Jen: Today we are excited to welcome romantic suspense author J.L. Hammer to Romancing the Book. J.L., will you share a short bio with us?
J.L.: As far back as she can remember, J.L. Hammer has had a constant stream of stories playing through her mind. She has two romantic suspense novels with Secret Cravings Publishing. Her fast-paced stories are filled with suspense, romantic tension, and gripping action. She is a member of the International Thriller Writers and Romance Writers of America. Visit her at http://www.JL-Hammer.com
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
J.L.: BLUE HORIZON is about Elena Davidson who is working on a secret government project when she is kidnapped by terrorists. Safeguarding ‘Blue Horizon’ isn’t just a mission to Elena. She knows that if its purpose is revealed and if it falls into the wrong hands, it could be dangerous for the entire world.
Beckham Connors has a simple mission: rescue Elena or kill her. Whatever happens, she cannot be left alive on Iranian soil.
The events of 9/11 influenced the shaping of BLUE HORIZON. It is set on a backdrop of terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and foreign cultures. When I placed a strong female protagonist against these elements and then added a hardened mercenary, the sparks began to fly.
Here’s an excerpt from Blue Horizon:
Elena watched him as he secured the new bandage. Until that moment, she hadn’t realized how close he sat next to her on the bed. His thigh brushed against hers. Elena lifted her head, and their gazes locked. She found herself becoming lost in his brown eyes. This hard man fought to be unfeeling, but she knew he wasn’t. Beckham had needs, just like her—to be touched, loved, and wanted.
His hand reached out to her cheek, and the roughness of his fingers met the softness of her skin. Elena’s breathing quickened as his fingers lowered to the curve of her neck. Her flesh tingled. Shivers of warmth bolted through her body. The same desire she felt reflected in his heated gaze. His chest rose with the rapid intake of his breaths. It felt as if the pull of a magnet drew them together as time slipped away. Elena braced herself for the kiss that was sure to come. She should have been afraid; Beckham could overpower her and she wouldn’t stand a chance, but fear was the last thing on her mind.
His fingers encircled the back of her neck, and he tugged her lips to his. Sparks ignited, lighting the backs of her closed eyelids. Without hesitation, their tongues explored. Her body demanded more of the sensual, intoxicating kiss. Elena’s heart raced. Grasping his broad shoulders, she felt his solid weight above her, pressing her firmly against the bed. Her breasts molded against his muscular chest. Beckham smelled so good, like earth and man.
“You’re so beautiful…so damn soft and sweet.” The heat from his husky words sent a shiver of excitement across her skin. She willed him to devour her. Elena had been so lost and alone that being held securely in his arms felt good and right. She could tell Beckham needed her just as much as she needed him.
The whiskers from his strong jaw rubbed against her skin, sending a ripple of painful pleasure through her. She moaned. With one hand she tugged at his shirt so she could touch his bare skin. Beckham caressed her breast. Even through the cloth she could feel the heat from his touch. She bit her lower lip to stop the cry from escaping. Scattered thoughts raced through her mind. She should be stopping this. She should be outraged that he dare touch her. The voice of reason pleaded with her to remember who she was and what he was, but she told it to shut up. She threaded her fingers through the length of his brown hair, bringing him even closer, needing to feel his lips once again on hers.
The sudden pounding on the door echoed throughout the room. Before the noise even registered in her mind, Beckham had leaped to his feet and was standing beside the bed. He took a second to slow his breathing and then cracked open the door. Mumbled words were exchanged. Elena strained to make them out. Apparently Beckham understood, since he opened the door a bit farther.
“Okay, be right there.” He glanced back at her. His wrinkled shirt was half unbuttoned, his hair disheveled. Beckham looked as if he’d almost been devoured. Had she done that to him?
His heated gaze raked over Elena as she lay sprawled on the bed. “Damn—I’m going to kill him.” After uttering those words, he smashed the turban back on his head, went out, and shut the door behind him.
Jen: What age did you discover writing? Tell us your call story.
J.L.: My love for writing started in 2005 when I finally chained myself to my computer and wrote one of the stories constantly playing in my head. Once I started, I was hooked and I haven’t stopped writing since. With my first attempt I stumbled through a novella. The manuscript is still collecting dust, but it was a success because I finished it. I have taken classes through Gotham Writer’s Workshop, and the advice from author Leigh Michaels helped sharpen my writing skills. I now have two romantic suspense novels with Secret Cravings Publishing: BLUE HORIZON and OUTMANEUVERED.
Jen: Are you a plotter or pantser?
J.L.: Plotter. I need some structure or my story strays like an alley cat. I have an outline on my computer with the major goal of each scene. I never know the dialogue and how exactly the scene will play out until I sit down and write it.
Jen: How do you remember ideas that come to you at odd times?
J.L.: I jot down thoughts everywhere. Any paper is fair game: receipts, the back of tissue boxes, my daughter’s softball schedule.
Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
J.L.: I did a fair amount of research for BLUE HORIZON. The Internet is an amazing tool. I used aerial maps to get a visual for the terrain of Iran near the Pakistani border. I researched Iranian culture, foods, and clothing. Furthermore, I spent considerable time gathering information on the Pentagon and FBI procedures.
Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors? What are you reading now?
J.L.: I’m a huge fan of Karen Robards and Sandra Brown. I’m always in awe of their intricate plots. Currently, I’m reading DANGEROUS RACE by Dee J. Adams.
Jen: What’s next for you?
J.L.: I just finished book one of a quirky romantic suspense series. Let’s just say the glitz of Las Vegas just woke up sleepy-town Colorado. I’ll share more information at a later date.