Today’s #TalkTuesday interview is also our #TeaserTuesday and First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, both of which features Lynn H. Blackburn’s Beneath The Surface. A joint effort! Enjoy!
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Beneath The Surface by Lynn H. Blackburn
Beneath The Surface by Lynn H. Blackburn has both suspense and romance although it has more of an emphasis on the relationship between the two main characters, Leigh Weston and Ryan Parker.
It is interesting how she weaves everything in the plot around the Dive Team, including relationships between the team members, the victim, and the outside experts. The sarcastic banter between the characters allows for a humorous interlude.
There are actually two mysteries to the story, dismembered bodies found at the bottom of the lake by the dive team, and someone stalking Leigh with the intent of doing bodily harm. They come together when Ryan and his colleagues ask Leigh if they can use her boat deck as they work the investigation. Soon after, Leigh’s life is threatened having law enforcement wonder about a possible connection. Ryan knows his team must solve the murder case quickly, especially when Leigh may be the next target on the list.
Elise Cooper: How did you come up with a dive team scenario?
Lynn H. Blackburn: I attended a writer’s police workshop in 2014/15. It is a place for writers to come and learn from law enforcement professionals about what they really do, what it is really like, and how to bring that realistically into fiction. The one I attended was in North Carolina where they loaded us in a van and took us to a pool where the Sheriff’s Dive Team demonstrated how they would do a search for underwater evidence. They spoke about their training and their different duties. I thought that this is a great idea for a series since the dive team pulls in people from all areas of law enforcement.
EC: It is billed as the “Dive Team Investigations,” but that only occurred in a few scenes?
LHB: When we pitched the series my editors asked how much of this is going to be underwater, because it is difficult to develop relationships there. Any law enforcement dive team knows the dive is very intense, mainly because of the horrible conditions. I want readers to understand I am writing about the team, not necessarily the dive. The unifying factor for the story is that they are all on this dive team.
EC: What type of horrible conditions?
LHB: Most of the time they cannot see anything underwater. It is like someone driving in a fog. I talked to a professional who said ‘you cannot see anything and must feel around since it is so very dark.’
EC: Is Leigh based on anybody?
LHB: She is inspired by my sister. Leigh is an oncology nurse and so is my sister who also works as a Palliative care professional. They both worked with end of life situations for years. I saw with my sister that it takes a toll on medical professionals who do this. Just like my sister, Leigh has a gift for her empathy, compassion, and the fortitude to go to work day after day.
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EC: How would you describe Leigh?
LHB: She is recovering from some tough times, which is why she moved back home. Because she needs a change in her life after the stalker episode she moved to the emergency room, although still an advocate for her patients. I think she is outgoing, friendly, loyal, but is now guarded and wounded.
EC: It seems she also likes to cook?
LHB: She is a Carolina girl. In the South, we cook for the people we love. No one gets together without having lots of food around. Through her baking and cooking she is able to initially get close to people. If she likes you she will try to feed you. One of her love languages is cooking and baking cookies. I actually developed a little recipe book for my newsletters’ subscribers, a dive team recipe book.
EC: I could relate to the cooking scenes because my mom who just passed loved to cook. Why did you incorporate that into the story?
LHB: Leigh learned from her mother, a way she still connects with her late mom. A few years ago, my mom made a little recipe book for my siblings and I, some of my family favorites. I learned from my mom who is a phenomenal cook. As I was writing it I noticed that it came out of my subconscious. I didn’t initially realize that I was pulling my experiences into the story until they are already there. I was thinking about my husband’s grandmother who would bake rolls and bread for us to bring home after a visit. She had a recipe taped to her cupboard door that we all wanted, to remind us of her after she died.
EC: How would you describe one of Ryan’s Dive teammates, Gabe?
LHB: More of a teaser than Ryan, a charmer, more likely to be a pest. He does not care about embarrassing someone.
EC: How would you describe Ryan?
LHB: He is a protector, loyal, honorable, a teaser, who looks out for his family and friends. Sometimes he sees the worst of people that he overcomes by relying heavily on his faith to keep a balance.
EC: How would you describe the relationships?
LHB: There is a lot of dancing around. Leigh is reluctant to get involved, but she is well aware she has a crush on Ryan since her school days. I sought a middle ground for the romance between Ryan and Leigh. It is important to make it believable and not rushed or too slow. I think the relationship can be developed with the dialogue between the characters that allows for a much needed mental and emotional break, lighting the mood. I love writing the back and forth with the snide remarks.
EC: How did you balance the religious parts of the book?
LHB: I never want to be preachy. My faith is part of who I am and comes naturally into parts of the story. I find that when I finish the book I can see the message, the theme.
EC: What do you want readers to get out of this story?
LHB: Even when things look like they are spiraling out of control, going horribly wrong, that there is a purpose and a plan although sometimes we do not always see it. Life is not a suspense romance novel that gets tied up after 350 pages. It is a reminder that we are not alone. I think G-d gave us brains for a reason and expects us to use them to make things better.
EC: What about your next books?
LHB: The next book will concentrate on Adam Campbell and Dr. Sabrina Fleming. He is the Dive Team’s white crime investigator and she is a forensics professor who outsources for law enforcement. The third book emphasizes Gabe Chavez and Anissa Bell who butt heads since both are part of the Dive Team. It is interesting getting into their minds.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Beneath the Surface (Dive Team Investigations #1)
After a harrowing experience with an obsessed patient, oncology nurse practitioner Leigh Weston needed a change. She thought she’d left her troubles behind when she moved home to Carrington, North Carolina, and took a job in the emergency department of the local hospital. But when someone tampers with her brakes, she fears the past has chased her into the present. She reaches out to her high school friend turned homicide investigator, Ryan Parker, for help.
Ryan finds satisfaction in his career, but his favorite way to use his skills is as a volunteer underwater investigator with the Carrington County Sheriff’s Office dive team. When the body of a wealthy businessman is discovered in Lake Porter, the investigation uncovers a possible serial killer–one with a terrifying connection to Leigh Weston and deadly implications for them all.
Dive into the depths of fear with an exciting new voice in romantic suspense. Award-winning author Lynn H. Blackburn grabs readers by the throat and doesn’t let go until the final heart-pounding page.
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday
First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros
I’m also taking part in First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros
Every Tuesday Vicki @ I’d Rather Be at the Beach now hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where readers share the first paragraph of a book that they are reading or plan to read soon.
Beneath The Surface (Dive Team Investigations #1)
by Lynn H. Blackburn
Looking forward to visiting your blogs and seeing what your Teaser Tuesday and First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, are this week!
Here are some I’ve already found along the way, check these beauties out: