The onset of fire season should be the hottest thing about interviewing smokejumpers for Whitney Storm — until she sees Tom MacKenzie. He set her heart aflame ten years ago, then disappeared. As an empath who doesn’t need emotional turmoil, this six-foot tall dark and dangerous memory has no place in her life. As a smokejumper, Tom’s job keeps him face to face with danger and he thought he knew how to handle heat. But the uncontrolled burn whenever he’s near Whitney is hotter than he remembers. He’s ready to face the past and make amends. She’s made it clear she wants nothing to do with him. A life-threatening problem flares when a killer’s greedy obsession threatens everything. Can Tom and Whitney learn to trust each other again and protect all that they hold dear, or will their world turn to ashes around them?
Will greed, trust or fire win in the final chapters of ‘Dangerous Heat? Here to battle the tempest of this fiery romance with me is novelist Sloan McBride. Sloan thanks for joining me today to play with the fire within the pages of the first stage of the Men of Fire trilogy. What sparked the embers of your in the world of fire-fighters and more specifically those parachuting wildfire fire-fighters called smokejumpers?
I have always been interested in smokejumpers. I write romance, always, so I started doing research about smokejumpers and decided to tell 3 men’s stories.
Did you have much of a background into the world of the smokejumpers, or was this world something that you need to explore in detail to make sure it was accurate in your novel?
I did months and months of research about smokejumpers. The local fire chief met with me and we discussed the fire academy and different things about what firemen learn. He loaned me books they use at the fire academy so I could read them and get to understand how fires work.
It’s wonderful to hear that your local fire chief was so generous with his time and knowledge, and could help your explorations into the further specialised area of smokejumpers. Flipping to the relationship side of your novel, do any of the relationships mirror aspects of your own relationships?
Whitney’s son is loosely based on my relationship with my own son.
I love that you’ve been able to take snippets from your own family and bring them to life anew through your words. Was this ability to take inspiration from real-life and move it to paper most rewarding for you? Or do you find greater rewards from another aspect of writing, and it so can you tell us a little more about it?
The relationships between Whitney and her family, Whitney and her son, and her relationship with Tom.
Relationships are really central to your book. If you were lucky enough to have this fiery tale translated to the screen, which actors do you think could bring your characters best to life?
Patrick Dempsey for Tom. Evangeline Lilly for Whitney.
Nice choices. Earlier I mentioned that this novel is the first in a trilogy, are you currently hard at work on the next instalment?
I am finishing The Talisman Trilogy that takes me back to the Scottish Highlands in the 1300s. Highland Stone was my debut novel. Many people have asked for Ramsey MacLaren’s story so that will be Book 2.
With multiple trilogies in progress, how do you keep track of what ideas go with which story? Do you keep an idea book or record of things that you would like to write about at some period in time?
I make notes when I read, hear, or see something interesting that I think would work in a book.
How do you piece together a solid story from this collection of notes when you’re starting a new story? Do you find that having an end in mind helps you pick out the notes that would work best?
I know that it will end happily because that’s all I write. But the journey itself is a mystery that unfolds as I write. It’s more exciting for me that way.
I really like the solid decision that everything you write will have a happy ending. There’s a huge amount of negatively in the world and I like to see authors who are keen to contribute to building up the positive pile. Is it important for you to keep the mystery and excitement of writing fuelled by an external factor like music?
I have to have complete quiet to work. I do have certain songs that remind of me of a character that I will listen to when I’m driving or working, but quiet is where I write best.
How do you keep yourself on track in this quiet?
I try to write a certain number of words per day, but with life that never happens. My family will always come first and that definitely puts a strain on my writing time.
Keeping your family in first position is much more important than getting a book written, but I’m glad to hear that you do have a target you’d like to hit. I’m sure one day the family will quiet down a little and let you hit it! When you’ve worked hard towards those word targets and your draft is done how do you move onto editing? Do you edit yourself?
Yes, I edit, and edit, and edit many times before I send the book to my editor. I try to make it as polished as possible before it leaves my hands.
Is strong editing your top tip to other writers? Or do you feel there is a more critical aspect to writing?
Write. You will get nowhere if you don’t finish the book. The completed work is the key to everything.
*Laughs* You’ve got me there! You need to have something written down first otherwise you have nothing to edit or finish! On the topic of finishing we’ve almost reached the end of the interview, but I’d like to take a minute to wind down with some slightly silly questions to show a little more of the author behind ‘Dangerous Heat’. Let’s start with a simple one, are you left or right handed?
What is your favourite quote?
Life is a book waiting to happen.
*Laughs* And that’s why everyone can become an author! Other than life being a book, are there any other life philosophies that you live by?
Get high on life; there is no other way. Be kind to one another.
Kindness is very important too. What is your zodiac sign?
A fire sign! Let’s move from fire to water with what is your favourite ocean?
Where is the line between insanity and creativity?
I don’t know. I haven’t found it yet.
Keep looking; I think that it should be out there somewhere. What came first, the chicken or the egg?
And finally because I really do love this question have you tangoed in the snow?
Only in my dreams.
Those must be some fantastic dreams! Sloan, thanks for guiding us through the fiery depths of the back-story for ‘Dangerous Heat’ and I hope you enjoy your return to the Talisman Trilogy.
Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘Dangerous Heat ( ASIN: B00BMZNBAI )‘.
Want to find out more about Sloan McBride? Connect here!