Sunday, January 29, 2012

SECRET LOVER—a conversation with Jim and Andi

In the last year Harlequin has reissued 15 of my 21 backlist titles in ebook.  Today I'm talking with Jim Richards and Andrea Sinclair from SECRET LOVER, a mystery romantic/suspense from Harlequin's Intrigue line, originally released in print June 1999 and currently available in ebook.

Good morning, Andi and Jim.  Thanks for joining me today.  Your story is certainly spread out geographically.  It starts in the middle of a snowy winter at an area of summer vacation cabins in the woods on Vancouver Island in Canada and travels all the way down the west coast to La Jolla, California, next to San Diego.

Jim:  Good morning, Shawna.

Andi:  Thanks for the invitation to stop by for a chat.

Andi, you're from La Jolla, a charming Southern California beach town.  And you live in a restored bungalow right on the beach.  Why would you leave such a marvelous location and travel to the Canadian woods in the middle of winter, a time when most people are getting away from the cold, snowy climate and traveling to a warm and sunny place to spend the winter?

Andi:  (chuckles) That's a great question, one I kept asking myself as I looked out the cabin window and watched the snow falling.  I'm an author…mystery novels.  The book I was working on was something different for me.  Instead of creating the plot from beginning to end, I was using a real case from the news that had never been solved, a cold case, as inspiration.  I concocted a similar storyline to the facts of the real case as the back story for my novel and was in the process of trying to bring it forward and solve my similar but fictional mystery.  Unfortunately, I was having a major case of writer's block.  My agent made a reservation for me at the cabin campground hoping the change of scenery and isolation would eliminate any distractions and help me get back on track again.

Jim:  That's where I encountered Andi.  After a year of running, I finally found an out of the way far off the beaten path place in the Canadian woods on Vancouver Island and had worked there four years.  In the off season I was the winter caretaker of the cabins.  We occasionally had someone check in during the off season, but not that often.  So, to have a beautiful woman staying there all alone was far from ordinary.  While bringing in some more firewood for her, I noticed all the crumpled, discarded sheets of paper on the floor and asked her about them.

Andi:  I had so thoroughly researched the facts of the real case, that I couldn't let go of the real man who was the center of the story—a man who had done the right thing in exposing criminal activity and agreeing to testify in court, then an attempt on his life put him in protective custody.  Shortly after that he disappeared from the safe house.  With their key witness gone, they had to drop charges.  That left me with lots of questions.  Was he bought off by the bad guys?  Had they killed him and disposed of the body?  Had he taken off because he changed his mind about testifying?  Everything I had dug up about the missing witness said he was an honorable man.  So what happened?  I couldn't concentrate on my fictional version.  Part of that, I'm sure, can be blamed on the time I spent as assistant to a top investigative reporter.  All my instincts were pushing at me to follow the real story rather than make up a fictional ending.

What about you, Jim?  What went through your mind when you saw her research notes?

Jim:  That's an easy question.  Pure and absolute panic.  My mind flew in every direction at once trying to latch on to anything that made sense.  I even gave a brief thought to the possibility of her being a professional hired killer sent to silence me.  For five years I had been living by my wits…five years since I had been forced to flee the custody that was no longer protecting me.  The only person I trusted was me.

So the two of you formed an alliance?

Jim:  Not exactly and certainly not at first.  Even though I'd seen some of her research notes, it was a little while before she tumbled to my true identity.  That's when the trouble began.

Andi:  Well, the trouble actually began a little before that.  I got a phone call from my agent telling me someone had broken into his office and the only thing they took was his file on me containing my real name in addition to my pseudonym and my address in La Jolla.  At that point it hit me…someone thought my research for my novel had turned up information telling me where the missing witness was hiding and I had probably gone to meet with him.

Jim:  So against my better judgment, we hit the road together making the 1500 mile drive all the way to La Jolla in order to avoid airports where someone might be watching for me.  The theory being that someone looking for me would not be looking for a couple vacationing by car.  But the journey was far removed from being a smooth, uneventful trip.

What happened?

Jim:  In addition to all the pitfalls during the course of those 1500 miles, once we arrived in La Jolla we were faced with a whole new set of dangers including Andi being—

Andi:  Don't give that away.  Save some surprises for them to discover when they read the book.

Uh Oh…you're going to pull that 'you have to read the book' stuff on me?  That has become a repeated pattern with these interviews.

Jim:  (tries to suppress a teasing grin) And that somehow surprises you?

LOL…okay.  Enough questions.  Thanks for being here today.

Andi:  It was our pleasure.


SECRET LOVER, a Harlequin Intrigue by Shawna Delacorte reissued in ebook format.  Available at (do search for author name Shawna Delacorte).  Also available from Amazon for Kindle and Barnes & Noble for Nook.


Andrea Sinclair found herself inexplicably drawn to Jim Richards—mind and body—as if she already knew him. His hair and face were wrong, but there was something about the man… Was he the one she'd been searching for ever since he left the Witness Protection Program with a price on his head?

Jim had been alone for too long—alone and lonely. He couldn't help fantasizing about Andi, though she represented life-threatening danger to him. She knew everything about him—everything he'd carefully tried to erase. Could he trust her to help him find the killer who pursued him…? He didn't have a choice. His heart wouldn't let him leave her.

Inside front cover:

What was there about Jim Richards that seemed so familiar?

Andrea focused on his eyes, his nose, the shape of his face. His athletic build—broad shoulders, long legs and good looks. His bed-tousled hair. She recalled the warmth of his handshake and the moment of poignancy when he had placed his hand on top of hers. A tremor of desire shivered inside her. Why?

The man was an enigma, a puzzle with many layers and facets. Did she have the right to pry into his private life? Her sense of integrity said no, but her instincts kept tugging at her with a different answer. Every instinct she possessed told her he was not who he appeared to be, that he was hiding something.

Andi had to know who Jim Richards really was and why he had assumed a secret identity. The last thing she needed was to become involved with a mysterious stranger.

But she couldn't ignore his allure….

Text Copyright © 1999 by SKDennison, Inc.  Cover Art Copyright © 1999 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited. Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A. Cover art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited. All rights reserved. ® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.

Check out my website for more on my Harlequin ebook reissues.

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