Thursday, January 16, 2014

**GIVEAWAY** Author Interview Mike Lawson-Rosarito Beach

I'm happy to welcome author Mike Lawson who is talking about his new novel, the first in a new series by Penguin US who is also very kindly offering a print copy giveaway to one lucky person.
Enjoy our chat and then enter to win a copy of the novel, be the first of your friends to read the first in this new exciting series.

  • ISBN-13: 9780399165733
  • Publisher: Blue Rider Press/Penguin US
  • Publication date: 12/31/2013
  • Pages: 352

Mike's Publisher Penguin Group USA
Is offering one Print Copy US ONLY
Of Rosarito Beach
Thanks Penguin
To enter use the Rafflecopter form below
Good Luck!!

Bold, brash, and beautiful, Kay Hamilton is not your average DEA agent—she’s as infuriating as she is irresistible. Having recently been transferred to San Diego after a case in Miami brought her more notoriety than medals, Kay once again finds herself embroiled in an international bust. Tito Olivera, younger brother of drug czar Caesar Olivera, is within her grasp. If she takes down Tito, Kay is positive that Caesar will follow—

Read an excerpt:

***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof.***
 Copyright © 2013 by M.A. Lawson
Kay checked the time. Again. Maria Delgato was forty minutes late. If Maria had decided to blow her off, Kay was going to invent a rea­son for arresting her tomorrow.
Kay was sitting alone at a splintery wooden picnic table near a taco stand that was closed for the day. Two middle-aged men in an unmarked Ford Crown Victoria were parked fifty yards away. If Kay hadn’t been so pissed at Maria, it would have been pleasant sitting there, enjoying the view of the Coronado Bridge and the skyline of San Diego across the bay. Kay had just decided to give her five more minutes when Maria swung into the parking lot in her boyfriend’s BMW convertible.
Maria stepped from the car, hesitated briefly, and started toward Kay, then stopped when she saw the two men in the sedan.
“Come on,” Kay said. “Those guys are with me. They’re okay.”
Maria Delgato was eye candy: twenty-four years old, long black hair, a heart-shaped face, a coffee-and-cream complexion. She had an in­credible body. They had surveillance photos of her sunbathing topless on Tito Olivera’s yacht, and there wasn’t a DEA agent in San Diego who hadn’t seen those photos. Kay was surprised they hadn’t been posted on the Internet.
“Are you the one who called me?” Maria asked when she reached the table. She was probably surprised that Kay looked only a few years older than her.
“Yeah. I’m Kay Hamilton. Sit down.”
“Let me see your ID.” Maria’s English had just a trace of a Spanish accent.
“Sure,” Kay said. Kay was wearing a blazer, and she made sure Maria could see the .40 caliber Glock in the shoulder holster as she took her badge case from an inside pocket. The Glock intimidated most people, but probably not Maria. She was used to being around men who were armed. Kay flipped open the case and showed her credentials. “Now, sit down.”
Maria sat. “Okay. What’s this all about? What happened to my brother?”
“Did you tell Tito you were meeting me?” Kay said.
“No. Of course not. He’d kill me if he knew I was talking to a DEA agent.”
She was probably right about that, Kay thought.
“So where did you tell Tito you were going?”
“I told him I had to go see my mother, that she’s not feeling well. I see her three, four times a week.”
“Good. After you leave here, make sure you go see your mother.”
“Just tell me about my brother. You said he was in trouble.”
“He is. I arrested him this morning,” Kay said. “He was carrying an unregistered weapon and four eight-balls of cocaine. Dealer’s weight.”
Miguel Delgato was a year younger than Maria and almost as pretty. He sold coke to college kids at San Diego State because he looked like a college kid himself. Kay didn’t think he was a bad guy; he just didn’t know any other way to make a living.
“Miguel’s now looking at a minimum of five years in the federal pen at Victorville,” Kay said.
“Ah, Jesus,” Maria said.
“Yeah, that’s right. When he gets out of jail, he’ll be infected with AIDS and God knows what else, and he’ll look like those washed-up hookers you see on El Cajon Boulevard. You know, Maria. The ones who look like zombies, all the life gone from their eyes.”
“Why are you telling me this?” Kay didn’t answer the question. “To make matters worse, you, your brother, and your mother are all illegals. You’re not U.S. citizens.”
“Bullshit. I was born in Arizona and I got papers to prove it. Birth certificate, social security number, all that shit. So does Miguel and my mom.”
Kay shook her head like she felt sorry for Maria. “You have forged papers, Maria, and they’re bad forgeries. You were born in El Salvador, and you and your mother and your little brother snuck into the U.S. twelve years ago, right after your father died. Maria, I know more about you than I do about my own sister.” Kay didn’t have a sister, but she did know everything there was to know about Maria Delgato and her family.
It looked for a moment like Maria was going to continue to argue that she was a bona fide citizen, but she gave up. “What are you saying? You’re gonna deport me?”
“That’s right. Your mother, too. ICE is going to drag her out of her nice little apartment in National City, stick her on a plane with only the clothes on her back, and ship her back to El Salvador. You’re going to be on the plane sitting next to her. Then I’m going to make sure you never get back into this country again.”
“Why are you doing this? All the crime in this fucking country, and you’ve decided to destroy my family. Why?”
“Because you’re sleeping with Tito Olivera.”
“So what? That’s not illegal. I don’t have anything to do with the things he does.”
“You’re right. Fucking Tito isn’t illegal, and I know you don’t have anything to do with his business. But you see, Maria, my only reason for living is to put Tito Olivera in prison, and I’ve decided that you’re the one who’s going to help me do it.”
“You want me to snitch on Tito? Do you know what the Olivera cartel does to snitches?”
“Yeah, I know what they do. So we need to make sure you don’t get caught.”
“I’m not gonna get caught, because I’m not gonna help you. That would be suicide.”
Kay stared at her for a moment, then shrugged. “Okay. Have it your way.”
Kay rose from the picnic table and made a Come here motion with her right hand. Maria turned to see who she was waving at, and saw it was the two guys in the Crown Vic. When they got out of the car, Ma­ria could see they were two serious-looking white guys wearing suits and aviator sunglasses. They started walking toward the picnic table.
“Who are they?” Maria asked.
“ICE. They’re taking you and your mother to a detention center to­night, and tomorrow you’ll be on your way back home. As for your gorgeous brother . . . Well, there’s no point repeating myself.”
“Wait a minute!” Maria said.
Kay held up a hand and the two men stopped walking.
“My mother’s got a heart condition,” Maria said. “She could die if you send her back to El Salvador.”
“Not my problem, Maria, but I’m sure they must have some kind of medical system down there.”
“Look. I need some time to think about this.”
“There’s nothing to think about. You’re either going to help me or I’m going to deport you and your mother, and I’m going to do it so fast that you’re not going to have time to get a lawyer or anybody else to stop me.”
“But I can’t help you! I don’t know anything about Tito’s operation. He doesn’t tell me what he’s doing.”
“Maria, we can’t get recording devices into Tito’s house. We’ve tried half a dozen times, but there’s always someone there. I’ve got warrants to tap his phones, but even as dumb as Tito is, he knows better than to say something incriminating on the phone. What you’re going to do is put a few bugs in the house for me. I have them with me. They’re tiny. You’re going to stick one under Tito’s desk, one under that big black coffee table in the living room, and one under the bar by the pool.”
“Tito has the house swept every week for listening devices.”
“I know that, Maria. I also know the kind of equipment he uses, and Tito’s equipment won’t detect these bugs.”
Maria was silent, probably trying to think of some other reason why she couldn’t do what Kay wanted. Finally, she said, “And that’s it? I put a couple bugs in the house and you leave my mother alone and you let Miguel go?”
Kay laughed. “Come on, Maria. You think all blondes are stupid? If I let Miguel go, you’ll tell Tito about the bugs and Tito will help Miguel get into Mexico. Then Tito will get a hotshot immigration lawyer for you and your mama, and it’ll take me years to deport you.”
“So what happens to my brother?”
“Your brother is going to be arraigned for intent to distribute narcot­ics and for carrying a concealed weapon, and the judge will give him bail. We’ll make sure he has enough cash to pay the bondsman. Then we’re going to take Miguel into protective custody. It’ll look like he skipped to keep from going to jail, but we’ll have him. If you do what I want, as soon as Tito’s arrested, we’ll let your brother go and he won’t serve any time. But if you don’t do what I want, then Miguel goes to Victorville.”
“This can’t be legal.”
“What do you know about legal, Maria? You’re a wetback, not a lawyer.”
“This isn’t right.”
“I don’t have time for this,” Kay said. She stood up again and mo­tioned at the two men in suits, who were now leaning against their car. “Guys, she’s all yours. Get her out of here.”
“All right! I’ll do it. I’ll plant the bugs. But that’s all I’ll do.”
“No, that’s not all you’ll do. I’m going to call you every once in a while from an untraceable phone. The number won’t show up on your cell phone bill, and since we’re watching Tito all the time, I’ll call when he’s not around. Then we’ll just chat. You’ll tell me what Tito’s been up to, who he’s been talking to, that sort of thing. You know, girl talk. If I think we need to meet, we’ll meet.”
“You’re gonna get me killed.”
Kay placed her right hand gently on Maria’s forearm. “No, I’m going to take care of you, Maria. I’m going to take care of your brother and your mother, too. After this is all over, we’ll put you into Witness Pro­tection if we have to. We’ll get you new identities. We’ll relocate you. You want to become American citizens, we’ll take care of that, too. And with your looks, I imagine it won’t take you any time at all to find some rich guy to marry—it just won’t be Tito Olivera. Now I’m going to tell the guys from ICE that you’ve decided to cooperate, and after they’re gone I’m going to show you how to attach the bugs. They’re real easy to attach.”
Maria put her head in her hands and started crying. Kay gave her a pat on the shoulder and said, “Stop that. You’re going to smear your mascara.”
Kay walked over to the men leaning against the Crown Vic. One was a nurse at Scripps Mercy Hospital and the other was a yoga instructor. They lived together and were Kay’s next-door neighbors. They were also wannabe actors. When Kay had told them she needed their help in a small sting operation and all they had to do was show up in suits and try to look tough, they were delighted to help.
“You guys can take off,” she said to them. “And thanks.”
“How we’d do?” one of them said.
“Perfect. You looked like two badass federal agents. The sunglasses were a nice touch.”
Actually, the sunglasses were over the top.
“You want to come over for drinks tonight? Don will make up a pitcher of strawberry margaritas and you can tell us what’s going on.”
“Sorry,” Kay said. “I can’t tell you. But I will be over later for the ’ritas.”
After what happened to Kay in Miami, she was going to limit the number of people who knew about Maria Delgato to only one other agent in the DEA—which was why she’d used her nice-guy neighbors to impersonate ICE agents. She was going to do everything she could to minimize the risk of Maria—or herself—being killed because people couldn’t keep their mouths shut. There was not going to be another Miami.

Mike hi, welcome to The Reading Frenzy!

Tell my readers about your new novel staring DEA agent Kay Hamilton.
First, thank you for doing this interview.  I appreciate the opportunity to tell you and your readers about the book.  This is, however, a book I can’t say too much about because there’s a major plot twist about a hundred pages into it that will hopefully come as a surprise and I don’t want to give that away.  What I will say – as you’ve written above - is that the book is about a DEA Agent, Kay Hamilton, who gets seriously cross-wired with a Mexican drug cartel.  The plot is fast-paced – not just my opinion but as described by those who’ve read it – and what I really like about the book is the character of Kay Hamilton – and I’m hoping readers will, too.  This character is flawed – because I like flawed characters.  She’s abrasive, hardheaded, overly ambitious, and doesn’t play well with others.  She makes mistakes – and refuses to admit that she’s made a mistake.  At the same time, she’s fearless, quick-witted, loyal to those she loves, and, I think, has a great sense of humor.

Was there a particular event etc… that was the catalyst for Rosarito Beach?
Rosarito Beach had an odd origin.  I didn’t set about to write a book with a female protagonist or to start a new series.  It just sort of happened.  A television producer who likes the Emma character in my DeMarco novels – another strong female – asked me to consider working on a television show with a female lead.  Instead, I ended up writing Rosarito Beach and never pursued the TV idea – but I liked the character and the story line.   The good news is, my publisher liked the book and it’s been optioned for television, so maybe one day you’ll see Kay on the small screen.

Is this the start of a new series?
I hope so.  Penguin Blue Rider Press is publishing a second Kay Hamilton novel, tentatively titled Viking Bay.  The book is with my editor right now.  In the end, however, a positive response from readers is what will determine if I write more than two books in the series.  I’ve enjoyed writing the first two books, am looking forward to writing more, and I’ve completed a rough draft of a third one.

You also have a long running series staring polito fixer Joe DeMarco.
Is that series ending?
It’s too soon to say.   A ninth book in the DeMarco series will be released in July 2014 – a book that was finished before Rosarito Beach.  I enjoy writing DeMarco as much as I enjoy writing Kay Hamilton, but I’m not sure I’ll have the time to write two series.  The problem with writing any series is that, as a writer, you’re limited.  By that I mean the characters in a series or the settings limit the kind of stories you can tell.  The good news about having two series with different characters is you can write more stories.   

You have a background in government work. Has this helped in your writing?
I believe it has.  I worked in Washington D.C. for a while, traveled there frequently, and throughout my engineering/government career I worked with large, complex bureaucracies and was able to see the infighting in those organization, their power, and their competence.  Knowing how big organizations actually function helped when writing Rosarito Beach in scenes where I had the Department of the Defense, the Department of Justice, and the DEA interacting.  Also, my past background exposed me to a lot of real-life “colorful” characters who’ve end up in my novels – hopefully disguised. 

According to your bio you like to write and it’s fun. Would you call yourself an accidental author, or was writing fiction in your plans all along?
I’m not sure what I’d call myself.  Writing fiction was something I started doing about twenty years ago – meaning I didn’t always write and never thought about being a writer when I was in college – which was why I got an engineering degree.  I have always been a big reader, however, and at one point I said to myself: I think I can write a novel – then I just tried.  I suppose you’d say the accidental part was twofold.  First, the invention of the laptop computer.  The laptop and programs like Word and Word Perfect made it “mechanically” easy to write – and, more importantly, to rewrite.  Prior to the laptop, using a typewriter or writing longhand was just too laborious.  The second thing was that I used to take a ferry to work from Seattle to Bremerton, Washington.  The ride was about an hour.  So I had a luxury that most writers who are still working and have families don’t have: an hour of uninterrupted time in which to write.  Whether accidental, planned, or pre-ordained, all I know is that I love what I do and hope to keep doing it for a long time.

Your DeMarco series is set in DC and this new novel’s based in California.
Do you travel to your novel locations for research, or is this something you accomplish at your writing desk?
Although I do a lot of research from my desk using information available on the Internet or talking to experts on various topics, I always try to travel to the location I’m writing about.  (I can only think of one of my books where I didn’t travel to the location.)  As you may have noticed in Rosarito Beach, I don’t spend a lot of time writing about the scenery or the locale – I’m a big believer, like the late Elmore Leonard, in limiting descriptions only to what is necessary to advance the plot.  However, by going to the place where the book is set, I get a “feel” for the place, which I need when I’m writing.  I also go to the places I’m writing about for the sake of accuracy.  In Rosarito Beach, for example, there’s a gunfight scene around the federal courthouse in San Diego.  I wrote the first draft of the scene using Google Maps, however, when I traveled to San Diego, I had to completely revise the scene to match the reality of street directions, buildings, and such – and the scene, I think, was much better in the end because of this.  

Speaking of your writing desk. Do you write on a schedule?
I guess you could call it a schedule – or maybe compulsion would be a better word.  I write every day.  I’m an early riser – get up about five, five-thirty and I immediately start writing.  I usually work until ten or eleven – five or six hours – but some days, if everything sounds like crap, I might stop after only a couple of hours – but I write every day. 

Mike according to your bio when you’re not writing you’re mostly playing golf or goofing around.  Does that include reading?
The real answer to the question: What do I do when I’m not writing is: whatever my wife tells me to do.  But I like to play golf – unfortunately, I’m lousy at it – I fish sometimes as I have a home on a lake – and I read a lot.  I’m always reading a book.  I like pretty much all genres and have been reading more non-fiction than fiction these days.  The other thing I do - and I don’t mind admitting it as I consider it “homework” for my profession - is watch TV and movies as one of these days I’d like to get a screenplay produced. 

Mike thanks for taking the time out of your very busy schedule to let us get to know you and Kay a little better.
Good luck with the new novel and all your future endeavors!
Thank you, once again for doing this interview.

M. A. Lawson is a pen name for award winning novelist Mike Lawson, a former senior civilian executive for the U.S. Navy, and creator of the eight novels in the Joe DeMarco series.

Connect with Mike – WebsiteFacebookTwitterEvent Schedule

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  1. It'll be the first time I'm reading Mike and I hope not the last! I enjoyed the interview and i think I'll like his book. I enjoy fast paced, flawed heroines and humor. Plus DEA agents :) Crossing my fingers, Debbie!

  2. I've not read any of Mr. Lawson's work but intend to remedy that fact. ROSARITO BEACH has been on my TBR for some time now, and I'd be thrilled to win a copy! Best wishes to the author for continued success!

    1. Katherine, glad to hear that you've had Mike's new release on your radar here's hoping lady luck is with you!

  3. This sounds intense, and I love a good crime thriller. Lovely interview and I hope things go well for you. How exciting that the book is already sold to television.

    1. I totally agree with you Kim, I love and live for a great crime thriller. And that is very exciting!

  4. Sounds pretty exciting. Love that he travels to the different locales. I'd love to do that if I were a writer too.

    1. Thanks for the comment Anna I hope you get to travel to different locales too!

  5. Having read all the DeMarco series I eagerly awaited Rosarito Beach arriving at our door here in England. I wasn't disappointed, it's a great read and can't wait for the follow up, Viking Bay, to be published. Kate Hamilton is a marvellous character.

    1. John, so glad to hear from a fan who has read the series, I'm anxiously waiting until I can open my own copy of Rosarito Beach. Thanks so much for the comment from across the pond. :)