my laptop actually on my lap. As you can see in this picture, my trusted critique team is again close by, even if they are less engaged! This is one of my all-time favorite places to read and write!

Elizabeth: Your writing views are definitely inspiring!! I used to sometimes drive out to my mom’s house and write next to her pool with a cup of coffee and (you guessed it!) some chocolate! There, I’d have a goofy Newfoundland to “supervise” my writing.


At home, I generally deal with marketing and business items in my office, and take my writing into my dining room. I get a lot of “help” from my birds (and by help, I mean sitting on my shoulder, running across the keyboard or flying around the room and making me laugh!).







Kate: Oh, the running-across-the-keyboard reminded of the time Logan became a little too enthusiastic about his critiquing, and I had to buy a new laptop. Yes, that’s a tooth mark on left center of the screen!





Please visit Fresh Fiction to learn more about Elizabeth's and my books, and for a chance to autographed copies.

Thank you for reading our interview, and a very special thanks to all our readers who make it possible for us to do what we love.

And don't forget that effective January, all Heartwarming releases are available in mass-market paperback through Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and all four January online releases are available in select Walmart stores all this month. To find a store near you, please visit the Harlequin website.


Happy reading! 


Kate and Elizabeth


Buy Links for Seized


Buy Links for When Love Matters Most


Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Chapters (Kobo) 
iTunes


36 comments:

  1. Great post ladies, and so thrilled to have a copy of Seized and When Love Matters Most to read. I really appreciate the time and effort you put into research for your books, it's evident in the results. Kate, I don't know how you get any writing done in that gazebo with the incredible view, and Elizabeth, those cute birds would probably make it hard for me to stay focused on writing. ( : Like the two of you, I love just about anything when chocolate's involved. Congratulations on your new books. I can't wait to read them.

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    1. Admittedly, my mind does wander occasionally when I am sitting outside!

      We hope you enjoy both books, Laurie! Next time, I'll have to remember to include chocolate!!

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    2. Thanks so much, Laurie! I'm so glad you're enjoying the books!

      My birds are definitely my biggest source of distraction...but there's such a cute distraction!

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  2. Did you get any extra business cards from Max? I'd love one. He's beautiful. And so are the heroes you created.

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    1. Of course! I made sure I got them for each of the dogs. I'll mail you one.

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  3. Your research looks so interesting. Looking forward to reading the story.

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    1. Thanks, Beth! Kate and I had a lot of fun putting this together ... and we both love the research part (almost!) as much as the writing!

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    2. Thank you, from me, too, Beth. We did have a lot of fun with the post. We know have to work on some cross-boarder collaboration and so some research together! :-)

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  4. Terrific post, ladies! I always enjoy a sneak peek at a writer's process and their space. Kate, your view is spectacular!
    Elizabeth, how exciting to visit the FBI Academy. One of my coworkers recently left the practice of law to join the FBI Academy.

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    1. Thank you very much, Jill! The FBI Academy visit was amazing...congratulations (and good luck!) to your friend!

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    2. Thank you, Jill. The view isn't quite the same right now as it's snowing. Best wishes to your friend!

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  5. Thank you for a great post, ladies! Both series sound wonderful. And I don't think it was fair that Elizabeth got Hugh Jackman!

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    1. Ha ha!! Thanks, Patricia! I jumped in quick with that one! ;)

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    2. Yes, Patricia! That's how I feel!! Thanks for the support...and I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

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  6. Wonderful post! I'm with Jill on your view, Kate. Your writing places are inspiration unto themselves.

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    1. Thank you! I'm in agreement, too...Kate's views are spectacular!

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    2. We should plan a writers' retreat at my home. What do you think, Elizabeth? We could have Paula join us!

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  7. LOVE doing this kind of research--and reading the results. Fab post, you two. :) And you definitely can't go wrong with Mr. Jackman as inspiration .

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    1. The research is so much fun, isn't it? With each new book (in both series), I always like to pick up at least a handful of new research books, and ideally, a few new hands-on visits, as well!

      So true about Hugh Jackman...and he'd be perfect as Mac!!! ;)

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    2. Okay, a few more of these comments about Hugh Jackman, and I am giving Elizabeth fair warning that I'm going to change the pics around!

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  8. Hi, Ladies! What a great, fun, informative post. And I love the interviews. It's so fun to see other authors inspirations, too. I have a critique team as well, although my little doxie mostly encourages me to nap and snack. (ps...Elizabeth, you are rocking those heels on the shooting range!) Congratulations to you both!

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    1. Thanks, Carol! Ha ha...nap and snack encouragement are needed sometimes, too!! ;)

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    2. We're glad you enjoyed the post, Carol. Yeah, can you believe she's shooting in those heels! When I saw that, I admired her even more! :-)

      I wish you all the best with your blog tour, Carol!

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  9. Fun post, Kate and Elizabeth. Where would we be without our writing 'coaches?' Claire's on her dog bed and Stormy is at my feet (they don't get along really well, yet, but we're working on it.) Hugh Jackman, whoever that young man representing your hero is, Kate, a box of chocolates, the Labs, the Neufie, the birds - I'd be in heaven. What other career path lets you work this way?

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    1. Thanks, Muriel! And good luck with Claire and Stormy (random fun fact: Molly, the Newfie, was originally called Stormy!) - I'm sure they'll get there!

      It's true...writing certainly has its own unique challenges, but there's nothing like it!

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    2. Aww, Muriel, thank you for the update about Claire...and Stormy. I have full confidence that they'll work things out.

      So...really? You don't know who Hugh Jackman is? Wow! I'll have to send you some more pics!

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    3. I know who Hugh Jackman is, but not the man standing in for Rick Vasquez. I guess that sentence wasn't very clear. "Hugh Jackman. Whoever that young man is ..." Better? Not much, huh?

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    4. Aha! My fault, Muriel. What can I say? I just had Hugh Jackman on my mind.

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  10. Kate, I live Max's police badge and business card. Elizabeth--I would love to do the FBI academy. I'm going to one in NYC in July and can't wait. Thank you both for a fun and informative post.

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    1. I collected cards from all the York Region K-9 Unit police dogs. I absolutely love them, too!

      Enjoy the trip to the FBI academy. Is it research for a new book?

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    2. Thanks, Sophia! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

      Have fun in NYC - I assume you must be going to the field office? Is it by chance with Thrillerfest? (They do a great visit with FBI right before the conference starts.)

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  11. An amazing post, Kate and Elizabeth! I've already read Kate's stellar novel. Now I need to order yours, Elizabeth! I love the shooting range photo!! Your research is so intriguing!

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    1. Thanks so much, Catherine! I had a ton of fun at the Academy - it was great to actually see it in person. I hope you enjoy the new book!

      And I love your new title for your upcoming release! It looks so good!

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    2. Thank you for the kind words, Catherine. You will love SEIZED! I can hardly wait for your next release, Fear of Falling! It's a good thing I don't have to wait too much longer!

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  12. What a fun post, ladies! Thanks for starting my day with a smile!

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  13. Thanks, Loree! We had a ton of fun putting it together! :)

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