I’d like to welcome fellow author, Terry Odell, to the purple velvet couch today. Terry is a prolific author of romance with a twist of mystery and suspense. She has three main series: Blackthorne, Inc., Pine Hills Police, and Mapleton Mystery Series.
Thanks for being here today, Terry. Tell the readers a little bit about your background. Um, I did read you are a rara avis, a native Californian.
Born and raised in the Los Angeles area until my husband got a job in Florida. I kind of thought it would be appropriate to go where he went. Now that he’s retired we live in the Colorado mountains, and I love it.
Tell us a little bit about your different series. What distinguishes them from one another?
My Pine Hills Police series is set in a small town in Oregon, and features a small town cop. The romance plots in the books have more of a ‘down home’ feel, as opposed to my Blackthorne, Inc. series. This one features a team of elite covert operatives, and they see a lot more action, but the romances still manage to shine. My Mapleton Mystery series books aren’t romances (although that doesn’t mean there aren’t relationships). They’ve been reviewed as part cozy, part police procedural. In them, I can stick with one central character as the hero of all the books.
What draws you to write your genre and sub genre?
I’ve always loved mystery—in fact, I thought my first book was going to be a mystery, but my daughters told me it was a romance. Trouble was, I’d never read a romance, and didn’t really care for the genre until I discovered romantic suspense, which blended both genres. I think of my books as “Mysteries With Relationships” because I realized I favored series mystery and was equally interested—maybe more so, even–in the relationships between the series characters than the actual crime-solving side of the books.
What are you working on now?
My editor has my 5th Blackthorne, Inc. book, which is Jinx’s story, and while she’s helping make it the best possible book, I’ve started my 3rd Mapleton Mystery.
Do you work on one project at a time or multiples?
One—my brain can’t handle two sets of characters. When I get my edits back for my next Blackthorne, Inc. book, I’ll stop working on the Mapleton Mystery until I finish edits. Otherwise, I’m afraid I’d get Jinx and Gordon mixed up!
Is there one particular thing that you find challenging about writing?
It’s work. You have to sit in the chair and write. People who say, “Oh, I’ll write a book when I have some free time” have never tried it. I guess my more specific challenge is keeping everything straight. I keep meaning to write a “bible” for each series, but it looks like such a daunting task that I avoid it. (I had a reader ask if I’d tell Olivia’s story someday, and I have to confess I had to go back and look her up.)
What do you do to get in the mood to write?
I don’t think you can wait for a ‘mood.’ When it’s time to write, I go over the previous day’s scene and get a running start. I have a word count goal, and I write. It’s a job. You show up and get it down.
Are any of your personal experiences reflected in your writing?
Of course. As one example, when we moved from Florida (sea level) to Colorado (9100 feet), I incorporated our new living conditions by creating a character who was relocated to the area, and many scenes are based on the things I discovered.
What is your favorite thing about writing?
Sitting at a computer creating characters who sometimes listen to me and sometimes don’t is a world I can’t resist. And writing sure beats cleaning toilets!
Do you have a favorite character from one of your own books? Who and Why?
That’s like asking me if I have a favorite child. At any given moment, maybe one is a ‘favorite’ but I love them all. I had a lot of fun with Blake from What’s in a Name? because that book started out as a Highlander fan fiction story, although when I turned it into a novel, it changed completely. But I liked having my hero be the “weaker” character for a change.
Do you characters talk to you?
Yes. All the time. Early on, when people praised my dialogue, I told them I just transcribed what the characters told me.
Who is your favorite author?
Too many to mention, and I know I’d leave some out. JD Robb is an auto buy. Love Michael Connelly, John Sandford, C.J. Box, Suzanne Brockmann, Linda Castillo – the list is endless and it’s not really fair to single any one out.
What are you reading now?
As I write this, a novella by Lee Child (oops—he should probably be on the list above, too), called High Heat. Next up is Hour of the Rose by Christina Sky. I’m also reading The Worst Hard Time, by Timothy Egan, but that’s for my book club. Non-fiction, about the Dust Bowl, and it’s heavy reading. Not my genre by a long shot.
What is your guilty pleasure?
I’d say chocolate, but I’ve long outgrown feeling guilty about it. I suppose it’s spending too much time watching Food Network shows. But I record them to watch on my schedule. Actually, at my age, I’ve stopped feeling guilty about most things.
Get To Know You Short Answers:
Favorite Food: Chocolate anything.
Favorite Kind of Music: 60’s classic rock ‘n’ roll.
Favorite Color: Teal blue
What’s your Sign: Pisces [Mine, too!-MM]
Thin crust or thick crust pizza: Thick
Favorite sport: Spectator: football. Personal: walking/hiking.
Favorite Movie: Raiders of the Lost Ark; Hunt for Red October is a close second. As are the original 3 Star Wars movies.
Favorite Television Show: NCIS (and all those Food Network shows)
Where can your readers reach you?
Web site: http://terryodell.com
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please like my Facebook Page.
Blog: “Terry’s Place”
Do you have an excerpt from one of your recent books you’d like to share?
This is from Rooted in Danger, Book 3 in my Blackthorne, Inc. series. But first, here’s a blurb:
Behind the public façade of Blackthorne, Inc., a high-end private investigation company, lies a band of elite covert operatives, and they’re back doing what they do best.
Foster (Fozzie) Mayhew, Blackthorne’s Intel Specialist, is cocky and arrogant, befitting his Aussie heritage. Put him in a helicopter with his surveillance instruments and he can spot the fleas on a squirrel’s balls from five hundred feet. He’s happiest when he’s rescuing hostages, getting them to safety while Uncle Sam is still negotiating. But Fozzie’s boss pulls him from the work he loves and sends him to locate Victoria Hamilton, estranged daughter of a rich client.
Torie Stoker, born Victoria Hamilton, is hiding from her father who needs her at home and married. There’s no love lost between Torie and her family. They shipped her off to a Swiss boarding school when she was thirteen, and at twenty-nine, she’s never looked back. When her best friend, Kathy, dies, Torie settles in Oregon, determined to give meaning to Kathy’s death by continuing the botanist’s quest for rare plants with potential medical applications. When a man shows up with a gun, Torie realizes how badly her father must want her back.
Fozzie wants nothing more than to locate his target, report to his boss, and get back to his real job. When he finds Torie being dragged away at gunpoint, his protective instincts kick in. Soon, they’re racing to discover why her father sent armed men after her. Or could it have something to do with Kathy’s pharmaceutical research to cure orphan diseases? The answers threaten to change Torie’s life forever.
“Remember when we were in the car, on the side road? And the man from the pickup came over and you pretended we were making love?”
How could he forget? How soft she was, how well she played the game. “I remember.”
“Can you look me in the eye right now and tell me you were really acting?”
He kept his gaze locked with hers. “I wasn’t acting.”
“Neither was I. And I don’t care about tomorrow, or the next day, or next week. I don’t care if it’s nothing but a physical release. I want it. I need it. I want to feel now. I want you to hold me. I want to be in your arms. I want to feel your strength. I want to forget that horrible basement and the mind games.” She unbelted her robe. “I want you to take me into the bedroom and make love until the world goes away.”
“Torie, I—” Sweet Lord, she stood there, bathed in soft lamplight, her breasts round and firm, her nipples puckered into tight peaks. “I’m a man. Are you sure this is really what you want? Because in about thirty seconds, I’m not going to be able to say no.”
“Say yes.” She let the robe fall from her shoulders. With her soft curves, her lush figure, she looked like the goddess standing on the seashell. Whatever her name was. Right now, he was hard-pressed to remember his own.
“Yes.” It was more of a croak than a word. “Give me five secs.” He dashed for the bathroom, thanking the gods that he’d emptied his pockets before tossing his clothes into that laundry bag. He yanked open the drawer and snatched the condoms he’d taken from Palmer’s truck, hoping the guy had an active enough sex life so he replaced them regularly.
Torie was strolling to the bedroom. He watched her walk, her hips swaying with each leisurely step. Thoughts of being inside her, feeling her squeezed tight around him, kept his blood cascading south.
Sweet Lord, he’d had post-mission sex before. He knew what it meant to have nothing more than release as your goal. But no matter what Torie said she wanted, she deserved more. Because no matter what, tomorrow always rolled around, and they would both have to face the awkwardness that came with it.
Damn, he should let her go. She’d be upset for a while. But in the long run, she’d be better off without the regrets.
She gazed over her shoulder, beckoning with her eyes. Needy eyes. She crooked her finger. She might as well have grabbed him by the cock. “Coming?”
Not too soon, he hoped. He dropped his robe and followed.
Thanks for joining us today at Love, Lust and Laptops!