Former DEA agent Leland Hollis wasn't planning on being a hero. Recovering from an injury sustained during a drug bust gone wrong and with more personal demons than he cares to admit, he wants nothing more than peace and a chance to rebuild his life. But when Anna Mercado's crazy ex shows up wielding a baseball bat, Leland can't ignore his instinct to help. And after her son is kidnapped, Leland agrees to deliver the ransom into dangerous territory south of the border.
Anna has no choice but to go with this stranger she's just met if she ever wants to see her son again. But getting the boy out of a violent cartel region involves risking everything. And for that Leland will have to convince Anna to do the scariest thing of all … open her heart and trust him.
Where Did You Get That Idea? By Kay Thomas
Several people have asked where I got the idea for Hard Target and my new Elite Ops series. My son has Aspergers. About four years ago he was working with a new social skills therapist who was in the process of changing careers. This man had left the DEA and was starting his own security business while also working with special needs kids. Quite a combo, right? I was fascinated by what wouldtake someone from such a challenging, busting-down-doorsjob to teaching my seventh grader how to talk about his feelings. Conversations there definitely started my wheels turning.
At the same time my son was working with this guy, my critique partner gave me an article from The Atlanticmagazine about a gentleman who goes into Latin American countries to recover children who’ve been kidnapped by non-custodial parents. The article combined with those earlier conversations got me to thinking some more, and the concept for Hard Target came from there. But I realized I couldn’t just write Leland Hollis’s story and be done with that world.
I had watched the Russell Crowe-Meg Ryan movie, Proof of Life, a couple of times. I also started following the now-cancelled Discovery series called Kidnap and Rescueabout security consultants who go into foreign countries and get Americans who have been kidnapped while working or living overseas.
I started wondering what if instead of just one sexy guy, I had a whole company of men and women with backgrounds that were ex-military or ex-DEA who wanted to start their lives over again and work in the private sector. The idea kept percolating and the Elite Ops team was born.
What I Wish I’d Known Before I Started Writing by Kay Thomas
The one thing I wish I had known before I started writing isthat the more you write, the more addictive it becomes. If I had know this beforehand I might have taken up, oh, I don't know—marathon walking or scrapbooking instead.
I can't imagine not writing today but part of that is because I've been doing it for so long. The first day of the “fun ed” writing class I took over 20 years ago the teacher said, "If you can walk next door to the pottery class that's starting and be happy, go do that right now. Writing is hard stuff and difficult to stop once you start, you'll be happier in the long run if you do something different."
How's that for a pep talk? Not a one of us left that writing class, and I'm awfully glad I didn't "go next door." But for a long time I had no idea what she’d meant.
I do now. Writing is incredibly habit-forming, right up there with chocolate and red wine! Still, I cannot imagine NOT doing it.
I’ve heard people talk about characters that just won’t leave them alone, and I never understood that whole concept until writing the Elite Ops series. Hard Target was an addictive writing experience for me. I loved the characters, the location, the adventure, the growth arcs, and the relationships.
While the book didn’t write itself, the story came much easier than others I’ve written in the past. For the first time I could hear the characters talking in my head and they wouldn’t let me rest, till I wrote down what they were saying. Currently, I’m working on Book 2 in the Elite Ops series and I’m happy to say that I’m having a similar experience with “hearing” those characters’ voices.
Question for reader: What’s your favorite “habit-forming” hobby?
My next novel will be published with Avon Impulse in November 2013. HARD TARGET is the first installment in a three-book romantic suspense series titled ELITE OPS, featuring sexy ex-military men…and the women who rescue their hearts. For excerpts, book trailers, and more—visit my website atwww.KayThomas.net
I can also be found online at Facebook.www.facebook.com/KayThomasWrites
In addition to their US releases, my national best-selling books have been published in France, the Netherlands, Estonia, Australia, the UK and South Africa. BULLETPROOF HEARTS (April 2011), won the 2012 HOLT Medallion in Short Contemporary and was a finalist in the National Readers' Choice Awards. My debut novel, BETTER THAN BULLETPROOF (January 2009) was a HOLT Medallion Award of Merit recipient, a Readers’ Crown finalist, and a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice nominee.