Welcome, Raquel. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
There is whisper of myself in each character. I write what my heart knows and so the trials and triumphs they face are shades of what has touched my own life.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I took target shooting classes for research…does that count? The police officer that conducted the gun safety lesson found it the oddest reason for anyone to want to learn to shoot.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I think the Lord designed my heart to tell stories. I’ve written for as long as I can remember. Always with adventure, faith, and love in them. Though, I’ve gotten much better since writing Bear and Cat Have a Picnic when I was five.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I’ve always been a huge mystery fan. From the noir detective novels by Dashiell Hammett to Sherlock Holmes, I love a good chase. I enjoy romance of any era. Something about hearts and lives on the line really pulls me in. I’m also a major cop procedural lover. If there’s a rogue cop and a deadly criminal, I’m reading it.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I have a son that has autism, he’s very high functioning, but he still is most comfortable with established routines. So our household runs on a very clear schedule. It really helps that everyone is in bed at a certain time and the house is quiet and still for me to write.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
My critique partner pointed out that all of my heroine’s names begin with the letter, R. She wondered if that was because they were symbolic as being a part of me since my name begins the same way. I had no idea I did this until she told me. I thought I chose names that sounded nice.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I’m most proud of my children. I’ve homeschooled all of them since pre-school. All six of them are sweet young people that love the Lord. There is nothing that will ever be more important to me.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I think I would be a platypus. As the duck-billed mammal that lays eggs, it fits with my tendency to not always adhere to the norm. Plus, I think they’re kinda cute.
What is your favorite food?
I’ve recently developed a complete love for anything Cajun. My brother took me out to eat alligator and crawfish when I was writing a book that takes place in the
bayou. I love the spicy, hearty meals that fill you up and remind you of family. Louisiana
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I think that overcoming the need for every chapter to be perfect before moving on was really stopping me from finishing. Someone at a conference told me to give myself time to improve. She said writing was a trial by fire, learn-as-you-go type of affair and I just had to get the story out. Helped me tremendously.
Tell us about the featured book.
Purple Knot is an inspirational romantic suspense. Reyna Cruz, who left
in the midst of tragedy, goes back and teams up with her ex fiancé to solve his sister’s mysterious death. Seattle
Please give us the first page of the book.
I lurk in the shadows of the normal world. A recorder of sins, I dwell in the gray of secrets and lies. I capture images of infidelity, and follow the printed trails of stolen promises. Nothing stays hidden from me, no matter how deeply it’s buried. I am a purveyor of all that is protected, and I am very good at my job.
That is how I came to be on the fourth floor of an abandoned carpet warehouse with my camera on its tripod and a foam cup of coffee in my hand. A client, for whom I’ve done numerous jobs, asked me to keep an eye on his business partner. For the last four weeks, I’d tracked balding, middle-aged, Norman Bower from his lunch meetings to his handball matches and back to the office. I’d snapped images of him buying shoes, awkwardly flirting with a waitress way too young for him, and sneaking cigarettes in the parking garage before heading home to his wife and kids.
My client was convinced Mr. Bower was passing information about their sealed job bids to a rival company and wanted proof of cavorting with the enemy to use in a take-over. Unfortunately, Mr. Bower’s only vice was that he was incredibly boring. Still, I was on retainer, so I took a few more shots of Mr. Bower seriously testing the strength of his sweat suit material while trying to achieve the downward dog position in his beginning yoga class across the street.
My phone buzzed and I answered it while packing up equipment. There’s no way Bower would try to court a client while sweating like a junkie and fighting off a heart attack. I was done here.
“Reyna Cruz,” I answered.
My heart sank when I heard Summer on the other end. I recognized the way her words sounded through a busted lip, and I gritted my teeth, willing myself not to get upset. Summer’s husband was an animal.
“Yeah, Summer. How are you?” I shoved my camera into the case and rubbed my eyes.
“I’m at the hospital. Jimmy wanted me to call you.”
Jimmy was her brother and the only decent male in her life. He wasn’t a cop, but monitored the chatter on the sheriff’s frequency whenever he could. Jimmy listened for domestic dispute calls almost compulsively. That he’d hear his sister’s was only a matter of time.
Jimmy’s laid back drawl came across the line, and his crooked grin flashed behind my eyes. Originally from
Louisiana, he and Summer had moved with their family to when they were fourteen. They were twins and my very best friends in the world. Jimmy, at one time, had been much more than that. Seattle
How can readers find you on the Internet?
The can reach me at my writing blog: http://nitewriter6.blogspot.com/Or at my website: http://raquelbyrnes.com/
Thank you, Raquel, for the interesting interview.
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