Monday, March 26, 2012

Author Interview and Giveaway: P.J. O’Dwyer

Today we have an author interview with P.J. O’Dwyer, author of romantic suspense, about her new book RELENTLESS. Be sure to read to the end of the interview to find out how you can win your own autographed copy of RELENTLESS!

Jennifer: Welcome! Please share a little about yourself, your genre, and any other pen names you use.

P.J.: Thank you, Jennifer, for inviting me to join you for A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book. It’s so wonderful to be here with you today! I write romantic suspense as P.J. O’Dwyer and have always found books have the capacity to take you anywhere you want to go—a true gift an author can bestow on a reader.
I’m my mother’s child.

She, too, loved to read and it was her love of books that made it possible for me to become the writer I am today. Back then, I gravitated toward historical romances.  But I hadn’t met my better half yet.
My choice of genre was a given after I met and married my husband. It seems his dreams and aspirations had always been focused on law enforcement. Twenty-five years later, married to a state trooper, it was hard to avoid hearing about the day to day police work he was involved in (very exciting stuff), not to mention the camaraderie and hilarious stories, especially the interactions cops have with each other. So it was inevitable I would combine both of our passions: romance and murder. (Not that murder is his passion, only solving them.) It also helps to have a go-to guy (my husband) to assist me on the law enforcement side

Jennifer: Tell us a little about your upcoming release.

P.J.: This is a very exciting time for me. My debut novel Relentless will be released April 15. This is the first book in the Fallon Sisters Trilogy where we meet Bren Ryan who is widowed, jaded, and searching for her husband’s killer by herself. That is until she meets up with sexy cowboy Rafe Langston who seems quite interested in her theory of murder—maybe a little too interested.

Jennifer: As an author, what surprises you about this story?
P.J.: Well . . . I’d have to say, as in every story, it’s the characters themselves. It’s interesting, but as a writer you find the characters take on a life of their own, most times they dictate what’s going to happen next, and sometimes they even surprise me. 

Jennifer: What was the hardest thing for you about writing this story?

P.J.: On a serious note, Relentless centers on a very controversial topic—horse slaughter. As a writer, there is a lot of research involved in any story, and this one was no exception. But I owed it to every horse rescuer and animal advocate to get it right.
The hardest part for me was watching the barbaric slaughter of healthy, intelligent, majestic horses on YouTube and interviewing horse rescuers. They made me cry with their loss, and laugh at their wit and the lengths they will go, especially, to outsmart their nemesis “the kill buyer.”

Jennifer: What are you working on right now?

P.J.: The second book in the series, Defiant, which is Kate’s story, will be released in September. Gorgeous as she is idealistic, she wants more than just horse pastures. Only she gets more than she bargains for with the man who charmed her, because now he controls her.
But she’s a Fallon and resourceful. She’ll find a way to escape multi-millionaire husband Jack Reynolds, even if he is the U.S. Attorney for Maryland.

Currently, I’m working on the third and final book of the series Forsaken. Dani is the sister neither Bren nor Kate know about yet. That is until the beautiful Irish barmaid Dani Flynn finds her homeland just a spec on the horizon behind her and open seas dead ahead.
She’s poised to change everything Bren and Kate believe to be true. And they’re not the only ones.

There was no way I couldn’t write a book about Bren’s best friend Kevin Bendix. More like the brother Bren never had, eventually, they would become family—even if it was by law.
I loved writing Kevin. Maybe it’s because I have one just like him at home. It was fun to ruffle this guy’s serious exterior.

Here’s a sneak peek into the life and times of Mr. Law-and-Order.

Sheriff Kevin Bendix’s life is orderly and free of complications. That’s the way he likes it. But that’s all about to change with one gorgeous, blue-eyed brunette who can’t prove she’s in the U.S. legally. It’s his job to have her deported. Only his attraction to Dani Flynn is clouding his judgment. She isn’t your average law breaker. All of about five foot two with a face of an angel and a body of a sinner, she will be his undoing. It’s not only his heart she’ll steal. Loving this woman could cost them both their lives.

Jennifer: Whose head do you like being in the most when you’re writing, the heroine or the hero?
P.J.: I enjoy the heroine. I get to live out my hopes and my dreams with her. But I find the hero is the most fun.

Let’s face it, when do you get to be in your man’s head? Well . . . you hope he’s always thinking of you. But to know those intimate thoughts they don’t normally share is a rush.

Jennifer: So . . . you’re debut novel is about horses. Why horses?
P.J.: I fell into that by accident or so I originally thought. I love animals. But in writing suspense, something bad has to happen. And with Bren it had to be about the horses. I wanted my reader to care about Bren and her life’s work. I also wanted to expose the hidden truth about something so hideous. When I learned of horse slaughter, I had a hard time wrapping my brain around the senseless murders that happen every day to such a noble companion we know to be the horse.

On a lighter side, I’ve been told I couldn’t avoid writing about horses if I wanted to. They tell me, those who have researched our Irish heritage, horses are in our blood. My father bet on them, my cousin and uncle own them, and back in Ireland they stole them.
I guess the sparkling shores of freedom looked a might safer than an Irish jail cell.

Jennifer: What is the process like for you when choosing a title?

P.J.: Personally, I like one word titles. To find that one word that describes my heroine and the book is a challenge. But when I find it, it’s an amazing feeling of accomplishment. With Bren’s story, I had gone through quite a few titles.
I know with every author we have our vices and methods to shed writer’s block. For me, it’s a good run. After three miles of just myself and the open road, my brain seems to unfurl and everything is so much clearer.

It was just such an occasion when Relentless popped into my frazzled brain. It was like . . . Eureka! It was golden; and I loved it. 
The other two titles came naturally, and I fell in love with them with just as much enthusiasm.

Jennifer: Do you work with a writing group or mentor? Why or why not? If you do, what do you get out of it?

P.J.: You know, I think it takes a village to create a writer. I am an active member of a writer’s critique group, which has been an invaluable experience with many friendships made and an abundance of helpful praise, and, yes, criticism. But it’s all good. Improving my craft is an ongoing process, and I’m relieved to know I’m not in this alone.
I also belong to a wonderful group called Equine Authors United, a wonderful group which is near and dear to both of us.

Jennifer: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us about RELENTLESS?

P.J.: I’m so glad you asked. As a writer, I believe we are entrusted to entertain as well as educate. Relentless gave me the opportunity to do both. Relentless became a reality for me due to the gracious nature of horse rescuers who took a call from a stranger, listened and agreed with enthusiasm to read Bren’s story, and offer their insight and knowledge.
As a way to thank them for their kindness and because their fight has become mine, I am donating 5% to horse rescue for every book sold in the trilogy and any other future works.

The only catch—you must purchase the books on my website at There is a list of rescues to choose from including most states, a fair amount of provinces in Canada, and a few in the UK to include my homeland of Ireland, as well as, Australia and New Zealand.

Headstrong horse rescue director Bren Ryan has been a red-headed streak of trouble for more than one man in Clear Spring. She’s grown up needling local “kill buyer” Wes Connelly, and since the sheriff ruled her husband’s sudden death an accident, Bren’s been investigating things herself. She’s certain Tom was murdered, and she’s hell-bent on cornering his killer the only way she knows how—by tempting him to do it again. And she’s the bait.

Rafe Langston came to Maryland looking for land and a fresh start. Or so he says. The sexy cowboy isn’t generous with details, but Bren couldn’t care less—until he buys half her farm at auction and moves into her childhood home. Suddenly, the last man she should befriend becomes her only ally in solving her husband’s murder.

Soon their cozy stakeouts sizzle with unexpected desire neither one can ignore, threatening his mysterious plans and her promise to never fall in love again—especially with a handsome stranger whose secrets could shatter what family she has left.




Giveaway:      Want to win an autographed copy of the hardcover edition of RELENTLESS? Leave a comment before midnight on April 1 (no foolin!), and a random commenter will win! Be sure to include your email address (OK to put in spaces or spell out the @ to fool the spam bots) so I can contact the winner.

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