Anna Destefano & Her Forgotten Betrayal
Posted by Nancy Northcott May 3 2012, 12:33 am
Best-selling, award-winning author Anna DeStefano wants to you stop, look, and keep digging, until you find the soul of your own fantasies. Her latest release, Her Forgotten Betrayal (available digitally and in print on June 10th), one of the launch books for Entangled Publishing’s Dead Sexy romantic suspense line, the Nina Bruhns Collection, is a psychological thriller she hopes will creep you out (she’s really playing up the Gothic imagery and spooky nightmares with this one).
But she’s also dying (heh) to inspire you with another of the happily-ever-after romance ending she’s famous for. No matter how moody the setting or impossible the dilemma, Anna’s characters and stories challenge you to hope and dream for your own exciting future, the way her strong heroines and hunky heroes do!
Welcome, Anna! Her Forgotten Betrayal is a launch book for Entangled’s new category suspense line. What led you to write this book?
I’ve always loved the feel of gothic thrillers. How the setting becomes its own character, and how the characters’ interaction with their environment becomes another element of the plot and their own emotional growth. I grew up devouring novels like Jayne Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Rebecca, in which resilient heroines were nevertheless “damsels in distress” whom strong but flawed heroes fought to save. It was an exciting challenge, layering some of these classic story elements into my own contemporary suspense novel. I love digging deeper into exactly the kinds of symbolism and theme and character arcs that a gothic challenges a writer to work with.
Enter Nina Bruhns, the editorial director for Entangled’s Dead Sexy Books, who was looking for a variety of suspense novels to launch her category line. I pitched her a procedural, spy-vs.-spy story, as well as Her Forgotten Betrayal. Both are under contract with Dead Sexy now, but Nina decided HFB would be a great start—showing readers a bit of the range we’re wanting to offer with the line. Goody!
I was thrilled to have the chance to write my amnesiac, stalked, injured, nightmare-haunted heroine who’s been isolated on the top of a winter mountain (for most of the novel in the middle of the night), in a creepy house that seems at first to be trying to kill her, while she’s dependant on a possibly dangerous stranger (our undercover hero). It feels as if she’s known him her entire life, yet she can’t remember for sure. Then it turns out that he may be the only one who can help her regain the memories that will save both her sanity and her life… Bwahahahaha!
Who are the hero and heroine, and what problems do they face?
Shaw Cassidy is a strong-willed, brilliant research scientist who’s isolated herself from the world even before the shooting that takes away her memory and her freedom. She’s put work before the relationships that haven’t worked out for her since she lost the love of her life fifteen years ago. Now that she needs help, there’s no one to turn to, except for the government and law-enforcement officials who don’t seem to have her best interests at heart.
Cole Marinos is an FBI cover agent who specializes in being the point for impossible-to-close, joint-task-force missions with other agencies. He breaks all the rules, as he has since he was a kid, but gets away with it because he always brings in his man and closes his case. Only now, his case is helping his team build evidence against Shaw, the woman who got away from him when they were teenagers. She and her research empire are under investigation for treason and espionage—crimes he doesn’t believe she’s capable of, no matter how badly things ended between them.
I’ve already talked some about the problems these two face in my answer above. The log line for the book might give you a better idea of what our star-crossed lovers are up against:
“Remembering will save her live. But will the truth destroy their love forever?”
Cole showing up, under cover, sparks the memories Shaw needs to clear her name, and he’s willing to put his career on the line for her. But to save her from her stalker, he’s going to have to remind her of the past that destroyed their relationship once already… Will our hero make the ultimate sacrifice and once more chose Shaw’s safety over his own heart and future happiness???
Again, I LOVE this type of deep character and relationship journey, in the midst of a kick-ass suspense and a thrilling, non-stop creepy setting.
Stay tuned ;o)
Would you like to share an excerpt ?
Here you go.
A crash beyond the kitchen’s door jolted Shaw from her thoughts. The wooden spoon rattled from her fingers to the stovetop. She whirled toward the dining room.
“Esme?” She raised a hand to cover her heart.
She was scaring herself senseless for nothing. She was going stir crazy, that was all. She’d simply been alone for too long. The unexplained rattles and noises and sometimes even voices she kept thinking she heard were symptoms of cabin fever.
The house answered her with silence, except for the soft hum of the refrigerator. She took an uncertain step forward, determined to conquer her fear. There was no one there, she told herself firmly. No one was ever there. There was no threat, except from her own panic. All she had to do was turn on the dining room lights, and there’d be no one lurking around the next corner, waiting to attack her.
She reached for the door.
“Sorry, Shaw,” the faceless, scratchy-voiced man whispered from her nightmare.
She clenched her hands into fists, her nails digging into her palms.
“Don’t be such a baby,” she said out loud. “Stop this.”
Fear and the amnesia it fed had stolen everything from her. She had no recollection of the four high-tech research centers she was said to oversee. Or how she’d come to be the sole living heir to an estate that included not only this mountain house near the North Carolina border, once used by her family as a summer retreat, but also a loft in Atlanta and homes on several other continents. And to add insult to injury, no one had yet been allowed to tell her more. Doctors orders.
She wanted her life back, damn it. She smoothed her hand against the dining room door, and braced herself to push it open. She could do this. She had to.
Sudden darkness swallowed the kitchen.
Her thoughts were immediately swamped with the panicked claustrophobia of being trapped in a closet, waiting to be discovered.
“No.” She blinked, willing the lights to come back on. Her imagination was merely playing tricks on her, anticipating the worst.
But regardless of how many times she tried to force the room into focus, there was nothing to see. Someone had killed the power for real. Her nightmare was coming true. It was waiting for her in the very next room.
She backed away.
Fell over one of the kitchen chairs.
Landed hard on her backside.
“There’s no one there,” she insisted. “The electricity’s gone out. That’s all.”
Something else crashed in the dining room, followed by the distinct sound of a man’s footsteps, inching closer. She covered her mouth with her hand. She scrambled backwards on the floor, her nightgown and robe twisting around her legs. Disjointed dream memories swirled through her mind. She lurched to her feet. She felt her way along the wall, blindly heading for the storage room and its back door to the outside world.
She was a fool, a weak, clueless fool. But she couldn’t stop herself from panicking.
“Kill the bitch…” the night whispered.
She clawed at the back door’s stubborn deadbolt. A glimmer of sanity kept her from running into the freezing, moonlit darkness. If she really was in danger, heaven only knew what waited for her outside the mansion’s protection. And there was suddenly nothing but silence behind her, no movement whatsoever.
She tried to believe this was just like all the other times when she’d freaked herself out and then realized how ridiculous she’d been. She was running from ghosts. She tensed to turn back, to confront her paranoia. And heard footsteps again. Closer than before. Behind her. Coming for her. And there she stood like a paralyzed idiot, trapped between the shadows beyond her family’s home and the nightmare crowding closer within.
A hand clenched in her hair. A gun pressed into her skin. When it fired, the sound of the blast shattered her reality all over again.
Great hook ending, there! You’re not just a writer for Entangled but also an editor. Why did you decide to take this step, and how does being on the other side of the desk feel?
In the fiction writing world, I’ve for years been a freelance editor and a writing coach (and a keynote and workshop speaker), but mostly behind the scenes except when I speak at conferences. The last time I wrote or edited in a professional environment was as a Senior Technical writer, on the non-fiction side of the publishing business.
I absolutely love digging into the writing process with other authors, and helping them find the soul of not only their own stories, but of the mechanics of their craft. Inspiring writers to build stronger skills and a deeper passion for their story-telling journey is one of my favorite jobs.
When the opportunity came to combine my team writing and editing skills as a technical writer with my one-on-one success working with romance authors, how could I not take Nina Bruhns up on her offer to join the Dead Sexy Books editorial team? And I have to say, I’ve already had the opportunity to work with some of the brightest talents in the business. I can’t wait for you to read Cynthia Cooke’s and Mallory Kane’s launch Dead Sexy novels! They’re going to blow you away ;o)
You also have an interest in dream theory. Please tell us about that.
I’m actually obsessed with dream theory ;o) Have been since I was a child. I have an entire library on the subject. A lot of that research led to my sci-fi/fantasy “Legacy” series of novels. And dreams keep creeping into my contemporary romance stories as well.
In Her Forgotten Betrayal, I take a much more subtle approach. But you’ll love the dream symbolism and how it’s woven into our couple’s race to solve the story’s mystery, as well as how snippets of dreams, nightmare, and recovered memory ramp up the creep factor that makes a gothic setting like this so thrilling.
What’s next for you?
2012 is a busy publishing year.
In addition to Her Forgotten Betrayal’s June launch, I have another Dead Sexy suspense to write!
I also have a Harlequin Heartwarming July release, A Sweetbrook Family. This is a great small-town family drama my Superromance fans will love.
And I have a three-book Amazon’s Montlake deal, to write a women’s fiction/contemporary romance series that launches with a Christmas book this fall—Christmas on Mimosa Lane. These are longer, richer romances about families and community, set around a cul-de-sac north of Atlanta, Georgia. You’re going to love the relationships and the surprising twists and turns of these deeply emotional journeys!
Basically, I’m having a blast in 2012!
For more about Anna and her books, please visit her website. Ann regularly posts about Dream Theories, Things My Teenager Says, The Soul of the Matter, How We Write, and other topics there, too.
She also has a book page on Pinterest, where readers can link to regularly to hear what’s new for the book: http://pinterest.com/annadestefano/her-forgotten-betrayal/
You can find her on Facebook as well: https://www.facebook.com/#!/anna.destefano.7 and on Twitter - @annadestefano
Anna’s giving away a download of Her Forgotten Betrayal to one commenter today, so tell us what your favorite kind of suspense story is, or who your favorite law enforcement hero or damsel in distress is (from books, movies or TV).