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This week’s stop on the All Things Romantic Suspense Blog Tour brings us to the acquaintance of fellow Noble Romance author Mindy MacKay.  You’ll want to stick around for this one because Ms. MacKay brings with her what is clearly the most interesting question-to-win-a-prize I’ve ever heard.  Want to choose something from her backlist?  Check out the can’t-miss end of this interview for your chance to win!

The idea for your first novel came to you while you were on a cruise ship.  Dish!  How did the idea come to you?

I was on a big floating prison in the middle of the ocean, so I conceived a story that has a lot to do with prison and trappedness. It wasn’t that much of a stretch.

But seriously, I’d had ideas for characters and an ending for a while, but, cut off from the Internet and all contact with my social life, I found the time to start putting my ideas to paper, and the plot developed from there.

Floating prison?  LOL.  Don’t expect we’ll see that quote in the brochure any time soon!  Back on dry land, Texas and Canada seem worlds apart.  You’ve lived in both places – which one are you most fond of?

Well, truth be told, I only lived in Canada for a couple years, and I was too young to remember much, but I have visited from time to time and become reacquainted with the landscape. That said, both places have their benefits. In Texas, you get the hospitality and wide-open spaces, but in Montreal, you have the convenience of subways, the snow, the bustling city life, and Tim Horton’s…it’s a tough call. If I could split myself in two and live in both Texas and Quebec at once, I would in a heartbeat.

Looking back over all of the intimate moments you’ve created between characters, which scene would you most like to experience for yourself?  What makes it so alluring?

My favorite is still the first scene of that nature I wrote: I’d like to be on the Kiera end of Kiera and Jackson’s first time in his room in Peacebreakers. It was raw, honest, and more centered on emotional disclosure and hurt/comfort than actual lust, probably because I gave the characters a few months to date first. It’s also the least graphic intimate scene I’ve got, but I’ve never cared much for the graphic details anyway. Compared to some of my more recent scenes, you can tell I wasn’t a sellout when I wrote it.

Wow – I love that!  (LOL @ sellout!)  Have you ever battled with any of your characters over their personality traits?  If so, who won – you or the character?

Veronika. Oh god, Veronika, the villain from the Puppetmasters series. When I created her, she was supposed to fall into the role of “complete monster”–an unquestionably despicable villain who needed her comeuppance. But she decided she wanted more of a backstory, a justification, an understandable motive, and a semblance of humanity, and of course, she won out. She presses a persuasive argument when she wants to, despite the fact that she never made it into law school.

Nothing like a pestering villain – I LOVE how she demanded her time in the spotlight.  Besides her, LOL, have you ever made big changes in your story because someone – your crit partner, a friend, or beta reader – really didn’t like it?  Are you glad you did (or didn’t)?

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In Bulletproof, the next installment of the Puppetmasters series (release date TBA), some people thought I was killing off way too many characters, so I gave two of them reprieves. One of them didn’t even deserve my mercy, but I suppose I’m glad I spared him because killing him would have bummed out too many other characters and upset the whole emotional dynamic. He’s a jerk, but he’s their jerk.

Oooh, how close he came!  What a great perspective of the ordeal.  ;c)  As a suspense writer, how do you keep track of the clues and plot twists?

Outlines. Pages and pages of outlines.

Impressive!  Now, which of your novels most reflects who you are as a writer?  Why?

I’d have to say Fallen from Disgrace. The point of the book was for me to portray society and the human condition as I saw it, and I still agree with the views I held then. My series is more of a fun foray into scifi/the guilty pleasure of a nerdy novelist, but there’s not really any societal commentary or strong meaning hidden between the lines.

What are you currently working on?

I’m  waiting to hear from the press on my recently-completed novella, Godspeed, a dictator/refugee dystopian, which may be my last romance for a while. My writing is taking a detour into a “blue period”, so I’m pouring my creative juices into tragedy, which I find quite rewarding. It always was my favorite genre.

Speaking of tragedy, that’s what I’m drafting now: a novelette tentatively titled Phenomenal Liar, which follows the story of a young musician as he attempts to reassemble the pieces of his broken heart while touring with his distant bandmates, his ghostwriter, and the only girl who may be able to make him know happiness again…if she doesn’t hurt him more and drive him crazy.

Lastly, my short story, The Innocent, is set to appear in the anthology accompanying the Noble Romance Authors’ Blog Tour, which I’m superpsyched about. The thought of my work rubbing shoulders with that of HC Brown, Justine Elyot, Gianna Simone, Indigo Skye, and JS Wayne is totally squee-inducing every time. Totally hoping to see you all there when that tour starts!!

Best of luck with GODSPEED, and – oooh, ooooh – someone is gonna SQUEEE for sure when they see those Noble Blog Tour prizes – ah-MAZE-ing!  We’ll see Ms. MacKay right here again in April when the tour rolls through, so stay tuned!

Okay, guys, remember the question-of-marvel?  Here ’tis.  To enter the contest for a chance to win a book of your choice, please share your opinion on the tradition of Prussian dueling. Yes, Prussian dueling.  Ms. MacKay assures me the nature of your opinion won’t affect your chances – she’s just really curious on what people’s take on this topic is.  (And frankly now so am I!)

To learn more about Mindy MacKay, visit her website, blog, or tweet a while.  For the scoop on her releases, click one:  FALLEN FROM DISGRACE (romantic suspense), PEACEBREAKERS (scifi / suspense series), SOULGAME (scifi / suspense series).