Interviews by Catherine Chant

What They Say

“Geniuses can be scintillating and geniuses can be somber, but it’s that inescapable sorrowful depth that shines through—originality.”
—Jack Kerouac



Catherine Chant

Catherine Chant is the author of a young time travel series available at and other online retailers, and two installments in the Vampire Diaries franchise via Amazon’s Kindle Worlds. She teaches several online classes for writers throughout the year, and her popular workshop GROW A BOOK: TURNING YOUR STORY IDEA INTO A WORKABLE PLOT is now available as an eBook, exclusively at

Grow a Book by Catherine Chant

For more information about Catherine, her books and her workshops, please visit her website at or find her on social media at and





October 2017

Interview with Romantic Thriller/Mystery Author Tracy Tappan

Mystery Author Theresa Varela


Do you prefer to write mystery series books or stand-alones?

I write thriller/mystery romance novels about US naval aviators, and since I lived in that world for nearly 30 years (my husband is a retired Navy pilot), I know from personal experience that aviators and their families keep running into each other duty station after duty station. So it seemed natural and realistic to me for there to be crossover among characters—the pilots know each other and go on operations together. But each couple in the Wings of Gold Series goes on a unique mission, independent of others, so in that way I hope to provide the best of both worlds—a series where each book also stands alone.

Where do you get your ideas for the mysteries in your books?

Characterization usually comes first for me. I have a psychology background, so I’m most comfortable with the inner workings of people. But books are more interesting to me if the characters wrestle with outer conflict (story elements) as much as inner conflict (personal struggles). So an edge-of-your-seat plot is essential. And for plotting, I turn to the experts: my husband and his pilot buddies. I come up with the nuts and bolts of the plot, sometimes based on current events, then fill in the details with their war stories. The great part of this process is that, while my books provide the escapism of a romance novel, they also feel very real.

When you start a new mystery, do you plot it all out from the start (all the clues and red herrings) or does the story evolve as you write it?

I generally have a story all set in my head before sitting down at my keyboard, which means I could just let it evolve as I write, but—out of fear of creating a slow, boring middle—I don’t. I outline the entire novel from start to finish, and then once I have a clear path set before me, I let my Muse lead me.
I try to give my characters a great deal of depth, and this adds a layer of complexity. Since my books are highly emotional, I set out as many clues about a character’s ultimate emotional catharsis as I do about the mystery aspects.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block, and if so, how do you overcome it?

Not often, and thank goodness. I’ve been writing for many years, and in that time I’ve learned that when a scene isn’t flowing out of me, my Muse is trying to tell me that it doesn’t belong or it’s wrong somehow. I used to fight this—I had plotted the scene into the book, right? It belongs. It’s essential. But now if my writing becomes blocked, I take a step back and ask myself what isn’t working. Is the hero doing something out of character? Are the players in the wrong place at the wrong time? If the issue is purely about plotting—how do I get from Point A to Point B, for example—then I brainstorm other options with fellow writers, or my husband, to jog something loose. Even if my brainstorming buddies make all the wrong suggestions, the process helps get the creative juices flowing again, and I can usually find my way.

What’s the last mystery book you read that you really loved and would recommend?

I love thriller/mystery novels, and so will pass on some of my favorite series. I cycle through all of these authors regularly.
Lee Child’s Jack Reacher Series, Robert Crais’s Elvis Cole Series, Michael Connelly’s books, both Harry Bosch (detective) and Mickey Haller (lawyer), and a couple of authors who are oldies but goodies, John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee Series, and Donald Hamilton’s Matt Helm Series.

Happy reading!



Man Down by Tracy Tappan


** 2017 Kindle Book Award Semi-finalist for Romance
** Reader’s Favorite Bronze Medal Winner for Romance

After being shot down by the Taliban on a Special Operations mission, a Navy pilot and Navy SEAL rescue a beautiful humanitarian doctor. While the three of them evade capture in a race for their lives across northern Pakistan, the two former boyhood friends heal a 10-year breach, and the pilot and doctor find a way to let go of their painful pasts to find love.

The only two survivors of a helicopter crash on Pakistani soil, Lieutenant Commander Jason “Casanova” Vanderby and Petty Officer Shane “Mad Dog” Madden barely escape the smoking wreckage of their helo and hike to a nearby aid station for help. The head doctor, Farrin Barr, has recently evacuated all staff from the facility, leaving her alone to deal with the two military men…and the terrorist horde hunting them.

Chased across northern Pakistan in a race for their lives, Jason and Farrin end up running from their own personal demons as much as from the enemy pursuing them. For Jason, being around his childhood friend, Shane, awakens unwelcome memories of an abusive past, while Farrin is haunted by a decision she made that forever changed her life.

In the midst of the chaos, both mental and physical, no one is more surprised by the attraction forming between Jason and Farrin than they are. Both have lived their lives closed off to relationships, unable to let go of the memories that haunt them. But just when they find the courage to move forward together, people from both of their pasts come back and threaten to destroy the new foundations of their love.

Amazon link:



About the Author

Tracy is the bestselling and award-winning author of gritty romance, her books spanning genres across paranormal (The Community Series), military romantic suspense (The Wings of Gold Series), and medieval historical (The Baron’s War Trilogy). She is married to a former Navy helicopter pilot, who retired after thirty years of service and joined the diplomatic corps. He and Tracy currently live in Rome, Italy.

A native of San Diego, Tracy volunteered for the USO and Wounded Warrior program, and raised Guide Dog puppies. She has a master’s degree in Marriage, Family, Child Counseling (MFCC), loves to play tennis, enjoys a great glass of wine, and talks to her two Labradors like they are humans (admittedly, the wine drinking and the dog talking probably go together). Her website is a fount of information and sexy fun. 

Find Tracy Online at:

Facebook: Tracy Tappan Romance Author

Monthly newsletter

Instagram: Tracy Tappan Romance Author

Twitter: @TracyTappan