Friday, February 15, 2013
GUEST S D SKYE AND HER SEVEN YEAR ITCH
No, folks, S. D. Skye is not a victim of the seven-year itch. She has a new romantic suspense titled THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH, the first of her J J McCall series, and will share it with us today after I grill, um, I mean ask her a few questions. S.D. Skye is a former FBI Russian Counterintelligence Program Intelligence Analyst and supported several key cases during her 12-year tenure at the Bureau. She has personally witnessed the blowback the Intelligence Community suffered due to the most significant compromises in U.S. history, including the arrests of former CIA Case Officer Aldrich Ames and two of the Bureau's own--FBI Agents Earl Pitts and Robert Hanssen. She has spent 20 years supporting counterintelligence, intelligence, and military missions in the U.S. Intelligence Community.
S.D. will be awarding a Kindle Fire to a randomly drawn commenter at the end of the tour. (US/CANADA ONLY)
Now to cross-exam her:
Caroline: Tell us something about growing up and your deepest personal secrets.
SD: I’m one of the Washingtonians who was actually born in Washington. But I spent my high school years and my first two years of college as a Buckeye in a small town in the Ohio Valley. That’s where my mother and her family were from. It was culture shock for a city girl, but I loved my time there.
In school, I’d like to think I was a cool nerd, as I was an honor roll student without a pocket protector. But I think the fact that I played the tuba in the band puts me squarely in the bookworm/major nerd category.
Now, I’m a single mom of one precocious…I mean er…precious 12 year old son who has somehow managed to trump me with his sense of humor and perfect comic timing. Funniest kid I’ve ever met…said the biased mom.
Caroline: All moms should be biased toward their kids. Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?
SD: My tastes are completely random and eclectic. I read everything from Jane Austen to Stephen King. I used to be a major chick lit fan but I haven’t found one in a long time that hasn’t irritated me. Now, I read a lot of non-fiction, biography type books. I like reading how people overcome challenges in their journeys to success. In fiction, I’ll read any book with an engaging character and a story that won’t allow me to put the book down. If I can’t put it down, I won’t put it down.
Caroline: Don’t laugh at the next question, since you have a preteen: What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge?
SD: I haven’t had the occasion to do much relaxing and recharging in a few years. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve had a vacation since I started my writing career. I’ve been on a writing and promoting bend ever since the writing bug bit. But when I do relax, I’m a true Aquarian in that I love to be near the water. Not necessarily in the water, but I love the sound of the ocean. I also like taking long drives and howling to the radio. The noises that emanate from my mouth could not constitute singing.
Caroline: Oh, I also have to sing when alone. Otherwise, people come running to see how badly I’m injured. ☺Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?
SD: Experience is the only teacher that gives you the test first and the lesson later. This is the story of my life, a text book lesson in learning from error and trial. I should be the smartest person on the planet, but I’m not even close. But I’m much smarter than I used to be, so I’m making progress.
Caroline: Great quote. How long have you been writing?
SD: I’ve been writing since I was about 7 or 8. My mom used to buy me those diaries with the key lock on them. I’ve been keeping journals ever since. Every now and then I’d go back and read my entries and I truly cracked myself up. My entire writing career is based on a self-indulgent need to make others more entertained by laughing at my life than I am. For some reason I kept talking myself out of writing a book though. Gave myself a lot of excuses, like “I don’t have a degree in English,” or “No one will ever read it.” When I hit the big 4-0, somehow I got the courage to do it. I wrote my first novel, after a break-up, in about four months. I haven’t looked back since.
Caroline: Journaling is a good habit for writers. Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude?
SD: Even though I have an office with a door (a luxury to many writers), I mostly write at my dining room table. My office sits on the back my house so I get little natural light in there, and sunlight energizes me. I’m one of those people who get depressed during the winter months because of the shorter days. But light pours through my dining room window so I’m at home there.
My writing conditions change depending on my mood. Sometimes I need quiet, other times I need white noise. Sometimes, I can write with music. Other times I can’t. As of late, I’ve been in this weird phase where I can only write if Harry Potter movies are playing in the background. My 12 year old son is enjoying this phase. I love Harry and have read all the books, some twice, but I’m looking forward to getting over this.
I have two laptops and two desktops, but I mostly use my dining room desktop because it has a 23 inch screen and I’m blind as a bat.
Caroline: Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?
SD: Absolutely. Every book I’ve ever written contains little pieces of me. THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH, my current release, is actually based on an FBI agent with whom I worked during my 12-year tenure at the FBI.
Caroline: Wow, 12 years in the FBI is very impressive. Do you set daily writing goals? Do you get a chance to write every day?
SD: Since my job involves writing, I have no choice but to write every day. But I usually go with the flow. Some days, I might write for 12 hours and others I may write for 12 minutes. Some days I might work on my novel, and other days, if I feel a little blocked or short on ideas, I might work on one of my blogs or promotion. Baby steps or big steps, my primary goal is to make progress and move forward.
Caroline: That’s all we can do, isn’t it? What do you hope your writing brings to readers?
SD: Entertain, enjoyment, lots of laughter, and maybe a few life lessons. I think all of my books contain all of these elements, some to a greater degree than others.
Caroline: What long-term plans do you have for your career?
SD: I plan to write until I have no more stories to tell, and I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Ideas are constantly coming to me and if I cloned myself twice I’m not sure I’d have time to get them all written. Right now I have a slew of crazy people running around in my head that are begging to have their business shared with complete strangers. I will indulge them for as long as I can.
Caroline: Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?
SD: I’ll be spending the next two years finishing up the J.J. McCall FBI Series. In book two, SON OF AN ITCH, Russian intelligence plants a bug in the White House Situation Room walls and J.J. has to identify the culprit who helped them. In the meantime, J.J.’s nemesis plots to kill her and defect to Moscow. It’s turning out to be fun book to write, lots more romantic tension in the sticky triangle, a few love scenes (can’t say who is involved),and I’m not sure I could come up with a more exciting ending. Can’t wait until it’s done.
Caroline: Sounds like a terrific book and I love the title’s word play. What advice would you give to unpublished authors?
SD: First, don’t try to follow trends. Write the story that is in your heart and soul to tell. Secondly, don’t get hung up on making perfect first drafts. They are supposed to be crap and everything can be fixed. If you want to have a successful career, the key is to FINISH.
Caroline: What’s something about you that would surprise or shock readers?
SD: If you’re not shocked by now, I’m pretty sure nothing else in my life story would do the trick.
I was once on the news show 60 Minutes and got my 15 seconds of fame. They did a feature on an art theft case that I supported while I maintained the FBI’s National Stolen Art File, before I got into counterintelligence. That same week I was featured in U.S.A. Today for the same story. I know what you’re thinking…art theft too? Yes, I’ve had a pretty storied career.
Caroline: You have had a career to keep you writing for a lifetime. Can you give readers a blurb about your book?
SD: Her Family Was Vexed With a Generational Curse. Now for Lie Detecting FBI Spy Catcher J.J. McCall, the Truth is in The Seven Year Itch.
FBI Special Agent J.J. McCall is a born lie detector who recruits foreign spies to catch American traitors. She and co-case agent Tony Donato have lost two of their most critical Russian sources in the past two years, and they may lose another in just a few short days if they don’t catch him, The ICE PHANTOM, a rumored insider spy more insidious and elusive than Ames and Hanssen combined. They suspect he might be burrowed deep inside FBI counterintelligence—and his body count is going up.
Drawn into an unsanctioned mole hunt, they have a week to catch him, save a key source’s life—and their own. While J.J.’s lie detecting ability helps them narrow down the list of suspects, the lie she tells to herself may help the ICE PHANTOM defect to Moscow and get away with the murder of the man she loves.
Skye's debut FBI Series, filled with mystery, espionage, romance, and suspense, will keep you burning through the pages until J.J. catches the very last spy.
Caroline: How about an excerpt?
SD: Excerpt of SEVEN YEAR ITCH
Monday Morning in Moscow…
Mikhail Polyakov was murdered in a Solntsevskaya-owned cottage located in Lobnya, a small village just outside Moscow. It was a Russian organized crime death chamber. A hulking Mafioso known only as Maskov hovered over his mangled corpse. The ax in his massive hand dripped with the blood of a traitor. He would not live to betray his country another day. In the safe house basement, he lay on the concrete floor. A pool of crimson surrounded him, and his flesh had been gashed and hacked beyond visual recognition; death’s stench thickened the air. In order to serve its only noble purpose, his right hand, which bore a crescent-shaped birthmark, was left untouched.
A sliver of light shone through an undersized window revealing the wicked grin that parted the executioner’s cigarette blackened lips. Colonel Anatoliy Golikov. A Russian intelligence officer, he was a member of a cadre of Russian Foreign Intelligence Service—SVR officers—from the First Department. His professional mission had been recruiting people who sold U.S. secrets, but his personal mission was to kill anyone who betrayed the Motherland.
His skinny eyes, slight frame, and borderline gaunt face colored him weak, but his iron-fisted will and suffocating persona made him a man few crossed. Even fewer had lived to brag about it if they had. The son of a former hardline KGB General who executed Russians spying for the West, he’d filled his father’s sadistic shoes well. Left nothing in his wake except a trail of dead American sins against Russia.
Caroline: Where can readers find your books?
SD: SEVEN YEAR ITCH, a JJ McCall Novel, is available in print and ebook from Amazon at:
Caroline: How can readers learn more about you?
SD: My website is: http://www.authorsdskye.com/
Don't forget to leave a comment to qualify for SD's generous drawing of a Kindle Fire. You can increase your chances by following her tour and commenting at each stop. Her tour stops are listed on her website, given above.
Thanks for stopping by!