Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Author Interview w/Excerpt & Giveaway - Collateral Damage by Gwenan Haines

Collateral Damage

by Gwenan Haines 

GENRE: Romantic suspense 



For three years Laura Drake has watched Senator Pete Worthington promote a series of gorgeous women while she sits in a forgotten corner answering constituent letters on an outdated computer. When Worthington asks her to find an elusive file one Friday night he sets off a series of events that brands her as a killer and puts her life in jeopardy. The path she sets out on forces her to confront not only the nature of evil but the ghosts from her past that have never been set to rest.FBI Agent Dalton Ross transferred from Chicago to Washington to escape his own ghosts. When his investigation leads him to Laura he's torn between his desire to keep her safe and the need to protect his own heart. As the mystery that surrounds them deepens, Laura and Dalton race to save themselves and the nation from someone willing to sacrifice anything to protect a secret. 



Dalton checked his gun and opened the driver’s side door as quietly as possible. “Appearances can be deceiving.”  

She opened her door too. “You leave me here, I’m gone when you get back.” She flashed an object in front of his face. “And I’ve got the key.”  

“Do you have a death wish or something?” How had she managed to get hold of the key? He was sure he’d put it in his wallet, which was tucked away in the glove compartment. He would have remembered it if she’d opened it. “I thought you said you were dull.”  

“I am.” She deposited the key down the front of her dress. “But I’m kinda getting the hang of this adventure thing.” A grin tugged at the corner of his mouth, but he suppressed it. She was charming, no doubt about that. And damn mysterious, too. As she stood there smiling with cat-like satisfaction, he had to resist the urge to take her in his arms and kiss her. Just the idea of pressing his lips to hers was making him hard. The trouble was Laura had no idea what she was up against. She thought of all this as an exciting change from her ordinary life. But this was real life, and real life was full of people whose sole purpose was to inflict as much pain as they possibly could. It was all too easy to go about one’s business without ever seeing the dark side of things—he’d done it for years, and in a way, he wished he could go back to being that twenty-year-old kid who signed up for an interview with the FBI mostly to impress his buddies. But after more than a decade spent hunting killers he knew that like all fairy-tales, the happily-ever-after of suburbia had its monsters.  

In real life, people died. 

Talking with author Gwenan Haines!

What is your writing environment?

Most of the time I write in my office with the door shut. I’ve gotten to the point where I need to disconnect my laptop from the internet while I work because there are just too many distractions online. Lately I’ve also been writing in bed (which seems to work well for sex scenes!) and at my dining room table. I’ve also been trying to get into the habit of writing for shorter stints. The last book I finished, Collateral Risk, was written fairly quickly. Some days I would write for 12 hours with only a couple of breaks. My fingers were actually going numb at one point. I tend to like to write that way because I get caught up in the story and it feels like an intense roller-coaster ride. But my life being what it is, it’s hard to be able to write for such long periods for any length of time. So I’m working on being moderate. J

Who is your perfect hero/heroine and why?

Great question. It made me smile because my perfect hero and heroine are people who are deeply flawed in some way, by which I don’t mean their failings make them bad people but that they’ve got their struggles to overcome. If a character is too perfect I have a tough time getting interested. Sometimes I worry I go too far with this but I’ve got to write the characters as they evolve in my mind. My most recent novel, Collateral Risk, is about a hero who has been struggling with drinking. Nick Doyle is Dalton Ross’s boss in the counter-terrorism section at the FBI and plays a small role in Collateral Damage. After I submitted that book to my editor, Nick felt unfinished so I decided to take on his struggle—the book starts off when he’s on a 30-day stint at a rehab facility. I hesitated to start that way because I didn’t want readers to perceive Nick as weak (he’s not, in any sense of the word). But I couldn’t write him any other way.   

What authors have caught your interest lately and why? 

I love Karin Slaughter’s suspense novels and have gotten very fond of her characters. Will Trent, a brilliant agent for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, is one of the sexiest, most appealing heroes out there. Her series isn’t a romance series at all but I’m rooting for him and his new love interest Sara Linton. I’m also a big fan of Kate Morton, who writes gothic novels that alternate between past and present. And I love Iris Johansen and P.D. James for their fast-paced suspense. Oh, and Tami Hoag. I read The Ninth Girl not too long ago and loved her character Gray, a teen-age poet-outsider-rebel who goes missing. I just ordered Hoag’s novel Cold, Cold Heart and can’t wait to read it.  

What type of book have you always wanted to write? 

I’ve always wanted to write a romantic comedy, a straight suspense novel and a gothic novel set in the 1800s that features Emily Dickinson as a character. So far, I haven’t done much with any of these ideas because I’m working on other things. But I hope to get to all three at some point in the not-too-distant future.


Top 3 things on your bucket list?

Tough question – there are so many things I want to do, so I’ll pick a few random ones. Study with Buddhist monks in Tibet, learn martial arts, relearn Russian. Finally learn to cook. Oh, and one more thing – fall in love.  


How did you get the idea for this particular novel?

I used to work in Washington. I was also hooked on House of Cards on Netflix!


What is your favorite scene in your new release?

I can’t tell because it’s further in the book and would spoil the plot. There are two, actually. One involves the hacker Eli Todorev, who is a bit of a comic character. He has to fight off a couple of thugs and does so in a very geeky way. I ended up developing him a lot more than I planned and got really fond of him. I also liked seeing how Laura changes over the course of the book and becomes more courageous. She’s had a lot to cope with over the years and has pulled into herself as a way to protect her psyche. Dalton pulls her out of herself and as he does so, she begins to change. But her journey isn’t over by the end of the book, in part because it just didn’t seem realistic, considering her past. 


What are you working on now and when can we expect it to be available? 

I’m working on second-round edits for the follow-up novel to Collateral Damage, the one I mentioned in the earlier question. It should be out early next year. Here’s the blurb (which just got approved by Wild Rose Press):

After losing her sister to a serial killer years earlier, scientist Mia Lindgren survives by focusing on the most dangerous viruses known to man. She’s become adept at shutting herself off from human contact—until her lab partner at the Institute for Research of Infectious Diseases drowns under suspicious circumstances. Forced to accept the assistance of Nick Doyle, an FBI counter-terrorism expert on leave, she soon realizes someone at the Institute is involved in a deadly deception. As she and Nick race to find a killer who will stop at nothing to accomplish his version of Armageddon, they can’t ignore their own chemistry. But can Mia truly put the past to rest? 

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Well, I read a lot, no surprise there. J I also run—or maybe I should say jog. I’ve got a teen-age daughter and a husky, so they both keep me pretty busy. Lately I’ve been getting back into photography. And I write poetry too. I tend to gravitate toward anything that offers a way to funnel my creativity into concrete expression, whatever form that takes. But one of my goals is to develop some interests that are completely different and even a little wacky. I’ve always wanted to study martial arts and am thinking about doing that. I’d also love to travel more, especially to some off-the-beaten-track places.


What is one interesting fact about you that readers don’t know?

I was once stranded in the Himalayas with a member of the Afghan resistance. Long story. Long time ago.


Thanks for having me!
AUTHOR Bio and Links:

I live in an old Cape house with my daughter, too many books, and a red-and-white Siberian husky born on Halloween. After working in Washington, D.C. for several years and traveling to Russia, Europe and Pakistan, I moved back to New England. I’m the author of the romantic suspense novel Vertigo, which is available as an E-book from Amazon Encore and in paperback from Wild Rose Press. Collateral Risk, the follow-up novel to Collateral Damage (which features Dalton’s boss Nick Doyle and scientist Mia Lindgren), is forthcoming from Wild Rose Press. When I’m not working on fiction, I write poetry, teach literature and am still trying to learn how to cook.  




Gwenan Haines will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


  1. Thanks for sharing this interview :)

  2. I hope to read this book.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  3. Sounds like a great read.

  4. Stranded in the Himalayas?? Could've been a worse place to be stranded...lol

    1. It was beautiful - you could see the distant lights of the villages below - but Very Cold! :)

  5. How do you feel about ebooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

    1. I love print books best, but I also read a lot on my Kindle. I'm very into the hybrid model of publishing right now - a little of both. :)

  6. Enjoyed your comments and the excerpt was great.

  7. Flawed characters make for great reading.

  8. Enjoyed reading your interview, thank you!

  9. Loved the interview! Thanks for sharing!

  10. I really enjoyed reading the excerpt and the interview! This book sounds like such an exciting, interesting, and intriguing read! I love thriller/romance suspense books and this one sounds perfect! Totally can't wait to read this book!