Jack Donovan went through hell and back to save Isabelle once. Now she’s back in his life, hunted by an assassin so elusive some claim he’s only an urban legend. More than just a gun for hire, the killer is driven by a pathological need to take down his targets and, when Isabelle escapes the bullet meant for her, Jack knows he'll strike again. The only way to keep her alive is to keep her close, and Jack’s about to learn what hell really is.
In the year since Jack rescued her from a guerrilla compound and then walked away, Isabelle Arceneau has begun to put her life back on track. Now somebody wants her dead and Jack is once again her only hope for survival. As the Devlin Group races to uncover the killer’s identity and Jack and Isabelle go on the run in a desperate bid to keep her alive, she knows she can trust him with her life, but never again with her heart.
The Book Nympho readers have seen us gush about your Contemporary Romance series about the Kowalski Family so can you tell us a little about your Romantic Suspense series, the Devlin Group.
The quick blurb I use on my website is: This action-adventure romance series follows the men and women of the Devlin Group, a privately owned rogue agency unhindered by red tape and jurisdiction. Whether doing a private job or a secret mission for the government, these contract agents don’t hesitate to put their lives on the line…especially when it comes to love.
The first book in the series, 72 Hours, came out in June of 2006, followed by On The Edge in 2007 and No Surrender in 2009. Then 2010 through 2014 saw me focusing on the Kowalski series. But the hero and heroine of No Place To Hide were secondary characters in No Surrender, and their story being left untold left me unsatisfied with the DG series. Readers felt the same way, judging by their email, so I finally carved out the time to write Jack and Isabelle’s story.
How does writing Romantic Suspense differ from writing Contemporary Romance?
I enjoy both and they each come with unique challenges. With straight-up contemporary romance, it can be difficult to keep tension high when you don’t have villains or chemical weapons gone astray or lives to save. Romantic suspense means having a bad guy and needing to keep track of how many bullets your hero has fired and choreographing action scenes. The stakes also have to escalate, so there’s an extra story arc to keep track of. After four years of writing contemporary romance exclusively, it was fun to dive back into the crazy, no holds barred world of the Devlin Group.
With the danger element and emotions running fast and high do you find that you make the sexy times more hyped than say in a “sweet” romance? You know, the whole idea that “we could die any minute so let’s rip each other’s clothes off.” LOL
Isn’t that fun? “Hey, let’s hide from the guys shooting at us behind this cardboard box…wait, they’re reloading so let’s have a quickie!” While I’ve heard the adrenaline rush, heightened senses and facing one’s mortality can ramp up the desire to rip each other’s clothes off, my characters tend to wait until the immediate danger has passed. I even had a couple (No Surrender) not have sex even though they wanted to because they’d been stranded by a helicopter crash and smelled bad, LOL. But overall, I think characters who are a bit larger than life may live their lives larger all over, if you know what I mean.
The Kowalski Family can be a bit rowdy but they’re never in a life or death situation. How do you deal with writing the action driven scenes with the Devlin Group?
My two most constant methods for writing action scenes are pestering my husband and other people with annoying questions and choreographing the scenes with Lego minifigures. I like to have at least one thing in each book that makes a reader think “wait, is that possible?” (yes), and I drag my family into research. The Legos are necessary when you have multiple characters running amok in an action scene, and they have little plastic guns! As for the technical aspects of writing the more action-driven book, I enjoyed the change of the pace a lot. The over-the-top action-adventure story might be tough in some ways, but it’s extremely fun to write.
What’s next for you? More Kowalskis, more Devlin Group or do you have something different in the pipeline?
Falling For Max, which released July 29th, is the last Kowalski novel (for now). I’ve been adding the “for now” in parenthesis because I can definitely see myself revisiting the family and/or the town of Whitford in the future. For now, I have a holiday contemporary novella, Her Holiday Man, releasing in November and a new contemporary romance series about three men who return to their hometown to help save the high school football team which will launch in June of 2015. And writingNo Place To Hide definitely reminded me how much I’ve loved writing that series, so I suspect there will be at least two more Devlin Group books in my future.
Thank you so much for having me!
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Shannon Stacey lives with her husband and two sons in New England, where her two favorite activities are writing stories of happily ever after and riding her four-wheeler. From May to November, the Stacey family spends their weekends on their ATVs, making loads of muddy laundry to keep Shannon busy when she’s not at her computer. She prefers writing to laundry, however, and considers herself lucky she got to be an author when she grew up.