This is a woman after my own heart! I read that she is a coffee slurper which can only mean that she must be a sister of my soul or at the very least connected to me cosmically through taste buds. Denise A. Agnew has written more books than there are states in the U of S, plus Guam and anything else America wants to put it’s pieces on while playing the Game of Risk, at this moment. She likes to write books that are spicy, sweet, something old, something new, something something, something blue. Thank you for letting me review Sudden Heat, Denise–as well as journeying through my many questions.
Denise A. Agnew’s Making Love 101:
Sudden Heat is a great Romance with a bit of Dramatic/Action thrown in to spice things up. When you were writing the Sudden Heat and it’s sequel Under Fire what element was most important for you to focus on? How do you feel Melanie and Matt’s relationship and love story developed within the parameters of those elements?
When I wrote the Love Under Fire Trilogy I wanted to show the way an event like a mall shooting could have lasting effects. Even though some of the couples in the trilogy knew each other for a long time, a trauma such as what they encountered makes an impact. I wanted to show how two people could react to a dangerous situation and how that would change their attraction.
I really liked the idea that at the time Matt and Melanie’s story is taking place so is the story of Kathleen and Jake, and Rick and Lena. As awesome as it was for a reader to read was it difficult for you to write, keeping in mind that when you were going to write the next books you would have to coordinate the events with shared moments in Sudden Heat?
Oh yes! It was tricky. 🙂 And thank goodness for editing because even though I tried to keep things straight it’s so easy for things to slip and my editors did a great job of catching those things.
When the drama at the mall begins and Matt goes into soldier-mode and he knows he has to get Melanie to safety it reminded me very much of the leader of the pack deal when he has to protect what is his first. What would Melanie have done if Matt hadn’t been there with her?
That’s a super question. I think she might have done the same thing they did together…she would have tried to leave the mall and when she couldn’t she would have looked for the safest place to hide. I think it would have occurred to her that she needed to hide someplace the shooter couldn’t get into.
It would not be wrong to say Melanie has a lot of hang-ups about men in the Armed Services and that prevents her from letting go and connecting with Matt. She just looked death in the face and came out on the other side, shouldn’t she be re-evaluating some of her mindjunk and grabbing life by the cajones though? Taking a few risks, since life is short and things can happen out of your control even? Why is it that Melanie remains so emotionally stunted despite the life affirming experience she has just lived through?
A very complex and excellent question with a complex answer. Melanie is like a lot of everyday, normal people. People are tremendously complicated and I think it takes a long time (sometimes) for them to change a pattern. Some people date the same people over and over again even when it obviously doesn’t work. People don’t always understand how they’re getting in their own way, and they might be perfectly rational, smart people. A few people change quickly right after a crisis, but not everyone. They may still have doubts and concerns. The time Melanie and Matt spend together gives her a chance to understand him better, how he is different from what she expected.
Matt is someone I would file under Book Boyfriend material: vulnerable but strong and capable, dominant and aggressive but tender and sympathetic, and endlessly compassionate. You craft his character incredibly down to earth and boy-next-door when so many Marine soldier and Military men are portrayed as larger than life. What inspired you to create his character this way?
You’ve described an ideal hero I think. 🙂 One thing I hope to do with most if not all my characters is to make sure they do have flaws and aren’t perfect. I’ve read quite a few military heroes that are “too perfect” and only the heroine is the one with personality quirks. So I prefer to make the hero more real if I can. I do think a lot of military men are larger than life with the sacrifices they make for their country. But they are still going to have their individual personalities and the baggage that comes with that. In a novella its harder to give the characters as much individuality, quirks, problems, etc. What I hope is that readers will see the similarities and differences in each of the brothers in each story.
The attraction between Melanie and Matt is talked about by the three women: Melanie, Lena and Kathleen as being instantaneous. Danelle — who introduces Melanie and Matt says that there were sparks. From everything Matt says it sounds as if it was love at first sight for him; even if Melanie has a hard time admitting her emotions, Kathleen has no issue at all saying Melanie was screwed from the start. What was their connection? Was it love at first sight or was it Sudden Heat?
Sudden Heat for both of them. I think if people have an immediate physical attraction they don’t always remember whether it was a combination of physical attributes that attracted them to the other person or if it was something the person did or said. They get confused about it. There’s a good reason to not trust physical attraction right away and that’s what Melanie does. She understands that something primal like sexual attraction doesn’t always have anything to do with compatibility in other ways.
Melanie is very soft hearted under the protective shell around her heart. When you were developing her character what was the most important thing to stay in the forefront of your mind so she stayed true to her conviction yet surrendered to her feelings?
Melanie is a bit buttoned up if you think about it. She’s had a lot of evidence in her life that things wouldn’t work between her and a military man. So she gives herself distance while she’s throwing caution to the wind. She’s saying it is just sex because emotional attachment means more and obviously she doesn’t want to get hurt. I also believe most of us have been attracted to people almost against our will at some point in our lives. What I wanted to show most of all is that Melanie is a flawed, normal human who fumbles and makes mistakes just like the rest of us.
There is a moment after the chaos at the Mall when the three women are looking at the three Frasier Brothers while they are talking not far away. They look over at the women and then come over to claim their prospective lady and the story branches off once more. Are the brothers really all in like that they and ready to swoop in and claim the women? What was that discussion on their end?
That is a very tough question! 🙂 I do think siblings can be very, very alike in how they react to people they’re interested in. You add the no nonsense grab-life-by-the-throat attitude of many in the military, and I think these brothers were primed from the start to make a physical and emotional connection with women they were already attracted to in a big way. Alpha men can be that way I think.
There is a cliffhanger ending at the end of Sudden Heat. At the end of the third book will you be revealing what happens after the brothers leave?
Absolutely yes. There won’t be any loose threads.
If you were to review your own books what would you have to say about them? Tell me what you feel are the strong part and the weak parts about your novellas and in hindsight is there anything that you might have changed.
I hope the strong parts in these novellas include excellent sexual tension and character development. I appreciate erotic romance where the hero and heroine have a personal connection before they jump into bed and the sexual tension is thick before they make that leap onto the mattress. I want their love scenes to be unique to their characters and not tab A into slot B sex. Also, I like to write stories that are out-of-the-box. That’s hard to do with military romance novels thick on the ground these days. 🙂 As for weakness I think some people might have liked it better if all three stories were in one book.
What is the ultimate love story ever told as far as you are concerned?
Oh man! There are so many of those. I think any romance where the two people went against convention and basically told the whole world to take a flying leap…they wouldn’t be kept apart. People like Edward and Mrs. Simpson as an example.
Thanks for being part of Making Love 101!
Denise A. Agnew’s Bio:
Denise is the coffee-slurping, genre-hopping author of over fifty-seven paranormal, contemporary, historical, erotic, fantasy, and romantic suspense novels. Romantic Times Book Reviews calls her romantic suspense novels “top-notch,” and she’s received their coveted TOP PICK rating.
Archaeology and archery have crept into her work, and travels through England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales have added to a lifetime of story ideas. As a paranormal investigator, Denise enjoys exploring the unknown.
Denise lives in Arizona with her real life hero husband and her wee Mini Schnauzer.
Denise A. Agnew’s Web Tracks:
Denise A. Agnew’s Book:
Sudden Heat Synopsis:
Book one in the Love Under Fire series but can be read independently.
Where do you yearn to be in the face of danger? In the arms of a man bound to serve, to protect and to love…
Librarian Melanie Falconer knows too well the horrors of war. Military men, as far as she’s concerned, are off the marriage menu. As maid of honor at her best friend’s wedding, she makes a mall run and lands straight into the arms of seriously hot marine Matt Frasier, the best man. Matt has seen too much violence, and his heavy attraction to Melanie promises to soothe his soul and set his body on fire. Gunfire erupts, the game is on, and Melanie and Matt fight for their lives and the heat exploding between them.
Inside Scoop: The couples in the Love Under Fire series find love through the crucible of a mall shooting event.
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