Brianna Chapman learns to handle just about anything. Witnessing the murder of her parents had that effect. Knowing the unsolved arson had been meant for her isn’t as easy to overcome. Instead, she stuffs her guilt soundly into her subconscious through diving into the teaching job she loves by day and the dirt of the landscaping business she owns by night. Her habit of remaining aloof to personal relationships is, well, working.
Will her guilt be as easy to keep buried if the killer comes back to finish the job?
In the midst of juggling a scorched yard, dead animals on her doorstep and her vandalized car, the one thing she didn’t count on was the staggering Nathan Reed. A nationally renowned woodworking artist, Nathan and his two priceless nephews move into the run-down historical house behind her and over Black Creek. They have a canny way of maneuvering around her aloof demeanor and into her heart. Will they still want to be part of her life when they discover she is haunted by past memories and hunted by present dangers?
R.T. will be giving away a $40 Amazon or BN.com Gift Certificate, winner’s choice, to one randomly drawn commenter at the conclusion of the tour. Follow the tour here at Goddess Fish
“When is the rest of your family coming?” she asked before she realized how that sounded.
“Rest of my family?” Nathan tilted his head toward the boys who were gleefully battling scar-faced monsters driving Corvettes and Camaros.
“You made reference to your wife.” Her eyes moved around thoughtfully. He said that, hadn’t he?
“I would not have made the reference, since there isn’t one. I’m divorced.”
“Yes, you did. You said your family was at your parents’ home when I came to bring your dog back to you.”
The two of them centered the table under her traditional, crystal chandelier.
“The boys were at my folks and they are my family. You know, you wouldn’t have to move your kitchen table if you had one for your dining room.”
“I told you, it was burned,” she said quickly.
“I guess I thought you were being sarcastic. How did it happen?”
“That’s a subject I don’t have time for.” She turned and started upstairs. “I need to change.”
She felt his fingers, rough and possessive, wrap around her arm. Gently, he turned her around. He held on carefully when she tried to pull away. As she looked into the blue, he whispered, “I’m sorry. I know what it’s like to suddenly lose someone you love.”
Shaken, she felt exposed as she responded, “I never said I lost anyone.”
Nathan released her arm and lifted his hand near her face. He paused as she watched him before running the backs of his fingers down her cheek.
“True. I’m going to work on setting around your stack of folding chairs.”
As she moved up the stairs, she laid the palm of her hand where his fingers had touched her and swore she felt heat.
This was an amazing book, a real page-turner. It will keep the reader guessing until the end. If you like a little more to your romance reads then this is the book for you. The twist, turns, thrills and chills will keep you on the edge.
Thanks for a wonderful read R.T.
The bunnies and I give this book carrots.
Thank you, Bunny, for having me on your beautiful blog today. I’m truly honored.
If you could work with any author, who would it be.
G.P. Ching. She is creative, brilliant, has an amazing business sense and takes time to lend a helping hand!
Who is your favorite author and is your writing style similar to theirs?
My favorite author is Nora Roberts. I know it’s cliché, but it’s the truth. And, yes, my style is often compared to hers…not her straight romance work but her suspense books are compared to Black Creek Burning.
What is your favorite part of a book?
If it’s a good book, not the end! I know I’ve been successful when my readers contact me to say they are near the end of my novel and don’t want it to stop. I love the moments in a story that make me cry…sad or happy. I love the moment when an author has eased me into the world they’ve created without me realizing I’m there.
When naming your characters, do you give any thought to the actual meaning?
I think a character’s name needs to tie in with the era. Drake was once considered a strong name for a dominant suspense character, but now there is Drake the rapper. That changes everything. The name needs to fit the personality of the character without being so obvious readers will roll their eyes.
What is your inspiration or who is?
My writing inspiration is 2010 Epic Award Winning author, Laurie Larsen. She is multi-published, talented, intelligent and keeps a level head planted firmly on her shoulders. And she gave Black Creek Burning a 5-star review that was written as eloquently as her novels. J
Do you use real-life facts based on true stories?
I am a fact guru. The substance of my plots are not tied with true stories, but the contents of the story are real. The main characters in Black Creek Burning are a landscape designer and a woodworking artist. I’ve been fortunate enough to have had Master Gardeners and a talented gal at Sawbridge Woodworking Studios, Chicago, read an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) for authenticity regarding the facts of the story. Book two in this trilogy, To Fly in Shadows, stars a conservation biologist. The folks at Operation Migration and the East Coast Center for Conservation and Biology are reviewing ARCs of this novel before its release in February of next year. So fun.
Do you use your OWN experiences?
I have to believe we all do, or at least what we experience through others. My motto is, “You have the right to remain silent. What you say and do might be used in one of my novels.”
Did you ever think you would ever become an author?
A writer? Yes. An author? No. I had no plans to publish when I was writing Black Creek Burning. I had a friend read it to see if it made sense. She read it in one day, gave it to a friend who gave it to a friend. In a few months I had a small army of insane, pushy, nosy, crazed readers. They convinced me to submit and I will be forever grateful to them.
How do you conceive your plot ideas?
A comment from a friend, a clip from a movie, a line from a song. Mostly, it’s the characters who form the plot. I try to make an outline, but it rarely remains intact after the first few pages.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to publish?
Oh no! Where is some wood to knock on? Do I have to answer that question? J Not yet. (there, I said it)
How long did it take you to publish your first book, after you started trying?
I signed my contract right about two years after I completed it and was published four short months later. What a ride.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
Black Creek Burning is a romantic suspense about Brianna Chapman, the only witness to the murder of her parents…an arson that was meant for her. After several years, Brianna learns to cope by burying herself in her beloved teaching job by day and landscaping business by night. What she doesn’t count on is nationally renowned woodworking artist, Nathan Reed. He and his two adorable young nephews move into the run-down historical farmhouse behind her. Nathan pushes his way through Brianna’s hard shell and is determined to both win her heart and solve the murder.
I’m asked this question often and I always feel I need to simply be honest. I have no idea. I don’t remember sitting down to type the first few lines and, no, I’m not taking any kind of hallucinogens. J A few pages turned into a few dozen into a few hundred. It was like driving in a thousand mile tunnel with 6 tanks of gas. The research, the editing, outlining, revising, I love it all. When I came out the other end, I had a completed romantic suspense novel.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
There are other genres besides romance? lol
What kind of research did you do for this book?
I had to do extensive research on types of fires. The one used by the antagonist in Black Creek Burning is a backdraft. Also, I did research on the kinds of wildlife that might be found around a lake in upstate New York, the native trees, shrubs and flowers. Hmm. You’ve got me reminiscing now. There’s an awesome scene in a tree house hotel. Yes, tree house hotel. They are amazing. Fifty feet in the air and surrounding an actual tree. Oh, and the locales of hardwood forests and football teams in the east. Hmm. I’m going to pat myself on the back a bit, now. Thank you, Bunny, for the great question! I am married to a woodworking artist. We’ve flipped a few houses. I do the landscaping, he does the woodworking and we do the grunt work. So, I have loads of gardening and woodworking knowledge. Who would have ever thought I would use it someday? Very fun.
What is a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I would set a daily writing goal, but it would just be broken often as my schedule is an ever changing one. I have two other jobs that I adore; a teacher and Pilates instructor. I have three boys who all swim competitively. I write in and around each of these. I can be found sitting on the bleachers of a meet with a laptop on my legs, writing in the car as I drive all over the Midwest to said swim meets, or in a Panera or a Barnes and Noble. My favorite spot is on my patio in front of my fire pit.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
I have a hard time keeping myself inside the box that industry dictates. I try to stay in the box, I really do. But I find my arms and legs keep slipping out and I can’t always justify stuffing them back in. J
What is the best thing about being an author?
My readers. I would still write without them, but receiving a contact from a reader who tells me they cried at a certain scene in my book or getting a message from someone who tells me they are holding up their eyelids with toothpicks at work because they stayed up so late reading…it’s a feeling I can’t explain.
What are you working on now?
Black Creek Burning is book on in the Black Creek romantic suspense trilogy. Book two, To Fly in Shadows, goes to the final copy editor in a few weeks and is set to debut February 1, 2013. Dark Vengeance is book three and is about ¾ finished. I had better get going because it’s coming out in July. Pinch me, this is so incredibly amazing.
What advice would you give aspiring writers?
I know so many writers who have written for years, some for decades and have never finished a book. To them, I say what my good friend Kate Bateman said at our local RWA chapter meeting, “Finish the damn book.” I have great RWA colleagues! Editing can come later, finishing a book is a high worth taking the chance for!
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
Nora is one of my favorites, but I also love James Patterson and Janet Evanovich…which are cliché and cliché again! I suppose they are bestselling authors for a reason. However, Jane Austen is the one who truly hooked me on romance. And, yes, I consider her a romance author. My favorite book of all time is Nora Robert’s Northern Lights. Not the Lifetime movie version. Ugh. I’ve read the book several times. I am addicted to James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club series and enjoy Evanovich’s Full House series. I’ve been compared to Evanovich, but I don’t know. She hilarious and writes romantic comedy. There are certainly some moments to laugh at in Black Creek Burning, but I’m just not that funny…or at least that’s what my teenagers keep telling me. lol
What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
I’ve never been asked (and can’t believe this as I think of it) if any of my characters are based off of real people. I would say just one. The main character’s sister in Black Creek Burning is my sister, Dian, or, ‘Liz,’ as I like to call her by her fictitious name. Dian’s daughters have read Black Creek Burning and can attest that Liz is their mother through and through. She’s selfless, bossy, nosy and someone you could trust with your life.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
The Light at the End of the Tunnel
R.T. was born and raised in the Midwest, the youngest of six children. She married at a young age and decided early on she wanted a family herself. With three small boys in tow, she and her husband flipped two houses with R.T. in charge of the landscape design and install. Now, she is rooted in the final home they designed inside and out.
Now that her boys are nearly grown, R.T. spends much of her time on the road traveling from one sporting event to another serving as mom and cheerleader. When at home, she enjoys Pilates, working with her Golden Retriever and digging in the glorious dirt of her landscaping plots.
During one of many busy and restless nights, R.T.’s first novel began to pluck its way onto her laptop. It was a drug, an instant addiction that only grew with time. Moments borrowed and stolen at her laptop are, now, between all of the travel and work and many of those busy, restless nights. After several edits, revisions and versions later R.T.’s first novel, Black Creek Burning, will debut September 24th.