Wednesday, May 14, 2014

"Deception in the Shadows" by T. L. Haddix

Deception in the Shadows
by T. L. Haddix

Deception in the Shadows is currently on tour with Reading Addiction Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my interview with the author. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

You can find out about T. L. Haddix's Firefly Hollow and the rest of the Firefly Hollow series in my previous blog post.

When all the lies that have been hidden come to light, nothing will be the same.
From the time she came to live with her Uncle Ron after the tragic deaths of her parents when she was a young girl, Carrie Greer never had reason to doubt she was wanted. Now a dispatcher with the county, she's a grown woman building a life of her own. But after a trip to Florida, her uncle's attitude changes ... and not for the better. While struggling to come to terms with this shift in their relationship and all the collateral damage it causes, another tragedy strikes. Ron Smith is murdered. And the only person with an obvious reason to want him dead ... is Carrie.
Robbie Bailey is finally free to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a teacher. But instead of attending classes, he ends up having to return to Leroy and to Carrie, the girl he's been in love with since he was a teenager. He finds himself in the position of having to convince her of the depth of his feelings while protecting her from a vengeful killer bent on keeping long-buried secrets hidden. And he isn't sure he can succeed at either task.

The tastefully appointed den was quiet, save the sounds of the antique clock ticking on the mantel and the occasional popping of the logs that burned sedately in the fireplace. The room’s two occupants were holding an entire conversation with their eyes, as the woman seated behind the ornate mahogany desk turned an envelope corner to corner to corner. The socially polite smile she usually wore was absent, a cold harshness in its place that would have surprised most who knew her.
That harshness was no surprise to the man seated in the comfortable leather chair in front of the desk. Trey London shifted, moving so that he could set the cut-glass tumbler he held on a strategically placed coaster on the table beside him.
“How do you want to handle this?” he finally asked. His voice was quiet, even though they were alone in the big house and being overheard wasn’t a concern. Most things he did, he did quietly. People found his calm demeanor reassuring for the most part, with only a handful seeing that predatory watchfulness for what it truly was.
She sat forward, stunningly elegant even though she was attired in a simple blouse and skirt. Her fingers ran across the top of the envelope where she’d slit it with the pearl-handled letter opener earlier that day. “The same way we handled all Hatcher’s other little… indiscretions. Quickly and without blinking. Making those go away was fairly simple, and I see no reason this has to be different. You’ll take care of it?”
He nodded. “Of course. You know this will have to be dealt with in a more severe fashion than the rest. We can’t pay him off or scare him off.”
An arched eyebrow lifted as she gave a little shake of her head. “I’m aware. And I don’t care. He’s not worth my concern. Do you have a problem doing it?”
“You know I don’t. I’ve not spent the last fifteen years protecting your interests only to balk now. When?”
“Soon. The sooner, the better.” She lifted her own glass and took a sip of the amber liquid it contained. In the firelight and the warm glow of the Tiffany lamp perched on the edge of her desk, he saw her lips lift into a tiny smirk. “I worked too hard to get where I am to let someone traipse in and take it all from me with this kind of drivel. Hatcher and I never saw eye-to-eye about how these matters should be handled. Apparently, he’s been paying through the nose to keep this quiet. Well, this bitch doesn’t pay.”
That was the God’s honest truth, he knew. Oh, she compensated him well, very well, to act as clean-up man for whatever needed to be swept under the rug, but that was part of their understanding. He made problems go away; that was his job. And he was good at it. In the grand scheme of things, removing this newest problem wasn’t even the vilest act he’d ever performed to keep her safe. But it would be the first time he’d ever killed for her.
“I’ll see that it’s done.” He stood and straightened his sweater before leaving.
She stopped him as he reached the door.
“If you could make it look like an accident, that would probably be best. And we’ll need to find out what he has written down or stashed away, and make sure it disappears as well. Because you know he’ll have something. They always do.”
“Of course they do. I’ll take care of it. You know I will.”
“Why else would I keep you around?” Her eyes dropped to his crotch, and he shut the door of the den back with a quiet snick.
Watching her smile was like looking into the eyes of a shark, and despite the emptiness, he felt an odd sexual thrill run up his spine as she traced the edge of her glass with a blood-red fingernail.
“Why else, indeed?” He went to her, knowing better than to wait for her to come to him while she was in this sort of mood, and stood at the corner of her desk as he waited for instructions. His arousal grew as she slowly unbuttoned her shirt and stood, only to kneel before him. Of all the perks of his job, he thought, closing his eyes as her mouth found its way to him and started working skillfully, this was his favorite. The thrill of the danger of knowing she could have him killed, or that he’d be imprisoned for the rest of his life if the crimes he had committed on her behalf came to light, just added to his pleasure.

Featured Review
Holy Cow! Deception in the Shadows is by far one of the best Romantic Suspense stories I have read this year! With an intricate plot and a cast of complex characters, this book had me on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading it. It was definitely hard to put down and I could not stop reading until I read the very last page. Unlike other books I have read this year, I was still guessing ‘who done it?’ until the very last. The epilogue ended in a complete cliff hanger which demands answers, and I can only hope the next installment of this series comes out SOON ... like NOW! Ms. Haddix has completely outdone herself in creating this awesome masterpiece. With just the right amount of mystery, romance and suspense all rolled up in this well-written novel made for an effortless and engrossing read. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good romantic suspense that will keep you enthralled throughout.

Interview with the Author
Hi T. L. Haddix, thanks for joining me today to discuss your new book, Deception in the Shadows.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
Adults 18 and over, though it’s okay for mature teens, as well. But primarily it’s targeted at adult readers.
What sparked the idea for this book?
I wanted to tell Robbie Bailey’s story. Robbie has been a character in the Shadows series who has been on the sidelines, appearing here and there, throughout the other five books. And I felt he had potential, so I sat down and started wondering about who he was.
So, which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
In this case, it was the character’s story. I had the background for the heroine, Carrie Greer, but I wasn’t sure what to do with it. And I had this desire to write a romance for Robbie … so after some finagling, the two of them fit together nicely.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
The last twenty percent. Well, I should say the part from 80% on to about 95%, really. I knew how I wanted Deception in the Shadows to end, to tie up. And I knew how to get to a certain point. But that last little bit was very hard to get my head around. It needed to make sense and fit the story, and working that out turned out to be somewhat difficult.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I hope Deception entertains them, and I hope it leaves them with a positive impression of the book and the author. Also, I’d hope it would make them curious to find out what happens in the other books in the series. There are five that come before this one, as well as a completely different series which is straight romance with light paranormal elements (which is the Firefly Hollow series.)
How long did it take you to write this book?
Not counting the planning, and once I got to the "transcribing" stage, the bulk of the writing took about three weeks … but then I hit that 80% blockage. If I could’ve figured things out easily there, I would have spent about a month writing the first draft. As it happened, it took about eight weeks.
What is your writing routine?
I get an idea, a spark, a nebulous thought, and I write it down so I don’t forget it. That can be as simple as "Jason Hudson is having lunch in a diner out on a country road." I let the idea percolate, and when I’m ready, I start making general notes. Sometimes the notes are there from the beginning with the spark. Sometimes they don’t come. Once they do, I get it "penciled in" in my brain, then commit it to a paper outline. Once the outline is done, I’m ready to write. I use Pages as a word processor, usually do about ten pages a day, and in between "transcribing" the ideas from memory, I work in my head on how I want scenes to go. So if you ever see me in the real world and I seem distracted, I’m probably writing. :)
Good to know! How did you get your book published?
I decided to self-publish after doing some research on the publishing industry. I knew I could hire a professional team to help me produce the book (cover art, editing, formatting) and it didn’t make sense to give 80% of whatever profits I was fortunate enough to make to a publisher when I could accomplish a large part of what they could on my own. As it turned out, that decision has worked out well for me personally as well as professionally, as my husband is my cover designer and formatter, and we were able to turn what he did for me into a full-time job providing those services to other authors.
Fantastic! What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Research, research, research. Just as traditional publishing wasn’t for me, self-publishing isn’t for everyone. There’s no set rule that says you have to fall into one category or another. Find the path that fits you best, and learn everything you can about the field, both the artistic side and the business side. Even if you go traditional, you should know both so you can protect your interests. And grow a thick skin, either way. You’re going to need it.
Great advice. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I spend most of my time writing, thinking about writing, wishing I was writing, LOL. But when I do have spare time, I’m usually spending it with my husband or our cat children, cooking, or crafting.
What does your family think of your writing?
My family has been incredibly supportive. I couldn’t have done what I have without them. 
Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
My childhood was … interesting. Even though I have sisters, I was raised as an only child by an aunt and my elderly grandparents. I am very introverted, and I’m not really good at the whole making friends thing, so I spent a lot of the time with my nose in a book or daydreaming.
Sounds like a lot of authors I've interviewed. So, you liked reading when you were a child?
Oh, yes. I was constantly reading, and pretty much anything I could get my hands on - books, magazines, cereal boxes, even. My favorites were the Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew series. And I don’t think I’m exaggerating to say that I read probably 85% of the books in my grade-school library by the time I was thirteen.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Honestly, I can’t remember when I didn’t want to be a writer. But I wanted to be everything - journalist, law enforcement, chef. Writing was just always there in the background, always something I was good at. And writing is what stuck. So now I can create characters who have all those professions I wanted to try and live vicariously through them.
That's great! Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Absolutely. I couldn’t even begin to count how much.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
I’d have to say Nora Roberts, Debbie Macomber, Tami Hoag, as far as contemporary fiction. And there were several TV shows, such as In the Heat of the Night that were strong influences, as well.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I don’t hear too much from readers, though I’d like to. I’m still trying to figure that whole social networking thing out, and I’m just getting started there. But I’ve been very fortunate that when I do hear from readers, the feedback has been positive. I’ve heard from a lot of people who’ve read Secrets in the Shadows and who wanted to say thank you. That book deals with some hard topics, and some very personal topics, and it seems to resonate with people.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
Well, if I’m lucky, I’ll have at least four full-length releases this year, peppered in with some shorter works. As T. L. Haddix, I’d like to do at least two Shadows books, one Firefly Hollow, maybe two. And I’d like to throw in a couple of Mallory Love titles, as well, though those would be shorter (long novellas/short novels).
Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by today. Best of luck with your future projects.
Thank you so very much for having me. I had a blast answering these questions!

About the Author
T. L. Haddix was born in Hazard, Kentucky, a small town in the center of the Appalachian coal fields. Taught to read by her grandmother, T. L. has had a life-long love affair with books, devouring whatever she could get her hands on. From childhood favorites such as the Trixie Belden series and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books, to her current favorites from authors like Tami Hoag, Alex Kava, J. A. Jance, and Lisa Kleypas (among many others), T. L. still finds refuge in the written word.
"Growing up, I wanted to be everything – astronaut, police officer, doctor, teacher, reporter, psychologist – there was no clear choice for me. I wanted to do it all. Becoming a writer has allowed me to do just that, because I can live vicariously through my characters."
A resident of eastern Kentucky, T. L. is hard at work on her next book, when she isn’t chasing after her three cat-children with her husband.