To celebrate the release of the third installment of COOPER JUSTICE: COLD CASE, we've gone to our readers and asked them to submit questions for Paula to answer.

As a child, Paula Graves's favorite books were Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries and Harlequin Romances. When she realized there were books that featured both romance and mystery, she knew she'd found her calling. Now Paula writes for Harlequin Intrigue, where she gets to play both matchmaker and murderer and has a blast doing it. She loves to hear from her readers, who can reach her by clicking the contact button on her website, www.paulagraves.com. And today, some of those readers have asked what they’re most curious about . . . Paula.

Paula wrote her first story when she was 6 years old about her neighborhood friends and her solving a mystery. She wrote her first romance after her friend, romance author Kristen Robinette, talked her into trying it. I’ve known Paula through our Harlequin Intrigue Authors’ listserve. She’s giving, shares her time, and I know her family is very dear to her. Her characters are strong men who work hard, play hard and love hard. And her heroines aren’t your typical damsel in distress. I know she’s very excited about her 2011 RITA final for CASE FILE: CANYON CREEK, WYOMING. She’s also a double Daphne du Maurier finalist.

Tell us a bit about all these books, Paula. AND don’t forget to include your favorite scene from this month’s release: COOPER VENGEANCE.

Thanks for inviting me, Angi! CASE FILE: CANYON CREEK, WYOMING was the first book of the Cooper Justice series, and I'm thrilled to say it's also one of my two finalists in the Daphnes. The other Daphne finalist, CHICKASAW COUNTY CAPTIVE, is the second book in the series.

This month's release, COOPER VENGEANCE, is the final book of the Cooper Justice series and features the eldest Cooper brother, J.D., whose life has been marked by tragedy—the unsolved murder of his wife Brenda. We finally get to the bottom of who killed his wife—but not before J.D. meets Natalie Becker, a woman whose own grief fuels the fire in her belly as she seeks to prove who killed her sister. J.D. believes the same killer is behind both murders, but Natalie thinks she knows exactly who killed her sister.

Can they pool their resources and work together, even if their theories don't mesh? And just how much will their simmering attraction to each other complicate the situation?

I have two favorite scenes from COOPER VENGEANCE. One takes place in the middle of a ritzy fundraiser being held by the heroine, Natalie, and her parents to raise money for her dead sister's favorite charity. Because they fear the killer may be at the party, JD goes undercover as a waiter. There's a scene where he and Natalie sneak away from the fundraiser to talk, and they end up first in her sister's childhood bedroom, which her mother has turned into a shrine, and later they go to Natalie's childhood room, which is very different. There's some subtext, using the room to compare the two sisters, and how Natalie sees herself versus how JD sees her. The other scene happens later in the book, and it's a scene between JD and his 13-year-old son, with whom he's had some tense moments earlier in the book. I can't give any details, however, because it would be full of book spoilers.

DESERE ASKS: Paula, when a story line grabs you and it is say onein the morning what do you do try to go back to sleep, make a mental note of it or get up immediately to write it down or pull out your laptop?
PAULA: I work a day job, so I can't just get up and write. If I have a thought about a story, I'll get my cell phone out and make a note, then roll over and go back to sleep.

TIM ASKS: Tell us about a real-life hero that you’ve met.
PAULA: When I was very little, my mom and my dad put their own lives at risk to pull some neighbors from a house that was filled with carbon monoxide. At the time I didn't realize what a heroic thing that was, but remembering it from adulthood, I see how brave they were and how they just saw it as something that had to be done, regardless of the risk to themselves. I wish more neighbors behaved that way--the world would be a better place.

TAMMY ASKS: MAJOR NANNY is your next book due out in October. A very intriguing title. Can you share some details about this plot?
PAULA: MAJOR NANNY is the 4th book in a multi-author series from Harlequin Intrigue called Daddy Corps. The first three books were GI COWBOY by Delores Fossen, BABY BOOTCAMP by Mallory Kane and COWBOY BRIGADE by Elle James. Daddy Corps is about a group of former military men who are hired by a rich businessman (and former CIA agent) to form an agency called Corps Security and Investigation. Their first job is to provide protection to the Texas governor, Lila Lockhart, who's running for president.

My book features former Marine Corps sniper Harlan McClain, who's on the spot when the governor's announcement of her candidacy ends with a literal bang--a bomb blows up under the dais where she was standing. In the chaotic aftermath, Harlan and the governor's aide, Stacy Giordano, work together to help survivors and...well, let's just say the bomber's not finished. When the governor hires Harlan to work with Stacy on security for an upcoming fundraiser, the sparks start flying between them, even though neither Harlan nor Stacy has any desire to get involved in a relationship.

Stacy's five-year-old son, Zachary, has Asperger's syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. He's very high functioning--precocious in many ways (reading, verbal), but has serious socialization deficits. However, he develops a huge crush on Harlan, which is where the "nanny" part comes in.

TAMMY ASKS: Favorite cartoon character?
PAULA: Pepe LePew. I like his go-getter, never say die attitude.

AMANDA ASKS: Did you ever find the hero and heroine inspirations for the Cooper Cousins books that you were looking for back in October 2010?
PAULA: I have! The first two books are already written, and I'm about half way through the third. There'll be six altogether, and they'll be out in 2012.

TAMMY ASKS: Favorite flavor of ice cream?
PAULA: Rocky Road

AVI ASKS: When you pick the age of you characters, do you prefer younger or more mature heroines?
PAULA: I like heroines in their late twenties to late thirties. Usually 29-34. It's just a good age--mature and centered, but still young enough not to be jaded.

QUILT LADY ASKS: Have you ever based a book on something that happened to you in real life or maybe a friend of yours?
PAULA: I take bits and pieces of experiences from real life, but my real life is much duller than those of my characters.

TAMMY ASKS: Favorite time of the day?
PAULA: Recently, it's become early morning. We have a back deck that we just added benches to, and I sit out there with my cats and dogs and enjoy my little container garden. My mom comes out there, too, and we sit and talk. It's nice to have that quiet time before I have to go get dressed and head to my day job.
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You can find Paula at her website, http://www.paulagraves.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Paula-Graves/115479116348
Twitter: http://twitter.com/Paula_Graves
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For those of you ASKING A QUESTION…your name will be put in the hat for additional Paula Graves' books. Remember, you MUST ask a question. And I'm putting everyone's name who submitted a question for the blog back into the hat for a chance to win some of Paula's books.

Submitting The Question WINNER: AMANDA
Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only. If possible, international participants may receive an electronic book store gift card. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.

DON’T FORGET to LIKE us on Facebook or FOLLOW us on Twitter to keep track of who's next to "Get Lost". Come back tomorrow when Simone hosts Ellen Hartman and Friday when I’ll return with Thriller Author Linda Castillo. ~~ Angi


  1. C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S
    A M A N D A ! ! !

    Thanks to everyone who submitted a question. I hope we can do this again sometime soon.

    Amanda won a $25 gift card. Amanda, send me an email at GetLostInAStory@gmail.com and I'll see how you'd like your prize.


  2. Welcome back to GLIAS, Paula.
    I'm so thrilled for you with all the nominations. Wish you were coming to NYC, I'll be cheering loudly for you.

    Here's a question for you: Of the books you've written, which is your favorite hero?


  3. Hi Paula,
    Are there any tropes you dislike so much that you won't read or write books involving these themes?

  4. Hi Amanda,

    Glad to see you back at GLIAS, and congrats on all your nominations. The Cooper Justice series rocks!

  5. Fabulous, fabulous interview on both counts. Love the reader questions combined with the fun interview. I like to sit out in the early morning (before the wind picks up) and stare at my container garden to, Paula. Your books sound incredible, and you do, too! Thanks for joining us again!

  6. Hi Paula, I love the interview mixed with reader quesutions.
    My question is you said you wrote your first book at 6 was this story every a basis for one of your books? If so which one, if not have you ever thoought about turning it into one?

  7. Angi - thanks for the contest to win the Gift Card (I'm the one that won it)

    As a follow-up to my question - Did you ever find the hero and heroine inspirations for the Cooper Cousins books that you were looking for back in October 2010?

    Who were the inspirations for the books that you have already written for the Cooper Cousins series?

  8. Hi Paula,
    I am posting as Anonymus in case you think I am asking too many questions. But here I go again and I already have all your Copper Justice books

    Cats or dogs?
    What was the last movie you saw?

    Tammy Yenalavitch

  9. I'm sneaking in here at work (shame on me!) Heading home now and will answer all when I get there! See you soon!

  10. Angi! You know the "favorite hero" question is impossible to answer! I love them all equally.

    I can say that some of the tug my heartstrings a little mroe because of their backstories. McBride in Forbidden Territory had such a tragic past. He broke my heart constantly as I was writing the story.

    I also really loved Sam Cooper from Chickasaw County Captive, who was probably about the nicest hero I've ever written. Just a stand-up guy, the kind of guy you know will shoot straight and always try to do the right thing. He wasn't without his flaws, but he's just such a good guy, any heroine would be darned lucky to have him.

  11. Jane, I try to keep an open mind, because sometimes its the job of the writer to change our opinions. But I don't think I could handle infidelity in a hero (even if it's not cheating on the heroine). I don't believe I could handle the hero/heroine as an intentional murderer or a sex offender.

    I used to say I'd never write a secret baby story, but oops. Now I've done that.

  12. Thanks, GJillian and Donnell. I'm glad to be here--I always like when I get to post at Get Lost in a Story!

  13. Sherie, six-years-old was a long time ago. I can remember what the cover looked like--dark blue construction paper that I drew stick figures of my friends and me, but other than being pretty sure we were trying to find something that had gone missing (a dog, maybe?) I don't remember much else about the story.

    So, no, I probably won't be using that book as an inspiration. :)

  14. Amanda asks: Did you ever find the hero and heroine inspirations for the Cooper Cousins books that you were looking for back in October 2010?

    Yes, I finally did. The first two books of the series have been written. I'm a little over halfway through book 3 now. They'll be out in March, April, May, August, September and October of 2012.

    And then you asked: << Who were the inspirations for the books that you have already written for the Cooper Cousins series? >>

    I don't always know the names--I look for photos online that fit the look I'm going for. The man I chose for Rick Cooper was actor Ethan Ericson--but only one particular photo of him. His heroine was inspired by actress Kasi Brown--but one particular photo of her. Does that make sense?

    The hero in book two, Scanlon, is inspired by a particularly hawt photo of Angel actors Alexis Denisof, and the heroine is inspired by a pony-tailed photo of actress Abigail Spencer.

  15. Hi Tammy!

    You ask: cats or dogs?

    Well I have both, and I love them all. But honestly? I have to say cats. Cats have a very special place in my heart. I actually used to be allergic to them, but I loved cats so much I put up with the allergy to the point that I finally built a resistance. Now they don't even bother me anymore.

    Second question: what's the last movie I saw?

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1.

  16. Thanks, Maureen. Glad you enjoyed reading it.

  17. Hi Paula - We have some things in common. Rocky Road is my favorite Ice cream too and I also used to be allergic to cats. Now, I have 3 cats and I am fine. Having 2 dogs first helped me.

    Thanks for answering all our questions today. This was fun.

  18. Sherie you are the winner of a Paula Graves' book. Send me an email at GetLostInAStory@gmail.com and you can choose.