Thursday, 13 February 2014

Guest post by Seleste DeLaney + Giveaway

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming to Ex Libris Selese deLaney, who is celebrating the release of Conning for Keeps, the second novel in her Agents of TRAIT series! I LOVE stories and movies featuring con artist heroes/heroines, so I was excited to learn more about the research Seleste did for the character development of her heroine. So please join us and meet Marissa and learn how she came to be the heroine she is today! :-) 

Building a Grifter
by Seleste DeLaney

Marissa is one of my favorite characters that I’ve ever written. When she was first introduced in Gaming for Keeps, she didn’t really fit with the “look” of TRAIT. We had boss-man Marron, Cal the sexy nerd, and Trevor the brooding linebacker, but I knew she was a necessary component to the team. (And yes, my editor at the time questioned her presence.)

So, even though I knew she was different when I wrote the first book, I wasn’t at the time, quite sure how. It was only when I started thinking about how a spy organization could really use a beautiful woman that I started thinking about the show Leverage (which I loved) and the (much older show) Pretender. I immediately knew Marissa was a con artist—a grifter. A person who lures in others by pretending to be someone else. But that wasn’t enough of a “trait” for TRAIT, and the abilities on Pretender seemed too far-fetched, even for my stuff.

Then I was talking to a friend who does hypnosis and was asking a bunch of questions just because I was curious. And the idea of her being able to be programmed started forming. I asked him if it was possible. The look he gave me was kind of priceless. The short version of the answer was that it’s possible for short term, but the long-term missions I was thinking of probably wouldn’t work. At which point, I repeated, “Yeah, but theoretically…” So, it’s not quite learning Kung Fu in The Matrix or mental programming like in Dollhouse, but it’s as close as I could get and still be touching the realm of reality.

The Leverage crew
I am almost ashamed to admit this, but most of my con artist research came from fiction. I am borderline obsessed with con artist characters. The Leverage crew, White Collar (thought calling Neil a con artist isn’t entirely accurate), Sawyer from Lost, the list could go on and on. So I fell back on a lot of that and then did some online research as well. (Sadly finding a list of lesser-known confidence games by name was not happening online. Apparently con artists don’t share that stuff with the Internet. So rude.)

As for Marissa herself, I knew the moment I created the character, who she looked like. It’s an odd thing to write the way I do because everything plays out in my head like a movie before/while I’m writing. And the instant I visualized Marissa (though this wasn’t a scene in either book), I saw her coming into a room in a catsuit, and whipping off a short black wig. Basically, I saw Olivia Wilde in her Tron: Legacy outfit coming off the job for the day. There are only a couple actresses I know who have that chameleon-like ability to wear any hair color/style and look good doing it. She’s one; Jennifer Garner is the other. That was something I knew I needed for this character, and once I saw her, I could never unsee it.

The hardest part of Marissa’s character was figuring out her past. Why was she trained like this? How did she get caught? How did she feel about it? And what was haunting her about her past? Once all those pieces came together, her half of Conning for Keeps practically wrote itself. Of all the characters I’ve written, she’s one of the most alive in my mind. (Though I will admit, I had to tone down some of her eccentricities in order to get the book to earn a pass from my editor LOL)

Conning for Keeps by Seles te deLaney

Book #2 in the Agents of TRAIT series

Lovers undercover…

Secret Agent Marissa Jones has a gift. A con artist to the core, after deep hypnosis she can turn into someone else entirely. Marisa’s gift has gotten her into hot water over the years, but now more so than ever. With her smoking hot partner by her side, she needs to convince him that not only is she her true self, but also that she can be trusted—even in spite of her past.

…or traitors to the cause?

Trevor Harris has his own issues with the mission, he’s got revenge to seek, a cursed painting to secure, and Marissa’s sugary-sweet alter-ego to ignore. But when he releases Marisa from her mental cage and things get a little too hot, he ends up finding out what falling for a con artist really means—bigger trouble than ever before.

Buy at Amazon - B&N - Kobo - iTunes

Seleste started on her career path as a young child. Stories of talking animals soon gave way to a love of superheroes and science fiction. Her first foray into the world of romance came at age twelve when she envisioned a sweeping epic love story of two people thrust together and torn apart again and again by fate. As she recalls, the plan was for them to admit their love on his deathbed. But, as is often the case with pre-teen girls, a story of that depth gave way to other pursuits, and sadly it is completely lost other than vague memories.

After that, she occupied herself with short stories for a while, and then poetry until after she had earned a degree in chemistry, spent time as a high school teacher, and became a mother of two. Then she delved into writing fiction once more.

She never lost her love of the fantastic, and her stories now always reach into other realms. The worlds and people she creates occupy as much of her time as the real world, and she is most fortunate to have a family that understands her idiosyncrasies and loves her anyway.
You can find Seleste on her websiteGoodreads and Twitter.


Entangled Publishing has generously offered 20 eBooks of Gaming for Keeps to a lucky commenter!

To be entered to winjust fill out the Rafflecopter form below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 15 February 2014!

Good luck!

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