Today’s guest is romantic suspense author Kristine Mason to tell us a bit about her novel Shadow of Perception (Book 2 CORE Shadow Trilogy) and about herself.
And during the tour, Kristine will be awarding $5 Amazon gift cards to 6 randomly drawn commenters, as well as print books to 10 other randomly drawn commenters. That’s a lot of giveaways! Five books will be of Pick Me, a contemporary romance; and a gnome will come with the five copies of Shadow of Danger, book one of the suspense series. [U.S. only on the books]. So, to be entered to win one of the prizes, leave a comment below. And to increase your chances of winning, visit other tour stops and leave comments there, too.
Welcome, Kristine. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I didn’t pick up my first romance novel until I was in my late twenties. Immediately hooked, I read a bazillion books before deciding to write one of my own. After the birth of my first son I needed something to keep my mind from turning to mush, and Sesame Street wasn’t cutting it. While that first book will never see the light of day, something good came from writing it. I realized my passion, and found a career I love.
When I’m not writing contemporary romances and dark, romantic suspense novels (or reading them!) I’m chasing after my four kids and two neurotic dogs.
Please tell us about your current release, Shadow of Perception.
Eden Risk is a Chicago-based investigative reporter. When she receives a DVD showing a graphic and disturbing surgery, she turns to the private investigation agency CORE for help. CORE agent, Hudson Patterson, reluctantly takes on the case. He and Eden are former lovers and he’s not sure if he even wants to be in the same room with a woman who can’t stand the sight of him. Of course, Eden doesn’t mind looking at Hudson—he’s definitely not hard on the eyes—she simply doesn’t want to deal with his overbearing, all or nothing, arrogant attitude. The same attitude that caused her to end their previous affair…or so she tells herself.
But the two of them have to put their differences aside and work together to find the man responsible for creating the DVDs before he kills again. In the process, Eden has to acknowledge the truth…the perception of her past, of her relationship with Hudson isn’t as crystal clear as she’d once thought. Hudson ends up doing a little soul searching, too. And the bad guy? He’s not going to stop until he’s crossed the last name off his death wish list.
What inspired you to write this book?
Believe it or not, the show Toddlers & Tiaras. I happened to be flipping through channels and came across the show. I didn’t watch it long, but it spurred an idea, which turned into another and another, then eventually a book. Shadow of Perception isn’t necessarily centered on child beauty pageants. Its central theme is the perception we have of ourselves. What’s beautiful? What length will women go through to achieve what they perceive as beautiful or perfect? Considering I love writing dark romantic suspense, I had to dig deep and come up with some deadly answers. An old farmhouse near my friend’s property inspired me with those answers. Don’t get me wrong. The house and property are beautiful—in real life and in my story. What goes on in my bad guy’s barn? I hope that remains nothing but fiction! I gave him a quiet, out of the way place to perform his…surgeries. If only the owners of that real farm knew!
(From the heroine’s POV)
“Hey, Eden,” Hudson Patterson said as he shrugged out of his leather coat and pierced her with his steely blue gaze. “I see you got yourself into another mess.”
The room shrank and her sole focus remained on the one man who had stirred more emotions in her than all the other men before and after him combined. Two years ago, he’d lit a fire inside her, and within months, he’d smothered the flames with his arrogance and bullheaded attitude.
Based on the condescending remark he’d just made, she doubted his opinion of her had changed. His appearance had, though. Harder, darker, more dangerous. His brown, wavy hair now reached his shoulders and he needed a shave. Even without the worn, black leather jacket, which now hung on the coat rack, he looked thuggish in a tattered charcoal gray thermal shirt, low-riding jeans and black Doc Marten boots. The whole badass biker look shouldn’t have appealed to her, but Hudson owned it and wore it well.
She glanced at his mouth, then immediately regretted it. Lust slammed into her belly as wicked memories of what his firm lips had done to her surfaced. Those unwanted memories collided into a kaleidoscope of naked skin, harsh moans and multiple orgasms. Even now, she swore she could still feel his rough hands urging her hips, spreading her legs, gripping her bottom. Could imagine his mouth on hers, or better yet, between her thighs.
Hudson smiled. A smug, satisfying smile that snapped her out of her sexual spell and reminded her exactly why breaking things off with him had been the right decision. Her body might not have thought so at the time, and those urges to have him in her bed right now might still be strong, but her head knew better. Hudson was an arrogant jerk who exuded less emotion than she did.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m currently working on Shadow of Vengeance (Book 3 CORE Shadow Trilogy). While all of my CORE books can be considered “standalone” novels, anyone looking for Rachel and Owen’s story…well, it’s coming! In Shadow of Vengeance Rachel and Owen need to find a serial killer. For the past twenty years someone has been kidnapping and murdering young men who pledge fraternities. He takes them at the beginning of Hell Week and always leaves a note behind…Welcome to Hell Week. You have seven days to find him. Rachel and Owen have only one week to stop a killer and find the missing pledge before he ends up like the others…dead.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
About four years ago I was talking with a published author. At that point, I’d written a handful of books, but remained unpublished. Because I was unpublished I didn’t consider myself a writer. Back to the published author I’d been talking to…she pointed out that if you don’t consider yourself a writer—after writing five books—then what are you? I had a “duh” moment. Duh because how could I NOT consider myself a writer when all I do is write?
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I’m a stay-at-home mom of four kids (11, 10, 7, and 2). Just because I’m at home doesn’t mean I write full time. I’d love to dedicate eight hours a day to writing or handling the business end of my career, but with the kids…at this point it’s difficult. This summer has been an enormous challenge for me. I’ve really had to schedule myself in order to maintain a healthy balance between my career and family. BUT, school will be starting next week (yay!). The three older kids are in school full-time and my two-year-old still takes naps. I’m sad to see summer come to an end, but happy that I’m going to be able to accomplish SO much more.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I like to add little things into my book that are just for me. For example, I’ll purposefully give a character a specific last name because of its meaning. In the book I’m currently writing, I have a character that is curious and inquisitive, so I found a surname that means just that. I did the same thing in Shadow of Perception. I’m always peppering in little things that the reader might not realize, but I do. It’s just my thing.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A marine biologist. What’s funny is that I don’t like going into the ocean past my knees. There are just too many critters in the water. Plus, I’m terrible with math and science. When my kids ask for help in these subjects, I’m always telling them to find their dad.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Hmm…I’ve got a thing for gnomes and pretty much any kind of garden creature. In my first suspense, Shadow of Danger, I wanted my heroine to have a quirky thing she liked to collect. I happened to be bringing out all my gnomes to display in my garden when I decided—aha! She collects gnomes. I don’t have as many as my heroine, but between my gnomes and other garden creatures, I have close to forty. I even have gnome salt and pepper shakers and gnome soap-on-a-rope! My husband hates my collection, but tolerates them. Wait until he sees the Bigfoot I bought in honor of my next release, Shadow of Vengeance. That one might take him over the edge!
Hee hee. Thanks, Kristine. This was a fun interview. Good luck with your tour and writing! Readers, don't forget about all the giveaways on tap -- leave a comment below and at other tour stops for a chance to win!