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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday Spotlight with Candace Morehouse

Suspense author Michael Davis and romance writer Candace Morehouse combined their experience to create the romantic suspense novel, VEIL OF DECEPTION, which explores gender-driven conflicts & the premise that Sometimes truth cuts deeper than a lie.

There’s something suspicious going on at Spenser Lake, Virginia. People are disappearing and their bodies are never found. The fear and uncertainty of who will be next is affecting every resident of the tranquil community, but especially Kurt Hawkins. Two years after his wife goes missing, there are no clues, only the nightmares of what happened in her last moments. The constant guilt that somehow he was responsible precludes any thought of a normal life until he meets Danielle Gillette, a reclusive author with a rather large skeleton in her own closet. When the secret is finally revealed, they both discover that sometimes the truth cuts deeper than a lie.

Danielle smiled slightly. She was the intruder on nature’s deadly game, not the other way around. She shook her head, clearing out the cobwebs, as she took one final hamstring stretch with the help of the porch railing and then set out on her morning ritual – a jog along the scenic path following the lake.

It didn’t take long for her feet to find their rhythm. Danielle adjusted the ear buds of her iPod briefly, humming subconsciously to the Toby Keith tune playing, I Ain’t As Good As I Once Was. She followed the inlets and outlets of the lake, glancing every now and then at the profusion of houses – all graced with expansive porches facing the water and most of them ostentatiously large. She never could figure out why folks were so eager to build the biggest structures possible; all those empty rooms left unoccupied most of the year when the summer vacationers returned home to the city, all that unused solitary space that had to be cleaned.

Before she realized it, she was flush with the back porch of her best friend’s house. Marina was sitting in a silvered wooden deck chair; a cup of coffee in one hand and a cigarette in the other. She spotted Danielle and waved through her last puff of smoke while she took a sip from her favorite, old, cracked mug.

Danielle ran in place for a few steps before accessing the porch via a set of stairs ascending from the lake pathway up to the porch. Danielle drew a chair up next to Marina and plopped down, wiping a hand across her dewy forehead and pulling the buds off her ears.

“Coffee’s right there on the table, hon, help yourself. You know the routine.” Danielle pulled the thermal container closer and poured some of the steaming coffee into an empty mug identical to the one cuddled in Marina’s hands. It was thick and off-white, devoid of decoration, but sporting an intricate network of stained micro cracks distributed across the surface. The hairline cracks in the porcelain glaze conveyed a pattern similar to the wrinkles and crevices in Marina’s face, the effect of years of chain smoking. Even with all its cracks and stains, its worn and imperfect exterior, the old cup was still strong and dependable– much like Marina herself.

Marina’s eyebrows rose over the rim of her mug. She put down her cup and emitted a low whistle. “Do you see what I see? Hubba, hubba.”

Danielle’s eyes followed her friend’s gaze towards the lake. A male swimmer was coming up out of the water to sit on the edge of Marina’s boat dock just a few yards down from the porch. The man flicked water from his longish, dark hair and droplets sprayed out into the morning air, briefly sparkling against the rising sun before falling back into the lake. His arms were braced straight against the pier and Danielle could see the clearly defined muscles, long and firm. His back and shoulders were incredibly broad and narrowed down to a flab-less waist which disappeared into a pair of swim trunks not much bigger than the tiny pieces of Lycra worn by professional divers.

At this angle, the swimmer’s strong profile was canted out from the creek toward the main lake, but what Danielle could see was rather alluring and strangely familiar.

It was him. The man she had seen around town, up at Ruth’s place, but usually planted in the lounge chair on his deck staring off in the distance and searching for something that wasn’t there.

Hello and welcome to Wednesday Spotlight! Please welcome my friend and one of the authors of Veil of Deception, Candace Morehouse. Oliver, please bring Candace out.

With Wicked Game by Chris Isaak playing in the background, Oliver escorts Candace into the parlor to join Sharon. The two friends embrace and fall into easy conversation before sitting on the wing back chairs in front of the roaring fire. Oliver pours Shiraz into the glasses and sets a plate of cheesy quesadillas on the coffee table, blowing kisses to Candace the whole while.

Sharon: Thank you, Oliver. That will be all for now. What’s that? I’m sure Candace will let you know the minute she feels threatened in Arizona and needs a PI to investigate. In the meantime, keep the Shiraz comin’. Isn’t that right, Candace?

Candace (drooling): I think I’m feeling threatened right now, Sharon. Can Oliver investigate me, er, I mean it, now, please?

Sharon (giving Candace a reproaching look): Well, I must say, this book has me so drawn in that I will be rushing off to buy my copy. Wow, this is just the type of book I love. I have so many questions, I’m not sure where to begin. What a brilliant concept, a romance author and a suspense author joining forces to create a romantic suspense. I wouldn’t have the foggiest notion where to begin. Give us a briefing of how Veil of Deception was formatted.

Candace: Even though I’m a ‘pantster’ when it comes to plotting, we decided rather quickly that we both needed to have a detailed outline and character descriptions to begin writing. Since this book was Mike’s initial idea, he got the honor of writing up the outline and suggested chapter topics.

Sharon: And did you ever run into difficulties when combining your efforts? I guess what I’m asking is, how did you know what to write to coincide with the other author?

Candace: Living across the country from each other, the only way we could do it was via email. On a good day, Mike would write a section, then I would get it emailed to me and return it with my own contribution. Of course, we didn’t want our Muses to be put on hold, either, so we worked ahead of the other sometimes then had to backtrack and make the pieces match.

Sharon: I would imagine that could easily happen. And tell me, Candace, whose idea was it to write a book together?

Candace: It was really Mike’s idea. I was working on a manuscript for the second in my ‘Women of Phoenix’ contemporary romance series and sent Mike a brief passage asking him if it rang true from a male’s perspective. He thought it was trash! He didn’t exactly say that, but he did let me know it was not realistic. From there he asked me if I would consider doing a joint manuscript and I readily agreed.

Sharon: (raises an eyebrow) He thought it was trash? Oh, come now. More wine?

Candace: If it means the chance to see Oliver again, of course, my dear. You really are the best hostess ever, Sharon.

Why, thank you, Candace. Oliver is at the ready, pouring. Pumping his biceps at Candace, he walks to the book shelf and returns with his copy of Veil of Deception and a pen. If I might be so bold as to have your autograph, Love? He winks. I’m a PI, you know and might get a few pointers.

Candace (writing on the back of Oliver’s hand because she isn’t paying attention to what she is doing): Blurghaldocuh.

Oliver: Huh?

Candace: Um, never mind. My pleasure.

Sharon (snapping her fingers to bring Candace’s attention back to her): And is Michael Davis your critique partner?

Candace: No. In fact he’s read my first book, Golden Enchantment, and I’ve read his first two but we’ve since decided it is better to keep our individual efforts outside of our writing relationship.

Sharon: Okay, let’s talk a bit about the story, the plot and the characters. Who came up with the initial synopsis, the setting, names and storyline?

Candace: Mike already had the plot for Veil of Deception in his head. We each created our own characters. As we began to write, much of what I contributed changed the plot slightly from his vision but that was bound to happen.

Sharon: Sounds fair. Can you tell us approximately how long it took to write this book? I’m not talking sending it to Champagne for submission and review. I mean how long did it take to write before the rough draft was complete?

Candace: As I recall, it was several months. We started it in late summer and finished in November. During that time, Mike and I actually got to meet in person. He had an opportunity to fly to Albuquerque and I convinced him to meet me halfway (okay so it was a few more miles in my favor) in Springerville Arizona for a side trip with his wife. It was nice to finally put a face with the name. (The picture on the right is of me, Mike's wife Karen, and Big Mike eating in a restaurant in Springerville)

Sharon: I agree. It’s great to meet our online friends. Now, can you tell us a little about the main characters, Danielle Gillette and Kurt Hawkins?

Candace: I based Danielle on Rachael Ray as far as looks and abilities. She is a former chef who turned to writing mystery novels after the death of her husband. Everyone thinks they are romances, though, and a thread running throughout the book has Danielle constantly defending her books by stating that they are mysteries, not romances.

Kurt is somewhat of the strong and silent type. He’s not very social, just like Danielle. After his wife goes missing, he is not ready for a relationship but when Danielle comes along, he is drawn in by her unique personality and talents. He’s a typical guy in that he is sometimes clueless when it comes to what a woman wants.

Sharon tilts her head back and laughs. Isn’t that the truth! And Rachael Ray. I love it. You chose Spenser Lake, Virginia for the setting? Any special reason?

Candace: Mike lives in Virginia and the book is based on a real place, even real events that happened several years ago in the community. It was a learning curve for me as I’ve never been that far east before. Mike had to send me lots of photos of the area.

Sharon: I love this concept: “Sometimes truth cuts deeper than a lie.” So true. What are your thoughts on that statement?

Candace: That is the premise of the book – that the hero and heroine both have something to hide and they face the conundrum of telling the truth or being kinder by not mentioning it.

Oliver empties the bottle of Shiraz, taking a moment to brush a crumb off Candace’s lip. His fingers linger just a tad…

Sharon: Oliver, about those almond cookies. Is that the smoke alarm? Best run along and check. So, Candace. Before Oliver brings out dessert, might we expect further books written by you and Michael Davis?

Candace (whimpering slightly): W…what? Oh, sorry, Sharon, I just wanted to be sure Oliver didn’t need any assistance in the kitchen… Actually, Mike and I are currently wrapping up another manuscript entitled Whispers of Innocence. This one was my idea and takes place in Arizona. I figured it was only fair that Mike be subject to the same problems I had writing about Virginia!

Sharon: Here here. The glasses clink. And that brings us to the end of this very interesting interview. Candace, as always, it’s been a pleasure. I hope you agree to come back. But in the meantime, best of luck with sales, my friend.

Candace: Thank you Sharon and Oliver!

Oliver struts out with the sterling silver caddy, coffee, tea and cookies. And when Wicked Game plays again, he takes Candace in his arms and takes her for a spin around the floor.

Veil of Deception can be purchased in electronic format January 2, 2010 (

To purchase other books by Candace Morehouse, visit her website at:




Sharon Donovan said...

Let's have a warm welcome for Candace Morehouse. Candace, come on out! Oliver saunters out with coffee, tea, shiraz and quesadillas.

Hywela Lyn said...

Hi Candace

What a great excerpt! I enjoyed your interview, and it was so interesting to hear how you came to write the book with Mike.

Thank you Oliver, yes I will hae some quesadillas - and some Earl Grey please.

Candace Morehouse said...

Hello Hywela! Thanks for stopping by.

I guess I didn't learn from the first time of writing a book with another author long distance - currently I am working on my parts of Whispers of Innocence, our latest romantic suspense collaboration. Wish me lots of luck, I'm going to need it!

It's a bit early for shiraz, even for me so I guess I'll have to settle for the Earl Grey. Oliver?

Linda said...

Fun interview! I love hearing about writers who can manage to collaborate without killing each other off...on the pages, I mean. Quite an achievement! Candace, you and BM make an amazing team and put out a great body of work. I also want to know how I can borrow Oliver. I'd love to have him pour wine for me... :D Kaylin

Candace Morehouse said...

Hi Kaylin! Thanks for the congrats! It was quite the process working so closely with a man on a very creative - and subjective - process.

As for Oliver, you'll have to ask Sharon about loaning him out - and I'll think you'll have to get in line behind all his admirers (did you read his interview last week?).

Candace Morehouse said...

My buddy, Big Mike, wanted to post a comment but he's having computer issues. This is his comment:

Hello Candace and Sharon

Loved the interview, except for Oliver. Too damn skinny and he needs a hair cut.

See if you can get Candi to tell you how she finally forced me to do the dance of the two back beast, I mean the hero with the heroine, of course.

In terms of writing with another author, I think both of us were surprised at the fun we had with our first project. We would each wait anxiously for the others chapter, then laugh our butt off at how our partner responded to what we wrote. It was like two newly weds, and we had a ball. Now on our second endeavor, its like an old married couple growling at each other (g).

Michael Davis (
Author of the year, 4/09

Kathleen said...

Intriguing excerpt Candance. Danielle sounds like a terrific heroine. And Sharon enjoyed your interview with Candace. Great job ladies!

Sharon Donovan said...

Hello, everyone. Thanks for dropping by with us. Yes, Oliver, I'd love a glass of shiraz, thank you! Well, I was hoping you might drop by Big Mike. Veil of Deception is my kind of book and Oliver is about to run out and buy me a copy. I can't wait to read it. Now, do dish, Candy dear, about this

Candace Morehouse said...

Hi Sharon! So glad to see you could make it for a shared glass of shiraz! We all missed you today.

As for Big Mike's comment - he's referring to the fact that I always get our characters into bed right away and he wants to wait, let the relationship develop on a deeper level. Kinda sounds like role reversal, eh?

Anyway, the scene where Danielle finds get Kurt to take off his pants ended up being pure inspiration based on "what would I do if a man was so resistant and hard-headed?" It starts with a little black dress and then...

Hope you will buy the book to read it!

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Candace. Well, what do I think? I think there's a reason why they call it a sexy black dress! And I am on route to the book store right now!

I'd like to thank everyone for coming by for a very exciting Wednesday Spotlight. Veil of Deception has a great concept, written by the female and male perspective. Brilliant.
A special thank you to Candace Morehouse for being featured today. And to the co-author of the book, Michael Davis. Here here! Wishing you mega sales.

Until next time, may the luck of the Irish be with you as you travel through life.

Love and Blessings,