Sally J. Smith & Jean Steffens will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
1. Woohoo! You are a published author. Describe a strong character trait you possess, good or bad, and how it helped you become a published author.
Sally and I subscribe to the theory that talent’s nice, but discipline is where it’s at. It’s one of the main factors that allow us to work well together as writing partners.
2. Sometimes an author begins writing a story before they are aware of its genre. Did you choose your genre, or did it choose you?
Our genre chose us: Mystery. It’s what we read.
3. The plot thickens, or does it? Which one are you, a pantser or a plotter?
Sally and I plot our books before we start the writing process. We write a detailed synopsis usually 8-10 pages, then we use it as an outline to write the book. Our outlines are fluid, always changing as we move forward in a book, but we have a hard beginning, middle, and end when we start.
4. Yes, deadlines are terrifying. Have you conquered the juggling act between writing and the rest of your life? What do you do when it feels like the balls are dropping all around you?
We have never missed a deadline. If it comes close we just add an extra day or two. Like we said…discipline is the key to making deadlines. Can’t think of a time when any of the balls we keep in the air have fallen—at least not yet.
We are professionals who keep a writing schedule 3 days a week, rain or shine, you see, and our families sometimes pay the price of our commitment in terms of home-cooked meals, clean T-shirts, and dust bunnies in the corners. They’re our heroes, eating take-out without complaint and even doing their own laundry. We’re stumped by how a writer could manage the discipline required for our chosen profession without the backup teams similar to those we have.
5. Where is your favorite place to write? Add that one comfort food that you can’t do without.
We have a dedicated space for writing. Sally and Jean write side-by-side so we are able to see each other’s computer screens. There is soft music playing in the background. The coffee pot is nearby along with plenty of bottled water. Our comfort food is chocolate and coffee.
6. Writing inspirations?
Jean: I’m inspired by exciting movies (action films like John Wick, XXX, Taken) and shows on television (NCIS, Coroner, Death in Paradise, Blacklist).
Sally: Stories just come to me. I dream them sometimes. Sometimes they just pop into my head, from where exactly I don’t really know—life experiences? Things I hear? People I see? Places I’ve been? Tough to say where the inspiration really comes from.
7. You are introduced to your favorite author. Who is it, and what is that one burning question you must ask them?
Jean is a faithful fan of Stuart Woods. I would ask Stuart his writing technique.
Sally reads such a variety of authors, it’s hard to say who’s the favorite. Maybe Robert B. Parker. I think I’ve read every word the man ever wrote. I hope I have to wait a long time before meeting him (deceased, you know), but I might ask him how he instilled such richness into his characters while keeping them grounded to the plot.
8. I’ve gone mad – why don’t you come with me? Some people just don’t understand us writers. Name a quirky, writer-thing you do that friends wish you didn’t.
Jean: I’m a people watcher, and I tend to ask people to join me in running fake conversations that people across the room might be talking about, say at a restaurant or store.
Sally: Quirky? Me? What you talkin’ ’bout, Willis? I do tend to be distracted when a project isn’t going well, but I never really thought of that as quirky, more like irritating.
by Sally J. Smith & Jean Steffens
Digby Sloan, Aussie private eye, loves his mum, and is loyal as a Queensland Heeler. Now he’s in London handcuffed to a kangaroo. Kangaroo Dreaming, a valuable aboriginal totem, must make it safely to a London museum for exhibition, and Digby is the one in charge. But within hours of his arrival, the roo is stolen and the curator is murdered. His bosses blame Digby for the theft and insist he stay to help London Metropolitan recover Kangaroo Dreaming. That’s all well and good, except the lead cop keeps getting in Digby’s way. The case puts everyone in peril, including Digby Sloan, who might not make it back alive to the Land Down Under to find out if he even still has a job.
I rode him as hard as I could straight across the clearing and headed dead-on for the pond in the center of it.
Falstaff’s heavy breath smoked the air. His body beneath me was soaked in sweat. The white of his wild eyes shone in the night. He carried me straight toward the water.
“Now!” I yelled in pure reaction, shifted my weight, and leaned.
Falstaff’s direction changed with such a jolt it wasn’t hard for me to do what I had to do.
The momentum launched me off his back. I was an unguided missile. My arms and legs flailed everywhere.
I slammed against the dark water, but it may as well have been a concrete slab. The wind blew from my lungs. Every inch of me cried out in pain.
The frigid pond waters closed over my head. I sank like a stone.
I headed for the slimy bottom. No. Up. Go up. I fought for the surface, pushed, kicked, and clawed. But there was no strength in my arms or my legs. No breath in my body. My tortured lungs were in agony. My brain was fuzzy. My body numb. I couldn’t see.
Sweet Mary, Mother of God.
I was drowning.
Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens, are partners in crime—crime writing, that is. They live in the Valley of the Sun in Arizona, awesome for eight months out of the year, an inferno the other four. They write bloody murder, flirty romance, and wicked humor all in one package.
Amazon Author Pages:
The book is on sale for $0.99.