Today it is my pleasure to welcome RITA Award winning author Kate Brady to HJ!
Hi Kate, Welcome to HJ
If you were written about in the newspaper, on the front page what would the headline say? Why?
Nice Girl Has Dark Side
This is the sentiment most commonly voiced when people find out I write twisted psycho-killers. I’m a music teacher, for heaven’s sake, and a church choir conductor. I have dedicated most of my career to aesthetic beauty. In my personal life, I’m a peace-loving home-body and I harbor no ill-will toward my friends or family. I love my children, my husband, my parents, my siblings, and in-laws; I spoil my pets. I am delighted by my many flower beds and lovely herb garden. I love people. I am devoted to promoting peace and beauty in my home and in the world.
So where the heck do these novels come from???
I have no idea. But the dichotomy between what I am and what I write would definitely be the headline!
Are you a plotter or a panster? Tell us a little bit about your writing process.
I am not a plotter. I learned early on that a sure-fire way to stop me dead-in-my-writing-tracks is to try to use an outline or plan things in advance. My process is simple, if a little undefined: Figure out the backstories of the hero/heroine and what drives them. Figure out the backstory for the villain and what he or she is attempting to accomplish. Then put them in situations and watch what they do. Write it down. Eventually, when I get to the end of the book, I’ll find out what it’s really about. At that point, I go back and re-write what I need to in order for it to work.
Let’s talk about your newest release: Where Evil Waits
If you had to summarize the book for the readers here…
WHERE EVIL WAITS is about Assistant District Attorney Kara Chandler’s desperate attempt to keep her and her son from the hands of a killer. When the people around her start dying, she dares to solicit the help of notorious drug cartel hit man, Luke Varón, whom she once prosecuted for murder. She knows he’s as dangerous as he is capable, but she doesn’t know he has his own reasons driving him to help her. And she doesn’t know she’ll fall prey to his will in more ways than one.
Please tell us about the characters in your book; What scene did you have the most fun writing? Why?
The villain in this book is the type of villain who scares me most: Someone who has waited his whole life to right a perceived wrong, and whose faltering sanity allows it all to make sense to him. He will go to extreme measures to get the revenge he desires. He has resources and motive, and he’s driven by demons so dark that one might almost be able to feel sorry for him—except for that fact that he’s totally vile.
As for the hero and the heroine of this book…I fell in love with them in the first scene they had together. I actually planned it as the first scene in the book, but it wound up needing to be pushed a few pages later. Still, it’s the first time Kara Chandler and Luke Varón meet in the story. I loved writing it for a number of reasons: (1) It involves a strong, kick-butt heroine, Kara, who is harboring a terrifying secret and is scared out of her mind. (2) It involves a hero, Luke, who is an absolute jerk—insolent and inappropriate, dark, dangerous, and hot…Because we know he’s the hero, we can excuse some of the less desirable traits. (3) It allowed for both characters to surprise me.
Who would you cast in the role of your characters if your book was optioned for a movie?
I’m never really able to answer this question in a meaningful way. In the first place, I’m shamefully un-schooled in who’s out there in the modern world of film, as I never watch movies. I mean, really: Never. To be honest, I can’t even remember the last time I watched a movie. But more to the point, when I write my characters, I don’t see them. I can tell you their visual traits; that is, I know everyone’s height, weight, hair and eye color, etc., and I know if they have any unique physical characteristics like a scar or a limp. But I don’t have an actual face on any of them. So putting someone else’s face on them is awkward to me.
I’ve tried to answer this question—because I get asked it a lot. So, how about letting me turn it around and have the readers coach me a little?
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned in 2014?
WHERE EVIL WAITS is the sequel to WHERE ANGELS REST. In addition, there is a third book in the series, WHERE DANGER HIDES. They all involve a sibling from the Mann family as their protagonists. I’m working on the third in this series, WHERE DANGER HIDES, now. It will come out in 2015.
Where can readers get in touch with you?
Thank you for stopping by HJ!
Thank you for having me!
GIVEAWAY: 2 print copies of WHERE EVIL WAITS
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and post a comment to this Q: Readers, who should I choose to cast this book into a movie? Who are the great actors/actresses who could bring the three main characters to life on the screen? Here’s what WHERE EVIL WAITS would need:
HERO (Luke Varón): Tall, dark, gorgeous (surprise); insolent, cool, and arrogant in his persona as a drug cartel hit man, but haunted by the oppressive weight of living that lie. The callous exterior conceals a long-buried desire to love and cherish and protect and to show himself for who he truly is.
HEROINE (Kara Chandler): Petite, smart, strong; a go-get-’em attorney who isn’t afraid to take on the likes of Luke Varón; blonde and beautiful with a teenage son and a painful history. She’ll do anything to keep her son from harm’s way—even if it means hooking up with the most dangerous man she knows.
VILLAIN (Sasha Rodin): Of Russian descent, square and strong, with the muscles of hard labor. Giant chip on his shoulder from a lifetime of perceived scorn. Just crazy enough to do the unthinkable in order to have his vengeance.
Excerpt: WHERE EVIL WAITS by Kate Brady
It was an odd place to find Kara Chandler, at an odd time: a squalid alley in the armpit of Atlanta, nearly midnight. The air sweltered like August—code orange, said the news, with dramatic warnings for asthma sufferers and the elderly to stay inside—and here, in an alley off Vine Street, the odors of urine and smog and rotten trash clung to every surface like a film.
Luke Varón inched to his left, peering past a Dumpster to the sidewalk. An odd place indeed for Kara Chandler, yet there she was, looking nothing like he’d expected. The heels were gone, her normally businesslike bun now falling in gold waves over her shoulders. In place of the usual classic suit, she wore jeans and a short-sleeved blouse, and instead of a fashionable purse, a shapeless macramé sack hung over one shoulder with her right hand buried deep inside.
Her voice stroked the night and every fiber of Luke’s body tightened. Damn, he shouldn’t be here. In two days, eight-and-a-half tons of cocaine would arrive, and with it, frank Collado. Luke had spent the last week securing the route from Colombia. He’d returned to the States a few hours ago, longing only for a clean bed and about sixteen hours to languish in it.
What he’d found was a message from Kara Chandler: Assistant District Attorney for Fulton County and Andrew Chandler’s wife. As either identity, she could threaten the security of the shipment. As both, she was downright dangerous.
“Mr. Varón?” she said again.
Luke strung the silence out another inch then said, “Here.”
She whirled, a bulge forming in the canvas of her bag. “Where? Come out, damn it.”
He did, leading with a G18. Her gaze dropped and he watched the details of the weapon register in her eyes: a lightweight, 9mm shooter with a threaded barrel to accommodate a silencer, and just now sporting an extra magazine that held thirty-three rounds. Tonight, he’d added the extra clip just for show, but in fully-automatic mode, the G18 could fire all thirty-three bullets in less than two seconds. It was legal only among law enforcement and the military.
Luke Varón was neither.
He didn’t know what she was carrying, but it didn’t take her long to determine she was out-classed. The bulge in the bag slackened.
Luke tipped his Glock skyward. “Your turn,” he said, but Kara Chandler didn’t move. “Lady, pull your fucking hand out. I’d hate to fill you with bullets and then learn you were going for lipstick.”
An inch at a time, she withdrew her hand—empty. Luke lifted the edge of his Armani suit coat and tucked his gun in the holster. He took two steps to his left so when she angled to keep her eyes on him, the frail light caught her face. Not that he needed any reminders what she looked like: hair the color of sunlight, bottle-green eyes dulled by tragedy, pale skin with two, teasing little tucks in her cheeks that flashed like lightning when she was angry and perhaps—Luke could only speculate here—when she smiled. Without her heels, she stood only a few inches above five feet, but she carried herself as if meeting him eye to eye.
On her turf, in a courtroom trying to convict him of murder, for example, Kara Chandler was the definition of cold control. Out here, she was wired so tight Luke thought she might snap if she so much as took a deep breath.
“You called?” Luke asked.
“Yes,” she said, but beneath the steel nerves, Luke caught a quaver in her voice. “I have a proposition for you.”
Luke feigned delight. “Now, what could a faithful public servant like you want with a common criminal like me?”
“I want to hire you,” she said, and he almost blinked. He caught himself and arched a dark brow instead.
“I’m not a stockbroker or private chef, Ms. Chandler.”
“I know what you are. You’re a drug cartel hit man, an arsonist and cold-blooded killer. So this job should be right up your alley. I want you to blow up a boat and make sure its owners die in the fire.”
Luke was flabbergasted. Christ. “Why me?”
“Because you can get away with it. You proved that when you walked out of court a month ago. You can get away with anything.”
“Flattery,” he said. “But you must know dozens of good criminals.”
Her gaze might have melted steel. “Besides you, the criminals I know are behind bars.”
“Ah, yes,” Luke said, letting the hint of a smile show. “You aren’t accustomed to a checkmark in the LOSS column. I’m sorry I tarnished your record.”
She took a step toward him. “It wasn’t a loss, it was a mistrial. You should be in prison for the rest of your life.”
“Lucky for you I’m not. Who would you call to commit your felonies?” He cocked his head. “Is the District Attorney really so desperate that he’s sending you into dark alleys?”
“I told you, this is personal.”
He skimmed down her blouse buttons. “Show me you aren’t wearing a wire.”
Her eyes blazed, but Luke could see that she was thinking about it. Considering stripping her clothes in a lonely, dark alley with a hit man for the Rojàs cartel, just to prove she wasn’t wired. Proof enough, Luke thought, and couldn’t quite believe his eyes when her fingers rose to her blouse and the first disk slipped through the hole. Jesus, she was going to do it. He felt like a twelve-year-old who’d just stumbled on a Playboy on a magazine under a mattress, watching her cleavage and the upper swells of her breasts come into view, her flat, pale belly revealed an inch at a time. His blood drained from his brain as she slid the blouse from her arms and let it drop to the pavement with her bag.
You don’t have to do this. The words rose to mind but didn’t make it past his lips. She unzipped her jeans and shimmied the denim over her hips—an unconsciously seductive move from any woman in any circumstance, and almost unbearably so in the heat of night with a woman of Kara Chandler’s lithe curves and unexpected mystique. Luke’s mouth went dry and she stepped from the jeans, then straightened and squared her shoulders.
The notion of sixteen hours in bed took an unexpected turn. Luke swallowed and took his time looking. Long, slender limbs and gently flaring hips, lace-edged underwear cut high enough and low enough to accentuate soft curves usually encased in power-suits. Her breasts strained against pale satin cups, and Luke’s fingers curled into fists with the desire to trade the bra for his hands.
“Satisfied?” she asked.
“Hardly,” Luke said, with more honesty than he intended. He stepped toward her, noting a trickle of perspiration trail between her breasts even as a shiver drew her nipples tight. “You and I both know transmission devices can be almost imperceptible, except upon close inspection.” He circled around her, stopping at her back to brush a hand beneath her hair and lift it from her shoulders, fanning his fingers through the waves. A sweet scent rose to his nostrils from the pulse point on her throat, an incongruous touch of elegance in the fetid alley.
But there were no electronics. If she was wearing a wire, it was installed someplace that would require exploration to find. That thought sent a surge of blood against his zipper, but a wave of anger flowed right behind it. Kara Chandler was no blushing virgin. She was a widow and a mother, an Assistant District Attorney in a major metropolis, a woman who’d taken Luke to court once for murder.
And she was playing a game. Luke didn’t like games when he didn’t know the rules.
He coiled the mass of gold around his hand and tightened the slack, tipping her head back to expose a pale stretch of throat. “You think it’s a good idea, presenting yourself to me like this? Perhaps you don’t know what I’m capable of.”
“I know exactly what you’re capable of,” she said, through clenched teeth. “It’s the reason I called you. And I’m fully aware that you have Gene Montiel’s resources at your disposal, and that you can disappear on a moment’s notice to a nation without extradition. But understand that if I am murdered here tonight, nothing short of that will keep you from being arrested.”
Luke tightened his grip on her hair, pulling her nearly-naked frame against him. “Murder wasn’t what I had in mind,” he whispered. A bit of bald truth in a tangle of lies. He waited for a shiver of fear, but instead she jerked away, teeth bared.
“Do it, then.”
“You think I don’t know what kind of man you are? That I didn’t know before I came here what you might demand?” Her voice vibrated with anger, maybe even with disgust, but at the same time, tears bloomed in her eyes. “Your mistake is in thinking I care,” she shot. “If sex is the currency you want, then get it over with. It’s hot out here and it stinks.”
Warning bells went off. Walk away. A tumble with Kara Chandler wasn’t worth losing the shipment. Or Frank Collado.
Luke stepped back, scooped her clothes from the ground and fired them at her chest. “Count yourself lucky that I’m partial to brunettes,” he said, but didn’t bother turning away while she hurried back into her clothes. He tried not to notice the sense of loss in his gut as she covered herself, tried not to wonder what—besides a set-up—would drive a woman of the law to such extremes as to try to hire a hit.
That thought was more than Luke could ignore. She bent down to pick up her bag and just before she would have walked away, he stopped her with his voice. “Ms. Chandler,” he said, “you never told me: Whose boat and whose death?”
She looked him straight in the eyes. “Mine.”