I want to welcome Kim McMahill.
First I’d love you to introduce yourself.
I grew up in Wyoming, which is probably where I developed my sense of adventure and love of the outdoors. Since leaving Wyoming I’ve had many opportunities to see the world and I’ve lived in some amazing places. I started out writing non-fiction, but my passion for exotic world travel, outrageous adventures, stories of survival, and happily-ever-after endings soon drew me into a world of adventure fiction and romantic suspense. Along with writing novels I’ve also published over eighty travel and geographic articles, and contributed to a travel anthology and a cookbook.
Tell us about your latest release.
Shrouded In Secrets is an international thriller in which the reader is taken on an adrenaline-pumping adventure around the globe to locate a deadly group of terrorists striving to bring thirteen mythical relics together. As an international team led by the ruggedly handsome, but emotionally scarred CIA agent, Cash Luker, closes in on those responsible for the massacre of an unarmed South American village, destruction of one of the greatest manmade wonders of the world, and multiple museum thefts, he must conquer past personal demons in order to save the woman who has captured his heart, and prevent destruction of legendary proportions.
Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.
1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?
Zara from Shrouded In Secrets is my favorite villain. She is very good at her job, unfortunately that’s pretty deadly for anyone who gets in her way. But on a more personal side, she didn’t start out her career as a villain. She grew up struggling with her identity, deciding where she belonged, battling conflicting loyalties between family and country, and feelings, somewhat misplaced, of betrayal.
2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?
I always try to develop strong leading men, but I’d have to say that Jack from Marked In Mexico may be my favorite. He’s not your typical hero. He’s not your big buff macho brash hero. Jack is somewhat reserved and reluctant to jump into the fray, but once he commits he won’t turn away. He has many hidden, and at times frightening, talents, and despite having the skills to survive against formidable odds, he also exhibits a sensitive side that can’t help but melt any woman’s heart.
3.) What genre do you write? What made you pick that one?
Adventure and Romantic Suspense. I love reading novels that take me on adventures around the world. Though I’m not a true romance writer, relationships always add to a story, project a more personal element the reader can relate to, and gives the hero an extra incentive to do extraordinary things. My novels vary in degree of romance, but always contain ample suspense and grand adventure. My favorite authors are Clive Cussler, James Rollins, and Dan Brown, and even those authors generally incorporate a bit of romance.
4.) What are you working on now?
A Dose Of Danger is under contract and is currently undergoing initial edits. It’s scheduled for a spring 2015 release. It’s a romantic suspense novel set in Wyoming on a remote rural ranch in the midst of one of the nastiest winters in decades. A researcher, a local deputy, and a group of paid assassins collide in a battle for survival over a pharmaceutical breakthrough with potential consequences of epic proportions.
5.) What got you to start writing?
It wasn’t an immediate ah-ha moment. In high school I had a creative writing teacher who noted on one of my papers that with more character development I had a novel. I packed that paper around for years, and one day I decided to give it a try and the result was, The Lodge. Shortly thereafter I found myself living in a remote cabin with no phone or TV. While my husband was gone for three weeks at a time fighting forest fires I started writing seriously out of necessity for my sanity, and have continued to hone my craft ever since.
6.) Where do you get your ideas from?
Occasionally from dreams as in, Deadly Exodus, but most of the time from travel (I’ve written several novels set amid Mayan Ruins – love those), or from exaggerated past experiences. I grew up riding horses and spending every weekend in the summer at rodeos, and we recreated as a family in the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming a lot, which is the inspiration behind Big Horn Storm.
7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?
I’m an easy-crier, which probably explains why I like to read, write, and watch adventure and suspense, to limit the shedding of tears. When I hear the term “feel good” book or movie, I usually avoid it, since it’ll probably make me cry and I’m not particularly fond of crying.
8.) Do you have any special talents?
I can grow tomatoes. I don’t know why, but no matter where I live or what variety I plant, I seem to grow enough to supply the neighborhood all summer and fill my freezer with plenty to last all winter.
9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?
I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but everyone tells you to keep writing, and I’ve grown to see the necessity of that advice. I learn something new with each novel I write, and now when I look back at some of my earlier work that I thought was so great, I can see how much I’ve improved.
10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?
Author, Clive Cussler. I’ve read all of his novels in the Dirk Pitt series, but those are only a small portion of his body of work. I would love to hear about some of the actual experiences, if any, in his life that are woven into his stories, and how he’s been able to remain such a prolific writer for so many years.
11.) What song would you say describes your life?
I can’t think of a song off the top of my head that describes my life, but it has been a long-standing joke with my husband that when I handed him my Charlie cassette and asked him to play, It’s Inevitable, nearly thirty years ago, maybe he should have been nervous. Charlie’s version aside, I believe there’s a lot in life that’s inevitable, and sometimes you just have to go with the flow.
12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?
An eagle - the ability to soar high in the sky and watch everything unfold below would be remarkable.
Excerpt from Shrouded In Secrets by Kim McMahill
Olivia wandered into the kitchen, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. She watched from the doorway as Cash stood in front of the stove frying something. She had never been particularly susceptible to good-looking men, but he exuded a magnetism she couldn’t fight. His body bore too many scars to be considered classically handsome and the rough edges added to his allure.
He wore only a faded pair of blue jeans, resting low on his narrow hips, and the sight nearly made her sigh aloud. The damage marring his tanned, muscular back reminded her of the dangers associated with his job, and of how little she knew of his past. She cringed at the sight of all the fresh wounds, though those accounted for only a small proportion of his total scars. He didn’t turn around as she closed the distance between them, but she had no doubt he was aware of her presence.
“Where did all these come from?” she asked, tracing a disfigurement running diagonally from his left shoulder and disappearing beneath the waistband of his jeans.
She felt him tense the moment her fingers glided over his warm skin, but as she stroked his back, the tension drained away.
Cash clicked off the gas burner on the stove and turned toward Olivia, expecting her to retreat. She held her ground just inches in front of him as he placed his hands on her shoulders, enjoying the smooth silk of her short robe against his rough palms. Starring into her eyes, he recognized compassion and curiosity. He seldom talked about his past, and he never discussed the disastrous mission responsible for most of the scars, but for some reason, he wanted to tell Olivia.
“Here and there, but the majority are mementos from an assignment gone bad. A long-time trusted contact was supposed to meet my partner at a warehouse in Hong Kong, where she had arranged to sell him restricted documents, specifically a list of names and the locations of all our Middle East field agents. The buy was the proof I needed to expose her as a double-agent. Before the exchange could go down, an explosion rocked the warehouse. The entire structure collapsed. A metal beam crashed down across my back as I dove toward a blown-out window to escape the flames. The building, an abandoned fireworks factory, burned so thoroughly, the authorities found no bodies, not even the remains of the six agents I had staking out the place.”
Cash nodded. “She’s ruthless and skilled¾the best I’d ever worked with. Together we were a force to reckon with, but when she turned, the smart ones got out of the way. I didn’t, and a lot of people died¾all the wrong ones. I’m still here, and apparently, so is she.”
Olivia could see the pain, guilt, and anger etched on Cash’s face. She placed a hand over his heart and felt the strong, rapid beat. His flesh was warm and his muscles hard beneath her touch. The power in this dangerous and reckless man radiated from his body, but at the moment, he seemed lost and distant. She loathed seeing a warrior’s spirit so beaten down.
Sliding her hands up his chest, lacing her fingers around his neck, she pulled his lips toward hers and kissed him gently, stealing his mind back to the present. Slowly she sensed him edge away from the pain of the past, his focus no longer scattered, as he returned her kiss, deepening the intimacy, gathering her closer in an embrace that made her knees weak.
“I’d better be sleepwalking and this is just a nightmare, or someone is going to regret getting out of bed this morning.”
Diane’s voice made Cash jump back like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He was impressed with how Olivia maintained her composure as she turned and smiled at her sister.
“Good morning, Diane. Did you sleep well?”