My fellow Champagne Books author J.S. Marlo is well-known for her romantic suspense novels. Her novel Salvaged was just named Best Mystery for 2016 in the Preditors & Editors Readers Poll. Her latest novel is Untamed-Duty Bound #3, and I asked if I could sit down with her main character, Constable Avery Stone of the RCMP, to see what makes him tick.
Shaped by tragedy. Bound by duty. Driven by justice.
Avery trusts his instincts, not the law, to protect a deaf woman and her young son. *** Posted in the heart of winter to a remote detachment in Newfoundland, Constable Avery Stone is a freshly demoted Mountie with a rogue streak. As he looks into the death of a disgraced officer, he stumbles onto a plethora of unresolved crimes. His troubling investigation throws him into the path of Hannah Parker, the feisty deaf mother of a young boy.
To escape her past, Hannah moves into her grandfather's secluded cabin. She catches a glimpse of his killers in the woods, but her credibility is damaged by recanted accusations. The birth of a fatherless son further tarnishes her reputation, and hinders her ability to trust. When shadowy forces threaten her family, Hannah is forced to rely on Avery.
Tangled in a web of deadly deceit, Avery seeks to protect Hannah and her son while desperately trying to retrieve the crucial evidence locked inside their minds. Can Hannah recapture her past in time to save her only child and the man she's come to love?
Q: Hello, Constable Stone. Thanks for taking time out of your investigations to chat for a bit. Please keep in mind that you are not under oath, and nothing you say here will be used against you in a court of law.
So tell us about yourself, Constable Stone. What got you in the crosshairs for your author?
A: I'm a Mountie with a rogue reputation. What can I say? I like a good drink and I don't always follow the rulebook. My superior would probably say I rewrite the bloody thing every time I go on patrol. To be honest with you, I'm still riling from my demotion. Being posted on The Rock in the middle of winter isn't my idea of fun. For a woman who likes men in uniform, my author isn't too kind to me.
Q: How did you end up in the RCMP? It doesn’t really sound like your kind of thing…
A: Well, I’ve always had a bloody annoying sense of justice and duty, so that sounded like a good career move at the time. Besides, they don’t show you how thick the rulebook is until after you join. By then, I was already in, so for better or for worse, I decided to stay.
Q: You’re a rogue who likes to make his own rules. Yet you’re saying you have a strong sense of justice. Tell us about Stone’s Rules.
A: In the Stone’s book, there are three kind of rules.
First: the absolute rules. These are the rules that should never be broken. “Integrity” and “honor” are examples of absolute rules.
Second: the flexible rules. These rules can be twisted and bend to accommodate the circumstances. What can I say, I’m good at twisting and bending things out of shape without breaking them.
Third: the trivial rules. These are the rules that can be ignored without affecting anything or anyone, except maybe my superior officer. Between you and me, while I’m pulling you out of your flaming truck after you hit a moose, do you really care if I shaved or ironed my pants this morning? Come to think of it, you probably wouldn’t even notice, so I rest my case.
Q: So, if you’re not thrilled with being posted on The Rock, where would you most like to be?
A: Anywhere west of The Rock? Isn’t it bad enough that they demoted me? They didn’t need to add insult to injury by posting me in the middle of nowhere. I could disappear while on patrol and nobody would ever find my truck or my body. I’m starting to think they didn’t do me a favor by not kicking me out of the RCMP.
Q: What’s your biggest regret? Or do you operate more under the theory of ‘No Regrets”?
A: My biggest regret morphed into a demon, and they sent me on The Rock because I tried to drown it at the bottom of a bottle. **Avery snickers** Trust me, you don’t want to know the bloody details.
Q: The readers may disagree, but I’ll take your word for it. So, on a different subject, a more personal subject—what’s the first thing you notice about a woman? And what is it about that feature that interests you?
A: Her eyes. When they say, the eyes are the mirror of the soul and the pupils are the windows to the mind, it’s true. You can tell a lot about someone by looking into their eyes. Pain, struggle, love, passion… even guilt, or innocence. Eyes rarely lie.
Q: If you had the opportunity to take a person of an interesting gender out for a night on the town, what would be your choice?
a) Romantic dinner by candlelight in a classy restaurant
b) Beers and a hockey game
A: Well, ladies, the answer is C. If you enjoy walking in the woods on a snowy day or riding a snowmobile, then eating pizza and drinking beer in front of a fireplace, give me a call. I’m your man.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
A: Yes, you shouldn't believe everything you hear about me. Occasionally, people are wrong. You can find Untamed-Duty Bound #3 at Champagne Books: J.S. Marlo’s website https://sites.google.com/site/jsmarloauthor/ Find her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005715001393 And follow her on Twitter: @JSMarloAuthor https://twitter.com/JSMarloAuthor%C2%A0