20 Aug 2014
Interview with Personal Target author Kay Thomas
Releasing July 29th, 2014
A former SEAL and Black Ops specialist who left the CIA, Nick Donovan gave up a life on the edge to work in the private sector. But that didn't stop his enemies from coming after him—or his family. In a case of mistaken identity, a drug cartel kidnaps his sister-in-law's best friend … a woman from Nick's past.
One minute Jennifer Grayson is housesitting and the next she's abducted to a foreign brothel. Jennifer is planning her escape when her first "customer" arrives. Nick, the man who broke her heart years ago, has come to her rescue. Now, as they race for their lives, passion for each other reignites and old secrets resurface. Can Nick keep the woman he loves safe against an enemy with a personal vendetta?
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Do dreams ever inspire your writing? What did you last dream about?
I never would have said yes to this question until recently. I dreamed about a plot point. I can’t share it here, or I’ll give a big spoiler to my current work in progress. The interesting part of the dream was that I wasn’t dreaming about my characters in the scenario but about my family instead. Not sure that even makes sense, but it’s interesting how our brains jumble stuff up at night that we have dealt with during the day. I have difficulty remembering dreams unless I write them down as soon as I wake up. In the past I have woken up with what felt like quite vivid dreams, but the details tended to drift away rather quickly.
When did you first start writing? And when were you first published?
I took the long road to getting published. I didn’t start writing until after I was married with a three year old and going a little stir crazy at home. I took a fun-ed writing course, but didn’t finish anything for several years. In 1999 I completed my first manuscript, but real life kept me quite busy, and I didn’t get serious about trying to get published until 2004. My first book, Better Than Bulletproof, was released with Harlequin Intrigue in 2009.
What is it about 'romantic suspense' that appeals to you the most? Do you read other genres?
I love the action and adventure of romantic suspense, but I’ll read everything. I’ve been on a YA binge over the past year and have thoroughly enjoyed that.
Can you tell us a little about your latest book? What inspired you to write it?
Here’s the scoop directly from the back cover copy:
A former SEAL and Black Ops specialist who left the CIA, Nick Donovan gave up a life on the edge to work in the private sector. But that didn’t stop his enemies from coming after him, or his family. In a case of mistaken identity, a drug cartel kidnaps his sister-in-law’s best friend…a woman from Nick’s past.
One minute Jennifer Grayson is housesitting and the next she is abducted to a foreign brothel. Jennifer is planning her escape when her first “customer” arrives. Nick, the man who broke her heart years ago, has come to her rescue. Now as they race for their lives, passion reignites as old secrets resurface. Can Nick keep the woman he loves safe against an enemy with a personal vendetta?
At its core, the book is about a case of mistaken identity and a very personal vendetta. Personal Target takes the reader from Dallas to Mexico, across the African Savanna, to the shores of the Mediterranean in a race against time for Nick to save the woman he loves but lost ten years ago.
Many people have asked where I got the idea for the Elite Ops series. My son has Asperger’s. Several years ago he was working with a new social skills therapist who was in the process of changing careers. This man had left the DEA and was starting his own security business while also working with special needs kids. Quite a combo, right? I was fascinated by what would take someone from such a challenging, busting-down-doors job to teaching my seventh grader how to talk about his feelings. Conversations there definitely started my wheels turning.
At the same time my son was working with this guy, my critique partner gave me an article from The Atlantic magazine about a gentleman who goes into Latin American countries to recover children who’ve been kidnapped by non-custodial parents. The article combined with those earlier conversations got me to thinking some more, and the concept for Hard Target: Elite Ops—Book 1 came from there. But I realized I couldn’t just write Leland Hollis’s story and be done with that world.
I had watched the Russell Crowe-Meg Ryan movie, Proof of Life, a couple of times. I also started following the now-cancelled Discovery series called Kidnap and Rescue about security consultants who go into foreign countries and get Americans who have been kidnapped while working or living overseas.
I started wondering what if instead of just one sexy guy, I had a whole company of men and women with backgrounds that were ex-military or ex-DEA who wanted to start their lives over again and work in the private sector. The idea kept percolating and the Elite Ops team was born.
Have you ever spotted anyone reading your books anywhere?
No, I haven’t ever spotted one of my books “in the wild.” But I once got an email with a picture attached from someone who’d found one of my Harlequin Intrigues in an airport waiting area in Buenos Aires. They picked the book up, read it, and wrote a review. That was extraordinarily cool.
Who designs your covers?
The artists at Avon do an amazing job, and I’ve been thrilled with everything they’ve done for me. I’m particularly wild about the cover for Personal Target. Isn’t he lovely?!
If your latest book was made into a film, who would you cast?
Ahh, a dream question. When I was writing Nick, I had Sullivan Stapleton (From Strikeback and 300) in my head and a picture of him on my computer screen!
What's your favourite chic lit book that made it to the big screen?
Hands down, The Devil Wears Prada
What were the last two books you read?
Laura Griffin’s One Last Breath & One Wrong Step
I’ve been reading all of her backlist and these are the last two.
Name one female author who you think deserves to be better known.
Jo Davis – She writes fun, hot romantic suspense and also paranormal romance as JD Tyler.
Where do you write? Anywhere I can get comfortable with my computer. In my office or the car, but only when someone else is driving! Right now I’m sitting on my patio.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? And did you follow the dream?
I don’t recall having a burning desire to “be” anything in particular as a child. I just wanted to have adventures and be happy. And yes, I‘ve definitely followed that dream. I’ve been married for twenty-six years, an adventure in itself. My husband and I have two children, and we’ve travelled a bit. I still have quite a few places on my bucket list though.
In the movie of your life, who would play you?
I have no idea. I can’t imagine a movie of my life. But of course, now I’m trying to come up with actresses with Southern accents who are my age. Hmmm…I’ll have to get back to you on that one.
Top drink to make you tipsy? Margarita
Shopaholic or shopadon't? Shopaholic
Sky high heels or closer to the ground? I LOVE high heels, alas, my feet no longer tolerate them. So I must say…closer to the ground. : )
E.L. James or Jilly Cooper? That’s a tough one. Depends on my mood. Do I have to choose?
Cry baby or tough cookie? Tough cookie
Exotic beach or enchanted forest? Exotic beach
Today Kay lives in Dallas with her husband, two children, and a shockingly spoiled Boston terrier. Her award-winning novels have been published internationally.
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