Get Lost with Debut Author Kimberly Packard

Amanda Martin didn’t believe in casual Fridays.

Sloppy dress, sloppy work, she thought as matching golf-shirt-clad tellers ignored the growing line.

Amanda paused at the door as she weighed her options. How long would it take her to deposit eighty hundred dollar bills into the ATM? Why didn’t Josh have HR cut her a check? Should she just wait it out for a teller? Why did Josh clean out his office? What is in El Paso? Or, who? And, what’s her bra size? The thumping headache from polishing off a bottle of wine alone jumbled her usually decisive thoughts.

“Dammit, Josh,” she murmured.

The line curved back on itself twice and each of the three tellers had four customers before it would be her turn at the window. The envelope of money poked at her collarbone from its haven in the interior pocket of her coat. No matter how she tried to maneuver it to a more comfortable position, the corner of the envelope continued to jab her.

She sighed, it’s probably a sign. Quarterly bonuses were standard for her at the mid-sized investment firm where she worked. But, this was different. It felt like a payoff.

*  *  * 

Phoenix is the story of Amanda, Alex and Shiloh, three individuals tied together by two crimes committed thousands of miles and ten years apart, each looking for redemption and forgiveness.

Amanda Martin boards a bus in the middle of a cold Chicago night with no luggage and only two thoughts: get the hell away from the crazed gunman who obliterated her office and locate the man responsible for her indictment—and make him pay.

The small Texas town Phoenix becomes her refuge as she assumes a new identity to rediscover who she was before all the power and money changed her. She intends it to be a temporary stop before searching for her ex-boyfriend who ensnarled her in his securities fraud scandal, but the flirtatious advances of a handsome cop fuels her struggles between building a life there with him and her desire for vengeance. Uncovering a forgotten murder ignites Amanda’s need for redemption, but also drives a wedge in her new relationship, and puts her in the line of fire of two people who will stop at nothing to keep the case cold.

*  *  *
Meet Kimberly

Kimberly Packard began visiting her spot on the shelves at libraries and bookstores at a young age, gazing between the Os and the Qs.  Her first story about a forgotten, one-eyed teddy bear received rave reviews from her fourth grade teacher, and from there her love for the written word only grew.  Kimberly received a degree in journalism from the University of North Texas, and has worked in public relations and communications for nearly 15 years.

Kimberly is Vice President of her writers group, Greater Fort Worth Writers.  When she isn’t writing, she can be found rollerblading, doing a poor imitation of yoga or curled up with a book.  She resides in North Texas with her husband Colby, Jerome the cat and a 72-pound lap dog named Charlie.  Phoenix is her first novel.

CLOVER: How often do you get lost in a story?
KIMBERLY:  I wish I could say daily, but like most other readers sometimes life gets in the way of a good book.  But, I will spend weeks researching books to find the perfect ones to download on my e-reader before a beach vacation.  And then, I’ll be one of the first poolside to lie on the chair (with an umbrella and SPF 100, of course) plowing through a book a day.  When I’m back in reality, it depends on if I’m in the midst of writing or between manuscripts; while writing it may be one a month, but I call my breaks “carbing up” because I can’t consume enough stories before writing my next one.

CLOVER:  What’s the first book you remember reading?
KIMBERLY:  The first book I remember falling in love with is an old Mother Goose nursery rhymes book.  It’s a large, hard-covered one with Mother Goose actually riding a goose on the front and you can use the black-and-white checkered back as a make shift checkerboard.  The book I had as a child fell apart, but my mom found a copy of the same book on eBay a few years ago and bought it for me.  I cried when I opened it because suddenly I was six years old again. 

CLOVER: Oh my heck, I remember that exact book as a kid! Now you brought me back to childhood. What dreams have been realized for you as a result of your writing?
KIMBERLY:  Speaking with people who have connected with the characters in Phoenix is by far the biggest dream I’ve had as an aspiring writer.  I’ve spoken with a couple of books clubs who have read it, and sitting around with other ladies sipping wine and gossiping about some of my favorite people is more than a dream come true. 

CLOVER: How did you come up with the idea for Phoenix?
KIMBERLY:  Several years ago I worked in the PR department for a Fortune 500 company and was in charge of the company’s contract announcements. More people in the legal department had to approve my press releases than my own department, and in a moment of frustration said as much to one of the attorneys.  He quipped, “We’re just trying to keep you out of jail.  It’s your name on the press release.”  That stuck with me and for several days during my morning commute, I would think “What if a young woman is manipulated into committing securities fraud?”  It turned out to be the inciting incident for Phoenix, and from there the rest of the story wrote itself.

CLOVER’S GOTTA ASK:  What could we find in your heroine's purse?
Well, considering that Amanda went from having it all (well, possessions at least) to living out of a backpack on her journey to Texas, it’s changed dramatically.  But in Phoenix, you’ll find her carrying a much smaller purse, but inside it will be a roll of money that her ex-boyfriend left her before high-tailing it out of Chicago, some simple drugstore lip gloss, her reporter’s notebook (she works for the Phoenix Talon) with David’s phone number on the first page, and her fake ID, proclaiming her to be Mandy Jackson from Montana.

Next up is the sequel to Phoenix, Pardon Falls, where Amanda continues her search for her ex-boyfriend.  This story takes her farther south, along the Texas-Mexico border where she must pluck Josh Williams, her ex, from the ranks of a dangerous drug lord, while fighting her feelings for David Stephens.  We’re shooting for an early 2014 release for Pardon Falls.

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Since I spend so much time finding books to take to the beach, what are some of your favorite beach reads?

Also Kimberly is graciously offering a copy of Phoenix to one lucky commenter (mailing within North America only) so ya'll don't be shy either. Hmm, favorite beach reads?

Note: Please leave an email address for notification. Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only unless specifically mentioned in the post. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants. Winners of drawings are responsible for checking this site in a timely manner. If prizes are not claimed in a timely manner, the author may not have a prize available. Get Lost In A Story cannot be responsible for an author's failure to mail the listed prize. GLIAS does not automatically pass email addresses to guest authors unless the commenter publicly posts their email address.

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  1. Good morning Kimberly and welcome to GLIAS. Best of luck on your book!

    1. Thank you so much for having me, Angi! And, thank you for your well-wishes!

  2. Kimberly, your book sounds like one I would love to read. Congrats on it's release. For a contemporary romance I would suggest you read Susan Mallery's Fool's Gold series. THREE LITTLE WORDS is her newest release. If you like a little intrigue with your romance, the Harlequin Romance's have some great authors such as Angi Morgan and Julie Miller.
    grandmabkr at yahoo dot com

    1. Thank you so much, Brenda!! I really appreciate it, and if you pick up Phoenix, I hope you enjoy it. Thank you for the recommendations. Adding them to my notes now! Have a great day.

  3. Congrats on your book! :)

    I read all types of books on the beach! I don't have any favorites as long as they are light and funny. :) Susan Elizabeth Phillips comes to me esp. :)

    1. Thank you, May! I agree, must be funny and light - something that feels like a vacation from a vacation. :-)

  4. anything with an HEA

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

    1. Thank you, bn100! You definitely want happily ever afters while relaxing on the beach.

  5. Hi Kimberly! Welcome to GLIAS and congrats on your debut!

    My favorite beach reads are the same as any other reading I do: historical romance. Can't get enough of it...which is, I suppose, why I write it, too!

    1. Thank you, Heather! I appreciate you guys having me - and thank you for the kind words!

      Oh I do always love getting transported back in time. :-)

  6. So glad you could visit with us today! You were a fun interviewee.

    1. And you're a great interviewer! Thank you so much, Clover!

  7. Congrats. Brenda Rumsey is today's giveaway winner!