Today I am very happy to welcome to Book Lovers Inc. and introduce to you Jenna Bennett, versatile author who pens everything from cozy mysteries to light paranormal romances, sci-fi space operas to contemporary romances. Today she stop by to tell us about the inspiration behind her latest release ACT of Redemption a sizzling romantic suspense story I can’t wait to finally read! And now is your chance to get yourself a copy: read on and answer Jenna’s question at the end and you could even win a copy of ACT of Redemption! Jenna, take it away
I remember exactly when I got the idea for ACT of Redemption.
It was a few years ago now – 2009, maybe – and I was reading Carla Neggers’s The Angel, about folklorist and artist Kiera Sullivan and search and rescue expert Simon Cahill. Part of the book takes place in Ireland, that most romantic of settings.
My husband’s family is Irish, so I know a bit about it. Ireland is nothing if not romantic. And it’s a popular setting for romantic books.
And in the end, it was that popularity that made me decide to set my book somewhere else. After all, there are a lot of other romantic parts of the world too, and why not give some of them some play?
And that’s when I remembered Gotland.
Beautiful Gotland, in the Baltic Sea. Island of roses and ruins. A UNESCO Heritage site.
Picturesque. Rich in history and culture. And – yes – definitely romantic.
What better place to set a story about murder, buried treasure, and love?
Of course, my hero and heroine needed a reason to go there, and that’s when real life reared its head.
I’m from Scandinavia myself, if not from Gotland, but at the moment I live in the US with a husband and a couple of kids. Norway is still home, though, even after 25 years abroad. When I die – if not before – I want to go home.
Of course, after I die, things become a little more difficult, since I can’t just book a ticket and hop on a plane. Someone has to actually take me there, what’s left of me. Since my husband doesn’t like to fly, and since he might go before I do anyway, that task would be left to my kids, I imagine.
That’s when I started playing with the idea of a young woman – timid, shy, not used to international travel, out of her depth with the language of the place where she’s headed – taking her estranged father’s ashes back to his homeland.
And in the time-honored tradition of writing I asked myself “What’s the worst thing that could happen to her?” and then I did that: had my poor main character lose her father’s ashes at the airport in Stockholm.
Could there be anything worse?
Wait, yes. There could.
Not only are the ashes lost, they’re stolen. And suddenly she finds herself – this shy, quiet librarian – up to her eyebrows in intrigue. Her room is ransacked – twice, in two different hotels in two different cities. Her father’s old friend is murdered, just before he can talk to her about her dad. She’s almost arrested. And she has not just one but two men interested in her.
There’s Nick Costa: tall, dark and handsome, a dashing James Bond lookalike – and unbeknownst to Annika, an agent with the FBI’s Art Crime Team. Nick has been following her for a while because he thinks her father shot a security guard and stole a priceless Viking treasure from the Visby museum on Gotland 30+ years ago… a treasure Nick thinks Annika knows where is.
And there’s Curt Gardiner, as friendly and excited to meet her as a Golden Retriever puppy. Like Annika, Curt lost his mother recently, and is on a pilgrimage to her homeland in her honor. He’s not quite as sophisticatedly dashing as Nick, but Annika doesn’t have to worry about his motives, and he’s as safe and familiar as apple pie.
The book ends with a shootout in a graveyard on Gotland, involving no less than three men with guns, plus Annika herself. In the end, one man is dead, one’s bleeding, and one is still standing. You’ll have to read the book to see which one Annika picks.
(Hint: it’s not the dead one.)
I hope to write more books about the FBI’s Art Crime Team. (They’re a real entity, by the way. And yes, they do work outside the US, when they get called in by local authorities.) The world is full of beautiful, romantic locations, exciting cultural treasures, and the potential for murder and mayhem.
So if it were you, where would you set a book about a dashing FBI agent – male or female – hunting down bad guys, rescuing endangered artwork, and finding love?
A shy librarian and a dashing FBI agent must work together to catch a killer and recover a priceless silver treasure in this light and sweetly romantic suspense novel from the New York Times bestselling author of the Do It Yourself Home Renovation mysteries and the Cutthroat Business mysteries.
On the island of roses and ruins, love awaits and danger lurks.
When Annika Holst’s father dies, it’s up to the young librarian to carry out his last will: to take his ashes back to his hometown, medieval Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea.
But no sooner does the plane touch down in Stockholm, than the bag with the cremains goes missing. A young American named Nick Costa comes to Annika’s aid… but can she trust the handsome stranger? And what of Curt Gardiner, another young man from “back home,” also visiting his mother’s native Sweden?
To catch a murderer, recover her father’s ashes, and find a missing Viking treasure, Annika has to put her trust in one of them. But the wrong choice could mean not only the loss of her heart… but of her life as well.
New York Times bestselling author Jennie Bentley / Jenna Bennett writes the Do It Yourself home renovation mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime and the Cutthroat Business mysteries for her own gratification. She also writes a variety of romance, from contemporary to futuristic and from paranormal to romantic suspense. ACT of Redemption is her most recent release. You can learn more about all of her books – past, present, and future – here:
Jenna has generously offered an ebook copy of ACT of Redemption to a lucky commenter!
All you have to do is answer Jenna’s question and tell us: if it were you, where would you set a book about a dashing FBI agent – male or female – hunting down bad guys, rescuing endangered artwork, and finding love?
(You can read our full giveaway policy here)
Please be sure to include a valid email address in the comment form (need not be in the actual body of the comment).
This giveaway is open to all!
Giveaway ends on Saturday, 24 November 2012; we will announce the winner on Sunday.