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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wednesday Spotlight with Maureen A. Miller

Hello and welcome to Wednesday Spotlight! I have a very special treat today for lovers of Romantic Suspense. Maureen A. Miller is in the house! When the doorbell rings, the musical chimes floating through the mansion, Oliver swaggers down the corridor, a bouquet of freshly-cut red roses in hand. Answering the door with an appreciative smile, he presents the flowers and escorts Maureen to the parlor to join Sharon.

Designed with a distinctive New Orleans flair, feather face masks and faded murals accent the walls. From satire and humor to fantasy surrealism, the art decor evokes the essence of the time-worn French Quarter. A cherry wood log snaps in the hearth, the rustic scent permeating the air. Two silk chenille chairs face the fire, the blazing flames taking the chill out of the crisp autumn day. A cornucopia embellished with colorful acorns, pomegranates and gourds decorate the coffee table.

Sharon: Have a seat and make yourself comfortable, Maureen. How are you?

Maureen: Hello Sharon, I’m so happy that you invited me over, and I’m so grateful for the fire…it must have dropped to 40 out there!

Oliver appears, pushing a sterling silver butler’s caddy brimming with coffee, tea and pink party cakes. With a wink and a smile, he takes a sweeping bow. Ladies, refreshments are served. Would you care for anything from the bar?

Maureen:Coffee, Oliver, thank you, and no need to bow.

With a mischievous wink, Oliver pours coffee into two china cups.

Sharon: I am so thrilled to chat with you about my all time favorite genre, romantic suspense. I can’t tell you how excited I was to learn about your blog; in fact, that’s putting it mildly! Stumbling upon JUST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE was like receiving an unexpected present. Tell us all about it.

Maureen: JUST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE was born from a random internet search. I am a big fan of the genre. (Don’t roll your eyes, Oliver.) So one day I did a search for romantic suspense authors, and I found so many varied results. Romantic Suspense authors by publishing house, by RWA Chapter, by political party, suspense writers, mystery writers…but I wanted to find just romantic suspense. As a reader, I wouldn’t want to have to search all of these sites for one morsel of information. I would want all that information accessible to me in one location.  And that is my goal with JUST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE.

Sharon: Kudos to you, Maureen. With the onslaught of  so many cross genres  taking the nation by storm, is it just me or is romantic suspense taking a back seat to the darker, the bolder, the more erotic?

Maureen: I’ve heard rumors to that effect. Perhaps I’m a tad biased when I say the rumors are not true. The bold and the dark will draw attention just by the sheer nature of the beast, but the romantic suspense fans are a strong and resilient crew. Romantic Suspense has not sat idle over the years−with the damsel in distress running along the edge of the cliff. The genre has evolved with women who are strong, smart, and determined. The hero is now gritty and patriotic.

Sharon: Very well put. Tell us what draws you in to a romantic suspense?

Maureen: I am a romantic at heart, as most of us are. It is the complexity of the relationship in Romantic Suspense that draws me in. External forces enhance the interaction of our characters. A kiss is wonderful, and an act that makes us all sigh and feel warm inside. A kiss when your life is on the line is intense and desperate and full of a passion.

Oh dear, I do believe Oliver has turned a tad green in the face.

Sharon: He’ll get over it. LOL You know long before I began writing romantic suspense, I was influenced by many books and movies that fed my addiction. What authors and or actors influenced you?

Maureen: Initially I was riveted by gothic romances. Victoria Howard−even the Brontes. Then I read an Elizabeth Lowell novel and my metamorphosis began.

Sharon: Tell us about WIDOW’S TALE?
Maureen: Would you believe WIDOW’S TALE was an 8 page short story back in high school, a million years ago?  The setting of Victory Cove and the characters stayed with me for all those years until the novel was born. Serena Murphy is a woman who is at her lowest, and in that respect some might feel she is not too strong. Yet, aren’t we all a tad quiet until someone threatens those we love? When that happens, do we not possess superhuman strength?

Sharon: My goodness! A romantic tale that took such a strong hold is one that needed to be told. The thought of Serena standing on the deck of a tavern every night, looking for a sign of her husband’s body gave me chills, drew me right in. As a reader and writer, what elements do you look for in a romantic suspense?

Maureen: Call me strange, but I like the atmosphere of cold and stormy settings. ENDLESS NIGHT is another novel set in Victory Cove, with yet another storm. (chuckles) I wrote JUNGLE OF DECEIT in Guatemala just to warm up!

Sharon: I know exactly what you mean about storms creating atmosphere. Counts in her head. Yes, I do believe there’s a storm in all my books. Smiles at Maureen. Before you go, can you share a blurb and excerpt of WIDOW’S TALE with us along with a buy link and your contact information? Thank you, Maureen, for a delightfully intriguing interview. Chatting with you has been a pleasure. Wishing you and JUST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE the best of luck.

Certainly…if you let me have one more of those little pink cakes. Thank you so much for having me, Sharon. You have a lovely house.

WIDOW’S TALE (Available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble)
Come visit Maureen A. Miller at her website.


Blurb:

Serena Murphy was losing her mind. 

Every night Serena stood on the deck of O'Flanagans Tavern, searching Maine's rugged coast for a sign of her husband's body. Though he was pronounced lost at sea, Alan Murphy still haunted her as only his malevolent spirit could. In the loft above her tavern, Serena hears footsteps pace across her living room floor, yet when she turns, no one is there. 

Alan would not let a little thing like death stop him from tormenting her. If she could just find his body, surely this torture would stop. 

It had been ten years since Brett Murphy saw his sister in-law, although the separation was by design, to avoid temptation. Now Brett was in Victory Cove, not to declare his feelings for Serena, but to discover the truth about his brother's death. In doing so, he must battle Serena's ghosts, both real and contrived.

Excerpt:

For a moment, time seemed suspended. Brett was lost in the shadows at the far end of the deck, and the ocean stopped its assault long enough to allow her to stand. There was a perverse sense of calm as the screeching gale winds grew faint.

Using the rail for leverage, Serena forced her numb feet to cooperate, and managed a few awkward steps.

Something made her stop. That prickly sensation at the back of her neck—the same paranormal awareness that occurred just before her ghosts arrived.

Under the beacon atop the bordering trawler, Serena traced the arc of light. In horror she watched the surging black wall of water that came straight at them.

Her scream was severed by its impact.

Launched from the deck into the frigid void, suspended in churning darkness for an eternity, Serena surfaced, choking. She squinted against the onslaught of the storm and located the trawlers, shifting shadows several feet away. She struggled to kick her feet, and flailed her arms to keep above the waves.

Cruelly, Serena’s mind flashed to the past. She felt the weight of Alan’s hand on her head. Sputtering for breath, she tilted her neck back so that only her face reached the cold night.

Two kicks.


One.

Serena’s legs ceased moving. With a last twitch of strength, her arms fell still.


BIO:

Maureen's illustrious writing career started in the fourth grade with the blockbuster hit, Super Watermelon Man. Many years later, Maureen evolved into a full-fledged Romantic Suspense author with her first novel, WIDOW'S TALE, which was nominated for a Golden Heart by the Romance Writers of America.

A fan of gothic romance, Maureen enjoys the formula of danger, romance, dark cliffs, and sinister houses-aspects that she probably acquired from watching too much Scooby Doo. All these elements can be found in her latest thriller, ENDLESS NIGHT. Although, there's no accounting for her new novel, JUNGLE OF DECEIT, which is an adventure in Guatemala's humid jungle. :)

22 comments:

Sharon Donovan said...

A warm welcome for Maureen A. Miller! Have a seat, Maureen, and lets chat about JRS. Oliver, keep the coffee and the pink party cakes coming!

Hywela Lyn said...

Good morning Sharon dear friend, and Mareen, what an interesting interview. I don't write romantic suspense myself, but I love reading it and visited JRS, what a great looking blog!

Wishing you even more success, your books look so intriguing!

Thanks Oliver dear, a little pink cake would be just the thing!

MaureenAMiller said...

Good morning to my beautiful and gracious hostess...and to Oliver. :) Hello Hywela. Thank you for the compliments on JRS and the well-wishes. I'm so happy to be here today.

Oliver said...

Good morning, Maureen, my pretty. More coffee and another party cake? Wink wink
Lyn, my sweet, a cup of Chai to go with the fancy, but of course

Mary Ricksen said...

Maureen, your excerpt made chills run up my spine! This one sound like a great read!
I'll skip the party cakes, but any tea available? Oliver, is was interesting to see you turn Green, way to go ladies! Never thought I'd see the day.
Sharon you're like a rock star!
Good luck and much success in your writing ladies!

Pat Dale said...

Suspense makes the world go round. Add romance and the world is worth going round with. I like your attitude, Maureen, and your excerpt puts me on edge. I have to get your book to see what happens to her. talk about a hook! LOL
Best wishes,
Pat Dale, another published author of romantic suspense novels.

Anne Patrick said...

Wonderful interview, ladies. Thanks for the heads up, Sharon. Maureen is a new author to me but I will be checking out her work.

Oliver said...

Ladies and Gent, nods to Pat. Plenty of party cakes, chocolate chips, piping hot coffee and tea. Make yourselves comfy whilst I hurl another log in the fire. Pumps his biceps, wildly winking at Maureen.

Sharon Donovan said...

Maureen, you sure know how to draw a crowd, look at the party! Waves madly. Yes, Oliver a cup of strong coffee please. And don't forget, Oliver whips up a mean martini. Maureen, we're all captivated by your writing. Kudos, my dear!

P.L. Parker said...

Ooooh, blurb gave me chillies! Great interview. Much good luck with sales though as interesting as your book sounds, I think you will do very well :)

Candace Morehouse said...

The best type of romance is the suspenseful kind and sounds like you've hit the nail on the head with your books and our blog, Maureen. I'll definitely be back to check out what's new over there.

And Oliver...remember me? Do you have any red wine for me this time, you naughty little butler?

katsrus said...

Love your book covers. That was a great excerpt. It sure did send chills. Will have to add your books to my reading. Oh boy I smell coffee!!! Those party cakes sound yummy too. And today I could use a warm fire as it's 37 in WI.
Sue B

MaureenAMiller said...

I had to run out for a little bit, and what a wonderful way to return! Hello ladies! ... and Oliver. :)

@Mary - Sorry about the chills. I'm thinking of supplying a free blanket with every copy of my book. LOL

@Pat - Hooray to romantic suspense!It's such an exciting genre to read and write. Thank you!

@Anne - It's wonderful to see you here, Anne!

@P.L. - Thank you so much! I really don't mean to give everyone the chillies...it just sorta happens. :)

@Candace - It's great to see you here, Candace. And I believe Oliver is pouring you a glass as we speak. :)

MaureenAMiller said...

Hi Katsrus,

Thank you for the kind words. This is fun. We need to get together more often!

Toni Anderson said...

I loved ENDLESS NIGHT and I really like Oliver too :) Great and fun interview, ladies :)

Sharon Donovan said...

My goodness, the party is growing. Hi Toni, Candace, Ann, Sue, Mary, PL and PD and Lyn. Yes Oliver, where art thou. Never fear, the ice man commeth!

Oliver said...

OK Ladies, Mead for Lyn, strawberry smoothie for Mary, shiraz for Candace, coffee and party cake for Sue. Maureen, more coffee or a glass of wine perhaps?

MaureenAMiller said...

Hello, Toni. You really need to try these little pink cakes.

Oliver, I think I better stick with the coffee. I have to drive home. :)

Katherine said...

Maureen, I enjoyed your interview. And I have to say WOW, what a great excerpt. I'll definitely be adding your book to my TBR list.

MaureenAMiller said...

Hi Katherine. Thank you so much!

You know what I say about TBR's? They're like a big bowl of spaghetti. You look at it and think you can't possibly eat the whole thing, and yet somehow you do! :)

Oliver said...

Hi Katherine, thank you so much for visiting with us.
A special thank you to Maureen for being a delightful guest. Until next time, may the luck of the Irish be with you as you travel through life.
Love and Blessings

Sharon Donovan said...

LOL Oliver stole my line, imagine that naughty little butler!
Sharon rolls her eyes. Ahem...to quote the hired help...
A special thank you to Maureen for being a delightful guest. Until next time, may the luck of the Irish be with you as you travel through life.
Love and Blessings