Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Interview with Leslie Tentler + Giveaway

Today I am very happy to welcome to the blog Leslie Tentler, who is celebrating the release of her latest novel Edge of Midnight, the 3rd book in the Chasing Evil romantic thriller series. Please give a warm welcome to Leslie who was kind enough to answer all my curious questions, and read on to be entered to win a thrilling read!

Stella: Hi Leslie, welcome to Ex Libris! February is Romantic Suspense month for the participants of the Romance and Me Reading Challenge, so could you tell us why romantic suspense? What’s the appeal? Why do you write stories in this genre? On your website I see it is written you are an author of Romantic Thrillers, do you consider those different from romantic suspense and if so in what aspect?

Leslie: Hi, Stella! Thanks so much for having me here today. February is also my birthday (Feb. 10), so I love that it’s romantic suspense month. In answer to your question, I really enjoy the roller coaster ride of writing thrillers and romantic suspense. Setting your story against a backdrop of danger lets you explore high-stakes situations and heightened emotions between characters more so than in regular, everyday situations, I think.

As far as romantic thrillers go, I don’t know if there’s a formal difference, but in my mind, at least, it’s like this: Many romantic suspense novels focus most heavily on romance, with the suspense secondary. In my opinion, romantic thrillers have romance as a strong secondary subplot, but the plot and related action are the main focus.

Stella: Happy birthday Leslie! Hope you had some nice presents :-) Do you remember how you discovered the romantic suspense genre? Maybe even that first novel which introduced you to this heady combination of love stories and thrilling action?

Leslie: I always enjoyed Sandra Brown novels, and Brenda Novak’s Stillwater trilogy was also a big influence. I wish I could put my finger on a specific book that kicked it all off for me, but I can’t. It was really more that I knew I wanted to write, and everything I tried came out sounding like a romantic suspense story.

Stella: You are celebrating the release of Edge of Midnight, the 3rd book in your Chasing Evil series, congratulations! Can you tell readers a bit about the series and what can they expect of Edge of Midnight (and also can it be read as a standalone novel for those who haven’t had the chance to read the first two books yet)?

Leslie: In each book of the Chasing Evil trilogy, a different FBI agent is working a different high-profile serial murder investigation. It’s similar in some ways to the television show “Criminal Minds”, although there’s obviously more romance and much more about the agents’ personal lives in my books.

Here’s the back cover copy for Edge of Midnight, which does a good job of setting things up:
The writer becomes the story when crime reporter Mia Hale is discovered on a Jacksonville beach—bloodied and disoriented, but alive. She remembers nothing, but her wounds bear the signature of a sadistic serial killer. After years lying dormant, The Collector has resumed his grim hobby: abducting women and taking gruesome souvenirs before dumping their bodies. But none of his victims has ever escaped—and he wants Mia back, more than he ever wanted any of the others.

FBI agent Eric MacFarlane has pursued The Collector for a long time. The case runs deep in his veins, bordering on obsession…and Mia holds the key. She'll risk everything to recover her memory and bring the madman to justice, and Eric swears to protect this fierce, fragile survivor. But The Collector will not be denied. In his mind, he knows just how their story ends...

Because each novel in the Chasing Evil trilogy is about a different agent and a different investigation, the stories are completely standalone and can be read in any order. It’s more of a trilogy connected by theme – good versus evil – than by characters.

Stella: Could you summarize Edge of Midnight Twitter style (in 140 characters or less)?

Leslie: Oh, that’s hard for me, but I’ll give it a try:

A victim who escaped a ruthless serial killer, her memory erased. A federal agent desperate to bring a murderer to justice. Is he willing to risk the victim to stop The Collector?

(Okay, I’m five characters over – we’ll pretend we split it across two tweets?)

Stella: Sure Leslie :-) Can you tell 3 reasons why readers should check out Edge of Midnight?

Leslie: 1. Special agent Eric Macfarlane. He’s handsome, tortured (The Collector took someone very special to him) but also not infallible. Eric is from a prominent family and he has connections high up in the Department of Justice. He’s not afraid to pull strings to get himself placed on a case in which he is very deeply, personally involved.

2. The bromance. In the investigation, Eric is reunited with his former partner Cameron Vartran, who now works for the Florida Bureau of Investigation. These guys have a history and there’s a lot of caring there, but Cam is also worried about Eric’s stability on the case.

3. The setting. Edge of Midnight is set in Jacksonville, Fla., and its nearby beaches. Known as “The River City,” it makes for a scenic backdrop for some very grisly crimes.

Stella: What kind of research did you do for your Chasing Evil series? Any funny research story you could share? What was the weirdest thing you had to research?

Leslie: There was so much research, especially with regard to homicide investigation procedures (I took an online class from a retired detective that was really helpful), and also research into forensics and physical locales.

For the first book, Midnight Caller, I had to do a lot of research into the Goth subculture in New Orleans. My research also included a look into modern-day vampirism. Let’s just say I visited some really strange websites!

For the second book, Midnight Fear, I had to learn a lot about horses since the heroine operates an equine therapy program for children and young adults. I loved the book’s bucolic setting, intermixed with scenes in Washington, D.C.

Probably the weirdest thing I ran across during research is a web site that sells the artwork of famous serial killers. Seriously.

Stella: I have heard sources close to you say that you “take writing very seriously”. What does that mean exactly? And I’ve also heard rumours about some withdrawal symptoms when you’re away from writing for too long... ;-)

Leslie: I’m one of those people who take anything I approach in life really seriously. I think you have to be serious about writing – you’re putting your work “out there” and you want to feel like it’s been given your very best effort, that it’s the best you can possibly offer. Your name is going to be on it for a long time.

When I’m away from writing for a length of time, you could say I experience withdrawal, but I think maybe it’s more like “guilt.” Like I’m not doing something that I should be. Does that make sense?

Stella: If you were to try out your hand at writing in a different genre, which one would it be?

Leslie: Oh, that’s a hard one. I’d like to try small-town contemporary romance, I think. I’d also like to do a ghost-horror story of some kind. There’s an old mansion in my hometown in East Tennessee that has quite a grim past, and I’ve always thought about it as inspiration for some type of spooky story, possibly even a period piece.

Stella, thanks again for having me here today!

Stella: You're welcome Leslie, it was my pleasure! :-)


Leslie Tentler worked in public relations as a writer and editor for nearly two decades before deciding to pursue her love of writing fiction. Her first manuscript won multiple Romance Writers of America chapter contest awards, including the prestigious Maggie Award of Excellence.

Leslie is a native of Kingsport, Tennessee. Growing up, she was an avid reader, first of Nancy Drew novels and then surreptitiously devouring her mother’s historical romances at probably too young an age. As she got older, her reading interests moved to dark, contemporary romantic thrillers, which she writes today.

Her books include Midnight Caller, Midnight Fear and Edge of Midnight (all from MIRA Books). She lives in Atlanta with her husband, Robert, and their standard poodle, Tori.



You can find Leslie at her website / blog / Twitter / Facebook


The collection isn't complete without her...

The writer becomes the story when crime reporter Mia Hale is discovered on a Jacksonville beach – bloodied and disoriented, but alive. She remembers nothing, but her wounds bear the signature of a sadistic serial killer. After years lying dormant, The Collector has resumed his grim hobby: abducting women and taking gruesome souvenirs before dumping their bodies. But none of his victims has ever escaped – and he wants Mia back, more than he ever wanted any of the others.

FBI agent Eric Macfarlane has pursued The Collector for a long time. The case runs deep in his veins, bordering on obsession...and Mia holds the key. She’ll risk everything to recover her memory and bring the madman to justice, and Eric swears to protect this fierce, fragile survivor. But The Collector will not be denied. In his mind, he knows just how their story ends.


GIVEAWAY RULES:

Leslie has generously offered a copy of Edge of Midnight to a lucky commentator!


All you have to be entered is to

1) leave a comment and tell us: do you like romantic suspense? Why? Do you have a favourite author/series/novel?
2) leave me a way to contact you (e-mail address, Twitter handle, etc.)

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 24 February 2012!

Good luck!

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