Thursday, January 5, 2012

Terri Reed - The Secret Heiress - Author Interview & Guest Post

Author Interview

1. Who is the plot based around?
This story is based upon two characters that were first introduced in my November 2009 release, Chasing Shadows. Don Cavanaugh is a bodyguard and Caroline Tully owns a dress boutique.

2. What is the main idea of the plot?
Caroline, adopted as a baby, is contacted by her biological grandfather with a request to come visit him in order to inherit a part of his fortune. Only someone doesn’t want her to live long enough to claim her inheritance. She hires a bodyguard to keep her safe after an attempt is made on her life. Posing as her fiancĂ© gives Don the perfect excuse to accompany Caroline to her grandfather’s home. But as danger closes in, he realizes he not only must protect his client, but his heart as well.

3. When does the plot take place?
The story opens the week before Christmas and concludes on New Year’s day.

4. Where does the plot take place?
The story starts out in Boston but moves to rural Mississippi in an old plantation house with lots of secrets.

5. Why did the plot develop the way it did?
I wanted to do something a little different so I tried to give the story a gothic feel. A big, old house with lots of rooms, hidden tunnels, and creepy relatives.

6. How did you come up with the idea for the plot?
I was brainstorming ideas with a friend and we came up with the idea of Caroline being found by her biological grandfather. But someone doesn’t want to share with the secret heiress.

Guest Post

When I’m plotting I use pencil and paper. I start with the characters, develop their backstory, their current story and everything in between. Once I know who they are then I play with ideas for the plot. Once I have the germ of an idea, I then start asking what if...then this happens…which leads to…which results in…which leads to… and so on. I put these in boxes so it looks like a flow chart. Then I take each box and flesh out the scenes with how the characters would react to each turning point and how they react to each other in relation to the turning points in the plot until I have the bones of story. This gives me a good road map to work with and as I write, things change and morph, turning points are added and subtracted until the book comes together.

Book Summary

A Shocking Revelation

Finding out she is heir to a fortune shocks Caroline Tully to her core. And to “qualify” for the inheritance, she just has to visit her newfound grandfather’s Mississippi home from Christmas to New Year’s. Adopted as a baby, Caroline knows nothing about her mother’s family...and doesn’t realize they can’t be trusted. When attempts are made on her life, there’s only one man who can protect her. Donovan Cavanaugh—a man who made her lonely heart want to love again. Posing as her fiancĂ©, Don promises to find the would-be killer. But will his protection-and his love-be enough to keep her safe?

Protection Specialists: Guarding the innocent.


Tears shimmered in her eyes. “Don, I need to hire you.”

Absorbing the announcement with surprise, Don was at her side in two strides. “Come, sit down.”

“Come, sit down.” He took her by the arm and led her to one of the cushy sofas. “Tell me what’s happened so we can figure out what to do next.”

“I—” She took a shuddering breath. “Someone tried to kill me. My apartment door was wired with explosives. The police are investigating.”

Don sucked in a sharp breath of shock. A bomb. His right hand flexed, stretching the scar tissue along the outer edge. His gaze went to the bandage on her head. “Are you okay?”

She touched her fingertip to her forehead. “Yes. A mild concussion. My hearing still isn’t completely back and part of my front door hit me in the head.”

He sent up a silent prayer of thanksgiving that she hadn’t suffered worse injury. There was no mistaking the fear on her pretty face. He understood. He’d felt the same way the first time he’d faced a life-threatening situation during his military tour. Only time and repeated exposure to war had dulled the panic. His faith had kept him sane. But this wasn’t a war zone. Caroline shouldn’t have to be afraid in her own home.

Dubbed the best in the business of protection, Trent Associates employed ten operatives, all highly trained with either a background in military like Don or in law enforcement. “You did the right thing coming here. Start from the beginning. Tell me everything.”

Author Bio

At an early age Terri Reed discovered the wonderful world of fiction and declared she would one day write a book. Now she is fulfilling that dream and enjoys writing for Steeple Hill. She is an active member of both Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers. She resides in the Pacific Northwest with her college-sweetheart husband, two wonderful children and an array of critters. When not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, gardening and playing with her dogs.


Terri will be giving away a $10 Visa GC for both blog host with most comments and one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Encourage your readers to follow the tour and comment; the more they comment, the better their chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:


  1. Finding out I was an heiress would be a shock to me too. A lovely excerpt thank you.


  2. This sounds like a fun, interesting romantic suspense. Good luck.

  3. Marybelle, a secret like that would shock me too. But I'd be curious.:-)

    Momjane, Thank you. I love romantic suspense. It combines the my two favorite genres.

  4. Great interview. Loved the excerpt. Definately want to finish this story. Adding to my must buy list. I love suspense books. I love how they keep you on the edge and then kick the chair out from underneath you. Those are the best. Would love to win and read this book. Thanks for the chance to win.

  5. Thanks for an interesting interview. I like to read the back story of a book...the meat of how the author got from page one to The End.

    How extensive to you get with your character background from childhood to present day, including all physical characteristics, etc, etc. A while back one author said she used a chart that had all the questions and she just made up her answers about her characters, doing a full chart for each person in the book even though a lot of that info won't make it to the book.

  6. Chrisbails, I love suspense for the same reason. We're kindred spirits. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Karen, I do a couple of charts with the basic backstory of the characters (age, siblings, parents, hair/eye color etc...), their wounds, their needs, their coping mechanisms. But I also like to let the characters develop along the way. I just wrote a scene for my current project where the heroine is working out in her living room by kicking and punching a heavy free standing bag. I hadn't know she did that until I started writing the scene. Its little things like that which keeps the mystery of the character for me and makes revealing them fun. Thanks for stopping by and asking such a great question.

  8. Terri, love the excerpt. Good luck on your tour.

  9. Looked for your book today, Terri.....that Walmart did not have it yet. Will keep looking!

  10. This book sounds amazing and, I have to say, I absolutely love the cover :-)


  11. Sounds like a great read. I need to get my hands on one.

  12. Christine, Thanks for the well wishes and for stopping by.

    Jackie, bummer. It should have been the shelf on Tuesday. Hope it comes soon.

    Chelsea, I love the cover too. The art department does such a fabulous job.

    Thanks Paty, for stopping by. I love your picture with the horse.

  13. Terri, it was a pleasure hosting you. What a fantastic amount of comments.