Hidden Comrade Project Morpheus Book 2
by Jillian David Genre: Military Romantic Suspense
The Project Morpheus series: Military romance, steamy passion, and heart-stopping suspense.
The Morpheus Squad: Ultimate soldiers who hide in plain sight, fierce protectors risking their existence for those they love... and virally-altered, ticking time bombs.
Pele Tuitama’s Morpheus Squad mission infiltrating a Smoky Mountain children's camp is FUBAR. He might be a virally-enhanced military experiment, but augmented abilities won’t help him protect Reagan McNeill, the most unsecure-able target imaginable. Sweet Reagan’s kisses and the possibility of a future he should never consider, distracts his laser focus. If Pele can’t keep Reagan safe from an evil adversary bent on revenge against the entire McNeill family, then Reagan will die.
After a nasty breakup, Reagan doesn’t trust any man—or herself. Enter handsome Pele, the world’s worst camp counselor. She doesn’t believe his story or his motives. When overly-protective Pele draws her close and then rejects her, Reagan is finished with games. Then the truth she learns rips open recently-healed emotional wounds.
In order to escape through the mountains, Pele must share his deadliest secret. To have a chance at their future, they must reveal their demons and pray for acceptance ... and survival.
“Is relaxing under the stars part of the traditional meal?” Reagan’s face entered his field of vision.
A flash of her body above him shot a bolt of desire into his groin. The damned virus growled its demand for action.
He tugged on one of her braids. “It should be. What about S’mores?”
“They’re traditional campfire snacks here at Camp Foxfire.”
“Then teach me.”
With a nod, she handed him a stick. “Okay. You put two marshmallows on and roast them.”
He immediately thrust the white sugar puffs into the flame and they caught fire. “I don’t think that’s correct,” he said as the sugar turned to black carbon.
“Actually.” She blew out the flame. “Some people like the burnt flavor. Try it. Be careful, it’ll be like molten lava inside.”
He took a bite of the marshmallow, getting a smoky, thin crust and a hot, gooey sugary center. Not bad.
“Now, if you want to do it the expert way, ahem, then you must learn patience. The color you’re going for is light caramelized brown, which is the most perfect color for a roasted marshmallow.”
“I’m light caramelized brown, does that count as perfect?”
A snicker burst from her lips. “Sure, if paired with melted chocolate.” She clapped her hand over her mouth. “Oh. Never mind.”
A flash of Reagan licking chocolate off of his body sent another inappropriate jolt straight to his throbbing pelvis. Focusing on the task at hand, he followed her lead and kept the marshmallows well above the heat until they were bubbled and brown.
“Hold our sticks.” She reached into the other packages. “Next step is turning them into S’mores.” She sandwiched the steaming marshmallow between a second graham cracker and chocolate combo and slid the stick out. “Okay, try it.”
He bit down and got a burst of warm sugar, semi-melted chocolate, and crunchy graham cracker. “This is really good.”
“I know.” She sat back down on the tarp. “Simple but fun.” She sighed. He followed the line of her neck as she swallowed a bite.
“What?” A furrow formed between her brows.
“You have marshmallow on your face.”
She swiped at her nose and cheek. “Got it?”
The tiny piece of white remained on her lower lip. “Not quite.”
He leaned forward and licked his lips. She froze.
Gently. He would be careful. Shoving aside the drive to consume her, mark her, take her, he concentrated on Reagan’s sweet face instead. “May I?”
“Okay,” she whispered.
He nipped her lower lip and a tiny shot of sugar combined with the taste of her lips burst on his tongue. Ti’o. Perfection. In a flash, his damned viral-driven lust infused every cell with a blinding wave of need. He wanted to possess her, here, under the stars and in front of the fire. Primitive and perfect.
“Mmm.” He nipped at her soft lips, tasting, and licking.
Angling his head, he slid his tongue along the seam of her mouth. His senses were overloaded with wood smoke, sugar, fresh air, and Reagan’s soft skin.
A faint warning alarm chimed.
Trailing his lips down one side of her face, he enjoyed the tiny sounds she made. He eased her back onto the tarp and exposed her smooth neck. With his finger, he traced the jumping pulse and dropped light kisses until she moaned.
She gripped his bare forearms. Then Reagan drew him down to meet her lips for a sizzling kiss that made every muscle in his torso clench.
Bracing his hands next to her head, he kept his lower body to one side. She’d be less likely to encounter the hidden knives and guns. Also, ti’o, the minute he got fully on top of her, all best intentions to take things slowly would fly out the window. As it was, the need to grind into her shifting hips was becoming a priority. A wave of desire, amplified by his virus, rushed over him until a buzzing sound traveled through his chest.
When she slid her hands under his shirt, he hissed his pleasure but couldn’t risk her finding the Sig. He eased her hands away and laced his fingers in hers above her head, trying to sell the move as part of the seduction.
Nudging her mouth open wider, he swept his tongue deep inside. He ran his hands down her sides and squeezed her hips through the denim until she whimpered. What would it feel like to hold on to her bare skin as he drove into her until he lost his mind?
He retained only the barest sliver of control.
When she lifted her head to brush her mouth against his, his leg vibrated.
On his leg. Vibrating.
The buzzing continued. Through the fog of lust, he registered the source and woke up in a hurry, like cold water thrown on hot stones. Kefe. The motion detectors had activated. Cold sweat dried in the heat of the fire.
Now he positioned himself on all fours, but this time it was to shield her as he cursed the bright fire that knocked out his night vision.
He scanned the dark woods. Enemies? Where?
Fallen Comrade Project Morpheus Book 1
Ex-Green Beret Jake Zimmerman’s Georgia mountain seclusion is shattered when the one woman he should never have left, pregnant Kiera McNeill, shows up on his doorstep. Her life is in danger, thanks to a botched Morpheus Squad mission. If the nature of her baby is discovered, evil forces will stop at nothing to capture Kiera. When Kiera learns of Jake’s top-secret Morpheus Virus running through his veins, she realizes that her protector is the deadlier threat.
Kiera knows the secrets of Fallen Comrades, a billion-dollar “charity” which siphons donations away from wounded veterans and into the pockets of power-hungry CFO Beau Lequire. Now her sadistic ex-boss, Lequire, wants revenge. Her only chance of escape rests in the lethal hands of the man who once rejected her: Jake. All she needs to do is suppress her feelings for Jake long enough to destroy Fallen Comrades, stay alive, and save her baby.
Thanks to his tree-mounted security cameras that made the system guarding the crown jewels look amateur, it took less than ten seconds for Jake Zimmerman to identify the vehicle creeping to a stop in front of his remote Blue Ridge, Georgia, cabin. Silver Hyundai Accent, five years old, brand-new tires. No registration.
He cocked his head to the side. No whumps of an incoming government helo.
Sparks of adrenaline fired up his nerves, lasering all of his senses on the intruder.
He ran the pad of his index finger over the rough grip of the Sig nestled in his shoulder holster. How could anyone find him? He’d buried his personal intel deeper than a black ops mission file.
With minimal concentration, Jake could detect the ever-present multitool tucked away in a pocket and ready to go for any occasion.
He peered at the … occasion … on the computer screen.
He kept the house lights off. Control, dammit. Drawing a hand over his face, he took several deep breaths. The muscles in his neck clenched, refusing to loosen. The damned virus had started to take over his brain again until his entire world narrowed down to one mandate: destroy.
No, damn it. He was not this … monster.
Thanks to the top-secret Project Morpheus he had volunteered for almost two years ago in Special Forces, the darkness within Jake thrived on the anarchy that was his virally corrupted soul.
Add in an uninvited visitor, and it looked like tonight would bring even more fun for one of the U.S. Army’s best-kept secrets.
Did the person want to rob him? Jake had no material items of value.
Well, he had a locket with a clip of smooth auburn hair he should have thrown away long before now. Yeah, he was a bastard for preserving the keepsake, despite being technically faithful to his then-wife who did not have auburn hair. Could explain why he was no longer married.
So. What to do about the person outside his house?
Wiping his hands on his black cargo pants, he unholstered the Sig and crept to the front door.
The one person who knew he lived here was Mateo, and Jake hadn’t seen his Special Forces buddy since Brady McNeill’s funeral.
Brady’s funeral. And one particularly fucked-up night. Not in small part because of seeing Brady’s sister, Kiera. Seen? A bland word for the silky skin sliding over him and around him during their sweaty, heated reunion.
Since that night, nothing besides Jake’s own misery mattered. Not his best friend’s death, not the Morpheus Squad, his own emotional baggage. Nothing.
Which was exactly what he had now, wasn’t it? Nothing.
Well, not completely. He had someone casing his house.
He licked his lips.
The virus crackled through his nerve endings. Mental processes turned to sludge. As unnatural strength and acuity of his senses grew, his sanity ebbed.
What a time to skip an antidote dose. Too late now.
He rolled his shoulders, upper back, and arms. Each muscle popped as poorly contained rage swept through him, turning him from Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde.
Sweat broke out on his forehead as the shaking began.
On second thought, he could use a good brawl. Stuffing the Sig back in his holster, he flexed his hands. Mr. Hyde would much rather do this the natural way.
The hunched figure in the baggy jacket trudged up the gravel driveway, halting gait a little short on one leg. He couldn’t make out any other details with the hood casting a shadow.
Pressing his back to the wall next to the front door, he listened. The virus strained like a chained dog tempted by a wounded rabbit.
Jake became a metal spring, coiled and ready.
At a knock on the door, he didn’t move.
The spring inside of him tightened. Tick, tick, tick. His body ratcheted down as tight as he could go.
A tap on the electronic keypad outside. What the hell? The bolt turned and the door cracked open.
The coil released.
Jillian David is a rural family physician who lives near the end of the earth, writing paranormal, suspense, and adventure romances with medical characters and scenarios. She loves to use medical situations to drive drama. Her favorite cell is the platelet and her least-favorite organ is the pancreas. She fully believes that curse words, when appropriately deployed during surgery, are hemostatic. https://www.jilliandavid.net
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I always enjoyed writing, even at a young age. But I also very much wanted to be a doctor. In college, I horrified my parents by declaring as an English poetry writing major (oh yes, now >that< is a marketable major!). Luckily, I completed all of my premed courses and went on to medical school where I later became a rural family physician. After eight years of training and several years of starting a new practice, I finally had gotten my brain to a point where I could write again. It would be great to say, yup, that’s when I started publishing, but it was another few years before I completed the Best Manuscript Ever (“Reluctant Sanctuary” or something equally schmaltzy) in 2008, which as it turned out was more like the Worst Manuscript Ever. So, yep, that file got burned in effigy. Then I wrote what was to become “Immortal Flame” book #1 in the Hell to Pay paranormal series. Through about a million revisions and editing guidance from writing friends, I stumbled into a three-book deal with Crimson Romance! The rest, well, it’s history, but it was – and is – still a long path of writing that I’m on!
What is something unique/quirky about you? The thing folks find most unique as a writer is that I’m also a rural doctor. Honestly, if Marcus Quimby, MD and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, and Dr. Neil Fleischman from Northern Exposure all had an unholy union … I’m basically their demonic offspring (professionally speaking). Yes, I deliver babies, perform c-sections and colonoscopies, do numerous office procedures, admit patients to the hospital, work in the clinic, teach medical students and residents, and – if you follow my #oncall hashtag you’ll see – I take a metric ton of call each year! The funny part is that sometimes I’ll edit while on call and do strange things like race the cervix. For example: Patient is at 6cm dilated, I have 50 pages to edit. GO! Which one will get there first? Please never tell anyone that I do this …
Tell us something really interesting that's happened to you! Once upon a time, I delivered a famous action movie star’s baby. Due to HIPAA regulations, I will never be able to tell anyone the star’s name!
What are some of your pet peeves? People who don’t wash their hands or cover sneezes. Combine that with my aversion to buffets, and I get skeeved out quickly. For the grand prize: If you show me the Golden Corral chocolate e-coli fountain, I WILL start twitching and pour hand sanitizer all over myself.
Where were you born/grew up at? Born and raised pretty much in the Smoky Mountains, not too far from where Dolly Parton grew up! However, I currently live At the End Of the World (not in the Smokies).
If you knew you'd die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day? Chocolate and lots of it. Probably hugs, too.
Who is your hero and why? In writing, it’s Tess Gerritsen, because she’s an amazingly successful writer who was an internist first. In medicine, I love the story of Doc Susie, pioneer physician practicing in Frasier, Colorado in the early 1900’s. There’s a book about her life that’s a great read:https://www.amazon.com/Doc-Susie-Country-Physician-Colorado/dp/0962789658
What kind of world ruler would you be? Benign dictator (you can bring me your suggestions, and I will consider them)
What are you passionate about these days? Miliatry romantic suspense! Physician burnout and quality of care instead of pushing volumes of visits through the door Gearing up for book signings this year How much I hate insurance companies (their customer is the shareholder, NOT the patient – now everything makes sense) Loading my Kindle with tons of books Sleep Perinatal safety Again, sleep Watching the entire Marvel universe in chronological order (movies and series – I’m at The Punisher season 1 right now) Completing my first ever medical romance novel! Gearing up for a fall 50K trail race
What do you do to unwind and relax? I will sit quietly in my recliner and watch a Marvel show with my cat, Fred.
How to find time to write as a parent? I’m a pet parent, so I manage pretty well in that respect. Sometimes my fur babies will sit on my hands while I’m trying to write!
Describe yourself in 5 words or less! Driven Diligent Creative Sarcastic Fluffy
When did you first consider yourself a writer? By age 12 (middle school) for sure. I had very encouraging teachers.
Do you have a favorite movie? Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie? My latest series, Project Morpheus, which is a military romantic suspense series about ex-Special Forces soldiers who were subjects of a military experiment gone terribly wrong. Now they are super soldiers, ultimate protectors, and ticking time bombs. I think the three books (so far!) in this series would make great action/romance movies!
What inspired you to write this book? Okay, let’s go back to Project Morpheus series book #1 FALLEN COMRADE. That’s what started the whole thing. I moved into a house that had a cute walk-in closet and at the back of the closet was a built-in bench that hid a storage drawer. My writer brain immediately said, hey what if instead, it hid a secret escape route that led to a tunnel through the basement which opened up a hundred feet away into the woods? What kind of person would need a house with an escape tunnel? The rest is history. Amazingly, when I published FALLEN COMRADE, the first two chapters that contained the escape tunnel had to be cut!! But readers can still find these lost chapters on my website here:https://www.jilliandavid.net/blog/the-lost-first-two-chapters-of-fallen-comrade
What can we expect from you in the future? Completing the first three books in Project Morpheus. Book #3 is finished and in revisions, so I know exactly what’s going to happen to younger sister, Britt, and long-suffering Morpheus Squad member, Red! After that, I’m pitching a medical romance series (fingers crossed!). The gist of the series is Northern Exposure meets Gray’s Anatomy. The Project Morpheus series is coming out in audiobook this year, so that will be exciting! I have a completed cruise ship romantic suspense that needs a home. The gist of that story is Zodiac Killer meets The Love Boat. Finally, Project Morpheus, Phase 2, will start to take shape. This band of brothers isn’t done yet!
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters? Project Morpheus is currently three books: FALLEN COMRADE, HIDDEN COMRADE, and SILENT COMRADE. There are more teammates in the Morpheus Squad, and I have plans for them in Project Morpheus, Phase 2.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in HIDDEN COMRADE? Pele Tuitama is an ex-Special Forces member of the underground Morpheus Squad, a band of virally-enhanced soldiers who were subjects of a military experiment gone dreadfully wrong. Along with his teammates, Pele is a super soldier and ultimate protector. He’s also a ticking time bomb. Outdoor educator, Reagan McNeill protects her heart at all costs after leaving an abusive relationship. Just when she starts to trust Pele’s sexy kisses and powerful embraces, he pushes her away. Forget it. No man, regardless of how sinfully sexy, is worth the emotional risk. Or is he?
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book? This book came on the heels of the first book’s creation. When I outlined FALLEN COMRADE, I initially envisioned a single title with the two main characters. Then I expanded the universe to more ex-Special Forces and the McNeill family of sisters. I wanted to create settings that was familiar to me (sorry for blowing you up in book #1, small town Waffle House), but each sister’s background is still unique. For HIDDEN COMRADE, I created a fake outdoor education/summer camp in the Smokies, not unlike one that I worked at back in my college days.
Where did you come up with the names in the story? For the sisters, I picked Irish first names that went with their last name, “McNeill.” For the band of brothers, I mixed their real names and nicknames to make a motley crew.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book? This whole series involves heroes who aren’t just alphas, they are Alphazillas. I took the concept of Alpha Male and turned the heat and alpha-ness way up! It was really fun making these big, hulking, testosterone-riddled dudes get totally owned by the strong, confident women who are more than a match for them.
Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick? Pele Tuitama is from American Samoa but he’s never really felt like he had a true home and family – until joining the Morpheus Squad. The Morpheus Virus military experiment has given him super strength, the ability to see patterns, and the inability to feel fear. He wants to stay close to Reagan, solely for the purpose of the mission. Nothing else. Reagan McNeill is nursing a broken heart and physical bruises after breaking up with her abusive ex. He wanted to change her, and Reagan has had to re-learn that she is perfect the way she is. No way will she change for any man ever again. Even if his kisses are as toasty as a crackling campfire.
How did you come up with the title of the book? Initially the team was Ghost Squad, not Morpheus Squad, but it didn’t resonate well so I changed it. FALLEN COMRADE is the name of the first book in the series, and it’s a nod to the veteran’s organization “Fallen Comrades” with its corrupt CFO siphoning funds away from veterans and into his pockets. I tried to find something that had the same vibe as the Wounded Warrior project. I kept the “comrade” theme through the three books as there is a background thread where we learn how the corrupt CFO is dealing with Russian drug cartels to bring in more money.
Who designed your book covers? The amazing folks at Evernight Publishing. Aren’t the covers fabulous? I could not be happier with them!
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? HIDDEN COMRADE? No, I feel like that book came out the way I wanted it to, and I wrote it to the best of my ability. I’m pretty proud of how sexy and suspenseful it is!
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book? I learned that it’s easier to sell a three book deal when all three books are already written …
Anything specific you want to tell your readers? My readership is small in numbers but mighty in devotion, and they bring me so much joy. I’m very accessible to my readers, so I will often link my email address directly in a newsletter so readers can contact me or ask questions. To my readers: thank you for supporting my wild stories – I love you all!
What is your favorite part of this book and why? My favorite part of HIDDEN COMRADE is the scene in the Cotton Eyed Joe dance club where Reagan basically tells her ex where to shove it and finally breaks free of the pain from that relationship, allowing her to risk her heart for Pele.
If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day? I’d love to go trail running with Reagan McNeill in the Smokies!
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination? Most characters are completely made up, but one particular character is based on a real person. The villain, Beau Lequire, is the corrupt CFO of Fallen Comrades, a charity for wounded veterans. He parlayed his supposed “military injury” into preferential government contracts and built his career saying that he was a wounded veteran. I based his character on a real contractor who did exactly that. Braulio Castillo was an IRS contractor who embellished (faked) an injury while in military prep school and somehow was able to work the system so that he got preferential government contracts. There was a video of Senator Tammy Duckworth during an inquiry, just taking this guy to task. The irony, of course, is that Tammy Duckworth, a true veteran who had paid a massive price in her service to our nation, is a double leg amputee. Anyway, the video is beautiful. She just eviscerates the guy for bilking the system. Here’s the video if you enjoy watching real heroes call out cowards.https://duckduckgo.com/?q=duckworth+irs+government+contractor&t=osx&iar=videos&safari_group=9&iax=videos&ia=videos&iai=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DOV_4sqPjDBE
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story? I outline pretty tightly before writing each book, and have some series outlines. So I know not only where each story is going but also how it fits into the overall arc of the series.
Convince us why you feel your book is a must read. Do you enjoy angst, buried emotional wounds, and redemption that requires ultimate sacrifice? How about confident, capable women who are resourceful, smart, and sexy? No? Or maybe you would enjoy reading about the most Alpha alphas that the world has ever seen – they’re ALPHA-ZILLAS. I took tormented, muscle-bound protectors, who don’t believe they deserve love, and turned the dial up to ELEVEN. Seriously, if you like your alphas WAY over the top alpha male, then this is the series for you!
Have you written any other books that are not published? Yes! My first book, Reluctant Sanctuary, will be buried with me, never to see the light of day. I also have a medical romance in process as well as a romantic suspense called CRUISE CONTROL, which is basically the Zodiac Killer meets The Love Boat!
If your book had a candle, what scent would it be? Testosterone, pine trees, and S’mores. ;)
What did you edit out of this book? Not so much HIDDEN COMRADE, but book #1 in the series, FALLEN COMRADE, I took out the first two amazing chapters. I am so proud of those first two chapters, and frankly, those chapters are how I got my agent. But the chapters didn’t get the hero and heroine together quickly enough, which is a necessity for any good romance. If you want to see the “lost chapters” you can click here:https://www.jilliandavid.net/blog/the-lost-first-two-chapters-of-fallen-comrade
Is there a writer which brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why? The nice thing about the writing community and Romancelandia is that authors are very open and generous with their advice and tips. I can toss out a question and – voila! – advice.
Fun Facts/Behind the Scenes/Did You Know?'-type tidbits about the author, the book or the writing process of the book. Each book took 4-5 days to do the first draft. And more than a year to fully revise afterwards.
What are your top 10 favorite books/authors? This is a non-comprehensive list from off the top of my head today. It could change tomorrow: Robin McKinley’s “The Blue Sword” “The Hero and the Crown” “Sunshine” “Deerskin” Jeannie Lin’s Lotus Palace series Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels series Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series and “Crystal Singer” H.E. Trent’s Jekh series Rachel Grant’s Evidence series J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series Abraham Verghese “My Own Country” “Cutting for Stone” Jennifer Roberson’s Chronicles of the Cheysuli series Anne Patchett “State of Wonder”
What book do you think everyone should read? Abraham Verghese “My Own Country,” a narrative of a foreign physician training and practicing in the mountains of East Tennessee right when HIV became more widespread. The details, observations, and nuanced perspective of a physician treating a disease that intertwined with regional cultural and religious touchpoints. Absolutely fascinating and the writing is lovely.
How long have you been writing? Since middle school!
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write? Some characters develop as I write. I have a character that is meant to be a helper or buddy or sibling, and suddenly, they’re jumping out of the page, screaming, “Write my book now!”
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book? Probably the most in-depth research I have done thus far was in Samoan culture for HIDDEN COMRADE. One area of particular interest was thetatau, which is the full thickness skin marking technique that creates intricate patterns from waist to knees. Understanding the cultural significance of thetatau(this is where we got the term “tattoo”) and depicting it with respect and sensitivity was really important. You can find quite a bit of information about Samoan culture and thetatauin the end notes HIDDEN COMRADE.
Do you see writing as a career? It would be lovely to write as a career, and I’m hoping that when I step back from medicine one day, I can spend even more time writing!
What do you think about the current publishing market? The amazing thing about the current publishing market is that there is a book for anyone. There is a book that represents anyone. And that’s important. The difficult thing about the current publishing market is that it’s harder to discover books, just because of the massive volume of books out there. Each author needs to spend so much time marketing, and that takes away from precious writing time. It’s a balancing act, for certain.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre? I love paranormal romance, romantic suspense, fantasy, sci fi, and biography.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why? Sometimes I’ll put in my earbuds on “noise cancellation” setting, but not play any music…
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time? I have to write one at a time. There’s no way my writing brain could handle multiple at the same time!
If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose? Listen, I’m not jealous, I’m a fan, but I would’ve loved to have written the Black Dagger Brotherhood series instead of J.R. Ward. Admittedly, she wrote the hell out of that series and it’s fantastic.
Pen or type writer or computer? Pen to paper for outlining. Computer for drafting and revising.
Tell us about a favorite character from a book. I love Mary Luce and Rhage from J.R. Ward’s “Lover Eternal”
What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision? While I love sci-fi and fantasy, romance is so important because it’s a way to show show the world that everyone deserves love and that love always wins. I think we need more of that in the world today.
A day in the life of the author? Most days are filled with hospital/clinic work, meetings, and jogging. I’m lucky if I can do writing activities on those days. Non-medical days are almost all dedicated to marketing or writing!
Do you have any advice to offer for new authors? Never, ever give up. If you have a story to tell, keep writing it until it reaches the larger audience. It took me over 250 rejections before I got my agent. Never give up.
Describe your writing style. Herky jerky. My schedule doesn’t allow me to write very day. But on days when I can write, I focus hard and write like crazy!
What makes a good story? A strong theme, a hook, and a trope. Also, well-developed characters who are so fleshed out so as to become almost real.
What are you currently reading? “The Hospital” by Brian Alexander
What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first? Outline multiple times until I have the story almost exactly how it needs to go. Then I sit down and draft in a 4-5 day stretch. Revisions take much longer and comprise a more painful process.
What are common traps for aspiring writers? The internet. Oh my gosh, such a time suck but it’s so fun!
What is your writing Kryptonite? Hubby walking into my writing room and saying, “What are you doing?”
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want? I started out being original, and loved it. Super fun to write strange genre-less paranormals, but no market for because it could not be classified. Now I try to write more mainstream, but put my own medical/suspense twist on what I write.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? Dude, don’t start out by writing a genre that doesn’t exist.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from other genders? Making their voices distinct.
How long on average does it take you to write a book? It takes 4-5 days to draft a book. It takes several months to several years to revise that book!
Do you believe in writer’s block? Sure. Hey, I’ve had days off where I planned to work, but I had a patient death or a really rough couple of call nights leading up to it. I try to give myself grace in those times. If the words don’t come, I’m not going to beat myself up about it!
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