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Please welcome my special guest, romantic suspense author Kaylin McFarren. I recently had the chance to read and review her latest novel, Severed Threads, and I have to say it is an entertaining, thrilling read. Kaylin was generous enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions about her book and her writing. I hope you’ll enjoy the interview!

About the author

A native of California, Kaylin McFarren has traveled around the world and is now settled in Oregon.

As the director of a fine art gallery, she assisted in developing the careers of numerous visual artists who under her guidance gained recognition through promotional opportunities and in national publications. Eager to unleash and develop her own creativity, she has since channeled her energy toward writing novels. As a result, she has earned more than a dozen literary awards and was a 2008 finalist in the prestigious RWA® Golden Heart contest. She is a member of RWA, Rose City Romance Writers, and Willamette Writers.

Thanks for this interview, Kaylin! Do you consider yourself a born writer?

Definitely. Since the age of eight, I’ve loved to write stories and have been filled with an active imagination.

What compelled you to start writing professionally?

Like many authors, I was originally inspired to write my first novel after reading a great book and seeing an amazing movie. Mine happened to be Memoirs of a Geisha and The Notebook, which will always be my favourites.

Severed Threads is full of romance, suspense and danger. What was the most challenging aspect of writing this romantic thriller?

The most difficult task to writing a suspense story is to keep the action moving while revealing character traits and emotions along the way. Severed Threads contains an array of characters and each serve their purpose in revealing a twisting and turning plot that ultimately leads to a pleasant resolve. However, keeping the voices of each person unique also proved to be a challenge.

Tell us something about your hero and heroine that my readers won’t be able to resist.

Chase Cohen is a handsome, womanizing, thrill-seeking treasure hunter who has found his greatest challenge and true love in Rachel Lyons. But she doesn’t trust Chase for good reasons and won’t be easy to win over.no matter how hard he tries.

What did you find most fascinating while researching underwater archaeology and ancient Chinese treasures?

I had no idea how much gold had been lost at sea. According to Greg Stemm, co-founder and co-chairman of Odyssey, there’s billions of dollars scattered beneath the ocean. However, much of the ocean floor is unexplored and unmapped and global imaging shows crushing depths ranging up to six miles. And there could even be gold or diamond mines that far surpass what anyone on earth could imagine. Since trade included priceless collectibles and dishware from China as well as gold and silver, these were lost along with ships that sank during storms and battles hundreds of years ago and many will never be recovered.at least not in our lifetime.

How long did it take you to write the novel and did you work from an outline?

It took me close to two years to write Severed Threads. This included the time needed to research details and edit my final manuscript. I typically create a synopsis and then write by the seat of my pants. I’m not big on storyboards and planning, as I’m too anxious to get my stories on paper.

What was the editing process like?

Although I tend to edit as I go, I eventually asked three published authors and two experienced readers to assist with my initial editing before hiring a professional editor to review my manuscript. After taking all of their advice into consideration, I fine-tuned my writing and sent it in for publication, hoping I’d done my best in creating a fast-paced, entertaining tale.

What advice would you give to first-time novelists who are just starting to market their books?

Spend a little extra time in researching your options. If you chose to approach a publishing house, be sure the agents you contact are experienced in your genre and have a great track record. If you decide to self-publish, be prepared to spend a little extra money and time in promoting your titles as well as yourself.

What’s on the horizon for Kaylin McFarren?

I’m currently completing the second book in the Threads series – Buried Threads – and will be following this with a third – Banished Threads. I’ve enjoyed my characters so much in my first installment that I decided to take them on adventures around the world and have been urged to do so by readers who follow my stories.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers?

Keep reading and if you enjoy the work created by an author, be sure to let them know. Your praise and support encourages every author to write!

Thanks, Kaylin!

Find out more about Severed Threads on Amazon.

View the original article on blogcritics.org

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ImageThe story opens during a diving salvage operation with experienced divers and treasure hunters Sam Lyons and Chase Cohen. Though they’re working on the Griffith wreckage, Sam believes the site also contains the wreckage of none other than the Wanli II—the Ming Dynasty Emperor’s lost dragon ship containing an ancient figure head, a fierce dragon in gold leaf and preserved in resin for all posterity—the gift Mai Le intended for her lover. 

Unexpectedly, however, things turn bad for Sam while he’s underwater: he suffers cardiac arrest for no apparent reason. Indeed, the circumstances surrounding his death appear more than a little mysterious. 

Chase, who had loved him like a father, feels responsible and doesn’t know what to make of it. Did something malfunction or did something scare Sam down there? He’d been an experienced diver with over 20 years of experience under his belt. What had Chase missed? Sam was the only man Chase had allowed himself to trust. He and his daughter Rachel were the only two people he really cared for. But now all had changed: Sam was dead, and Rachel would forever blame him for his death. 

Move four years forward. Rachel Lyons, Sam’s Daughter, is working at a grant foundation. All is pretty quiet and routine in her life…until she’s approached by a museum director asking for a grant to conduct another diving salvage operation, run by none other than Chase’s Trident Ventures.      

Though Rachel has no intention of helping Chase, Chase is set on convincing her. Since the operation focuses on discovering the Wanli II, if they succeed, her father would receive his long overdue reward and the museum would fund a permanent exhibition to honor his memory. 

Yet, Rachel is still hesitant. Then, a twist of fate puts Rachel’s brother in danger, forcing her to change her mind about funding Chase’s project.  Chase is more than suspicious about her sudden change of heart, but he isn’t about to say no to this opportunity which could help him leave his mark upon the world as a renowned treasure hunter. 

Thus, she grants him the money and insists on joining the underwater expedition. Can she put aside pride and work with Chase on a daily basis? 

Severed Threads is an engaging, entertaining read! I’ve always enjoyed stories about lost treasures and underwater archaeology and this one didn’t disappoint. The hero and heroine are realistic and sympathetic and there’s a sizzling chemistry between them. The plot is believable with a fair share of exciting twists and turns. I found the workings of a grant foundation and a diving salvage operation quite interesting and informative. Pacing is fairly quick with a nice balance of action, dialogue, description and the inner thoughts of the characters. 

In short, Severed Threads is an exciting novel featuring danger in the high seas, romance, action and adventure, murder, and even a sprinkle of the paranormal for good measure. Recommended. 

Purchase from Amazon

Visit Kaylin McFarren’s website

 

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ImageChris Karslen was born and raised in Chicago. Her father was a history professor and her mother was, and is, a voracious reader. She grew up with a love of history and books. Her parents also loved travelling, a passion they passed onto her. Karslen wanted to see the place she read about, see the landand monuments from the time periods that fascinated her. She’s had the good fortune to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Near East, and North Africa.

She’s now a retired police detective who spent twenty-five years in law enforcement with two different agencies. Her desire to write came in her early teens. After she retired, she decided to pursue that dream. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, four rescue dogs and a rescue horse.

Thanks for this interview, Chris! When did your passion for thrillers and action/adventure fiction begin?

I don’t know if I could put a specific timeframe to my interest. I can’t remember a time it wasn’t there. As a child, I loved the old horror movies where folks were chasing or running from the Mummy or Dracula etc.  and the thrillers like North by Northwest,  The Man Who Knew Too Much, and Manchurian Candidate. When I got into my teens, James Bond became popular. I loved the movies and devoured Ian Fleming’s books.  Along that same vein, I enjoyed The Jackal, and Three Days of the Condor. Who didn’t love Indiana Jones? Now, I can’t wait to see movies like The Avengers, Iron Man, The Bourne Identity and still love the Bond movies.

When did you decide you wanted to become an author?

 I wanted to write since I was a teenager. But by the time I was ready for college I lacked the confidence to try so I went with the “safe” route and became a business major. Once I retired, I was ready to take a risk and live my dream.

Tell us about your latest novel, Golden Chariot.

ImageThe heroine, Charlotte Dashiell, is a nautical archaeologist. She’s working on her Doctorate in that field. Her thesis is very controversial and approval by the Doctoral Committee for her thesis is at risk if she doesn’t find evidence to support it. A shipwreck found off the coast of Turkey may hold her proof. She manages to obtain a position on the recovery team. En route, the Turkish government agent assigned to the wreck is murdered and she is on the scene at the time it occurred. Her close presence at the time of the crime coupled with a loose connection to a private collector of black market artifacts makes her a person of interest to the Turkish authorities. Atakan Vadim, the hero, is the Turkish agent sent to investigate her further. He becomes her dive partner. As the story progresses, he discovers smugglers plan to steal certain high value relics from the wreck and frame Charlotte for the theft. He also learns the thieves plan to murder her in the process. For her own safety, he presses her to leave the recovery team. She refuses. If she leaves, she loses all hope of finding proof of her thesis.  Together, he and Charlotte work to find out who is behind the smuggling operation. During the course of the story, the relationship between the two turns from one of wariness and distrust to friendship, trust and love.   

What made you decide to set it in Turkey?

 I love Turkey. I’ve visited several times. I knew after the first time, I would set a story there. It’s such a fascinating country. In Istanbul, the exotic Ottoman architecture mixed with the modern immediately captures your interest. There’s the hustle and bustle of the bazaars, which I enjoy, especially the Spice Market. It’s a colourful place. You can’t throw a rock in Turkey and not hit something historical. Their history goes back to the Bronze Age. Turkey’s been part of the Hittite Empire, the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Ottoman Empire and a secular, independent modern nation. The people are nice.  The food is excellent. The landscape is remarkable in its variance. There’s the beautiful coastal area along the Aegean Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean and the starkly different coastline on the Black Sea. The region of Cappadocia with its fairy chimneys and underground cities is other worldly in appearance.   To the east are mountains and grassy plains. 

Did you have to do a lot of research about police procedural there?

Not police procedural per se. Atakan is actually a representative of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism. I was fortunate enough to have a contact/advisor who is an archaeological diver and Turkish. He told me that all legitimate archaeological sites in Turkey have a representative of the Ministry present to watch over the safety of the site and relics. I took some dramatic license and gave Atakan more police authority than he’d have in real life. For the SWAT operation, I did research weapons used by the Turkish authorities and how they would interact with our military stationed at Incirlik Air Force Base in Turkey to obtain intelligence information needed. Again, I was lucky. I have a friend who headed up a SWAT team for a major US city and who was a Marine reserve who served in Iraq and trained our soldiers in urban-crisis entries. My friend was familiar with how the flow of intelligence gathering is handled. He also advised me on some of the SWAT tactics.

There are a lot of Turkish words in the story. Do you speak Turkish?

 No. I’d like to learn. I do have the Rosetta Stone program for Turkish but it is an extremely difficult language. It uses the Latin alphabet that we are familiar with but the conjugation and pronunciation is not what you’d expect. My Turkish diver friend helped with the translation as did another Turkish friend who’s a tour guide. I cannot understand it when spoken to me (rarely anyway). I am better at reading it and then I really only know some basic words and phrases.

I found the myth about Troy fascinating. To this day, do they know for a fact that Troy existed?

  Yes, Troy definitely existed. There have been archaeologists working the site for many decades. When we speak of Troy, it usually the kingdom associated with the Trojan War. At the time the war was supposed to have taken place, the kingdom was known as Wilusa and part of the Hittite Empire. Excavation at the site is ongoing and they have made some incredible discoveries in the last couple of decades. *I should mention that not all archaeologist/historians agree that the war occurred. Personally, I tend to believe those who do think it happened. 

There are many underwater scenes in the story. Do you scuba dive?

 No, I don’t dive. I had the benefit of an archaeological diver to advise me. I also did a lot of research on the subject and had books that documented many shipwreck recovery projects.  The books had pages of pictures showing the divers working a wreck.  I had pictures of the entire process from building the camp to cleaning the relics. Twice I’ve been to INA (Institute of Nautical Archaeology) in Bodrum, Turkey. I was given a tour of the facility and shown some of their photos, the conservation lab, the desalination tanks and the hard work and time involved in the piecing together of artifacts.

How long did it take you to write Golden Chariot?

Two and a half years, mainly because of the research. While I worked on one of my paranormal romances, I began the research for Golden Chariot. I’d done eighteen months of research before I wrote a single word. Then, I did several drafts over the next year before I was happy with the result.

Are you disciplined?

Yes, for the most part. I have to admit that I do have days when the smallest shiny object can distract meJ I do try to get some writing in at least 6 if not 7 days a week. I don’t always get the number of pages done I want. Some days I consider it a success if I get a few paragraphs finished but I try to make an effort.

Describe a typical writing day for you.

 I try hard to get all my errands and appointments done in the morning. Then, I take a break and have a bite to eat. I am usually at my desk by 12:00 or 12:30. I work on promotion, answer emails and try to read at least a few chapters of stories from writer friends for review purposes. After that, I pull up my work in progress. I read the last few pages I wrote to get my head in the same place again. I spend the next 4 or 5 hours writing or rewriting as needed.  That’s a typical “good” day. Like I said, there are those days I spend hours writing, deleting… sighing…writing, deleting and again…sighing.

What is the most rewarding aspect of being an author?

 When a reader tells you how you’ve moved them or which character or scene they loved. It’s so wonderful to have a reader say “I felt like I was there.”

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

 Writing is hard work. You’ll have days that are pure frustration, days that you can’t seem to get three lines right. Keep at it. Keep studying the craft. Every workshop I attend, I take something useful away. If you’re stuck on how to approach a scene, one thing I find that helps is to read a similar scene by an author you like. Analyze what you like about it and how they handled the scene and see if you can recreate the feel in your story with your spin.

What’s on the horizon for Chris Karslen?

 I am currently working on book three of my Knights in Time series. The first two are: Heroes Live Forever and Journey in Time. This is a paranormal romance series. I hope to have my current story, Knight Blindness, done and ready for release later this year. I’ve also finished the draft of the sequel to Golden Chariot. I hope to have the final finished and ready to publish early next year. 

 

 

 

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