Message From The Author
From Treetops to Hardcovers
CARLA NEGGERS GRIPS READERS WITH HER TALES OF LOVE AND MURDER
By Faygie Levy
As a kid, Carla neggers loved to read. There was just one problem: Growing up in rural Massachusetts on many acres of land surrounded by sheep and pigs, woods and gardens, meant that the nearest bookshop wasn't always accessible when she was ready for a new story. So young Carla took matters into her own hands.
No, she didn't hike all the way to town alone -- though she and her siblings spent many hours wandering and exploring their environs. Instead, the intrepid youngster grabbed a pen and paper, climbed up into a tree (when the weather cooperated) and began writing stories.
By age 14, she'd completed her first "adult" romantic suspense novel, about a college student who works as a chambermaid and discovers danger.
"I had a great sense of adventure as a kid," says Neggers. "We'd go out and explore ... I think that shows up in my writing."
That's definitely true of her newest entry, the hardcover title The Mist (July, Mira), which continues Neggers' tradition of action-packed intrigue with plenty of romance and atmospheric tension.
The Mist is the latest in the author's newest ongoing series of Boston P.D./FBI novels, which began with 2007's The Widow (her first hardcover book) and last year's The Angel.
"I love to create a universe of characters, that's how I think of it," says Neggers about her interconnected series. "For The Mist, the hero is Will Davenport. He appeared in The Angel as a minor character [but] for me a very intriguing character. He's British, very mysterious. It's the first time I've ever done a British hero."
That kind of hero needs a strong, gutsy and mysterious leading lady, and Will finds his counterpart in hotelier Lizzie Rush, who is convinced her father is a spy. To add further international flavor to the story, The Mist begins in Ireland, where The Angel left off, as Lizzie uncovers a bomb plot back in the States.
Why include Ireland in a series that has such a strong northeastern U.S. component? "Ireland, I didn't expect this to happen," Neggers explains, "but it did serendipitously. [My husband and I] were there several times, on the southwest coast on the Beara peninsula. We stopped in to to see my son-in-law's Irish relatives, and we stood in the little stone ruin of a cottage where his great-grandfather was born. It just sparked the idea that became The Angel."
And Neggers' Irish folklore expert, aka Angel heroine Keira Sullivan, has a role to play in The Mist as well.
The Boston P.D./FBI series, which
will continue next summer with The Whisper, is far from the only thing Neggers has on her plate. Book two of her Black Falls series, Cold River, which comes out in November, will follow the action from last fall's Cold Pursuit.
"The hardest thing about writing
two series at once is just leaving [each world]. I'm creating two universes, the universe of Black Falls, Vt., my fictional little town, and ...Êthen I have the world of the Boston P.D. and my Ireland scenario," says the author, acknowledging that switching universes does "help keep things fresh too."
In addition to her new books, this year also marks the reissue of some old favorites, including Betrayals (Mar., Mira), which was published in 1990 by Berkley under the pen name Anne Harrell. Another Harrell title, the 1989 release Minstrel's Fire, was previously reissued by Mira as Cut and Run. (Neggers' other pen name was Amalia James, under which she wrote three books for Bantam's Circle of Love imprint.) Also being reissued, as part of Harlequin's 60th anniversary Famous Firsts collection, is Captivated, Neggers' first Harlequin, written
in 1986 for the Temptation imprint.
Though she did write some category romances early on, Neggers says the seeds of romantic suspense writing were all there. "I had always written romantic suspense," she says. "That was what I was doing when I started out, but there was a time the market [for the books] wasn't there, in the mid-1980s."
As for Neggers' first finished book, the one she wrote when she was all of 14, "The Bronze Buddha" never made it to bookstore shelves. But no doubt anyone who read it could see the makings of the writing star Neggers has become.
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