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Hey guys. Thank you for joining us at the Coffee Time Romance & More. Today I bring you the lovely Ms. Mary Martinez, to discuss her suspense books, The Beckett Series, first four available now.
So let us begin the interview. Ms. Martinez, thank you so much for taking time out and joining us. Please first help yourself to the yummy sweet and salty goodies in front of you and with your favorite beverage ranging from coffee, tea, and hot chocolate to delicious shakes and smoothies; sit back and make yourself comfortable before I bombard you with questions.
I just finished reading Disappear, book 1 from the Beckett Series and I must say it was a major surprise in terms of style and genre from the previous book I have read by you which was Womenâ€™s Fiction. Will get to you on that later but firstâ€¦
Please tell our readers about the premise of the Beckett Series? Where did the idea originate from?
It originated from watching a documentary called the Bridge. In fact, Disappear was originally called The Bridge. And if youâ€™ve read the story you know the documentary. And it grew from there. As for the setting, I love Manhattan, Brooklyn, etc.
Are they standalone or to be read as a series for the reader to follow the storyline?
They are stand-alone. Theyâ€™re about the Beckett family. Itâ€™s nice to read them in order, but you donâ€™t need too.
Introduce us to the characters, what makes them tick, love and everything in between?
Martha and Fred, the Elders (parents), Tyler, Matt, Christine, Jessica, and the twins Reagan and Glenna. I know the family, theyâ€™re close. When one is in trouble they all band together. The Elders, Jessica and Reagan (lives in SF but she is back for the book Illusion) live in Brooklyn. Tyler and Christine in Manhattan, Matt in upstate New York and Glenna is in Northern California. Iâ€™ve walked their neighborhoods, I know where they like to hang out. Brooklyn has a fun little place called Putnamâ€™s Pub, youâ€™ll find Reagan hanging there usually for brunch on Sunday.
What makes them tick? Theyâ€™re the good guys and they want to make the world a better place to live.
Are the characters completely fictional, loosely or completely based on someone you know or yourself? Any favorites among them? *winks*
Yes, they are completely fictional, sorry to burst the bubble. But they are as real to me as any of my friends. Any favorites? Whichever story Iâ€™m currently working on. So Reagan at the moment. When I move to the next it will be either Matt or Glennaâ€”Iâ€™m not sure which story Iâ€™m doing next.
How would you divide the suspense versus romance and heat quotient in the Beckett Series? How does it differ from your other books?
Iâ€™m not really sure. Everyoneâ€™s heat meter is different. I believe itâ€™s sensual and sexy, but a long way from erotic. As for the Romance, I believe there is more romance in Disappear and Innocent, but again thatâ€™s me. It is totally different than my Three Brides and a Dress, which is a womenâ€™s fiction. It does have romance, but its more about the dress. And Four Sisters there is more family relationship issues.
I always have to reign myself in from researching. I get lost in it. In my day job I have to research information for Homeland Security and other law enforcement, it makes my research tame.
The traitor/informer in the story completely caught me by surprise. I do not think I even noticed her much in the scenes and was thinking along the lines of the other girl. Plus I actually liked her. How could you? And how did you keep it under wraps so easily? Were you tempted not to make her the bad guy?
Thatâ€™s easy. I write by the seat of my pants. Most of the time I donâ€™t know who the bad guy is, until itâ€™s revealed to me. And in Disappear I couldnâ€™t figure out WHO it was until the reader knew.
The second book, Innocent, also includes some serious issues like failing star jocks and repercussions from the coach, parents and sometimes even the whole town if they are avid sports fans. Also sex in exchange of passing grades etc. What did the research entail for this particular subject?
From the news. In our state around the time I wrote this, there were several teachers in trouble for having sex with their students. And of course, we live in a small town on the outskirts of Salt Lake and the high school here is big on football and so we are huge University of Utah Football fans, and a story was born.
Do the third and fourth book contain similar serious issues? Did you have to think twice about writing about things like this?
The third book was conceived by a news story of a neighbor boy who broke in and beat the woman to death with a bat. All for drug money. That was the germ that started it. And yes Illusion the 4th book in the series, is about a Financial Terrorist with a personal twist for Reagan.
The research for FBI and police procedures was hands on or mostly theory? Anything interesting for us readers to know?
I have several friends that work for the Feds. Not agents but two even went to Quantico. They are very helpful in protocol, and if they canâ€™t help, they put me in touch with someone. In Innocent, I had a bomb and my friend gave me the number of the Bomb Squad commander for the Feds in our state. I took pages of notes. And everything in that scene was from those notes. I tried to keep it generic because NY protocol may be slightly different. Christine is an attorney, I work with attorneys and have gone to Oral Arguments on occasion. Also, my friend who is an officer of the court has given me pages of procedure notes. So hopefully I have my courtroom scenes done correctly.
The book I read by you previously was, Three Brides and A Dress. For me it was really different and a fun book. After reading the Beckett Book, research demanded I know more about the genres you have written. They vary from pure romance to suspense, womenâ€™s fiction and even a garden blog. Wow! How do you jump from genre to genre? How different are they to write from each other? Which genre is the most difficult or complicated to write?
I honestly canâ€™t answer that. I write whatever the idea is that comes to me. I have pages and pages of ideas and blurbs for future projects. Some are sweet romance â€“ Breach of Contract, the little girl in it is suing her dad because he failed to find a new mom for her in the town they moved too. Of course, the attorney she gives her $1 as a retainer eventually gets together with the dad. But thatâ€™s just one example. Another is Celtic Myst about a Fantasy that starts back in the Druid period of Ireland. That one I plan to work on when I return from Ireland next year.
The sizzle factor in Beckett series is very high compared to Three Brides and A Dress, which was sweet and warming. Was it a requirement for the genre, personal choice or the story needed it? Which is easier to write; the steamy long scenes or the teasing snippets of passion and love?
Again, that is hard to answer. Wherever the story takes me, is where I go. I write like I read a book. I donâ€™t know what is going to happen on the next page, until I write the next page.
The character interaction between the lead characters in Disappear is less compared to interaction between them with other characters. Made me think the love might be due to the adrenaline rush and the situation. How do you define their feelings for each other? Do we see more of them in the rest of the series?
Tyler and Keira were together 24/7 as soon as they met. In romance dating time thatâ€™sÂ probably equates to months. But they do stay together and you meet ankle biting teething Lucy in Illusion.
Of all the books and characters you have written till now, which is your favorite or one you like visit time after time?
Thatâ€™s a hard one. I love Watching Jenny (first published as Peek A Boo). Jenny the naÃ¯ve rock band signer, that everyone things is a slut, a druggy, and hard as nails, but is the exact opposite.
I really love Katie and Adam in Classic Murder: Mr. Romance. Itâ€™s will re-published after the first of the year with a new look. I had more fun researching for thatâ€”it involved Cary Grant movies. They were just a fun delightful couple.
Which was the most difficult character and story you had to write among all your books? How do you overcome a difficult story/character?
Kathleen Williams of Four Sisters. She was so conflicted about her coming of age and attraction to women and not men. And her family, in the 60â€™s, good Catholics. It was very difficult and emotional.
How do fans react to each of your different genre books?
No one ever said. I have more fans for my suspense than my womenâ€™s fiction.
Any other writing projects you are currently working on? Blurbs, sneak peeks? Any plans on trying out other genres?
Right now, Iâ€™m working on the fourth book of the Beckettâ€™s. And then after that Iâ€™m going to finish The Nana Adventures, History Mystery. Itâ€™s a middle grade Iâ€™m working on with my three oldest grandkids. It will be released in the spring of 2016.
Nick Adams has mixed feelings about visiting his nana for the summer. On the one hand, heâ€™ll get to see her and his two younger cousins, Zeke and Bart, but then theyâ€™ll be stuck all summer in the small coastal town of Cliffdale, Californiaâ€”a place they all believe will be boring.
When the boys arrive, they ask Nana if they can ride their skateboards around town. Nana agrees as long as they stay away from the house next door. She explains that fifty years ago the owner, Albert Smith, arrived out of nowhere and bought the house, then disappeared just as mysteriously.
Despite Nanaâ€™s instructions to stay away from the house, Bart convinces his cousins itâ€™s haunted, and they canâ€™t resist exploring. They are determined to use their special gifts to discover what happened to Albert Smithâ€¦.and while they are busy discovering, they find they have a lot in common with the people in Cliffdale. Gifts.
How do you come up with different stories? Your source of inspirations?
Life. Watching Jenny, I was driving to work and listening to the radioâ€”full blast most likelyâ€”and Gwen Stafani came on and I thought, I wonder if she has ever had a stalker? And there it was. I just never know what I am going to have an idea blossom.
I read in your bio that you have six grown children. How did you manage writing with all of them running around or did your writing start after they had pretty much grown up?
I didnâ€™t. I waited until they were almost out of the house. Then I started my first book. That was in 2000. However, Iâ€™d always wanted too. And now I have.
The bio also says you guys love traveling, attending concerts and tailgating college football games. Tell us a bit about your adventures. Any interesting snippets/events or memory?
I love wine. So I love Italy. I love coffee, Iâ€™ve been to the original Starbuckâ€™s in Seattle. And no, I didnâ€™t have a coffee there, it was way too crowded to wait in line. Iâ€™m a concert whore. I have to go to them all. I love everything from Alanis Morissette, Jimmy Buffett (Iâ€™m a parrot head), to Barbra Streisand. An interesting snippet? We were married at the Utah vs San Diego game on Oct. 23, 1999 tailgating. After our first grandson was born, we decided after living together for 11 years and Nana and Papa couldnâ€™t be living in sin. Soâ€¦
Have you ever written a book (in any of the genres) which includes your passion for concerts, football and tailgating? If not, why?
I havenâ€™t thought of a good story line for football or tailgating yet. But Watching Jenny is about a Rock star with a stalker.
Any story or event in a book based on any of your personal adventures or experiences? How much reality do you incorporate in your stories (in any of the genres you have written)?
I donâ€™t believe any of my stories are based on any of my life. My Four Sisters has some events that were from my life. Like when Kathleenâ€™s friend lines her up for a blind date and they go to a drive-in. That basically is a true story with a little bit of change. And a few other scenes were based on experience with my friendâ€™s chemo. But that is about it.
Five things your fans do not know about you?
Iâ€™m pretty much an open book. Iâ€™m addicted to Pinterest. I LOVE to cook (I think they my know this). I always wanted two sets of twins so I would only have to be pregnant twice but have four kids. And the girls were going to be Melanie and Lemony. I was watching Gone with the Wind at the time. I couldnâ€™t think of anything that rhymed with Melanie so I made up a name. Thank the lord that didnâ€™t happen!
Iâ€™m adopted and Iâ€™ve always told everyone that Iâ€™m Irish because I can be whatever I want to be. Then I had a DNA test and Iâ€™m 48% Irish, which living in America is huge. I was hoping for 5 or 10%.
The best advice you got during your writing career which helped you?
Find a writing group and join. I joined Romance Writers of America. And the best thing Iâ€™ve ever done is joined a book club. Not with other writers. Join with readers. Youâ€™ll read genres you normally wouldnâ€™t and Iâ€™ve learned SO MUCH from them. What readers like what they donâ€™t. It has been a great experience..
Any advice for amateur writers or those who want to delve into multiple genres? Any ins and outs of good writing skills and getting published?
Do your homework. And if it sounds too good to be trueâ€”IT IS!!!!
If you could live in one of your stories for just one day, which would it be and why?
Three Brides and a Dress, because I made Classic Manhattan exactly how I would do it, if I owned it.
Any last comments or message for all your readers out there and us, here at Coffee Time Romance and More?
Please remember that authorâ€™s love feedback. Email us. Give reviews on Amazon and Goodreads whether you liked the story or not. And please give the reason why you gave 5 stars or 1 star.
Also, I have a new web site design. Drop by and see it. And I have Maryâ€™s Garden blog, we have lots of fun there. Please visit.
Thank you so much for taking time out to spend time with us here at Coffee Time Romance & More and giving us more insight to your books, life and writing. I hope you will join us again. Best of luck and success to you. Readers I hope you also enjoyed as much as I did. I cannot wait for the next book. Thank you for your time. We would love to hear your feedback. See you next time with another great author.
Check Mary’s Amazon page.
Mav (rewritten – re-post)