Romantic Suspense Who’s Who: Brilliant Academic Meets Iraq War Vet

Romantic Suspense Who’s Who: Brilliant Academic Meets Iraq War Vet

AWAKENING MACBETH was recently reviewed by Kirkus Reviews and there was so much emphasis placed on the characters that it read like a Who’s Who guide to romantic suspense. The book’s premise of an academic falling for an Iraq War vet (“Both Brodie and Joe are relatable characters; indeed, he’s so perfectly flawed that many readers may fall in love with him, too”) is one part of the intrigue, plus there is an overlay of the supernatural that complicates each character’s life.

Related: Romantic Suspense’s Newest Hero is a Wounded Warrior

So who are these romantic suspense review-worthy characters?

Brodie Macbeth

Brodie is a mix of small-town girl and international academic. Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, she moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, as a toddler with her widowed father. She has degrees from Georgetown University and the University of Virginia, where she is now a full professor of history, a best selling non-fiction author, and an in-demand speaker. A former student athlete, she’s tall, blonde, and very physically fit. Reserved by nature, in part because of s strained relationship with the father who raised her, Brodie avoids conflict and emotional scenes. She’s a fan of country music and her German Shepherd dog, Mouse.

Related: Travelling My Dreams in AWAKENING MACBETH

Joe Birnam

Joe is a retired Marine and an Iraq War vet who lost a leg in combat. While his memories of the war still haunt him, Joe has built a new and successful career as a contractor and carpenter. He grew up as the son of a diplomat, has travelled the world, and is serious about personal values such as loyalty and honesty. Tall and athletic, Joe enjoys competitive sports. Joe’s family is large and warm; they love each other without reservation and are always happy to host big happy and noisy gatherings. Perhaps because of his upbringing, Joe has an uncanny ability to make friends wherever he goes. Yet his war injuries make him skittish when it comes to serious relationships.

Stanton Sloane

Stanton is a noted professor at the University of Virginia who has parlayed his academic credentials into a concurrent national broadcasting career. He is very focused on appearances, success, and influence. Stanton is always well dressed, mindful of tradition and routine, and not above intimidation and manipulation to get what he wants, which is a television studio at the University. His house is a showplace full of antiques and his clothes are from Brooks Brothers. He approves of Brodie’s academic success and has dubbed the two of them the “power couple of the College of Arts and Sciences.”

Diana Johnson

Like Brodie, Diana is a graduate of the University of Virginia where she was a star student athlete. After a career in the WNBA, she returned to the University to coach the women’s basketball team. Stylish and confident, she is married to one of the football coaches. They have a strong and durable relationship peppered with humor. She is Brodie’s best friend and a honest and steadying force.

Wallace Macbeth

Although the novel starts with his death, Wallace’s presence is felt throughout. From Edinburgh, Scotland, he took his daughter Brodie to Charlottesville, Virginia after the shocking death of his wife. He happily raised his daughter while a professor at the University until she was 12, when without explanation he enrolled her in boarding school and actively distanced himself from her. Their relationhsip was changed forever, despite the fact that they became professional colleagues. His mantra was “Macbeths don’t cry.” Aloof, eccentric, academically curious, and a brilliant scholar and interpreter of British history. His sister believes he never recovered from his wife’s death and killed himself in order to rejoin her.

“A suspenseful, page-turning paranormal romance” — Kirkus Reviews

Check it out today on Amazon

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CARMEN AMATO

Mystery and thriller author. Retired Central Intelligence Agency intel officer. Dog mom to Hazel and Dutch. Recovering Italian handbag addict.

 

Detective Emilia Cruz series

Find the Detective Emilia Cruz mystery series on Amazon

NEW RELEASE! Romantic Thriller with a #Paranormal Twist

NEW RELEASE! Romantic Thriller with a #Paranormal Twist

AWAKENING MACBETH is out now for kindle readers, with the paperback coming 10 January! It’s a romantic suspense thriller with a paranormal twist set in Charlottesville, Virginia and Edinburgh, Scotland.

Related: Read the first chapter of AWAKENING MACBETH here

All about timing

For those who know me best for the Detective Emilia Cruz police procedural series set in Acapulco, AWAKENING MACBETH is quite a departure. I actually developed the premise after writing romantic thriller THE HIDDEN LIGHT OF MEXICO CITY, but before penning CLIFF DIVER, the first Emilia Cruz novel.

AWAKENING MACBETH sat in a drawer for several years, as I thought the best way to introduce readers to my writing was through a mystery series. After KING PESO, the fourth Emilia Cruz novel, was released last August, I felt the time was right to bring out a second romantic thriller.

The premise of AWAKENING MACBETH is that when brokenhearted, the soul wanders in search of answers. That restlessness takes place in dreams, where evil stalks in search of souls to steal . . .

The setting

I attended graduate school at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. I fell in love with the school’s traditions and ties to Thomas Jefferson, who founded the University. The main character of AWAKENING MACBETH is Dr. Brodie Macbeth, a history professor at the University of Virginia who is a popular academic and author–as well as former college basketball star. She’s successful, but her life has been narrowly defined for many years and she’s very emotionally reserved; the result of a strict upbringing by her father, a noted historian and the head of her department at the university.

Video courtesy WeekendBlitz

The framework of Brodie’s life is blown to smithereens when her father unexpectedly kills himself hours before giving a guest lecture at Harvard. Brodie is left with a very strange inheritance and a million questions. That’s when the nightmares begin. In her sleep, someone with diseased eyes threatens to murder her unless she tells her father’s secret.

There is no secret. But the dreams are so terrifying Brodie is convinced she could die.

On a trip to Scotland to visit her father’s sister, Brodie meets Joe Birnam, a decorated Iraq war vet. I can’t tell you anything more than that, except that their first date takes place at a golf resort outside Edinburgh. We stayed at such a place years ago. The rolling hills and uncoiling mist made for striking memories which I’ve tried to caputre in the book.

St. Andrews golf resort, courtesy of the Travel Channel

St. Andrews golf resort, courtesy of the Travel Channel

Edinburgh itself is a magical place and it is no wonder that J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame, makes her home there. The city is full of turrets and tiny alleys, heroes and history. Anyone with an ounce of creativity can’t help but feel the imagination’s tug.

Scott Monument, Edinburgh

Photograph taken by Michael Reeve, 15 September 2003. Released under GFDL by the artist.

Key questions

Readers are already asking about the unusual premise for the book:

Where did the idea for this book come from?
My grandmother always said never wake a sleeping child too fast because the soul wanders while we sleep and needs time to return before we’re fully awake. When I combined my grandmother’s words with the saying that the eyes are the windows of the soul, the result gave me chills. I knew it would be a great story.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?
The hardest thing was the concept of real evil able to threaten the immortal soul. I hate movies like The Exorcist and had to stop writing several times, too shaken to go on. But evil is out there and this is my interpretation of it.
 
What draws you to this genre?
Love and mystery are the perfect combo. Each needs a bit of the other in a book, just like in real life. Romantic thrillers build a relationship, then test it. Can it hold up in a storm? The more exciting the storm, the better.

If you would be so kind

If you love a good romantic suspense tale, or are intrigued by the fight against evil as depicted in the book, I hope you’ll download a copy of AWAKENING MACBETH and stay up all night reading it!

Remember to leave a review on Amazon. You’ll not only help out this author, but help others make intelligence choices about what to read next. Thank you!

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CARMEN AMATO

Mystery and thriller author. Retired Central Intelligence Agency intel officer. Dog mom to Hazel and Dutch. Recovering Italian handbag addict.

 

Detective Emilia Cruz series

Find the Detective Emilia Cruz mystery series on Amazon

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