Monday, July 8, 2013

Interview with Romance/Suspense Author Jordan McCollum

An award-winning author, Jordan McCollum can’t resist a story where good defeats evil and true love conquers all. She holds a degree in American Studies and Linguistics from Brigham Young University. When she catches a spare minute, her hobbies include reading, knitting and music. She lives with her husband and four children in Utah.

I love how Jordan McCollum blends the best of both Canada and the U.S. in her debut novel. With plenty of polite humor, cloak and dagger mystery and fun romance, there are great characters from both sides of the border, and a case that had me turning pages quicker than I could say, ‘poutine.’ This Canadian author gives I, Spy two thumbs up!” — Author Julie Coulter Bellon

Hello, Jordan. I read your spy novel and absolutely loved it. It was great. Please tell my readers about your romantic suspense novel.

Canada is probably the last place you’d expect to find an American spy. But even idyllic Ottawa has its deadly secrets—and so does CIA operative Talia Reynolds. She can climb through ventilation shafts, blend in at the occasional diplomatic function, even scale buildings (small ones). But there’s one thing she can’t do: tell her aerospace engineer boyfriend Danny about her Top Secret occupation.

It worked for a year, keeping Danny in the dark, keeping him away from danger, keeping her secrets. And then Talia finally catches a hot case: Fyodor Timofeyev. Russian. Aerospace executive. Possible spy?

She can make this work, too--until Danny needs her at the same time her country does. And when Fyodor targets Danny? Suddenly her schedule isn’t the only thing suffering. Now to save her secrets and her country, Talia must sacrifice the man she loves.

Read an excerpt from the book:

You have written this book in first person. The woman acts like a spy, thinks like a spy, and is extra cautious like a spy. Since she knows Russian, the CIA decides to use her in that capacity. Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

The first idea sprang into my mind while shopping for valentines at Dollar Tree. True story. An old favorite came on the Muzak, and I started wondering about the story behind the song: a guy who should be with the girl he loves, but she’s somewhere else. And I wondered, what could keep her away?

Then I added my favorite what-if question when plotting: what if she were a spy?
Sadly, I can’t say I’m drawing on my vast experience as a spy for this novel. But in my day job, I coerce people to do things they don’t want to, elicit information and generally manipulate the people I love most—I’m a mom.

Hahaha! Yup! That’s about right. I’m a mom of six daughters and understand completely. What kind of research did you have to do for this novel?

I was lucky enough to go to Ottawa on a business trip with my father when I was 15. While he was in meetings, I had free rein of the capital. (Can you imagine letting a teenager wander the streets of DC in the late ’90s?!) I also read a dozen CIA memoirs and reference books to get an idea of the training and daily life of a spy, as well as the cool capers they’ve pulled in real life.

What does your family think about your writing?

They’re very supportive. My son, 7, constantly asks to read my books. My parents both helped with I, Spy: my dad as a beta reader & technical advisor and my mom as a proofreader (she has a BA in English & was an English teacher for years—and both my parents helped to refine my writing throughout my school years!). My husband is the most supportive of all: for years he’s done the dishes so I can have those few extra minutes to write. Now that’s love!

Oh my gosh! What a fantastic man you married. Okay, now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

As a teenager, I went on a short crime spree with my best friend which included vandalizing our family members’ yards with plastic flower lawn ornaments, parking in a no parking zone, and whistling underwater, which is allegedly illegal in North Carolina.

Hahaha. Vandalization? Disobeying the laws? Underwater crimes? Wow! You were meant to write spy stories. Thanks for this awesome interview, Jordan.


Gail Pallotta said...

This sounds like a fascinating book. Reading the CIA memoirs must have been an experience in itself.

Miss Mae said...

I read that excerpt! Fabulous! I love spy movies and books, but am totally clueless about how to write one. My hat is off to you, Jordan! :)

Kat said...

LOVED the excerpt! I am putting this on my to read list now! Thanks for sharing!
katsaddress AT gmail. DOT com

Jordan McCollum said...

Thanks so much for having me, Linda! (Six daughters! You're so lucky! I'm the oldest of four daughters, so I know some of how awesome that is ;)

And thank you so much, Gail, Miss Mae & Kat! Good luck to everyone who enters!

Brenda Rumsey said...

Wow...this really has me hooked. Would love to read "I, Spy". Congrats on your book. I hope to read it soon.

Brenda Rumsey said...

sorry, forgot my email
grandmabkr at yahoo dot com

Hillary Sperry said...

I shall forever remember to get my underwater whistling in before we cross the North Carolina borders!

hillary dot sperry at gmail dot com

Valerie Ipson said...

This sounds like a great read!

Nina said...

Rats! We were just in NC in May and I didn't know to take a chance and try underwater whistling. Romance, Russian spies and intrigue--the book sounds like something that would appeal to all the members of my family. I can hardly wait to read it!

Taffy said...

Good interview! I need to play the what if game more often when I'm writing.

Ashleigh Swerdfeger said...

That's so neat! I love that it takes place in Canada as well. The excerpt sounds pretty good too. I have always like spy novels :) Thoughtful interview as well :)
ash_o3 at hotmail dot com

Gayle said...

You can't beat a good spy story -- especially when the spy is a woman! This sounds like a great story!

Becky said...

Great interview! I like the fact that this spy is a female spy. This story sounds very interesting. I have added it to my list to get.

Mary Preston said...

Thank you for such a fabulous interview. What a crime spree!!!


Lindzee said...

Sounds like a fantastic book!

Dena BooksforKids said...

I've already heard so many good things about this book. I can't wait to read it. Thanks for the giveaway!


brenda said...

Romantic suspense novels are one of my favorites genres. This one sounds really interesting. Looking forward to reading it. bvs1964 at yahoo dot com.

Holly Letson said...

Sounds like an interesting read.

bookaholicholly at gmail dot com

LAWonder said...

I would love the opportunity to read and review this book. I would love to win.
Thank you for your wonderful interviews and for the giveaways.

Sheila Staley said...

I love that Jordan got the idea for this book while in the dollar store! It just shows that writing ideas can come at any time and anywhere. I'm very excited to read this book! Thanks for the chance to win.


Leona Olson said...

Some laws are different and certainly outdated. I found you on goodreads and added I, Spy to my list.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a great book.
Thank you for the giveaways.

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

Congratulations, Brenda. You're the winner of this wonderful and intriguing book. I enjoyed it when I read it. And I know you will, too.

Cherie said...