By: Lena Diaz
Congratulations to "Cher", the winner of Lena's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!
That’s the question that drove me to write my newest release, Simon Says Die. On the surface, this story is a reunion story and a woman in jeopardy story, reuniting two secondary characters from my previous book, He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not. But as FBI special agent Pierce Buchanan and young widow Madison McKinley are forced back into each other’s lives, reality is not what it seems.
The ‘Simon Says’ killer is stalking Savannah, Georgia. And someone is stalking Madison - or at least, that’s what she tells the police. They aren’t so sure she’s telling the truth, neither is Pierce, and at some point - neither is Madison. Like I said, nothing in this story is what it seems.
Simon Says Die is more complicated, and more of a psychological thriller than its predecessor, He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not. And it was an incredible challenge to write, not only because of the complex plot, but because Madison is such a polar opposite character from the heroine in my first book. Madison is independent and strong, determined to protect those she loves at all costs. Those qualities are both strengths and weaknesses for her, because she tends to take everything to extremes. She’s also a leap-before-you-look kind of person, and a speak-before-you-think woman as well.
So what made it so challenging to write such a strong heroine? The challenge was how to keep her true to her personality without her coming off as unlikeable. You know the old saying - aggressive women are sometimes labeled with that ‘b’ word. Madison is certainly aggressive. I had to re-work and re-work her scenes throughout the novel to take her snark and independence to the limit without making readers hate her. (Hopefully I succeeded!)
The key to making her sympathetic was in showing her through Pierce’s point of view. He knows her better than anyone, even better than Madison knows herself. And even though the often crazy situations Madison gets herself into frustrates and exasperates Pierce, he’s loyal above all else. He sticks by her, first as a favor to his best friend - Madison’s brother Logan - but later because he just can’t help it. Madison is in his blood, and no matter how much he wishes that weren’t true, he has to eventually face the fact that they are meant to be together. And so does Madison. But it takes an enormous amount of obstacles for them to both come to that realization.
The story is tense, and I torture the characters endlessly, but there’s humor too. It’s impossible not to have humor when Madison is such a woman of extremes. Her gun fetish gets her into some situations that make Pierce want to shake her (but of course he doesn’t!) There are cameos by some characters from the previous novel, which I hope my readers will really enjoy. And the last scene - in my unbiased opinion (smile) - is romantic, poignant, and funny.
So, that’s it. An overview of Simon Says Die, without giving away spoilers - which is pretty tricky for a novel full of surprises. I hope you’ll give it a try, and let me know what you think of Madison and Pierce’s story. They have become two of my very favorite characters, and I hope they become yours as well.
I’d love to hear about any unusual or ‘extreme’ characters that you love from novels you have read. They don’t have to be heroines or heroes. Sometimes those secondary characters are the ones that stick in your mind long after you turn that last page.
Anyone who comments on this blog post today will be entered in a drawing to possibly win a free copy of Simon Says Die - ebook or print - your choice. Winner must meet below eligibility requirements.
Contest Rules: One winner will be chosen. To claim your prize, winner must accept ebook via Amazon or B&N gift certificate. If winner chooses print copy, they must provide a USA snail mail address.
Giveaway ends 9pm EST March 22nd. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email justromanticsuspense @ gmail.com with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.