November 10, 2014

CONNOR by Irish Winters {Giveaway/Interview/Teaser}

Conner (In The Company of Snipers, #5)
By: Irish Winters
Pages: 339
Published: November 3, 2014
Publisher: Windy Day Press

Connor Maher is about to find out. As if dogging the brutal Sonoran Cartel through sun-baked Utah isn't tough enough, he's come face to face with his worst nightmare. Diminutive ex-Marine spitfire, Isabella Ramos, has just three words to say to him: I. Hate. You.

Heartache hurts so much worse than gunshot…

How many times can a man say he’s sorry?

Like he hasn’t heard that before.

Why was he the one who got to live?

Izza only accepted the Utah operation because he’d be there. It’s time Connor knows the truth, but how can she trust him with her life much less the secret she’s come to share? He's nothing but grief personified behind the guise of an blue-eyed, honorable man. Not until the cold-blooded SC dumps her and Connor in the farthest corner of the relentless Utah desert does she begin to realize….

There are worse things than death… 

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How do you get inspired to write?
Excellent question! I first started writing after a problem with my heart forced me to re-evaluate my priorities in life. Now, finally doing what I love, there is inspiration all around. I just let it come and I've never felt better.

How do you deal with writer’s block?
I've been non-stop writing since July 2011 and have yet to deal with writer's block, per se. I did slow down during a current death in the family, but, knock on wood; I find I am not prone to writer's block. The only cure for it is to write, write, write!

What is your advice for aspiring authors?
My advice? Never stop believing in you. Never give up on your dream. The stories in your head and heart came to you for a reason. They did not come to your critics, your friends with the best intentions, or your family. On those days when you feel like giving up - don't. Instead, sit down and write. And write. Yes, you need to hone your craft; yes, you must be open to learning more about your genre and the business side of writing, but the best resource to rely on is--Y.O.U. So write..

What are you currently working on?
Book 13, Hunter, In the Company of Snipers. Hunter Christian is a hard man, an ex-Marine who's given part of his soul to the war. He's killed without remorse because his country demanded it. Now working for Alex Stewart and The TEAM, he's coming to grips with how broken he just might be. And how dark.

Enter Meredith Flynn, savvy technical assistant for McCormack Industry's Active Camouflage System One - and Hunter's once-upon-a-time girlfriend.  The ACS1 beta test takes place in the jungles of South America. So does the sabotage. Let the sparks fly.

What is the best thing about being a writer?
Another good question! Writing is my joy. It's my passion. If I could, I'd write 24 hours a day. Besides, I get to hang out with the most amazing fictional characters on the planet. What's not to love?

How do you spend your free time?
My free time is spent reading or travelling the country with my husband. We are both retired and just beginning our second childhoods. After thirty years working in a financial career for the Air Force, I am finally doing what I love. The best part is I can write while he drives. The second best thing is looking out the window of my RV at the most beautiful country on the earth. Best job ever!

What literary character do you most relate to?
Éowyn, the niece of King Théoden, in the trilogy The Lord of the Rings. She chose to stand for what she believed and fight alongside the men of her country. Not all women were made to keep the home fires burning. Some were meant to lead. I love her words when faced with the diabolical Witch-king, revealing herself as a woman, “I am no man!”

What is the thing you struggle with the most while writing? And how do you defeat it?
I don’t believe I struggle with any aspect of my writing. Inspiration seems to flow through me like water through a faucet. I cannot shut off. It wakes me up at night with good ideas and dialogues. If anything, I’m afraid I won’t live long enough to tell all my guy’s stories. It’s the end of the book I struggle with. I mean I’ve just lived in these fictional characters heads. I know what they’re struggling with and how much they love and hate. I know who’s getting married, what they look like, smell like, think like. And then I have to write THE END. How sad is that?

If you could spend a day inside a book, which book would it be and why?
I would spend a day inside The Return of the King, the third volume of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Trilogy of the Rings wherein honorable men and women fought the tremendously wicked and dark forces of evil. It reminds me it is not whether we win or lose our battles in life. It is if we chose to stand for what we believe and fight though all hope appears lost because . . . there is always hope. The Great Eagles of the Misty Mountains really are coming.

When did you first realize you were an author?
The day I wrote my first poem in grade school. So silly when I think about it, but it opened a door inside my mind that has not shut yet. Deep in the sea is a beautiful place with sharks for policemen and coral for lace....  But hey, my mother liked it!

If your book was made into a movie, who would play the main character roles?
Book 1, ALEX: Chris Pine to portray Alex and Jennifer Lawrence to portray Kelsey.
Book 2, MARK: Chris Evans to portray Mark and Carrie Underwood to portray Libby
Book 3, ZACK: Vin Diesel to portray Zack and Lucy Liu to portray Mei
Book 4, HARLEY: Josh Duhamel to portray Harley and Emma Watson to portray Judy
Book 5, CONNOR: Paul Walker to portray Connor and Michelle Rodriguez to portray Izza
What kind of music do you listen to while you write?
None. Nada. Absolute silence so my guys and gals can talk to me. When I do need a break, I jump in my red Camaro, hit the freeway, roll the windows down and blast the airwaves with every song Lee Brice has ever sung. Eric Church is good, too. Brad Paisley. Dierks Bentley. Most country western and Loud.
What is your favorite part of writing?
The inspiration. It’s exciting to offer up a difficult scenario to the universe before I go to bed at night and have it resolved and insights offered by the time I wake in the morning. As human beings, we have incredible power and it is called our – brains.

What is your writing snack of choice?
I’m not much of a snacker when I write, but I am addicted to diet Mountain Dew. Just saying. You buying?

What inspired you to write your first book? 
I had an issue with my heart that resulted in a real, no-kidding come to Jesus moment. Then I knew life was short. I didn’t have time to waste on watering a living room full of houseplants, worrying about people who could care less about me, or broken relationships. Things had to change. I started writing in earnest in July 2011 after a difficult heart procedure knocked me on my butt for three months. And I am the happiest I have ever been. In the words of my favorite country western singer of all time, Lee Brice: “What’s the use of life if you don’t live it?”

If you could go out to lunch with any literary character, which would it be?
Wow. Katniss. She is so tough and yet incredibly tender, ready to fight the world but needing so much not to have to do it alone.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 
Oh yes. There should be a message in every novel ever written. The message in Book 1, Alex, is simply to find your joy and never let it go, even when it feels like the world is against you. The message in Book 2, Mark, is to never give up. Ever. There is always hope.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Tom Clancy. Absolutely. Mix in a little Jacinda Wilder, Tiffinie Helmer, and John Grisham and sign me up for that class. Stephen Templin is good. J.K. Rowling. Chris Kyle. Eric Blehm. Irish Winters – oh wait, that’s me.   J

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? 
I have to blame my sweet Irish mother, God bless her heart. She would like us kids up at the dining room table to write thank-you letters for Christmas gifts received from my grandmother in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. It started then. My mother made it worse when she took us kids to the library (there were eight of us). I got to check out books that expanded my world to include sagas like Virgil’s Aeneid, The Illiad and the Odyssey. Tons of others. Jane Eyre, Dickens, Hemingway, Steinbeck, Rachel Carson, J.K. Rowling. Life is wonderful when you’ve got a book.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Ummm. No. It’s fiction. I do a boatload of research before I settle down to write. I plot my characters, work up psychological profiles on them, develop their back-stories, emotional challenges, personal faults, accents, and favorites words. My guys are all ex-military so I’m always on USMC, Army, or Navy websites. I’ve read most books I can lay my hands on that deal with Navy SEALS or snipers.

How do you think you've evolved creatively?
S-L-O-W-L-Y. I edited my first book until it was published last December 2013, which means I edited it around a gazillion times. I went to writing conferences, took classes, joined a critique group, then went home and edited it all over again with my newfound knowledge.

What was the hardest thing about writing?
The hardest part is knowing when to end it. In book #11, I really grew to like Adam, the heroine, Shannon, and her three-month old son, which Adam helped deliver. He named the baby Squeaks when Shannon didn’t know she wanted the baby yet, and then he sat there on the beach and sang that tiny baby songs because his heart was so full. Of course, she did want her son, but she was dealing with more trauma than she could handle after their plane crashed on a deserted island. I love fiction!

Give us an insight into how your writing day/time is structured?
I rise at 5AM or thereabouts and retire to my office, where all the fictional characters I am currently in complicated relationships with, await. I fire up my MAC and we get to work. If my husband is out of town, I will often write into the wee hours. If not, I call it good around 4PM and see what he wants to do. I have a murder board in my office where I plot the scenes, track timing, and all the loose ends that must be tied up by the end. Like murders. 

Have you ever hated something you wrote? 
Oh, yes. That is why I have an accompanying document for every book I write called ‘Set Asides.’ That is where all my not so great ideas go and linger a slow death – or until I fix them and add them back in. It could happen.

Did you learn anything from writing and what was it? 
Yes. I learned that dreams really do come true. One of my favorite sayings of all times comes from another author, James Artemus Owen “If you really want to do something, no one can stop you. But if you really don’t want to do something, no one can help you.”
I took that lesson to heart, and now I am published. Who’d a thought?

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just do it. Decide. Write. Dream. Give it all you’ve got and if you get rejected, know that you have a gift no one else has. Offer your rejections and hurts up to the universe and let the universe deal with them. Sit down again. Pick up your pen. Open your laptop.  Decide. Write. Dream. Just do it!

God, she wanted to lean into him, to feel those bands of steel hold her together again, to rest against the solid support of that all male body. Her nose drew in a full whiff of him, wanting to savor the windblown scent of the man once more, like it would make a difference. Like it could change the past.
A shudder raced through her. Would it hurt to tell him why she’d accepted this particular operation instead of the op in Singapore with Senior Agent Tao? Was there any chance in the universe Connor might want to know the secret she’d carried all the way to Utah to share with him? The secret not even Mark knew? Not even anyone?
The cell phone buzzing in his pocket answered her questions with a slap-down reality check and an unequivocal, ‘Hell no.’ She had a baby on the way. He had a woman to screw. Never the twain would meet. The phone buzzed again like she needed to be reminded twice how stupid she was.
“Leave me alone.” She shrugged out from the warmth of his hands and stalked away. Tears were weakness. He’d never see them. He’d never know about the baby, either. Connor Maher didn’t deserve to know.

Not then. Not now. Not ever.

The wife of one handsome husband and the mother of three perfect sons, Irish divides her time between writing at home and travelling the country with her man while - writing. (Seriously, what else?)
She believes in making every day count for something and follows the wise admonition of her mother to, "Look out the window and see something!"
To learn more about Irish and her books, please visit

Irish Winters is an award-winning author who dabbles in poetry, grandchildren, and rarely (as in extremely rarely) the kitchen. More prone to be outdoors than in, she grew up the quintessential tomboy on a farm in rural Wisconsin, spent her teenage years in the Pacific Northwest, but calls the Wasatch Mountains of Northern Utah home. For now.

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1 comment:

  1. I am not going to enter the giveaway because although this sounds like a good book, it doesn't seem like one of those that is my type. It was still cool to read the interview though :3

    Check out my review: