Hello lovelies! It gives me great pleasure today to host Rachel Woods and her new book, “Flawless Danger!” For other stops on her Goddess Fish Promotions Book Tour, please click on the banner above.
Be sure to make it to the end of this post to enter to win an autographed print copy of “Flawless Danger.” Also, come back daily to interact with Rachel and to increase your chances of winning!
by Rachel Woods
GENRE: Romance Suspense
Trying to rectify the mistake that unleashed his dark past, Sione runs to the rescue of a beautiful woman staying at his resort, saving her from a brutal attack … The sly beauty who doesn’t want a hero is no damsel in distress, considering the suspicious circumstances she seems involved in. He should stay away from the beautiful liar, but something about her makes him want to forget his doubts and do anything—even if it means relying on his violent instincts—for a chance to be with her.
Sighing, Spencer shook her head.
She wanted to explain why she’d decided to “date” Ben. She wanted to tell him she’d stolen from him because she was afraid of his feelings, and even more afraid of her own feelings, afraid she would lose herself if she fell in love with him.
But, would he understand?
Could she even explain it?
“So, Step Two is get close to the resort owner,” she said, rubbing her eyes, trying not to cry. “And then what? Get into his closet and steal from him?”
“I told you the favor won’t be anything criminal,” Ben said, an edge in his tone. “There’s no law against getting close to someone.”
“Just how close do you want me to get?”
“Close, but not too close,” Ben said. “When it’s all over, you have to be able to walk away, and not look back. You have to be able to turn your back on him, even if he’s bleeding on the floor, begging you for help.”
He seemed to be unable to resist trying to get under her skin, and this time, he’d gone too deep.
Deeper than the knife she’d plunged into his gut.
What 3-5 words would you use to describe your book?
My new novel, Flawless Danger, can be described as intriguing, unpredictable, thrilling, and of course, sexy and dangerous. It’s available for a limited time on Amazon.com for $0.99.
What is your favorite chapter or section of this book?
My favorite section of Flawless Danger involves a fatalistic decision made by the novel’s hero, Sione. The choice he makes is diametrically opposed to his values and beliefs. It causes psychological trauma for him, forcing him to question if he really has conquered the demons of his past. It is a pivotal moment in the story, but it was not something that I had initially intended to happen. Nevertheless, like most writers, I followed the direction of the character (who knows his story, motivations and what actions he will take better than I do). It resulted in a plot twist that I believe readers will find very exciting and unexpected and shocking.
Did you come across any specific challenges in writing this book?
My most difficult challenge in writing Flawless Danger was making sure that I accurately described the novel’s main location. The novel begins in Houston, Texas, but then shifts to, and remains in, Belize, a Central American country. When it comes to a novel’s setting, I am very passionate about getting the details correct. I believe each place has its own pulse, atmosphere, and innate nuances that make it unique and I strive to make the reader feel as though they are actually in the novel’s location. It had been a few years since I’d visited Belize so I had to rely on photos, videos and my memories in order to paint a complete, vivid picture of the country. I was very concerned about making sure the mood, smells, sounds and the “feel” of Belize were correct. When people read Flawless Danger, I hope that when they finish the book, they feel as though they’ve actually been to Belize.
Are your main characters, Spencer and Sione based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
The main characters of Flawless Danger, Spencer and Sione, are both composites of real people, but in different ways. For Spencer, who makes her living “dating”, a tongue-in-cheek euphemism for the act of drugging men and stealing from them, the character’s actions and decisions are based on real-life stories of women who have stolen from and scammed men. In the prequel novella, Flawless Mistake, the Rolex watch Spencer steals is an idea from an article I read about a young, beautiful woman in Washington, D.C., who met a man in a bar and took him to her hotel for a nightcap, which she drugged. When the man woke up the next morning, his $50,000.00 Rolex watch was gone. In terms of Sione, he is based on several different Polynesian men that I “discovered” while sharing a New Zealand rugby obsession with a friend.
Like Spencer who starts her relationship with Sione on lies and deceit, have you ever also started a relationship on somewhat muddy circumstances?
What an intriguing question! And a question that might get me in trouble, ha ha! Honestly, I do have a touch of commitment-phobia and I haven’t always been as enthusiastic about a relationship as I may have led someone to believe. Sometimes, I would feign interest when really, I just wanted a “movie partner”.
As Spencer’s life gets darker and more complicated her relationship with Sione gets even more complex. Do you believe that love can conquer all?
Another intriguing question! Well, I believe that most people want to believe that love can conquer all. I think, more than love, that it takes trust and honesty and a willingness to put forth the effort to truly conquer a complex situation like the one in which Spencer and Sione find themselves in Flawless Danger. Readers will discover Spencer and Sione believe love is enough to overcome the challenges in their relationship, but they may be purposely fooling themselves.
“Flawless Mistake” is the prequel to “Flawless Danger.” Do readers need to read, “Flawless Mistake” first to fully understand “Flawless Danger?”
I would love it if readers read Flawless Mistake, but doing so is not required in order to understand or enjoy Flawless Danger. The full-length novel, Flawless Danger, provides a clear and concise summary of Spencer’s plight, which was introduced in “Flawless Mistake”.
Tell us about the “reflecting pool of regret” and how you chose Houston as a backdrop for “Flawless Danger.”
The choice for Houston was easy because it’s my hometown (and Beyonce’s, too!) and as much as possible, I like to represent Houston. The “reflecting pool of regret” is the reflecting pool in front of Houston’s City Hall. It’s a place where I actually used to go when I worked in downtown Houston. Often, I would go there to reflect on what was happening in my life, good or bad. I thought it would be the perfect place for Spencer to sit and feel sorry for herself and lament her bad choices. The reflecting pool is a very serene place, perfect for introspection or internalization.
Imagine that we get to see your book on the big screen (how awesome would that be?!). Who would you pick to play your characters? (It can be anyone – famous or not).
This is a very tough question for me! If Flawless Danger was made into a movie, that would be pretty wild! Ideally, I would like casting for Sione to be done in New Zealand or Australia, so a person of Polynesian descent could get the part. However, technically, the Sione character has a Tongan father and a Belizean mother. Belize is a very ethnically diverse country and the people have varying complexions and skin tones. I suppose, in a pinch, I might go for Dwayne Johnson, even though he’s Samoan. But, he’s definitely got the right body type.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
After reading Flawless Danger, I suppose I’d like readers to realize that some danger shouldn’t be avoided. As a society, we are taught and trained to fear and avoid dangerous situations. Naturally, we should use extreme caution when involved in circumstances that could cause us any type of physical or psychological harm. However, in Spencer’s case, she feels that falling in love in dangerous, because she believes it will cause her to lose her identity and become a passive submissive, with no independent desires other than to please her love interest, even if it means degrading and demeaning herself. There can be an element of danger in falling for someone, but the rewards of finding love can be worth the risk.
Give us an interesting fun fact about your book.
In the book, Spencer takes a tour and visits Xunantunich, which is an ancient Mayan archaeological site in Western Belize and one of the ruins that I visited on my trip to Belize. The name Xunantunich means “Stone Woman” and refers to the ghost of a woman who is believed by many Belizeans to inhabit the site.
As an author, what is your favorite word you love to include in your books?
My favorite word has to be discombobulated. All of my female characters have experienced this particular brand of dizzying, thunderstruck confusion at one time, or another. Actually, I’ve used it so much in the past (in other unpublished efforts that I summarily abandoned) that my editor has banned me from using it. Now, I just have to say that my character is simply “confused”.
Do you ever get writer’s block and if so, how do you handle it?
Actually, I don’t really get writer’s block, but I get very lazy about writing. A lot of times, I know I need to work on my novel, but I just want to watch Days of Our Lives and scream at the television. So, in an effort not to be lazy, I will make bargains with myself, and say, “Okay, Rachel, just go to your computer and write one sentence and then you can get back to The Young and The Restless.” Usually, the one sentence turns into more than a dozen paragraphs!
What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
I received feedback from a literary agent on one of my unpublished works that the story was interesting but there was a disconnect because the character’s motivations were not clear. Since then, I’ve worked to ensure that motivations of my characters are in sync and fit with the story and plot.
Describe what your ideal writing space looks like.
My ideal writing space is bright and minimalistic. I need lots of natural light and a clean desk, devoid of any clutter. Sometimes, I have to clean before I write. It’s weird, but messiness is very distracting for me.
What book(s) have most influenced your life?
This is a question where I want to give a really profound answer, like something by Sartre, Joyce, or Proust, etc. But, honestly, the book that has influenced my life is one a lot of people may not have heard of. It’s called “Gypsy From Nowhere”. It has a simple plot, but very deep and important themes about recovering from loss and never giving up in the face of adversity and overcoming challenges than seem insurmountable. Whenever I feel depressed or sorry for myself, I can open that book and the first chapter always lifts my mood!
Where is your favorite spot to read?
I love to read curled up on the couch with a blanket over my feet.
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
Actually, after a stint working at Barnes and Noble, I lost my affinity for paper/hard back books and I no longer treasure that tactile experience of holding a book in my hand. Because I stare at a computer all day at work, and because I write (when I’m not being lazy), I don’t really like e-books. My joy is now audio books! It’s really like listening to a stage production, complete with music and sound effects. Hopefully, I’ll be able to have an audio recording of Flawless Danger soon!
What book(s) are you currently reading?
Right now, I’m really into non-fiction and autobiographies. I just finished “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” which was gut-wrenching, but excellent and slightly terrifying. Currently, I’m listening to James Patterson, who is my go-to author.
What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
My favorite thing about being a writer is the actual process of plotting out a story with lots of twists and turns that no one will anticipate or expect, which I was fortunate to be able to do with Flawless Danger.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
My favorite motivational phrase is “shoot for the moon, because even if you miss you will still land among the stars.” I like this phrase because it always encourages me when I feel like I want to quit or give up.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I believe life is a gift and I’m always excited to see what the day will bring, good or bad. Because I like to write, each day is an opportunity to discover a new idea or theme or personality quirk or location or historical fact that I can possibly use to enliven and enrich my stories.
What are your favorite books to give — and get — as gifts?
Once again, because of my stint at Barnes and Noble, I learned that books are so personal and it’s very hard to pick a book, even for someone you know extremely well. Routinely, a customer would buy a book for someone, say a vampire romance, because they knew that person had a shelf full of vampire romances. And then, inevitably, the person who received the book would return it, saying something like, “I don’t know why she thought I would want this book.” As a result, we strongly encouraged people to buy gift cards. But, to answer the question, I would prefer to give, and receive, humorous books that make people laugh and not take themselves too seriously, something like “Letters From a Nut” by Ted L. Nancy.
What are the top three things on your bucket list?
The top three things on my bucket list are to 1) ride every roller coaster in America because roller coasters are my world 2) travel to Antarctica, just to see for myself what it’s like, particularly because I’m a diehard “summer baby”, and 3) learn to fly a plane—and I mean a Boeing 787 Dreamliner!!
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
Without a doubt, Toni Morrison. Commercial writers like myself tell stories, but Toni captures the beauty of the craft of writing in her literary works and her talent is undisputed. I would love to show her my writing and see what she thinks about it and how she would write, say a romantic suspense book.
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what five items would you bring with you?
This is such a perfect question because my fantasy is to have my own island in the Pacific! I would take a satellite phone, some kind of solar-operated computer, a knife, a box of matches and my Bible.
Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?
The Solomon Islands, which is an island chain in the Pacific close to Australia. I hope to use these islands as a setting for a romantic suspense novel starring a handsome Melanesian bloke. Since I was born in June, I tend to have an affinity for places where there is an abundance of sunshine and heat, which is why most of my books are set on islands. A tropical island is the perfect idyllic setting for romance but also for suspense and danger, which is why I chose to set Flawless Danger in Belize. I love the idea of sinister malfeasance in a beautiful setting.
What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?
One of the reasons I encourage readers to check out Flawless Mistake, the prequel to Flawless Danger, is because so many people who’ve read the book have raved about “what happens in chapter 3!” Flawless Mistake is actually available for free when you join my mailing list.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
I would tell an aspiring write to be grateful and thankful for the gift of being able to write and, most importantly, to never stop writing and never give up dreams of being published.
What's next for you? What are you working on now?
Currently, now that Flawless Danger has been released, I’ll be promoting the book and continuing to work on two books, both of which will kick off two new series. One of the books, which is still untitled, features two characters from Flawless Danger: Sione’s cousin, David Jones and Spencer’s sister, Shady. As her name implies, Shady is not exactly the good girl she seems to be. The other novel is called, tentatively, Deception Island and I’m really excited about it because it has a more mysterious tone, and I really love mysteries. In Deception Island, a woman finds herself the target of a malicious plot as she engages in various naughty escapades.
What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?
I have a website and a Facebook page, but I love for readers to personally email me. I promise, I answer all emails! I also like to communicate with readers through my monthly newsletter, which I use to promote various giveaways and to provide additional information, sneak peeks and bonus content about my novels.
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
I’m grateful for the opportunity to share more about my novel, Flawless Danger and myself. It’s an exciting page-turner with several thrilling plot twists. I hope readers will check out Flawless Danger and tell me what they think about the way I like to write romantic suspense. I call it “sexy, dangerous fiction”, and it’s all about when sexy girls find themselves in dangerous situations.
Once again, I had a great time answering these thoughtful and insightful questions. If you are interested in reading Flawless Danger, it is on sale right now at Amazon.com for $0.99 for a limited time.
As a pre-teen, a young Rachel quickly tired of the Sweet Valley High Series and moved on to work by Sidney Sheldon, Jackie Collins and Dominick Dunne, which was just the spark necessary to fuel her love of writing. Her first stories were written on a Brother typewriter during long summer days in Texas, where she always had an extra typewriter ribbon and correction tape handy.
Rachel later studied journalism and graduated from the University of Houston where she published articles in the Daily Cougar. She is a freelance writer and blogger with a penchant for melodrama and a frequent traveler to beach locales. Many of her stories take place on the islands, which she has visited around the world.
Rachel writes complex, multicultural stories centered on strong women in jeopardy, fighting for love and their own lives. When not writing, this read-a-holic can be found listening to audiobooks, reading the Book of Jeremiah, or scouring soap opera blogs. Rachel resides in Houston with her three sock monkeys.
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Rachel Woods will be awarding an autographed print copy of Flawless Danger to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.
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