Jen: Today we welcome Kristy McCaffrey to Romancing the Book. Kristy, will you share a short bio with us?
Kristy: Kristy McCaffrey writes historical western romances brimming with grit and emotion, and in 2018 she will branch out into contemporary adventure stories packed with smoldering romance and spine-tingling suspense. Her work is filled with compelling heroes, determined heroines, and her trademark mysticism. Life is a wondrous endeavor, and she strives to bring that sense of awe and joy into the tales she weaves, along with in-depth research into settings and time periods. Her four children are nearly grown and gone, so she and her husband frequently pursue their love of travel to the far corners of the world. Kristy believes life should be lived with curiosity, compassion, and gratitude, and one should never be far from the enthusiasm of a dog. She also likes sleeping-in, eating Mexican food, and doing yoga at home in her pajamas. An Arizona native, she resides in the desert north of Phoenix.
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release.
Kristy: My new release, DEEP BLUE (The Pathway Series Book 1), is the first book in a new contemporary adventure series I’m launching this year. Dr. Grace Mann travels to Guadalupe Island, near Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, to freedive with the great white sharks who arrive each fall to mate and feed. Filmmaker Alec Galloway is hired to film a documentary about her, but can he do his job when Grace’s passionate focus on the sharks might endanger her life? I’ve long loved the ocean and in college I dreamed of studying marine biology (instead I got two engineering degrees). I’ve always wanted to write a book featuring sharks, and I finally decided to sit down and make it happen last year. This story combines my love of daring exploration, environmental awareness, and animal conservation. The sharks aren’t the villains in my novel. That was very important to me as I developed the plot. In future books, I’ll be tackling topics such as: ancient artifacts that may have an alien origin, deciphering the language of sperm whales, and efforts to stop elephant poaching in Africa.
“Grace, your lips are blue,” Alec said. He pulled her up, then held her firmly around the waist as he guided her into the salon.
“Wait,” she said. “I need to take my wetsuit off.”
“We’ll do it inside.” His tone was firm, almost brusque, which irritated her. She wasn’t a baby. She could do it herself.
As they neared her cabin, she began to shiver. She reached for the door handle but the weakness in her arms surprised her, as did the lack of control over her fingers.
The shaking intensified.
“No,” Alec said. He dragged her farther down the hallway.
Crowding her into the small bathroom space that everyone shared, he shut the door. Reaching around her, he turned on the shower and within seconds steam began to fill the room.
He unclipped the camera harness and dropped it to the floor, and she wondered if he’d broken it but didn’t have the energy to ask him. He put his hands on her shoulders and turned her away from him, and then unzipped the wetsuit. As if she were a doll, he peeled the neoprene away from her body, tugging to get it off her arms. He knelt and yanked the fabric down her legs.
The few times her mind had dared imagine Alec undressing her certainly weren’t like this.
He lifted each of her feet in turn as he pulled the diving garment completely free, leaving her only in her black swimsuit.
He stood. “Get in, Grace.”
She stepped under the stream of hot water. Alec, still wearing his wetsuit, remained beside her while she closed her eyes and let the liquid flow over her head.
Slowly, the chill began to diminish, replaced with a delicious warmth that seeped into her muscles. Finally, the shaking abated.
Wiping water from her eyes, she looked at Alec, his gaze fixated on her. “Thank you.” She crossed her arms and tucked them beneath her breasts. Although she wasn’t naked, and her bathing suit was unprovocative, she suddenly felt exposed, aware of the tight space they both occupied. They’d never been alone before. Not really. There always had been other people around.
“It was quite an afternoon,” he said.
“Did you get some good shots?” she asked, her voice unsteady.
“What I got was incredible. What you did was….”
“I know what you’re going to say.” She didn’t want to leave the hot water, but they didn’t have an endless supply. She shut off the stream and shakily sluiced water from each arm. “It was stupid, right? Reckless?”
Her towel was in her room. She’d need to make a dash for it, but it would probably be more like a snail’s pace.
“I wasn’t gonna say that, but you did make my heart stop a few times.”
“I had to help her.”
“I know. I’m glad you got the line off her. Brad said it was Mary Ann.”
Alec’s eyes softened. “Then maybe she remembered you.”
It was an outrageous notion, but she appreciated the suggestion nonetheless.
She started to shiver. “My towel’s in my cabin.”
“Right. Sorry.” He stepped back and opened the door.
She slowly walked to her cabin and grabbed her towel. As she wiped her arms and legs, she faced the door—still ajar—not wanting to miss Alec as he passed by.
He didn’t disappoint her.
He took one step into her room. “I’ll hang up your wetsuit. Meet me in the galley once you get dry, and I’ll buy you a beer.”
She started drying her hair with the towel. “I’d rather have a giant bowl of buttered noodles. Could you ask Chris if he’d make it for me?”
“Sure.” Alec paused, and his gaze became serious. “I have two things to say to you.”
She waited. Her heartbeat went pitter patter. Anxiety mounted as she wondered if he were about to ask her on a date or tell her she was too nutso for him to ever hook up with.
“What you did was amazing. But please don’t ever do it again.”
Copyright © 2018 K. McCaffrey LLC
Jen: Describe an ideal date.
Kristy: Dinner with my husband at our favorite Mediterranean restaurant followed by a movie (we especially like sci-fi flicks).
Jen: What is your favorite candy?
Kristy: Sweetarts. When I’m stressed while writing, I’ll eat them nonstop and burn off the top of my tongue.
Jen: Favorite day of the week?
Kristy: Wednesday. My favorite sitcoms are on that night.
Jen: Favorite gift ever received from a fan?
Kristy: This one forced me to stop and think because I really haven’t gotten too many physical things from fans. However, I’ve received nice letters and emails thanking me for my books. We authors are human, and appreciation of our hard work always makes our day.
Jen: Who is your hero?
Kristy: Jane Goodall
Jen: What is your signature dish you’re known for?
Kristy: Well, it’s not exactly from scratch, but my go-to meal is BBQ pork sandwiches, baked beans, and sweet potato fries.
Jen: Preferred method of travel?
Jen: Which reality show would you want to be on?
Kristy: Dancing With The Stars!! I’m absolutely devoted to that show, and I’ve watched it from the very beginning. My husband even took me to a live taping once (when Maks danced with Erin Andrews, and Derek was paired with Nicole Scherzinger) I was so excited!!
Jen: Print or ebook?
Jen: Do you have a mentor?
Kristy: Not really. No one in my family is a writer. I’ve bumbled through my career all on my own. But these days I do like to hang out with author Ann Charles. She also lives in Arizona and is very helpful in bouncing around writing and marketing ideas.
Jen: Vampire or werewolf?
Jen: Picnic or elegant restaurant?
Jen: What’s next for you?
Kristy: I’m currently finishing the first draft of the second Pathway book, COLD HORIZON, which features Alec’s brother, Tyler, as he climbs K2, the second-highest mountain in the world. On his team is Lindsey Coulson, who has returned to the mountain to face the loss of her sister. I’m hoping for a Summer 2018 release.