Today, Hartford Books Examiner welcomes the spellbinding Catherine Coulter.
The author of 68 novels, 61 of which have been New York Times bestsellers, Coulter has found great success in alternating between romances and suspense thrillers. Her first novel, The Autumn Countess, was published in 1978, and was followed by six more Regency romances; her first historical romance, Devil’s Embrace, came out in 1982. The transition to contemporary suspense began with False Pretenses (1988), which also marked Coulter’s first hardcover release. She has since authored the ongoing FBI Thriller series, which launched with The Cove. She and her husband make their home in Marin County, California.
Coulter’s latest, Backfire (Penguin Group, $26.95), was released earlier this month and marks the 16th installment in her wildly popular FBI Thriller series. The book debuted at #4 on the New York Times bestseller list and has proven popular among readers and reviewers alike. Barnes & Noble gave the book an Editor’s recommendation and enthused that Coulter “demonstrates anew that her combination of action sequences, suspense, super bad villains, and quirky characters work like alchemy.” Further, Publishers Weekly noted, “Series fans will applaud the strong female leads and the nifty teamwork of Savich and Sherlock.”
From the publisher:
San Francisco Judge Ramsey Hunt, longtime friend to FBI agents Lacey Sherlock and Dillon Savich, is presiding over the trial of Clive and Cindy Cahill – accused in a string of murders – when the proceedings take a radical turn. Federal prosecutor Mickey O’Rourke, known for his relentless style, becomes suddenly tentative in his opening statement, leading Hunt to suspect he’s been threatened – suspicions that are all but confirmed when Hunt is shot in the back
Savich and Sherlock receive news of the attack as an ominous note is delivered to Savich at the Hoover Building: YOU DESERVE THIS FOR WHAT YOU DID. Security tapes fail to reveal who delivered the tapes. Who is behind the shooting of Judge Ramsey Hunt? Who sent the note to Savich? And what does it all mean? Savich and Sherlock race to San Francisco to find out…watching their backs all the while.
Now, Ms. Coulter takes readers inside her cover story…
1) Tell us about the inspiration for your new book, BACKFIRE. What are the challenges of putting beloved characters at risk?
There wasn’t any inspiration for Backfire (there rarely is inspiration, believe me). All I knew was I wanted to reprise the Hunt family from five years ago in the third book of the FBI series, The Target — I knew Judge Ramsey was going to be shot, but then I had no clue what would happen. (This is usually the case and then the ideas come.) As for challenges, there are those nasty things for every sharp hard move you make since you want pounding hearts, nail-biting, and a huge whoosh of relief when the “good” guys don’t bite the big one and nab the evil doers.
2) You have proclaimed that if somebody picks up just one of your FBI thrillers, you’ve got them. What is it about these particular books – and your writing style – that you believe converts casual readers into devotees?
Yep, that’s my claim, read one of the FBI and I’ve got you. Sometimes you know, simply know, that you’ve got something strong, something reader-addictive. Also, readers have told me this over and over, and I choose to believe them.
3) In addition to your suspense thrillers, you also write sweeping historical romances. How do you balance the two – and what do you see as the personal and professional advantages of genre hopping?
It’s not that I see advantages to writing to very disparate genres, nope, I enjoy writing both the historicals and the suspense thrillers because it keeps my brain unconstipated since they have very different demands (e.g., pacing is primary in the FBI, not so in the historicals). I hope to continue to have time to keep up going back and forth —
4) You have embraced social networking. How has this phenomenon enhanced your relationship with readers?
Social networking — those words together sound so bizarre. I know writers who moan and complain about having to do social networking like Facebook and Twitter, not to mention a newsletter and answering reader email. Truth is, I love it. It doesn’t take very much time (6:30 a.m. to about 7:15 a.m.) and the great thing is you’re talking to your readers and they’re telling you what they like and don’t like — talk about instant feedback (which has been great, by the way, for Backfire) and we run contests too for book titles, character names, actors for the proposed TV series — what’s not to like?
5) Give us a little teaser as to what comes next for you…
I’m currently writing Bombshell (the title from a reader), out next summer. It will be #17, amazing, I mean, that’s so many words. One of the main characters is Agent Griffin Hammersmith that the reader met in Backfire. He’s on his way east because Savich asked him to join the CAU — ah, but really gnarly stuff happens — and there’s also a vicious murder in Washington and it’s connected to the banking scandal. What’s up with that?
With thanks to Catherine Coulter for her generosity of time and thought.