Today, I welcome back fellow Crimson Romance writer, Nancy C. Weeks. Nancy is celebrating her first In the Shadow of Greed. I thought I would ask her a few questions about this book’s journey from her mind to the page.
NOTE: In celebration of her one year anniversary, Nancy is giving away one digital copy of the Shadow series, In the Shadow of Greed, In the Shadow of Evil and In the Shadow of Malice to one lucky person who leaves a comment.
Tell us a little bit about In the Shadow of Greed and why readers should check it out.
In the Shadow of Greed is a romantic suspense set in the ambiguous world of cybercrime - where a seemingly friendly email message invites you to visit a website that warms your heart with lovely images and soothing music, while some obscure script is busy scrubbing your hard drive, collecting information about you, your family, your habits, hobbies, and possibly user identification and passwords.
My heroine, Dr. Sarah Tu epitomizes the dedicated effort we all want and need from those committed to the field of cyber security, protecting information and systems from the growing threat of terrorism and espionage. Like real-life law enforcement officers, my hero, FBI Special Agent, Jason McNeil deals daily with worst that mankind has to offer. He, like real-life law enforcement officers, struggles with how to keep the evil he sees from touching the people he loves. Combining Sarah and Jason’s lives was a real challenge, but the contrast made for some great conflict.
What kind of research did you have to do for In the Shadow of Greed?
I first heard about botnets from my son who is in a master program for cyber security at the University of Maryland. I was unfamiliar with the term and began an extensive search. As I devoured one article after another, a real cyber crime called Conficker caught my attention. The Conficker worm was first detected in 2008 and has infected millions of computers worldwide. This wasn’t fiction, but a dangerous threat to personal identities, data integrity, and national security.
What was the easiest and hardest scene to write in the book?
This is a hard question to answer without spoiling something vital in the story, but I’ll give it a try.
I find the hardest scenes for me to write are when my stories demand that a beloved character die. One chapter tore my heart in two, and I had to write it that way because nothing else made sense. I spend a lot of time trying to get inside my character’s head and heart. After a while, they are real to me. In this scene, I knew what was going to happen, but the hero and heroine had no idea. As I wrote that scene, I sat at my kitchen table and bawled just like Kathleen Turner’s character, Joan Wilder in Romancing the Stone. But unlike Joan Wilder, I was alone and didn’t have a loveable cat to hug when it was all over.
The easiest scene to write was the Epilogue. My hero and heroine were finally together. Their life together was beginning, and even though they still had a lot of grief to deal with, they were no longer alone. They had each other to hold onto. That is what I wish for all my readers; to have someone wonderful in their lives to hold onto when times are wonderful… and when they aren’t.
What inspired you to write In the Shadow of Greed?
I don’t have a technical bone in my body, but I have a great respect for those that do. There are brilliant computer scientists, cyber security and intelligence analysts, and engineers who dedicate their lives minding our fences, constantly monitoring our virtual perimeters, and holding back potential threats to our identities, to our data integrity, and to our national security. I wanted to honor them, let the world know that they are our unsung heroes.
Now for something fun…
What is the theme song to this book? As you wrote the story, what music did you go back to time and time again?
This is such an easy question. Here is Jason and Sarah’s song. It is alive in Jennie and Jared’s story as well as Adam and Calista’s. It tugs at my every heartstring. Enjoy!
“Song from a Secret Garden” – Violin and Piano
And here is a little taste of what readers have in store…
Excerpt for In the Shadow of Greed
He thinks I’m dead. Sarah’s coming. Help her!
The voice quivered inside Jason’s head. He pushed away from the pillar and froze. No one was there. His gaze fell back to the woman in the bed. His eyes narrowed and he clenched his jaw, biting down so hard, pain shot up his inner ear.
The next instant, a petite woman with long, straight, raven hair and the most beautiful, hazel eyes he had ever seen charged through the trauma unit. A security officer followed close behind and grabbed her arm, stopping her from moving any farther into the restricted area.
Jason stared at the woman in the bed and back to the woman by the door. He knew, without a doubt, her name was Sarah. His mind raced for an explanation.
“Ma’am, you can’t be back here.” The guard tried to pull Sarah back through the doors.
Sarah yanked out of his hold. The expression on her face was intense, unyielding. “Like hell I can’t. My sister is here. She needs me.”
The charge nurse moved from behind a counter of the nurse’s station and stood next to the security officer. “How can I help you?”
The nurse’s low, gentle voice seemed to have a soothing effect on Sarah. “Hanna Tu.” Her voice shuddered.
Jason couldn’t take his eyes off Hanna’s sister. In an instant, she transformed from a stiletto wearing, ice-dragon on the war path—just the kind of woman he disliked—into a frightened, desperate woman whose vulnerabilities brought out his protective instinct.
As her eyes wildly searched the trauma unit, the nurse reached for Sarah’s arm and guided her toward the doors.
“We’re still assessing your sister’s condition. I’ll have one of the doctors come talk to you in the waiting room as soon as they can. She’s in good hands, I promise you.”
“I need to see her. I need to know she’s okay. The police wouldn’t allow me into her apartment. No one has told me anything. There was so much blood.” She sucked in a deep breath as tears clouded her eyes. “Please let me see her for a moment.”
Her eyes narrowed on the cubicle surrounded by a curtain. One of the nurses moved the fabric aside and left carrying a tray of vials. Sarah’s gaze fell on her sister. “Oh God! Hanna!”
She took a step toward her sister, but her body began to tremble and her knees buckled. Jason rushed forward and caught her as her body collapsed. With one arm wrapped around her waist, he used his other hand to lift the badge that hung around his neck and flashed it at the nurse. “She’s with me.”
He then found an empty chair away from a direct view of the cubicle and lowered Sarah into it. He knelt, keeping his arm around her. Her body shook violently and she gasped for air. The charge nurse brought over a cup of water and handed it to Jason. He brought it to Sarah’s lips.
“Drink, Sarah, it will help.”
She sipped the water and closed her eyes, taking in several deep breaths. “W-who hurt her? W-why?”
“We don’t know, but we’ll find out. He’ll pay for this.”
Sarah finally glanced up at him and pulled away. “Who are you?”
And the ice-dragon’s back. Jason clenched his jaw to keep a smile from spreading across his face. He couldn’t put his finger on the why, but this woman intrigued him. “Detective Jason McNeil.”
“Why are you here and not out finding the person who hurt my sister?”
Don’t let her push you away. She needs you, we need you.
Jason was taken aback by the weak, small voice in his head. What the hell was going on? Finding his voice, he said, “Someone tried to kill your sister.” He glanced toward Hanna’s cubicle. A crushing anger boiled up from deep within his gut. “The guy who attacked her has killed at least three other times we know about and he didn’t mean to leave Hanna alive. I’m not giving him a chance to finish the job.”
Oh God, he’s here… He’s here! Don’t let him near Sarah!
Nancy C. Weeks lives in suburban Maryland with her husband of more than thirty years. With her two grown children out of the nest, she loves spending her days on her deck writing as the local bird population keeps her company.
Find Nancy at:
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/NancyCWeeksAuthor,
Buy links for Nancy C. Weeks’s Shadow series:
IN THE SHADOW OF GREED
BARNES AND NOBLE: http://bit.ly/16GHb6I
CRIMSON ROMANCE: http://www.crimsonromance.com/
IN THE SHADOW OF EVIL
BARNES AND NOBLE: http://bit.ly/17hjfco
CRIMSON ROMANCE: http://www.crimsonromance.com/
IN THE SHADOW OF MALICE
BARNES AND NOBLE: http://bit.ly/1dId2db