Candy and I had many questions for authors Chris Almeida and Cecilia Aubrey regarding Alternate Connection a well as their writing process. We were lucky enough to snag them when they had some time in their busy release schedule to interview them!
Welcome to the blog, Chris and Cecilia!
Thank you for inviting us, Amy and Candy.
You just published the long-awaited third novel in your Countermeasure Series – Alternate Connection. How good does it feel to have that one published?
It feels surreal. The path to completion has been long and we are very excited to have this installment finished and in the hands of readers.
Chris, how hard was it to write Nathan’s point of view after writing Trevor’s for so long? Especially since Nathan and Trevor cannot really stand one another?
Just like the readers, I had made my opinion about Nathan. And it kicked me in the ***. Once I started to see more of Nathan, things just flowed really well. As for Trevor and Nathan, I don’t believe they couldn’t stand each. They just had not given each other a chance to show their true colors. I hope that will change with Alternate Connection for all as it did for me.
Cecilia, how did you manage to write a heroine like Rachael that would love Nathan the way she does when readers of the first two novels were so frustrated with him? Were you nervous about how they would accept Rachael?
Not all readers were frustrated with Nathan. Many understood that there was more to Nathan than what met the eye after reading Blindsided. Interestingly enough, when it came to Rachael, it wasn’t up to me or the readers whether she would love Nathan or not. She just did. The most difficult part was getting Rachael to relax and give us her story. She was pretty close-lipped when it came to her history and, in particular, her history with Nathan. But once I was able to open her up, everything fell into place. To be honest, I (we) never worried about whether she would be accepted or not. I just let her do her talking.
What were your favorite parts of the book to write?
Chris: The military parts were pretty cool because we got to ask questions to true Service men and women. The research for this book was just mind-boggling. We learned a lot from it. But the whole book is a favorite. It also means we are one step closer to the end and to revealing the twists and turns Trevor will be going through in Locked & Reloaded. I’m actually already psyched to write that one, too.
Cecilia: I don’t know that I ever have “a favorite part” of a book to write. I enjoy the entire journey to bring the story to life. I guess what I am trying to say is that my favorite part is working with Chris on the entire story bringing to fruition what we envisioned in our heads. Whether we have satisfied each other with the end result of a scene, chapter, or the overall story itself.
Tell us about your research process. How do tackle it?
We are maniacs with it comes to events being plausible. We will search out subject matter experts in a particular field, or speak with the actual person who manages an area or activity that we are looking to include in the story. For example, in Uncharted, Chris spoke with the harbor master where we had Conor and Maeve’s yacht docked. In Countermeasure we spoke with a scientist in the pharmaceutical industry and in To Russia with Love, Chris discussed the technology part of it with a top IT expert. With regard to Alternate Connection, we had input from people who hailed from Jordan, Israel, and the Gaza strip. We discussed travel times, locations and standard procedures with actual military personnel. We watched hours of military training videos and documentaries around the conflict in the region we were entering. Research can be overwhelming and time consuming, but in the end, for us, it is justified when we can bring a reader into the story as if they were physically there, participating in the stories themselves.
It is our understanding that Chris writes the male points of view and Cecilia writes the female. When there are scenes with all the males or all the females, how much input does the other one have on a scene that wasn’t their point of view to write? For example, Cecilia, do you have much input on Trevor and Nathan’s scenes or do you pretty much leave that to Chris since you have your own to write with the girls?
We do divide our work by POV. It’s the simplest way for us. If a chapter starts with a female’s POV, Cecilia starts it and if it’s a Male’s POV, I start it. In terms of the character’s POV, we trust the other to understand the character or characters but we both have editing passes where we correct or interject when we see something that might be out of character. So there’s never 100% of Cecilia in the females or 100% of me in the males. It’s a good blend.
What strengths do each of you bring to your writing? It is obvious your partnership works well based on the stories you publish. How do you complement one another?
The reason we write well together is because we can’t really define or separate the two apart. It would be harder if we were complete opposites but in our case we have some of the same strengths and we just enhance each other’s.
What do you hope readers take away from reading Alternate Connection?
In terms of this particular installment, that there is a reason for everything and the obvious is not always what you think.
What are you working on now and what is coming out next?
We have a number of projects in the works. Currently we are working on ACE, the first book in the AWE Crew Series, which spins off from a critical chapter in Alternate Connection. We are also working on the fourth and final novel in the Countermeasure Series, Locked and Reloaded. We also have a new Small Town Contemporary Romance series yet to be fully developed.
Anything else you want to tell us about today?
We are always up for a good conversation and have a number of discussion groups that we participate in. If you have read any of the Countermeasure stories and interested in discussing the series, you can join us in the Countermeasure Series Discussion Group. If you love a good Romantic Suspense novel and would like to share your love with other readers, feel free to join Codename: Heat where anything and everything related to Romantic Suspense is discussed. And feel free to friend us on any social media outlet. We are always happy to make new friends.
Thanks for stopping by the blog today!
Thank you for having us, Amy and Candy. It has been a pleasure.
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Readers, thanks so much for spending the day with us. I hope reading the posts enticed you a bit to read Alternate Connection!