What authors do you like to read?
I love reading anything romantic suspense. My favorite subgenre of romantic suspense is inspirational romantic suspense.
I’m a huge fan of Susan Sleeman and Shirlee McCoy as well as Terri Reed and other Love Inspired Suspense authors.
What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?
I grew up reading Phyllis Whitney and Victoria Holt’s books. I loved On The Night Of The Seventh Moon by Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney’s Sea Jade was worn out from over reading. These are the books that made me want to be a writer.
What’s more important: characters or plot?
I have to say, they are both equally important. Without fully developed characters, the plot doesn’t fall into place for me. When I begin a new book, I usually have a rough idea on where I want the story to go, but it may take me a few days to work out the characters personalities in my head. And as always, the characters like to change up the storyline a little. It never ends the way I planned it.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author and what would it be?
I don’t particularly enjoy gruesome crime scenes. I think you can write suspense without making it too graphic.
How important are names to you in your books and how do you choose them?
Very important. Without the proper names, the book doesn’t truly come to life. I usually chose a masculine name for the hero and for the heroine, well, it’s usually a name that I’m fond of.
What secret talents do you have? Because here at the CCC blog we have all kinds of them ;)
I love playing the piano, although I’m not good at it, and I’m teaching myself the guitar, (even worse at that). I have three granddaughters who I love and they each like to do different things. The oldest loves to ride in our side-by-side. The middle is a girly girl who loves doing makeup things and crafts, and the baby is a rough and tumble girl. So with them, I am learning different things. It’s fun getting to be a kid again.
What were you like as a child? Steady-going like our Anne, a tornado like Jaime, and adventurous soul like Erica, or an avid-reader like Gabrielle?
I’m a Gabrielle. I was a rabid reader. Starting as a young child, I pretty much devoured every book in our local library. Today, I still love reading, but I find my time to read is limited, so I have to be choosey.
Characters often find themselves in situations they aren't sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?
Hum, I’d say the time when my hubby and I were out four-wheeling on a narrow mountain pass that was pretty hairy and had a steep drop off. Needless to say, I’m glad I wasn’t at the wheel. Did a lot of praying, though.
What’s your writing goals for 2016?
I want to complete my third Love Inspired Suspense and hopefully have it and my fourth accepted for publication. I also want to complete another full length inspirational romantic suspense and have it along with my first one sold. Nothing like having a tall order for the New Year.
Lastly, will you leave us with a snippet from your book that is one of your favorites and gives us a glimpse into its pages?
Jase gazed up at the sky. The weather conditions were definitely worsening and he had a decision to make. He couldn't leave her here and the car didn't appear drivable. But there was another option. He could take her back into town and deposit her at the hotel then wait out the rest of the snowstorm from Maggie's Diner.
His was the only house past the last curve. No one came this far up the mountain by accident. So what brought her here? Old fears from his past life slowly crept in. She didn't appear to be a threat, but he'd learned the hard way not to depend on appearances. Bad people came in innocent-looking packages, and in the spy business, you never let down your guard.
"What were you doing up here on the mountain in this storm anyway?" he asked through narrowed eyes, carefully gauging her reaction.
"I'm…searching for someone."
Her body language told him she wasn't being completely honest and he needed answers.
"There's no one up here but me, so let's try this again. Who are you and why are you really here?"
Her gaze collided with his, and he lost his equilibrium for a second. Even scared to death and as cagey as a trapped bear, she had the type of beauty that took his breath away. He hadn't thought of another woman in such a way since Abby, and it bothered him that a total stranger could illicit such thoughts.
"My name is Reyna Peterson and I have told you the truth," she retorted, bristling at his tone. "I am trying to find someone. A friend of my husband's."
She was married. A simple gold band on her left hand seemed to confirm her story, but he couldn't let go of the doubts. "Oh yeah? What's the friend's name?"
She hesitated, evidently torn between answering his question and keeping her secrets. His internal radar pegged the top of the chart.
She cleared her throat. "Jase Bradford. His name is Jase Bradford."
Shock and disbelief threatened to buckle his knees. He hadn't heard that name in years. He had long ago buried the person he'd been back then.
Somehow, Davis managed to get coherent words to come out of his mouth. "There's no one by that name around these parts. Your husband is mistaken." A hard edge crept into his tone as it always did whenever he thought about the past.
Reyna stared at him in a way that conveyed she either didn't believe him or didn't want to.
"Eddie was so sure I would find him here…" she murmured, almost to herself.
Eddie. Eddie Peterson? No, not possible. He couldn't have heard right. "Your husband's name is…Eddie?" He latched on to the name as a distraction because it felt as if someone had slugged him hard in the chest. With the exception of his former handler, Kyle Jennings, Eddie was the last remaining member of the Scorpion team still alive. Eddie wouldn't be trying to make contact with him without good cause. And why send his wife? Had something happened to his former comrade?
"Yes," she confirmed reluctantly. The second the words were out, he could see she thought better of sharing them. "I'm sorry. None of this is your problem."
She had no idea how wrong she was. Eddie Peterson had been one of his own. He'd recruited him personally as part of the elite Scorpion team after the failed weapons mission near Tora Bora had taken the lives of two crucial team members. Eddie had been a good fit with the team and they'd grown close while serving side by side. Her husband was his problem. And now so was she.
Davis's plans had now changed. Instead of going back to Defiance, he'd take her to his place. See what he could find out by morning. Pray that all of this would turn out to be just some strange coincidence and then send her on her way. Unfortunately, he didn't believe in coincidences. Especially ones this huge.
A deluge of wintry mix pelted his face like tiny bullets and his feet were numb. "There's no way to get your car out of here tonight." He crooked a thumb in the direction of his SUV. "My ride's just up there. Let's get you warm. You're shivering. I can come back and get whatever you need for the night and we'll deal with the car in the morning."
Reyna didn't budge. He could see she didn't trust him. Not the normal reaction of someone just rescued from almost certain death.
"We'll be stuck up here if we stay much longer," he added, hoping to convince her.
She hesitated another second before giving in. "You're right. We need to get out of the storm. It's got to be well below freezing out here."
Try as he might, he couldn't get a good read off her, and he didn't like it. Not one bit. "Watch your step."
She clutched the edge of his jacket in a vise grip as she followed close behind, slipping over the icy mess.
Readers can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find me at my website: www.maryalford.net