Authors in the Spotlight


Category: Romantic Suspense

Description: Desperate to save her unjustly convicted brother from death row, Megan Flynn turns to the detective who arrested him – and broke her heart in the process – to help her find the real killer before it's too late.


Author Spotlight: Jami Alden

This may sound a little weird, but when I was writing Beg For Mercy, I took a lot of showers. I folded a lot of laundry. And I went on a lot of runs.

At first, I would beat myself up for procrastinating. As I lingered in the shower, or folded my third basket of laundry, or took the dog for an extra walk or two, I'd fear it must be a bad sign that I was having such a hard time figuring out the pieces to this book. It's a bad day in writer land when I'll chose folding laundry over work.

My best writer friend told me to give myself a break, and reminded me that every book needed what she calls “macerating time.” It's the time that starts after you come up with the idea, but before you start the real writing. It's the time when your characters bounce around your head, having conversations and interactions that will never make it into the book, but nevertheless tell you who they really are.

But type A freak that I am, I felt compelled to make forward progress! I had a deadline, and more importantly, daily page count goals to hit! I didn't have time to let the story stew!

Still, I couldn’t figure out how I was going to work through the challenges my story presented. How I was going to get my characters to fall in love? My hero, Cole Williams, arrested my heroine, Megan Flynn's brother and helped put him on death row! You don't just get over that! And what clue would lead them to the killer?

Then another friend — who'd also had enough of my whining, emailed me a link to an article in the New York Times, that talked about how researchers have discovered that when people are conscious but doing nothing — for example, lying in an M.R.I. scanner or taking a shower — the brain is in fact firing away, with greater activity in regions responsible for recalling autobiographical memory, imagining the thoughts and feelings of others, and conjuring hypothetical events. In short, accessing the literary areas of the brain.

Well that shut little miss type A right up. Now I had scientific proof that my puttering around was not procrastinating at all. And lo and behold, a few days later, as I was sorting through another pile of kid socks, I finally figured out the clue that would lead Cole, to the villain! Dying to know what that clue was? Well my friends, it was paper. How did I get them to fall in love? You'll have to read the book to find out.

Now when my characters aren't behaving or when I run into a seemingly impossible story problem, I know that I should push away from the computer and take a run or sort some socks. The New York Times says it’s good for me.  

So if you'll excuse me, I'm on deadline. The dog needs to go for a walk.

- Jami Alden



Cole started to introduce himself as Megan turned to face him. “I'm -” he stopped short, his dark eyes widening, his body visibly jolting with shock. “Megan?” His hand twitched as though about to reach for her, but he regained his composure almost immediately. All emotion fled and his eyes got that flat, dead, cop look that never failed to unnerve her.

Waves of hot and cold shuddered through Megan as she attempted to follow Cole's lead.
“Hello, Detective Williams.” Her voice trembled a little. It wasn't every night she was called to the scene of a gruesome murder.

Confronted with the man who, after all this time, everything he'd put her through, still had the power to make her knees shake a little every time she looked at him. It seemed impossible that he should still have this effect on her. He'd put her brother in jail for Christ's sake, hadn't lifted a finger when she'd asked – no, begged – for his help. Then when their relationship had been exposed in the press, Cole had told reporters his feelings for Megan weren't serious, certainly not serious enough to interfere with his job. Which took priority over everything.

Yet she took one look at that hard, chiseled face, that rangy, broad shouldered body, those big, long fingered hands, and her stomach did a completely irrational adolescent flip flop.  

“You know him?” Dev whispered.

“Yeah, we go way back,” Megan replied, proud of the way her tone sharpened, happy to feel the fresh burst of anger in her chest chase away the rest.

Something flashed on his face – regret? Then it was gone as his gaze shifted from her to Dev. “I understand you called Miss Flynn after you found the victim?”

Dev's gaze flicked anxiously to Megan, who gave her an encouraging nod. “Yeah,” Dev said softly. “She told me to call the police.”

Cole's full mouth pulled into a half smile. “Smart woman.” He started to say something, then paused as the trailer door opened behind him.

“This is my partner, Detective Olivia Petersen,” Cole said. “Petersen, this Megan Flynn and Devany Sinclair.”

With her tall, athletic body, short blond hair and cleanly sculpted features, Detective Petersen looked like some kind of Nordic goddess of war. Her eyes did the cop sweep around the room, taking in every detail.

“You found the victim, correct?” she asked Dev.

Dev nodded.

“And who are you again?” She asked Megan, who tried not to bristle at the woman's sharp, businesslike tone.

“I'm Dev's court appointed advocate.”

Detective Petersen' perfectly arched brows knitted into a frown. “Why is your name so familiar?”

Megan fought not to squirm as the woman's blue stare pierced her. “Most likely because my brother Sean is on death row and recently waived his right to appeals,” she said, her voice flat and emotionless. “His name is in the press lately because in three weeks he'll be the first person executed by Washington state in over a decade.”


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