Welcome back to Under the Covers. Since your last visit here you’ve written a brand new series called The Dirty, which is a spin off of Tough Love. Could you please explain what the series will be about and can readers jump straight into this one?
Thank you so much for having me back! It is always a thrill for me to be here. The good news is readers can jump right in with the new release, DIRTY DEEDS! The Dirty series is a spinoff but it totally stands alone from the Tough Love series. The two series do share one character – Alec Drummond. He showed up in GUARDING MR. FINE and I was intrigued by both Alec and his brothers…and the new series was born.
What is the biggest difference between Alec and Gaige’s character?
Power. Alec is a wealthy and successful international businessman. He’s practical and no-nonsense. He has a reputation for being gruff and a bit dangerous. On paper, Gaige seems to be his opposite. He works on his own and in the shadows. He’s actually on the run and being threatened by the CIA because of a job that went very wrong. He’s a strong guy – mentally and physically – but he’s in a vulnerable position. Despite the differences, they actually need each other…it just takes them awhile to figure that out.
What’s your favorite thing about them together?
From the outside this looks like an opposites-attract story. The businessman and the tech nerd. One man who insists on being in control of everything and another who is trying to make amends for his past. But really, at heart, these two men share a sort of inner brokenness. They’ve both been emotionally battered. Alec shuts off his feelings and pretends he doesn’t have them any longer. Gaige internalized his battle and believes he deserved what happened to him because he wasn’t careful enough. As the story unfolds, it’s clear that these guys from different positions in life and different backgrounds actually fit together perfectly.
What was the biggest obstacle you encountered while writing this book? How did you overcome it?
The book centers on a serious problem at the Doomsday Seed Vault in Svalbard, Norway. I am not a science person, so creating a plot that had to do with seeds, agriculture, a part of the world I’ve never been to, and an actual in-use structure meant a lot of research. The good news is there are a lot of videos and articles out there about the Doomsday Vault. I was able to do a virtual walk-thru and learn all about the desolate area around it and the security used to protect it. Now I kind of want to visit.
How many books can readers expect in this series?
There are three Drummond brothers, so possibly three. Right now there are definitely two. DIRTY DEEDS and DIRTY GAMES, which comes out in March 2018. DIRTY GAMES is younger brother Finn’s story. It takes place in a dangerous area between Morocco and Spain. Finn falls for an older, not-impressed-by-wealthy-people charity worker. DIRTY GAMES might be the most angsty male/male romantic suspense I’ve ever written (and that’s saying something).
As a seasoned romantic suspense author, what’s the key for you to balance the suspense and romance in a story?
Balancing the romance and the suspense is the constant fight in this genre. You need downtime for the romance but that can throw off the pacing of the suspense. I’m very mindful of making the romance and sex scenes feel genuine and fit in with what’s happening with the plot. When reading, I get pulled out of a story if the couple is in danger but take time to stop and make out. I jokingly call this “stop, drop and roll” and I try really hard not to do it.
What’s your favorite trope to write? And to read?
I love writing and reading best friend’s baby sister/brother. I am a huge fan of fake engagement/marriage of convenience stories, but they are tough to pull off in contemporary romance in a realistic way. Mention a secret in a blurb or hint at an enemies-to-lovers story and I will buy it every single time.
Is there a certain kind of character you haven’t written yet and would love to?
I’ve been lucky enough to write all sorts of characters. Every heroine from the girl next door to an MI6 officer. Every hero from a former assassin to a guy-on-the-run. The one thing I haven’t done, which I’m dying to do is a space cowboys/futuristic series with political intrigue, suspense, LGBT couples, danger, marriages of convenience and explosions. I have the idea and know what it would look like. I just have to set aside time to write the books.
What’s the last book that kept you up all night reading under the covers?
I’ve read so many good books over the last six months by new-to-me authors. I love the Unbreakable series by Rinda Elliott and Jocelynn Drake. I also read EGOMANIAC by VI Keeland recently and really enjoyed it. It had a while bunch of plot points that usually don’t work for me but they all came together with great banter.
Where do you usually draw inspiration for your stories?
Everywhere. Really, that’s the answer. I read and watch a lot of true crime stories. I read magazine and newspaper articles. I watch people (my husband calls this being nosy). I often think “what would a person who had X thing happen to them be like later in life” and start a story from there. For this book, I had seen a 60 Minutes episode on the Doomsday Vault years ago and decided I wanted to write a story around it. It’s fiction but it’s based on an actual place.
What are you currently working on?
I’m actually finishing DIRTY GAMES, the next book in this series. I love the book. Finn and Justin are frustrating and exhausting and fighting off their attraction, and are a total joy to write.
Thanks so much for sharing with us today!
by HelenKay Dimon
Released: August 8th 2017
Series: The Dirty #1
Published by Loveswept
No dirty deed goes unnoticed in a seductive game of cat and mouse. But for Alec and Gaige, the wrong move could get them killed.
Alec Drummond didn’t make his billions by playing nice—or by playing much at all. When it comes to pleasure, Alec only has time for whatever’s quick and easy, which is exactly what he gets from his company’s hot new computer genius. But Gaige Owens isn’t some pushover. He pushes back, and it’s giving Alec a rush. The question is, could Gaige be the one who’s leaking trade secrets? Just to be safe, Alec keeps him close at hand . . . night and day.
Gaige never thought he’d roll over for a man like Alec again, but who could resist sex this mind-blowing? Then there’s the draw of Alec’s mysterious side: his cutthroat ambition, his covert CIA connections, and the murder in his past. For Gaige, a deeper look proves an irresistible temptation. But when Gaige and Alec are stripped of their defenses by an unseen danger, everything they don’t know could bring them closer together—or tear them apart. Only one thing is certain: Before it’s all over, someone’s going down.