Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Secrets of a Dangerous Woman

Please welcome p.m. terrell author of Secrets of a Dangerous Woman

p.m. will be giving a $25 Amazon Gift Card to one randomly drawn commenter) and encourage your readers to follow the tour and comment; the more they comment, the better their chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2012/07/virtual-book-tour-secrets-of-dangerous.html.

pm terrell


1. What or who inspired you to start writing?

I started writing in the 4th grade after my father was transferred from New Jersey to the Mississippi Delta. He was an FBI Agent and our lives were pretty lonely back then—so many wanted the FBI to get out of Mississippi during that tumultuous time. My school principal, Mrs. Alexander, saw that I had no friends and she encouraged me to write. My first “novel” was about 9 pages long, but it started me on a lifelong love of writing.

2. How did you come up with ideas for your books?

A few years ago, I wrote Exit 22, a suspense/thriller in which I applied the Enron scheme involving electricity futures, to the oil industry. The main character, a computer hacker named Brenda Carnegie, was so popular with my fans that I knew I had to bring her back. So she has reappeared in Secrets of a Dangerous Woman. Since she is a computer hacker and my background is in computers (specializing in computer intelligence and white collar computer crime) I knew she could easily gather information on high ranking politicians and businessmen—information considered so sensitive that many would kill to keep her silent. So that became the basis for Secrets of a Dangerous Woman.

3. What components are necessary for the genre of this novel?

The most important component in my opinion is keeping the action going to the point where a noose tightens. I have to close off all avenues of escape so the reader who is putting themselves in Brenda’s position has to believe it is next to impossible for her to get out alive. The reader has to feel the anxiety, the apprehension, the guts and the courage. And the antagonist has to be so strong that he is truly a formidable, nearly insurmountable opponent.

4. What expertise did you bring to your writing?

Before I began writing full-time, I founded and operated two computer companies in the Washington, DC area. The first was dedicated to personal computer training in the workplace and the second was dedicated to applications development. My clients included the CIA, Secret Service and Department of Defense as well as local law enforcement. One of my favorite assignments was writing programs to detect Medicare Fraud and Abuse. While my work was always on the side of the law, I use that expertise in many of my books involving computer crimes.

5. What would you want your readers to know about you that might not be in your bio?

I believe I have a responsibility to help others in the industry as I become more successful. Because my time, like everyone else’s, is limited and there are a lot of demands made on me, I can’t mentor every writer individually. But I co-founded The Book ‘Em Foundation and started the annual Book ‘Em North Carolina events (www.bookemnc.org) to help aspiring writers find their way in this increasingly complex industry. It has been extremely gratifying putting writers together with publishers, agents and promoters and seeing their careers take off. An added benefit of the event is proceeds go to literacy groups to help increase literacy rates and reduce crime; it is known that there is a direct correlation between high illiteracy and high crime rates.

6. As far as your writing goes, what are your future plans?

I am scheduled to write two books a year for the foreseeable future and I’d love to write more. I am continuing the Black Swamp Mysteries Series with five main characters who are tied together through blood or circumstance: a computer hacker, a CIA operative, a psychic spy, a detective and a political strategist. I am also working on another series that is like a combination of Robert B. Parker meets Nicholas Sparks.

7. If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?

I would be Dylan Maguire. I know that sounds strange since it’s a male character, but I love the way his character has evolved. The reader first meets him in Vicki’s Key when he travels to America from Ireland to help Laurel Maguire, an aunt who suffered a stroke. It’s there that he meets Vicki Boyd and falls in love. In Secrets of a Dangerous Woman, he is back in his first assignment with the CIA: to interrogate recently captured Brenda Carnegie. I am working on the third book in the series, Dylan’s Song, in which Dylan and Vicki travel to Ireland to locate and extract a missing CIA operative. And it’s there that Vicki discovers the real reasons Dylan left Ireland for America.

Dylan is perpetually good humored. He loves life and he tries to enjoy it to its fullest. He is smart, he’s streetwise, he’s shrewd, and he’s an opportunist. He doesn’t let fear enter into the equation. He’s capable of being a tender, ardent lover and also a formidable, fit opponent. He’s very multi-faceted.

8. When did you first decide to submit your work? Please tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step?

My first suspense/thriller, Kickback, was written in 1999 and published in 2002. I took two classes through Writers Digest that made all the difference in my writing: a novel writing class in which William Tapply provided invaluable advice on writing the best novel I could write, and a critique from Bob Mayer that further refined my writing style.

My age was a big factor in taking the big step to be a full-time writer. I had always wanted to be an author but Life got in the way. As I approached a milestone birthday, I knew it was now or never.

9. What is the best and worst advice you ever received? (regarding writing or publishing)

The best advice I ever received was two-fold: to keep writing one book right after another (like putting one foot in front of the other) and never give up.

The worst advice I ever received was to give up after my first suspense/thriller, Kickback, was rejected by three publishers. If I had followed that advice, I wouldn’t be published today—and working toward my 15th book release.

10. Do you have any hobbies and does the knowledge you've gained from these carry over into your characters or the plot of your books?

I love freshwater angelfish and I have several aquariums in my home. I find them fascinating and they actually exhibit very distinct personalities. So in Vicki’s Key when I needed a front for Vicki (who is a CIA psychic spy) I made her an angelfish breeder. I knew this would be a solitary job—it would have been more difficult for her to sneak out of an office for days or weeks at a time—and if any neighbors tried to engage her in conversation about her job, it would seem very boring.

The funny part is, every time I wrote about her tending to new baby angels, my own angels would lay eggs. I have a batch right now in which each one is barely the size of a pinhead. The parents are very good and diligent about keeping them safe.

11. Do you have an all time favorite book?

I read The Mummy by Anne Rice at least once a year. I wish she had written more books about Ramses. I could definitely see Russell Crowe as this great Pharaoh! I also love the Haunting series by Erin Quinn; the books are so original and I love the time travel aspect and the Irish setting. I also love Daphne du Maurier’s books and have analyzed them because they can evoke such terror in very subtle ways.

12. What is your favorite reality show?

American Idol. It’s really a study of the human personality. You take thousands of people who believe they have a talent that could propel them to megastar status. Some are clearly delusional about their abilities but others truly do have talent. But do they have what it takes to withstand the pressure, the criticism, the rejection, and the public humiliation to emerge as a polished gem? The way in which each person reacts is fascinating to me.

13. Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?

In Secrets of a Dangerous Woman, it’s obvious there are high ranking government officials who want Brenda Carnegie killed—and others who will risk everything to ensure her safety. In order to flush out the rogue agents, one CIA faction that includes Dylan Maguire and Vicki Boyd, use Brenda as bait. Dylan and Vicki become separated and they both encounter an epic struggle for survival. As Dylan fights for his own life, he is increasingly concerned about Vicki; he knows he has to find a way to get back to her and protect her, but there are opponents at every turn that are preventing him from reaching her. Vicki is not athletic; she is petite and non-physical and she finds herself alone and facing death in the face. The challenge for her is whether she can find the strength not only to survive the attack but to kill the attacker.

14. If you were a casting director for the film version of your book, who would play your lead roles?

I love Joe Manganiello’s physique (who doesn’t?) … Do you think he could pull off an Irish accent to star as Dylan Maguire? Antonio Cupo definitely has “the look” … Or Irish actor Alan Duggan. Amy Adams would be great as Vicki Boyd. Lindsay Lohan could definitely play bad girl Brenda Carnegie.

15. Anything else you might want to add?

I hope your readers will follow me on Twitter @pmterrell and friend me on Facebook at Patricia M. Terrell Author. And I hope aspiring writers and book lovers will join me on February 23, 2013 at Book ‘Em North Carolina, where I’ll join more than 75 authors, publishers, literary agents, book promoters and one awesome Hollywood producer. It’s free and it’s open to the public. All the details are at www.bookemnc.org.


In Secrets of a Dangerous Woman, Dylan Maguire is back in his first assignment with the CIA: to interrogate recently captured Brenda Carnegie. But when she escapes again, it's obvious she's had help from within the CIA's own ranks. With Vicki Boyd's assistance, Brenda is back in Dylan's custody. And now he must find out why some in the highest levels of our government want her dead while others are willing to risk everything to help her. And when he discovers Brenda's real identity, his mission has just become very personal.


Dylan and Sam stood in the wide, hushed hallway as they observed the interrogation room through the one-way mirror. Inside was a metal table in the center of the room with empty chairs on one side. Against the far wall was a counter that ran the length of the room, comprised of a sink and cabinets above and below the stainless steel countertop.
But it was the single chair on one side of the table, the side closest to Dylan and Sam that riveted their attention. The metal chair was arranged so they viewed the occupant from the side. The ankles were cuffed to the slat at the bottom of the chair while each wrist was cuffed to the chair arms. Thick copper hair hung in waves that reached to the person’s waist and obscured the face.
“That’s a woman,” Dylan said.
“Very observant,” Sam replied.
“Women cry.”
Sam crossed his arms in front of him. “Not this one. She’s not even close to breaking.”
“What’s ‘er name?”
“Brenda Carnegie.”
“Ah, a Scottish name…What is it you want me to do with ‘er?”
“Keep her awake, for starters.” He glanced at him. “It should be good practice for you. Use some of those interrogation techniques they taught you.”
“She’s got blood on ‘er.”
“You got a medical bag, do you?”
“I’m sure we can round one up.”
“What is it you want to know?”
“Who she works for,” Sam said as he picked up a handset beside the one-way mirror.


p.m.terrell is the award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of more than 16 books, including Vicki's Key, a 2012 International Book Awards finalist, and River Passage, 2010 Best Fiction & Drama winner. She is the co-founder of The Book 'Em Foundation whose slogan is "Buy a Book and Stop a Crook" and the co-chair of Book 'Em North Carolina Writers Conference & Book Fair. For more information, visit www.pmterrell.com.


Twitter: @pmterrell
Facebook: Patricia M. Terrell


Nickie Fleming said...

I think this is a very interesting interview.
Computer crime is becoming more and more of a problem. Years ago, I had a student in my class who hacked into nearly everything. I know he once got into the CIA's secret files, just to show.

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting today.

p.m.terrell said...

Christine, thank you so much for hosting me today!
Nickie, that is very interesting about the computer hacker. Having been on the other side of things, I am absolutely positive the moment he hacked into the CIA's secret files, they were onto him. He should count himself as very fortunate that they didn't come calling within minutes of his break-in. Once you do something like that, you're on their list for life!
Thanks for dropping in and leaving a comment. Glad you enjoyed the interview!

Christine Young said...

Welcome to my blog. I hope you have a great tour.

MomJane said...

I love reading a book that I can not figure out the ending. I can see that this might be one of that kind.

Rita Wray said...

Great interview and excerpt.

Unknown said...

I can relate to life getting in the way of writing. I'm glad you went for it and wish you the best in your career as an author.

p.m.terrell said...

Thanks so much, everyone, for stopping in and leaving a comment.

Christine, thanks for hosting me! This is a terrific kick-off for my tour.

MomJane, I am told that just when readers think they know what's happening, I always surprise them. It's a wild ride!

Ingeborg, I'm glad you enjoyed the interview and excerpt.

Tamara, thanks so much for the well wishes. Life never turns out as we planned, does it? I wish you the best with your career as well!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Wow. Terrel has an exciting life. An FBI father (wonder how scary that was), and now she specializes in computers. With her childhood experiences and knowledge now, I think this book would be a great read. I love CIA novels and the like...Digital Fortress being my favorite.


p.m.terrell said...

Thanks for dropping in, Chrysrawr! Yes, I have led an eventful life. My father could write an entire series of books based on his FBI cases. He often serves as a technical advisor for my books. If you liked Digital Fortress, I'm sure you'd like my books!

Mary Preston said...

I always think it wonderful when established writers pay it forward to help those just starting out.

It speaks volumes.


p.m.terrell said...

Thank you, Mary! I've seen a lot in my years as an author - it would be wonderful if we all shared our knowledge and made it easier on those who follow us.

Suzie said...

Thanks for the interview. I now have 2 books by you on my TBR list. Exit 22 and Secrets of a Dangerous Woman. I cannot wait to read them. Besides the main character is their anything else linking the book together?