Michelle Dayton, Emma Sinclair, and Ainslie Paton, Authors of Caught in the Act: A Jewel Heist Anthology talk about illegal acts and other shenanigans authors get up to
1) Have you ever done anything illegal?
Michelle: Me? Do something illegal? Never. (wink, wink)
Emma: Absolutely not. I’m a good girl. ;)
Ainslie: Oh, so I’m the bad girl. I once took a metal shank into a prison. Not on purpose. I was visiting a friend and it was holding my hair up and even though I walked through the metal detector and was visually inspected going in, no one picked it up. My incarcerated friend did and was panicked. Quickest visit ever. Also, tailgating at boom gates to avoid paying, but who doesn’t do that.
2) If there were no consequences what devious act would you commit and why?
Michelle: Like Jess, my heroine in Strange Tango, I’m a bit of an IT geek. If there were no consequences, I’d hack into everything I could think of and get my hands on all sorts of confidential information. Never know when it would come in handy.
Emma: If I could have one super power, I’d want to be invisible, so I think I’d want to be a spy of some kind. I want to know secrets. Maybe plant cameras around so I could satisfy my voyeur fantasies (not those kind of fantasies, I’m just nosy).
Ainslie: Who wrote these questions? I’m feeling devious towards them. I would never pay for parking. And I’d move money that wasn’t mine around so people who had too much shared with people who didn’t.
3) What naughty thing have you been caught in the act of?
Michelle: I often write on my lunch hour at the office. One day my boss popped in for a quick debrief. He looked at my screen before I could close my document. Let’s just say I wasn’t writing a PG scene at that moment. His eyes almost popped out of his head.
Emma: I’m too good to get caught.
Ainslie: I lie to my mother. All the time. And then I tell other people all about it in a blog. (http://ainsliepaton.com.au/the-mum-missives/)
4) What’s your favorite punishment to dish out and to whom?
Michelle: Ooh, the silent treatment. It’s diabolical – and I can do it for days. To whom? Co-workers, my poor husband … really anyone who pisses me off.
Emma: I’m a fan of the long con. Making people think that everything is fine, until the perfect moment for revenge. I’m patient. As for whom, well, I have an ex…
Ainslie: Do ugly stuff unto me and all your worst traits and deeds end up in a book. Lots of old bosses have shown up as antagonists.
5) What inspired you to write a jewel heist story?
Michelle: I just love sexy capers like The Thomas Crowne Affair or Moonlighting or Suzanne Enoch’s Samantha Jellicoe series … I figured, why not try writing my own?
Emma: I like the idea of making the “bad guy” lovable. People can do bad things without being bad people. And they still need love (and hot sex).
Ainslie: I’d just completed a series called Sidelined, angsty love affairs set in a Silicon Valley startup, and I was in the mood to write a story that was shorter, lighter and pure fun. I also wanted to explore writing a heroine who I think is kick-ass, but readers might find unlikeable. We’ll see.
6) What illegal act are the characters in your story doing?
Michelle: Adam is a professional jewel thief and his goal is to steal $25 million in diamonds from a smuggler. Jess is trying to reclaim her life and reputation and is willing to break the law with her laptop.
Emma: Is it really considered stealing if the diamond technically should belong to you?
Ainslie: They cheat, steal, use multiple identities, impersonate, money launder, move stolen goods and fail to co-operate with authorities and that’s before breakfast.
7) Are your characters ‘bad hombres’ or simply misunderstood?
Michelle: Ha! Misunderstood, definitely. Adam is definitely a professional thief, but he has his own brand of integrity, he’s intensely loyal, and he only steals from assholes. Before the story begins, Jess is the quintessential “good girl”, but working with Adam teaches her respect for the gray areas of life.
Emma: Neither, really, but the characters in Rough Edges are closer to misunderstood than actually being a bad.
Ainslie: Cleve and Aria—bad to their hombre bones. But in a good (so long as your morals are flexible) way.
8) In one sentence tell us why we should read your story?
Michelle: Strange Tango is for you if you like diamonds, witty repartee, and hot sex? (If you say no, I won’t believe you.)
Emma: Diamonds and hot sex? Why wouldn’t you read Rough Edges?
Ainslie: Hoodwinked Hearts is a tortured reunion of two long lost and wronged lovers with a side of glamour, suspense, danger, incarceration, and skullduggery. Also, the heroine is a punk.
9) What are you working on next?
Michelle: Jess and Adam’s story will continue, yay! I’m working on two sequel novellas to Strange Tango. I’m also wrapping up a fun, super-sexy contemporary romance that begins with a one-night stand.
Emma: I’m a sucker for fairy tales, so every time I’m between projects, or don’t really know what to write next, I go back to putting a new spin on some of my favorite fairy tales.
Ainslie: I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you. Oh, all right. Working on book two of Love Trials. Book 1, The Love Experiment comes out with Carina in October. It’s about two newspaper reporters thrown together to do a love experiment for a story.
Get this sexy anthology here and read it now!
Okay, I admit it, I’m not really a jewelry person, I have a couple of pairs of earrings that I wear for weeks and at a time and that’s about it, so when creating the Staffordshire diamond and necklace for Rough Edges, I had to do a fair amount of research.
I started with the most famous diamond necklace of all, the Hope Diamond.
The Tiffany Diamond is perfect for what I needed, but I made the Staffordshire clear rather than yellow.
During my research, I came across the Taylor – Burton Diamond. It was originally supposed to be a ring. At 70 carats, could you imagine walking around with that on your hand? Even Elizabeth Taylor thought it was too much, which is how it became a necklace.
But I also knew the Staffordshire diamond needed a necklace worth of it. I based it on this one, though my fictional necklace is more colorful with other gems instead of only diamonds.
If given the opportunity, I would totally wear any of the jewels above, but, like I said, I’m usually only in my fake diamond earrings. What about you? Are diamonds your stone of choice? Do you not leave the house without jewelry? Stone of choice?
If you’re in the market for action that’s high on risk, an adventure that’s light on lawful, and surprises that score big, then your heart is hankering for a caper.
And why not, they’re amongst the most entertaining stories around. Full of unfeasibly complex situations with seemingly insurmountable odds, clever stunts, MacGyver-like tricks, delicious banter, and added practical jokes for light relief.
Capers walk a highwire between good and bad. They give a great suspension of belief, plus the promise of the satisfaction of getting away with it.
And it all unfolds right in front of you, because you’re part of the sting and in on the secret.
In a caper, the protagonist always gets their valuable snatched object and avoids getting caught. They outwit, out-manoeuvre, outplay and outright confound the natural order of things. They stick it to the establishment and take one off the team.
In the film, think the Ocean’s Eleven franchise, Sneakers, A Fish Called Wanda, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Three Kings, Gone in 60 Seconds, and the Great Muppet—er—Caper. In TV, think Fargo. Every season.
And did I mention the romance?
If you’ve not seen The Thomas Crown Affair or the evergreen Romancing The Stone, two classic capers, you’re really not living.
In the best capers, the protagonist steals the contents of the bank vault and the heart of the mysterious cat burglar. They get the priceless antiquities and the sexy, cardigan wearing museum attendant, the one of a kind diamond and the Vegas hustler pretending to be a hand model.
That last one is my caper, Hoodwinked Hearts. It’s about a big diamond, an improbable score, designer shoes, two long lost lovers, the Japanese mafia and a dirty double-cross.
If you’re in need of a story to wrap you in the thrill of an out of the ordinary escapade, choose a caper.
How do you take your capers?
Make mine a double
Ainslie Paton always wanted to write stories to make people smile, but the need to eat, accumulate books, and have bedclothes to read under was ever present. She sold out, and worked as a hack, a suit and a creative, impersonating business leaders, rebel rousers and politicians, and making words happen for companies, governments, causes, conditions, high-profile CEOs, low-profile celebs, and the occasional misguided royal.
When I started to write my novella, STRANGE TANGO, I had one specific goal in mind … to give my main characters, Adam and Jessica, the witty banter and intense sexual chemistry I’ve loved in other fictional couples who ended up falling in love while on the job or mid-adventure. Here are some of my favorites:
Tell me – who am I missing? Who are your favorites? Which other fictional couples have fantastic chemistry?
There are only three things Michelle Dayton loves more than sexy and suspenseful novels: her family, the city of Chicago, and Mr. Darcy. Michelle dreams of a year of world travel – as long as the trip would include weeks and weeks of beach time. As a bourbon lover and unabashed wine snob, Michelle thinks heaven is discussing a good book over an adult beverage. You can find her online at www.michelledayton.com and on Twitter.
We can’t believe we’re seven years old! When Carina Press launched in 2010, we published 40 titles in one month. ONE MONTH! And it’s been a wild, romantic, out-of-this-world ride ever since.
The best part of our journey has been our amazing readers and incredible authors. So, thank you so much for joining us!
Take a trip down memory lane with us and discover the 40 titles that started it all. Enjoy!
For your reading pleasure – extended excerpts of all the launch books!
Please see below for the first chapter (or prologue + first chapter) of all of our launch books.
June 7th, Week One
Coin Operated by Ginny Glass, Contemporary Erotic – Download excerpt
Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey, Contemporary Romance – Download excerpt
Song of Seduction by Carrie Lofty, Historical Romance – Download excerpt
Exit Light by Megan Hart, Paranormal Fiction – Download excerpt
Motor City Fae by Cindy Spencer Pape, Paranormal Romance – Download excerpt
Amethyst Bound by L. Shannon, Paranormal Romance – Download excerpt
Criminal Instinct by Kelly Lynn Para, Romantic Suspense – Download excerpt
Jungle Heat by Bonnie Dee, M/M Historical Romance – Download excerpt
In Plain View by J. Wachowski, Mystery – Download excerpt
In Enemy Hands by KS Augustin, Science Fiction Romance – Download excerpt
June 14th, Week Two
Sea of Suspicion by Toni Anderson, Romantic Suspense – Download excerpt
Allegra Fairweather: Paranormal Investigator by Janni Nell, Paranormal Mystery – Download excerpt
Tempting the Enemy by Dee Tenorio, Paranormal Romance – Download excerpt
Parker’s Price by Ann Bruce, Contemporary Romance – Download excerpt
Miss Foster’s Folly by Alice Gaines, Historical Romance – Download excerpt
The Bloodgate Guardian by Joely Sue Burkhart, Paranormal Thriller – Download excerpt
Alien Revealed by Lilly Cain, Science Fiction Erotic Romance – Download excerpt
Liberty Starr by Rebecca E. Grant, Contemporary Romance – Download excerpt
The Price of Freedom by Jenny Schwartz, Paranormal Romance – Download excerpt
June 21st, Week Three
Love and Scandal by Donna Lea Simpson, Historical Romance – Download excerpt
The Last Days of a Rake by Donna Lea Simpson, Historical Romance (free title) – No excerpt needed! You can download the full book for free!
Savage Sanctuary by Jacqueline Barbary, M/M Paranormal Romance – Download excerpt
Hunters by Michelle Marquis and Lindsey Bayer, Science Fiction Erotic Romance – Download excerpt
Overnight by E.C. Sheedy, Romantic Suspense – Download excerpt
Her Heart’s Divide by Kathleen Dienne, Contemporary Erotic Romance – Download excerpt
Salome at Sunrise by Inez Kelley, Fantasy Romance – Download excerpt
Rivals for Love by Eve Vaughn, Contemporary Erotic Romance – Download excerpt
On Her Trail by Marcelle Dube, Paranormal Suspense Romance – Download excerpt
Lovely by Kris Starr, Historical Erotica – Download excerpt
Fatal Affair by Marie Force, Romantic Suspense – Download excerpt
June 28th, Week Four
The Panther’s Lair by Esmerelda Bishop, Paranormal Romance – Download excerpt
Captive Spirit by Liz Fichera, Historical Fiction – Download excerpt
Scene Stealer by Elise Warner, Mystery – Download excerpt
Dark and Disorderly by Bernita Harris, Paranormal Suspense – Download excerpt
Consent to the Cowboy by Abby Wood, Contemporary Erotic Romance – Download excerpt
Life After Joe by Harper Fox, M/M Contemporary Romance – Download excerpt
Texas Tangle Leah Braemel, Contemporary Erotic Romance – Download excerpt