Friday, April 1, 2016

Hold Your Breath & Q&A with author Katie Ruggle

Q ~ Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Until last fall, I lived in an off-grid house in the Colorado Rockies where I got snowed in a lot. I discovered that I’m fine for about ten days of seclusion, and then the cabin fever kicks in. One particularly bad winter, I was tempted to chase down the county plow when it finally (finally!) passed by, just so I could talk to a real, live person. I loved it there, despite the snow and cold and isolation and the way my wind turbine and generator only failed when there was too much snow for a repair person to make it out. Last fall, however, I moved to Minnesota in order to be closer to family. I’ve found that here are many similarities between the two places—one being that my Elmer Fudd hat still comes in very handy.

So, now I live in a 150-year-old farmhouse with my three dogs and four cats. I plan on adding chickens, horses and a cow to my menagerie, because I figure I’m not paying enough in vet bills as it is.

Q ~ What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Horses take up the majority of my free time (and money), and I also enjoy target shooting (I’m not cut out to be a hunter, though—I feel terrible if I accidentally run over a ground squirrel with my truck), SCUBA diving (it’s more fun in warm places, though ;-)), running (okay, I don’t actually enjoy running, but I work at a bakery—it’s a necessity), cross-country skiing (slowly…very, very slowly), yoga, hiking, traveling and (of course) reading. I’m ridiculously excited about planting a garden this spring.

Q ~ If you could have lunch with one person, dead, alive, or imaginary, who would it be and why?
Albert Einstein, because I think that lunch would have the definite potential for being interesting.

Q ~ What are you currently reading?
The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata. I love her characters so very much.

Q ~ Are there any new Authors that have grasped your interest recently and why?
They aren’t really new-new, but they’re new-to-me authors: Tracey Ward, L.H. Cosway, Karen Lynch, Donna Augustine and Helen Harper. Why? I just like their stories.

Q ~ How did you begin writing? Was there a single catalyst or a series of events?
It was more of a “duh” moment. Ever since I was small, I just assumed I’d be a published author. One day, I realized that, in order to be a writer, I needed to actually write something. So I did, although I found that finishing a book was a lot harder than I expected.

Q ~ What’s the best thing that’s happened since you began writing? The worst?
The best thing is working with Sourcebooks. Everyone there is behind my books a hundred percent, and it is an amazing feeling to receive that much support. My editor has been especially amazing, managing to act as editor, cheerleader, teacher, counselor and life coach.

Worst…hmm. That’s probably my current schedule. I’m working the 10pm to 6am (or 7am or 8am) shift at a bakery. When I get home, I take the dogs for a run and then settle in to write or edit or do whatever else needs doing in author-land. At 1pm (or 2pm or 3pm), I head to bed. As much as I like baking for the masses, my dream is to write full-time eventually. Until then, I grab sleep when I can get it.

Q ~ What are your biggest influences in life? Who are your biggest supporters?
The answer to both questions is my awesome family: my parents, horde of sisters and little brother.

Q ~ Why did you choose to write mystery as your primary genre?
It just seemed like a natural fit for me. Romance and suspense blend together really well, since fear and tension heighten emotions. Also, I knew I wanted to write about first responders, and that works great with the mystery angle. I’m a huge forensics nerd, too.

Q ~ Do you prefer to write in a small town or big city setting? Why?
I’m definitely a fan of setting my stories in small towns. I love the claustrophobic yet secure feel of living in a tiny community, and it’s fun to have reoccurring quirky characters.

Q ~ Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release, Hold Your Breath, and what inspired you to write it?
Hold Your Breath, out on April 5th (soon!), is the first full-length book in my Search and Rescue series (On His Watch, a free prequel novella, is available now). Set in the remote (and cold!) wilderness of the Colorado Rockies, this book features Louise (Lou) and Callum, members of the dive team who make a grisly discovery during ice-rescue training (hint: the discovery is minus a head). As the two join forces in an attempt to find the killer, they grow closer, and their simmering mutual interest flares to life. Someone’s after Lou, however—someone dangerous. As determined as Callum is to keep Lou safe, the mountains are filled with both four-legged and two-legged predators, and only the toughest survive in this wild place.

My inspiration for this series was taken from two main sources: my work with the police department and dive team, and living off-grid in the Colorado Rockies. I must admit that I made up the parts about the dead bodies and the plethora of hot guys, however.

Q ~ What was the most difficult part of the process while writing Hold Your Breath?
Although I love the editing process, it was intense. Because of a tight release schedule (the Search and Rescue books will be out every two months), there were times when I was doing edits on three books at once. With my day (night) job, sometimes I didn’t get much sleep.

Q ~ What characters did you find yourself especially drawn to and why?
It’s hard to pick a favorite! I love Lou’s courage and willingness to learn to survive, but the OCD part of me understands Callum’s need for order. Series-wise, though, I must admit that my absolute favorite is George. Why? Because he’s so…George. You’ll see what I mean in Gone Too Deep.

Q ~ Do you have anything in the works at the moment? Care to give us a hint about it?
I’m starting a new series centered around a police K9 unit and three women on the run. Like the Search and Rescue series, it’ll be set in Colorado, although in a slightly more “civilized” part.

Q ~ What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Finish the first draft of your book/short story/essay/poem. Get all the words down, even if you’re worried that they might be terrible. Once you have the raw material in front of you, then you can edit it. The hardest part, I think, is getting that first draft done. It’s scary, because it’s perfect in your head, and, if no one can see it, then no one can tell you it sucks. Be brave, and write your story.
In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder…

About Katie Ruggle:

When she’s not writing, Katie Ruggle rides horses, shoots guns, and travels to warm places where she can SCUBA dive. Graduating from the Police Academy, Katie received her ice-rescue certification and can attest that the reservoirs in the Colorado mountains really are that cold. While she still misses her off-grid, solar- and wind-powered house in the Rocky Mountains, she now lives in Rochester, Minnesota near her family. Katie Ruggle:

Title:  Hold Your Breath
Series:  Rocky Mountain Search and Rescue /1
Author:  Katie Ruggle
Publication Date:  April 5/16 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Length:  384pgs
Genre:  romantic suspense
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

As the captain of Field County’s ice rescue dive team, Callum Cook is driven to perfection. But when he meets new diver Louise “Lou” Sparks, all that hard-won order is obliterated in an instant.Lou is a hurricane. A walking disaster. And with her, he’s never felt more alive…even if keeping her safe may just kill him.

Lou’s new to the Rockies, intent on escaping her controlling ex, and she’s determined to make it on her own terms…no matter how tempting Callum may be. But when a routine training exercise unearths a body, Lou and Callum find themselves thrust into a deadly game of cat and mouse with a killer who will stop at nothing to silence Lou—and prove that not even her new Search and Rescue family can keep her safe forever.

My Review:

What a story! Both the immediate plot & the one overarching the series as a whole were fantastic. The suspense had me riveted while the romance tugged at my heart. I like the way that the why’s and how’s are part of the story. It made the mystery of it all come fully to life for me. And Ruggle backed up this interesting plot with strong, compassionate characters to do it justice.

Callum’s OCD was a fantastic counterpoint to Lou’s scattered streak. They balanced each other so well, their strengths countering the other’s weaknesses while also coming together fully as a couple should. I was dying to know Callum’s backstory. I would have enjoyed a bit more detail, but seeing where he came from allowed me a bit of insight into his personality. At the same time, the way that Lou’s family treated her had me completely floored.

This story was fun yet suspenseful with just the right amount of heat. This introduction into this new series & to Ruggle’s writing as a whole has me dying for more.

Book Links 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for having me--and for such a wonderful review! :-)