1) Cole Hunter, the hero of your newest novel Silent Threat, is facing some serious issues -- the loss of his best friend and a major injury. Can you tell us a little about where his head is at when the novel begins?
As a Navy SEAL, Cole's entire identity is that he's a super warrior. He can take care of himself, and others. He can handle just about anything. And then he loses the use of his right arm, and his hearing. Not only he's unable to hold a weapon, he can't even hear the enemy coming. His injuries challenge his concept of self, and he's not taking it well. Basically, he holes up in his apartment with all his guns. He's in a really dark place. When his ex CO (Commanding Officer) asks him to go undercover at a rehab facility for vets, it's the last place he wants to be. But, of course, he goes, because he will never say no when his country needs him.
2) It certainly doesn't seem like the best time to find love, but then Cole meets Annie. What is it about her that gets his attention?
Annie is Cole's polar opposite. He was a sniper with the SEALs; he took lives. Annie is a healer, she restores lives. He believes in his own strength, in being prepared, and having the right tools/weapons for any job. She believes in a world as one large organism where we all help each other. She believes in kindness and the healing power of nature. She seems almost surreal to Cole. And at times, he's mad at her and just wants her to 'toughen up.' It scares him that she's so open and loving. He's convinced she's going to get hurt. Yet, at the same time, her openness and kindness, all that softness, draws him like nothing ever before.
3) Annie is a wonderful heroine -- smart, accomplished, caring. But she also has some 'baggage' she carries with her as well. Can you tell us a bit about her past and how it has shaped her?
Annie had a rough childhood. I think by wanting to heal everyone and everything she comes across (she even takes in orphaned baby skunks), she's healing herself. Her kindness is definitely not weakness. I think, in her own way, she's just as strong as Cole. At times, even stronger. Annie represent the feminine power in the universe. Solving problems with love instead of violence.
4) When Annie and Cole get together the pages are close to igniting! What was it like writing the intense attraction between the H/h?
I enjoy writing about people who are not the typical romance novel hero/heroine. Cole has serious disabilities, not just a manly scar across his eyebrow. Annie is not the now almost mandatory kickass heroine--yet she's strong in her own way. I was very interested in these characters and what they would do with each other when they met. The instant sparks were a huge relief! It sure made writing the book easier. There's such a chemistry between these two. And they're so different, it brought a lot of humorous moments to the book. At times they're thinking 'I can't believe that's the person I'm falling for. In what universe?' I had a ton of fun with the characters, and I think that comes through. Now that the book is finished, I miss spending time daily with those two.
5) On top of your characters personal issues, they are also dealing with some serious outside threats that puts them in risk. How do you get ready to write the suspense scenes? What kind of research do you do to make sure these scenes ring true?
I've been writing suspense for over a decade now (close to 50 books), and have written several books with Navy SEALs as the heroes. So all that provides a good background. My husband served in the military, my wonderful assistant served in the military, so all military questions go to them. My husband also worked as a medic for a local ambulance company for a while, so I can ask him about various traumatic injuries.
If I'm not sure of something, I experiment. E.g. can you climb a ladder, if your arm is not working? Out comes the tall ladder we use to clean the gutters. I tie my arm to my torso, and up I go. During these experiments, my husband is usually my trusty assistant. He's only ever refused to help me twice. Once, I asked him to duct tape me and lock me in the dark basement to see if I could escape. He can't and won't do anything to me that's mean, not even for research. Another time, I asked him to lock me in the trunk of the car to see if I could get out. Since our cars sit in the driveway, he pointed out that one of the neighbors would probably call the police on him.
At a previous publisher, I used to have arguments with my editor. E.g. the heroine taking her cell phone out of her back pocket and making a call while handcuffed the whole time. The editor would put a note on the manuscript. "Can't be done." And I would put my own note, then send it back. "Tried it. Done it." To her credit, the editor never asked why I had a supply of handcuffs and other odd instruments handy at home. Research!
6) What is your favorite parts of a story to write -- the romance or action?
This changed over the years. I used to enjoy the action scenes more. I'm a HUGE fan of action movies/spy movies/anything 007. But now, maybe because we are relentlessly bombarded with so many images of violence by the media, I'm really looking forward to the romance scenes where two people are one-hundred percent committed to each other, would do anything for each other, want to make each other happy. No matter what is happening in the outside world, politics, etc., remembering that love does conquer all makes me a happier person. And I hope the story will do the same for my readers.
7) What was your favorite scene to write from Silent Threat?
I love the scene where Cole visits Annie's animal sanctuary and sees her feeding her baby skunks. I think this is the first time when he begins to see her warmth and kindness as something that he wants for himself. He couldn't admit it before then, not when he's supposed to be all tough and gruff and able to take care of himself, when he's supposed to be this super soldier who can take care of everything on his own and doesn't need help.
8) What is up next in your Mission Recovery series?
Next is THREAT OF DANGER that features a bestselling thriller author as the hero. How much do I love that? A lot!!! LOL And the heroine is a Hollywood stuntwoman. It's a story of two people torn apart by tragedy, then meeting years later and realizing that they'd never fallen out of love with each other. Not that they don't fight it every step of the way still. It'd be so much easier if I wrote characters who weren't this stubborn. The story takes place in Vermont. Do you believe in the existence of sasquatch? I'm not saying I offer definitive proof in the book...I'm saying you'll have to read it to find out ;-)
About the Book
A former Navy SEAL, Cole Makani Hunter has returned home from a disastrous black ops mission without his best friend, his hearing, or the use of his right arm. So when his ex–commanding officer assigns him to an undercover mission at a rehab center for vets to discover who leaked sensitive military information to an enemy, he’d rather be anywhere but there. Almost immediately, Cole finds himself at odds with Annie Murray—a peace-loving ecotherapist whose dream is to open an animal sanctuary out of her home. While the two seemingly have nothing in common, their spirited arguments soon fuel a passion for each other.
But just as things begin to heat up between therapist and patient, dangerous complications arise. So does the past—and a shocking revelation that puts Cole and everything he now holds dear in the path of a murderous traitor.
About the Author
Dana Marton is the New York Times bestselling author of the Agents Under Fire series, the Hardstorm Saga, and the Broslin Creek novels. She is the winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, the Readers’ Choice Award, and the RITA Award. For more information about Marton and her work, please visit her at www.danamarton.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/danamarton.