I want to welcome Ann Raina. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.
I’m way beyond forty and currently I live in Germany with five cats and a horse (not in the same apartment; he just didn’t fit). I’ve been writing novels for years and I still love creating plots, finding characters and putting them together. My muse is always with me. We talk about ideas and how to get them into a story every week. My creativity wouldn’t be so fulfilling without her additions, comments and questions, especially about the logic in plot twists.
Tell us about your latest release.
This fall three novels will be released, the first one’s The Secretary’s Bodyguard. The story is about Jazmin, who’s married to the bodyguard of the Secretary of State. On an official visit to Colombia the secretary and his entourage are attacked by terrorists and have to flee through the forest, hunted by men out to kill them all.
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?
From a movie I’d choose Hans Gruber, portrayed by Alan Rickman, in Die Hard 1. He’s cynical, bad without remorse and yet in his way so funny you can laugh. Okay, I’m guilty of liking this movie anyway… In my opinion the bad guys always get the best roles, the more challenging performance. If the bad guys are well played they make the good guys look handsome and well-behaved, but without the edges.
2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?
I tend to write one book with a set of characters and then let go. This time I wrote three novels in a row because Ethan Mahoney and his wife make such a lovely couple I couldn’t part with them. And, yes, if I come up with another plot there will be a forth book. He’s dedicated to his wife and also his job. He’s straightforward and reliable and a wild tiger if anyone dares getting close to his wife. He has a way to cheer her up and still respect her. In the second book he’s confronted with a villain he can’t truly beat and to write that confrontation was a real challenge. I guess, with Ethan I wrote a character I would very much like to meet. I confess I’m still a girl with dreams when it comes to that.
3.) What genre do you write? What made you pick that one?
I write contemporary romance and Science Fiction. I like SciFi because of the never ending possibilities to create new worlds and venture onto other planets where our rules don’t apply. But recently the ideas were more earth-bound. While writing a story that plays here and now I have to stick to historical facts and it’s very interesting to do research before the first paragraph is written.
4.) What are you working on now?
Another SciFi story which I started between book two and three of the series. Yes, sometimes I can’t get enough. At first I wanted to take down notes and do nothing else. I tried to focus on the plot I was writing at that time, but it just didn’t work. The first ten pages were written before I blinked. Then I tried for discipline and finished book three (A Bodyguard’s Vacation) to return to the SciFi plot. Right now I’m in the middle somewhere and try to wrap up and not forget where I was heading. Getting distracted by side plots is one of my problems…
5.) What got you to start writing?
I honestly can’t tell. I suppose it was Han Solo. I loved the character so much I started writing fan fiction when no one knew that word. All of my early stories were hand-written and only some friends got them for reading. I stuck with fan fiction for quite a long time, but then made the turn to my own worlds and own characters.
6.) Where do you get your ideas from?
Dreams. Taking a shower. Working in the garden. When an idea hits me I take down notes, play around with it and present it to my muse for duly dissection. After that brainstorming sets in, decorated with coffee and cookies. (I understand all FB posts about the essentials of coffee for authors…) If we can’t get any further on one day we postpone. I take down more notes and the full plot will take about two or three weeks for creation. Again, every movie I watch or book I read can become a source for ideas.
7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?
I think I can only write books, which deal with so much trouble, action, suspense and else because my real life is very orderly. I’m happy with my life. I can put all these imaginary problems in my books because my day-to-day life is enjoyable.
8.) Do you have any special talents?
I’ve learned riding years ago and finally bought a horse, a chestnut colored gelding. He’s nine years old by now and a very good partner in the woods. So I spent a lot of time outdoors.
9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?
Know the character and its language. I was told by my teacher in high school that my writing is nice (okay, at that time), but I lack the ability to write narrative according to the man’s or woman’s upbringing. People from different social places talk differently. I try to keep that in mind every time I create a new character.
10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?
I would’ve loved to meet Sir Peter Ustinov. He was such an intelligent man.
11.) What song would you say describes your life?
Michael Buble’s It’s a Beautiful Day.
12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?
I prefer to be a cat in a large home. Maybe a writer’s cat. Mine tend to look intently at the screen and I guess they were critics in their first lives…
“You would’ve slapped him?” His voice tripped over the last word. Ethan tried to imagine his wife hitting Walter Coleman, the incarnation of a strict, very conservative and always serious chief of security. It was funny. Reconsidering that she had brought down Ryan, the image lost some of its entertainment value. He frowned as he watched her very nice butt on a westbound trail that only she saw. There was that little idea in the back of his head he’d better ignore.
“He insinuated I might be in a setup with the terrorists following us. It’s completely stupid, I know, but that’s the way he thinks.” She stopped on the way up and turned until Ethan reached her. Her frown was deep and she looked tired. “He’s doing his job, and he was right to remind you to do yours. We’re not here because of some weekend trip gone wonky. You have to work and probably risk your life saving the secretary.”
He put his hands on her hips. “Princess, can you imagine that I’d put his life over yours? It’s not gonna happen. I’m very proud that you’re so brave. So tough. It might come out all wrong, but it’s not. I didn’t expect you to be like this. Not even with the police training and all.”
“I panic on the inside, Ethan.” She caressed his stubbly cheek and ran her thumb over the cleft in his chin. He saw her fight off emotions that would lead to tears. “I’m so afraid you’ll get hurt. And that those men will catch up to us and kill us all in cold blood. I can’t stand the thought that you’ll throw yourself in the line of fire and that those bastards might finally end what they began.” She combed his hair with her fingers. “I can’t think of a life without you.”
“I’ll work hard so no one gets killed. Would that be okay?”
She trembled as he took her in his arms. “They’re still coming after us, and they’ve got the larger firepower, don’t they? Please, Ethan, tell me that we stand a chance.”
He let go and smiled at her. “Well, we’ve got you with us. And if I got the secretary right, he’ll hire you as recruitment. Wait an hour and he’ll order Walter to hand you a gun.”
She turned and walked on. “I can fire a gun. I was a police officer.”
Ethan, his eyes already back on her derrière, opened his mouth for a reply, rethought the argument and kept silent until she turned with a frown.
“Do you doubt I can shoot?”
Again, Ethan knew he was in trouble, no matter how he answered the question. “Walter…won’t hand a weapon to anyone he hasn’t personally trained. He’s…nuts when it comes to weapons and shooting. He wouldn’t let you touch—”
“He’d reject my help even if Ryan can’t shoot anymore?”
Ethan heard the outrage in her voice and called himself stupid to have brought up the subject. His mind juggled the possible ways to end the discussion. “Ryan’s fine, even with his left hand. I saw him train.”
The Secretary’s Bodyguard
Copyright © 2015 Ann Raina
Cover art by Carmen Waters