Guest Author Tara Kingston Talks Secrets & Spies
Today I’m pleased to welcome my friend Tara Kingston to the blog. Although Tara’s also traditionally published, she’s here to talk about her indie published series, Secrets & Spies, set in the U.S. Civil War.
GH: Welcome to Writers Gone Wild, Tara! Tell us a little about yourself.
TK: Hi! I’m happy to be here. I’m a southern Navy brat transplanted to a small Northern Pennsylvania town. I’m also a Navy wife and Navy mom, so I have a soft spot for stories about military heroes and heroines and their sacrifices. I’m also a voracious reader of historical romance, which makes perfect sense since I have a passion for history. I love learning about the past and how historical figures shaped the world we now live in. Growing up in Virginia, I was surrounded by landmarks and artifacts that brought the past to life. I spent many happy hours exploring Williamsburg, Jamestown, Richmond, Charlottesville, historical museums, and the many Civil War landmarks throughout the state.
I’m also passionate about learning. I worked as a teacher and librarian for years before I began seriously writing for publication a little more than 5 years ago. I also love outdoor activities (cycling, hiking and kayaking are some of my favorites), silly movie comedies, and football. Cooking is not on the list of my passions. To be honest, one of my sons once suggested I use the smoke alarm as a kitchen timer. It’s usually because I’m trying to write just a bit more and cook at the same time.
GH: How did you come up with the idea for the Secrets & Spies series?
TK: I’ve always been a fan of the old television series The Wild, Wild West. My fondness for this series and the concept of dashing American spies came together to spark the idea for the Secrets & Spies series. The first two novels in the series revolve around a group of Union spies during the Civil War working against a ruthless gang of gun-runners and weapons thieves during the war. Later books in the series will feature plots that take place after the war, as these former spies continue to fight evil forces as government agents.
GH: How many books will there be in the series?
TK: At this time, I have three books in the series: Secrets, Spies & Sweet Little Lies; Book 2: Pistols, Parasols & Passionate Little Lies (releasing this week…look for it on January 9); and Book 3: Daggers, Deception & Dangerous Little Lies, which will be released around Valentine’s Day.
I’m planning at least three more books in the series, including one featuring a daring Scottish immigrant whose ties to Scotland pull him into a dangerous mystery.
GH: What makes the relationship between Emma and Cole in Secrets, Spies & Sweet Little Lies special?
TK: Emma and Cole meet under circumstances that are unconventional, to say the least. Cole is tasked with snatching runaway bride Emma off a train before she can make her rendezvous with the traitor she plans to marry. From the beginning, deception creates distrust and suspicion, but the adversaries harbor reluctant respect for one another as well as a powerful and immediate physical attraction they both battle until their hearts recognize the truth—they’re made for each other.
GH: Why did you make the decision to self-publish the Secrets & Spies series?
TK: I’ve read about so many positive aspects of indie publishing, I wanted to dive in with this series. The ability to contract my own covers through a fabulous cover artist (Kim Killion) and control my release dates to permit more releases during the year were two factors that drew me to this endeavor.
GH: Several of the Wild Writers have turned to indie publishing for the same reasons.
What’s your writing schedule like?
TK: I try to write at least 4 hours a day, 6 days a week. In addition, I devote time to critiquing works for members of my critique group, keeping up with social media, working on my craft through online professional development, and researching my plots. I also read for pleasure every chance I get.
GH: How do you reward yourself for finishing a book?
TK: I usually take a few days off and devote this time to home improvement projects I’ve dreamed up and catching up with my To-Be-Read pile.
GH: What one thing have you learned that most helped you become successful as a writer?
TK: Revision is crucial. You have to be prepared to pare out dialogue, description, and even scenes in the interest of writing tight and keeping the pace brisk and page-turning.
GH: Finally, the WGW “wild card” question – boxers or briefs?
GR: A good choice…leaves something to the imagination. 😉
TK: Here’s a little about Secrets, Spies & Sweet Little Lies:
A heart’s destiny cannot be denied when a daring Union spy abducts a beautiful runaway bride he suspects of being a traitor.
Emma Davenport was a model senator’s daughter: prim, proper, but hell-bent on escaping the dreaded fate of spinsterhood that awaited her under wartime Washington’s all-too watchful eye. She was going to be a bride, and no one was going to stop her. Not even the daring renegade who steals her from a train transporting her to a forbidden marriage. Her heart tells her this mysterious captor is a dangerous man, but the undeniable attraction he wields is a more potent threat than any weapon.
Major Cole Travis is a highly trained secret agent, as skilled with deception as he is with a gun. Keeping a beautiful traitor from her rendezvous with a treacherous scoundrel shouldn’t be a challenge for the battle-seasoned spy—but he’s not the only one after his tempting prisoner. Emma Davenport must be kept out of enemy hands at all costs. Drawn to this woman whose innocent allure may be just another weapon in her arsenal, Major Travis risks his neck to shield her. Soon, however, protecting her from his own heart’s desire becomes another story entirely.
Here’s the link to Secrets, Spies & Sweet Little Lies on Kindle
Look for Pistols, Parasols & Passionate Little Lies to make its Amazon debut later this week. Here’s a little about the story:
Sometimes, even a spy needs a hero.
Like any good secret agent, Amanda Emerson knows how to get what she wants—in this case, a man with guts and a gun—a man heroic enough to break a notorious double agent out of a Confederate prison. But first, she’ll have to save her hero’s own neck.
Caught with Rebel plans and set for a hanging, Union spy Steve Dunham’s luck has run out—until a cunning beauty shows up at the jail and engineers his escape. Of course, she’s there for a reason besides preventing him from dangling at the end of a noose—he’s the key to her daring scheme.
Steve may be trading one execution for another, but the tempting—and off limits—operative draws him into the perilous mission. Falling for Amanda is a complication he can’t afford, but Steve’s never been one to play it safe. The spoils of victory will be Amanda’s surrender. And the terms of surrender promise to be sultry and sweet.