Howdy, Killer Fiction readers. Today I have a treat for you. We had a new Killer on board at Killer Fiction. Diane Kelly is a neat person. I met her years ago at my Romance Writers of America meeting. We were having someone come and talk about taxes. Yeah…taxes. I mean, how boring is that? (Can you hear me snore?) But…because I needed some tax advice I pumped myself up with caffeine and went to suffer through a long, tedious talk. Boy, howdy was I surprised. The speaker wasn’t at all boring. She managed to make a talk about taxes interesting and funny as heck on wheels. Yup, Diane is one neat, funny lady. So . . . when I found out she sold her series to St. Martin’s Press and we were sister Saints. (Don’t you just love that? Sister saints? Like I could ever be a real saint!) Well, I kindly and graciously held her up at gunpoint until she agreed to come join our team of killers. And now I’d like to present you with an interview with our newest killer. So get ready to be entertained. Here’s Diane Kelly.
1) "How did you come up with the idea for your series?"
A few years ago, I sat in the back of a crowded, stuffy room on the final day of an excruciating three-day tax seminar. The morning’s speaker had spent hours detailing the minutiae of partnership taxation, and I was fighting desperately to stay awake. Just as I’d decided to give in, hide under the table, and take a snooze, a criminal defense attorney took the podium. He told fascinating war stories of defending tax evaders, naughty people who engaged in fraud, money laundering, and intricate financial scams and who thought – most often wrongfully - that they could outsmart Uncle Sam. I never knew taxes could be so interesting! And when the attorney talked about the savvy special agents at the IRS, I was intrigued. I’d never known these “tax cops” existed!
I subsequently researched IRS special agents and was shocked to find that some had been killed in the line of duty. Their jobs require complex financial know-how combined with law enforcement and weapon skills. Very few people have this unique skill set. I figured a special agent would make a unique, interesting heroine and apparently I was right. My manuscript “Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure,” which stars a female IRS agent, won the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award in 2009, and won or placed in over a dozen RWA chapter contests as well. The judges invariably commented on my fun and feisty heroine. I was thrilled when St. Martin’s bought the manuscript and that the concept will be expanded into a series.
C.C.’s comment: See, even she thought any talk of taxes was going to be . . . boooorrring.
2) "I understand that you interviewed several special agents as part of your research for your upcoming series. What were the agents like? And if male, were they hot?"
The special agents I met with were all Type-A personalities – in a good way. Each one of them was extremely intelligent, intensely focused, and, as opposed to the stereotypical nerdy IRS agent image, very attractive and physically fit. Imagine the cast of “Friends,” but with brains and purpose.
C.C.’s comment. Okay, I’m trying really hard to imagine Joey as having brains. Not happening.
3) "There's quite a bit of gun play in your debut novel, and your heroine is an expert marksman. How well can you handle a gun?"
Do water guns count? ‘Cause I’ve taken down three adolescent boys in two seconds flat with a Blastmaster 2000. As far as real guns go, my experience is somewhat limited. I tried to shoot skeet once with a shotgun, but could barely lift the gun high enough not to shoot off my toes. I have the upper body strength of an earthworm. I’ve also shot a few rounds on a .22 rifle and was surprisingly accurate.
C.C.’s comment: Okay, I’m not going to piss you off. I don’t want to be the target that you aim at, especially since I now know you’re surprisingly accurate!
4) "Are you anything like your heroine?"
I suppose it’s impossible for a writer not to put a bit of herself in her heroine. Like Tara, I have an innate sense of justice and would like for the world to be more fair and to see bad guys get their due. Tara and I both have a slightly warped sense of humor and a pragmatic, cut-the-crap attitude. Oh, and we both wear a 32A bra. But perhaps that’s more than anyone needed to know.
C.C.’s comment: Sorry, I’m not telling my bra size, I don’t care if you told me yours or not. To me, that’s right up there with telling someone my weight.
5) "What was the hardest part of writing your book?"
Creating my hero! It’s like building the perfect man from scratch. It sounds great, but where do you start? What traits should he have? What makes a man truly attractive and sexy? It’s much more difficult than it sounds. Plus, he can’t really be totally perfect. Otherwise he wouldn’t be realistic. So making him believable yet lovable and enticing was a challenge.
I had a crush on Aaron Eckhart at the time, so my hero tends to resemble him. And, of course, my hero is successful. At the risk of setting the women’s movement back decades, there’s nothing sexier than a man who knows how to take care of his woman. Not that we can’t take care of ourselves, but it’s nice to know our men have our backs (and vice versa). My hero is classy, but not pretentious. I fell in love with him myself. Good thing he’s fictitious since divorces are so messy and expensive!
Thanks so much for the interview, Diane.
And now what I’d like to hear from you is: how do you feel about taxes? Hey, if you wanna share your bra size, go ahead. And as a thank you for welcoming Diane here today, I’m running a contest. One lucky commenter will receive a copy of Wild, Wicked & Wanton: 101 Ways to Love Like You’re In a Romance Novel.