I’m pleased to welcome back Donna Del Oro, and she has brought with her an extremely generous offer. If you’d like to find out how you can get one of her books for FREE, simply read to the end of the interview. In the meantime, settle in and join us for some rather fascinating conversation. If you’re not familiar with her book, this will blow you away.
Welcome, Donna! You’re here to talk about your release, A BODYGUARD OF LIES, but before we jump in, I’d love for readers to know about your dedication to keeping your stories real. Can you tell us about your trip to Mexico’s border town Nuevo Laredo? (Yikes!)
To do some research for my first book, a women’s fiction novel with a Latina heroine, I drove from San Antonio, Texas with my sister, Gloria, to the bordertown of Nuevo Laredo. This was in 2005 before the bordertowns became more violent and dangerous. Even then, we were warned to be careful and not go into bad areas, to stay in the touristy, downtown section. Which we did. We walked across the Rio Bravo, as the Mexicans call it, and had lunch and shopped a little. Then we saw a pickup truck loaded with men in civilian clothes. The men in the bed of the truck all carried Uzi-looking machine guns. I asked someone who they were, and he said, “No son federales.” Meaning, they weren’t the state police; they were drug cartel militia, the Zetas, on patrol. So Gloria and I decided it was time to leave and we hurried across the border back to Texas. It was scary and I don’t think I’ll do anything that bold or stupid again while researching for one of my novels. The scene in the Zetas’ saloon, however, conveyed the kind of fear I felt. So in a sense, the “boots-on-the-ground” research was very helpful.
I’m pretty sure I just sprouted a new crop of gray hair reading that, although the writer in me has to agree the experience had to be phenomenal for authorly purposes. *gnaws fingernails* On to A BODYGUARD OF LIES. Can you introduce our readers to the story?
BODYGUARD is a blend of spy fiction, mystery and thriller with a romantic subplot. Jake Bernstein, a Jewish American FBI analyst, is recruited by MI-5 to go undercover and investigate a naturalized American citizen, an elderly grandmother suspected of World War II war crimes. MI-5 believe her to be a notorious Nazi spy never caught by the Allies during the war. They believe her to be responsible for the deaths of thousands of soldiers and civilians in Europe, so they are anxious to see justice prevail. Jake begins the assignment, thinking the grandmother is most likely a harmless, cranky old woman. Little does he know…
I’m blown away by the depth here. Your plot has such incredible layers. What made you decide to write a story along these lines . . . or did the story decide for you?
Well, I’ve always been a student of World War II. I used to watch the old “World at War” TV series with my father, who fought in the Pacific campaign during the war. And I’ve loved espionage thrillers ever since I read Ken Follett’s THE DAY OF THE JACKAL and THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE. I’ve always wanted to write my own spy novel, so this was a kind of hybrid spy, mystery-thriller with a little romance thrown in. Jake finds himself falling in love/lust with the suspect’s beautiful grand-daughter, Meg, who doesn’t know the truth about her grandmother. The themes of moral ambiguity and the need for justice and retribution are dominant themes of this story.
Here’s what NY Times bestselling author, Brenda Novak, has to say about A BODYGUARD OF LIES:
“The past and the present collide in this intriguing romantic thriller that captures the angst and pain a lifetime of lies can cause. The complex plot combines politics, romance and history. This story positively captivates!”
–BRENDA NOVAK, NY Times bestselling author of romantic suspense, March, 2012
I am still absolutely shaking my head at the complexity of your plot, and I mean that as a high compliment. I can’t imagine what it took to write, but it must be such a unbelievable experience for readers. What draws you to the suspense genre?
It’s the only genre that holds my full attention as a reader and a writer.
That’s a great reason! What might readers be surprised to learn about the plot or characters of A BODYGUARD OF LIES.
Probably that even Nazi spies were human, too. I inserted a couple of chapters written in the spy’s POV so that the reader could understand the circumstances of the war, the need on both sides for expert intelligence, and understand how a German woman of that time could do what she did.
I think I become more intrigued with each of your answers, and that’s a great point. It’s hard to personalize people most of us have grown up villainizing, so I’m quite interested in how you accomplished that. Okay, let’s have some fun with A BODYGUARD OF LIES. What’s the first sentence?
Well, let’s toss in the first couple of sentences.
“In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.” –Winston Churchill
The four-decker ferry tossed about in the Irish Sea. Clare Eberhard, keeping her sea legs, stood and peeked through the curtains of stateroom number five. It was dark and the rain lashed the window with unleashed fury. She glanced at her watch. It was time.
WOW, what a hook! What’s your favorite line in the book?
“Lady Justice may be blind but she has a long memory.” Some of the WWII generation is still alive and I bet they understand this quote. The Jewish Defense League and others involved in finding the perpetrators of the Holocaust would also understand. Finally, even Jake comes around to understanding this human need for justice.
A simple but profound statement. How about an excerpt … three sentences long! Yep, that’s it. Three!
Okay, here goes:
“She was no longer Clare Eberhard. No longer the Wehrmacht trainee, code named Hummingbird. She was no longer Katy O’Donnell with her fake documents.”
That brings many questions to mind, Donna. Great excerpt! Which scene of A BODYGUARD OF LIES was most difficult for you to write? Why?
Strangely enough, not the WW II scenes written in the Nazi spy’s POV. I found myself completely understanding her and her motives. Writing from a man’s POV is very challenging. I have to think like a man, assume a different attitude and, of course, talk like a man. Fortunately, I’ve read a lot of books, including thrillers, written by a variety of male authors. Getting inside Jake’s head was quite an adventure!
LOL! Which scene of A BODYGUARD OF LIES would you most like to experience for yourself? From whose POV?
Ha, probably the love scene between Jake and Meg. Oh, yeah! I’m not THAT old!
LMAO! What’s next for you?
I’m beginning to do research on the sequel to BODYGUARD. Another Jake Bernstein thriller, only this time he goes undercover in Silicon Valley with the San Jose FBI counter-terrorism task force. One of the mosques in Santa Clara, the FBI discovered later, funneled money to Al-Qaeda before 9-11. Within a mile of where I used to live! Unbelievable, what goes on beneath our own noses. It’s espionage in its most evil form right in our own back yards!
Wow, that is incredible. You have some of the most amazing plots, Donna, and here’s a closer look at one of ’em.
A BODYGUARD OF LIES | about & links
A BODYGUARD OF LIES (release: Jan. 13th) has a dual setting, a contemporary one and a WWII/London setting. It’s a blend of romance, mystery and WWII espionage. I researched it while in England, Ireland and Germany in 2009. The story involves a Jewish-American FBI analyst, who’s recruited by MI-5 to go undercover and investigate a naturalized American grandmother. The elderly woman is suspected by MI-5 of being a notorious Nazi spy never caught by the Allies during the war, who caused the deaths of thousands and is wanted for war crimes. Jake Bernstein runs into a series of unexpected obstacles and complications: This spy knows a secret that could endanger the royal family; the old woman has a beautiful granddaughter who threatens to derail his investigation; a neo-Nazi group in Ireland known as the Celtic Wolves; and a clever, cagey old woman who’s not as weak as she looks.
MORE INFO & BUY @ MUSA PUBLISHING
DONNA DEL ORO | about the author
Donna Del Oro spent her childhood in two places, Silicon Valley, CA and the countryside of East Texas, as her father tried several job opportunities. Finally settling in Silicon Valley, she grew up in a bilingual, bicultural world–Spanish on her mother’s side and English on her father’s. Comfortable in both worlds, she decided upon retiring from teaching to write about her Hispanic side. Four women’s fiction books resulted and a series about professional singers, their careers and love lives. Retired and devoting much of her abundant free time to exercise, writing, singing and her grandson, Donna has finally reached a point in life that totally satisfies her. Life is good and she has no complaints, just a lot of gratitude for her many blessings.
**Request a Free Book**
Donna is giving you *all* a chance to get a copy of her *award winning* debut release OPERATION FAMILIA for *free!* To request the book, read A BODYGUARD OF LIES and leave a review on Amazon, then contact Donna with a link to your review. Awesome, right? *grins*
I’d like to thank Donna for her time today, as well as all of you for being here with us. I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at A BODYGUARD OF LIES. Have a fantastic day!