Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Interview with Gwenan Haines, COLLATERAL DAMAGE

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
Collateral Damage is the first in a two-part series. It tells the story of Laura Drake, a lowly Hill staffer, and FBI agent Dalton Ross. Laura is living a rather dull life in Washington when she gets a strange text from the chief staffer in her office one Friday night. This sets off a series of events that lead her to Dalton and put her life in jeopardy. It’s a high-stakes story about politicians, terrorists and the drive for power. It’s also a love story about healing and taking chances.  

Do you have a favorite character?
For my own books, I’d have to say Blake Cartwright in Vertigo. She’s a lawyer in New York City who gives up her urban life to renovate an old lighthouse on the coast of Maine. I admire the way she’s willing to throw everything she’s achieved away and reinvent herself. If we’re talking about characters in other authors’ books, there are too many to name. One character I admire is Wanderer in Stephanie Meyer’s The Host. She’s a pacifist and a healer who abhors violence but she’s also courageous and willing to fight for what she believes in. She’s lived on nine different planets and has a thirst for experiencing as many worlds as she can. And she’s an old soul who can be both wise and child-like (in a good way) at the same time.  

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
Nick Doyle is Dalton Ross’s boss at the FBI in Collateral Damage and his role is pretty minimal in that book. When I finished the manuscript, I felt as if Nick’s story needed to be told so I wrote a follow-up novel, Collateral Risk, which is in the editing stage with Wild Rose Press. Nick loses his wife to cancer and is struggling with that grief, as well as with other issues from his past. I also got attached to hacker Elijah Todorev in Collateral Damage and ended up giving him more of a role than originally planned.

How long before you got your offer of representation/your first contract? Was it for your first novel?
I wrote my first novel, Vertigo, a few years ago and sent it to Ally Robertson at Wild Rose Press. She ended up contracting it and Amazon Encore picked it up this summer. I’ve been thrilled with Wild Rose and their professionalism.

Are you currently under a traditional publishing contract for future books or do you have manuscripts that you will self-publish? Are you doing both?
I’ve got a contract with Wild Rose for Collateral Risk, the follow-up novel to Collateral Damage. I’ve self-published in the past and think it’s a great way to get your work out there and, hopefully, make some money. I love the hybrid publishing model many authors are using these days.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I try to write as much as I can and when I’m actually writing a story I don’t like to stop until it’s complete. Sometimes it’s tough because I’m a mom, I work full-time, and I also write other types of things under a different name. But writing fiction is something I don’t think I can give up, so I make the time. Your question about music vs. silence made me smile because my teenage daughter and I have had many battles about this! I’ve got to have total silence but she can’t do her homework unless there’s music playing – neither of us can understand how the other one gets anything done.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Luckily I’ve got Ally Robertson over at TWRP. She’s fabulous and we’ve worked together on three novels now (and maybe a fourth – fingers crossed). I’ve also used beta readers for books and have found them to be incredibly helpful. Not only have they given me awesome feedback on my plots and characters, but they’ve even corrected my grammar and style.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
My first novel Vertigo is just on Amazon now because the company’s Encore imprint picked it up last summer (it’s on sale this month for 99 cents, if you’re interested. Here’s a link:
Collateral Damage is available everywhere and in print too.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Definitely. I’m working on edits for the second Collateral book, doing a blog tour for the first, waiting to hear back about a shifter novella and novel, outlining/writing another book. I publish poetry books under another name and I work full-time while raising my teen-age daughter. Oh, and then there’s my wild Siberian husky, who needs lots of attention and exercise. So it’s pretty crazy but I wouldn’t change anything!

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Be persistent, both in terms of writing and marketing. There are a lot of authors out there now, which is a great thing, but the number of indie writers also makes it tough to get noticed. Thousands of new books are coming out on Amazon EVERY WEEK – that’s tough competition. But indie publishing offers a way to make some real money and to connect with readers. I love when people email me about a character or a story they liked. If you keep at writing and work at the craft (something I’m always trying to do), readers will find you in the end. I guess that makes me an optimist, at least when it comes to writing.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
Yes, too many to name. I’m sort of an intense person, or at least that’s what people tell me. I love being a mom so that comes first with me. I also love poetry, Siberian huskies, reading, traveling, and many other things. Lately I’ve been getting back into running. And I plan to learn to cook someday – really! I’d also like to travel more because in recent years I haven’t had the time or the opportunity to do so. Last but not least I’d like to start studying martial arts. I’ve talked about it for years but haven’t actually done anything about it. Sigh.

For three years Laura Drake has watched Senator Pete Worthington promote a series of gorgeous women while she sits in a forgotten corner answering constituent letters on an outdated computer. When Worthington asks her to find an elusive file one Friday night he sets off a series of events that brands her as a killer and puts her life in jeopardy. The path she sets out on forces her to confront not only the nature of evil but the ghosts from her past that have never been set to rest.FBI Agent Dalton Ross transferred from Chicago to Washington to escape his own ghosts. When his investigation leads him to Laura he's torn between his desire to keep her safe and the need to protect his own heart. As the mystery that surrounds them deepens, Laura and Dalton race to save themselves and the nation from someone willing to sacrifice anything to protect a secret.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:
I live in an old Cape house with my daughter, too many books, and a red-and-white Siberian husky born on Halloween. After working in Washington, D.C. for several years and traveling to Russia, Europe and Pakistan, I moved back to New England. I’m the author of the romantic suspense novel Vertigo, which is available as an E-book from Amazon Encore and in paperback from Wild Rose Press. Collateral Risk, the follow-up novel to Collateral Damage (which features Dalton’s boss Nick Doyle and scientist Mia Lindgren), is forthcoming from Wild Rose Press. When I’m not working on fiction, I write poetry, teach literature and am still trying to learn how to cook.

Author Page

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