Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Interview with romantic suspense author Maggie Clare

Romantic suspense author Maggie Clare is in the hot seat today chatting with me about her new novel, Lost and Found.

During her virtual book tour, Maggie will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Maggie Clare is the pen name of award-winning speculative fiction author Tabitha Lord.
When channeling Maggie, she writes all the naughty things! Her Tactical Solutions International romantic suspense series features hot hunky heroes, smart sexy gals, and nail-biting narratives.

Count on Maggie to pair great story-telling with an erotic edge.

Please share a little bit about your current release.
Lost and Found is the 3rd book in the Tactical Solutions International romantic suspense series, but it can be read as a stand-alone. You’ll meet a few characters who’ve starred in the earlier books, and you’ll get a sneak peek of some who’ll be featured in the future, but this book has its own complete story.

Tactical Solutions International is a private military contractor and security firm co-founded by the main character of Lost and Found, Cam Taylor. The series focuses on the founders, the operatives they’ve hired, and the folks they fall in love with. All have a healthy dose of suspense - from serial killers, to human trafficking rings, to the creepy stalker in Lost and Found. All have a happily-ever-after, though, I promise!

Here’s a brief summary of Lost and Found

When a disturbed admirer sets his sights on Dr. Lissa Morgan, former SEAL Cam Taylor vows to protect her. Although Cam has run from intimacy his whole life, the more time he spends with the sweet, sexy doctor, the faster his defenses crumble. When the stalker strikes, he’ll do whatever it takes to save the woman who’s slowly healing his wounded soul.

What inspired you to write this book?
As I mentioned, Lost and Found is the third book in the Tactical Solutions International series, but I actually wrote parts of it first. I’d just finished the final draft of a science fiction novel, and I needed to take a break from that story for a little while.

As often happens, key scenes from a new story will take shape in my mind, choreographed out like action sequences on television. There is one scene in Lost and Found where Lissa is trying to escape from the stalker. She sprays him with a bottle of bathroom cleaner and runs through the house, only to find all the doors padlocked. Even though there wasn’t much of a story yet, this scene was pulse-pounding and terrifying enough that I really wanted to keep it!

After just a few weeks of working on my new idea, I had to return to writing my science fiction series, and Lost and Found sat in my files for about a year. When I eventually began developing the TSI series, I dusted off that partial manuscript, gave Cam a new and better backstory, and turned this into the third book.

Excerpt from Lost and Found:
Cam woke with a splitting headache and no idea where he was. For a few seconds, before his foggy brain cleared, he simply stared at the white ceiling overhead. He ran a hand over the soft blanket covering him, and turned his head carefully to the side. A glass of orange juice, a bottle of pills, and a note sat on a coffee table. His cell phone, keys, and wallet were in a neat pile next to the glass.

Snapshots of memory flashed back into his head, coming in reverse order, like a videotape rewinding. Liss suturing his head. Her friend bringing supplies. Cam sitting outside her door, getting drunk while he waited for her to come home.

He reached for the note, licking his dry lips and squinting past the pounding in his head.

Things you may do: 1. Drink this juice and take some Tylenol. 2. Take off your bloody clothes and leave them in the basket. 3. Shower – the sutures won’t dissolve. 4. Move into my room for more sleep. Things you may not do: 1. Leave – doctor’s orders.

He grinned, hearing Lissa’s voice in his head as he read her instructions. His smile faded when he remembered what had driven him to her doorstep in the first place. He couldn’t think about that right now. He considered sneaking out before Liss returned from wherever she’d gone off to, but he discarded the idea pretty quickly. He needed the pills, the shower, and more sleep.

What exciting story are you working on next?
You may know that Maggie Clare is my pen-name, and I also publish speculative fiction under my given name, Tabitha Lord. Maggie is taking a short break from the romantic suspense series so Tabitha can finish writing an urban fantasy! It’s a rather dark story about a lady assassin who kills people in their dreams. She’s a Jessica Jones meets Dexter vigilante type character, and she only goes after men who’ve gotten away with terrible crimes. In the opening scene, she’s on a job but realizes the person she’s been hired to kill is actually an undercover FBI agent. His criminal history is a cover. She finds him in the waking world, and they attempt to discover who wants him dead. A little different from the romantic suspense, but with a similar action-adventure pace!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve been writing since I was a little girl, and I’ve always been told I was a ‘good writer.’ But, there’s a big difference between writing a solid paper in college, creating content for work, or even dabbling with story ideas, and completing a full-length novel. This was the part I never felt I could do. Once I’d written the first draft of my first novel, I allowed myself to finally admit I was a writer.

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 am a full-time writer. As my kids got older and began leaving for college, I felt like it was time for a career change. When I wrote my first novel, they were all still living at home and I was working a full-time job.

The manuscript was a labor of love for sure, but I learned I was capable of completing a full-length novel, and further, I really enjoyed the process. My husband was super-supportive, and at that point in our lives, we could afford for me to take a chance on my writing.

I tried to imagine what it would be like to be a full-time writer. Would I write only novels? Would I write articles for blogs or magazines? Short-fiction? Would people actually pay me to produce content? I really didn’t know. Turns out, I do all of the above, and I do get paid to produce content!

My writing career is a mix of things. In addition to novel and short fiction writing, with two platforms to support since Maggie was born, I’m also the managing editor of a writer’s blog, and a partner for an online author review/interview site. I will occasionally take on editorial projects that really interest me as well.

My work days vary, depending on what kind of projects I’m working on. When I’m drafting a new manuscript, I tend to need hours of uninterrupted time each day. But, if I’m working on blog posts, editing, or marketing and sales work, I’m more flexible.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I talk to myself while I’m working. I’m not sure if this would be considered a writing quirk, but it’s certainly a habit that drives my family crazy. They never know if I’m speaking to them or not!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Oh, so many things - an archeologist, an astronaut, a doctor, and definitely a writer. Now I can research and write about all the things I’m still interested in!

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Each one of my books contains some darker elements. This makes for good storytelling and creates dramatic tension, but I am also aware that some of the themes can be triggering. In Lost and Found, in addition to the stalker plot line, the main character, Cam, has suffered a terrible trauma that he’s kept secret for years. When I add something like this to my stories, I try to do it with great care. While I aim to give all my couples a happily-ever-after, I also want to show that trauma has far-reaching consequences. Love helps heal, certainly, but it doesn’t erase everything.


Thank you for being a guest on my blog!

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Maggie Clare said...

Thanks so much for hosting me and for the great interview!

James Robert said...

It's been great getting to discover your book and share with the readers in my family. Thank you and thanks for the giveaway. 

Victoria Alexander said...

Sounds like a good book!

Rita Wray said...

Sounds like a great read.

Maggie Clare said...

Thank you! I hope you have a chance to check it out!

Stormy Vixen said...

Enjoyed the interview and the excerpt, sounds like a thrilling read! Thanks for sharing!