by Christina Elliott
GENRE: Romantic suspense
Amid a sweltering Miami summer, a serial killer is haunting the city. Reporter Ingrid Sorenson is assigned the story and her primary source is brusque detective Rick Gonzalez. The pair clash, but sparks of passion ignite. They risk their jobs to give in to their desire, but mistrust of each other’s career motives wedges them apart. Then Ingrid gets a tip that leads her into the killer’s lair. She and Rick must choose between saving themselves or rescuing their love.
EXCERPTS (Please choose only ONE to use with your post):
As Ingrid opened the door, Rick thrust a bouquet of white roses at her. “To make up for being out of touch,” he said.
She was touched by his thoughtfulness. “You didn’t have to do that, but thanks. They’re lovely. I’ll put them in a vase.” They entered and she disappeared into the kitchen.
“It was either flowers or chocolate,” he called as she disappeared into the kitchen. She filled a glass vase with water and set the roses in them.
“Good choice. I love chocolate, but I try to stay away from it,” she said, exiting the kitchen to place the vase in the center of the dining table.
“I figured. Chocolate can be a double-edged sword, but you can’t really go wrong with roses.”
“White’s an elegant color, too.”
“You’re an elegant lady.”
“You know all the lines.”
“I wish it was as simple as knowing lines.”
“It’s not, is it?” She gave him a bemused smile.
“You got that right. So how am I doing so far?”
“Mmmm.” Folding her arms, she tilted her head and squinted her eyes in a mock-study of him. “B-plus.”
“What? I thought I deserved at least an A-minus.”
“There’s always room for improvement.”
“Whoa, she’s tough, ladies and gentlemen.”
She laughed. “So, you ate pizza already.”
“I was starving and believe me, you don’t want to be around me when I’m hungry, but we can get you something to eat.”
“So you can do surveillance on me as I chow down?”
“You’re a feast for my eyes.”
Ingrid groaned. “Let’s get going before your lines make me lose my appetite.” She grabbed her purse.
“Sorry, I couldn’t resist.” He held open the front door for her. “I know a great empanada place in Coconut Grove. We could get a couple of them and go eat by the marina at a picnic table,” Rick said as he drove. “We can even sit side-by-side so I don’t have you under surveillance.”
“I love empanadas,” Ingrid said. “Definitely one of the best things I’ve discovered in Miami.”
“So am I up to an A-minus now?”
She laughed, suddenly feeling carefree and totally in the moment. “Yes, I’ll give you an A-minus for that.”
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I actually dread that question and this is why: I’m what is known as a “third culture kid.” They are children who grow up outside their birth country usually because of their parent’s career. I grew up moving around the world because of my dad’s job. So I’m kind of rootless. I’m not really from anywhere because we were always moving. I was born in New Zealand and ended up coming to the New Jersey when I was thirteen, via several other countries! Since then I’ve lived abroad in Latin America as a foreign correspondent. I now live in Los Angeles.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
It grew out of the five years that I lived in Miami and worked as a newspaper reporter. I based the lead character, Ingrid, on myself, an adventure driven journalist willing to take risks to get a good story. I’ve covered a lot of cops, crime and courts and I know from firsthand experience that reporters often clash with cops over big stories. The press wants more details, the police don’t want to give them. So I thought that would make a good romantic thriller-type story grounded in real-life detail.
How do you create your characters?
They kind of create themselves as I write. I start with a basic premise, a fuzzy shape if you will, but as I write those early drafts, the characters come into sharper focus, the quirks, the motivations and so on. I usually find they are one-third based on some aspect of myself, one third on someone I know or who have met and one-third completely made up. It’s a real mish-mash!
What inspires and what got you started in writing?
I’ve been writing in one form or another forever. When I was about five, I won a prize for “writing interesting stories.” They must have been very simple stories with one-syllable words but they obviously impressed the teacher! I think I’m just driven by a curiosity about human nature, especially the darker side. That’s what really inspires me to write. I like to explore why people do what they do.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
I need peace and quiet to be my most productive. I’m definitely a morning writer. I love getting up early and after my two cups of coffee, sitting down to write. My mind is fresh, without the clutter that the day’s events inevitably bring, and my best ideas and sparks of imagination come freely. I especially like weekend mornings because there’s less email traffic and things like news alerts, which can prove a distraction and a handy excuse for procrastination.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
Being a newspaper reporter for many years has probably been the biggest source for my fiction writing. I met so many different kinds of people, from prostitutes to presidents, bums to billionaires and listened to all their stories! But things capture my imagination in the news or wherever and I jot them down in an ideas notebook I keep on my desk.
What do you like to read?
I read across a lot of genres because I think that’s good for a writer to do. I like reading well written gritty crime fiction but I’m not a big fan of series. I like standalone books. I also really like reading upscale women’s fiction, family sagas, and that kind of thing, with romance as a key element of course!
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
Don’t let others knock you off track. You have to be careful about who you show early, messy drafts of your work to. Criticism can really derail you when you’re starting out, before you’ve built up your thick skin to take negative feedback and rejection. I had that happen to me. It completely blocked me on a novel I wanted to write. It was years before I had the courage to start writing again.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Christina Elliott is a former Miami newspaper reporter and editor. She now writes spicy romantic suspense novels from Los Angeles, where she’s glad to report there are far fewer bad-hair days but sadly far less Cuban coffee. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America.
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
Christina Elliott will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.