Gwen is awesome! I've known her for a few years - we met as co-volunteers at the RITA awards at the annual Romance Writers of America national conference (like the Oscars for romance novels). She struck me then as a little on the shy side, intelligent, and very interesting with all the life-stories she had to tell. I admire the heck out of her both professionally and personally and I'm thrilled she could join us today.
Yeah! Your writing space!
Hi! To start off, please tell us your name, where you’re from, and what you write.
Gwen Hernandez. I currently live in Redondo Beach (Los Angeles), California and I write military romantic suspense.
But you've lived all over the pace haven't you? When we met a few years ago you lived in Virginia, I think?
I've lived in Germany, Arizona, Utah, Texas, California, Oklahoma, Ohio, Virginia, Alabama, and Massachusetts.
I moved around a lot as a kid, but it was all in the same state. I can't imagine what that military life is like...but that's a question for another day!
How did you become an author? Please share a bit of your journey with us.
I’ve wanted to write a book since I was at least 11, but I didn’t seriously give it a go until my oldest was in junior high and I had quit working as a manufacturing engineer—long hours and stress!—to be more available for my kids. (Side note: Trying to help with Algebra homework over the phone is...not fun.) In early 2009, I read a couple romances I’d found at the library and realized there was a place for the stories in my head. I started writing while the kids were at school and I haven’t stopped.
What are you working on now? Do you have a recent or upcoming release?
I’m working on book 6 in my Men of Steele series, hopefully for an end-of-year release. Book 5, Blind Justice, released in March.
What is the most challenging part of writing romantic suspense?
Strangely enough for me, it’s the suspense part. I love it, and I always figure it out eventually, but it takes a lot of reworking to nail it. I have friends who can pull crazy-great suspense plots out of thin air. But then they often struggle with the romance part, so I guess we all have our strengths.
What kind of research do you do when you set out to write a new book?
It varies. I’ve done a lot of foundational research on special operations—especially Air Force pararescueman (aka PJs), which is what I usually write about for this series—but I always have to do more research that's specific to each book. Technology, locations, professions, real-life crime stories, weapons. I love to learn new things, so it’s easy to get sucked into researching when I should just start writing.
For Blindsided, I got to delve into the world of hackers through several books and lots of articles. For Running Blind, which has an amputee hero, I consumed many memoirs and videos, and spent time with a prosthetist to understand the technology and capabilities. I’ve also attended the 11-week Citizens Police Academy in Fairfax County, Virginia, participated in active shooter exercises with the SWAT team, and gone on field trips with a writing group to learn about combat medics, PJs, the Coast Guard, and firefighters. Probably 95% of my research ends up as deep background, but it’s part of what makes writing fun.
Do you have any work experience involving the elements of romantic suspense (such as working in law enforcement or in the military)?
Not work experience per se, unless you include a semester of ROTC and seven weeks of Officer Training. (I declined a commission because my husband and I couldn’t get stationed together.) But I was an Army and Navy brat, and married an Air Force engineer, so nearly my whole life has been “in the military,” and I love it.
Oh my gosh, the quintessential military-family photo! So it sounds like you write the fantasy side of the world you grew up and still live in?
They're definitely fantasies! I'm not sure how easy it would be to live with a special operator-type in real life, and I'd like to leave the danger to my books, lol. But, I have a deep respect for those who are willing to sacrifice for others and I try to honor that in my stories.
Who is a person you greatly admire and why?
My mother. She was a model of compassion and patience who faced every move to a new country or State with a sense of adventure, and gave me a passion for travel. She was quiet but strong, and didn’t back down when she thought something was important. She died at age 58, just seven months after learning she had cancer, but she left a massive, wonderful imprint on my life.
I'm so sorry for your loss. <<<Hugs>>> You look a lot like her!
What/who do you like to read and do you have a favorite genre/author?
I used to read thrillers and mysteries, but once I found romance, I was all in. My preferred sub genres are romantic suspense (shocking, right?) and historical romance, especially if it includes some intrigue. I suck at picking favorites, but Suzanne Brockmann is the queen of RS for me, and Joanna Bourne writes beautiful historical romance with kickass spies.
Speed round! Answer with the first thing that comes to mind!
City, suburb, or small-town?
Dark chocolate, light chocolate, or white chocolate?
Hot dogs, hamburgers, or tacos?
Boxers, briefs, or commando?
Cowboy boots, biker boots, or flip-flops?
Cake, cookies, or crumpets?
Any last words before we say goodbye?
Thanks for inviting me to join the fun!
March 25, 2019
Romantic Suspense ~ Military ~ Multicultural
A sexy bodyguard. A high-maintenance city girl. Sometimes opposites attract...a killer.
When Tara Fujimoto’s quest to avenge her sister’s death makes her a target, a sexy security specialist steps in to watch her back, but his quiet appeal threatens her carefully guarded heart. Can she resist their lightning-hot attraction, and stay alive long enough to expose her enemy?
Former military special operator Jeff Patarava has good reasons to keep his distance from his impossibly perfect coworker, but when her life is threatened, his resolve is shot to hell. Forced into close proximity, sparks fly as he learns she’s far more than her flawless appearance suggests. Now, he’ll put everything on the line to keep her alive.
Where to find Gwen