So yesterday my newest romance, Forever & Ever, Amen, officially came into the world. You can jump HERE for a sneak peek at the first chapter if you’re interested. Meanwhile, to continue with the release week celebration, I’d like to welcome Lynn Crandall to the blog. Her newest, Dancing with Detective Danger, was also released yesterday, and she stepped up to answer my fiercely challenging interview questions.
Well, okay, they’re not all that challenging, but they are kind of fun. Keep reading to learn more about Lynn & her work…
LR: What’s the most compelling thing about Dancing With Detective Danger?
LC: I love the characters. Sterling has suffered great loss in childhood and it has driven her actions. Ben, too, went through very difficult events early in his life and they shaped him. In the story Ben and Sterling face their wounds and have opportunities to do things differently now. I love that kind of emotional journey because it’s something so common to the human experience.
LR: Interesting – in yesterday’s post, Traci said something very similar. Seems like writing down their stories is the only way to get the characters in your head to shut up some times.
I LOVE the cover of Dancing with Detective Danger. IMHO, it gives the whole thing a film noir quality. Is that something you were after, and does it carry through to the piece? If not, what’s the mood you’re working with?
LC: Thanks, Liv. I am very happy with the cover, too. The story is set in a mid-size town and features places in the downtown, so there is an urban feel. I also like that on the cover Ben and Sterling seem to be connecting emotionally. I’m not sure if the film noir quality is present in the book, though. If you read it, tell me what you think.
LR: I will! It’s definitely in my TBR pile! Now, if you had to recommend one writing resource, either a class or a book or a workshop, what would that be? What’s had the most impact on your work?
LC: I have a background in newspaper writing so for me, talking to first hand sources would be counted up at the top of my list of recommendations. When I talk to someone who has experience and/or expertise in the area I’m researching it is likely I’ll get truly “real” input that helps give my story authenticity.
LR: Clutter or quiet? Describe your perfect writing situation.
LC: Funny! I definitely like quiet to write in. That has changed, because I began writing when my house was full of young children and they would pop into my writing space any time – I had an open door policy – and interrupt because they got an A on a paper or whatever was happening for them at the moment. But they’ve grown up and things have turned serenely quiet, which I find to be a very rich environment for my creativity.
LR: How do you juggle all your hats (spouse, parent, worker-bee, housekeeper, writer)?
LC: This is such a pertinent question for so many writers. As I said, my children are grown but they still “pop” in frequently and I work as a freelance writer and editor, so I’m always juggling projects. It’s difficult to put writing my fiction at the top of my things-to-do list. I try to organize my life to spend time every week on various projects, including working on my WIP.
LR: What’s your favorite non-writing activity? Like, are you a closet marathon runner? Could you crochet a house-cozy if you had to? Maybe you secretly want to appear on Antiques Roadshow?
LC: I love being outdoors and bike and hike a lot. Wish I were a closet marathoner, though I wouldn’t keep that accomplishment in the closet.
LR: As I write this, my Seahawks are heading into their 2nd playoff game and there’s a rumor that Seattle may soon have another NBA team. Are you following the NFL playoffs? Doing jumping jacks because the National Hockey League is finally getting their act together? Or is there another sport that does it for you?
LC: I live in Central Illinois where people are Illini fans, whether they want to be or not. When the University of Illinois teams are playing well the whole town smiles.
LR: What’s next on your horizon? Describe your current WIP(s) or other upcoming project.
LC: In Dancing with Detective Danger Lacey, the main character’s sister, is a minor character. I’m working on the “Lacey” book, that features her efforts to deal with issues regarding her husband’s death, though he isn’t out of the picture.
Uncovering secrets and exposing truth are all in a day’s work for private investigator Sterling Aegar. But when her latest case threatens to reveal her own buried feelings for an old love, Sterling runs for cover.
A body in the bathtub and pleas from a jilted wife to find her wayward husband mean a welcome break from the usual humdrum cases Sterling and her sister, Lacey, are called to investigate. But when Sterling’s old flame, Detective Ben Kirby, walks into the murder scene, she feels her world spin out of control. Danger from thugs and murderers poses no greater threat than the peril she’d suffer if she lets daredevil Ben get too close.
Seeing Sterling for the first time in two years is for Ben like drinking in a healing tonic. He could never forget the way it felt to run his hands over her delicious curves or the way she touched his soul. She remains the one person who can make the emptiness in his gut go away. Finding the murderer is his job, but protecting Sterling from seriously dangerous people is his mission.
As the case unfolds, Sterling and Ben not only solve the murder and locate the missing husband, they confront secrets that set them each free from a painful past.
Though Sterling broke off her engagement with Ben two years ago, unsettled emotional issues still churn between them, as seen in this scene as they attempt to work on a mutual case.
Ben strode through the doorway into the office and Sterling’s heart instantly leaped into her throat. Damn him, she thought to herself while offering a perfunctory smile. Why does he affect me so? A crisp white shirt set off his dark good looks. His gray suit, a perfect fit, flattered his strongly muscled body. It was all heady stuff that worked at her already jangled nerves.
“Good morning, Lacey, Sterling.” Ben nodded in Sterling’s direction.
“Have a seat, Ben.” Lacey motioned to the couch. “What brings you to our neighborhood again?”
“I have more questions regarding the Pamela Witt murder.” Ben settled into the couch, all the while eyeing Sterling.
“I told you everything yesterday,” Lacey said.
“Did you find out the information I asked about?”
“As soon as we have something for you we’ll let you know. You haven’t given us much time to work on it, Ben.”
Fully aware of his eyes on her, Sterling gathered her purse and jacket from her desk, wanting to bound out faster than a jack rabbit. “Ben, Lacey will be working alone on this case, so if you’ll excuse me, I’ll leave you two alone.”
Ben’s eyes narrowed and Sterling felt as though he could see right into her head.
It had always been like that with him. From the moment they’d first met, they’d finished each other’s sentences and anticipated each other’s actions. Her face felt warm and her skin dimpled annoyingly.
“I suppose the next thing you’ll say is there is nothing personal intended.” His tone was as crisp as burnt toast.
“I wouldn’t try to sell that to you, Ben.” She saw him angrily ball his hands. This wasn’t going very well. “I think you know as well as I do, we can’t work in the same room, much less cooperate on a case.” It was funny how the passion that used to burn so hot between them, illuminating a bigger-than-life love, now boiled beneath the surface like an angry pot threatening to erupt.
“So, as usual, you’re going to walk out.”
“Okay, okay, time out,” Lacey interrupted, pounding her hand against her desk. “Ben, our agency wishes to cooperate with the investigation, but Sterling’s direct involvement with the case has ended. Besides, I know as much as she does and I saw everything she saw. Don’t sweat it.”
Ben knitted his brow and drew in a deep breath. Still staring at Sterling, he exhaled heavily. “Okay, I’m sorry for acting like such a jerk.”
“Now, what do you want to know?” Lacey leaned back in her chair, ready to talk. Sterling quietly shoved her arms into her jacket, thinking how lucky she was to have such a great sister. As she walked to the door, she made a mental note to buy Lacey some double chocolate pecan ice cream—her favorite.
Lynn Crandall started spinning stories as a child when she tried to entertain her younger sister at night when they were supposed to be going to sleep. In the dark, her stories typically took on a scary or paranormal element — didn’t do much to put them to sleep. Today, she hopes her stories still fail to put readers to sleep, but rather take them on a journey. That’s what she’s been on since she decided to make writing her focus. As a reporter and magazine feature writer, she truly enjoys learning as she works on stories. As a romance writer, she enjoys doing the research and following an evolving story of her characters.