NYT Bestseller Shannon McKenna Interview + Giveaway!

Winner: Michele!

I’ve been a fan of Shannon McKenna’s novels for many years.  She is a fellow Kensington author and I’m thrilled to have her here at the blog today with a fantastic interview. Both readers and writers with enjoy Shannon’s engaging personality in this interview as much as millions have devoured her sexy romantic thrillers.

Shannon has TWO giveaways to enter today. She’s giving away a book on today’s blog (just leave a comment) and a Kindle Fire on her ONE WRONG MOVE tour (enter Rafflecopter below)!

Let’s jump right in! Welcome Shannon!!

First and foremost – tell me about this wowza new book you’ve got coming out in a couple weeks! I’m so excited for ONE WRONG MOVE! It sounds like such an intense, complex and twisted story!

Gee, thanks for that delightfully enthusiastic lead-in! I’m so glad you’re looking forward to it! Here’s a bit of a description for you . . .


 We met Alex Aaro raising hell in BLOOD AND FIRE, Bruno’s story. He tries not to attract attention, but fails utterly, every damn time. Fate has other plans for him—big plans. And now it’s his turn to face the fire.

Privacy. Solitude. To Alex Aaro, that doesn’t seem like so much to ask of life—for the world to let him keep his head down, make his money. But it can never be that simple. His crazy Aunt Tonya was dying. She’d spent more time in the nuthouse than out, but she was the sole family member he gave a damn about. Enough of a damn to blow decades of hiding from his Ukrainian mafiya clan. He would risk his life in the writhing snakepit that was the Aaro family, to say goodbye to a dying woman. It was stupid, irrational.  Suicidal, even. And he couldn’t talk himself out of it.

And now his friend Bruno calls, just as Aaro lands in New York. He wants Aaro to take a scenic detour to a hospital in Coney Island, Brooklyn, for God’s sake, to do a favor for Nina, one of Bruno’s wife’s friends. A single woman friend. A social worker, out to save the world. The type of woman he would drive hundreds of miles to avoid. Some bullshit about translating the hysterical ravings of some roughed up Ukrainian woman who had attacked Nina with a hypodermic needle. He could not even count all the things there were to hate about this scenario, but he couldn’t say no—he owed Bruno. Owed him big, in blood and skin. But no one could have warned him about Nina’s eyes, her voice, the effect that they would have on him. Violence flares like wildfire—as swift and hot as the desire they can’t seem to control.

Nina Christie has way bigger problems than the surly interpreter that her friends are siccing on her. She’d been injected with some crazy unknown drug, and it is having effects on her that scare her to death. But when the bad guys who are looking for that drug close in, only the six-foot-four rock hard slab of lean muscle and seething bad attitude called Alex Aaro stands between her and an ugly death. The guy’s an unlikely hero, and a royal pain in the ass—and he also makes her pulse race and her lungs squeeze up until they won’t take in any air.

Nina has her own good reasons for being wary about men, and Aaro embodies them all, in one lethal package. But Nina’s about to unlearn everything she thought she knew, about men, about herself, about everything. Because the two of them hold the clues to a deadly secret, and as their world goes up in flames, they must race against time together, and face their deepest fears to unveil it before it destroys them . . .

Your hero and heroine in ONE WRONG MOVE, Alex and Nina (great names, btw!), are drawn together by the threat of the Ukrainian mafia and find themselves on both a run for their lives and a race against time. In the midst of that insanity, you’re going to manage to give them amazing sex and an HEA.  How in the hell do you do that? (I’ve always wanted to ask!)

That’s a really hard question, because I just don’t know! All I know is that if I start, and don’t let myself stop, eventually the book will get written! The process of writing is still an agonizing mystery to me. The level of suffering and doubt remains constant throughout the process, although the reasons for suffering change over the course of the writing of the book. In the beginning, it’s the Terror Of The Blank Page, the fear that this time it will be a huge dud and everyone will hate my guts, and the pages that creep out are dull, stupid, boring, blah blah blah.

 This goes on tediously for months, until the deadline starts to loom. Only then does the real story start to squeeze out of me. Then, right before or even some time after the deadline, it’s like a flash flood of bubbling ideas, cross-pollination of plot points, subplots sewing themselves up as if by magic, characters coming to life and surprising me—all of that is an exciting period, and would be my favorite if it wasn’t for the price I pay on the home front. Which is to say, the dirty house, the buzzing insomnia, the burned dinner, piles of dirty laundry, the angry kids who feel abandoned, the uncomfortable feeling of not having exercised my body for months . . . yikes. But I feel like I have to do my best for the hero and the heroine. After all the hell they’ve been dragged through, they by God deserve their satisfaction.

And as for hot sex in the midst of the suspense, well . . . I don’t know how realistic it is, (nor do I care!) but I always feel as if in these situations, so fraught with peril, that people have the chance to pull resources from deep inside themselves that they never knew they had. It is an opportunity to show a deeper, braver self—and a sexier self, too. And what makes a sex scene work for me directly correlates to how much the hero and the heroine care about it.  They have to care, passionately, desperately, even if they’re trying very hard to play it cool, which they usually are. That’s crucially important, for me.  The sex scenes reveal and reflect and develop the psychological and emotional connection between the hero and heroine, suspense sharpens it, and hopefully, it all bubbles up into a heady magic potion that transforms them both.

I’ve noticed the common use of family in your novels, Shannon. I very much enjoy the added complication and emotion this element adds to your stories. Is that the reason you use/involve family members often or do you have another underlying theme or interest in including families in your novels?

I didn’t think it through, it just happened. But I was happy that it did, because I like to see the hero and heroine relating to their families as well as to their love interest. It makes things more interesting, but also more complicated. There were times in some of the McCloud books where it seemed that the family issues were taking precedence over the romance, and that was difficult to control, because I had to do right by all of those relationships. So many readers, for instance, were furious with me at the end of FADE TO MIDNIGHT, because according to them, the reunion of the long lost and presumed dead Kev McCloud with his brothers was not satisfying enough, and that I didn’t devote enough time or pages to working out all of their complicated feelings about getting their brother back.

Damn, I was two hundred pages over word count at that point, and I couldn’t just give them a group hug and move on. So I let it ride, let it wait to the next book. Which meant people had to wait another year to see those guys talk it out! Oh, the grief I got for that decision. But I didn’t want to short-change those guys by rushing it. The McCloud guys are ultra-macho. Talking about emotion does not come easily to them in the best of circumstances. They are better by far at kicking ass. So, the short answer is, yeah, I like the messy complication of families, with all the difficulty that it entails. Both in real life and in my books!

Shannon, you are known for your steaming sexy suspense novels, but you’ve also written contemporary in the past.  Can you speak a little to your writing preferences?

The steamy thing came about by pure chance. I certainly did not set out to write steamy. I was willing to try anything to get in the door—comedy, chick lit, whatever. The first category romances I wrote were written with Silhouette Desire and Harlequin Temptation in mind, but they were having none of me. I was fortunate enough to get picked up by Hilary Sares, who was editing the Precious Gem line of romances, which were marketed directly to Walmart. Five books later, that line folded, and I got a break to write a steamy novella in an erotic romance anthology at Kensington. I had no idea if I could pull it off, but Hilary advised me to let the sexual relationship be the vehicle by which the plot advanced and by which character was revealed. I took her advice, and it opened up a whole new world for me. I realized that I liked love scenes like that; long, winding, with many parts, many moods, many purposes. I’ve got a taste for it now. I can hardly imagine writing without having the element of eroticism! But in terms of other genres, I’d like to play around, with fantasy, maybe historical someday. For now, the romantic suspense is working for me, so I’m not going to mess with my good thing.

The publishing industry is changing so quickly, yet in so many ways it’s staying the same. It’s a complex, sometimes confusing and often scary place to be for those of us who don’t have your experience and hindsight. For both readers and authors, can you give us your version of how you see the changes in the industry affecting us in the near future?  And can you tell us what is in your future—say a one year, five year and a ten year plan?

Hey, it’s scary for me, too! I’m in a total lather of fear and uncertainty about what to do, where to turn, what the smart thing to do might be with all the new information battering me every day. So much conflicting information, so many dazzling self-publishing success stories, so many dire warnings about the difficulties and dangers and time sinks and pitfalls! The one thing that I am sure about is that now, there are more options for us all, and that can only be a positive thing. New authors have a lot more possibilities for beginning their careers, what with self-publishing, blogging, etc, and people can build platforms on their own. Established authors no longer need to dread that their careers can be tanked by one poor decision on the part of their publishing house, because now, there are other ways to rebuild, even if sales numbers go down, for whatever reason. Lots of people who had terrible experiences with big publishing houses have been able to completely reboot their careers with these new options, and this is great, great, great. So I think, all in all, that the new developments are positive. As to what I will be doing in one year, five or ten—God, I don’t know! I don’t plan that far ahead. All I know is that I have to finish Miles’s story, and then write Sveti’s. But I know that I will still be writing, as long as I can hold a pen or bang at a keyboard. That’s for damn sure.

Thanks so much for having me, Joan! It’s been great posting on your blog!

Wow, what a fabulous interview! I’m beyond impressed…but then, I’m not surprised. If you’ve read Shannon’s work, you’ll know she’s an impressive author! 🙂

Shannon is giving away TWO prizes, a copy of one of her books at each blog stop on her tour AND a grand prize giveaway of a Kindle Touch!!! There are several copies of One Wrong Move, Blood and Fire, Ultimate Weapon, and Fade to Midnight up for grabs! Enter below!

Shannon McKenna is the NYT bestselling author of over ten action packed, turbocharged romantic thrillers, among which are the stories of the wildly popular McCloud series. She loves tough and heroic alpha males, heroines with the brains and guts to match them, villains who challenge them to their utmost, adventure, scorching sensuality, and most of all, the redemptive power of true love. Since she was small she has loved abandoning herself to the magic of a good book, and her fond childhood fantasy was that writing would be just like that, but with the added benefit of being able to take credit for the story at the end. Alas, the alchemy of writing turned out to be messier than she’d ever dreamed. But what the hell, she loves it anyway, and hopes that readers enjoy the results of her alchemical experiments.

You can find Shannon here: Shannon’s website | Shannon on Facebook | Shannon on Twitter | Kensington | Amazon

1)    To win a book: leave a comment on this blog post to be entered to win a book. Be sure to leave your email address in the comments so we can contact you if you’re the lucky winner. This giveaway ends five days after the post goes live.

2)    To win a Kindle Touch: Enter the Rafflecopter widget below!

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28 Responses to NYT Bestseller Shannon McKenna Interview + Giveaway!

  • I have read several of her books and loved them. I added this one to my TBR list Thanks

  • Awesome interview! I am HUGE romantic suspense fan!! Thank you for sharing a new to me author!

    Lisa B
    modokker AT yahoo dot com

  • Hi Ms. Swan,thanQQ…I must say this is extremely a lovely treat..!yayyy! S. McKenna is such the quintessential Rock Star 8) N my bk.! yepp..I’m hooked on her bks:P
    Wat an awesome interview but oooh Wat an even talented writer S. McKenna is.!4 me she has the ability 2 touch me ,she makes this Romantic feel an Ocean of emotions, needs but the Ocean seas she paints 4 me..it’s a Master piece its truly exciting, breathtaking& odds defying. Beware! if ever the adage stands its ever much more than the meaning but true: X Marks or better yet HITS the Spot!
    Oh my word N her Readz, its spell binding creepy death tinkling danger galore.
    OOh but..wait,wait a minute! truth be told though..
    I’m that world class Winnie, wen I read about her virtual reality like villains.it’s minute by minute.heart-stopping Chilling !
    Nevertheless, yum,yum I gotta watch out not bite my fingers or thumbs cause I so N joy ever morsel & eating every Bks. crumb . Often, I love On my time, like prefer my Green Tea than Wine follow by my plezzzureable Cal gone take me away moments without any regress..!
    Takin’ about Orgastic relaxations,& rest..ooh yess indeed.. truly Fantastic!!
    On the Real, though Her Readz R that ripe Forbidden fruit a tasty teasing thrill, whilst l@@king 4 thrill, U were told Not 2 touch..that teenager 1st glance at Love & Romance..wats on UR face its trace with a blushing hot red secret that U were 4fillingly fed. Ooh wat a Rush!! It’s that chocolate covered Cherry Juicy that’s a mouth watering treat, a exotic Berry..musky hot & sweet Ur tongue taste then can hardly 2 gobble up & eat.
    I must tell, U R Bks. R compel by powers beyond measure ,that’s mesmerized by a Unique treasure.
    “The Voice” declaring it’s okay 2 lose 1 self, B daring beyond control grasp it this Gift while it unfolds ,part by part into a Sinsuous synthesize wicked Read Work of Art..that’s definitely written from the heart.
    Who doesn’t love a Dark daring naughty Hero((Seth)) whose also a real Hottee?!! =:D a hero that’s buck-wild, Oftentimes get passionately real loud with every thought or concern 4 the heroine, it’s clearly innate intuition but yet he cautiously discern his subconscious unconditional love’s but thoroughly through him deeply like a river it runs.
    Whose prowess rings out loud with uncontrollable huge hunger greedy gut need..2feed an appetite he must appease, . For the heroine his every fulfillments with the intent, blazing desire that lays lustfully dormant each day. Waiting he schemes with hopeful ..dreams & desires he seeks 2 quench the his volcanic fires whilst taking her in every mind blowing way..expressing the love mere words can say.
    Sinnerster Thoughts ,from the heart it evokes his mind..with his dagger & cloak he must not lose hope .He then stalks, Like a predatory night Hawk, Victim of his on minds each backward & 4ward back slower moves the punishing blade tracks. Within him is heartfelt Fears & unseen tears.
    Hell B damned! N Seth there couldnt B found such braver man. With a ocean of heartfelt emotions will He come 2 understand that he doesn’t have power over nor it can he very well command??!
    While he takes inventory over his scenario within a twinkling of his mind’s eye the odds he Shall all defy. A Vex & a very tortured soul love’s bewitching powers has taken an eternal toll.
    Sexual Frustrations, on the Heroine a fixations R set N view of the greatest temptation Seth’s heart has every knew.
    Her bks. Have it all. Mesmerizing siren’s Call 4 love , passion,danger, suspense, a whole lot of action thats quiet pleasantly pleasing then again hence, it’s sexy, intense but most of all it screams Hot with non Stop satisfaction.
    It’s an escapism base on fiction or is it realism? At best, it passes the good conquers the evil, Love & Romance test.
    I define it as simply a way of relaxing unwinding, chilling with a super cool Read having my down time it’s a must 4 me.
    By the way SETH from the bk. Behind Closed Doors (McClouds & Friends #1) is 1 of my many favorite’s..S. Mc Kenna .Readz.R by far an acquired Taste on UR tongue. A delicacy that sizzles crackles ,then burns U’ll always crave 4 & greedly yearn.
    A lover of guilty plezzure . An modern day Jewel she’s a treasure her bks. rule.
    I count it a great privilege 2 just have the FREEDOM 2 give some of our wonderful Writers,Love, flowers also Honor any given hour(she’s also Home grown; )
    I think it’s Safe 2 say Ms. McKenna all that U’ve gone through, UR writing Career up’s & down’s U had felt sadness & gladness also wore a few hidden heartfelt frowns…
    Plezzze know UR Work has bought beauty & magic 2 this fangirl’s world.
    Lastly, it goes without saying on many occasions Ur bks.have turn my frown unside down into a koolaide smile I hope U R proud cause ur bks. R Therapeutic on any given day in so many ways!
    Plezzze don’t every stop writing!
    Regardless ,U R 4 every a class act..It’s also a known fact that UR gift sharing is stamp on ever fans heart. if U Never write another bk. U’ve made a Awesome Mark U R gift sharing is stamped 4 ever on U R fans Heart.
    N my World UR The very Epitome of the definition the 😀 IT GIRL now & always will B! I celebrate U & UR body of Work. U so freely, willing & tenderly whole heartily share that why this Fangirl.. Will always care!! di molto! congratulazione su ur nuovo bk. Una mossa sbagliata! Sono soo entusiasta non vedo l’ora di leggerlo! In bocca al lupo, come sempre!
    rubyswan/ New England

  • Wow!!! Thanks so much for the opportunity! ^_^

  • Had some trouble with the Rafflecopter, filled out as much as it would allow.

  • Hi Shannon 🙂

    I must be living under a rock because I have not read any of your books and you totally write the genre I love!!! Sounds like I need to make a trip to the book store and grab me the McCloud series 🙂

    Thank you again Joan for introducing another great author to us. Super excited to start adding Shannon’s books to my library, squeal 😛

  • Congrats on the release! Sounds great and I am looking forward to picking it up.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  • After reading Blood and Fire I will definitely read more of this author…very powerful.
    minadecaro at hotmail dot com

  • Your storytelling got me hooked on romantic suspense stories with an erotic edge that I just love. Keep them coming, Shannon.

    caity_mack at yahoo dot com

  • Shannon!

    I’m such a fangirl of yours. The first things of yours that I read was the novella you mentioned in the interview. I was hooked and immediately went to look for your other books and I’ve read everything you’ve written!

    Jamie – jamie.wesley at ymail.com

    • Wow, Jamie, thank you so much! Your sweet comments totally made my day. How awesome that you’ve been with me ever since “Something Wild.” I loved that novella!
      Good luck on the contest!

  • I have only heard of this series in the last couple of days but will have to read it. This sounds like a great RS series.
    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

    • I hope you enjoy it, June! I’m thrilled to be reaching new readers with this blog tour thing. It’s been a great experience.
      Enjoy, good luck with the contest!

  • Nice interview. I’d like to read this book.


  • Yeah! Romantic Suspense and a proclaimed HEA (gotta have that).

  • Wow – One Wrong Move sounds like an incredible book! Can’t wait to read it, as well as, more of Shannon’s books. What’s not to love about RS books?!?! Great interview and thanks for the giveaway.

  • Hi, Cris, Carol, Elizabeth and Melanie! Thrilled for the warm comments, really glad you liked the interview, and I’m psyched to have gotten some new readers! Joan has got one, too . . . I’m definitely adding her juicy looking offerings to my tbr pile. Good luck with the contest, and let me know how you like the books!

  • I love her! She’s one of my fave’s 😉

    mpashon at hotmail dot com

  • Hi Shannon! I have all of your books on my to-read list! One Wrong Move sounds so awesome!! Thanks for the great interview and even greater giveaway!!!

    ehaney578 at aol dot com

  • I don’t know where I’ve been either . After visiting your web site and reading the blurbs for the books I put all the McCloud books on my To Read list over at Goodreads. I look forward to reading your books Shannon and I’m so happy to have met you here at Joan’s blog.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  • Ooooh, I have no idea how I haven’t read any of Shannon’s books yet– and I’m a total RS whore. Guess my already-epic TBR queue is going to grow some more 😀

    Legend interview!