Welcome, we are talking today with T.D. McKinney. First of all, I would like to thank you
for taking time out of your busy writing schedule to answer a few questions for our
Can you give our readers a brief synopsis of Dancing in the Dark?
Dancing in the Dark is about uncontrollable desires and passions. It's about finding the
darkness inside yourself and discovering the real you. It's told through the eyes of Jack
Niemczyk, an FBI profiler. Jack's spent his adult life putting himself inside the minds of
some of the most twisted killers ever born. There isn’t much he hasn’t seen or hunted
and it's left him jaded and more than a little tired of it all but still determined to stop the
monsters that prey on society. His life takes a turn for the worse when he’s sent to New
Orleans to find yet another serial killer. He hates the city, he hates the case, and he
hates his partner on the task force, a Cajun loose canon named Remy Lambert. Remy is
Jack’s opposite in almost every way. Twice divorced, Jack is a big city, sarcastic, Yankee
interested in women only as victims he can help or bedmates he can enjoy. He's a by-the-
book perfect agent. Remy is a Cajun from Lafayette, happily married, boyishly charming
with a knack for cutting corners and doing things the wrong way. But they share a hero
complex and a driving need to see justice win. With their investigation rapidly heading
south, the last thing Jack needs is Remy's insistence their last hope is an underworld
crime lord’s mistress with the dress sense of a Bourbon Street hooker.
Bold and brazen, Baby Roxton is everything Jack finds unattractive in a woman until he
sees her fangs and tastes her blood. He's as consumed by his newfound sexual addition
as he ever was by his need to stop a murderer. Despite everything his head tells him, his
gut insists he wants her and he wants all the darkness she has to offer. Lucky for him,
she sees something beyond the button-down image he presents to the world. Together,
they set out to stop the serial killer and maybe completely alter Jack’s way of thinking.
Can you give our readers a brief synopsis of My Secret Yankee?
My Secret Yankee, written with Aimee Masion, is about secrets and scandals and how they
can bind people together or tear them apart. Set during the Union occupation of New
Orleans, it's the story of the Valmont family and how three of the family must deal with
war and the secrets that make up their lives to find real love. The Valmont's are wealthy
Confederate Creoles, polished, refined, and well-verse in the adage that as long as
everything appears to be as it should be it is as it should be. When Federal troops pour
into New Orleans and “Beast” Butler imposes martial law upon the city, Angele Valmont
struggles to make the best of things. She's determined to see her business and her
family survives the losses of the war.
Major James Darling resents being stationed in a town of haughty Creoles and serving
under a reprobate like Butler. Then he rescues Angele from the consequences of Butler's
Order No. 28. It's love at first sight. The trouble is their secret love affair could ruin lives
and scandalize the whole French Quarter and half the American Sector. They have to keep
their love a secret to protect Angele's sister, Charlie. Charlie on the other hand doesn't
care about scandal, she just wants to marry the man her family picked out for her and
that she's come to love, even if he's wearing Union blue. Wesley Leighton is an old
family connection and her promised groom but now that he's a "traitor" they can never
marry. Their cousin Severin has his own issues, not the least of which is keeping his long
standing love affair with the very beautiful and very male Antoine Broullette hidden.
I just finished reading both Dancing in the Dark and My Secret Yankee. I was wondering
with the first book being a horror and the second being a Historical Romance, how you
switch from writing Horror to writing Historical Romance?
*Keels over laughing* And in between I write Contemporary Paranormal Romance and
Romantic Comedy. I guess I don't see the books as this genre or that genre, I just see
them as stories that need to be told. I approach all the books the same way. I put an
equal amount of research into Dancing in the Dark and My Secret Yankee. The writing
process is the same. It just seems natural to me.
How did you come up with the character Special Agent Jack Niemczyk in your book
Dancing in the Dark, did you have to do a lot of research for him? Is he based on any one
Jack actually has a rather special place in my heart. I've always loved detective and
mystery novels. Too much Sherlock Holmes when I was a child, I suppose. When I
started to write Jack, he was going to be a one-off, disposable character but somewhere
down the line, I fell in love with him. After I finished the first draft of the novel, I
decided I wanted to make sure I really had my facts right so I settled in to do some
serious research. A friend directed me to the autobiographical Mindhunter by FBI profiler
John Douglas. Halfway through the book I emailed my friends, "Oh my God! He's Jack!
Only nicer!" Can you imagine how exciting it is to invent the greatest guy you can think of
and then find someone even better in real life? Then Mr. Douglas was kind enough to
read Dancing in the Dark. It was great--absolutely nerve wracking but great! Even more
so since he likes it and has become a great supporter and mentor.
So to answer your question, creating the character didn't take a lot of research but
verifying that I had the right personality and traits for a profiler did. And he wasn't based
on any one person but he surely hero worships John Douglas a bit. *grin*
What is the best part about being a writer? The most frustrating?
Those are hard questions! The best parts - the readers, seeing your name on the cover of
a book, knowing you really are good enough to make the grade. The most frustrating-
hmmm. Some of the business parts are boring. I don't like writing blurbs and coming up
with tag lines. And I hate filling out forms.
I really haven't had any great frustration so far. I'm sure it will come.
What do you consider to be the key elements of a great story?
Characters that are real - if you have great characters that the author understands, the
story nearly writes itself. Put them in well-thought out surroundings and even a mundane
plot become interesting. The greatest plot in the world won't help lack-luster characters.
The reader won't care enough to read the book. Why should they? The reader has to care
about the people in the story and what is happening in their lives. If you can add a good
solid plot to the setting and characters, well then you have a winner.
Where can readers find your novel, and how can they contact you?
You can find all of them along with direct links to my publishers at my website. Readers can email me at email@example.com. My novels and
shorter stories are available from Amber Quill Press, www.amberquill.com, and eXtasy
Books, www.extasybooks.com as well as Amazon.com. I love hearing from people so I
encourage them to email me.
I noticed both Dancing in the Dark and My Secret Yankee are set in New Orleans, does
New Orleans have a special place in your heart? Are any of your other books set in New
I'm from the area around Mobile, Alabama. Mobile and New Orleans are very similar -
founded by the same men, same climate, same culture. I have family in New Orleans so
I've visited there since infancy. It's a great place - unique on this continent. There's a
little bit of everything there. I love the city and go there whenever I can.
Of my published or soon-to-be published works, three are set in New Orleans, one in
Florida, and one in Modesto, California. Of the works in progress, two are set in New
Orleans, one in the Caribbean, and one in England.
Are you working on any projects right now? Can you give our readers a sneak peak?
Oh yes! I work all the time! I write something every night - I've given up sleep. Trixie
Stilletto and I just finished a romantic comedy, Eight is Never Enough. It will be
published by Amber Quill Press sometime later this year or the beginning of 2006. I'm
working on the sequel to Dancing in the Dark. Jack's story continues in Walking After
Midnight. He was perfectly happy as Baby's pet but his life has turned to crap again.
Someone is killing mortals who, like Jack, have taken vampire lovers and leaving notes
addressed to Jack. And worst of all, his vampire has left him. Aimée and I are working on
a couple of projects, an untitled paranormal Regency Romance and a paranormal romance
about a young woman with god-like control over weather and her relationship with
vampire couple called Ménage. I'm plotting a novel featuring Remy Lambert and another
with Stewart Westmoreland. I'd like to do a standard Regency romance and maybe a
Western. And Aimée will kill me, but I would like to do a sequel to My Secret Yankee.
You write Horror, Paranormal Romance, Romantic Comedy, and Historical Romance; what
is your favorite genre to write?
It goes back to not really thinking about genre. Each story has its own special elements.
I admit there are times though when I just need a dead body and snarky profiler. Nothing
makes me feel better than a good murder.
Are all of your books E Published? Have you ever considered publishing anything in print?
All of my titles are available in e-books. Dancing in the Dark and My Secret Yankee are
both available in trade-size paperback. In fact, Dancing was Amber Quill's top selling
paper back for the last quarter of 2004. I like both formats.
Which of all your books was the hardest to write and why?
None of them were actually hard to write. Writing comes easy. It's actually what I do to
relax! My Secret Yankee had the most extensive rewrite of them all. The editors wanted
us to add a lot to the story, explore one of the relationships more. Sometimes I get
frustrated because other things keep me from writing, but setting words on paper is
actually one of the most fun and gratifying things I can think of to do.
How can your readers contact you?
They can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on my Yahoo group. They can also visit my Live
Journal at http://www.livejournal.com/users/ebony_silvers. I'm very accessible. I love
hearing from people so they shouldn't hesitate to contact me.
Do you have anything to add or say to our readers?
Thanks for all the support! I really appreciate all of you!
Again, I would like to thank you for taking the time to answer a few brief questions. We
look forward to your next book.