Welcome to my stop for IN THE HEAT OF THE TROPICS. Christina Elliott will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. You can follow the tour here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2017/11/vbt-in-heat-of-tropics-by-christina.html
GENRE: Romantic suspense
Amid a sweltering Miami summer, a serial killer is haunting the city. Reporter Ingrid Sorenson is assigned the story and her primary source is brusque detective Rick Gonzalez. The pair clash, but sparks of passion ignite. They risk their jobs to give in to their desire, but mistrust of each other’s career motives wedges them apart. Then Ingrid gets a tip that leads her into the killer’s lair. She and Rick must choose between saving themselves or rescuing their love.
The sky darkened again as if a dimmer switch had been thrown. Rick flicked on the headlights. “I don’t think we’re going to beat the rain,” he said. “Do you want to turn back?”
Worry crossed her face. “No way. I’ve got a deadline to meet,” she said. “I’m not afraid of getting wet.”
He gave her an assessing glance as they pulled up to a stop light. She was plucky, he had to give her that. And smart. The light changed and he turned his attention to the road. He had to keep his guard up. She was a reporter, first and foremost. He had to remember that.
“Have you found witnesses who might’ve seen a suspect?” she asked.
“I can’t discuss specifics of the investigation. The killer chose his times and locations very carefully, which suggests a lot of pre-meditation. These weren’t spontaneous homicides. He went to different areas known for prostitution pickups each time because johns would be scared to go to the place where one had just been murdered and the hookers would be on the alert, but they were all in this general North Miami area. He staked out lonely streets to direct the customer to drive to commit the sexual act and likely had his vehicle parked nearby to make a fast escape.”
Ingrid was avidly taking notes. He paused to wait for her to catch up, and wondered if he was saying too much. As long as he focused on details about the killer that someone would recognize, he couldn’t get in trouble.
By the time he pulled up to the scene of the third killing a mile away, fat plops of rain were sporadically splattering the windshield. They soon increased to a steady drumbeat battering the roof.
“Crap,” Ingrid said.
“There’s not much to see, honestly, just another side street.”
“I still think I should see the actual spot,” Ingrid said.
He would have to end up with a super-thorough reporter. “I have an umbrella here somewhere,” he muttered, foraging under the seat.
Holding the umbrella, he jogged to the passenger side and opened the door. Necessarily brushing shoulders to fit side-by-side under the small shelter, they walked down the street to an alcove of an abandoned building.
“Victim three was found parked outside this doorway, Saul Martinez,” Rick said.
The sky cracked as if it were splitting apart, unleashing a torrent of water.
“I love these midsummer thunderstorms in Miami, don’t you?” Ingrid said.
Lightning illuminated her face with a bright halo. Her cheeks shone where the rain had caught them, her forehead framed with tendrils of damp hair. Drops glistened on her eyelashes like tiny tears. He felt himself gliding toward her.
She blinked and the raindrops fell from her lashes. He halted himself.
“You’re getting wet. Let’s head to victim four,” he said brusquely. He turned toward the car without waiting for an answer.
The crime scene was a side street ten blocks west. This time they didn’t get out of the car. Rick pulled up and reconstructed the scene, restraining his urge to lean over her, just to breathe in her slightly sweet powdery scent, as he pointed from the window.
By the time they pulled back into the station parking lot, the rain had tapered to a dancing sprinkle and fingers of sunlight poked through the clouds, sending an eerie, hazy wash over the atmosphere.
He parked. Ingrid handed him her business card. “If you think of anything else, call me. My cell’s on there, too.”
Rick tucked it in a pocket. “So, what are you going to write?”
“What you told me, plus I’ll call some serial-killer psychology experts.”
“Just don’t get me in trouble again.”
Ingrid gave him a hard look. He’d meant it as a joke, but it hadn’t come out lightheartedly. She’d taken it as a rebuke. Damn.
“Thanks very much for your time, Detective.” Her tone was frosty. “If I have any other questions, I’ll call Major Montoya.”
The slam of the door buffeted the vehicle.
Interview with Christina Elliott
Where do you get your book ideas?
I was a newspaper reporter for many years so that’s definitely been a source for my fiction writing. That’s why Ingrid in In the Heat of the Tropics is a reporter! Among many other topics, I covered crime, cops, courts so I know that arena, although I still have to do research to get grounded in the details. However, but my background certainly gave me a good headstart. I’m definitely interested in the dark side of human nature, but I also love a good romance so romantic suspense seems to be a good combination for me.
Do you write outline to start or just start writing?
I try and outline as much as I can because I know from experience that if I just start writing, I tend to veer into a corner and get stuck there. I end up wasting a lot of time and writing energy. So it’s really helpful to know where I’m going. Even with an outline, I still find myself veering off track! It’s good to be flexible but also know where you want the story to end up.
How long does it normally take to write the book before edits?
Too long! It can take a couple years. Romance novels have the distinct advantage of being shorter so they take less time than say a detective or literary novel. I wish I could speed up my process, but other pesky little things get in the way, like writing so I can eat! Plus, I always like to leave a manuscript sit for a bit then come back to it with a fresh eye to see what needs fixing. I generally write too much, often jettisoning at least a book’s worth of writing to get to the story I want to tell. I hope to find another way someday!
Are you an indie author or mainstream author?
I’m a mainstream author. I’m published by a small press called Melange Books, which has various imprints including romance, YA and mystery/thriller. I like having a publisher behind me. They have a great cover artist and are very picky about copy editing, which is good, as typos and spelling/grammar mistakes really take away a book’s credibility, though they slip in.
How did you get started, can you give people wanting to write an idea how to get started?
I started writing as a child. That’s all I ever wanted to be so I wrote stories as a kid, then in high school and so on. If you take up writing later in life, I suggest taking courses to get going. Start with short stories before tackling a novel. Novels are unbelievably complex and unwieldy beasts so short stories are a good launching pad. There are also tons of online literary reviews you can submit to and thus build up a nice portfolio, as well as your confidence.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Christina Elliott is a former Miami newspaper reporter and editor. She now writes spicy romantic suspense novels from Los Angeles, where she’s glad to report there are far fewer bad-hair days but sadly far less Cuban coffee. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America.