Hi Katie! So excited to have you at Under the Covers today! First off, let’s talk about your series as a whole. What is the Search and Rescue series about and where did you get in the inspiration for it?
Thank you! I’m so glad to be here. My Search and Rescue series revolves around a group of first responders who save lives and fall in love in the remote Colorado Rockies. Not only do they have to deal with natural dangers, such as blizzards and avalanches and moose, but there’s also a very human threat—the killer in their midst. Each book features a different couple who get their happy ending, but an overarching mystery links the stories together.
The setting was inspired by my real-life off-grid home in the Colorado Rockies. It was easy to write about the cold and wind and snow (and did I mention the cold?) when there was a blizzard howling outside. Character-wise, I wanted to feature first responders. After working with cops and volunteering with firefighters, I am completely in awe of their courage. They’re also a funny bunch.
How much research did you have to do for this series and in particular for this book?
Most of my research for this series was done long before I started to write it. My jobs and education and hobbies all played a part in teaching me what I needed to know to build the Search and Rescue universe. About five years ago, I received my law enforcement degree while working for a police department. My favorite part of the job was collecting and analyzing forensic evidence (yes, I admit that I’m a total forensics nerd). A few years later, while doing volunteer work with a fire department in Colorado, I was certified in cold-water rescue.
For Gone Too Deep, one of the things I had to research was cold-weather camping. I’m not a camper. Although I love doing all sorts of outside things—hiking, biking, fly fishing, target shooting, horseback riding, four-wheeling—when I’m done, all I want is a soft bed and indoor plumbing. The wilderness is wonderful, but civilization has its perks, too.
GONE TOO DEEP is book three in the series and it follows George and Ellie. What would you say is the key to finding that balance between Romance and Suspense for this one?
Of all the books in the Search and Rescue series, this was the easiest for me to balance romance with suspense, since the two elements build on each other. Because George and Ellie are hiking through the cold and snowy mountains together, struggling to survive, the stage is set perfectly for both exciting adventures and falling in love. Being in close proximity (ahem…sharing a sleeping bag) and relying on each other to stay safe stripped away the usual barriers to getting to know each other.
Humor and banter is a huge part of your books. How do you know when you lightened the mood and when to tighten up the tension in certain scenes? Do you ever struggle to find that perfect balance?
In real life, I tend to find something funny in almost every situation, which carries over into my books. My wonderful editor gets the credit for maintaining the balance between humor and tension. For example, in Gone Too Deep, the other Search and Rescue members tease George about keeping a blow-up doll under his bed (which he does not). Although she is almost positive that the doll didn’t exist, Ellie sneaks a peek under George’s bed—just to make sure. My editor had me cut that part, since it was right in the middle of fun, sexy times. There was something mentioned about a blow-up doll killing the mood? Also, in my fourth book, my editor asked me why I had two full chapters that didn’t advance the plot in any way.
“They’re funny,” was my response. Yeah, they got cut.
Now lets get personal! Since this is your first time here, tell us five things about yourself that others wouldn’t normally know.
- I have six chickens, to which I am abnormally attached.
- When I was little, I renamed myself Katie Ruggle Pittman. Pittman? No idea. Kids are weird.
- The phrase, “C’mon! It’ll be fun!” is my Kryptonite, and it has led me into all sorts of dangerous/uncomfortable/fascinating/occasionally actually fun situations.
- I can’t drink coffee. If I even have a little, I talk really fast (faster than normal, even) and it kind of feels like I’m having a heart attack.
- I’m a complete pantser and have no clue where my books will end up when I start them.
What’s the last book you read that kept you up all night reading under the covers?
Cracked by Eliza Crewe. I loved the humor and the slightly skewed moral code of the anti-heroine.
If you were able to have a dinner party with your favorite fictional characters (aside from your own) who would you invite and where would it be?
Hmm…I think it would be a beach party, and I’d invite everyone on my e-reader (except for some of the scarier paranormal characters, since that could get ugly). All the book boyfriends at one party while shirtless? Yes, please.
What are you currently working on?
I’m in the middle of writing the second book of my Rocky Mountain K-9 series (out in 2017). There are women on the run, hot cops, heroic dogs, lots of explosions—what more could anyone ask for?
Thanks so much for spending time with us today and answering our questions!
Thank you for having me—this was fun!
by Katie Ruggle
Released: August 2nd 2016
Series: Search and Rescue #3
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder...
George Holloway has spent his life alone, exploring the treacherous beauty of the Colorado Rockies. He's the best survival expert Search and Rescue has, which makes him the obvious choice to lead Ellie Price through deadly terrain to find her missing father. There's just one problem-Ellie's everything George isn't. She's a city girl, charming, gregarious, delicate, small. And when she looks up at him with those big, dark eyes, he swears he would tear the world apart to keep her safe.
With a killer on the loose, he may have no choice.
Ellie's determined to find her father no matter the cost. But as she and her gorgeous mountain of a guide fight their way through an unforgiving wilderness, they find themselves in the crosshairs of a dangerous man in search of revenge. And they are now his prey...