Jen: Today we welcome C.A. Szarek to Romancing the Book. C.A., will you share a short bio with us?
C.A.: Bestselling, award winning author of romantic suspense and epic fantasy romance, C.A. loves to dabble in different genres. If it’s a good story, she’ll write it, no matter where it seems to fit!
She’s a hopeless romantic and always will be. Risking it all for Happily Ever After is what she lives by!
She’s originally from Ohio, but got to Texas as soon as she could. She’s happily married and has a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.
She works with kids when she’s not writing.
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
C.A.: My latest release is SUPERIOR COLLISION (Crossing Forces Book 5) and I met the heroine in book 4. I liked her from the start, even though she’s kind of a hard person—tough FBI chick—but I knew she had a story, so I just let it come to me! I love her!
Her cellphone rang, vibrating and screaming her ringtone. It danced down the coffee table until she made a grab and swiped her thumb across the touch screen. She hadn’t recognized the number, but it had the local area code.
Even with one word, the familiar male voice washed over Taylor and she shifted on the edge of her brown microfiber couch. “Sergeant Crowley?” She’d written his number down last night, but hadn’t put it in her phone just yet.
Why is Shannon Crowley calling me? Taylor didn’t know what to say.
“Are you there?”
She cleared her throat and adjusted the phone against her ear. “Yes. How can I help you?”
It caught her off guard. She stood rocking on the balls of her feet, and fighting for balance. “What’s funny?” Taylor winced at the snap in her tone.
“You. After last night, you’re so formal with me.”
The knock on her apartment’s door made her jump.
She glanced at her phone then at the door. The sergeant’s voice had echoed, as if he was in a hallway. He couldn’t be—
“Gonna let me in?”
Taylor swallowed. Twice. She glanced down at her clothes. Blue yoga pants and a gray FBI tee from her Quantico days—it was faded, oversized and comfy. Bare feet and her hair down. She wasn’t fit for public consumption.
Ending the call and tossing her cell to the couch, she jogged to the door and wrenched it open, fully intending to tell her uninvited guest to go the hell away.
Words dissolved when they made eye contact.
Sergeant Crowley smiled and held up a brown paper bag. “Thought if I bribed you with sweets, you might invite me in.”
Taylor’s gaze trailed his tall muscular frame and she had to swallow again. He wore a brown leather jacket. He’d had it on last night, too, at Hakka Wu. The jacket was open, and a black, pec-hugging T-shirt peeked out, tucked into tight dark jeans. He sported an etched oval belt buckle and cowboy boots. He was only missing a Stetson, but it didn’t dim his appeal.
He was…gorgeous. Even with his messy, needs-a-trim dark hair.
She scowled. “How did you find out where I live?”
“Lucky guess?” Crowley shrugged. He flashed a mischievous grin that did funny things to her insides.
Taylor tilted her head to one side and ignored the zing of awareness when his eyes raked her body. She fidgeted and wanted to run. Resisted the urge to tug her shirt down. Felt naked. “Tell me who helped you invade my privacy, so I can plan their death.”
He laughed and shook his head. “I have no intention of invading your privacy. I thought—”
“You thought what?” she snapped.
Jen: Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
C.A.: Nope. I’m a one-woman show. LOL. It’s cool, because it’s different and my family is super supportive, but no one understands you like another writer.
Jen: Are you a plotter or pantser?
C.A.: Diehard pantser. It’s always more fun for me to let the story unfold as it will. Sometimes (A lot of the time…LOL) I’m surprised by the words “coming out” of my fingers when I type. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Plotting makes me not want to write the story, and I have tried.
Jen: How do you remember ideas that come to you at odd times?
C.A.: Grab my cellphone (which doesn’t leave my hands much anyway), and jot it down in the notepad. It’s a lifesaver. I even use talk/rec feature. And ideas/fixes for issues tend to come at inconvenient times.
Jen: How do you come up with characters names?
C.A.: My characters tell me their names. What I mean is, when I think up a character, or when one comes to me (cuz it’s hard to think of them as made-up, I really think they just make themselves known to me) their name usually pops into my head, too. I’ve never been “stumped” on a character name, but I have had it wrong. One time, I kept typing her name and it just “felt” wrong, and it started with the same letter, but I didn’t have it right. It was like she was in the back of my head saying, “That’s not my name,” every time I typed it. So, usually within a few minutes of figuring out a “new person,” I know their name, too. It always baffles me when other authors change names or struggle with name, cuz it SO doesn’t work that way for me.
Jen: What’s the most interesting comment you’ve received about your books?
C.A.: The most complimentary thing I’ve ever heard was in a review of COLLISON FORCE (Crossing Forces Book One). Cole, the hero is very much alpha, and being a woman, it can be a challenge to write strong, CONVINCING Alphas. Well, the reviewer said she kept checking the front of the book and my bio to make sure the book was written by a female because Cole was so male. I think that’s the best compliment I ever got about my writing. I love writing alphas and to have validation they’re done right gave me warm/fuzzies!
Jen: What’s next for you?
C.A.: LOL I have a lot going on. Three “worlds” and series, soon to be four. Right now I’m working on a prequel for my Scottish Highlander Time Travel series, but there will be three more Crossing Forces books. I know WHO they’re about, stories will develop!