Monday, February 11, 2013

Leslie McKelvey - Interview & Giveaway

Jack Vaughn is sure his life is over as he tumbles down the wooded hillside onto the deserted two-lane stretch of asphalt. Years of work ended with a single gunshot. Yet, it’s not over.

A good Samaritan stops to help him, despite the danger he poses to her.

Laine Wheeler knows better than to stop for strangers on the rural Montana highway near her home, but her conscience won’t allow her to leave an injured man behind.

What she doesn’t know is the man is an undercover ATF agent tasked with infiltrating a domestic terrorist group. His cover has been blown and helping him will put her life in danger.

Though there is an instant attraction Jack knows that beginning a romantic relationship with Laine would be both unfair and unwise, yet the farther they run the harder it gets to ignore the feelings that are surging between them.

I’m really excited to get a chance to speak with Leslie McKelvey, author of Accidental Affair.  Sit back get comfortable and let’s learn a little something about this amazing woman.
Leslie McKelvey has been writing since she learned to write.  Her mother still stores boxes of handwritten stories in the attic.  Leslie read her first romance at 12 and was hooked.  When her high school Creative Writing teacher told her she needed to be a novelist, she decided to give it a try.  Finally, at the ripe old age of...forty-something...her debut novel, Accidental Affair finally made it into print through Black Velvet Seductions Publishing.  The publisher has also contracted two more manuscripts, which will follow Accidental Affair shortly.  The next story slated for release is Bear’s, so for all of you who fell in love with Jack Vaughn’s best friend, get ready.  The 6’8” FBI agent saves wildlife photographer Beth Drummond’s life and loses his heart to her in the process, a journey that tests the boundaries of loyalty, friendship, and love.

Leslie is a war-veteran who served with the U.S. Navy during the Gulf War, and she was among the first groups of women to work the flight deck of an aircraft carrier.  During her five years of service she was stationed at NAS Miramar (yes, Miramar used to belong to the NAVY) and was an F-14 Tomcat mechanic.  While in San Diego she spent time on the carriers USS Independence, USS Ranger, USS Lincoln, and the USS Nimitz.  The final two years of her enlistment were spent on Guam and her squadron frequently deployed to Japan and the Middle East.

She learned everything she knows about firearms and tactics from her police officer husband, who is a weapons expert and firearms instructor for one of the most highly-respected law-enforcement agencies in the world (and one he wishes her NOT to disclose).  He is her biggest supporter and her unpaid consultant on everything law-enforcement and weapons related.  She has three boys, the oldest of whom will soon be wearing the uniform of a United States Marine (SEMPER FI!).  She spends her off-time (kidding...WHAT off-time?) reading, taking pictures, and sending lead down range (that's shooting, for those who are unfamiliar).  One of her favorite scents is the smell of gunpowder in the morning....

Hi, Leslie.  Thank you for joining me today.  I have to admit, when I was attempting to do research on you to come up with questions and get to you know you a little better, I was EXTREMELY surprised to learn your background.  No offense, but you’re a pretty scary woman.  What made you decide to join the Navy and accomplish or want to accomplish everything you were able to do?
Sorry, Kim, but I am laughing so hard right now! (Still laughing.) And no offense taken.  My kids think I’m scary, sometimes, but I’m really a big softie inside (I’m just CLOTHED in razor blades!).  For me, joining the Navy was a sideways method to fulfill a dream.  I wanted to FLY supersonic aircraft, but, alas, I do not have the perfect 20/20 vision required.  I figured if I can’t fly them, I want to get as close as possible, and thus an F-14 mechanic/plane captain was born.  There is no bigger e-ticket than standing on the bow of an aircraft carrier between two F-14s in afterburners as they prepare to launch (except, obviously, FLYING those airplanes)!  The vibration and noise by themselves are ASTOUNDING.  It was a little intimidating being one of 150 women on a ship with 2000 men, but I have always loved those predominantly male environments!  Plus, my family has had someone fight in every war (except the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan) going back to the American Revolution.  Patriotism is a genetic trait in my family.
How did you make the transition to writing?
The transition actually went the other way.  I’ve always written stories, ever since I could write.  The military thing?  That was a WHOLE different ball of wax. I guess the biggest transition was dedicating my efforts to actually FINISH a full-length manuscript once I left the Navy, especially with a family to take care of.  Being a stay-at-home-mom made it easier, but not much.  I don’t think I even went to the bathroom by myself until my youngest was in kindergarten.
What inspired you to write Accidental Affair?
I had a dream about the opening sequence in which Laine almost runs Jack over.  The characters materialized in my head after that dream and started to get noisy about demanding their story.  The setting was inspired by a family trip from California to Ohio through Washington State, Montana, and the Dakotas.  Montana felt like such a lonely, although beautiful place.  I joked with my husband that Montana’s state motto had to be NO SERVICES, because that sign was posted at almost every off ramp on I-90.  The scenery is simply amazing, but for a Californian to drive for a hundred miles and see NOTHING?  Just doesn’t happen here in the Golden State, and it seemed like the perfect stage.  After all, both the hero and the heroine are hiding from something, and it would be really easy to disappear in Montana.
How would you describe Jack and Laine?
They’re both sort of lost but through a twist of Fate (isn’t that always the way it happens?) they find each other.  Laine is hiding from a painful past and the person she was, and Jack deliberately does the same thing just so he can stay alive.  When they meet, both of them have to face what they’ve been through, who they are (and were), and what is happening between them.  With each other, they manage to overcome those obstacles and still find love in the end.  I don’t think they’re much different from any other person who has loved and lost.
What was your favorite scene to write for Accidental Affair and why?
I had the most fun writing the scene in which Laine and Jack’s nemesis, Ripley, finally meet.  I enjoyed the build-up and the tension, and the dialogue between the two.  It’s one of the final big scenes in the book, and it really showcases what a strong woman Laine is.  I sometimes wonder if I would react to the situation in the same manner she did, and, despite all my training with firearms and police/military tactics, the answer is, “I don’t know.”  All my instructors say that in such a moment one will automatically revert to their training.  If that really is the case, then Ripley had better watch out!
That was a VERY good scene.  Were there times in writing Accidental Affair that you wanted to take the story in one direction and then the characters decided it needed to go in a different direction?
Oh, heck yeah!  My stories ALWAYS do that.  I’m not a formal plotter (I semi-plot in my head, but not on paper), but I’ve learned to just let the characters take over and have their way.  It IS their story after all, and they can tell it in a way I can’t.  In the original draft I killed Jack off, and Bear and Laine wound up together, but Jack didn’t like that very much (can’t imagine WHY…).  Thus, the story has a completely different ending than what I had planned.  I suppose that’s not such a bad thing…. (smiles)
Laine, Jack, and Bear have such a good relationship as a group and then with each other individually.  You can completely feel the love they have for each other, with their actions and thoughts.  I can only imagine the overabundance of choice words Jack had for you, when you tried to kill him off. 

Where can we find you? (Website, Facebook, Twitter?)
I’m on Facebook (Leslie McKelvey Wirtley). I also have a blog I visit once in a blue moon, and it has the first chapters of about a half-dozen of my manuscripts. If people want to sample Accidental Affair (or any of the other posted stories) go to www.amazonred.wordpress.com and have a look-see. Just check the right hand side of the page and scroll down. I have a bio on the sales site for Accidental Affair on Amazon, and the book is available there, as well as on Barnes & Noble’s site and Smashwords.
I have SO many more questions for you.  I have to force myself to stop.  Leslie, thank you very much for taking the time to talk with me and answer some questions.
Thank YOU, Kim, for having me and helping me spread the word about Accidental Affair!  Also, I want to extend a big thank you to your readers and visitors for taking the time to stop by.  You all ROCK!

(Click HERE for my review of Accidental Affair)

Leave a comment below with your email address for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card courtesy of Leslie’s publisher Black Velvet Seductions.  Please sure to check out the other stops on Leslie's blog and leave additional comments in order to increase your chances of winning.

11 comments:

  1. Hey, Kim! It's great to be here today! Thanks to you and your readers, and best of luck to everyone in the drawing. I'll be in and out during the day, but I WILL answer any and all questions.

    Thanks again for hosting me!

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  2. Thanks for the great interview. Following on the same line, what do you think is more challenging, being in the Navy or writing a full length novel?

    fencingromein at hotmail dot com

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    1. Well, Shannon, both are challenging, though in their own way. The Navy is FAR more physically challenging...18-20 hours a day on the flight deck, carrying 50 pound chains for many of those 18-20 hours, working in the wind, rain, 50 foot seas with airplanes that can kill you if you're not careful.... Sigh, I miss it, but there's not a whole lot of mental challenge. Writing isn't physically challenging, unless you count all the lost sleep, but it can be mentally and emotionally draining. Good question!

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  3. Fantastic interview and a great book giveaway. I love these romance novels that have mystery and murder mixed in.

    NoraAdrienne(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. I feel the same, NoraAdrienne! Sometimes I'm in the mood for just straight romance, but most of the time I want something more than chemistry and sex to chew on.

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  4. Thanks for the great interview. Sounds like an intriguing book! It's going on my reading list.
    :o)
    pippirose59 at gmail dot com

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and reading, pippirose! I hope you enjoy it!

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  5. I loved the review. This sounds like an awesome story.

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    1. Thanks,MomJane! I appreciate you dropping by!

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  6. This was wonderful thank you!!


    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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