It’s my great pleasure to welcome National Bestselling, multi-published Author Beth Kery to Closetreader today. As any of you know who have visited here, I’m a huge fan of Beth’s work, all of her books have a special spot on my keeper shelf. I’m pleased to say her next publication “Explosive”, hits bookstores on December 7, 2010. As with Beth’s other work, “Explosive” was a highly emotional, suspenseful and exciting read for me and I hope any of you who choose to read it will enjoy it as much as I did.
Lea: Welcome back to Closetreader Beth! Just watch you don’t trip over any snouts, dog treats or toys on your way past the closet there! LOL
Beth: Thanks so much, Lea! I brought a treat for Tori so she won’t have nightmares about me popping out of the closet.
Lea: I want to cut right to the chase and talk about, “Explosive” which is a raw and gripping erotic love story about Dr. Sophie Gamble and Thomas Nicasio, who I found both to be fascinating characters. Can you tell readers a little about Sophie and Thomas, Beth?
Beth: Thanks very much, Lea. I think raw is an apt descriptor, given Thomas’ emotional state in this book.
Thomas and Sophie have seen one another on the elevator and in Sophie’s medical practice in the high-rise where they both work. Sparks have flown, but they’ve never really had the opportunity to cross the threshold into each other’s life. That opportunity comes when tragedy strikes Thomas Nicasio’s family, and suddenly Sophie and Thomas are thrown together in tension-filled, dangerous circumstances.
In Thomas and Sophie, you have a couple that were meant to be together, but don’t really find their way to one another until fate opens up a pathway, and they crash together…well, explosively. Thomas is a classic alpha male, an ex-Navy explosives expert and current businessman and Sophie is a physician. He likes to observe her as she works, and part of him knows—touch her, and you’ll never go back. So in the way of men–;)–he’s hesitant. When tragedy strikes though, he reaches out for Sophie without thought, instinctively. Because of his inner turmoil, his need for her is very intense and, as you said, raw.
Lea: You penned some extraordinarily emotional and sensual scenes between these two characters in this book Beth, I was moved to tears on more than one occasion. I think it wasn’t only the depth of passion Thomas feels for Sophie and her response to him, but it was his confusion because he has in essence lost his short term memory. Thomas has had essentially what one could call an emotional accident hasn’t he?
Beth: Well, Thomas is having a combination of a post traumatic stress response and also has been hit in the head, so it’s difficult to pull apart whether his memory loss of about an eighteen hour period of time is entirely psychological or physical, but in my mind, it was both. He’s essentially not recalling a span of a day or so. His emotional turmoil gives him a dark, edgy tone and his anguish sort of heightens his primal instincts, highlighted by the sexually intense hunger he experiences for Sophie. That’s important, because Sophie understands his grief and angst better than Thomas does, and she assumes part of the reason Thomas wants her so intensely is because of his anguish. Really, he wants her for reasons way beyond that, but they have to make that journey together to figure that out.
Lea: When you visited over at Desert Island Keepers in December of last year I asked you the DIK question:
“What hero is most like your significant other?”
You were penning “Explosive”, at the time and this was your response:
“Well, not entirely of course, and this isn’t from a book, but Will from Good Will Hunting. Like Will, hubby comes from a working class family and he lived by his fists for a lot of his childhood. But he’s got a brilliant mind, as well, and it took him a long way. I love that contrast…the richness. He can blend in with corporate America and construction guys with equal aplomb. I can give him almost anything, and he’ll be able to fix it, a busted coffee maker or complex business problem.
Just as aside, Thomas Nicasio, from the currently unnamed novel I’m working on at the moment (due out December of 2010) is suspiciously built along those lines as well. Hmmmm….”
Do you still think Thomas is built suspiciously along the lines of your husband? LOL
Beth: Ooh, you are bad for remembering such a thing.
The short answer is yes. There are aspects of both Thomas and the description of his father that come straight from my husband and his father. Hubby’s father was an orphan and worked since age twelve, like Thomas’ biological father. I have a part in the book where Thomas is trying to describe to Sophie what his father was like, and he tells her about how he was very poor and had never been to a city. When he did go to the city, he stood in front of revolving doors and didn’t know what to do. Well, that’s actually a story my husband told me about when he first left college and went on job interviews in various cities. (He told me it was okay to tell you guys that). The descriptions of Thomas’ background and his father are important, because they reveal a lot about Thomas’ working class roots, highlight what he lost when his parents were murdered and emphasize the horror of what he has learned.
Now that you mention it, I like writing heroes that have working class roots or perhaps have even come from poverty, and have struggled. Vic, from Wicked Burn, and Sean, from Release come to mind. I think it adds depth and richness to their character.
Lea: Thomas has a background as a Navy explosives expert, you were able to tap into some first hand knowledge and experience regarding this type of dangerous work in the military as part of your research for the book weren’t you?
Beth: I was still in the beginning phases of deciding on Thomas’ character when I met up with a really wonderful lady—a reader from Lexington named Sabra—whose husband happens to work for Explosive Ordnance Disposal, the elite unit of the Navy responsible for safely disarming bombs or other types of ordnance, including chemical, biological, and nuclear. I talked with her about the unit a lot, and her husband’s work, and I decided I liked the idea of having Thomas belonging to that unit. It takes an enormous amount of psychological resilience to disarm bombs and do that type of work—look death in the face, essentially, and remain cool and calm. I liked the idea for several reasons, but mainly because Thomas is extremely alpha, and I wanted to show that the particular type of stress he was undergoing in the book was of a personal, private kind. As a reader, you have to wonder why this really confident, masculine man could become vulnerable. Because his life was once daily danger, then the reader gets the idea that whatever he’s experiencing in the book must be even more anxiety provoking then disarming a bomb—and that’s a lot of stress and hurt.
Sabra was wonderfully generous with her information, and she even gave me a Navy Ordnance Disposal badge at the last Lori Foster event! Her husband was wonderful as well, reading over parts of Explosive and offering tips. I can’t thank them enough.
So I suppose the moral of the story is, if I get to gabbing with you, watch out, because I might steal little portions of people you know for my characters—with your permission, of course.
Lea: There is a riveting suspense subplot that snakes through the narrative of “Explosive” and neither Sophie nor Thomas are aware of the danger they are in. It is quite brilliant because you kept this reader guessing until the final pages.
Do you tend to plot out your stories first or do your characters come to you and then you develop the storyline around them?
Beth: I do plot out a story. On a scale of 1-100, with one being the barest skeleton of a plot and 100 being the tightest, twenty page synopsis, I’m at around a 50. LOL. Berkley does require a synopsis, and it has to be fairly detailed. However, I do make some changes as I write and characters develop and their motivations become clearer to me.
Lea: I felt the tone of “Explosive” is similar to your most recent Berkley Heat publication “Release”, would you agree Beth?
Lea: You’ve got an amazing year coming in 2011 with books from not one but two new series to be published, one by Berkley Heat under a new pseudonym. The other is by Harlequin called “Harbor Town”. In addition you have a new novella coming out as part of an Anthology with Berkley. Care to share some of the details with readers?
Beth: 2011 is a pretty big year. I have Velvet Cataclysm coming out in print from Samhain in March, in April I have the first book in the Harlequin Harbor Town series, The Hometown Hero Returns, in May the Berkley anthology with Emma Holly, Lauren Dane and Megan Hart called Three to Tango (I will be writing under Bethany Kane for that one). In June, I have a Berkley Heat novel called Addicted to You (once again, under Bethany Kane) and then in August, the second book in the Harbor Town series from Harlequin.
I’d love to have the second book in the Princes of the Underground series out next year from Samhain, but that all depends on whether or not I can get my s**t together and get it written this year.
I was wondering if you would like to share a short excerpt from Explosive with readers today?
Beth: Sure Lea, here is an excerpt I haven’t previously shared:
His touch would consume her—if it didn’t kill her first…
Dr. Sophie Gable wasn’t expecting her peaceful getaway to be shattered by the arrival of a half-dazed, dead-sexy guest. Thomas Nicasio has obviously been traumatized, and Sophie thinks she knows by what. There’s something about Thomas’s father that he can’t—or won’t—remember. Something that could get them both killed. Still she can’t resist Thomas’s electrifying seduction—or her instincts to help him…
An ex-Navy explosives specialist, Thomas has never felt this type of volatile need for a woman. Even while he’s grieving the deaths of his brother and nephew, something in Sophie makes Thomas want to overtake her, and each time he does, her willing submission makes him want her all the more. But danger is lurking close by, and if he can’t face the demons of his past, he and Sophie could be the next victims in a pattern of meaningless violence…
“Sophie found herself chewing on her nails again and made a disgusted sound. She stood and began pacing next to her desk. The fact of the matter was the circumstances had left her in the singular, uncomfortable position of having slept with a man she knew a hell of a lot about, unbeknownst to him. And she had a feeling Thomas Nicasio was not only ill in some fashion, but in a hell of a lot of trouble because of those circumstances.
She glanced at her watch. It was 7:45 p.m. The authorities must have finished talking to Thomas by now. She stood from her desk, intending to take the elevator to the forty-sixth floor . . . to walk into Thomas Nicasio’s offices for the first time in her life.
Someone knocked on her door instead.
“Come in,” she called, thinking it was probably the cleaning staff. It was late on a Friday and the office was empty, save for Sophie. The door swung open and Thomas walked in.
Sophie froze, shocked by the unexpected sight of him. He kept his eyes trained on her as he shut the door behind him. She’d always thought her private office large enough, but the walls shrunk with Thomas Nicasio in the room.
“Thomas. Are you all right?”
She saw him push the lock on the door handle. He stepped toward her. She recognized that hot look in his eyes. Recognized it all too well. She’d seen it countless times last night.
“I’m not going to be all right until I bury myself in you.” He stalked across the room and reached for her.
He cut off her soft whimper of mixed need and uncertainty when he seized her mouth with his own. He proceeded to consume her.”
Explosive © Beth Kery
Lea: Thanks so much for agreeing to come by today Beth, as always it’s wonderful to chat with you.
Beth: Thank you for having me, Lea. Really terrific interview.
You are most welcome Beth.