Today I am thrilled to welcome Kaylea Cross. She is a new author I have just discovered, and I love her writing. She also writes about military heroes, but from a detailed perspective I find rare in romantic suspense. You can tell she has studied many disciplines. Hope you will enjoy my new find as much as I have!
Tell me how you got started writing military romance? How many books have you written?
I’ve been a military history nut ever since I can remember, so I guess it’s little wonder that I chose to write about military characters when I decided I wanted to write romance. To date I’ve written 16 books under two different names (because they write different genres).
Why do you think these Alpha military heroes (and heroines) are so popular? What makes them heroes?
I think—I hope—they’re popular because people admire our men and women in uniform. They sacrifice so much, and so do their families.
They’re heroic because they serve and defend their country at risk to their own lives, and they do it with little or no recognition. Or much compensation, in my opinion.
How do you compliment the heroine to a strong alpha military guy? Do you write them strong? Compliant? Kick-butt?
I personally like heroines that are smart and have a backbone. Though if they’re civilians who suddenly find themselves in harm’s way, they’d better listen to the hero and do what he says without argument. I can’t stand it when a clueless heroine starts arguing with a seasoned soldier/operator in a dangerous situation about how things should be done. Hello? He’s the expert—just do as you’re told!
Do you like writing in series, or single?
Series! I like it best when we get to meet a whole cast of characters and get to know them, so we really care about each of them throughout the entire story arc of the series. When it comes time for each character’s story, the reader will hopefully be that much more invested in the book.
Who is your favorite character you've created? Why?
Hands down it has to be Luke Hutchinson, my former SEAL turned CIA contractor who features in my first romantic suspense series (the hero of Absolution). He’s fifty years old and has gone through hell for his country, including sacrificing his family life in order to hunt down the monster he created early in his career. If anyone deserves a shot at happily ever after, it’s Luke. And he’s CRAZY sexy. For real. Gah! I love him so much. I have to admit I haven’t started Absolution, but after reading Cover of Darkness, I had to go out and order it. I mean, Yum.
Do you find it easier to write the bad boys or the good boys? I'm assuming both are heroic, but which ones are more fun to write?
I’m going to say good boys, since most of my heroes have very strict moral compasses and high standards of conduct they hold themselves to. Their training and experience in the field mature them in a quick hurry as well. I have written a couple of heroes that have a bit of a bad boy persona, but they know when to stop and put on their game faces.
What about the heroines? Do you find it easiest to write the bad girls or the good girls?
Definitely good girls. They might have an attitude or be able to kick ass at any given moment, but they’re always good people. Not perfect, mind you. Nobody wants to read about a perfect character, since that’s boring, not to mention unrealistic. Each of my characters has to grow and change during their book, struggling to overcome some sort of fear or flaw. I think that makes them easier for readers to identify with.
I did just finish a book with a sort of bad girl heroine (Maya, from the Bagram Special Ops series), but she changes a lot during her story because she lets her defenses down once the hero earns her trust. Not an easy feat, I’ll tell you that much. But so satisfying in the end.
If you could have a date with one of your characters, which one would it be and why? Where would you go?
You mean if we were both single and unspoken for? *g* Oh, that’s so hard! I immediately want to say Luke, but we wouldn’t be compatible for a lot of different reasons. So, I’d have to go with either his son, Rayne (from Out of Her League), a former Marine now SWAT officer, or Cam, the Air Force Pararescueman from Deadly Descent (first Bagram Special Ops book).
They’re both sweet but highly trained and very protective of the women they care about. Alpha males for sure, but not so much that they require special feeding and handling, like some of my other heroes do.
If you could go to a desert island with two companions, who would you bring? What would you do there? What would you bring if you could bring anything?
I love my husband, but he’s an accountant, so I doubt he’d be much good to me on a desert island. (Don’t tell him I said that!) I’d want someone with survival training, and they’d have to be both calm and decisive. Can I take a SEAL and a Pararescueman with me?
Aside from food and water, a GPS and a way to find a rescue? I’d want practical stuff like tools, shelter, etc. And a never ending supply of pen and paper to write with.
Pretend you have just sold your 100,000th copy of one of your books. What will you do to celebrate?
Ah, an author can dream… I’d probably plan a surprise trip to Disneyland for my hubby and kids.
Tell us something about you that most people wouldn't know or guess about you?
I’m a total wimp! Reading my books you might not think so, but I hate conflict of any sort. Gives me hives.
I like being at home with my kids or writing, puttering in the garden, quilting, painting or reading. Though I do own a collection of Civil War weapons… (And up here in Canada, owning any sort of gun is considered very weird if you’re not a hunter. So I’m considered to be a very strange duck.)
Who are your favorite authors/books?
Linda Howard’s All the Queen’s Men is my favorite romantic suspense book of all time. If you haven’t read it, do. I was inspired to write Cover of Darkness because of it.
I also loved the early Black Dagger Brotherhood books by JR Ward (up ‘til Vishous’s book). Those characters seem so real, I got sucked right into their world.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on the first book of a new single title series I hope an agent will be interested in, featuring a group of ex-Spec Ops heroes now working as military contractors. Fingers crossed!
Excerpt: From Deadly Descent, book 1 of the Bagram Special Ops series
She kept firing, heartened that some SEALs remained out front. It wasn’t like they’d deserted her.
Her gun clicked when she squeezed the trigger. Empty.
Shit, out of ammo again. She reloaded. Her gaze swept past the SEALs toward the Chinook. She cried out in relief when she saw Cam running flat out toward her. He moved like a blur, weapon firing.
He came barreling into the rock shelter and skidded to his knees beside her. “Come on,” he yelled over the noise.
Still holding her weapon, she grabbed a fistful of his uniform as he levered her onto his shoulders. Amidst the whine and ping of the rounds landing around them, he ran for the Chinook. She kept firing in bursts toward the enemy, and stopped only when she felt the heavy rotor wash beating at her back. A howl of agony ripped from her throat as Cam flipped her off his shoulder and all but tossed her into the cabin.
Someone grabbed her under the armpits and hauled her backward away from the ramp as Cam jumped inside. Black spots swam before her eyes.
“Talk to me, Spike.”
She turned her head at Ryan’s voice. “I’m okay!”
He moved away toward the cockpit. The inside of the bird was so crowded with bodies she couldn’t tell who was who. The pitch of the big engines changed, rising to a shrill scream as the bird struggled to take off. Fighting back the pain, she found Cam at last near the ramp and met his stare. The gunners were still firing from their positions. The bird shuddered and strained under the burden of all its passengers.
Oh God. They were overweight. The engines were already maxed out.
Cam exchanged a long look with Jackson, then pushed his way over to her. She grabbed his upper arms and leaned forward to shout. “They need to throw some ammo and equipment out, or—”
“Listen to me.” His eyes were the most intense she’d ever seen them. She stilled.
He surrounded her with his arms for a second before kissing her hard and pulling back. He shook her once, staring down intently at her. “I love you.”
Her heart stopped beating.
He wouldn’t. She read the intent in his eyes. “No, don’t—”
“Hang on to this for me,” he shouted. He yanked out the chain she’d given him and put it in her stiff hand. Then he turned and disappeared down the tail ramp.
She threw out a hand to grab him. Stop him. But her fingers only grabbed air. “Cam!” He didn’t stop. Didn’t so much as hesitate as he jumped off the tail ramp and joined the SEALs still on the ground around the Chinook.
“Cam, no!” Heedless of the pain in her leg, she pulled herself toward the closing ramp. Desperate to get to him before it was too late.
She tripped on someone’s leg and went down, crying out in agony as her wounded knee smashed into the steel floor. Hard hands gripped her waist. Yanked her up and back. She fought them.
Ryan. Mindless, she ripped at his restraining hands. “Let me go! He’s going to get killed!”
Ryan hauled her up and into his arms, holding her tight as the Chinook lifted off the ground. She fought him with all her strength. “Is he on the Hawk?”
“Is he on one of the Hawks!”
“I…I don’t know.” He held her tighter. Cutting off her breath. She weakened and stopped fighting.
Her body was stiff with denial. She was sobbing now, hysterical. “W-we have to g-get him.”
“He’ll get out, Dev. I promise you.”
The pain was suffocating. She couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t ease the splitting sensation in her chest. The tears flowed fast and hot down her cheeks. They soaked the front of Ryan’s fatigues as the bird rose into the dark sky and left the man she loved behind.
Bio: Kaylea Cross is an award winning author of edge-of-your-seat romantic suspense. A Registered Massage Therapist, Kaylea is an avid gardener, artist, Civil War buff, Special Ops aficionado, belly dancer and former nationally-carded softball pitcher. She is an active member of the Greater Vancouver Romance Writers of America chapter and lives in Vancouver, BC with her husband.
All buy links can be found on my website: http://www.kayleacross.com
Thank you, Kaylea. We wish you all the success with your hunky heroes.