Some stories began years before a single word is written.
Thirteen years ago I was newly married and living in the Philippines, having the adventure of a lifetime. Without kids to tie us down, my husband and I spent the weekends and any day off he could get traveling around Southeast Asia on a shoestring budget, taking in the exotic sites. Besides exploring Thailand and Hong Kong, we went all over the Philippines–from the pristine white beaches of Cebu to the verdant rice terraces of Banaue and the lush rainforests in between.
The Philippine islands are spectacular. But for all the nation’s natural beauty, there is some ugliness, too. The poverty in Manila is heart-wrenching. I’ll never forget the street children or the tiny, makeshift huts many families call home. And as Westerners, we were warned that certain pockets of the country weren’t safe to visit–such as the southern islands, where they were having political strife and foreign missionaries were being kidnapped and beheaded.
The contrasts of the place got to me. At the time I was writing magazine articles–mostly fluffy features about restaurants and shopping. But I always thought if I ever wrote something meatier, such as a book, I’d like to set it in the Philippines.
More than a decade later, that desire has become a reality. My new book SCORCHED opens in the Philippines, where the suspense story is set in motion.
SCORCHED features two of my favorite Tracers characters, forensic anthropologist Kelsey Quinn and Navy SEAL Gage Brewer. These two have a history, but at the book’s open they are worlds apart–both in body and spirit. Gage is on a daring rescue mission in the Indian Ocean and Kelsey is leading a human rights dig in the southern Philippines at the site of a brutal massacre. While excavating a mass grave, Kelsey stumbles upon a skeleton that doesn’t fit. Her search for answers leads her back to the United States, where she finds herself at a murder scene and ends up on the run for her life.
Despite their tumultuous past, Gage is the only person she can trust for help. They end up on the run together, both as prime suspects in a murder. Much of the story is about their struggle to unravel the crime, elude the investigators who think they’re guilty, and also dodge the bullets of the real killers, who want them dead.
Writing this story was quite an adventure for me. I got to interview Navy SEALs and forensic anthropologists. I visited a body farm and got to hold human bones for the first time, trying to put myself in the shoes of my main character. It was so much fun writing this novel and I hope readers will enjoy it. I’ve been thrilled with some of the early reviews:
“Dynamite characters, a taut plot and plenty of sizzle.” –RT Book Reviews
“Starts with a bang and never loses its momentum.” –Night Owl Reviews Top Pick
“SCORCHED kicks major butt….Definitely one of The Best Romances of 2012.” –A Tasty Read
I have a free excerpt of SCORCHED posted on my website. And today I’m giving away a signed copy of the book! Leave a comment for a chance to win.