A bomb. A submachine gun. A plane crash. The roof torn from a car. CSI investigation.
Sounds like a book right? Or movie. Or even something a writer might conjure up in her mind. Wrong. It’s a day in the life of a romantic suspense author. A day in my life. Several days actually.
Not my typical schedule, though. I write fulltime so I’ve become a real homebody, sitting in my comfy chair—some days not even bothering to get dressed. But then, there have been crazy, amazing days when research has pulled me from my chair to participate in things I never imagined myself doing. Here are a few of my favorite events.
1. Detonating a Bomb – Lest you think the FBI is coming after me for this, let me first tell you that I was with FBI bomb squad at the time. As a participant in the FBI Citizen’s Academy, I joined agents for six weeks to learn about their job and mission. Some things I experienced first hand. What better way to experience the power of bombs than pressing the detonator in an empty field. The flash was blinding. The ground rumbled. And the explosion was deafening. AMAZING! Here’s a short video of one of the explosions. The video doesn’t have nearly the impact of the actual event, but it gives you an idea. As a bonus, you can also hear gunshots from the nearby firing range.
2. And speaking of guns, shooting a submachine gun—Same day, up the hill at the FBI firing range. We shot pistols, submachine guns, and a rifle. I’d only ever fired a weapon once before this day and let me tell you, the power behind the semi-automatic was incredible. Here’s the range and the targets we tried to hit, plus our instructors waiting to teach us how to proper procedures.
3. Tour a police CSI Lab – Don’t believe everything the amazing CSI labs with state-of-the-art equipment in these bright, airy rooms that you see on TV. Not so much with real police labs. They are strapped for money and cramped in small spaces, but still, I learned so many things. One was how to process fingerprints, and then how to use a fuming chamber to obtain fingerprints from uneven surfaces and hard-to-dust surfaces such as bottles, knives, guns, etc.
4. Participate in a plane crash – What? A crash. Okay it was a mock disaster drill at the Portland International Airport, but hey, the emergency response workers didn’t treat it as a drill. They screamed onto the tarmac to help victims wearing gory makeup meant to simulate serious injuries. Mock family members arrived at the airport and were taken to special rooms to await the news of their loved ones. It all felt so real and gave me everything I’d need to write such a disaster. I’m just waiting for the right book. And as a bonus, I got a great t-shirt and medal for participating.
5. Using the jaws of life to remove the roof from a car – Okay, this one involved hunky firefighters, nuff said, but there was actual research here, too. The firefighters first demonstrated how to cut off the roof, then I was given the chance to step into turnouts and open up another car with my fellow participants enrolled in the local Police Academy.
So as you can see, being a romantic suspense author can be thrilling, and I try to put that realism and thrill into my books. For example, I have included a bomb in my two latest releases, Web of Deceit and Explosive Alliance.
Web of Deceit is the first book in a three book series featuring female FBI agents assigned to an elite Cyber Action Team. Web of Shadows releases in December and Web of Lies in April and in honor of all three books, I’ve been giving away official FBI insignia items like the ones in the picture. These are official items purchased at the Portland FBI campus store. All my giveaways will be featured on my Facebook page, so stop on over and like the page to keep from missing any of the giveaways.
But before you go, leave a comment on the post telling me if you’ve ever fired a gun and if so what kind, and I’ll choose a name to win an FBI lanyard, a pen, and a print copy of Web of Deceit.
When agent Kaitlyn Knight’s brother-in-law, the notorious cybercriminal Vyper, kills her sister then goes on a murderous spree taunting Kait, homicide detective Sam Murdock must find Vyper before he takes another life.
As the body count rises, Sam discovers the killing spree is really about striking back at Kait, and he must put everything on the line—including the relationship he’s developed with Kait—to ensure her safety.
Vyper is waiting, watching her every move, and he won't stop until he's exacted his revenge and reclaims his rights to raise his daughter now in Kait’s custody.