Thursday, April 2, 2015
Interview: Desert Blood by Anna Lowe
Tell us a little about your latest or upcoming release.
My latest release is Desert Blood, Book 2 in the Wolves of Twin Moon Ranch series, and I had so much fun writing Cody and Heather. Cody is the joking easy-going kind but deep inside is a man eager to break free of a role he's imposed on himself. So he goes from flirty and funny to intense and serious whenever the mask he wears slips. Heather sees right through it, though, and will settle for nothing less than the real Cody. But she's just coming away from a vampire attack – the scare of her life – and is still struggling to find her old, confident self. Both characters come a long way in the course of the story. I also love revisiting characters from previous books, so this story has lots of Ty and Lana of Desert Moon, Book1, along with Audrey, the ranch playgirl who just doesn't want to take no for an answer.
Are you a mom?
I am the mother to two delightful middle schoolers who couldn't be less alike. That always fascinates me about kids and I often write sibling opposites into my series. That's true of Desert Blood: the hero, Cody, is the younger brother of the hero in Book 1 of the series Ty. Ty is a thundercloud; Cody is the ray of sunshine. As opposite as opposites can be! (Luckily, though, neither of my kids are thunderclouds. One is an academic, the other a sports jock!)
If yes do you find it hard to juggle writing and parenting?
Sometimes when I'm on a writing roll I find it hard to juggle my roles as mom, partner, teacher, and writer, but overall, I think they all balance each other in a healthy well. I like variety in my life and the kids keep me from getting over-absorbed in my fictional worlds!
Have you ever based your book or characters on actual events or people from your own life?
The fun thing is taking snippets of one person and combining them with something else from another person and yet another characteristic of another. In the end, you get someone completely unique and larger than life, but with all the little quirks that make them real. That goes for places, too: Twin Moon Ranch is mostly based on a ranch I worked on, with a few additions and the added twist that the paranormal brings!
Is there a theme or message in your work that you would like readers to connect to?
While I don't deliberately target them, I find two themes cropping up again and again in my romances. The first is having a second chance at love. When I first met my husband, we weren't quite ready to make a life together work. Thank goodness we had a second chance to get back together share what we have now! The other theme is a heroine's struggle to balance giving her heart to a man without giving everything up. Of course, every relationships require some degree of sacrifice, but it has to be a give and take. But just try that with an alpha wolf who's used to getting his own way! I like for my heroines to keep their careers and their individuality even as they forge a new life for themselves with a destined mate. And yes, it can be done! Just watch Lana from Book 1 (an expert in land negotiations and rights), Heather in Book 2 (a teacher), and Stef in Book 3 (a consultant for a renewable energy firm) – for starters!
Is there a genre(s) that you’d like to write that you haven’t tackled yet?
I would love to write sports romance in which both hero and heroine are athletes. I have one simmering on the back burner now about an ice hockey player and the female triathlete who helps him find his passion for sport again, while he helps her reach the higher echelon she always dreamed about.
Of all the characters you’ve ever written, who is your favorite and why?
That's like asking which of my children is my favorite! Except in this case, it's not kids but hot, hunky heroes and the tough heroines they love. I fall in love with every hero I write as I write him, and my heart beats with the pulse of every heroine. That's another reason I love bringing characters from previous stories back again and again – we get to see them living the Happily Ever After they worked so hard to earn!
I love gruff, grouchy Ty of Book 1; I love Cody in both modes – as the fun guy and as the serious lover. I ache to be the one to help Zack of Book 3 find his balance, but leave that to Stef, another capable heroine who manages to turn the worst crisis of her life into a new and better start. I love Lana of Desert Moon for not giving up on her mate or herself, and I love Heather of Desert Blood for overcoming her fears. And I absolutely can't wait to get to Books 4 and 5 when you get to meet Tina and Carly, the sisters of Cody and Ty. They're opposites, too: Tina is ready to sacrifice everything for her duty to the ranch, while Carly is a free spirited, reckless soul. Just wait 'til they meet their destined mates!
If this book is part of a series…what is the next book? Any details you can share?
Desert Blood is Book 2 of the Twin Moon Ranch series. Book 3 is Desert Fate, where we get to spend time with Kyle, the cop who works with Cody to track down the vampires in Desert Blood. Kyle Williams is a lone wolf just trying to settle in to a new skin. But when the brown-eyed girl from his past turns up, bloodied by a rival male, the instinct to protect overrides everything else — including duty to his pack.
Stefanie Alt is a woman on the run, but fate is hot on her heels. The only one who can help her is the neighborhood bad boy she once knew. After one hot night under the desert moon, Stefanie isn’t sure she can trust him—or herself. What’s love and what’s an illusion?
What is next for you? Do you have any scheduled upcoming releases or works in progress?
Lots of projects coming up soon! In the Twin Moon series, Book 3 (Desert Fate) releases on May 2 and the prequel, Desert Hunt, will be available in June as part of the Masters of the Hunt boxed set (www.fatedandforbidden.com). I also have a Twin Moon short story coming up in a boxed set called Alphas on the Prowl – look for that on April 28th. Over the summer, I'll be releasing the first two books in my Serendipity adventure romance series, plus Island Fantasies, a travel romance that takes place on a gorgeous tropical island near Bora Bora. In the fall, the next two Twin Moon books will be up. I can't wait to let those characters find their true loves, too!
The Wolves of Twin Moon Ranch
Publisher: Twin Moon Press
Date of Publication: April 2, 2015
Number of pages: 117
Word Count: approx 31,000
Cover Artist: Fiona Jayde
Heather Luth knows nothing about the paranormal world until one awful night changes everything. Now she’s on the run―straight into the arms of forbidden love. Her mind knows better than to fall for Cody Hawthorne’s sunny smile and mesmerizing voice, but her heart―and destiny―have other ideas.
On the surface, Cody is warm, witty, and fun, but beneath his carefree facade, Heather sees a real man struggling to break free. Day by day, Heather and Cody grow closer and closer, unable to resist their simmering passion―while day by day, a serial murderer closes in on his prey. Duty fights desire; fear wrestles trust as the human world clashes with the paranormal in a tale of forbidden love.
There’s more than meets the eye on Twin Moon Ranch, home to a pack of shapeshifting wolves willing to battle for life and love.
Available at Amazon
A knock on the door on a Sunday night should have set off every alarm in Heather’s body. It should have had her cowering, hoping that whoever it was, they’d please, please give up and go away.
Part of her did cower. But the other part was drawn forward—bold and unafraid. Reckless, even. As if her dog Buddy were there, one step ahead, tail wagging in eager anticipation of a trusted friend. That’s what the night air was signaling now: friend, not foe.
Slowly, carefully, she turned the lock and cracked the door open, bracing to bash it closed, just in case.
It was him. Cody. More than a friend; her heart knew that already. Each time he walked her to her car, another section of her heart caved in. And two nights ago, his kiss had sent the rest crumbling. She could still taste him on her lips, still feel his hand on her hip. She’d been bumping into her own furniture, pouring tea into her cereal, watching the clock for some unknown appointment.
Now, standing before her, Cody’s eyes sparkled gold behind the brown, like coins in an ancient well. In faded denim and a beige shirt, the man was all dry tones, but his hands cupped something succulent and red. Behind him, the desert was hushed, leaning in to eavesdrop. They stood staring at each other for a minute, or maybe ten, bathed in silence except for the hum. It was very faint, like a power station radiating electricity, but it came from between them, out of thin air. Or maybe it was from the thirsty earth below, thrumming with the beat of a primal drum.
The lazy, lusty heat of it wrapped around Heather’s legs and clambered up her frame. Soon she’d be engulfed with that thumping need. Did he feel it, too? She stood silent, wondering what it was that tore at her gut with a curt, urgent message: Cody! Cody! It might have been the call a hibernating bear gets to wake up or a flower to bloom. Every scrap of her was being pulled in his direction.
“Hi,” he breathed. His voice, normally so smooth, had a bit of sandpaper in it tonight.
“Hi,” she said, or at least mouthed it while her pulse hammered in her ears.
Warning bells sounded in her mind. Don’t trust him! Don’t trust anyone!
His lips parted as if to speak then closed again. She could taste the kiss forming on them as he took her in. Not the way some men did, appraising and crude. No, his gaze was gentle, sincere. Hopeful, too. But he was holding back, giving her the power to choreograph what happened next.
Danger! Danger! You don’t know what he will do!
Heather shoved the spinster aside and swung the door wide. “Would you like to come in?”
Grinning like a boy offered a cookie jar and trying to remember his manners, Cody stepped over the threshold. “Tina asked me to give you this.” He handed her a limp sheaf of papers. Meanwhile, all his focus—his hopes—were pinned to his other hand. The one that held out strawberries. Juicy. Sweet. Begging to be devoured.
Temptation, there for her to take or reject.
She was shaking inside, her mouth dry, her pulse racing. To take meant risk—risking her heart, maybe even her life. To reject meant locking herself away from a life worth living.
She took, unable to deny herself. It was sheer instinct; the inner voice had no time to intervene. Only to react once it was too late. I hope you know what you’re doing.
But she had no idea what she was doing, just this crazy instinct to trust him. She rinsed the berries and covertly watched Cody make a loop through her living room. He was taking it all in, from the second-hand couch to the desert scenes she’d cut out of an old wall calendar to decorate the walls. Everything was improvised, like the scrap of cardboard evening out the legs of the rickety table. God, what would he think?
He leaned over a framed photo. “Nice dog.”
A trick! A trick! Be careful!
“Buddy,” she said, smiling automatically.
“Buddy?” he laughed.
“Hey, I was nine when I named him!” Her hands went to her hips, prompting Cody to throw his palms up in surrender. “He was the best.”
He studied the picture more closely then shot her a skeptical look. “Him?”
That dog had been closer to her than most of her family members. A shoulder for her to cry on through her parents’ divorce and subsequent remarriages to partners who gradually pushed Heather away. From her ninth birthday until that awful day a decade later when Buddy died, he’d always been there for her. “The absolute best.”
Cody’s eyes danced. “Better than Lassie?”
She laughed. He’d chosen the right moment to lighten things up. She was much too tense. “Way better.”
“Better than Rin-Tin-Tin?”
“A totally different class.”
He raised his eyebrows. “What about Benji? Benji could solve crimes, you know.” His eyes sparkled at some inside joke.
She shook her head, unimpressed. “Buddy didn’t need to solve crimes; he was so good at keeping trouble away.”
“Big dog.” Cody shook his head skeptically.
“I like big dogs.”
His head tilted to one side. “How big?”
“Big.” What was this, some kind of Freudian analysis? She moved from the kitchenette, holding out the bowl of strawberries, willing her hand not to shake. “Dessert?”
Cody grinned, and she immediately felt her face heat in a flush.
Never trust any man! the fearful voice cried. But this time, the voice came from a distance, as if it had been grabbed by the scruff of its neck and was being escorted out the back door, fading away into the night. Don’t trust anyone…
About the Author:
Anna Lowe loves putting the "hero" back into heroine and letting location ignite a passionate romance. She likes a heroine who is independent, intelligent, and imperfect — a woman who's doing just fine on her own. But give the heroine a good man (not to mention a chance to overcome her own inhibitions) and she'll never turn down the chance for adventure, nor shy away from danger.
Anna is a middle school teacher who divides her time between coastal Maine and a village in view of the Austrian Alps. She loves dogs, sports, and travel — and letting those inspire her fiction.
Once upon a time, she was a long-distance triathlete and soccer player. Nowadays, she finds her balance with yoga, writing, and family time with her husband and young children. On any given weekend, you might find her hiking in the mountains or hunched over her laptop, working on her latest story. Either way, the day will end with a chunk of dark chocolate and a good read.