Who is your favorite character in the book?
I love Kevin… He is the ultimate man, but I love Heather Sampson. I like to think that she will be an inspiration to women who need to find their escape.
Who is your least favorite?
I rarely HATE a character, but I guess there is a first time for everything and it came with this book. I despise Heather’s husband, David Sampson. Every time I wrote a scene between them, I fumed for the rest of the day. I finally had to explain what was happening to my husband and that I wasn’t mad at him. What can I say? I guess sometimes I can’t help letting my writing leak into my real life and vice versa.
Are we going to see these characters again?
Without giving too much away, it is possible. However, the next couple of books will be based on connected characters. Book 2, Dust Up With the Detective, will actually be based on the detective from Smoke and Ashes, Jeremy Lawrence (just saying his name makes me want to drool)!
What is your favorite scene in the book?
There are several that I like… I guess that’s a good thing, but here’s one that comes to mind:
“Are you sure that it’s okay if I stay, Kevin?
“I can go. I’m sure that I can stay with—” She stopped before she said Brittany. Her only other friend didn’t have a place in her life for Heather’s mess. She had her hands full dealing with the fire at her house. “I can stay at a hotel or something.”
Kevin set her bag next to the wall, but his movements were awkward and tight. “You’re welcome to stay here as long as you need.”
“Kevin, I… Thank you.” She didn’t know what to say. Thank you just didn’t seem like enough when what she really wanted to say was that he was part of the reason she had the strength to leave.
He had shown her there could be more in the world. That there could be something besides heartbreak and the constant thoughts that she could be doing something more to make someone else happy, even if that meant being miserable in her own skin.
Kevin had saved her life and he probably didn’t even realize it.
Where does the book take place?
This book takes place in Missoula, Montana. My hometown! It is a beautiful city tucked into the belly of the Rocky Mountains. During the winter we are minutes from the ski slopes and during the summer we can hike virtually from our front doors. It’s awesome!
All of my upcoming books will be taking place in and around Western Montana.
Is this part of a series?
Yep, this is the first book in the Montana Heroes Series.
Can readers find you at any Author/Reader conventions in the near future?
I just returned home from the RT Convention in Las Vegas. I’m going to be at Emerald City Writers Conference, the Montana Book Festival, and next year I will be attending the RWA Conference in Walt Disney World and possibly the RT Convention in Denver.
I love talking to fans and book lovers, so if you are going to be at one of these events please make sure to stop by and visit. J I’m a chatty cowgirl/nerd… so be prepared!
What are you working on now and when can we expect it to be available?
I’m currently working on a variety of projects (as the books are in varying stages of the publishing process), but I most recently worked on two of the Montana Heroes series. It’s called Dust Up With the Detective and it’s being published by Harlequin Intrigue mid-September. It is a mass market paperback (and e-book) therefore it will be available through all major booksellers and online. (SO EXCITED!)
Dust Up With the Detective is about Jeremy Lawrence (the detective in Smoke and Ashes).
Here’s a peek at the “unofficial” blurb:
One bad decision can cost you your life…
When she was young, Blake West had been in a rush to escape the a mining town in Montana where she’d been born and raised; instead, a single decision left her with a child and dreams that are now nothing more than a distant memory.
To support her daughter, Blake has taken a job as a Sherriff’s Deputy. Her days are filled with little more than automobile accidents and drunken brawls until the day Detective Jeremy Lawrence’s brother goes missing.
Together Blake and Detective Lawrence must uncover the clues about his brother’s possible demise, all while keeping a safe distance from the feelings that surface between them. As the mystery unfolds, only one thing becomes clear—not everything is as it seems and sometimes, even in rural Montana, the bad guy wins.
I wanted to thank you for having me on your blog. I appreciate all your hard work and dedication to the world of books!
Smoke and Ashes
Montana Heroes Series
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue
Date of Publication: May 1, 2016
ISBN: Paperback: 9780373699070
Large Print: 9780373749614
Number of pages: 224
Word Count: 50-55k
Cover Artist: Harlequin Intrigue
Montana's bravest…and hottest
With a mysterious arsonist on the loose in Missoula, fire inspector Kevin Jensen saves more than Heather Sampson's house. The sexy single father rescues her from an abusive marriage—and discovers his own past failures don't have to rule his life. Especially when sparks between him and Heather ignite irresistible desire.
But who's the arsonist? Why target Heather? What's his shocking motive? When Heather faces off with him in a brutal attack, she needs her "white knight" as much as he needs her. Both have looked into their souls and risked their broken hearts for each other. Now Kevin will have to risk his life and his heart.
He looked down at Heather Sampson as he pulled the matchbox from his pocket. The box dropped from his hand, spilling matches on her bedroom floor in a heap of deadly promise. Crouching down, he scooped them back into the container, careful to move quietly, afraid that at any second she would awaken and find him standing over her.
Her eyes were closed and her lips slightly parted, as if she waited for a kiss from her Prince Charming. She should have known better. There was no such thing as Prince Charming. There were only toads and a precious few men like him—men who worked to make everything just.
The sad truth was that there was no justice in marriage—at least not in any of the marriages he had witnessed. No. Marriage was one lie after another. One hurt feeling masked with a fake smile, only to have another lie strip it away. It was an endless cycle of pain.
What was the point? What was it all for?
As far as he could tell, it was for nothing more than ego and some idealistic hope that if they acted happy, if they faked it well enough, maybe they could finally believe it themselves.
He was here to make her a martyr, not that she would understand, but this was his chance to show her and the world what her marriage truly was—nothing more than smoke and ashes. A fire that had yet to burn itself out. But at last the time had come. The hour was here for him to stoke the flames and let them consume every crumb of her failing marriage.
The inferno could have it all.
He walked out of her bedroom and made his way downstairs, where the glorious scent of gasoline filled the space. Unlike the others, Heather’s house would go up in a flash. In one giant fireball the whole charade would be over—the secrets, the lies, the fake smiles and hurt feelings. It would all be gone, and all her pain could be for a higher purpose.
The night air blew into the house, diluting the gas’s perfume. He made sure to leave the door open as he stepped out and walked toward the garage. A puddle of gas sat on the sidewalk, just waiting for him.
He struck the match.
It was so much easier this way.
The fire’s smoke curled skyward, creating a trail that led to the heavens. If he had his way, life would be better and she would be free.
About the Author:
Danica Winters is an Amazon bestselling author who has won multiple awards for writing books that grip readers with their ability to drive emotion through suspense and occasionally a touch of magic. Most recently, Danica was the winner of the Paranormal Romance Guild’s Paranormal Romantic Suspense Book of the Year Award and Chanticleer Media’s Paranormal Book of the Year for her novel Montana Mustangs. She is currently the finalist for the Chatelaine Award.
When she’s not working, she can be found in the wilds of Montana testing her patience while she tries to understand the allure of various crafts (quilting, pottery, and painting are not her thing). She always believes the cup is neither half full nor half empty, but it better be filled with wine.
Danica Winters is represented by Nicole Resciniti and Lane Heymont of the Seymour Agency.