Welcome back to my blog, Kathi. I love romantic suspense. Please tell us about your new book, Wanted.
This was an exciting story to write. I set it in my home state of Idaho in areas I’m very familiar with: Swan Valley, Table Rock Mountain, and Fall Creek Falls. Let me share the back cover blurb of the book.
Rodeo veterinarian Jo Powers is accustomed to operating under pressure—but nothing could have prepared her for the shocking discovery of the armed and bleeding escaped convict hiding in her truck. Even more disconcerting is the fact that Jo knows the man in the prison jumpsuit. Jo’s split-second decision to use her medical skill to save this man’s life is just the beginning because now he needs her help to uncover the truth.
Seven years ago, Branson Faulkner was accused of a murder he claims he didn’t commit. With the hope of finding new evidence to prove his innocence, he’s risked everything to clear his name and reclaim his life—but he can’t do it alone. Jo agrees to help, even though she isn’t completely sure Faulkner is innocent. Now as Faulkner and Jo conduct their investigation, they discover an alarming connection between a string of homicides, and one truth is clear: there’s a murderer on the loose who will stop at nothing to cover his tracks . . .
I love mysteries that include romance. It seems to keep the story moving. Where did you get your inspiration for this novel?
Sometimes the idea of a story just hits you out of the blue and sometimes it is an accumulation of things: places you’ve been, people you’ve known, and the type of story you’ve written before. Those three things, plus a lot of work inspired Wanted. I needed the main character to love animals, so making Jo a veterinarian was a good fit. And I’ve always liked the idea of having the hero wounded from a bullet and in need of help. Making Branson an escaped prisoner worked perfectly.
It’s fun finding out what inspires an author. What kind of research did you do for this book?
I attended many rodeos to research this novel. In fact, I was allowed, by one rodeo owner, a “behind the scenes” view of what goes on during a rodeo. I learned how they truly cared for their stock and many times took better care of their animals then they did themselves. These rodeos were not in air-conditioned arenas. They were held in the middle of nowhere, but when rodeo time arrived people gathered from miles around bringing their campers and RVs with them.
I also spent a great deal of time researching the criminal justice system. A friend of mine helped to teach religion classes in the prison and many inmates were converted. Time behind bars would be an awful experience, but it could also help some prisoners commit to living better lives. My friend was a great resource.
And because I grew-up close to where I set the novel I knew a great deal about the area. See, I knew that there really is a cave behind Fall Creek Falls because I’ve been there. I knew the creek was a warm springs because I’ve floated down it. I knew the beauty of Table Rock Mountain because my mother had been born at the base of the mountain and had taken me there many times as I was growing up.
Wow! I love it. Your research and knowledge makes reading your books fun. What is the biggest challenge in writing a romantic suspense story?
I think the most challenging aspect of writing romantic suspense is adding enough red-herrings. Are two enough, are six too many? But this usually resolves itself as the story unfolds and opportunities arise.
Thanks, Kathi, for this awesome interview. It was fun learning more about your book and your research.