June 10, 2017

Interview with Amanda McKinney, Author of THE WOODS #Excerpt

Amanda McKinney, writer of Sexy Thrillers, wrote her debut novel, LETHAL LEGACY, after walking away from her career to become a stay-at-home mom. Her second novel, THE WOODS, the first book in the BERRY SPRINGS SERIES will be released in June, and the next in the series, THE LAKE, is scheduled to be released in the Fall of 2017. Amanda's books are fast-paced reads about murder, mystery, sex and seduction. 
Visit her website at www.amandamckinneyauthor.com

What would you be doing right now if you were not an author?
Aimlessly jumping around from job to job, trying to figure out my true passion and what I was meant to do with my life. You should see my resume.

5 years ago: what were you doing?
Checking off the “get married” box, and I did pretty damn good with that one, I must say.

Do you have a certain writing ritual?
I write every single day, no matter what. Even if it’s just a few hundred words . . . and believe me, with a 3 year old and an 8 month old, sometimes that’s all I can do.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
I laughed out loud when I read this question. Hands-down my worst experience was when a big-time editor ripped apart one of my manuscripts, so much so that it was unsalvageable. Literally, there was no way to edit the story to her liking. Needless to say, that book never saw the light of day. It was tough but major learning experience, and for that, I’m very grateful that it happened.

Ever fangirled over another author? Who was it?
I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting any “famous” authors, yet. I plan to attend several book conventions next year, so we’ll see. I’d like to think I’d keep my composure though.

Is there an author you'd like to meet?
Nora Roberts! I’d love to split a bottle of wine with her and pick her brain. She has decades of experience and seems like such a cool chick.

Biggest writing pet peeve?
When a book has too much filler. That’s the only thing that will make me stop reading.

Do you read other's reviews of your books?
Absolutely! It’s one of the best ways to grow, but, I also know to take everything with a grain of salt and remember that not everyone has the same tastes.

Fav Color:

Fictional Character you'd like to spend the day with:
Eve Dallas. (But, really, I just want to meet Roarke.)

Fav Food:

Fav Song and/or Singer:
Song - Tuesdays Gone, Singer - Willie Nelson (Yes, I’m a southern gal.)

Guilty Pleasure:
Snickers ice-cream bars. And wine. Okay, booze in general.

A year after her sister’s death, Archeologist and part-time neurotic, Dr. Katie Somers returns to the sleepy, southern town of Berry Springs to sell her childhood home. She’d planned to be in and out in less than a week, but a chance meeting with a handsome stranger turns her perfectly crafted world upside down.

Army Ranger Jake Thomas only has one shot at a position with the FBI, even if that means concealing his true identity from those closest to him. As he tries to focus on the mission at hand, Berry Springs is rocked by two gruesome murders and it isn’t long before he and Katie become entangled in the killer’s web, while becoming suspects themselves by the prickly Chief of Police, David McCord.

As their attraction begins to sizzle, so does the danger when Katie stumbles onto new details about her sister’s death, leading her down a dangerous path.

A path she should’ve never stepped onto…
The reflection from the hot, summer sun blinded her as she stepped onto the white cliff. The heat radiated through the bottom of her boots and sweat began to bead on her forehead. Careful to not smear the makeup she’d talked herself into applying, she dabbed her face with the back of her hand.
Damn, Arkansas's summers were hot.
She glanced over her shoulder into the woods for what seemed like the tenth time.
What the hell was she doing? This was crazy. She was crazy. But, in all honesty, she’d done crazier things in her life. Hell, her life had been so chaotic lately, this little adventure seemed to fit right in.
It had been years and years of ups and downs—the ebb and flow of life her sister would call it. Years of not knowing what her future held and dealing with the restlessness that came along with that. Years of not planning or preparing enough to make her future a bright, prosperous one, and accepting a mundane existence as a result.
Jenna Somers was known for her spontaneity and her ‘go with the flow’ attitude. But, as she got older, that simple flow seemed to have quite a few more bumps in it.
It had been an unwavering cycle of constant chaos.
Chaos, chaos, chaos.
She knew she needed a change. She needed to do things differently. She needed to turn her life around. Maybe she’d start today.
She glanced at her watch. Five minutes late. What the hell?
A hot, humid breeze swept up her back as she stepped to the edge of the cliff. Bluebirds fluttered through the air a few feet from her face. The welcoming and familiar sound of nature filled her ears as she looked up at the sky, the cloudless, sapphire blue sky.
She smiled. It was her favorite spot. She’d been to the cliff a hundred times but was still awestruck at the picturesque view. There was the quietness—stillness—that only being this deep in the woods provided.
Atop the highest peak of Berry Springs’s Summit Mountain, the massive rock sat high above a ravine that dropped down almost a thousand feet. A sparkling blue river cut through the bottom and on the other side was another steep, thickly wooded mountain. The beautiful Ozark Mountains.
It was postcard perfect.
She was lost in her own bliss when she suddenly heard leaves rustle behind her.
Nerves tickled her stomach as she turned to see him emerge from the tree line.
He looked nothing like she imagined. He sported a buzz cut that was thin enough to see his scarred, blotchy scalp. His features were sharp and defined. Despite the heat, he wore a red plaid shirt, tattered jeans and boots.
His eyes locked on hers and he slowly stepped onto the rock. She couldn’t explain the sudden unease she felt.
Relax, it’s just nerves, she thought as she glanced into the woods behind him.
A crooked smile cracked across his face as he said, “We finally meet.”
She ignored the warning bells in her head and faked a smile. “Yes, finally.”
He stepped closer. Almost instinctively, she scooted backward but stopped instantly when she realized her back was to the ravine.
Why the hell was she so jumpy? Why did this guy make her feel so . . . on edge?
She looked past him, into the woods, again.
A droplet of sweat rolled down the middle of her back.
He took a step closer.
Her pulse picked up.
“Beautiful day, want to sit down?”
“I . . . uh, I’m sorry, but I actually need to get back soon.”
His face dropped and something sinister sparked in his eyes. “I just got here. Why so soon?”
“Well, you’re late, and I . . . I’ve got a lot to do.”
He narrowed his eyes and cocked his head, “Something wrong?”
“No, nothing . . .”
For a moment he stared at her, making her feel like she was stark raving naked in the middle of Times Square.
Creepy. This guy was totally creepy.
“I’m sorry, I need to go.”
Get the hell out of here.
She took a step forward and he laid his hand on her arm.
Her stomach sank.
His dry pale lips narrowed and his voice lowered as he said, “What? Not impressed? I’m not good enough for you?”
Her eyes widened as she looked back at him. Evil. She saw the dark power of evil in his eyes as she snapped her arm away. “Get out of my way.”
He raised his eyebrows and grabbed her wrist. “It’s gonna be like that, huh?”
“Let me go.”
His black, dilated eyes locked on hers.
That was the moment. The moment her sixth sense, her natural born instinct took over, and every inch of her body knew that that she was in danger. Real danger. She couldn’t ignore it, couldn’t close her eyes and wish it away. It was there screaming at her that her life was in stark danger.
Her heart hammered in her chest. She took one last look into the woods. Where the hell was her sister?
As she started to take a step back, his grip tightened. Her survival instinct kicked in and a rush of adrenaline suddenly burst through her veins.
“I said, let go.” She raised her arms up to shove him backwards, but was blinded by a swift slap in the jaw. The metallic taste of blood seeped into her mouth as the pain vibrated through her head.
Fight, Jenna.
She gritted her teeth and reared back to reciprocate the hit, but was too late. He shoved her backwards and her heels hit just a few inches from the edge of the cliff.
They say that most people instinctively know when they are about to die. They mentally retreat to a place that the living will never know about until the time comes for them.
That was Jenna’s moment. That was the moment that she knew, without a doubt that she was about to die.
Blood dripped from her chin as she looked into his black eyes, which had gone from anger to wild, erratic. Bloodlust. His thin lips parted into a sneering smile as he reached down and grabbed the bulge in his jeans.
Her scream shattered the stillness of nature, moving through the wind like an animal being hunted.
“Shut up!” Charging her, he leapt forward.
Fight. Continue to fight. Fight until death.
As she crouched to leap forward, a gust of wind blew her off balance. Terror shot through her body as she shifted her weight.
Her heel slid off the edge.
The world around her seemed to stop as she began to fall backwards, her hands desperately grabbing at him. At anything.
For a brief moment, her fingertips caught his shirt and as if in slow motion, he slapped her hand away.
And then, as gravity pulled her body backwards, her last scream vibrated through the mountaintop as she tumbled off the cliff.




1 comment:

  1. She looks like Bryce Dallas Howard. Very pretty :)