How did you come up with the title for your latest book?
Would you believe me if I told you that I didn’t? True story: I submitted this novel to my publisher under a completely different name. To give you some background, The Asset is the first novel of my Wounded Warrior series, a collection of hot, smart contemporary romances about strong, self-reliant heroines and the skilled, sexy, kickass military heroes who challenge their limits to protect the women they love.
In The Asset, Lia Stuart is a woman desperate to escape her dangerous past who risks her life to care for a wounded warrior, Ash Hunter, the Navy SEAL who’s willing to lay down his life to save her. The entire time I was working on The Asset I was set on a very specific title. I thought it was good. And then my editor at Carina came back with the idea of naming the novel The Asset.
At first I wasn’t sure. But then I realized that, as Lia and Ash’s relationship evolved, they went from strangers to friends, lovers and soulmates. Along the way, they truly became each other’s greatest assets. And I thought, how great is that? Isn’t that the true about the people who love us? They are the number one assets in our lives. Thus The Asset came to be.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
That love heals, truly and deeply. That friendship, affection, passion and sex are powerful, life changing forces. That fear, as terrorizing as it is, can also be a force of change.
I think some of the greatest warriors out there are people fighting disease, disability and grief. I’m in awe of the courage our wounded warriors show every day. Healing takes hard work.
I also think we are all wounded warriors in one way or another. Our wounds may not be visible and yet we are all fighting our own battles. And, guess what? At the crux of our fears, true heroes are born.
Is the book, characters, or any scenes based on a true life experience, someone you know, or events in your own life?
The Asset and the novels of the Wounded Warrior series are based on the men and women I met during my years as a Navy wife. Living in the military community gave me great insight into the true definition of heroism.
I met some of the best people I know when my husband was in the Navy, the warriors who sacrificed their comfort and safety to deploy for months at a time and the families that supported them.
More recently, I’ve been deeply moved by the stories of our wounded heroes and the families that care for them. These are stories of hope, resilience and redemption. The determination that these warriors show to heal and reclaim their lives is truly inspiring. They are awesome. I want to honor them with my stories.
What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?
This year, I’m launching two separate series and four releases. I’m currently in the final phases of editing At the Brink, an erotic romance in the vein of the Wounded Warrior series with a darker, twist to it. I’m calling it my naughty series for my naughty readers.
In addition, the second book of the Wounded Warrior series, The Stranger, is coming out in August. I absolutely loved writing The Stranger. It’s about an Alaskan tycoon who flew helicopters for the Alaskan National Guard in Afghanistan before he got hurt, and the sun-loving, warmth-worshipper Miami architect who sends him into a total tail spin when she sleepwalks into his life in majestic Alaska. Talk about how opposites attract.
Speaking of fun, I just wrote The End on my latest novel, tentatively entitled The Game Warden, about wounded warriors fighting intrigue and poaching in Africa. So, as you can see, lots going on!
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Time. I wish I had so much more of it.
Do you have to travel much to do research for your books?
I do. I think it’s really important to know the details of the environments you’re writing about. It was easy to do for The Asset. I spend a lot of time in the gorgeous state of Colorado. I love the Rocky Mountains, hiking, skiing, snowshoeing. I feel at home there. So it was only natural that I chose the Rockies to provide the background for The Asset. Take a look at The Asset’s first chapter.
For the second book of the Wounded Warrior series, The Stranger, I traveled to Alaska multiple times. Yes, I know, someone had to sacrifice to get the story right and it might as well be me. J Alaska is an incredible place. It seeps into your blood. I want to be there right now. It made for a stunning setting for The Stranger.
And then there’s The Game Warden. Yep, I got to go to Africa. For a travel addict, it was one of the most amazing trips of my life. Stunning, fascinating and thought-provoking. I want to go back there soon.
Wounded Warrior Series
Anna del Mar
Genre: Romantic suspense,
Military romance, SEAL romance.
Publisher: Carina Press
Date of Publication: February 22, 2016
Number of pages: 336 pages
Word Count: Approx. 95,000
Anna del Mar’s explosive, sexy debut novel in the Wounded Warrior series, perfect for fans of Lisa Marie Rice and Lora Leigh—the story of a woman desperate to escape her dangerous past and the navy SEAL who would lay down his life to save her.
Ash Hunter knows what it is to run. A SEAL gravely injured in Afghanistan, he’s gone AWOL from the military hospital. Physically and mentally scarred, he returns home to his grandmother’s isolated cottage—and finds a beautiful, haunted stranger inside.
Like recognizes like.
Lia Stewart’s in hiding from the cartel she barely escaped alive, holed up in this small Rocky Mountain town. Surviving, but only just. Helping the wounded warrior on her doorstep is the right thing to do…it’s loving him that might get them both killed.
Soon, Ash realizes he’s not the only one tormented by the past. Pushing the limits of his broken body, testing the boundaries of her shattered soul, he’ll protect Lia until his last breath.
Excerpt from Chapter One
My finger twitched on the trigger as I stared down the barrel of my shotgun. A stranger stood on my stoop. The mere sight of him shoved my heart into my throat and sent my brain into default. I widened my stance, tightened my grip on the gun and aimed at the stranger’s chest. No way. He wasn’t going to take me alive.
A sharp bark startled me. The largest, darkest, most handsome German shepherd I’d ever seen stood next to the stranger, head tilted, ears forward, nose quivering in the air. It uttered a quiet whimper and padded over to me without a trace of aggression, circling me once before it leaned against my legs.
I kept my shotgun leveled, but I spared another glance at the stunning dog. The plea in his eyes tempered the adrenaline jolting through my body, reined in my runaway heart and gave me pause to consider the stranger before me.
Framed by the Rocky Mountains and the lake, the man at the threshold blocked the morning’s gray light and cast a huge shadow over my little porch. Raindrops tapped on his leather jacket, dripped from the rim of his cap and ran like tears down the sides of his face. Despite the exhaustion etched on his features, his glacial blue eyes narrowed on my gun.
“That’s a pretty old Remington,” he rumbled. “With the damn safety off, no less. Who the hell are you expecting, Jack the Ripper?”
“Stay back.” I forced the words out. “I’ll shoot if you come any closer.”
“Damn it, girl,” he said. “If you want us to leave, just say so.”
The scowl on his face contributed to his dangerous appearance. So did the scruffy beard and the shaggy hair sticking out from under his baseball cap. If he hadn’t come all the way out here to get to me—and that was still a big “if”—what on earth was he doing here?
I couldn’t see any weapons on him. Was he a drifter? He didn’t look dirty, but a metallic scent wafted from him, an odd, ripe trace I couldn’t place.
He must have seen my nose wrinkle. His whole body stiffened. He drew taller than six feet by several inches, but it was the outrage I spotted in his eyes that reinforced my fears.
“Aren’t you a spitfire?” He pulled out a rumpled piece of paper from his pocket, balled it and dropped it at my feet. “Secluded, cheap and quiet, that’s what the ad said. But I don’t think you want to rent out a room, at least not to me. Come on, Neil,” he said to the dog. “Let’s leave this little hellcat to count her bullets.” He touched the rim of his baseball cap. “And a good day to you, ma’am.”
He braced on a pair of sturdy crutches and hopped down from the stoop. Crutches? I should’ve noticed those before. The sable shepherd looked up at me, then nuzzled my hip and trotted off after his owner. The rubber bottoms of the man’s crutches stabbed the ground as he shuffled to the black truck parked in my driveway, a supercharged Ram 3500 that matched its owner’s brawn.
I exhaled the breath I’d been holding. Bad guys didn’t knock at your door. They didn’t back down, attack while on crutches or hobble away after they came for you. They didn’t call you ma’am, either. I picked up the crumpled paper and flattened it against the stair’s wobbly baluster. It was indeed the one flyer I’d dared to post at Kailyn’s convenience store, printed on pink paper, complete with the ten tear-off rectangles that listed my cell phone number.
The ad. My brain came on line. He was here about the ad?
Crap. Terror had a sure way of wiping reason from my mind. The ad talked about a stone cottage but didn’t include the address. True, mine was the only stone cottage around. Still, my stomach churned.
I stared at the paper in my hands. He’d taken down the ad. Now I had exactly zero chance to rent out the room, which also meant that, since I’d have no money to make the rent, I was going to lose my little stone cottage. I was going to be homeless and I’d have to move on. Again.
But I liked it here. The place suited me well. People in this secluded valley were nice and I’d managed to build a semblance of a life hidden out here. And what about my little friends out back? Who’d take care of them if I wasn’t around?
The pound, that’s who.
I took a deep breath and looked down on my flannel pajama pants and my extra-large sweater. With my hair up in a messy tail, I was pretty sure I looked like a gun-toting, gray-eyed witch, brimming with hostility. I’d just scared away my first and only customer.
A top-notch German shepherd like that couldn’t belong to a crook. It was obvious that the owner took excellent care of his dog. If that wasn’t enough, the man got around on crutches. He couldn’t hurt me and, if he tried, I wouldn’t need a shotgun to defend myself. I’d just have to trip him.
God, the things I thought about. Was I going to live in fear forever?
Yes, I would, but living in fear was better than not living at all.
About the Author:
Anna del Mar writes hot, smart romances that soothe the soul, challenge the mind, and satisfy the heart. Her stories focus on strong heroines struggling to find their place in the world and the brave, sexy, kickass, military heroes who defy the limits of their broken bodies to protect the women they love. She is the author of The Asset (Carina Press), the first novel of her Wounded Warrior series and three other novels scheduled for release during 2016.
A Georgetown University graduate, Anna enjoys traveling, hiking, skiing, and the sea. Writing is her addiction, her drug of choice, and what she wants to do all the time. The extraordinary men and women she met during her years as a Navy wife inspire the fabulous heroes and heroines at the center of her stories. When she stays put—which doesn’t happen very often—she lives in Florida with her indulgent husband and two very opinionated cats.