Jen: Today we welcome Laura Griffin to Romancing the Book. Will you share a short bio with us?
Laura: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author LAURA GRIFFIN started her career in journalism before venturing into the world of romantic suspense. She is a two-time RITA Award winner as well as the recipient of the Daphne du Maurier Award. Laura currently lives in Austin, where she is working on her next book.
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Laura: When I first got out of school I worked as a newspaper reporter, and I’m still a news junkie. I’m constantly reading headlines and scanning news articles for potential story ideas. One day I was reading an article about SEALs and I starting thinking about what would happen if one of these highly trained warriors got inside info about a threat here at home. Would he be able to turn his back and let someone else handle it, or would he feel compelled to act? In BEYOND LIMITS, Derek Vaughn is determined to help thwart the attack, and he uses his relationship with FBI agent Elizabeth LeBlanc to get inside the investigation.
Jen: What is the Tracers series about?
Laura: The Tracers are an elite group of forensic experts who help law enforcement with their very toughest cases. I’ve always loved interviewing CSIs and learning all about what they do, so the forensic theme runs through the series. The books don’t need to be read in order, though, because each story has different lead characters and a stand-alone suspense plot.
Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest? Most rewarding?
Laura: Every story is challenging until I get to know my characters. I put them in these situations and see how they react. Once I feel like I know the people inside-out, once I really get inside their heads, that’s when everything flows and the writing part comes easily.
To me the editing process is rewarding. You have this thick ream of pages, or this 90,000-word document on your screen, and you get to cut and add and change and polish until everything shines. I like that part.
Jen: How do you come up with characters names?
Laura: Names can be tricky. You don’t want too many with the same sound or starting letter. It’s hard to have a main character whose name ends in “s” because the possessive form can get a bit clunky in dialogue. I’m always on the hunt for interesting names. Sometimes I’ll meet someone at a party and do a double-take. “Your name is what? Where did that come from? How do you spell that?” I get some odd looks sometimes.
Jen: Who has influenced you as a writer?
Laura: I’ve been a big reader since I was a kid, so my first influences were other writers, everyone from Charlotte Bronte to Stephen King. I would basically read anything in my parents’ or grandparents’ bookshelves, or the bookshelves of friends’ parents. And teachers made a big impact on me. I was lucky enough to have some outside-the-box teachers who encouraged me early on. When you’re ten and a teacher tells you she expects to read your published work someday, it makes you believe it can actually happen.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Laura: Next up is SHADOW FALL, a new Tracers novel featuring some of my favorite Tracers characters—Mark Wolfe, Kelsey Quinn, Mia Voss. The hero in this one is Mark’s brother, Liam Wolfe, a private security specialist who becomes the focus of a high-profile murder investigation. SHADOW FALL comes out later this year. I got a glimpse of the cover the other day and I can’t wait to share!