When it comes to writing black ops books and heroes there are two authors that in my opinion are the queens at writing them. Tara Janzen and Cindy Gerard. I have been in love with the Steele Street Boys and the guys from BOI ever since I discovered them. When I got to meet them last year I had a serious fan girl moment that lasted for most of the week-end.
Cindy and Tara are working on an amazing project with several talented authors to help our soldiers, and they both have agreed to come on and tell us about it, as well as a bit about themselves.
TBRG: Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?
TJ: Some real groundbreakers in the romance novel world: Laura Kinsale, Judy Cuevas (Judith Ivory), Suzanne Brockmann, and my beloved Cindy – she’s who I most try to emulate when I feel my stories are moving too fast and furious, with too much action, and realize they need more serious emotional interaction between the big bad boy and the woman of his dreams.
CG: LaVryle Spencer and Sandra Brown are at the top of my list. But I agree with Tara – Suzanne Brockmann totally rocks. And I was a fan of Tara’s when she was writing Loveswepts as Glenna McReynolds way back when. It’s a mutual admiration society, let me tell ya. I adore Tara and her work. And like her, when my plots bog down with too much emotion and relationship, I always look to her for inspiration on the big, bang plot points!
TBRG: What is the one thing your readers would be the most surprised to know about you?
TJ: I can hit a ten-inch circle at a thousand meters with a .308 caliber rifle. That’s ten football fields away.
CG: I can eat a ten-inch pizza without a rifle or a football field in site! LOL. And I know not to tick Tara off. She’s kick ass with that rifle of hers.
TBRG: Where is the one place you have always wanted to go, a place on your bucket list?
TJ: Ohmigsoh, just one??? The Amazon River and Machu Picchu, and back to Edinborough, and Italy, anywhere in Italy.
CG: I was fortunate enough to make that bucket list trip last March when the amazing women of the Australian Romance Readers Conference invited me over to be a keynote speaker. Getting to see Australia and New Zealand was nothing short of a miracle for me.
TBRG: What was the first romance book that you read?
TJ: I LOVE this question!! It was SWEET SAVAGE LOVE by Rosemary Rogers. Wow!
CG: OMG – I didn’t know that, Tara. That was MY first romance novel too! I was hooked from that day forward … and ‘til death do us part :o).
TBRG: Who are some of your go to authors, and what are you reading right now?
TJ: I am currently immersed in non-fiction research books and just finished THE REINDEER PEOPLE, Living with animals and spirits in Siberia, by Piers Vitebsky. One of my “go to” writers, besides the ones mentioned above, is Mary Jo Putney. I also love Stephen Hunter for thrillers, and George R.R. Martin for fantasy. All-time favorites: J.R.R. Tolkein and Frank Herbert, the author of DUNE, and James Clavell, author of TAI-PAN and SHOGUN.
CG: Oh, this is so hard because there are so many that I love to read. But right now, I’m reading a Lee Child novel. I seem to gravitate toward thrillers these days – they help keep me in the zone for writing my romantic suspense plots.
TBRG: If you weren’t writing and keeping us in books (thanks for that by the way), what would you be doing?
TJ: Shooting more and competing in more shooting matches
CG: I’d be traveling and reading more.
TBRG: What is your guilty pleasure?
TJ: Ethel M’s lemon satin cream chocolates!!!!!!! Okay, girls, you live in Vegas, you know where the Ethel M factory is – not too far off the Strip J
CG: Chocolate, Cheetos and ice cream. Yum yum.
TBRG: So Tara you probably don’t want to know that Mel and I live around the corner from the Ethel M Chocolate factory right? And Cindy my husband (Mel’s brother) introduced me to Cheetos and ice cream and its a family favorite around our house.
TBRG: Who is on your playlist when you are writing?
TJ: everybody from Bob Dylan to The Silent Comedy, from the Kings of Leon to Cher, the Randy Rogers Band to Golden Earring, and if it was popular in the eighties, I probably bought it, Motown to Ramstein, Lita Ford to Leona Lewis, Eminem to Concrete Blonde, Rolling Stones to Roy Orbison, Jewel to Springsteen, David Gray to Dierks Bently, no music/no writing. Mostly rock-n-roll. I am deeply indebted to iTunes!!
CG: I’m so boring compared to Tara with my choices. I simply have some radio station on very soft in the background – generally country. I can’t listen too hard to the lyrics or I get distracted. Right now, however, I’m loving The Pistol Annies – a group that features Miranda Lambert. And speaking of Miranda, what’s not to love about her hunky hubby Blake Sheldon? ‘Footloose’ anyone??
TBRG: Where do your ideas/characters come from?
TJ: The CRAZY series really started with the cars. I wanted to write books that moved as fast as classic American muscle from the ‘60s and early ‘70s – once I had that figured out, I just looked inside to see who was behind the wheel J
CG: Everyone asks me this and I don’t really have an answer. It could be a song lyric, a line from a movie, a news headline … I simply never know when or where inspiration is going to strike me. I will say, however, that both the Body Guard and the Black Ops series came to fruition as a result of 9-11 and the subsequent military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. I wanted to know what those specialized soldiers did when they separated from the military. And I admired them so for all they sacrifice.
TBRG: Are you a planner or a fly by the seat author?
TJ: fly by the seat of my pants.
CG: I’m a little of both. I have to have an outline to get me started. But I look at my outline as a map. I have this central, main highway that I can follow if I want to but I am ever so aware of all the off road, blue highways that branch out from the main route. What would happen if I took THAT road instead of staying the course? The curiosity generally gets the best of me.
TBRG: Tell us about the book – SEAL OF MY DREAMS?
TJ: I think Robyn Carr says it best in the forward at www.sealofmydreams.com It was very inspirational to read her forward for the book.
CG: Tara is right. Robyn says it so well. But for the history, SEAL OF MY DREAMS came about as a result of some tweets that were initiated by Christie Ridgway and Allison Kent after seeing a photograph of a SEAL in the NYT following the Bin Laden raid. It snowballed from there.
TBRG: Who are the other authors that helped to contribute?
TJ: There are 17 fabulous romantic suspense writers who contributed stories. Christie Ridgeway and Alison Kent are the two who had the idea and got the whole thing rolling.
CG: Let me see if I can remember the others: Jamie Alden, Stephanie Tyler, Rocki St. Claire, Barbara Samuels, Kylie Brant, Helen Brenna, Stephanie Bond, Ell Kennedy, Helen Kay Dimon, Marliss Melton, Loreth Anne White, Leslie Kelly, Joe Leigh, Gennita Low – plus Tara and me. Quite the line up, huh?
TBRG: What made you want to be a part of this project?
TJ: I love being able to use my skills to help the soldiers who put themselves in the fight and serve our country.
CG: Same goes. It’s a privilege and an honor to be a part of a project that can guarantee that 100% of the profits are going to the Veteran’s Medical Research Foundation, an organization that specializes in brain injury and PTSD and helps our serve men and women from ALL branches of the military.
TBRG: Tell us about your story in the book?
TJ: PANAMA JACK is about a Navy SEAL on assignment with a CIA agent in Panama. She is very savvy, very skilled, and is trying to keep stolen missiles off the black market, and she is darn glad to have a SEAL watching her back when the bad guys end up on her tail.
CG: SEALed With A Kiss is an addendum to my most recent Black Ops, Inc. story. SWAK features Luke – Doc Holliday – Colter and Val – Valentina, the hero and heroine of With No Remorse. I wanted to give readers a little taste of the ‘after the story, story’ and sent them on their honeymoon, which, as you might guess, takes an unexpected turn and both of their lives end up on the line.
TBRG: What do you want us to know about your heroes?
TJ: Jack Corday is intelligent, irreverent, calm under pressure, calm when there is no pressure, and he’s built like a block of granite – just like a Navy SEAL
CG: Luke Colter is all of the above. He’s also a bit of a smart ass :o) – loveably so – hopelessly in love with the woman of his dreams and has to come face to face with his own mortality.
TBRG: I can hardly wait to read them. Tara I love your hero’s and Cindy I think I told you that Luke was my favorite of the BOI guy’s.
TBRG: Using 3-5 adjectives describe your hero and heroine.
TJ:. Hmmmm, for Lani: 3 adjectives: tough, deadly, blonde. In more than 3 words: besides “savvy” and “skilled,” she’s a shooter and looks drop-dead gorgeous in a zebra-striped mini-dress. For Jack: confident, funny, warrior
CG: Oh, boy. Luke: Irreverent, masterful, hunky. Val: Loyal, brave, gorgeous.
TBRG: What are you working on now?
TJ: Still in the research stage and hoping it has something to do with all the reindeer books I’ve been reading J – also throw in some of the Sahara Desert, a crippled university professor who needs a bodyguard, a long-forgotten place, and a mystery that hasn’t been forgotten, long or otherwise, and some folks who have “been there, done that” and are ready to do it again. I’ve had the title for 5 years – just been waiting for the story.
CG: Oh, I’m so glad you asked :o) I finished the 7th and final Black Ops story – LAST MAN STANDING (Joe’s book) this past summer (which will be out in February, 2012 btw) and just started work on the first book in a new series featuring Mike – Primetime – Brown, an amazing character who showed up in With No Remorse and made another appearance in Last Man Standing. Mike was such a compelling character I decided he had to have his own book. Add in a couple of his buddies and a new series – One-Eyed Jacks – was born. Mike and two other former military heroes are in various stages of coping with an operation gone wrong eight years ago in Afghanistan. This series is edgy, sexy, action packed and explosive! I can’t wait to dig in deeper.
***One of the things that I am most passionate about is supporting our men and women in uniform. With that in mind we will be giving away a copy of this book to one commenter. Contest rules apply, you need to follow us on twitter and like us on fb. Open to International. ***
An interesting tidbit about the picture of the SEAL on the cover of this book. He isn’t model posing as soldier he is an actual SEAL who was stationed in Fallujah when this picture was taken as he got ready to go out on patrol.
We stood witness as a nation, as a world, to acts of bravery and mastery driven by patriotism as they took down one of the world’s most dangerous villains. When the highest level of competence and fealty was required, the SEALs were called. And they did not take a bow.
Here’s what they are not – they are not celebrities, movie stars or sports idols. They are flesh and blood men who have volunteered for the highest level of military training available and taken an oath to perform heroic acts at great personal risk in the defense of a country that will not put their pictures on magazine covers or pay them a multi-million dollar contract. Indeed, their ‘bonus’ will come in the form of hazardous duty pay. They are compensated by their rank and could choose far less dangerous or frightening roles. And their success as SEALs depends, at least as long as they serve in this capacity, on anonymity.
Who better equipped to honor the image of our greatest warrior heroes than the gifted pens of some of the romance industry’s finest authors of romantic fiction. In this volume the visage of some of the world’s most revered heroes is captured in scenes of love, bravery, laughter and passion, all created to bring into focus the SEALs of our dreams, those men we hold in such high esteem.