Monday, December 10, 2012

GET LOST IN SUSPENSE WITH ROBIN BURCELL


Hello, Readers.  Please welcome the multi-talented, multi-faceted Robin Burcell to Get Lost in a Story.  Robin has two releases in December and January, so we're pleased to promote them both.   

 The Dark Hour is a wonderful, breath-taking novel of escape.”

Suspense Magazine


About The Dark Hour: 

A high-profile killing has brought FBI Special Agent and forensic artist Sydney Fitzpatrick to Amsterdam—even as the assassination of a prominent U.S. senator rocks the political world.  Two seemingly unrelated murders are leading Sydney to the threshold of a shocking conspiracy to spread a plague of death across the globe, especially when her sketch of a killer—and possible conspirator—reveals the face of a female CIA agent believed to be dead.

The murder of a witness and the disappearance of the missing agent’s husband, covert government operative Zachary Griffin, has Sydney racing against the clock to prevent a biological nightmare of astronomical proportions. For the dark hour is rapidly approaching when all secrets will be revealed…and the lives of countless millions will hang in the balance.


ABOUT THE BLACK LIST

The first death was ruled an accident. But when a second accountant from ADE—a popular relief organization that resettles East African refugees—turns up dead, FBI special agent and forensic artist Sydney Fitzpatrick is called in to lend her expertise in an increasingly troubling case. Not only is the charity backed by a powerful U.S. senator, but the investigation reveals that its funds have been siphoned off to bankroll terrorist cells in black list countries, and Sydney fears the consequences.
And it may already be too late. Death has crossed the border from Mexico and is now heading toward Washington, D.C.  Time is rapidly running out—and unless Sydney and her partner, Zachary Griffin, can get to the roots of a monstrous conspiracy, untold thousands will die in a nuclear nightmare and a nation will be reduced to chaos.

 And Now... Let's get to know Author Robin Burcell:

DONNELL:  Welcome to Get Lost in a Story, Robin.  Your background ties in so apt with your writing.  What is more rewarding, being a writer or being a police officer?

ROBIN:  Undoubtedly the 27 years I spent working law enforcement was more rewarding. It is a job where you can make a real difference in someone’s life. You might not get thanked at the time, but every now and then, someone will come up years later and tell you personally that you did indeed make a difference.  That is an amazing feeling to realize that. And humbling, since really, you were only doing your job.

DONNELL:  If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

ROBIN:  By the ocean. Preferably northern California or the Pacific Northwest. Way back when, I was totally going to live in the mountains. The older I get, the less I think I want to shovel snow.  I’d like to at least live within walking distance of the ocean. If I win the lotto, we’re going ocean view. (Note to self: buy lotto ticket.)

DONNELL:  How is Robin Burcell like your protagonist Sydney Fitzpatrick? How are you different?

ROBIN: Naturally we’re both in law enforcement. But unlike me, Sydney left police work and joined the FBI. She, apparently, went to a better college than I. We are both forensic artists. (I was trained by the FBI for this at Quantico, so I’m basing some of my experience on the time I spent there.)  Many artists are empathetic. It’s a good quality to have when trying to interview someone who has recently been victimized or witnessed a horrific crime, so I passed this quality on to Sydney as well.  And like Sydney, I often champion the underdog.  The one thing we don’t have in common? Failed relationships. I’ve been married to the same man, the love of my life, since 1985, and we’ve been together since 1983. Poor Sydney hasn’t quite got this relationship thing down. But she’s working on it.

DONNELL:  What’s the single best advice you’ve ever received – Worst advice?

ROBIN:  Best advice? I don’t even remember who said it, but my writing friend and I often quote it when we’re daunted by a new project: You can’t fix a blank page.

There are days I know I am writing crap, and someone else wisely said: Give yourself permission to write crap. Hard to do when you want to write a great book. But as mentioned above, you can’t fix a blank page.  You can, however, fix crap. In fact, the project I’m currently working on was looking very blank, and as I (finally) began to make progress, very crappy. But I tell myself to keep writing, because eventually I will figure it out. I hope. And I usually do. And then it’s like a snowball. You go back, fix the crap, and suddenly you are discovering the diamond in the rough. That’s the fun part—which, I might add, you can’t get to if you haven’t written the crappy version to begin with.  (And as of this writing, I’m actually getting to the part where it is looking better and better!)

DONNELL:  Organized?  Or are you a packrat?

ROBIN:  ß Me, laughing.  Organized? In my wildest dreams. I long for one of those home redecorating shows to come and makeover my office, turning me into the most organized writer and person, arranging my files so that my desk stays magically clean.  But since this is unlikely to happen, when I win the lotto and buy that beach front home, I am so hiring a professional organizer. As it is right now, I can clean my desk to actually see the grain of wood on top, leaving just a tiny stack of papers that I can never seem to figure out what to do with—and then they propagate like dust bunnies, breeding and breeding until two or three days later, it is just as messy. 

DONNELL:  If you’re not writing, where might we find you?

ROBIN:  Reading a good book (I read across all genres), watching campy movies (Galaxy Quest anyone?) or catching up on my favorite TV shows. I have somewhat eclectic tastes.  Everything from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Masterpiece Mystery Theater. I love about anything on the USA channel (Monk reruns, Suits, Covert Affairs), and am in love with the show Justified. Most important fact you should know about me: I am a late-in-life, can’t-believe-I-didn’t-discover-this-series-years-ago, Doctor Who fan. 

DONNELL:  High heels, tennis shoes, hiking boots… other?

ROBIN: High heel days are pretty much over, unless there is some special event that doesn’t require much walking. Chipped a bone on the bottom of my foot during a research trip to Europe for this current series.  For dress events, flats. Tennis shoes for every day.

DONNELL:  If you could meet anyone, past or present, who would it be?

ROBIN:  Can they be fictional? Because I have a whole bunch of fictional characters I’d like to meet: Dr. Who, James Bond, Sherlock Holmes…

ROBIN, NOW IT’S YOUR TURN.  TIME TO ASK THE READER A QUESTION.   

READERS, ROBIN WILL BE GIVING AWAY AN ADVANCED READER COPY TO ONE QUESTIONER OR COMMENTER:  BE SURE TO LEAVE YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS SO WE CAN CONTACT YOU.

ROBIN:  Doctor Who and the TARDIS lands on your doorstep and he says he can take you anywhere in time and space. Where do you go? What year? Who do you meet?

Robin Burcell worked as a police officer, detective, hostage negotiator, and forensic artist. The Dark Hour is her latest international thriller about an FBI forensic artist. The Black List will debut in January 2013. Visit her at www.RobinBurcell.com,  https://twitter.com/RobinBurcell, and http://www.facebook.com/robin.burcell
***Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only. If an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) is available, the author may utilize that option for International participants. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.

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54 comments:

  1. Nice interview. I'd like to visit 1912 Southhampton and see the launch of the Titantic.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. That would be an interesting thing to see--knowing what the outcome is. (and wouldn't it make an interesting story? If you could stop someone from taking off on the ship? because really, if you said they were all going to die, they'd look at you like you were nuts!)

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  2. It has to be Doctor 10 - Tennant. We would go to Egypt in the 1880's, where I would assist Amelia Peabody with her latest excavation.

    wetzel@rice.edu

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    1. Love #10, Shirley! And that you would solve a mystery...!

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  3. Robin, thank you so much for being our guest today on Get Lost in a Story. I knew I'd be out of it with this foot surgery, but didn't know I'd be this out of it. I'd ask Dr. Who to transport me to a year in the future to see how this procedure turned out. Can't wait to read The Dark Hour.

    So here's a question for you. Do you have all the information at the tips of your fingers or do you have to do a great deal of research when you write?

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    1. Donnell, I hope you're feeling better soon! I hope we can run the drawing for a couple days while I spread the word!

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    2. Sorry, Donnell, missed the question! I have to do quite a bit of research as I write. It helps to have the internet handy, but more often than not it allows me to see if what I'm contemplating is possible, then points me in the right direction. I'm also constantly bugging my police friends on the technical stuff. And we have Crimescenewriters on Yahoo! a very knowledgeable bunch who has helped me more than once!

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    3. Robin, yes, of course, we'll hold off a couple of days before announcing.

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  4. What a great interview! Robin, your books sound amazing! Of course, I'm into the Doomsday conspiracies about 12-21-12, so any suspense books are right up my alley right now. LOL.
    I'm glad to hear that other writers aren't very organized. I struggle with that constantly. I'm hoping the new year will bring with it some fantastic wisdom about organization.
    If I could go anywhere, I think I might go forward in time just to make sure that we all survive 2012. LOL. Otherwise, I'd love to go back to pre-civil war for just a couple of days. Or ancient Egypt. Or... jeez. I could do this all night. There are so many places I would want to see.
    I'm looking forward to reading your books! Happy Holidays!

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    1. Kimberly,
      I thought about writing something directly tied to 12-21-12, since I knew the book was coming out close to that date... But I went with a less date-specific conspiracy!

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    2. Kimberly, great answer, but how far are you going to go. Just to January:) I love conspiracy theory stories, also.

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  5. That's a tough question. I think I would like to go into the future and meet my great-grandkids. :)

    maybe31 at yahoo.com

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    1. And what would you tell them? (There's a great country music song about meeting your future self. Rather reminds me of that!)

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  6. Hi Robin. Your releases sound intriguing. It's just like Donnell to add more books to my TBR pile. :-)

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    1. Barb, my goal is to load up your TBR pile; didn't you know that?:)

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    2. I'm beginning to see that now, Donnell! Why do I hear, "Bwah-ha-ha," in the background?? LOL

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  7. Two of my favorite people in the same place! Hi, Robin and Donnell!

    Robin, your books sound great, and Donnell here's hoping you're healing fast.

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    1. Kathy, thanks! It's great to see my favorite people showing up!!!

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    2. Oh my gosh, I'm having a fan moment just being on the same blog with the two of you. Honestly, folks, whenever I have questions, I impose on Kathy Bennett and Robin Burcell constanttly!

      Thanks so much for the healing wishes, Kathy. Doing my best!

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  8. From Jean Willett who's having trouble posting.

    Hi Robin,
    What a great interview. Donnell always asks the tough questions. I love the plots for both your books and they'll be heading to my TBR pile.
    Doctor Who? Well, intrigued I looked it up. Another BBC show that I've never seen and now can't wait. Thanks!!
    I'd pick Renaissance Italy and all the court intrigue then zip to the Antebellum period to discover how hot it really was to wear all those beautiful gowns during a ballroom waltz :)
    Good luck with the release.
    Jean


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    1. Jean, my mom would be right with you on that location and time! (And I will join you in the Antebellum period. Thuogh I expect about 5-10 minutes in one of those gowns and I'll be ready to come back home to air conditioning and wearing shorts and flip flops on my feet! (Can you imagine showing up wearing that!)

      And I hope you do get a chance to check out Doctor Who. There's a great episode called Vampires in Venice, taking place around the Renaissance period (and their take on vampires has very little resemblance to the teen vampire craze here!). It's a great show! Where else can you discover exactly what Van Gogh was haunted!

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  9. OH, what a tantalizing question! But are we guaranteed to come back? We could find out what happend to Amelia Earhart. But I do love the idea of the future...just to see! xoxo to you both!

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    1. Of course you get to come back! Thanks for stopping by, Hank!

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  10. Absolutely love the covers!!

    I can't resist a good story by an author who actually knows how the legal system works - I'm putting both these books on the christmas nook list!!

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    1. Thanks, Chris! I hope I don't let you down!!! (Do let me know what you think!)

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    2. Chris, thanks for dropping by. Yes, we can quite affirm Robin knows what she's writing about. And I agree with you on the covers.. We'll compare thoughts on the books, okay. Happy Monday.

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  11. Terrific interview, Donnell and Robin! After reading, I had to go Googling for 'forensic artist' and it's a fascinating job. And I imagine a bit harrowing at times to be an artist who works with the police force.

    Less confronting, I imagine, would be working as an artist on an archeological team. I really enjoy the way the artists bring the facial features to life in programmes such as Meet The Ancestors. The painstaking process of taking a skull and fleshing out to make a clay model. Brilliant.

    I confess I'm not a huge Doctor Who follower - should I duck now! LOL But if the tardis dropped in here, I'd rather like a trip to see what life was like for my ancestors in Scotland in the early 1800s. And to hear their family stories.

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    1. No need to duck, Sharon! I seem to be the only Doctor Who fan in my household. My family is very tolerant of me! BTW, great last name! I have a character named Donovan Archer who makes his first appearance in The Dark Hour. I ended up liking him so much, I brought him back in The Black List for a bigger role.

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  12. Hi Robin,
    Have long loved your responses on the KOD loop. Your books look fab, and I'll be snatching one up soon (even if I don't win here!)...
    I'd go back to pre-war of independence when the colonies where still a raw, largely unspoiled land! Just fell in love with that time period reading the Diana Gabaldon series and Sara Donati and have always preferred American history to world...
    Thanks for always being so generous with your knowledge!
    Jenna Blue

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    1. You're very welcome, Jenna! Always glad to help!

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  13. I enjoyed the interview! It must have been really interesting working in law enforcement. I'm sure you have a lot of stories to tell!

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  14. Coming to this a little late, but what a great interview. I love Galaxy Quest, too.

    For my Tardis trip I'll take ... a trip to Ireland in the year 1012. I want to meet one of my direct ancestors. (Translator included, I assume.)

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    1. I believe the translator comes standard with the TARDIS, so you're in luck!

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  15. Donnell, thank you for interviewing one of my favorite authors. I've already read The Dark Hour and it's wonderful.

    Robin, love your responses to these questions! If we take a trip back in time, can we bring our standard poodles with us? I'd love to introduce my poodle named Sam Clemens to his namesake. Oh, and I'd want to bring a tape recorder so I could interview Mr. Twain, maybe attend and record one of his lectures. It's such a shame he died before modern technology...

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    1. I don't know about you, Lynn, but my poodle is definitely coming along with me! I just worry what she might do should we land in the midst of the giant frog jump! (And wouldn't that be amazing to hear one of Mr. Twain's lectures!!!)

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    2. My pleasure, Lynn. I've been dying to learn all about Robin myself, so my motives weren't entirely altruistic, I promise you :)

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  16. Robin, loved the comment that you can't fix a blank page. Think I'll frame a copy on my desk. At the moment, I'd like to go back to Keokuk, Iowa, 1938 and visit a Street Fair to make sure I'm capturing it accurately for my WIP.

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    1. If we can somehow package time travel for writers, I'll bet we'd make a mint!

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  17. Loved the interview and getting to know more about Robin. Both Robin and Donnell graciously answered questions over at crimescenewriters. I'm off to find her books! My teenage son is obsessed with Dr. Who. I tried one episode. The one where they are trapped in an airplane and something is outside, scurrying around, scaring them into a frenzy, then whatever it is possesses one of the women. Sorry, but I don't see the appeal. My son says that was one of the worse episodes, that it is really a good show. Hmmm. I may have to try it again one day. RIght now I've been watching MI5 on Netflix.
    As to where I'd want to go/when if I could time travel--I'd like to go back to the 1600's Britain to meet William Shakespeare.

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    1. Terri, I love MI5!!! Regarding Doctor Who, your son is right. That was one of the worst episodes. Ever! But Doctor Who fans are a forgiving lot! In light of your time travel wish, however, you might be interested in the episode where Doctor Who goes back to visit the Bard in "The Shakespeare Code", and we learn about what might have inspired a few things in his works! And then there's the time he visits Van Gogh, and we learn what was really behind his troubles...

      (My favorite episode, however, is Blink.)

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  18. Hi Robin,

    Love Sydney and can't wait to read more about her.

    As for the question, I didn't even have to think about it. I'd go back the the Civil War era just to meet Alan Pinkerton. I have a facination with spying in the USA at that time.

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    1. Oh, good choice, Pat! I was just reading about him yesterday!!! (Isn't that funny? Like the six-degrees of separation thing? Or maybe we just have common interests, being that we're mystery aficionados?)

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  19. Oh my gosh, such great choices. Shakespeare, Pinkerton! You're all so inventive. Great question, Robin.

    As for who said, "I can fix a bad page, but I can't fix an empty one." That would be the esteemed NORA ROBERTS :)

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    1. Thanks, Donnell! Nora Roberts! (So, my version's just a tad shorter than the original, but the gist is the same. Now I know who to attribute it to!)

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  20. Your books sound fascinating!

    I'd go back to the 1970s and see some people I can't see again including my dad, try to stop my dad's (and some others') exposure to CJD which I think for my dad was BBQ goat brains just before a dinner-on-the-ground, also chat with Dr. Clarence Gibbs of NIH re his CJD research. (Dr. Gibbs was alive and welcomed questions until his death relatively recently but I didn't decide I was ready to interview him until it was all too suddenly too late.
    Brenda
    CJDMissLa [at] yahoo.com

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    1. Brenda, thanks for stopping by. Glad you think the books are fascinating. Sending hugs, because like you, I'd love the chance to go back and see some people I can't see again.

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  21. Love the interview, gals! Thanks so much. Robin you can come visit me in the Pacific NW any time (Portland) but it's quite a walk to the ocean (90 miles). I look forward to reading your books. If Dr. Who stops in and takes me back to the early fall of 1951 so I can be with my Dad again before he died, I'll be most happy. We'll walk in the Missouri woods, read together, and he can sing me to sleep again as he did then. Of course I was a little kid then. I might appreciate it more now.

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  22. You're very welcome, Sandra--and thanks for the invite! 90 miles to the beach, is that all? Easy walk! ;-)

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  24. WINNER, WINNER, WINNER!!!! Congratulations to May: You have won the ARC from Robin Burcell. Thanks for blogging with us on Get Lost in a Story!

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