G R A V E S
A N S W E R S
Y O U R
Q U E S T I O N S
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.
FROM YOUR FANS
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/
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GOT ANOTHER QUESTION FOR PAULA?
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
USA Today Bestseller Angi Morgan is an 11th generation Texan who plots ways to engage her readers with complex story lines, in actual Texas locations. She shares her research and photos on her daily blog: A Picture A Day.
I love to chat with readers. Join Angi's friends through my Fan Page.