by Anna Sugden
We’re sorry for the extra security in the Bandita’s Lair this morning, but when you meet our special, secret guest, we’re sure you’ll understand why. I hope the hockey hunks and the sexy Romans weren’t too enthusiastic in their searches (and for P226 and our other male visitors, the elite team of RB security gals)! Flag down a cabana boy for a drink and make yourselves comfortable.
I’m thrilled to welcome my dear friend, super-talented Medallion author Anna Louise Lucia, whose debut novel Run Among Thorns is out this month (don’t forget you can order from Amazon by clicking on the book cover). It’s a thrilling read, that grips you from page 1 and won’t let you put it down until you’ve reached the end. RT gave Run Among Thorns a well-deserved 4.5 stars.
Thank you, Anna, *g* I'm delighted to be here! Thank you for giving me, and Run Among Thorns, such a great welcome!
Please tell us about Run Among Thorns.
Ah, well, Run Among Thorns is my first book – the first I finished, the first I submitted, and my first to be published. But it's by no means the first draft! It's been through a lot of changes (I put it aside to write several others before coming back to it and trying again) but there's one true constant: Kier McAllister, the hero.
You see, Run Among Thorns is my, "what happens if you fall in love with your enemy?" book. There were times I was tempted to tone McAllister down, make him less uncompromising, less overwhelming, a bit... well, softer. I'm glad I didn't, because if I had the heroine, Jenny Waring, wouldn't have had a hero worthy of her own strength.
Jenny gets involved in a hostage situation and kills three armed men. It's Kier's job to break her, to find out how and why she did what she did, but Jenny finds herself drawn to her enemy, and Kier, for the first time, begins to question himself more than his subject...
The reason for all the extra security today, is that you’ve brought a very special guest with you. Would you like to introduce him?
He's not much of a man for introductions. Folks, this is Kier. He's taken a moment after accepting this mission, before he heads off with Jenny.
Kier, welcome to the Lair.
Can you tell us a bit about the mission you’re on?
Ah. I should have explained we've been granted clearance–
Let me see. Okay. For the record, I don't think this is a bright idea.
We understand. This is in complete confidence, you can trust us.
I don't trust anyone. I just won't tell you anything you can do any harm with.
It's a straightforward job of the type I'm best at. We've caught CCTV footage of a woman taking out three armed men. The Agency want to know how she was able to do that, and more importantly how she caught them napping. They're supposed to know when highly trained agents are on their patch. She got through.
It's my job to question her. To break her cover and find out what makes her tick.
What makes you the perfect choice for this job?
I have... a knack. It's not a bamboo splinters under the fingernails job, I'm not a torturer, I'm an interrogator. Given enough time, I can find anyone's break point.
What makes me perfect? I'm the best there is. It's not a boast, it's just the way it is. Doubt, compassion, uncertainty – those are the weaknesses that can get you killed. I don't have 'em.
This is not a job for a man with a conscience.
Now that you’ve had a chance to meet Jenny, what are your impressions of her?
She's good. Great offensive moves, clean kills, and a great actress. The idiots here have been questioning her for thirty-six hours or so – I've seen tapes of the highlights. Her performance is consistent, designed to convince and provoke pity.
I've been studying her and she seems to radiate this fragile courage. If I wasn't certain it was an act, I'd worry... but I am certain.
Yeah. She's good.
So, is this a pretty straightforward case. Or is there something unusual about it?
Every case is different. You underestimate a subject and you put yourself at risk.
The only unusual thing about this case is the way Agency staff seem to be improving on their usual level of anxious incompetence. The sooner we're out of here the better.
I suppose you could say Jenny's unusual, too. English, no good reason for firearms or combat aptitudes, and that sense of...
No. Like I said, she's good. But I can break her.
After you leave us, I understand you’re heading off to Scotland. Do you have a place there and what’s so special about it?
The way I operate relies on isolating the subject. Denying them any privacy, any respite, any control over the most basic aspects of their lives. I find that easiest on my own ground.
The longhouse – that's a traditional, one-storey cottage - in Scotland is very basic. One room, stone floors, no road, no telephone. It puts things on my terms. And puts her under my control.
Many thanks for joining us today, Kier. I know you’re keen to get on with your job, but I hope you’ll be able to stick around a little bit longer to chat with all of us in the Lair. Good luck with your mission.
There's no luck involved. But sure, I can stick around, while they're sorting out the paperwork.
Anna, thank you for bringing Kier with you. He certainly is an exciting hero. I hope he and Jenny get through their adventure together safely.
Can you tell us more about Taking the Pith and Waggledance? And about the fabulous prizes you have for some of our lucky visitors today.
LOL! Well, one of the character's Kier meets in Run Among Thorns is Alan, Jenny's brother. Alan's a Brit, and a real-ale fan. Poor Kier's a bit confused by all the strange-named beers in Alan's house, but I promise you that every one is real – I haven't made up a single one! I'm not Taking the Pith!
But now it's your turn to do just that – make up a beer name. I might even be able to include it in Alan's story – Dangerous Lies – which is out next year. I haven't done edits yet, so I should have the opportunity to immortalise your made-up-beer in my next book!
Some of the beers I've used have come from a local brewery called Jennings. Their offerings include Sneck Lifter and Cross Buttock.... but can you do better?
Make up a beer name and post it in comments, I will pick the winner and:
1) Include it in my next book (subject to publisher's editing!)
2) Send the winner a signed copy
3) And include some bookmarks and Jennings beer mats in the package
I'll also choose a runner up, and send another signed copy, bookmarks and beer mats.
You can find out more about Anna at her website http://www.annalouiselucia.com/ .