interview with Suzanne
Kay: Oh, Bellinis. You know how I love champagne.
Suz: Pat Cooper of Romantic Times BOOK reviews said “Thomas' characters have to be bulletproof as they keep on the run, one step ahead of gunmen and two steps behind the truth, in the swiftly escalating and breathtaking run for their lives.” And she gave it a 4 ½ star review. That’s some high praise! Can you tell us a little about this book?
Kay: Sure. I was thrilled with RT’s review. BULLETPROOF HEARTS is about a hit-and-run murder and a grieving sister’s hunt for answers that lead her straight into a killer’s deadly web. Abby Trevor’s only protection is dangerously sexy Shaun Logan. As shocking truths unravel and the unrelenting forces tracking her close in—one question remains. Can she trust a man who seems too good to be true?
Suz: Abigail Trevor is a bit of a “Steel Magnolia” who comes to Washington as a Southern belle with backbone when it comes to finding her brother’s killer. Do you find this kind of woman easy or hard to write?
Kay: I had a great time with Abby and unlike some of my other heroines I found her pretty easy to write. Feisty and independent, she says exactly what she is thinking despite having had a rather genteel upbringing. She’s “broken out” of that mold and is now bending the rules of propriety to find answers in her brother’s murder. She’s got trust issues because of how she was raised and as a result she always leaves herself an “escape hatch” in relationships. In dealing with Shaun, there is no escape hatch. Together, they’re an explosive combination.
Suz: Shaun Logan, mmmm, a fine Irish lad if there ever was one, brings a few issues of his own to the table. What’s driving him?
Kay: Shaun was raised on the mean streets of Dublin after losing his parents when he was a boy. He hides his real emotions under charm, a cool exterior and beautiful old world manners, never revealing what he truly feels. And Abby is making him feel and hope for things he never dreamed were possible…but to admit that is a huge risk for him. Especially as he is also hiding a secret from her that he never intended to get so far out of hand.
Suz:You let us see another of your characters in this book, Harlan Jeffries from your debut book, BETTER THAN BULLETPROOF. Was it fun revisiting him and Gina?
Kay: Yes! I loved writing Harlan Jeffries again. He’s still yummy and living his happily ever after with Gina and their adopted autistic son Adam. I also revisited a setting in that first book, Shaun’s house in Virginia. Plus I got to put in a cameo of my hometown Clarksdale, Mississippi.
Suz: Okay, so now that you’re hitting your stride with book # 4, tell us a little bit about your writing process. Are you a 9-5 sorta gal? Or a “burn-the-late-night-oil” writer?
Kay: I hesitate to call what I do a process. It doesn’t feel quite that structured…but
during the school year I write after my son leaves for school until I go to pick him up in the afternoons. During that time I use a kitchen timer and set it for three hours, turning it off when I get up for coffee, answering phone calls, checking email, etc.
After I hit three hours of “real writing time,” I stop for the day and work on email, publicity, etc. Of course, some days it takes me six hours to get those three “real hours” done. This productivity tool has changed the way I structure my days since I heard Susan Elizabeth Phillips speak about it at an RWA panel a couple of years ago. It’s been very good for me.
On tight deadlines I turn off my Internet access and work until I get it done. (Caffeine is my friend.) But I still use the timer to give myself built-in breaks. My biggest writing distraction by far is the Internet/social networking. I adore Twitter and Facebook, but I have to limit my time on them. The kitchen timer is good for that, too! Setting it for a ten-minute Facebook or twitter break then going back to writing.
Suz: Now I have a question for the Bandits, Bandit Buddies and Sven if we can spare him from the Bellinis for a moment to answer. There’s a scene in BULLETPROOF HEARTS where Abby is searching her brother’s desk looking for clues to his murder. She finds interesting things there. What’s the most unusual item we’d find sitting on your desk right now?
Kay: I’m looking at mine and it’s a tossup between the “Swiffer” duster and a pair of pink camouflage sunglasses. The duster is unusual because I’m not much of a housekeeper and I’ve no clue how the duster got to my desk and the glasses are unique because well...pink camo sunglasses? I bought them as a gag gift as we were driving through Arkansas on Spring break. Apparently pink camo sunglasses are all the rage in that area. Plus they match the bottle of Pink Flamingo nail polish that’s sitting on my desk, too.
So what about your desk? I’m giving a copy of BULLETPROOF HEARTS to one “unique” commenter.