Double Crossing is a historical western romantic suspense — yup, a blend with murder and intrigue, sort of a mix of True Grit and Murder on the Orient Express.
August, 1869: Lily Granville is stunned by her father’s murder. Only one other person knows about a valuable California gold mine deed — both are now missing. Lily heads west on the newly opened transcontinental railroad, determined to track the killer. She soon realizes she is no longer the hunter but the prey.
As things progress from bad to worse, Lily is uncertain who to trust—the China-bound missionary who wants to marry her, or the wandering Texan who offers to protect her … for a price. Will Lily survive the journey and unexpected betrayal?
How long had the idea of your book been developing before you began to write the story?
I first saw True Grit (John Wayne version) when I was a teen. Loved the premise, and had a glimmer of an idea that percolated slowly over the years. I wrote and revised, and finally had a final version when the Coen brothers release came out (I love both versions) so I would say around 30 years. Wow. Guess it really hung with me!
Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?
Lily Granville is a sheltered almost 20 year old young woman who expected to become a wife/mother like most women her age in Evanston, north of Chicago. Everything changes when her father is murdered, and she stubbornly focuses on avenging her father’s death. She never expected to meet a man like Ace Diamond, a Texan ex-Confederate soldier and wanderer with a past, who is her complete opposite — but together they agree to track down the killer.
Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it? (searching Internet, magazines, other books, etc.)
I use a variety of resources for extensive research before I begin, and keep trawling for details during the writing process. I use everything I can get my hungry little paws on, because I love love love research. The Central Pacific Railroad website was my primary source on the web — they had fabulous photos.
Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?
I use Michael Hauge’s plot arc — which you can find on my website here.
How (or when) do you decide that you are finished writing a story?
That’s a tough question, because I can’t just hammer it out. I prefer letting it “heat up” like in glassblowing, fine-tuning, rolling, even breaking it up and starting over. And the “KEY” element must be there or else it will remain unfinished for me. So while Double Crossing finaled in many RWA contests, it took over a year for me to find that “key” that let all the elements fall into place and then I knew it was submission-ready.
Double Crossing has many “themes” — of self-reliance and never giving up, of being careful where to place your trust, of relying on faith.
What was the most difficult part about writing the book?
Writing characters’ emotions doesn’t come easy for me — vivid imagery and plotting are my strengths — so I used First Person Point of View, which really allows the reader to identify right away with Lily and also helped me learn the importance of exploring the depth of her emotions.
Do you prefer to write at a particular time of day?
I love writing in the morning. Such an early bird — after my Harney & Sons’ Hot Cinnamon Spice tea, of course.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently writing the sequel to Double Crossing, called Double or Nothing, set in California.
What do you like to read?
Historical before contemporary, mystery, suspense, romantic suspense, steampunk, YA and a few zombie novels thrown in the mix.
What writer influenced you the most?
Although I don’t write Sci/Fi or Fantasy, I believe Ursula LeGuin influenced me along with Tolkien. Both infuse their prose with lovely details and the social and economic aspects of their “worlds” plus a rich history. I just prefer bringing American history to life again.
Where can people learn more about your books?