Interview with Carla Swafford + Giveaway

Filed in Carla Swafford , featured , Giveaways , Interview , The Coffee Lover Posted on February 22, 2012 @ 7:00 am 38 comments

Please welcome Carla Swafford, who stops today at Book Lovers Inc for a really fun chat about her book Circle of Desire. Circle of Desire is a really intense Romantic Suspense title featuring a really hot couple of assassins! Circle of Desire has everything a good romantic suspense title should have: non-stop action, well-delivered mystery and steamy hot sex scenes.

So welcome Carla and come learn all kinds of interesting things about her heroine Olivia plus which actors would make her dream cast of Circle of Desire.And don’t forget, Carla is also offering copies of her book at the end of the interview, so don’t forget to enter!

Anna: Hello Carla and welcome at Book Lovers Inc! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Carla: Thank you for inviting me! You know, it’s a funny thing. I can talk about my books all day long but ask me about myself and I feel like I’m so freaking boring. Let’s see. I’ve lived in Alabama all my life but have been fortunate to travel though much of the U.S. I’m married and have two beautiful daughters, a handsome son-in-law and a smart grandson (aren’t they all?). After writing for many years, I became published with HarperCollins’s Avon Impulse last year.

Anna: Describe a typical day of writing? Are you a planner or pantser?

Carla: I have a day job. So my writing schedule during the weekdays is very different than weekends. During the week most times, I get up at five a.m. and do a little writing, walk on the treadmill, shower and then arrive at work by eight a.m. Return home by five-thirty, eat dinner and start writing again. If the story is flowing, I won’t get in bed until midnight, most of the time it’s eleven. I have a hard time keeping to a schedule on the weekends. Like everyone, I have so much to do (family, website, house) that it’s usually late afternoon before I start working on my latest book again and then I don’t stop until the wee hours of the morning. Now with all this writing you would think I would get a lot done, but no. I do edit along the way and often find myself stuck in one chapter for several days.

Oh, I’m a pantser most of the way through the book. Then in the middle, I’ll pull out a little beat sheet I made up from Blake Snyder’s Save The Cat! If you’ve never heard of it, check it out. It’s for screenwriters, but the man knew his stuff.

Anna: What do you think is the difference between a reader and a real Book Lover?

Carla: A reader is someone who purchases a book from the top ten bestseller list only because everyone else is reading it.

A Book Lover is someone who carries a book everywhere they go. They love finding new authors and read across genres. They also always have a huge TBR (to be read) stack and have shelves upon shelves of favorites. Besides, just owning a book is a joy.

Anna: Will there be more books in this series? What is next on your schedule?

Carla: Oh, yes. Circle of Desire (available now) will be followed by Circle of Danger (to be released June 26). YAY!

Though each book involves the same mercenary organization, the main characters are different. In Desire, the story centers on Olivia St. Vincent and Collin Ryker. Two strong-willed people who believe they are on the side of good. Problem is, only one is right. In Danger, the reader meets Collin’s older brother. He’s an edgy, dangerous man who will do whatever it takes to protect the woman he loves, including from himself.

I’m currently writing the third book, tentatively titled Circle of Deception. This is the one I’ve had several readers ask about. For those who’ve read my book, it’s Rex and Abby’s story. Hopefully, Avon Impulse will purchase it along with more and let The Circle series continue. I have several stories and characters I would love to see come to life in print.

Anna: The universe you created is quite complex. Did you sketch it before writing the book in your imagination or some things came to you along the way?

Carla: It came as I wrote it. I love anything to do (books, movies, TV series) with spies, assassins and mercenaries. So I combined everything I liked and started writing. To me, the whole series should come across as a fluid story, but anyone should be able to pick up a book in the series and understand what’s going on. The organization itself will evolve with each book. The Circle is almost a character of its own.

Anna: Your heroine Olivia, is an assassin! How did you decide to have a female assassin as a heroine? Was it difficult in any way to have such a tough heroine leading your story? Was it challenging to make an assassin a relatable and sympathetic character?

Carla: At the time I started writing Circle of Desire, there were only a handful of books with female assassins and they didn’t act like what I thought a female assassin should. I felt that a woman who was paid to kill others would see life in a different way than most. She would act like what we expect men to act in the same situation: cold, calculating, logical. For Olivia, every aspect of life is magnified by the knowledge that death could meet her around the next corner. So I guess you could say her feelings and desires are overblown with good reason.

Oh, yeah, it was tough. I entered the manuscript into contests and overall it did fine, but some judges refused to give her a chance to grow and change. But that’s what I like about reading characters who are so different from me. If they stay the same, then I’m disappointed, but if I see them change and become better people, as a reader, I almost feel a sense of triumph in their transformation.

Though as the author, I knew she would change. So others needed to see in the beginning the small crack in the wall she kept around herself. That little tell-tale unexplainable shaking she didn’t understand, but the reader did. In turn, we felt sympathy for her, not only for doing a job most people couldn’t handle but feeling lost about what was happening to her body/mind. The reader should realize at this point that she would have to come to terms with what she’d done and live her life differently.

Anna:  And since your heroes are assassins, could you share with us some of your favorite assassins in literature or movies?

Carla: Though some may not be assassins, they can kill with breaking a sweat, I do have my favorites. John Medina in Linda Howard’s All The Queen’s Men. Lily Mansfield in Linda’s Kiss Me While I Sleep. Anne Stuart’s Ice series, especially Reno in Fire and Ice. Michael in the La Femme Nikita TV series or the newer one, Nikita. Riddick (Vin Diesel) in The Chronicles of Riddick. Any James Bond movie, but especially the ones with Pierce Bronson. El Mariachi (Antonio Banderas) in Desperado. The character Miguel Bain in Assassins is crazy but it’s Antonio Banderas. Who can resist? I’m sure there are more I’ll kick myself later for not remembering.

Anna: Olivia, is an emotionally very hurt character. Was it challenging to portray her and help her overcome her emotional issues?

Carla: It’s strange really. As I wrote the scenes where she came on so strong to Collin, I realized there had to be a reason. Then I remembered a visiting psychologist at one of my writers group meetings talking about how some children grew up with twisted ideas about sex. Then pow! I understood her baggage. Since Collin would be her love interest, he had to be aware what her actions actually meant. Then their interplay grew from there.

Anna: Should Circle of Desire become a movie, who would be your dream cast for Olivia and Collin?

Carla: Hugh Jackman and Diane Lane. Sad to say, they’re actually too old to play them. Maybe Tom Hardy (This Means War and Warrior) because he could easily play an intense fellow who talks softly and Keira Knightley has already shown how she can play a self-confident woman with issues (Pirates of the Caribbean franchise).

Anna: Can you summarize Circle of Desire for us twitterstyle (140 characters or less)?

Carla: A deadly female assassin is a man’s only hope to stop the insane leader of a mercenary group from killing his people.


Carla Swafford inherited her love of books from her dad and his father. Growing up, she read every book with a horse on the cover until the age of twelve when she read her first romance. Tired of waiting for her favorite authors to publish more books, she decided to write one. She joined Romance Writers of America and was the finalist in several writing contests.

Carla lives in Alabama and works in a male-dominated occupation at the same company with her husband.

Where to find Carla:
Website | Twitter | Facebook


Carla has generously offered three copies of Circle of Desire to three lucky commenters! If the winner is international he/she will win an e-book copy of her book while if he/she is a US resident can choose between an e-book or a paperback copy.

All you have to do is leave a meaningful comment about the interview, or tell us who is your favorite assassin in literature or movies.
(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, March 3rd, 2012; we will announce the winner on Sunday.

Good luck!!!!

About Anna

Anna is a psychologist from Greece.You can almost always find her with a book stuck under her nose,so it's no wonder that all her friends make a joke of her.Apart from reading she dreams of the day she'll be able to travel around the world!Anna also blogs at Books to Brighten your Mood.

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Join the Discussion
  • Suzanne Johnson February 22, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Great interview, Carla! Circle is on my virtual TBR stack (i.e., on my Kindle) already and I can’t wait to read it!

    • Carla Swafford February 22, 2012 at 1:20 pm

      Thank you, Suzanne! And, everyone, be sure to check out Suzanne’s book, ROYAL STREET, set in New Orleans with wizards! Cool, huh?

  • Tamsyn February 22, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Love the interview! It was a unique take to have a female assassin as the heroine. Unusual. In Japanese history, however. female assassins or ninjas are quite common. Definitely an interesting book to read. Thanks for the giveaway.

    • Carla Swafford February 22, 2012 at 9:45 am

      Thanks, Tamsyn. I’ll need to check into it. In Chinese films (e.g., Flying Daggers), I’ve noticed a lot of female assassins. You might be interested to know that in the next book, CIRCLE OF DANGER, Ice (Japanese-American) has a small but important role, but later I hope to write his own story. He’s my homage to Anne Stuart’s Reno in FIRE AND ICE. FYI – I listen to Japanese rock as I write. 🙂

  • Mina Khan February 22, 2012 at 9:49 am

    You’re so not boring! As you know, I’m partial to assassins myself 😀 and to Antonio Banderas…and I loved Miguel in Assassin. Great characterization! Oh, keep my name out of the giveaway since I already have your wonderful book 🙂

    • Carla Swafford February 22, 2012 at 1:22 pm

      Nothing like coming back from lunch and seeing so many comments! Did my heart good.

      Thank you, Mina. HUGS.

  • Neecy February 22, 2012 at 10:14 am

    I’ve read this book! Couldn’t put it down! Great combination of romance and suspense!

    • Carla Swafford February 22, 2012 at 1:23 pm

      :::Sigh::: I needed to hear that. 😀 Thank you, Neecy.

  • Lexi George February 22, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Don’t enter me in the contest, Carla. I just wanted to drop by and say hi! You are a fabulous person and an awesome writer. So excited about CIRCLE OF DESIRE. Love that you portray strong females. 😉

    • Carla Swafford February 22, 2012 at 1:24 pm

      And you do too! Not only strong, but so funny too! Thank you, Lexi, for stopping by.

  • aurian February 22, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Great interview ladies, I enjoyed reading it. My favourite assassin is Secret McQueen by Sierra Dean.
    International entry.

    • Carla Swafford February 22, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      I’ll have to check into that one. Thank you, aurian!

      • Anna February 22, 2012 at 3:24 pm

        I’ll have to read this series myself too.I’ve only heard great things about it!

  • Naima February 22, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Hi, Carla!
    Awesome interview!! I’ve read Circle of Desire and absolutely loved it! Olivia is such a wonderful, complex character. She’s strong and admirable, and I enjoyed “watching” her grow. That was one of–just one of many, mind you–the best parts of the book. And, I’m all about Vin Diesel in Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick! *lecherous cackle* I can’t wait until Circle of Danger comes out!! Congrats on an awesome debut novel that I’m sure is just the first of many!

    • Carla Swafford February 22, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      You’re always so kind to me and thank you for saying that. And for those who like hot books, you need to check out Naima Simone’s. Google her and check out her website as her books are everywhere. 🙂

  • Jan February 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    My favourite is the assassin from Linda Howards Death Angel.

    • Carla Swafford February 22, 2012 at 1:30 pm

      Most people know that I’m a big Linda Howard fan and if anyone wants to learn how to write emotion, needs to read that one and CRY NO MORE by LH. The scene in DEATH ANGEL when the bad guy gave the heroine over to the assassin to do whatever, I felt that woman’s panic. It was some great writing.

  • Arianne February 22, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    I loove the way the author differentiated a reader vs. a book lover 😀 totally agree! now that gives me an idea of having an actual “favorites” shelf 😀
    email: cruz042 at

    • Carla Swafford February 22, 2012 at 2:22 pm

      Arianne, we’re mutual book lovers. We recognize each other easily. LOL! On YouTube, I even have a video of my book collection. It’s not well done as it’s amateurish at best.But it’ll give you a little idea of how many books I have. By the way, that was only one room. If you’re like me, you’ve given away hundreds and have other spread throughout your home. If you’re interested, you can go to YouTube and search Carla Swafford. I have only four videos there.

    • Anna February 22, 2012 at 3:27 pm

      Funny, but that was my favorite part as well! The distinction between Book Lovers and readers was just perfect and I totally agree with it 🙂

      • Carla Swafford February 22, 2012 at 3:41 pm

        Thanks, Anna. And thank you again for inviting me for an interview.

  • Natasha A. February 22, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    LOVE Nikita!!! Also, I really enjoyed Long Kiss Goodnight with Samuel L. Jackson, and Geena Davis as the assassin!

    • Carla Swafford February 23, 2012 at 9:56 am

      Natasha, sorry. Yesterday for some reason my computer hiccupped and my other comment is further down. :-/

  • Stephanie K. February 22, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    My favorite assassin is Nadia Stafford from the Nadia Stafford series by Kelley Armstrong.

    • Carla Swafford February 22, 2012 at 7:17 pm

      I do believe my TBR pile will be growwing larger. Thank you, Stephanie.

  • Carla Swafford February 22, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Will certainly check that out. Thanks for stopping by, Natasha!

  • Na February 22, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    I’m glad to see I would fall under the book lover cateogry. I like to carry my book everywhere I go and definitely love finding new authors. You’re a new author for me 🙂

  • bn100 February 23, 2012 at 2:21 am

    I enjoyed the interview. A female assassin sounds like a very interesting character to read about. My favorite assassin is Angelina Jolie in Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

    • Carla Swafford February 23, 2012 at 10:00 am

      See, I knew I would forget one. I liked the dynamics between the two characters. Thank you!

  • meninaiscrazy February 23, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Very interesting interview. Angelina and Brad in Mr and Mrs Smith is a great movie. Angelina’s has done another one I can think of and that is Wanted. An okay movie but, she’s deadly. 🙂 I also love the Bourne movies and Pulp Fiction has assassins in it too. 🙂

    • Carla Swafford February 23, 2012 at 10:02 am

      I loved the first Bourne movie because it had more romance in it than I had expected. And it actually ended happy in that regards too. Angelina’s character in WANTED was interesting for sure. Thanks!

  • Victoria Zumbrum February 23, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    I like Arnold from the Terminator and Jason Bourne from the Bourne movies. Please enter me in contest.

  • Yadira A. February 23, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    Thanks for the intro to what sounds like a great read… definitely adding it to my wishlist. I enjoyed the movie Mr. & Mrs. Smith, but I still find that books with assassins in them are so much better:)

    • Carla Swafford February 23, 2012 at 11:23 pm

      Me too. I love assassins as you now know. LOL! And I love to write hot stories about them. Thank you, Yadira.

  • Rachel Vessar February 24, 2012 at 8:19 am

    I would like to read the book. My favorite assasin would be Gena Davis in the Long Kiss Goodnight. I also like Nikita the new TV show I havent seen the old show.

    pefrw at yahoo dot com

    • Carla Swafford February 24, 2012 at 9:30 am

      If you like hot romantic stories about two deadly people, then Circle of Desire is the book for you. LOL! Thank you.

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