Dana Marton writes fast-paced action-adventure romances that take her readers all over the globe. She is a Rita Award finalist and the winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence. She loves writing stories of intrigue, filled with dangerous plots that try her tough-as-nails heroes and the special women they fall in love with. Her books have been published in seven languages in eleven countries around the world.
(Okay, the above version is the glamour version for press releases. The truth is that my path to publication was nothing but unglamorous. I wrote for 13 years and completed several books before I finally received a call from a Harlequin editor. I was beginning to wonder if I was being tenacious or just too dense to know when to quit. But it all worked out at the end! )
Special Ops soldier Mitch Mendoza is sent to South America on a delicate mission to rescue a U.S. Governor’s son from a nefarious drug lord. He is on his way back with the kid when he bumps into a lost American tourist in the jungle, the only survivor of a bandit attack, supposedly. Little does he know that nothing about Megan Cassidy as it seems. Soon she's a major threat not only to his mission, but to his heart as well, as their story unfolds in this action-packed thriller.
Dan, welcome to Romance Author Buzz and congratulations on your January 2012 release. . Is there a back story to Last Spy Standing?
I love action movies. Indiana Jones, Mission Impossible, Bond… bring them on! So my books are usually inspired by heroes who fit that mold. Last Spy Standing was no different. My dirty little secret is that I write my books for myself. And then hope as anything that there are other people out there who share my taste.
Do you plot your stories or lead your characters lead you?
My books usually start with an intriguing idea, a plot twist that occurs to me. But once I come up with the characters, they take over the story. With Last Spy Standing, I wanted to write a book where the hero and heroine are constantly butting heads. They are both on the side of good, yet their goals are mutually exclusive. How would they solve their differences when only one can get what he/she wants, and the consequences of losing are devastating?
How long have you been writing and what was your call story?
I wrote for close to 13 years before I sold my first book. I had five completed manuscripts at that point and a dozen half-finished books. When the call came, I picked up the phone in the kitchen. I was stunned! The editor was giving me all sorts of information. I had no pen, no paper and didn’t dare interrupt her so I was just trying hard to memorize everything she said. My knees were going weak. I wished I had a chair within reach. Then, after we hung up, I realized I was on the cordless phone. LOL I could have walked around all I wanted. But my mind was just so blown, I couldn’t think beyond the fact that I finally sold a book.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on THE SPY WORE SPURS, a fast-paced thriller set in Texas. The hero is a commando soldier who’s trying to blend in as a cowboy, with the heroine’s help. I LOVE writing this book. The chemistry between the two is just unbelievable and makes my job so much easier.
Of all of your characters, do you have a favorite you identify with and why?
I really like Claire Montgomery, the heroine of WARRIOR AGENT, an ebook I just published. She has a rough past, but she won’t let it get her down. She desperately needs her job, but when her employer turns out to be a thoroughly corrupt man, she stands up for what is right, even if she has everything to lose. Some of my books had scarred heroes, men that carried the weight of the past. This is my first story where both the hero and heroine are damaged. Yet it doesn’t turn out to be an, “I have so many problems, I can’t handle anybody else’s,” type of situation. They both have such a core of honor. They end up being each other’s salvation.
What is the best thing about your job as an author? What is the hardest thing?
The most difficult thing is trying to reach readers. We are constantly bombarded with information by people who want our attention. It’s gotten to the point now that we tune most of it out. So when a new book comes out, sometimes I feel near hopeless with how my news will be heard.
The best part is my readers. I LOVE my readers and will never get tired of saying that. They’ll email me to let me know how they liked my books. They will tell their friends about it. They’ll retweet my tweets. They are a constant source of support and friendship. I have the best readers in the world.
What kind of daily schedule do you have? What types of things interrupt your writing? Describe a day in the life of Dana Marton.
I normally write 4 books a year, so that calls for a fairly tight schedule. I spend at least 8 hours writing/researching/promoting per day, and often I spend a lot more. My only rule is that I don’t work on Sundays. I love writing, so this is no burden, believe me. In fact, I’d rather write than do just about anything else.
If a movie was made about your life, who would you like to see play the lead role as you?
Meryl Streep. Not that such a movie would be ever made. Watching a writer write is about as exciting as watching paint dry. I’m afraid I don’t live a life of high adventure. But my characters definitely do!
What is something you definitely want readers to know about you?
I’d love my readers to know how much I love and appreciate them. How much every single email, FB comment and tweet means to me. Writing is such a lonely business. Most of the time, you’re alone in a chair in front of your computer. So the contact I have with my readers is truly precious to me.
When the time comes for you to retire from writing, what would you like your readers to remember the most about you and your writing?
I’d love for them to remember the good times we had together.
What are you currently reading?
Susan Mallery’s Only Us, a Fool’s Gold novella. I’m completely in love with that series. I want to move to Fool’s Gold, in fact. She makes it sound so much fun!
Anything by U2.
Before I let you go though, is there anything I forgot to ask that you want the readers and fans to know?
I’d love to say a big thank you for having me here!
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To win a box of gourmet Hot Chocolate Mocha and a free book, go to Dana's Facebook page and post 1 thing that you’re grateful for this Holiday Season. Also tell her what you liked about her interview here and don't forget to leave your email address. Contest ends Feb. 1st.