Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Guest Blogger, Dee Davis

Today I’d like to welcome author Dee Davis as the special guest blogger here at Thoughts in Progress as part of her virtual blog tour.

Dee’s latest release is “Dark Deceptions” Book 1 in the A-Tac Series and it hit bookstores April 1. Here’s a brief synopsis of the book: “Covert operations expert Nash Brennon has spent the last eight years trying to forget Annie Gallagher, his former field partner and the only woman he ever loved. Annie betrayed him when he needed her most, then vanished without a trace. Now suddenly she’s back in the game—this time as a suspected traitor and threat to national security. 

Annie’s son has been kidnapped by political terrorists. The price for his life? Assassinate a UN ambassador. Then Nash finds her, and immediately, the smoldering passion between Annie and the man she swore she’d never contact again almost blazes out of control. But can Nash trust her? The stakes couldn’t be higher: their enemy’s endgame is personal, and one false move could cost them their lives.”

Thanks to Dee, along with Anna and the folks at Hachette Book Group, I have five copies of “Dark Deceptions” to offer in a giveaway. Please see the end of this post for details.

Dee has stopped by to talk about how she came to write romantic suspense.

When I was a little kid on certain summer nights, my mom would tell my brother and I to get our pajamas on right after dinner. A good couple of hours before our bedtimes. But we didn’t protest because we knew what was coming next. We were going to the drive-in movie theatre. Now the rule was that we were allowed to watch the first feature but during the second we were supposed to go to sleep. I never did. And so in a small Oklahoma town, I saw all the James Bond movies, Matt Helm movies and various war movies (mostly starring John Wayne).

When I hit the point where I outgrew juvenile fiction, my mother introduced me to Mary Stewart’s books. My Brother Michael, This Rough Magic and the Moon-Spinners soon became favorite books, and I branched out into the works of Alistair MacLean, Frederick Forsyth and Robert Ludlum. From there I grew into Robin Cook, Michael Crichton, and Mary-Higgins Clark. And while living in Vienna, starving for books written in English, I discovered the works of Helen McGinnis.

When I graduated from college, I took the entrance exam for the foreign service and interviewed with the CIA. Ultimately, we agreed that it wasn’t going to work. We both agreed that I talk too much. But it didn’t curb my interest in all things spy oriented. And so it wasn’t really a surprise that when I started writing books I turned to romantic suspense. It was what I was raised with in a literary sense. And as a political scientist with a concentration in international relations, my interest in the posturing of governments as they move together and apart was also a natural feeding ground for my imagination.

In short, although I’ve never been a spy, and never worked for any of the many government intelligence agencies, I was a natural to write romantic suspense set in and around my fictional version of the CIA and various organizations  connected to it. And the American Tactical Intelligence, the group around which my new series is based, is the newest creation of my overly active imagination. 

But in order to make it believable, I did need to do my research. And as with all research it can be broken down into two distinct categories: Background and specific. Background research consists of understand the overview of whatever it is I’m writing about. For that I read books about real people involved with the business of stopping threats against our society. Books like Ghost, Profiles

in Murder, No Heros, The Anatomy of Motive, and Mind Hunter give insight into the minds of both criminals and the men and women who work to stop them. And as my characters are created, this insight helps in developing their backgrounds and personalities.

For specific research, I look to history books, how-to books, children’s books (which offer simple explanations) and books written by people in the professions I’m trying to understand. Tyler Hanson, in Desperate Deeds, the third book in the A-Tac series, is a whiz with ordnance. And to make sure that there is a sufficient level of believability to her character, I had to learn about ordnance, and about bombs in particular. In addition her father is a military man, and I wanted to be sure I got things right when she spoke about his career and experiences. So I turned to books on the Army and on the war in Vietnam.  

One of the best compliments I’ve ever received about a book came from an FBI agent who told me that I got it right in my book Midnight Rain. That meant the world and made all the hours researching worthwhile. My books are primarily about relationships. About two people coming together in extraordinary circumstances and learning to trust each other enough to fall in love. But the fact that this usually happens in the midst of car chases, gunfire, explosions and the occasional helicopter escape isn’t all that surprising. 

After all, the seeds were sown long ago at the drive-in movie when I stayed awake for the second feature.

What about you? How have your reading (or viewing) experiences shaped your life?

Dee thanks so much for guest blogging here today. I can see where growing up watching Matt Helm and James Bond could be a foundation for creating the A-Tac Series.

A cool new micro site for "Dark Deceptions" was recently launched. You can "Enter A-Tac" where you can get character profiles and listen to excerpts , as well as hear a mysterious voice that speaks of scary things.
Now for some background on Dee. She has a BA in Political Science and History, and a Masters Degree in Public Administration. During a 10 year career in public relations, Dee spent three years on the public speaking circuit, edited two newsletters, wrote three award winning public service announcements, did television and radio commercials, starred in the Seven Year Itch, taught college classes, lobbied both the Texas State Legislature and the US Congress, and served as the director of two associations. Her highly acclaimed first novel, Everything In Its Time, was published in July 2000. Since then, among others, she’s won the Booksellers Best, Golden Leaf, Texas Gold and Prism awards, and been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award, the Holt and two RT Reviewers Choice Awards. To date, she has sold 18 books and three novellas, including Chain Reaction and A Match Made on Madison

She’s lived in Austria and traveled in Europe extensively. And although she now lives in Manhattan she still calls Texas home. She blogs at Whine Sisters and her virtual blog tour schedule can be found at her Website.

Now for the giveaway. I have five copies of “Dark Deception” to give away. To enter, send an e-mail to me, be sure to put “Win Deception” in the subject line and include your name and mailing address in the body of the e-mail. The giveaway is open to U.S and Canadian residents only and no post office box addresses accepted. The deadline to enter is 8 p.m. (EST) on Friday, April 16.


  1. Mason - Thank you for hosting Dee!

    Dee - You've got such an interesting background! I know what you mean about the appeal of espionage, too. I admit, I don't write spy stories, but they sure are exciting, and can be very suspenseful. Your new release sounds interesting, and I wish you the best.

  2. Great post and I look forward to reading your A-Tac series.

  3. Mason, Another great interview. thanks for doing this.

    Dee, I grew up too on Mary Stewart and some of the other books. Yes, the older I get the more I rely on past experiences to make there way into my writing. Your books sounds very good.

  4. Wow, great interview. I want to do an interview but I'm scared to. You make it look so easy. I will look into that book.


  5. This is a wonderful interview. I learned something about research and character development. Thanks so much. The book is intriguing. And I love how your interest came about - drive-in movies.

  6. I think sometimes when people say write what you know -- they're not so much talking about "what you do" so much as "who you are". The sum total of all your life's experiences expressed in your writing voice. You bring yourself to the table every time you put fingers to key-board really. And I think that's what ultimately gives a novel--no matter what it's about-- that ring of authenticity.

  7. Great post. Dee I love the image of you at the drive in.

  8. Dee, my friend p.m.terrell writes suspense and I know the amount of research she does to make her books believable. It's incredible! Hats off to you.

  9. Wonderful post! Thanks for letting us know about Dee and her new book! I'll have to check it out.

  10. Dee, thanks so much for guest blogging today. I love the part where you both agreed you talk too much. Oh, so many questions I could ask about that. :)

    Hi everyone, thanks so much for stopping by. It's been a crazy, long day at work and the first chance I've had to drop in myself. Appreciate everyone visiting.

  11. my post not show up yet?


  12. Thanks for having me. Was great to visit with everyone!

  13. Hey, Mason. Hi, Dee. Mason, thanks for the e-mail. I've posted this at Win a Book for you.

    Dee, if you have other promotional doings, I invite you to check out what we're all about. We'd love to help you connect with readers.

  14. YOu have an interesting background Dee. And talking too much is a gift. Some people just don't recognize it. Best wishes for your continued success.

    Stephen Tremp

  15. Sounds so exciting and scary, a definite spell binder.

    My writing is affected by personal experience, stories told to me by others, and reading. I don;t watch TV and rarely can afford to go to the movies.

    Maybe that's why I'm not a best seller, LOL!


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.