Message From The Author

Author's Message

Multitasking Maven

SHANNON MCKENNA WRITES THREE STORIES IN ONE

Years ago, when she was temping in New York City, romantic suspense author Shannon McKenna learned about multitasking -- and sneaky behavior. She'd plaster a spreadsheet or dummy document on her desktop, with her novel-in-progress underneath.

"I never did get that far on the book while I was temping," she confesses. "Sneakiness, secrecy and shame are not really conducive to creativity." McKenna found a more creativity-inducing atmosphere in southern Italy, where she moved 12 years ago to be with her Italian fiance (now husband), Nico.

"I found myself out of place, lonesome, isolated, not speaking the language, with no job, no clue, no life," she says. "Since I'd forever been bitching about how I didn't have the time to write, I sat myself down and said, Damn, girl. No more excuses.' "

She sold her first manuscript to Kensington, for
its Precious Gem line (short category romances sold only at Wal-Mart). Four others followed, until the
line folded, but then McKenna "wiggled through
a crack" and sold a novella, "Something Wild,"
to Kensington's new Brava imprint in 2001.

"I consider those first five Precious Gem books to be my writing school," says the author. "I learned so much from the process of doing them."

Avid pupil McKenna has graduated with honors for sure. Still with Brava, she has just completed Tasting Fear (Aug.), a trio of linked novellas. "Nancy, Nell and Vivi D'Onofrio are three sisters whose adoptive mother is mysteriously murdered," she says. "Three hot, hunky protective guys burst unexpectedly into their lives, and in the nick of time too!"

McKenna says she wanted to "do something a little different after Ultimate Weapon," her sixth McCloud Brothers book, which was released last year. She adds that Tasting Fear is "slightly focused more on the romance and slightly less upon the suspense than some other things I've written -- although at this point, it's very hard for me to extricate romance and suspense."

"Romantic suspense is working for me right now, and I don't want to lose any momentum and mess with my good thing," she continues, though she does have a fantasy novel idea on the back burner. She's currently working on the seventh McCloud book, about the "long-lost Kev," and doing another balancing act: motherhood and writing. "My days are a blur of little-kid management," says the mom of two. "Which severely cuts in on the writing time and leaves absolutely no time at all for the lovely things Italy is famous for."

-- Liz French


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