Monday, July 7, 2014

Blitz Tender Deceit by H.Y. Hanna

Please share a little about yourself, your genres, any other pen names you use.

Well, the “H.Y” stands for my first name, Hsin-Yi, which is pronounced “Sin-Yee”. I thought it would be easier for readers to remember initials rather than my hard-to-spell, hard-pronounce Chinese name! ;-)  I’m originally from Taiwan but left when I was very young and have spent most of my life in “the West”, growing up and living in various countries, from the U.S.A to the United Arab Emirates, Britain to New Zealand.

I started my author career with a children’s mystery series for 9 ~ 12 year olds, called the Big Honey Dog Mysteries, and am now stepping into the world of adult books with my first romantic suspense, featuring danger, mystery and romance set against the exciting backdrop of cosmopolitan Singapore.

Tell us a little about your latest or upcoming release.

Tender Deceit is a romantic mystery in which the heroine, Leah, returns to her childhood expat home of Singapore, after her father dies in mysterious circumstances. She finds that there are more secrets in her past than she realised and the boy she once loved has grown up into a dangerously attractive stranger who not only threatens her heart but may threaten her life as well.

The story was actually inspired by a series of “what ifs”—I was wondering what would happen if you did meet your “first love” again? You know, we all have one: that first special person who made your heart beat faster, "the one that got away", the one you still remember with a little smile… What could happen this time, now that you're both adults, if the attraction is still there? And what if there is deceit and danger? What if you find yourself falling in love with him again… but you’re not sure you can trust him?

Have you ever based your book or characters on actual events or people from your own life?

Ha! Ha! Well, you know the old saying about never annoying a writer otherwise you end up as a villain dying a horrible death in one of their books!

No, seriously, I’m sure all writers draw inspiration from people or events in “real life”, even if they’re not conscious of it. Even if you’re making up a story in a dystopian future with alien life forms, I think you still need some kind of “genuine experience” to draw on to give your characters and situations that spark of realism, so that readers can relate to them. It doesn’t mean you have to have really murdered someone or been on the run from police or had a secret affair or whatever—but I think you need to be able to access similar emotions of fear, excitement, uncertainty, loss… to write about it realistically.

With Tender Deceit, I myself grew up in a foreign expat community (in Dubai) and so the setting and events of the heroine’s early life was partly inspired by my own experiences. I’ve visited Singapore many times so a lot of the scenes are definitely based on things I’ve experienced in my own life (although I’ve never been stalked and chased through an underground railway metro!)

Is there a theme or message in your work that you would like readers to connect to?

It’s funny—I never realised this until I started writing but I seem to be preoccupied by the idea of not judging by stereotypes, of characters being fundamentally different to what they first appear. This has appeared several times in my novels, especially my middle grade children’s books, without me consciously intending to write about it. I think this may be because I believe strongly in “shades of grey” in real life and having lived in several countries and different cultures, I have seen first-hand how wrong it is to judge instantly by stereotypes and generalisations. People always surprise you.

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

This is a funny question coming straight after my answer to the last one! I guess from a looks point of view, because I’m short and small and quite slight in build (as well as being Asian), people tend to think that I’m a lot younger than my real age.

My fans have mentioned being surprised to learn that I graduated from Oxford University with a degree in Biological Sciences and that I have a strong science background—since I haven’t really applied that to any of my various careers. I do still have a very analytical way of thinking that’s a leftover from my science training: I like evidence-based proof, I always want to hear the other side of the argument and I am skeptical of statistics unless I know it’s backed up by good sample sizes and research methodology, such as the use of proper controls. I’m also very cynical in general. ;-)

When you’re not writing what do you do? Do you have any hobbies or guilty pleasures?

It’s terribly clichéd to say this but like most writers, I’m a huge bookworm. I’m really bad when I get into a good book—I do things like take it into the shower and stand there holding it with one hand, still avidly reading, while trying to soap myself with the other (much easier, actually, in the old days of paperback than with eReaders!). I don’t know how people can read for just a half hour before bed every night, over several weeks… once I start, if the book is good, I just can’t stop and have to read it in one sitting. If the book isn’t good enough to hold my interest after the first few chapters, I chuck it. I don’t ever force myself to finish a book just because I started it—life’s too short.

Because I have such an addictive attitude to reading, it has become a sort of “guilty pleasure”. Since I have no self-control, I actually don’t read anything I really like when I need to be working, such as finishing the first draft of a novel. I’ve got several books by favourite authors that are being saved up for when I have a “break” between projects and I can just take a day out and indulge myself.

Is there a genre(s) that you’d like to write that you haven’t tackled yet?

Aside from romantic suspense, I’ve got a cosy mystery series in the works and I would quite like to write a thriller in the future. And I also have an idea for a YA paranormal novel based on the Chinese fox spirits legend. So many ideas, so little time!

I love mysteries—it’s what I enjoyed reading as a child and as an adult, I read a lot of crime (what’s called mysteries in the U.S., I think) so no matter what genre I write in, the plot always has an element of mystery and suspense.

Of all the characters you’ve ever written, who is your favorite and why?

It would have to be a character from Curse of the Scarab, the first book in my middle grade mystery series—a scarred, ex-fighting Pit Bull named Max who was rescued from the dog fighting gangs but is still ostracised by the other dogs who judge him simply because of his looks and his breed. I think I’m a little bit in love with Max because he embodies for me what being a “hero” is really about—having the courage to stand up and face your worst fears, even when you know the odds are against you.

If this book is part of a series…what is the next book? Any details you can share?

Yes, I’ve just started writing the next book of this series! You get to find out what happens in that last scene at the airport—do Leah and Toran have a second chance together? What really happened 12 years ago? What about the fiancée? And a completely new mystery involving a sinister, all-women cult. So more danger, mystery and romance in sultry Singapore!

Tender Deceit
First Love Series
Book 1
H.Y. Hanna

Genre:  Romantic Suspense

ISBN:  978-0-9923153-6-8

Word Count:  67,000 words

Cover Artist:  Kim Killion

Book Description:

First love. Second chance.

All they have to do is stay alive...

Following her father's mysterious death in Singapore, Leah leaves her life in London and returns to the island that was her childhood home - braced to confront her past. Toran James may have been the boy her fourteen-year-old heart yearned for, but the magic of stolen glances and first kisses faded with his betrayal.

The enigmatic man she meets upon her return, though, is nothing like her memory, and the past holds more secrets than she realised. Was her father's death really an accident? What was hidden in his study? And why has Toran contacted her again after all these years? Someone is out to silence Leah - and that someone might be the man she is rapidly falling in love with... again.


He looked up as she approached and she stopped short, stunned by the intensity of his green eyes.
He made as if to rise and suddenly Leah panicked. Should I shake hands? Kiss him? Hug him? Quickly, she sat down at the table and waved him back down with her hand.
“Hello, Toran.”
It was hopelessly inadequate, a stupid inane greeting after all these years, but Leah didn’t know what else to say to the stranger sitting in front of her. Except for those brilliant green eyes, there was little left of the boy she used to know. The jaw had widened and hardened, roughened by a faint shadow of stubble, and the warm smile had been replaced by a steely line of a mouth that was at once forbidding and sensual. Dark, unruly hair fell over his brow and didn’t quite hide a thin scar along his left temple which Leah was sure had not been there before. His skin was more tanned than she remembered and that lean, boyish frame had filled out into broad shoulders and a hard, muscular physique that spoke more of outdoor pursuits than time in a gym. More than that, though, was the feeling of latent power and cool authority. Leah caught her breath. Toran James had grown up into a dangerously attractive man.
There was a glass in front of him filled with a pale amber liquid; and next to it, a cigar, its wreath of smoke curling lazily up to the ceiling.
Her eyes met his in accusation. “You said you would never smoke.”
“You said you would never cut your hair.”
Leah touched her head self-consciously before she could stop herself. She wondered if he was assessing her too and searching for the girl he used to know. Her hair fell in waves just past her shoulders now and she had learnt the art of eyeliner to make the most of her deep blue eyes. She wasn’t a gym bunny either, but walking everywhere in London had kept her trim. Leah saw his gaze flick appreciatively over her, lingering on her bare legs exposed by the short hem of her black dress, and she felt her pulse quicken.
“I guess people change.” Leah attempted a light smile. “It’s been over twelve years, you know.”
“I know.” He made a gesture with his hands. “I’m sorry to hear about your father, Leah.”
She nodded. “Thank you.”
Silence settled over them. Leah found herself unable to look at him and was furious to realise that her heart was pounding. What was wrong with her? Anyone would think that she was still fourteen! She had thought that meeting Toran again would help to lay the ghosts of her schoolgirl infatuation to rest. Instead, Leah was dismayed to discover that her feelings for him seemed very much alive, her awareness of him even more heightened than when they were teenagers. Not that he seemed to share her turmoil, she thought, glancing at him from beneath her eyelashes. His handsome face was inscrutable, the green eyes cool and remote.
The Indian woman came over with a menu. Leah ordered the house special, a coconut mojito, while Toran ordered another whiskey. When the drinks arrived, he settled back in his chair and gave her a small smile. It was just a glimmer, but it was enough to remind her of the boy she used to know and Leah felt her shoulders relax slightly.
“So you work in London now?” He raised an eyebrow. “Tell me about your job…”
He was a good listener, as he always had been, and Leah found herself relaxing even more as she told him about her work, friends, life back in the U.K… Before she knew it, half an hour had passed and she realised that she had not learnt anything about him.
“What about you?” Leah asked. “What’s—”
A shrill beeping made her jump. He took a phone out of his pocket and glanced at the screen, his face tightening. He stood up with an apologetic smile. “I’ll be right back.”
Leah looked idly around the lounge as she waited for him to return, not quite sure of the feelings churning inside her. Why did anyone look up their childhood sweetheart? To reconnect? Rediscover? Re-ignite what had once been…?
“I’m really sorry—something’s come up and I have to go.” Toran stood by the table, those green eyes once again belonging to a stranger.
Leah stood up quickly and found that he towered over her. He had always been tall, but now he was well over six feet. She stared at the front of his shirt, where the crisp cotton parted to reveal a glimpse of tanned chest. He was standing very close. She found herself unable to meet his eyes. “Um… Sure, yes, of course…”
“I’ll be in touch.”
Leah felt something brush her hand—she could almost have imagined it—and then he was gone. Slowly, she made her way back to her hotel, her head dizzy with thoughts she didn’t really want to acknowledge. Alone in her room, she grabbed the phone on an impulse and dialed the number.
“Hello?” Julia’s voice hadn’t changed, despite the years.
“Hi, Julia.”
“Oh my God, Leah? Is that really you?” She laughed. “I was so excited when I read on Facebook that you were coming back to Singapore. When did you arrive? Where are you staying? Hey, if you’re not doing anything tonight—”
“I arrived earlier today. Listen, Julia,” Leah said breathlessly. “I know this sounds crazy, but I’ve got to tell somebody—somebody who understands. I…I saw Toran again and he—”
“What?” Her voice was sharp. “Toran James? When? Where?”
“Tonight.” Leah was taken aback by her sharpness. “I just got back, in fact. I went to meet him for drinks. I got this message and I couldn’t believe it… But then I thought, hell, why not, and…” She trailed off as she realised that Julia wasn’t listening.
“Tonight? You saw Toran tonight? Leah, are you sure?”
“Of course, I’m sure. I mean, he looks different—you know, all grown up—but his eyes…”
“Wait, Leah,” she cut in urgently. “That’s not possible.”
“What do you mean?”
“You couldn’t have met Toran tonight.”
“Why not?”
“Because he died in an accident yesterday.”

About the Author:

H.Y. Hanna was born in Taiwan and has been a globe-trotter most of her life, from growing up in the United Arab Emirates to attending school in New Jersey, from working in the glamorous world of London advertising to emigrating Down Under.

Along the way, she somehow managed to pick up a wonderful husband, a huge, slobbery dog, two rescue cats, an assortment of cardboard boxes and a slightly dodgy "trans-atlantic" accent. After graduating from Oxford University, she tried her hand at a variety of jobs before returning to her first love: writing.

She’s the author of the Amazon bestselling children’s mystery series, Big Honey Dog Mysteries, and is now diving into the world of romantic suspense with the launch of Tender Deceit, Book 1 in the First Love Series.

You can find out more about H.Y. Hanna and her books at: or catch her on Facebook at “H.Y. Hanna” or the Big Honey Dog Mysteries Facebook Page.


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1 comment:

H.Y. Hanna said...

Thank you for featuring me and my book on your blog! :-)

Good luck to all those who entered the giveaway.

Best wishes,
(H.Y. Hanna)