Monday, November 19, 2012

Keeping your writing fresh with P.M. Terrell

Secrets of a Dangerous Woman
by P.M. Terrell

Genre: Suspense
Publisher: Drake Valley Press
Release Date: September 2012


Irishman Dylan Maguire is back in Secrets of a Dangerous Woman, reuniting with psychic spy Vicki Boyd. In his first mission with the CIA, he must interrogate recently captured Brenda Carnegie. But when she escapes again, it's obvious she's had help from within the CIA's own ranks. With Vicki Boyd's psychic assistance, Brenda is back in his custody again. And now he must find out why some in the highest branches of government want her dead - and others will risk everything to help her. And when he discovers her true identity, his mission has just become very personal.


How I Keep My Writing Fresh

I have been asked for several years now to write a series. So many of my readers fell in love with characters from past books and often wanted to know what happened next and where those characters ended up after the suspense and drama ended.

But I resisted a series because I did not want to become a formula writer.

When I was combing through declassified government documents for inspiration for future plots, I stumbled upon the psychic spy program conducted by the CIA and Department of Defense. I realized as I read through past missions that a psychic spy would ensure that each book I wrote was completely fresh and different from the others.

A psychic spy can go into areas that are difficult to impossible to enter in physical form. Consider the war in Afghanistan. The villages in the Hindu Kush between Afghanistan and Pakistan are controlled by tribal leaders. The people who live there go back centuries, many of them relating back to Genghis Khan. So an American appearing in their village would be noticed by all and shunned or possibly imprisoned, attacked or killed.

So in Vicki’s Key, Vicki goes to a remote village as part of a psychic spy mission. She can eavesdrop on conversations, watch events unfold and gather intelligence for the CIA and Department of Defense—and no one even knows she is there.

In Secrets of a Dangerous Woman, Vicki is on a very different mission: to locate a woman who has disappeared—and who holds information our government wants. She finds her in Argentina and ground forces are able to extract her quickly and efficiently—until she escapes again.

And in the next book in the Black Swamp Mysteries series, Dylan’s Song, Vicki must locate a missing CIA operative who disappeared in Ireland while following Middle Eastern terrorists. Her work takes her around the world and into situations vastly different from one book to the next.

Not content with just one main character, I decided a good series would also need ensemble characters; characters that would lend themselves in fuller ways depending upon the plots. So in Secrets of a Dangerous Woman, I brought back bad girl Brenda Carnegie, a computer hacker and criminal who was very popular in an earlier work, Exit 22. Vicki soon realizes the dangerous woman she is attempting to locate for the government is her sister, who is the polar opposite of good-girl Vicki. As the plot unfolds, Brenda’s computer expertise and hacking abilities combine with Vicki’s psychic spying to create a unique situation—and suspense.

I also introduced an Irishman, Dylan Maguire, to the mix. Dylan was supposed to be in just one book (Vicki’s Key) but editors and advance readers loved his character so much that he had to remain throughout the series. Dylan is Vicki’s love interest though Brenda is strongly attracted to him as well, often creating a friction-filled triangle. He is a CIA ground operative who works in conjunction with Vicki’s spy missions; as Vicki gathers the intelligence, he is ready to act on it. His work takes him around the world as well.

Having the three vastly different characters allows me to bring one or more to the forefront, depending upon the plot and the personalities and characteristics needed. But it still makes the reader feel like they are reuniting with old friends (as one reviewer put it) because they are familiar with each person. It also allows me to fill in their back stories through several books, providing them with multi-faceted and unique backgrounds—that often have a place in their current drama.

Buy: Amazon | Kindle

Giveaway – Gift Basket of goodies from the town of Lumberton where the Black Swamp Mysteries series is based (picture coming soon), to one lucky commenter from tour.

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Bk Walker said...

Thank you for hosting p.m.!

p.m.terrell said...

Thank you so much for hosting me today! I'll be popping in throughout the day and answering any questions followers might have of me today. I just received terrific news on Friday - Vicki's Key, the book before Secrets of a Dangerous Woman, is one of five finalists in the 2012 USA Best Book Awards - Mysteries/Suspense! It's the second honor for that book and exciting news for the entire series.

Patti Hultstrand said...

Congratulations on the big news!

Hope the peeps are up this new Monday for a terrific mystery adventure. While you are here, drop P.M. a note or ask her a question.

Above all -- have an awesome Monday!

PJ Hultstrand

Rebecca Graf said...

I love playing around with my characters and creating some unique ones. Great post again.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

p.m. I'm so glad I cam by this blog today. I've never written a series and this gives me an idea of what must go into writing one. Nothing but admiration here!


Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Excited about how much the new edition of the Frugal Book Promoter (expanded! updated!) can help writers with the tried and true and the new media, too. Now a USA Book News award-winner in its own right ( it the original edition was also a Reader Views winner and an Irwin Award winner.