Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Interview with Lindsay McKenna – Taking Fire

Today I'm hosting an interview with NYT bestselling author Lindsay McKenna. She's talking about her new release, Taking Fire.

  • ISBN-13: 9780373785056
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 2/24/2015
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384


She dances on the edge of life…and death
Not all are meant to walk in the light. Marine Corps Sergeant Khat Shinwari lives among the shadows of the rocky Afghani hills, a Shadow Warrior by name and by nature. She works alone, undercover and undetected—until a small team of US Navy SEALs are set upon by the Taliban…and Khat is forced to disobey orders to save their lives.

Read an excerpt:

The SEAL team below, where Marine Corps Sergeant Khatereh Shinwari hid in her sniper hide, was in danger. The June sun was almost setting in the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan. Khat made a slow, sweeping turn to the right with her .300 Win Mag rifle along the rocky scree slope. She spotted fifteen Taliban waiting behind boulders to jump the four-man SEAL team climbing up the nine-thousand-foot slope.
Lips thinning, Khat watched the inevitable. She knew the team was looking for Sattar Khogani, the Hill tribe chieftain who was wreaking hell on earth to the Shinwari tribe. Her tribe. Her blood.
Pulling the satellite phone toward her, she punched in some numbers, waiting for her SEAL handler, Commander Jim Hutton, from J-bad, Jalalabad, to answer.
"Dover Actual."
"Archangel Actual." Khat spoke quietly, apprising Hutton of the escalating situation. She shot the GPS, giving the coordinates of where the SEALs were located and where the Taliban waited to ambush them. She asked if Apache helos were available.
An A-10 Warthog slumming in the area?
A C-130 ghost ship?
A damned B-52 on racetrack?
No. All flight assets were tied up with a major engagement to the east, near J-bad.
"What the hell can you give me, Dover?"
Khat was only a Marine Corps staff sergeant, and her handler, a navy commander, but she didn't give a damn at this point. Four good men were going to die on that scree slope really soon.
"No joy," Hutton ground back.
"You're going to lose four SEALs," she snapped back in a whisper, watching through her Nightforce scope. "Do you want another Operation Redwings?"
She knew that would sting him. Four brave SEALs had walked into a Taliban trap of two hundred. They were completely outmatched and without any type of support because their radio failed, and they couldn't call for backup help.
It had been one of the major reasons she'd gotten into her black ops activity and become involved. Khat didn't want any more fine men murdered because a drone wasn't available, or a satellite, or a friggin' Apache combat helicopter.
More men had died that night when a hastily assembled QRF, Quick Reaction Force, was finally strung together out of J-bad. The MH-47 Chinook had taken an RPG, rocket-propelled grenade, into it, and it had crashed, killing all sixteen on board. More lives were wasted. She had cried for days after it happened, unable to imagine the tragedy inflicted upon the families involved. None of their husbands, brothers or fathers were coming home.
It can't happen again. She wouldn't allow it. Khat knew without a sat phone, radio calls into this area were DOA, dead on arrival. The radio call would never be heard. She wasn't sure the leader of the patrol had one on him.
"There are no assets available."
"You said this team is out of Camp Bravo?"
"Affirmative. I'm initiating a QRF from Bagram. But it will take an hour for them to arrive on scene."
"What about a QRF from Camp Bravo?" Khat wanted to scream at this guy to get off his ass and get involved. Sometimes she wondered why they'd given her Hutton. He was a very conservative black ops handler. She wished she still had Commander Timothy Skelling, but he'd just rotated Stateside. Hutton reminded her of a slug; as if he didn't know what to do quickly, when pressed.
"I'm calling them, too. They can be on scene, providing they aren't already engaged elsewhere, in thirty minutes."
"Roger," she said, her voice hardening. "Get a call patched through to that platoon and warn them." Like fucking yesterday. She felt her rage rising. It always did in situations like this. She didn't want to lose Americans.
"I've sent a call over to Chief Mac McCutcheon of Delta Platoon."
"I'm waiting five minutes," Khat growled. "If I don't see that team stop and hunker down for an incoming call from Bravo, I'm engaging. The least I can do is warn off the SEALs, and they'll take appropriate action."
Shifting her scope, she saw more of Khogani's men sneaking up on the other side of the ridge. There had to be twenty of the enemy in all. Smaller boys with the Taliban group held the reins of the horses far below the slope. Sweat ran down her temples, the heat at this time of day unbearable.
"Archangel, you are not authorized to engage. Repeat. Do not engage. Your duty is to observe only.
She cursed Hutton in her mind. "Roger, Dover Actual. Out." She hated Hutton's heavy, snarling voice. All they did was spar with one another. To hell with him.
Khat wasn't about to take on thirty or so Taliban with one sniper rifle. But she could fire some shots before the muzzle fire from her rifle was seen by the Taliban. They would be fourteen-hundred-yard shots, and she set up to take out at least two or three of the hidden tangos. A .300 Win Mag didn't have a muzzle suppressor. Khat knew she could become instant toast when the sharp-eyed enemy spotted her location.
In the back of her mind as she checked elevation and windage, she knew Hutton would get a QRF up and pronto, if one was available. A quick reaction force would be needed because she knew Khogani's men would attack these four SEALs. Camp Bravo, a forward operating base, sat about thirty miles from the Af-Pak border, near where she was presently operating.
She knew SEALs carried the fight to the enemy, but sometimes it was wiser to back off and wait another day. Frustration thrummed through Khat.
Settling the rifle butt deeply into her right shoulder, her cheek pressed hard against the fiberglass stock, she placed one of the Taliban in the crosshairs. They were in a rocky stronghold waiting to spring the trap on the unsuspecting SEALs. Khat wished she could contact the team directly. She didn't have their radio code because it changed daily. And that's what she'd have to have in order to call that lead SEAL and warn him of the impending ambush.
The SEAL patrol members were all carrying heavily packed rucks and wearing Kevlar vests and helmets, which meant they were going to engage in a direct-action mission. Usually, she saw some patrols with SEALs wearing black baseball caps, or field hats, their radio mics near their mouths and carrying light kits, making swift progress toward some objective in the night.
Not this patrol. These guys were armed to the teeth. The lead SEAL's H-gear, a harness that held fifteen pockets worn around the man's chest and waist, held a maximum load of mags, magazines, of M-4 rifle ammo where he could easily reach it. These guys knew they were going into a firefight. But in broad daylight? Who authorized that kind of crazy mission? SEALs worked in the dark of night to avoid being seen by the enemy. It was rare they would be out on a daylight mission. What a FUBAR. Whoever put this op together was crazy.
Taking a deep breath, prone on her belly, she was glad she had on a Kevlar vest so she wouldn't have small stones biting deeply into the front of her chest. She had a 24X magnification on her Nightforce scope and could clearly see in the late-afternoon sunlight the man she'd chosen to kill. Glancing at her watch, she had two minutes before those five minutes were up. Hutton had better damn well have gotten his SEAL ass in gear.
The sun's slant was changing. Khat patiently watched her target. Every once in a while, she'd twist her head, glancing toward the SEALs slowly making their way up the steep slope. They blended in, but the Taliban had sharp eyes like her.
Two minutes.
Nothing from Hutton.
Nostrils flaring, Khat settled the scope on the nearest man holding an RPG casually over his shoulder. There were seven tangos in total who had RPGs. That was more than enough to kill these four SEALs. And they were a hundred feet of being in range of them. Slowing her breathing, she sighted, her finger brushing the two-pound trigger. Exhaling, she allowed her lungs to empty naturally. There was a one-second beat between inhale and exhale. The snipers referred to it as the still-point. And that is when she took the shot.
The booming sound of the .300 blasted through the silence. The jerk of the rifle rippled through her entire body. Khat instantly shot again. And a third time. She released the spent mag and slapped in another with the butt of her palm. All the Taliban targets went down. Jerking her rifle around, scope on the SEALs, she saw them instantly flatten out against the rocks. They were looking in her direction! Damn it!
She didn't have to wait long. RPGs launched, even if out of range, toward the SEALs. Khat swung the scope toward the Taliban. A number of them were angrily pointing her way. Yeah, they had her location. But she was fourteen hundred yards out of range, and those SEALs were four hundred yards from the enemy. Were they going to send tangos after her or not? Her heart started a slow beat as she scoped the enemy.
There was confusion among their ranks. They were yelling at each other.
And then her blood iced. There was Sattar Kho-gani, the young punk of twenty-four years who'd just taken over his father's leadership as chief of the Hill Tribe. His father, Mustafa, had recently been killed by a SEAL sniper. She'd celebrated. Sattar was in the center of his commanders, too short to take a shot at.
There were a lot of arms and hands waving, and she could see his lieutenants yelling and pointing at the SEALs and some pointing in her direction. Who to go after? She was counting on that confusion among the enemy.
Smiling grimly, Khat settled down again, muzzle and sights on the Taliban. She heard the throaty answer of the SEALs M-4 rifles as they engaged, firing off careful shots at the Taliban hidden behind the walled, rocky fort.
Not waiting, she began to fire into the crowd of Taliban officers, picking them off. Her shoulder felt bruised after firing nine rounds, the buck of the Win Mag terrific. Below her, her hearing keyed on the SEALs, they continued to return fire, spread out in a diamond formation on the scree to protect their flanks.
The Taliban suddenly surged out of the fort, waving their AK-47s, firing wildly at the SEALs. The RPGs were launched.
Khat swung her rifle, sighting on the closest man, taking him out before he could lob an RPG into the SEAL team. Damn! There were too many for her to stop! Cursing softly, she heard the RPGs explode. The pressure waves reached her, but she was spared, hunkered down a hair beneath the ridgeline.
Khat couldn't look to see how the SEALs were doing. She was taking out the enemy systematically, one at a time. There were more than thirty of the enemy and it seemed more and more arrived, and they started realizing they were caught in a deadly crossfire.
Khat pulled out two more mags of three bullets each. She released the spent mag and slapped in the full mag, settling in, swiftly looking through her sites. She saw one man shoulder the RPG. She shot before he did. Sweat was rolling down her face, burning into her eyes, making her blink, her vision blurring momentarily. With a hiss, she remained focused, continuing to pick them off.
The Taliban grudgingly retreated.
Khat waited, taking a deep breath, watching them through the scope. Lifting her head, she checked down the slope at the SEALs. They were quickly retreating in diamond formation. Smart guys. Get the hell outta Dodge because you are way outnumbered, guys…
Wiping her face with the back of her cammie sleeve, she quickly focused on the stone fort. More hand waving and shouting among the Taliban officers. The group had just lost half its men. More fists waved angrily in the air.
Sattar was still surrounded, and she couldn't draw a bead on him. Damn. She'd really like to take out the little bastard. Partial payment for what his sick monster father had done to so many innocent young boys and girls over his one-year reign as chief. He'd turned into a sex slave trader, and had so many young Afghan children kidnapped and sold across the border in Pakistan. She hated Mustafa, and she was sure his son was going to pick up where his sick sexual-predator father left off.
Mike Tarik ordered his men to retreat. He'd made calls to Camp Bravo, finding out the QRF was out on another run in the opposite direction from where they were located. There were no flight assets available. Worse, no drone or satellite was available over their area to understand the field of battle.
They were essentially blind in the fog of war, and engaging a much larger force than was anticipated. And they were caught out in the open on the scree with no place to hide.
Breathing hard, he kept watch over the other three men that he had responsibility for. Their comms man, Ernie, couldn't raise shit in this dead zone. The sat phone he had in his ruck had taken a bullet earlier. They were in a bad situation. The only thing they could do with the sun setting was retreat and then melt into the landscape of darkness and wait for pickup sometime later. They had to get off this scree ASAP.
Tarik heard a scream. Then more screams. He was playing rear guard to his men, higher on the slope than they were. Lifting his M-4, he saw at least fifteen Taliban charging them. Fuck!
He moved backward, slipped and fell among the rocks. Rolling, he managed to hang on to his rifle that was clipped to a harness across his shoulder and chest. He stopped his slide at the edge of the ridge, a hundred-foot drop into a wadi, or ravine, below.
Sighting, he began to slow fire, choosing his targets, remaining crouched. Again, he heard the booming sound of a Win Mag far above him. Who the hell was that? He wasn't aware of any SEAL sniper assets in the area. Who, then? Whoever was firing was helping his team out a helluva lot. The sniper was giving them a chance to retreat.
Tarik heard the dreaded hollow thunk of an RPG being fired. He jerked a look up and saw the damn thing sailing lazily through the air—right at him. Cursing, he dived to the ground, the rocks biting and bruising him. He automatically put his hands behind his head, buried his face in the rocks, opened his mouth and waited. If he didn't open his mouth, the blast pressure waves would make Jell-O out of his lungs, the air in his chest not equalizing with the air surrounding him.
The blast went off. The last thing he remembered was flying through the air.

Hi Lindsay, welcome to The Reading Frenzy. Tell my readers about Taking Fire.
TAKING FIRE:  A heroine with a cause by Lindsay McKenna
One of the hallmarks of my writing, as my loyal readers will agree with, is that I write ‘fresh.’  Well, what does that mean?  It means I’m not writing what everyone else is writing.  I want to write from different slants and perspectives than are normally thought of to write from. 
I wanted to create a heroine who was not a SEAL, but worked in deep black ops.  This is an area that few can write about except those who have been in the military, or who have great military consultants who can give them useful info in defining and creating a character who is in this super secretive area of undercover work. 
My heroine, US Marine Corps Sergeant Khatereh Shinwari, is someone you’ve never read about before.  She’s deep black ops.  Blacker than black, as they say in the trade.  And when the hero, SEAL Michael Tarik meets her, he runs into a black out on who she is.  And he wants to know her—or else.  So how to find out about a person that your heart is invested in and she’s not talking?  In fact, deep black ops individual will never tell you anything.  You don’t give them leads and you don’t give  them clues, either.
I had a great time creating scenes between these two Type A, competitive military combat people.  Mike is black ops and he’s got a top secret clearance just like every other SEAL does.  Most people think that’s as far as clearances go, but it doesn’t.  Khat Shinwari is so above him on the black ops food chain, that it defies discovery by Mike. 
Part of the fun of creating this book is the ultra secret status of Khat.  Who IS she?  Why is she operating out in the Hindu Kush Mountains of Afghanistan alone with no back up?  No help if she gets in a bad situation?  Mike just can’t understand her or her status.  One thing SEALs are really good at?  Finding out the unknowable.  And you, as the reader, will be with him as he gets serious about finding out who this brave, black ops woman really is.  Why?  Because he is drawn to her and isn’t about to just blow her off.  At the same time?   Khat isn’t telling him a thing about herself. 
So come along and watch how a SEAL operates in some pretty murky, deep black ops water and watch what happens

Lindsay, you have recent releases, On Fire and Zone of Fire are these books related to Taking Fire?
Here is the order that the titles should be read:
1. ZONE OF FIRE, eBook only
2. TAKING FIRE, eBook/paperback
3. ON FIRE, eBook only

This is a new approach by me and my publisher, Harlequin, to answer the plea of my readers for "more" on the main book, TAKING FIRE. The sequel to NEVER SURRENDER  sequel is ZONE OF FIRE and answers how Gabe and Bay are doing, but also, the beginning of Mike Tarik's story in TAKING FIRE is featured there, as well.
ON FIRE is third, and the sequel to TAKING FIRE. It is a 40,000 word long novella and a really a very satisfying conclusion for the reader.  It continues on Mike and Khat's evolving story.
Let me know if you like this new way of doing things after you've read all of them? Inquiring minds want to know!
For more on these books go to: www.lindsaymckenna.com. Sign up for my quarterly, free NEWSLETTER! Chock full of exclusive info, giveaways, and updates on books coming out!

Lindsay you write both series and stand-alone novels. Do you have a writing preference?
I am moved by my characters, their particular story and they decide whether I write a novella, a full-length novel or encase it within a series.  Generally, however, I always write in series.  I created the 3-consecutive series book idea in the late 1980’s with Silhouette books.  My editor, Tara Gavin, and I, pushed the untried concept through.  And then, the first “real” 3-book series was my Love and Glory trilogy, released in May 1988.  Those first three books introduced Morgan Trayhern and his family:  Alyssa, Noah and himself.  And each had a book of their own.  This type of series was the very first in the romance genre of publishing and was a huge hit!  It has become not only the Morgan’s Mercenaries series, but a family saga as well.  Today, it is 45 books strong and in 32 foreign languages in the world.
A Question of Honor, May 1988, was Noah’s story.  Then, No Surrender, June, 1988, was Alyssa’s story.  Lastly, Return of a Hero, July, 1988, was Morgan’s story.  This series is in eBook and just as popular then as it is now.
My next family saga/series is the Delos Series.  It has taken me five years to create, but it was worth it.  It will start with a 4-book series and each book will be released between 3-5 days apart from one another.  This new series is about the Culver family and I like to describe it as a saga. Here is a listing of the titles to come: 
Book 1, Nowhere to Hide, opens it up, introducing what Delos is, and the Culver family.  Second is Tangled Pursuit, Tal Culver’s story.  Forged by Fire is Matt Culver’s story.  Lastly, Broken Dreams is Alexa Culver’s story.  These first four books set the foundation for this family, ongoing saga/series and I’m really excited about.  The eBooks will be available on all major platforms. 

Lindsay, what do you like to read?
I don’t have time to read for pleasure.  I read research books all the time. For example, before I started the Shadow Warriors Series for Harlequin, I read black ops books for two years, taking notes (tons of them) before ever writing about the US Navy SEALs.  For example, I was in the US Navy and I had met one SEAL, but at that time, they were blacker than black ops, so I had no idea what a SEAL was!  I was a weather forecaster in the Navy, so a SEAL wasn’t in my Navy world.

Lindsay I read that you’re known as the ‘Top Gun’ of Military women’s fiction, and you’re the only author in this genre to have signed books in the Pentagon Bookstore. Wow, what an honor! What’s the biggest draw for you to write in this genre?
Indeed, it was a real honor because I’m a military vet myself and I considered it a sacred moment in my career.  The ‘draw’ to write what I’d experienced in the US Navy, is why I created the military romance genre in 1983 with Captive of Fate (now available as an eBook).  I wrote what I knew.  I was in the military, so felt comfortable writing military romances.  Except, when I wrote Captive of Fate, my literary agent at that time refused to try and sell it because it was a military romance.  She cited that no one in the publishing industry would be interested in it because no one was writing romance that had a military hero in it.  So, I lost the agent, but pushed ahead and sent it on to Second Chance at Love/Berkley, where it was rejected because it wasn’t ‘light and fluffy’ as most romances were back in the early 1980’s.
I then sent it to Silhouette and it landed in the hands of the editorial director, Alicia Condon (now over at Kensington Publishing).  She bought it immediately.  And when it came out, Captive of Fate was a bell weather moment in the romance writing industry because it was a serious, gritty, edgy book, realistic, unlike what was being published at that time.  Captive of Fate hit the romance market and made a huge, lasting splash. Everyone found out very quickly that there was a place at the table not only for military heroes, but also books that were very realistic and wasn’t “fluff and humor” at all.
I have always written serious, real-life kinds of books that are very edgy and gritty.  They are intensely emotional with a powerful love story nestled within it.  It’s who I am.  I’m not a “fluff and humor” kind of writer and never will be.  We all have our strengths and our unique voice, so we should all be honoring what we bring to the table as an individual author, not trying to mimic someone else. I have always honored my author voice.  That’s never going to change no matter what is deemed “popular” in the romance genre as a whole at the moment.  Better to be an individual and stand out from the herd because there are readers for all kinds of writing voices out there.  I have a 33 year+ run as a popular brand author precisely because I listen to my own drummer and no one else’s drum. ;-)

Since I was the creator of the military romance, and I was a military vet, I continued to write military romance and romantic suspense to this day.  My readers love it and I love to write about our heroic men and women in the military in a positive light.

Lindsay you’re also called a pioneer and originator of the three book swift succession series that’s based on your Harlequin Silhouette Love and Glory series in 1999. Congratulations, that’s quite the accolade and you’ve gotten more than just that.
Do these titles give you a certain ownership in or of the romance genre.
I answered most of this question up above, so I’ll answer your second question.  I’ve always been a pioneer in the romance publishing world.  I created the military romance in 1983 and I created the 3-book consecutive series (which was also a military romantic suspense trio) in 1988, and now, with the Delos Series coming out in October, 2015, you’ll see another innovative creation which I won’t reveal.  I’ll let the readers discover it on their own and I’m SURE they will truly appreciate what I have envisioned and created just for them. 
Since I created the military romance, yes, I do own the right to say that I was the one who thought of it and brought it to life.  I believe inventors and innovators should be acknowledged.  That’s only fair and honors the person who created the idea or concept.  To look at this from another perspective, but a parallel, the US Patent Office records millions of creative/inventive ideas to which that person owns his or her idea.  There, they are legally acknowledged by being awarded a patent.  Not so in publishing.  RT Book Reviews did give me a number of awards over the years, for creating the military romance genre, as well as in 2014 Pioneer Award, for creating the 3-book continuing series concept, and that was very decent and thoughtful of them to do so.

You’ve received many prestigious awards. Is there one that you’re still hoping for?
In 2014, I received two Publisher’s Weekly magazine starred reviews.  To even get reviewed in PW is a feat on its own.  To get a starred review is like an actress receiving an Oscar for her performance.  Never Surrender (HQN, June 2014) from the Shadow Warriors series, received one. You can check it out here: http://publishersweekly.com/978-0-373-77882-9
And then in December, 2014, from my Wyoming Series, I received a second starred PW review for Wolf Haven.  You can view that review here: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-373-77903-1
Publisher’s Weekly magazine also included these two books in their “Best Books of 2014” section. That was a stunning feat and one I’d never dreamed of receiving.  To get two starred reviews, one in each of my series, in the same year?  That was mind boggling and you can count on one hand how many romance authors have attempted that feat and made the climb to be recognized as such. I was very humbled to receive such accolades. 
Taking Fire was also boosted into the stratosphere in February, 2015, by having Library Journal announcing that it is one of the “2015 Spring Picks.”  This is huge because LJ is the icon of the librarian network for the American library system, as well as globally. To be singled out in their quarterly selections of the best books that librarians should be buying for their library, is just beyond the scope of my expectations.  And Taking Fire is one of those selections and the review was incredible.  Click here to read: http://reviews.libraryjournal.com/2015/02/books/editors-spring-picks-2015/

I’ve never aspired to winning anything.  I keep my head down, do my story telling and communicate constantly with my readers—which is a deep, ongoing enjoyment for me (and I hope for them, too)!  If I receive awards, it’s personally satisfying, but nothing I honestly expected.  I don’t enter contests, either.  I let my story telling be judged by the most important individual: my reader.  If an industry magazine or other group wants to single out one of my books and honor it…that’s frosting on the cake that I never thought of or expected.
And I’m always humbled if and when that happens.  But I don’t live my life dreaming of getting awards or good reviews.  I’m not in competition with anyone except myself to write a better story the next time around.  My focus has always been my loyal and enthusiastic readers and what they want to see from me next.  They are my true reward.  When I get a letter or email from one of them?  It’s like receiving a Pulitzer prize to me.

Lindsay, we’ve covered your public persona and I’d like to focus on your personal for a question. You served in the US Navy as Meteorologist. First Thank you for your service. But your service career doesn’t end there you’ve also served as a Volunteer Firefighter and an EMT. WOW! How was your writing influenced by these career choices?
Thank you for acknowledging my service to my country.  That’s always wonderful to hear.  I do, what I call, “writing close to the bone.”  That means I take personal experiences of my own, or others, and combine them with my imagination to create plots, characters and such.  I don’t ever take a person I know and put them in a book. Rather, all my characters are composites, bits and pieces into a particular hero or heroine or secondary character, instead. 
I often put medical information in my novels, and it is factual, not fictional.  With my EMT background, I can do this.  And often, it’s a ‘show and tell’ for the reader about something. For example, when an artery or vein gets torn open or a bullet/knife goes through it, the severity actually depends upon the angle of the cut into it.  You can bleed out and die in 2.5-3 minutes unless someone is putting continuous direct pressure (a lot of it) on that wound site.  But, if the angle is correct, the artery or vein that has been torn open, will closer on its own very quickly, thereby preventing the person dying of blood loss.  Angle is a huge thing and of course, no one knows or sees through the blood when this happens.  That’s why we put constant, direct pressure on any bleeding wound.
I have just such a scenario in my up and coming Course of Action: Crossfire, (Harlequin Romantic Suspense, June 2015) “Hidden Heart,” (a two-book novella with Merline Lovelace, and this is book 3 of the series, and the last book in it).  The hero’s best friend is struck by a bullet in the neck.  And you can read the rest of this first chapter to find out what happened and why getting any kind of injury in the neck region is the most vulnerable part of our body where we can’t always take life-saving actions as we can elsewhere on a person’s body.
Another example of my medical knowledge being dropped into a story for my novel On Fire (HQN, March 2015) from the Shadow Warriors series.  It is the sequel to Taking Fire.  In On Fire (eBook only, available on all platforms), the heroine, Khat Shinwari, gets a medical condition.  She’s a paramedic, but she’s been in a life-and-death firefight with the Taliban, when this condition unexpectedly arises.  Even she, in her present state, can’t figure out what is going on, until later.  I think the readers will learn a lot on this.  They’ll let me know, for sure!
And I love to subtly educate my readers where the story can parallel real life.  I often will place a tidbit into a story and it’s fun to have readers come back after they’ve spotted the tidbit, then Google it, and read up and educate themselves even more on that tidbit as a result.  Not all fiction is fiction.  Writers can’t write outside themselves.  You write what you know, what you’ve experienced, or do research on it. And it ends up somewhere in a particular book.  Much to the reader’s delight.

Lindsay thank you so much for answering these questions.
Thank you for all your giving back. Good luck with the new novel and all your future ones too!
Thank you for having me and I’ve enjoyed my time with you.

 Lindsay McKenna Links
            Website: http://www.lindsaymckenna.com

            Blog:  http://lindsaymckenna.wordpress.com

Book trailer:  www.lindsaymckenna.com

Instagram:  www.instagram.com  (Lindsay McKenna)

Audible.com:  The complete Wyoming Series

A U.S. Navy veteran, she was a meteorologist while serving her country. She pioneered the military romance in 1993 with Captive of Fate, Silhouette Special edition. Her heart and focus is on honoring and showing our military men and women. Creator of the Wyoming Series and Shadow Warriors series for HQN, she writes emotionally and romantically intense suspense stories. Visit her online at www.LindsayMcKenna.com.

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  1. I think writing in a series would be so much fun because I know I get attached to characters after just one book, I couldn't imagine what the attachment would be for the writer who created them!
    Great interview as always Debbie!

  2. Great interview. A well written military romance is always fun.

  3. Kindlemom, I'm a family person by nature, so series for me is a no-brainer. Besides, like you? I get terribly attached to my characters just like you do. I'll always write them. Be sure to watch for my NEW series, Delos. Check out my website for details. And don't forget to sign up for my free newsletter on the front page of my website ;-) warmly, Lindsay McKenna

  4. Karen, it sure is ;-)
    warmly, Lindsay McKenna

    1. Lindsay, thanks for stopping by I loved all your in depth and wonderful answers. It was such a pleasure to interview you and I can't wait to read your latest novel!

  5. I love that she writes outside of the box. The heroine herself sounds kick-ass and I like strong women to go head to head with these alpha males. I am in

  6. kibacaffeinate, thank you. I believe women are much stronger than any man and I like to show my readers they can do it too ;-)
    Warmly, LIndsay McKenna

  7. Debbie, thank you for having me. I hope I can drop by again ;-) I appreciate all you did to support TAKING FIRE! Warmly, LIndsay McKenna

  8. Ooo Debbie you tempt my Amazon account so bad! lol

  9. This book sounds like it is right up my alley.