Friday, June 26, 2020

Interview with Amanda McKinney, JAGGER

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?

The Steele Shadows series was an unplanned spin-off from the Berry Springs Series. I like to think of it as Berry Springs’ steamer, darker, grittier, bad-boy brother. The series was created when I finally submitted to the unrelenting voice in my head telling me to write something more intense, more emotional, and more alpha. With blind faith, I wrote Cabin 1, which became my first #1 bestseller. The character in Jagger (Steele Shadows Investigations) is introduced in Cabin 1 and carried throughout the series. Jagger is a sexy, small-town murder mystery about two very different strangers—former Navy SEAL turned homicide detective, and the quiet, mysterious Sunny Harper—who come together to solve a murder, not realizing they are about to engage in a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a ruthless killer. It’s got it all—hot romance, murder, mystery, and even a bit of small-town folklore and witchery!

Do you have a favorite character?

Sunny, hands-down. I’d have her give me target-shooting and Krav Maga lessons, then we’d settle in on her dock with a bottle of vodka and gluten free pizza.

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?

My first book, Lethal Legacy, was traditionally published. All others are self-published. For a control freak like myself, I couldn’t ignore the pull of being able to control every aspect of my story and career. I was made for self-publishing.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?

I’m someone who loves schedules, plans, and consistency. Spontaneity scares the crap out of me. So I keep myself on a tight schedule packed with deadlines. I write every day, no matter what. I find that this helps keep the same tone through the book, and keeps my creative juices flowing. There’s nothing more frustrating than opening my computer and staring at the screen for thirty minutes trying to figure out what my next word should be. Writing every day helps to avoid that. I also have a daily word goal, and I’m pretty hard-core about meeting it. I’ve been known to set my alarm for 3 a.m. to get in some writing time before the kids wake. Thanks to this restless nature, I can usually write book a book in a few months.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?

When I begin a new project, the first thing I do is write a detailed outline—bulleted, of course. Although the story develops as I go, I try to stick to that outline as much as possible. I’ve realized that if I don’t, the story becomes scattered, filled with major plot holes. And no one likes a massive plot hole.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?

Absolutely. My book goes through two editors, then a group of Beta readers, and one last final read-through by myself before getting published. And even then, the occasional typo or plot misstep sneaks through! It’s something I’ve had to accept as real life. I fix it and move on.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?

My books are currently exclusive to Amazon. I’ve expanded into audiobooks this year and am very excited about that! You can get them at Amazon, Audible, and iTunes.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?

I’m not going to lie – it’s tough, especially as my career grows, which I’m very thankful for. I never really understood when someone asked for more hours in the day. I do now. The marketing, social media, and business management part to being a self-published author is as time consuming as writing the book itself. Then, there are the kiddos, the husband, the house, the chores, errands, meals, laundry, prek activities, my own self-care (daily workouts to keep me sane, and that whole showering thing, etc), the list goes on. Phew! Luckily, I’m someone who does well with a lot on their plate, but I couldn’t do it all if I didn’t love my day job. I wake up excited to get to work. What a blessing! I never take that for granted.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?

My advice is WRITE THE FREAKING BOOK. That doesn’t cost a penny! Get your story out on paper, or Word, whatever. Then, focus on everything else. Start by doing your research. Educate yourself. There are countless blogs and advice columns about how to put out a book on a shoestring budget. I did. Spend your money on a good editor and proofreader, then focus on social media (free!), and build from there. Marketing and advertising is essential, but as with any new business, you have to start somewhere. I strongly recommend Vellum to format your books. It’s a one-time fee and replaces the hefty cost that formatters charge. I could go on about this topic forever, but I’ll close with this: The most valuable thing I contributed to my business was not money, it was my tireless determination to make it work.

What’s next for you?

2020 is going to be a big year for the McKinney Machine! I’m continuing Steel Shadows Investigations with Jagger’s brother’s story, Ryder, coming this fall. I am so excited to continue these character’s stories! The books will have everything you’d expect in a McKinney novel—hot romance, alpha males, strong females, fast-paced suspense and mystery, but will be standalone novels. No cliffhangers! The best way to keep up to date on my new releases is to sign up for my newsletter on my website.

Jagger: Steele Shadows Investigations
Amanda McKinney
Publication date: June 18th 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Secrets, lies, deceit… A former Navy SEAL turned homicide detective has met his match in this new *standalone* addition to the number #1 Bestselling Steele Shadows Series…
He found her covered in blood.
She promises she’s innocent.
The question is… Can he trust her?
Feared just as much on the streets as at a crime scene, Homicide Detective Max Jagger has dedicated his life to one thing—speaking for the dead. Everyone and everything else be damned, including his own demons. During one of the most oppressive heat waves to hit the small, southern town of Berry Springs, the former Navy SEAL is called to a scene where a real estate heiress is found standing over a dead body, holding the murder weapon. The local cops immediately dub it a slam-dunk case, but if Jagg has learned anything from his days running special ops, it’s that nothing is as it seems… including this suspect.
Despite her name, Sunny Harper is as beguiling as a fallen angel. Clever, cunning, completely unwilling to cooperate, and, perhaps his least favorite quality—mind-numbingly intoxicating. When evidence from the scene suggests an accomplice, Jagg begins to believe that Sunny is both innocent and in danger, despite the towns’ uproar to lock her up. Torn between his growing feelings for his suspect, he takes Sunny to a secluded lake house where he discovers there’s much more behind those enchanting green eyes… including secrets that could take them both under.
With his career on the line and the clock ticking, Jagg must decide if he can trust Sunny… before they both get burned.

Author Bio:
Amanda McKinney is the #1 bestselling and multi-award-winning author of more than ten steamy romantic suspense and mystery novels. She wrote her debut novel, LETHAL LEGACY, in 2017 after walking away from her career to become a writer and stay-at-home mom.
Set in small, southern towns, Amanda’s books are page-turning murder mysteries packed with steamy romance. Her books include the HOT new bestselling series, STEELE SHADOWS SECURITY, the multi-award-winning BERRY SPRINGS series and BLACK ROSE MYSTERIES.
Text AMANDABOOKS to 66866 to receive Amanda’s newsletter and get the latest on new releases, promos, and freebies.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Your post will be published after administrator approval.