Paranormal Romance author Sarah Raplee’s debut novel, BLINDSIGHT, will be available from Windtree Press and all major online booksellers February 29th.(Yes, she's taking the leap on Leap Day!) This book is the first in her Psychic Agents Series.
Welcome, Sarah. Can you tell us what your book is about in a sentence or two?
A tenacious undercover FBI Psychic Agent and a lonely blind wedding singer with a wild psychic Talent must escape from a drug lord’s compound and traverse the wilderness while pursued by a relentless enemy.
Briefly, tell us what led you to write BLINDSIGHT. What else have you published?
I have three published Paranormal Romance stories. Curse of the Neahkahnnie Treasure takes place in the 1880s on the Oregon Coast. Enchanted Protector is loosely based on the fairy tale Snow White and Rose Red. (Love and Magick anthology, Windtree Press.) The Telltale Heart is a Young Adult Paranormal Romance story for Valentine’s Day. (Gifts from the Heart anthology, Windtree Press.)
I’m drawn to writing Romantic Suspense and Paranormal Romance, so combining those genres came naturally. After reading ‘para-ops’ series by Kay Hooper and Jayne Ann Krentz, I began to brainstorm and world build my Psychic Agents Series.
BLINDSIGHT’s characters and plot evolved and matured over a couple years. For example, I had the opportunity to attend an event for writers where a real psychic who works with law enforcement discussed her work. She avoids eye contact with people because she gets bombarded with psychic impressions. That got me thinking. What if someone’s Talent was to project their emotions as energy? How difficult would her life be? Thus my heroine Melisenda’s Talent was conceived. I’d been wanting to try writing a blind character, so although she was born with her Talent, Meli was blinded in the car accident that killed her parents when she was sixteen. Her Guide Dog, Freddy, is her only family.
The psychic also explained how she uses map dowsing in her work. My hero, Hector, refers to that technique in BLINDSIGHT. Hector is a Master Dowser. He came to me in a brainstorming rush, “the man who can find anything or anyone, anywhere.” Sounds simple, but it’s not. (Don’t’ tell Hector I said that. He’s too cocky already.) We have a family joke that I can lose anything and my husband can find anything. That played into choosing dowsing as Hector’s Talent as well.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
I learned and continue to do research into real world psychic abilities like Dowsing. I had to learn how the FBI is structured and how they operate. I had to learn about drug cartels. I learned a lot of history for the world building I needed to do for this and two spin-off series.
Visiting Guide Dogs for the Blind to learn about how dogs are chosen and trained to be Guides was essential. I interviewed a volunteer about her relationship with her Guide. And I did a lot of online research to learn what kinds of lives blind people are living today. I had the pleasure of meeting a blind writer who gave me pointers specific to my book.
Visiting Mount Saint Helens was a high point in my setting research. I used this magnificent volcano and the surrounding wilderness as a guide for my fictional Mount Astor.
Is the Psychic Agents Series an open-ended series at this point, or do you have an end-point in mind?
The series is open-ended at this point, with three more books and one short story already under development.
What are you working on now?
OUT OF SIGHT, Book 2 in the Psychic Agents Series. This book builds on BLINDSIGHT, having recurring characters. The hero and heroine were secondary characters in the first book.
What are you reading now?
I’m starting Playing House by Tammy Palmer. I was smitten by her novella, Cousin Q. She’s an amazing Contemporary Romance writer.
What is your favorite piece of writing advice?
“Never give up! Never surrender!” Persistence and the long tail are the name of the game.
Please share an excerpt from BLINDSIGHT with us.
Hector couldn’t see Meli’s face in the darkness or hear her breath over the sounds of the storm, but the tension in her muscles gradually slipped away and her breathing grew slow and even.
The storm moved on. Thunder transmuted into low-pitched vibrations that buzzed through the rocks and made his bones ache. Every bruise he’d suffered in the last twenty-four hours hurt anew. The hard ground leached the heat from his body like a refrigerator.
Meli’s knees fell sideways onto his legs. She stirred, clasped his shirt in one hand, and burrowed into his armpit. He tightened his hold on her and laid his cheek against her hair. So fragile and defenseless, so—warm?
His face was heating up. In fact, warmth flowed through him from their point of direct physical contact. The cold that had wracked his body was banished. Pain receded. He held a piece of heaven in his arms.
What would it be like to make love to Meli?
Fred growled as if he could read Hector’s impure thoughts.
Was her Talent influencing his emotions? Hector lifted his head. The flow of Meli’s energy halted.
Fred huffed and then sighed.
Only direct body-to-body contact broke through Meli’s shield when she was unconscious. That was good. A Talent’s psychic shield should remain active whenever they slept. She wouldn’t give herself away to Killingsworth in her sleep.
Fred started to snore like an old man.
Hector leaned his head back against the cave wall and closed his eyes. His impure thoughts about Meli returned. He tried to distract himself by thinking about how to make the cave more comfortable. The three of them would have to lie together again tonight to share body heat. He’d gather pine boughs for a mattress. Although truth be told, having Meli snuggled up against him made up for most of the discomfort he was feeling right now.
The muted sounds of the tempest receded. A puff of rain-soaked breeze stirred the air with the scents of wet dog, baby powder and vanilla. His lips twitched. The woman was full of contradictions. First, there was her virginal performance at the wedding, followed by a kiss so hot it practically fried his brain. She’d abandoned him in the gazebo, but then attacked Killingsworth on his behalf and saved his ass in the torture chamber. She’d been ready to push him off the cliff after he’d tossed Fred into the river, but had panicked when she thought he’d drowned.
Why did she share renewing energy with him whenever they touched? As far as she knew, he was a drug lord’s bodyguard. Yet she tried to take care of him, whether he liked it or not. Lucky for him she trusted him when common sense said she shouldn’t.
He pressed a secret kiss to the top of her head. His lips tingled. All day long, she’d been a trooper. Not that she hadn’t argued with him a few times. Following orders wasn’t one of her strong suits.
Not one of mine, either.
Closing his eyes, he bolstered his shields and indulged in piss-off-Fred fantasies about Meli.
© 2016 Sarah Raplee All Rights Reserved