A storm rages outside the unassuming Los Angeles house, while within, something sinister lurks. A murderer stalks his victim, unaware of a witness to the horrific crime: awakened from a deep, drug-induced slumber, Tara Kelly hears voices in the next room. Struggling to focus through her sleep medication, the young woman helplessly observes her aunt’s murder. Now she’s a loose end the killer cannot ignore . . .
A family friend helps Tara as she does the only thing she can: disappear. Fleeing to the security of a remote Idaho ranch, Tara finds herself under the guard of handsome rancher Joseph White Eagle. Her unwitting protector takes his role seriously, going as far as claiming that Tara is his fiancée. But even as their relationship deepens, Joseph struggles to see past Tara’s similarities to his late wife. When a series of accidents threatens Tara’s life, it becomes clear that her attempt to out run danger has been in vain. The killer will stop at nothing to find her, and Joseph will do anything to protect her even if it means unraveling secrets that will have devastating consequences for them both.
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? Many. My next book has the tentative title of Shadowed. Mercedes Grant is a movie star who falls in love with a country doctor, but there are complications: she’s very ill and she’s being stalked. This book is in revision, but I’m hopeful it will be published in the near future. The book I’m writing now has the working title of Betrayed. Lieutenant Colonel Cooper Lane is a female helicopter pilot. She was shot down in Afghanistan and believed dead, but four years later she returns home only to find her husband has married her best friend. While she visits him, he is shot and killed. Cooper becomes the suspected killer. I could tell you more, but I don’t want to give too much away.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. My first book was The Forgotten Warrior which was a YA time travel that took Sydney Morgan, a sixteen-year-old girl with a black belt in karate, back in time to Helaman and the Stripling Warriors. I’ve received over 250 fan emails for that novel, many very touching. The most recent was a month ago when a young woman told me that when she had read the novel the first time her brother had been diagnosed with cancer and undergoing chemotherapy. Reading my book helped her get through those stressful days. Emails like that make all the work worthwhile.
Can you see yourself in any of your characters? I think all of my protagonists have a little of me in them. In Deceived Tara Kelly has my fear of horses. I needed to do research for that novel so I faced my fear and went on a cattle drive. I learned how it felt to sit in the saddle all day, to watch for rattle snakes, and how to avoid a charging bull. If you read the book you’ll see where the research paid off.
If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be? Never Give Up. After I finished my very first novel, I called a published author for advice. He asked me what I’d written. When I told him I’d written one book, he scoffed and said, “You’re not a writer. What makes you think you can have a book published?” I couldn’t answer him and I was devastated. But I’m the type of person that if I’m told I can’t do something I dig my heals in and prove them wrong. It took many years of hard work. I studied all I could about writing fiction, took classes and even finished my English degree and I eventually publish. I just wish I could remember the author’s name. Unbeknownst to him, he did inspire me. J So yes, the title of the book about my writing life would be Never Give Up.
Who or what inspired you to become a writer? My mother. I’m not like most writers who always loved the printed word and dreamed of publishing a book when I was a young girl. The thought never really crossed my mind until after I’d had my first child. I was suffering from a good case of “baby blues” and my mother suggested I try writing a book. Writing has become a major part of my life. If I’m not working on a novel I become depressed. For me, writing has opened the doors to many worlds. I can travel back in time, I can go on a cattle drive, or I can fly a helicopter all from the safety of my office. I owe my mother a lot for suggesting I write a book.
Favorite places to travel? My daughter and I traveled to Ireland a few years ago during St. Patrick’s Day. I’ll never forget seeing the Cliffs of Moher, watching children dance an Irish jig, or riding on the haunted bus tour of Dublin. Plus, I saw the Book of Kells at the University of Trinity and walked the halls of the Long Room, which is a library of ancient books. The place made me feel as if I was in library heaven. I used a lot of information from that trip in Deceived because Tara Kelly’s grandfather was from Ireland and had told her many stories of his homeland.
What is your favorite scene in the book? Which scene or characters were the most difficult for you to write and why? My favorite scene was when Irene (the hero’s disgruntled ex-girlfriend) had to give Tara (the main character in the book) a tetanus shot. Irene had a lot of angst for Tara, and Tara had no idea why the woman was upset with her. The reader knows, which is always fun. I like giving the reader insight that the main character doesn’t know so the reader becomes anxious to see what happens. The most difficult scene was the climax. Everything has to come together: the character’s inner turmoil and external turmoil. I tried to build the inner turmoil as the book progressed so that during the climax of the book the main character has an epiphany which will help save the day. For the external turmoil, I asked my son, who has a 3rd degree black belt, to help me act out the physicality of the climax.
Most embarrassing moment? Years ago I was the chorister in Primary. The children were doing the Sacrament Meeting program. I had them line up next to the podium to sing for their mommies and daddies. Not watching where I was going, I tripped and fell down the stairs. I heard the congregation gasp. I remember lying on the floor wishing I could stay there. Sometimes you just have to stand up and become embarrassed, which was what I did. One a bright note, the kids sang very well that day. (Yes, I meant the pun.)
Scariest moment? One year my family and my sister’s family had Christmas at our parents’ cabin. On Christmas Day, we were snowmobile riding and my sister was thrown off. She injured her eye. I had to drive her to Jackson Hole to the hospital. It was dark, snowing, and foggy when we left. I had to drive down an ice-covered highway through a canyon where on one side was a mountain and on the other the Snake River all the while dodging deer and elk. We made it, but I was white-knuckle driving and saying a prayer the entire time.
How do you overcome writer’s block? Writer’s block, my old nemesis. I’ve had this several times, but it usually happens when I’ve gone off track with plotting. For example: I was writing Chasing the Star (which hasn’t been published yet, but I’m hopeful). I had found a ton of wonderful information about Caesar Augustus’s daughter. She was so fascinating that her character took over my story. I’d written several chapters and became stumped. When I realized the story had been hijacked, I backtracked, deleted a couple of chapters, and refocused on the main character. Problem solved. Whenever I have writer’s block, I first look at my plot to see if there are holes and then I look at my characters to see if I’ve been true to them.
140 Characters or less Tweet about your book. After witnessing a murder, Tara Kelly becomes the loose end a killer cannot ignore. Find out what happens to her in the new novel, Deceived.
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