Who doesn’t love being on pins and needles…at least while you are reading. Our guest today will put you there and keep you there for all 384 pages. Welcome Lena Diaz!
Thank you so much for hosting me, Lexi!
Lexi: The writing can’t lie and when you can’t get rid of dead bodies and love stories you must be writing romantic suspense. How many previous manuscripts did you work on before you landed in your niche?
I have an equal love for writing paranormal romance and romantic suspense. The first manuscript that I wrote was called The Awakening and was a paranormal romance. The second manuscript that I wrote was a romantic suspense called He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not. I was really torn between which genre to pursue, and only chose to move forward with RS because my critique partners at the time told me my “voice” lent itself more to RS than to paranormals. Luckily, that first RS that I wrote sold and my career was born. I’d love to write paranormals in the future sometime, perhaps under a pen name. But for now, I’m really enjoying the dark and twisty path that I’m on.
Lexi: Your newest release, Exit Strategy, follows Sabrina as she is kidnapped for rescue by Mason, an enforcer with EXIT Inc. Talk about being swept off your feet and what a way to start a series! Did you start writing Exit Strategy knowing what the overarching series plot would be or did you start with Sabrina and Mason’s plot?
Great question! I planned the entire series and sold it as a series, so I knew from the start before writing the first book what each book would be about and what the series arc would be. Or so I thought. Once I started writing the books, things changed. Each book has deviated from my original plan in key ways. I can’t wait to find out how it all turns out! ☺
Lexi: EXIT Inc. is who Mason Hunt works for. What can you tell us about EXIT, how many work with Mason? What are their backgrounds and who do we get to meet next??
The Enforcers who work for EXIT Inc. are typically ex-military who love their country but have suffered some kind of tragedy that makes them disillusioned with the justice system. They want to protect the innocent by being proactive, taking out the bad guys before they can kill again. It’s the moral implications of those decisions that drives this series.
In the first book, EXIT Strategy, Mason is recruited by Devlin Buchanan - a former Enforcer with EXIT who has turned rogue against his employer. Devlin proves to Mason that someone at the highest levels in the company is abusing their power, and that innocent people are dying as a result. And he convinces Mason to also turn against EXIT.
There’s a large supporting cast in this first book, partially made up of characters from my previous series--The Deadly Games series. So readers who love the Buchanans will enjoy seeing them again. But there are, of course, new characters as well, including Ramsey, a Nascar loving Enforcer who is Mason’s best friend.
In the next book, No EXIT, readers will meet a former Navy SEAL and ex-bodyguard named Jace, who has never been an Enforcer. He’s recruited by Mason and Devlin to help them in their fight against their former employer, mainly because Jace has no previous ties to EXIT Inc. and therefore--they hope--won’t raise any suspicions.
Lexi: You currently live in North Florida, cheers to Florida! Exit Strategy is set in the mountains of North Carolina. Were you able to travel there before writing or did you do virtual traveling?
Both! I have family in the Carolinas and my sister used to live there. So I’ve been there quite a few times. But it has been a few years since my last visit, so I went the Google Earth route to scout out some places to use as inspiration for the settings in the story. I also traveled the Blue Ridge Parkway virtually, through online travel videos. That’s how I became familiar with the types of roadway signs used, which I included in one of the scenes. I also drew my own map (I do that for most of my stories) to select where I would place EXIT Inc. in relation to Asheville, North Carolina, and where the heroine’s house would be. That helped me keep my east/west directions in-synch.
Lexi: We wish you research and traveling galore as long as we can get more suspense from you! Thank you for stopping by the blog today, Lena. Congrats on the release of Exit Strategy!
Thank you so much, Lexi. I really appreciate you letting me stop by your internet home and sharing some tidbits about Exit Strategy and my new series!