Posts tagged with: adventure

Introducing Nichole Christoff

My guest today, Nichole Christoff, is making her Lair debut.  I discovered Nichole when I saw a reference to her debut novel, The Kill List, on an RWA loop.  It sounded like my kind of book, so I grabbed it, devoured it, and started jonesing for more.  Nichole’s protagonist, Jamie Sinclair, combines the ability to kick serious butt with a very vulnerable heart.  Jamie’s fourth adventure, The Kill Sign, is out tomorrow, so Nichole is celebrating with us.

Welcome, Nichole! Who is Jamie Sinclair?

nichole-christoffJamie Sinclair is a private-investigator-turned-security-specialist with a long list of high risk, high profile clients who call her when calling the police is out of the question. Jamie is also the only child of a retired two-star general who’s now a US Senator. In many ways, she was the son he never had so she developed quite a skill-set during a childhood spent at his side. As a result, Jamie’s rough-and-tumble on the outside, but with a failed marriage behind her, she’s quite soft on the inside. There’s a vulnerability to Jamie and a strength I admire.

How did you come up with her background?

thekilllistcoverAs the spouse of a US military officer, I often attended events at embassies and diplomats’ residences. At the fringes of events like these, security teams, charged with keeping the diplomats and their guests safe, keep watch. These teams are mostly made-up of highly-trained men, but among them are highly-trained women as well. By the time I began to work out the crime in what would become The Kill List, I knew I needed a heroine possessing the professional capabilities of those interesting women who’d safeguarded me, if my protagonist were going to get the job done. And that’s how Jamie was born.

We love call stories in the Lair. Will you share yours?

Sure! One ordinary April afternoon, my awesome agent, Elizabeth Winick Rubinstein of McIntosh and Otis, called to say we had an offer from Random House’s extraordinary Kate Miciak. You might know Kate for acquiring and editing Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series, plus she’s edited half the books on my keeper shelf. Kate and I got right to work on the first novel in the Jamie Sinclair series, and now the latest one, The Kill Sign, arrives December 6th!

the-kill-shotWhy do Jamie and Adam Barrett cross paths?

Jamie and Lieutenant Colonel Adam Barrett first cross paths in my debut novel, The Kill List, when her lying, cheating, army officer ex-husband begs her to track down the kidnapper who snatched the diabetic daughter he fathered with another woman. For the sake of the child, Jamie won’t say no to the job, even though it means returning to the army post where she grew up and putting up with her ex-husband again. But the FBI and Adam Barrett, the post’s military police commander, aren’t too happy to have a private eye like Jamie stepping on their toes.

Jamie, however, isn’t reckless. She’s smart and she’s capable, and Barrett’s a man who appreciates those qualities. Now, if Barrett gets his way, crossing paths with Jamie just might become a permanent arrangement.

the-kill-boxPlease tell us about the first three books in the series.

In all the Jamie Sinclair novels, Jamie faces professional challenges, but she also faces personal ones, too. We meet Jamie in The Kill List, and to keep a little girl safe, she’s forced to trust again. In The Kill Shot, Jamie’s overbearing father requests the one thing he’s never asked for in his life: Jamie’s help. But when Jamie takes her father’s case, she finds herself in a dangerous game of international cat-and-mouse that could cost her her life.

In The Kill Box, Jamie rushes to Barrett’s hometown when a cold case from his past threatens their future, but everything goes wrong when a killer sets his sights on Jamie, and she meets a man who just might give Barrett a run for his money.

How does The Kill Sign build on these?

For Jamie, the stakes couldn’t be higher in The Kill Sign. She’s at a crossroads in this novel, both in terms of her relationship with Barrett and in regard to her career. In both instances, she can see the road not taken, and she has to decide what she’s going to do about it.

Would you like to share an excerpt from one of the books?

thekillsigncoverI’d love to. This passage is from the newest novel in the series, The Kill Sign. After a dirty bomb destroys a riverboat casino and nearly takes Jamie and Barrett down with it, she tracks a notorious gambler to a private hunting lodge in the Deep South, and he sends his enforcers to get rid of her. His men pile into all-terrain vehicles to chase Jamie through the woods with guns blazing, and this is what happens next:

Instinctively, I leapt for thick brush and safety. Bullets tore the leathery leaves of a wild magnolia as I hammered past it, intent on finding a new way to the main road and my SUV. And just as I began to put some distance between my tender hide and the ATV racing along the lane, a second all-terrain vehicle burst from a thicket, digging into the leaf litter in front of me and cutting off my escape route.

I turned on a dime, fled down a slope where hardwoods grew few and far between. Cypress dotted the landscape instead. I stumbled and fell on the hip still sore from my encounter with Monique. Momentum carried me down a muddy embankment. I tried to right myself, but I tumbled.

Head over heels, I splashed into the shockingly cold waters of a marsh.

My arrival set off ripples through the scummy bracken. Cattails, the color of winter wheat, stirred and parted. A massive S-wave flowed toward me and one word formed in my brain: Gator!

Wow, talk about ending on a hook!  What do you enjoy most and least about writing?

I love to get lost in another world for a while, and for me, that’s what writing is. Of course, pushing through a complex plot problem can be stressful, but in the end, it’s always worth the effort.

What’s next for you?

I’m thrilled to say I have another Jamie Sinclair novel on the way. Also, I’m working on a brand-new project with a whole new cast of characters. I can’t wait until the day I can tell you more!

For more information about Nichole and her books, visit her website,  You can also connect with her on Twitter, where she’s @NicChristoff, Facebook, and Goodreads, and you can find her books at Random House.

Nichole is giving a copy of The Kill Box to one of today’s commenters.  You must live in the US to win.  So tell us, what’s your favorite book or movie about a strong woman or your favorite private investigator book or movie?






Deb Marlowe Dishes About Her Love List

I am incredibly excited to have my dear friend Deb Marlowe visiting with us in the Lair today. As most of you know, Deb has published seven books with Harlequin Historicals. Lately, though, she joined the fast-growing world of indie publishing. First came her novella in the marvelous anthology An Encounter At the Museum called An Unexpected Encounter. In the novella we were introduced to a supporting character named Hestia Wright. We were given to understand that Hestia was a former courtesan who now made it her business to help women in need. I was intrigued to learn that Hestia would play a pivotal role in Deb’s new Half Moon House series. She is here today to talk to us about the first book in the Half Moon House series, The Love List. Deb, welcome back to the Lair!

DebMarlowephotoIt’s always lovely to be here with you and the Banditas, Caren. I do hope Paolo doesn’t spill a drink down my blouse like he did last time…

Well, Damon assured me they have been working with him on his serving skills. Still, he does look awfully cute when he’s embarrassed! But I digress. Deb, I long anticipated getting my hands on The Love List. Reading the novella in An Encounter At the Museum just whetted my appetite! I’ll admit, I gobbled it up when I got it and it left me wanting more! But…it also left me with some questions. First, why don’t you tell our readers the premise behind The Love List.

Well, The Harris List of Covent Garden Ladies, a wickedly witty annual register of the city’s light skirts, was once a London tradition.  At the beginning of The Love List, as all of Europe celebrates the end of the long wars, Miss Brynne Wilmott discovers that Lord Marstoke, her malicious former betrothed, has revived the List–and turned it into a weapon.  With the reluctant help of the Duke of Aldmere, she sets out to thwart Marstoke–and discovers that his plans are more twisted and treasonous than anyone has suspected.  Yet the danger and intrigue are as nothing compared to the effect that Nathan and Brynne have on each other. . .


Okay, Deb, first I have love to know where did you the idea for resurrecting Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies?

The Love ListI’d heard about the Harris List for years and I had a vague notion that I’d love to write a book about someone who ended up on the famous List of London’s prostitutes, but who didn’t belong there.  It wasn’t until I read some of the actual entries that I realized how witty and how tragic it really was . . . and then the idea really bloomed until the newly resurrected List became not just a sensation, but a weapon.  And I loved the idea of it being more than it seemed, so then the idea of it      being used in a more treasonous fashion came…and it fit with the real history of the time . . . so..Boom!  There you have it!

I found it a bit different from your other books, since there is quite a bit of suspense and political intrigue in The Love List, as well as a big romance. Did you set out to create a big suspense plot for the Half Moon House series or did it just evolve with the storyline of the book?

It was exactly what I wanted to write.  As soon as I read the real List, the idea came to use it in a plot.  I love a big romance with a lot of intrigue!  It keeps me turning pages when I read and keeps me writing them too!  I love to weave all the elements together into an emotionally satisfying, fun ride.

You definitely accomplished that! I know The Love List is Book 1 of your Half Moon House series. How many books do you plan to write and have you introduced any of the heroines for other books in The Love List?

The Love List is the first novel in the series.  There will be at least two more—The Leading Lady is coming next and we met Callie Grant, the heroine, in The Love List. I think readers will also be able to figure out who here hero is.  🙂  Then there is the connected novella—An Unexpected Encounter in the anthology An Encounter At the Museum.  It is set in the same world and includes Hestia Wright as a supportive character. There will be at least one more connected novella—and after that—we’ll see! 

An Encounter At the MuseumI loved the novella. Actually, I loved all the novellas in An Encounter At the Museum and highly recommend it! The heroine of The Love List, Brynne Wilmott, is very intelligent and competent, yet she manages to conform to the expectations of a Regency miss…until she doesn’t. Was it a challenge to write such a strong heroine without tossing all the Regency mores out the window?

Actually it wasn’t difficult.  All those rules Society imposed on young girls in the Regency were meant to guarantee their safe-keeping and their happiness, at least on the surface.  (We could do another whole blog on maintaining the status quo, etc.)  Brynne followed all the rules, did as her family and Society expected—and is trapped in an unsupportable situation.  She follows the rules again, in seeking a way out—and the traditional system fails her.  At that point, all bets are off.  In my opinion, and thus hers, ( 🙂 ) she is free to fight her way out by whatever means necessary.  So she does.  And if you read the book, you’ll see what a very good thing that turns out to be!

You can check out Deb’s entire bibliography and read excerpts on her website Let’s check out an excerpt for The Love List:

She paused just before they reached the last door and looked up at him, her expression a stiff mix of defiance and pride.  ”It’s wonderful work that Hestia does here.  I’m proud to be a part of it, even for a short while.”  She glanced back the way they had come and then lifted her hand in a gesture that included all of the house and the people in it.  She met his gaze–and smiled.

He froze.  

Backwards.  Inverted.  Inside Out.  He didn’t know this girl.  Their acquaintance was incredibly brief and even more outlandish.  The natural order of their knowledge of each other was completely offset.  He knew how she looked when she was terrified and furious, annoyed and protective.  What he did not know was the expression she wore when she was introduced to someone, how she looked when she was relaxed and happy.  This was it, the first time he’d experienced her in a more commonplace manner–and it came with a wash of feeling that utterly shocked him.

Transformative, that smile.  It lit her from within like a burgeoning flame, starting small but climbing higher, warming her features, blending them into a perfect, gut-wrenching harmony.

Even more amazing was the effect it had on him.

Bowie as JarethI love the Duke of Aldsmere! Actually, I love all Regency Men In Boots. Speaking of which, I recall that in your About the Author bios, you mention your ongoing efforts to get one of the men in your life to don a pair of boots. Any progress on that front?

Well, Valiant Husband and Youngest are still resistant.  Eldest, however, has finally seen the light and become enamored with good boots.  The closest I’ve got him to a Regency outfit however, was when he briefly debated cos-playing as Jareth, the Goblin King from the movie The Labyrinth.  I’m still working on it!
Keep working on them, Deb. I’m sure it will pay off at the end! Deb has generously offered a copy of The Love List (in reader’s choice of hard copy or e-book format) to a lucky commenter today. So here’s your question, Bandita Buddies: Do you like a little intrigue in your romance?  How about a bit of real history worked into a historical? And how about those men in boots? 🙂