Tuesday, September 27, 2016

In Safe Hands & Q&A with author Katie Ruggle

Q ~ Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Until last year, I lived in an off-grid house in the Colorado Rockies where I got snowed in a lot. I discovered that I’m fine for about ten days of seclusion, and then the cabin fever kicks in. One particularly bad winter, I was tempted to chase down the county plow when it finally (finally!) passed by, just so I could talk to a real, live person.

I loved it in the mountains, though, despite the snow and cold and isolation and the way my wind turbine and generator only failed when there was too much snow for a repair person to make it out. Last year, however, I moved to Minnesota in order to be closer to my elderly parents. I’ve found that here are many similarities between Minnesota and Colorado—one being that my Elmer Fudd hat still comes in very handy.

So, now I live in a 150-year-old farmhouse with my dogs, cats, and chickens. I plan on adding horses and possibly a cow to my menagerie, because I figure I’m not paying enough in vet bills as it is.

Q~ Who is your favorite literary hero(ine) and why?
Matilda from the Roald Dahl book. I love her because she’s feisty and creates her own happiness, rather than waiting to be rescued.

Q ~ Do you have a favourite author? Do they influence your writing?
I have so, so many favorites! Right now, I’m loving Karen Lynch, Donna Augustine and Helen Harper. My bookshelves are filled with my “comfort reads,” books that I’ve read and reread many times. It’s an odd assortment, ranging from Deerskin by Robin McKinley to The Road Home by Ellen Emerson White to On Killing by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman to Phase by E.C. Newman to Sheltered by Charlotte Stein to Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson series to The Self-Sufficient Life by John Seymour. In very different ways, each one has earned its place among my favorites. I can’t see the direct influence of any one author, but all the books I’ve read over the years have molded me into the writer I am now.

Q ~ How did you begin writing? Was there a single catalyst or a series of events?
I’ve always thought, “I want to be a writer someday.” Several years ago, it occurred to me that, in order to fulfill that dream, I needed to actually write something (kind of a duh moment for me). So I started writing. I’m not sure why it took me so long to figure out that connection.

Q ~ You get a brilliant phrase/idea/thought at an inopportune time (while driving, drifting off to sleep/in the shower). What do you do?
Um…I’m not sure if I get many brilliant thoughts. Sometimes, when I’m falling asleep, I’ll have an idea that I think is inspired, but then I’ll remember it when I’m fully awake, and it’s just kind of dumb. My memory is horrible, and I’m a huge list maker and note taker. When I do get book ideas, brilliant or otherwise, I try to jot them down as soon as possible, or else I sit at my computer later and think, “Now what was that idea I had?”

Q ~ In your Search and Rescue series you develop a world that combines the intimacy of a small town with all the danger of romantic suspense, and it invites readers in. How did you come up with the idea that started this?
When I was brainstorming series ideas with my wonderful editor, who works in New York City, I’d share tidbits about living in my off-grid house in the Rocky Mountains. For example, I’d tell her about trekking to the far, snowy reaches of the property at four a.m. to untangle my Great Pyrenees mix dog from the wire fence before her mournful howls caught the coyotes’ attention. Or I’d tell my editor about the father (John) and son (John. Not John Junior. Just John) duo who lived in a pop-up camper a few miles from me. They stopped by my place one day so that they could share their conspiracy theories (“The government does what?”).

After I told her a few of these tales, my editor said that she’d love it if the setting for my books was based on my real-life location. I came up with the remote mountain town of Simpson, Colorado, where all my Search and Rescue books are based. The headless dead guy was purely from my imagination, though.

Q ~ Do you have a favorite novel in the series? Which one and why?
Although I love aspects of all my books, I’d have to say that my favorite of the series is Gone Too Deep, because, well…George. Also, in a place like Simpson, where the Search and Rescue series is based, the remote location and long winters make it easy to be a hermit. I love working with the idea of isolation in my books. Relationships, once they finally develop, are so much more critical and intense. We need others, need to be touched and listened to and loved, and I enjoy writing about people rediscovering this human connection.

Q ~ Can you tell us a bit about what happens in the rest of the series?
In Safe Hands is the thrilling finale of my Rocky Mountain Search and Rescue series, in which mysteries are solved and secrets are revealed. Daisy hasn’t left her house in years, and her only company besides her often-absent father is her friend (although she wishes he were more), Deputy Chris Jennings. One night, Daisy witnesses something from her bedroom window, something that puts her in terrible danger and turns her home into a deadly trap.

Q ~ Do you have any other works on the horizon at the moment? Care to give us a hint as to what they're about?
I’m currently (and frantically—it’s due by the end of September!!) working on the second book in my new Rocky Mountain K9 series. There are women on the run, hot cops, brave dogs, lots of explosions—what more could any reader want?

Q ~ If you were stranded on a desert island with one of your characters (from any novel you've written) who would you choose and why?
George from Gone Too Deep, because he knows how to survive off the land. Plus, he’s George. With him around, I doubt I’d be in any hurry to be rescued.

Q ~ If you could give aspiring authors one piece of advice, what would it be?
Finish the first draft of your book/short story/essay/poem. Get all the words down, even if you’re worried that they might be terrible. Once you have the raw material in front of you, then you can edit it. The hardest part, I think, is getting that first draft done. It’s scary, because it’s perfect in your head, and, if no one can see it, then no one can tell you it sucks. Be brave, and write your story.

About the author:
When she’s not writing, KATIE RUGGLE rides horses, shoots guns, and travels to warm places where she can SCUBA dive. Graduating from the Police Academy, Katie received her ice-rescue certification and can attest that the reservoirs in the Colorado Mountains really are that cold. While she still misses her off-the-grid, solar- and wind-powered house in the Rocky Mountains, she now lives in Rochester, Minnesota near her family.

In Safe Hands
Series:   Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue #4
Author:  Katie Ruggle
Publication Date: October 4th 2016 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Length:  416pgs
Genre:  romantic suspense
Shelf:  review
My Rating: ★★★★★
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N - Indigo - Google Play

Back Cover Blurb:

In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder...

It's all come down to this...

Daisy Little has lived in agoraphobic terror for over eight years. Trapped within a prison of her own making, she watches time pass through her bedroom window. Daisy knows she'll never be a part of the world...until the day she becomes the sole witness of a terrible crime that may finally tear the Search and Rescue brotherhood apart for good.

My Review:

This novel was fun & creepy, awe inspiring and hot as sin.  Ruggle wrapped it all up in one perfect package that was just as messy as life is.  I love how real this story was, and how it kept me glued to the pages throughout.  The plot was raw and in your face.  Ruggle had me thinking outside the box with every turn of the page, trying to unravel the mystery and to see how all the pieces fit.  She developed the scene in a manner that truly allowed me to picture everything, while also allowing my imagination to run wild.  

The characters that Ruggle develops to lead this novel forward are definitely one of a kind.  Daisy is such a unique heroine.  I love her strength, even when she can't convince herself to step completely out of her comfort zone.  Countered by the strong, compassionate and definitely drool worthy hero of this novel, this pair had me falling in love with them time and time again.

Ruggle's writing is the type that you can't put down, that you simply can't bear to be separated with.  It makes this novel a very bitter sweet read for me.  It means the series is over, but also that I can now start it all again and binge read to my heart's content.  This is a novel that I'd definitely encourage others to read.  

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