Message From The Author

Author's Message

The Spy Who Loved Me

In Her First Novel, Kerrelyn Sparks Takes a Revolutionary Twist on James Bond!

By Lauren Spielberg

Q: According to your bio, you're a former mime artist, clown, tap dancer and high school French teacher. That's quite the eclectic past!

A: Eclectic?! I'll have to remember that. It's sounds so much better than flighty and indecisive. Yes, I was a clown in high school (in more ways than one). I was a member of a mime troupe and participated in other drama productions, too. Whenever they needed someone to die onstage, they called me. For some reason, much to the chagrin of my drama coach, I made people laugh. I still love to make people laugh.

This last year, my eleven-year-old daughter was in her first school play. She tried out for the part of a doll, but because she is so very tall, they decided she was perfect for the role of—you guessed it, a clown.

Q: You managed to sell your first novel despite an "unpopular" setting. Where were you when you found out Tor/Forge purchased your debut book?

A: When I first told other writers that I was writing a historical set in the American Revolution, they shook their heads and commiserated with me. "No one will buy that time period," they warned me. That summer, the movie "The Patriot" came out, and suddenly, the American Revolution was acceptable. A lucky break, and I owe Mel Gibson a big kiss.

When my agent received the offer from Tor/Forge, she immediately called me from a very noisy writers' conference and could hardly hear my gasps, squeals and stutters as I reacted to the news. I couldn't hear her, so she climbed behind a potted plant in a corner to escape the noise. Even so, we had to yell at each other, and the conversation was a series of "What? I couldn't hear you," followed by "What was that? I couldn't hear you." Then we started laughing. It seemed a suitable beginning for a love-and-laughter type book.

Q: Despite setting the book in a period before electricity or even automobiles, you adapt our 21st-century fascination with fancy gadgets and gizmos—plus all things James Bond—for the 1700s. How did you do it?

A: I had a marvelous time playing with the different gadgets. I'm not naturally adept at technology, but a submersible that's powered with a hand-crank is something even I can understand. And the submersible was real! I gave my hero a top-secret prototype based on the real Turtle, the first submersible ever to be used in combat. There was one problem that continuously plagued my historically set spies. Whether they're male or female, these poor people have no flashlights! Are they destined to wander about with a handy, spare candle in their pocket? And how do they light the candle if there's no fire nearby? How do they sneak about unnoticed if the light from said candle exposes them?

Answer # 1—Their mysterious activities always lead them to a room where a big full moon is gleaming through a large window, illuminating the scene. This occurs every night for months, causing the reader
to wonder what planet I come from.

Answer # 2—I ignore the whole problem and hope no
one notices that my spies are capable of reading in the dark.

Answer # 3—I make them all vampires and werewolves. Correction—make that patriotic vampires and foppish werewolves. "I say, does this colored ribbon go well with my fur?"

Q: FOR LOVE OR COUNTRY actually features two spies, the hero Quincy Stanton, who is posing as a loyalist, and heroine Virginia Munro, who is onto Quincy's ruse. And it looks like Virginia's sister may follow in her footsteps. Was it your intention to create a family of empowering female spies?

A: Oh, did I do that? I wish it had been intentional. Then I would have had the foresight to give Virginia six sisters instead of one. Ah well, it's too late now. No, wait, there's the secret sister that was whisked away as a baby. And another one who everyone thought had died but was kidnapped by the Indians. Voila! Two more sisters!

I do believe in strong, intelligent heroines, but I'm afraid Virginia has only one sister. Caroline's story is TAKING LIBERTY, set in South Carolina in 1780. However, there's still that mysterious brother who's only mentioned in FOR LOVE OR COUNTRY. I'm working on his story now.

Q: When can readers expect to read your second novel? Turmoil, intrigue, angst?

A: I'm happy to say that the sequel to FOR LOVE OR COUNTRY is finished! Forge is considering TAKING LIBERTY now. I'm currently working on the third book of the series, which stars Virginia's brother. For the record, I don't foresee myself writing a story burdened with heavy angst. Life is too short for that kind of misery. And
I could never write a book with the word "akimbo" in it. For some reason, the mere mention of that word gives me an instant vision
of Tarzan charging to the rescue on his elephant. He yells to his chimpanzee, "Cheetah! Mambo, akimbo!" And a herd of elephants
stampede from the dark depths of the jungle. It tends to break the romantic mood.

About the Novel: FOR LOVE OR COUNTRY…

Posing as a Loyalist, the quietly stoic Quincy Stanton wages war against the Brits. But in the midst of his struggles comes fellow secret spy Virginia Munro, who, like it or not, is onto Quincy's ruse. Can two spies fall in love and live happily ever after? Read it and find out!

For more info, visit Kerrelyn's website: www.kerrelynsparks.com


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