Congratulations to "Erin", the winner of Pamela's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!
Joining us today is nationally bestselling author, Pamela Clare.
Given the nature of this website, I have to ask...what draws you to the romantic suspense genre?
I’m an investigative reporter by profession, and investigative journalism can be an adrenaline sport. In fact, investigative journalists are often adrenaline junkies. Over the course of a 20-year career I received numerous death threats; had two bona fide stalkers, one of whom drew the attention and involvement of the FBI; saw what happens when you shoot someone point-blank at the base of the skull with a high-powered weapon (you remove most of their head); saw what happens when human brains dry on the wall; was attacked by two men with switchblades in my home late at night; had a gun held on me twice; and broke a bunch of big stories, winning some fancy national awards.
I also fell off a 40-foot cliff once, but that had nothing to do with journalism.
One evening I was updating my agent on my progress with my second historical romance and told her in passing that I’d gotten a warning from a state official that day. He’d called to say that he was afraid the cement plant I was investigating was whipping its male employees up against me. He feared for my safety. His words: “These guys aren’t going to write you a letter to the editor. They’re going to beat the shit out of you with baseball bats.”
I told my agent this — it was no biggie, just kind of interesting — and she said, “You ought to write romantic suspense, because you live it.” And I said, “Yeah, except for the ‘romantic’ part.”
So I determined at that point to try to write a genre I had never read before. Extreme Exposure, the first book in my I-Team series, was my first attempt at romantic suspense. The subject of the story is a journalist who is investigating, ahem, a cement plant.
Is it dangerous being a romantic suspense author?
Not in my experience.
I learned how to shoot guns before I became a romantic suspence author, and I keep armed firearms in the house. The incident with the men who had the switchblades taught me in a very rough and horrible way that you have to be prepared for bad things to happen if you want to be safe. So now I’m armed and safe.
Have you ever experienced a Deja Vu moment, where you find yourself in a scene from one of your books?
No, not really. It’s more the reverse. Because all of my books draw on my investigations as a reporter, I find myself reliving those real events and investigations as I write. Extreme Exposure focused on that pollution investigation. Hard Evidencefocused on human sex trafficking, which I had just investigated before I wrote the story. Unlawful Contact draws on 15 years of prison reporting, including my own stay in jail as a bogus felony arrest. Naked Edge draws on a decade of trips to the Navajo reservation to cover Native issues (and my 40-foot fall off the cliff). Breaking Point touches on Las Muertas de Juárez, the murdered women of Juarez, Mexico, which I covered a long time ago it seems.
Do you recall any book bloopers? Edits that slipped past you and made you say, OMG!
Nope. I’m sure there are mistakes but nothing too much more than a typo. There may be things here and there I wish I’d written differently, but not many of those either.
I think being an editor by profession has helped me produce clean manuscripts. That’s what my editor tells me, anyway.
What is one stereotype about authors that is completely wrong?
That writing is a game, a form of brain candy. It’s hard, hard work. Even writing sex scenes is hard work. In fact, I think that’s the hardest part about writing romance.
Broken on the inside. Broken on the outside. I know as an interviewer I am supposed to remain impartial, but I love this hook. Is this what you thought about the characters as you were writing SKIN DEEP?
Megan, the heroine of the story is the little sister of the hero in Unlawful Contact. She has a very tragic and violent past, and I knew she’d need someone special to help her move beyond that, someone who could understand what it was like to have life change irrevocably, to lose something of yourself that you cannot get back. Enter Nate, a former marine who was badly burned in an IED explosion in Afghanistan. He’ll have the compassion to understand Megan — and to help her heal.
Thanks so much for having me on Just Romantic Suspense, Maureen! It’s been fun!
Teaser from Chapter 9 of Skin Deep:
“Be careful. It’s hot.”
“Thanks.” Megan took the mug of steaming chamomile tea from Nate, a part of her craving something stronger.
While he put more wood on the fire, she sipped, struggling to pull the pieces of herself back together. She felt drained, weak, ragged. It seemed unreal to her that she’d just bared the darkest side of her soul to a man she’d known only for a week, but she had. She’d told him everything.
More than that, she’d buried her face in his shirt and sobbed while he’d held her. The only other men she’d let touch her like that were Marc and Julian, but that was different. Marc was her brother, and Julian… Well, he was like a brother.
What she felt for Nate was very different.
She couldn’t deny that she was attracted to him. Usually that meant she’d want to get as far away from him as she could, and yet something about him set her at ease.
He poured himself another drink and sat on the sofa. “Are you warm?”
She nodded, grateful for the blanket he’d wrapped around her shoulders.
He leaned back into the cushions, his eyes narrowing as he looked at her. “Can I ask you a question?”
“Sure. Why not?” She no longer had any secrets where he was concerned.
“That reporter your brother took hostage when he broke out of prison—he got her pregnant while they were on the run, and she married him, didn’t she?”
Nate’s question, as blunt as it was, wasn’t what Megan had been expecting.
She laughed. “He and Sophie have been married for almost four years now, and they have two kids—Chase and Addison.”
Nate shook his head, a bemused expression on his face. “That’s … interesting.”
Megan smiled. “Believe it or not, Marc can be very sweet. You haven’t exactly seen his soft side.”
“No I suppose, I haven’t.” Nate chuckled. “I don’t blame him for watching over you the way he does. If I were in his shoes and spotted some strange guy walking up to my little sister’s front door after she’d been attacked, I probably would have done the same thing.”
“Marc knows I get … uncomfortable around men, and I guess he does his best to make certain I feel safe.” Megan looked away, took a sip of tea.
“Do you feel uncomfortable around me?” It was a sincere question, no defensiveness in his voice, no hint that she needed to lie to protect his ego.
Megan found herself studying him from his short sandy brown hair to his deep set blue eyes to the tanned skin on the left side of his face to the scars on the right. “No—which is kind of strange.”
It was both fascinating—and frightening.
“Well, that’s good—I think.” The smile lines around his eyes crinkled, a hint of humor in his voice.
And she knew she would never get a better time than now to let him know where she stood. “I’m never going to be with a man, Nate. I’m telling you this now because … because I don’t want to mislead you. I don’t like being touched. I don’t like sex. I’ve never once enjoyed it.”
“Never?” His brows bent in a frown.
“Never.” She glanced away for a moment, unable to bear the scrutiny of his gaze. “When a man touches me, I feel … revulsion. I instantly feel sick to my stomach. It’s all I can do not to shove him away. What those men did to me—it’s in my DNA.”
Even years of therapy hadn’t changed that. A hug from a male acquaintance, a man’s arm around her shoulders, an overly long handshake—they all made her want to pull away and run. She couldn’t even go to a male doctor.
“I’m sorry. If I’d known… ” Nate’s frown deepened. “Did I make you feel that way just now when I held you?”
“N-no.” Warmth rushed to Megan’s cheeks.
“I’m glad to hear that.” His forehead furrowed, and he seemed to think about this for a moment as if it were a puzzle he needed to solve. “How about when I caught you when you fell getting off the horse?”
“No.” Her cheeks burned hotter.
“What about the times I’ve held your hand?”
Could he see that she was blushing? God, she hoped not! “No, not then either.”
His gaze locked with hers. “And last night—when I kissed you?”
“No.” She rushed to explain. “But we were interrupted, and I… I think maybe there just wasn’t time for me to react.”
Nate set his drink down on the coffee table. “Do you want to test that theory?”
Megan’s heart took off at a sprint. “Wh-what do you mean?”
“I could kiss you again just like I did last night—soft and easy—and since we’re not going to be interrupted this time, you’ll be able to see whether that sense of revulsion kicks in. If it does, we stop.”
“And if it doesn’t?”
He gave her a lopsided grin. “We’ll know you’ve been kissing the wrong men.”
She felt that flutter in her belly again, and time was measured in heartbeats as he watched her, waiting for her answer. Some part of her was afraid their little experiment would fail. Some part of her was afraid it would succeed.
There’s no point in trying. You know how this will end, girl.
But did she? Everything had been different with Nate so far.
She drew a steadying breath. “How would we do it?”
“We could do it like we did last night.” He spoke matter-of-factly, as if they were discussing how to change a tire. “I’ll sit close to you and kiss you nice and slow, and we can see where that takes us.”
She nodded. “O-okay.”
In a single slow motion, he shifted so that he sat beside her, his face inches from hers, his arm stretched out on the back of the leather sofa behind her. “You tell me if you start to feel queasy or repulsed, alright?”
It was hard to think with him sitting so close. “All right.”
“Ready?” He reached out, stroked her cheek with the knuckles of his right hand.
Without closing his eyes, he leaned in, brushed his lips over hers once, twice, three times, the feather-light contact sending shivers through her.
“How are we doing so far?” His eyes looked straight into hers, his voice husky.
“Good.” She didn’t wait for him this time, but rested her palms against the hard wall of his chest, rose up on one knee, and caressed his lips with hers, increasing the pressure.
His eyes drifted shut, his lashes long and dark. One big hand came to rest on her hip as he steadied her. He caught her lower lip between his, and gave it a soft tug.
Her eyes drifted shut, her hands finding their way up his chest and over his shoulders as she drew herself against him, needing to be closer to him, her arms locking behind his neck. She tilted her head, kissed his upper lip, then his lower lip, then the corners of his mouth, her tongue tracing the outline of his lips, her senses stirred by the taste of him, by his masculine scent, by the hard feel of him.
And Megan forgot she’d always been repulsed by this. All she knew was that she wanted more.
Excerpt (c) copyright Pamela Clare 2012
Pamela will be giving away a copy of UNLAWFUL CONTACT to one lucky poster!
Giveaway ends 10pm EST May 11th. 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.