Larissa Ione, EMT and meteorologist, is author of the New York Times bestselling Demonica series, and is half of the Sydney Croft writing duo. Larissa first met Shiloh Walker online. Then they met in person, possibly in a bar, which they won’t confirm or deny. They hit it off right away and enjoy their friendship—as long as they avoid talking about the medical field, where they both worked and have very definite and sometimes different opinions about the players in the profession. But that’s okay, because there’s plenty of other stuff to talk about, including a love of things spooky, things paranormal, and all things books—the edgier the better. Larissa’s latest book, Azagoth, is a June release.
Larissa: Okay, so in Deeper Than Need Trinity jumps from the proverbial frying pan into the fire. With rampant alcoholism, teenage drinking and suicide, and even a book published about the town called A Cursed Town, Madison, Indiana, isn’t exactly the peaceful kind of place Trinity is looking for. Does this curse run deep, as in a supernatural sense? (Please say yes! You know how I love the supernatural!)
Shiloh: You’re not going to be disappointed when I say no, are you? There is something karmic going on, as in some ugly secrets that were long hidden, about to spill out into the open. But don’t be disappointed, Larissa. Badness and sexy stuff still abounds.
Larissa: That scene early in the book when Trinity and her son discover a decades-old dead body in the basement of her new home is chilling (okay, deliciously chilling!). It made me wonder how this book came about. Did you envision this scene first? If not, what inspired you to write Deeper Than Need?
Shiloh: You guessed it. The gruesome corpse was my starting point. But as I wrote, the story changed—a lot—from how I first imagined it.
Larissa: Deeper Than Need is a mystery, a suspense novel, and a sexy romance, all in one. (What comes to mind is a blend of Lisa Jackson and Nora Roberts.) At times the plot takes such a sinister turn, and I know how difficult it is to pull off the romance part of the story when everything is so dark, but you knocked it out of the park! Do you have a system you’ve developed for seguing from scary-as-hell scenes to tender, romantic moments, to exhilarating passion?
Shiloh: You know me well enough to know that I’m not organized like that. System makes me sound all organized. Generally, I just follow the characters and let them go where they take me. By nature, I’m a pantster, although with a complicated romantic suspense series like this, the writing moves a lot smoother if I put together a rough plot so I have points A, D, H, L, P, etc. that I know are going to happen. Then I let the character take me the rest of the way. The heat between the characters, in this case—Noah and Trinity—just comes naturally.
Larissa: Four-year-old son Micah brings a bright energy—as well as an extra element of tension and fear—to your story. How were you able to write him and his own fears and insecurities so convincingly?
Shiloh: Is it cheating to say I have a kid? Three of them, actually. And my youngest is every bit as precocious, if not more so, than Micah in Deeper Than Need. The things he said are the sort of things she has said or would say. I’m just glad that shower thing was never an issue in my house—knock on wood. Plus, for the majority of my nursing career, I worked with kids. That particular age can be hilarious and heartbreaking.
Larissa: Even your secondary characters demand attention. Like Layla, who is a real bi-atch! Will she be a recurring character in future Secrets & Shadows books?
Shiloh: Yessssss . . . you will see Layla again. She’s got some demons of her own.
Larissa: Anytime Trinity and Noah are in the same room, the reader can practically feel the air crackling with their urge to jump each other’s bones. How were you able to keep the sexual tension going in the midst of such a ghastly murder mystery and insidious plot?
Shiloh: That was actually fairly easy. The sex happens when it’s supposed to happen. I kind of hate when I’m reading a romantic suspense and there’s something either horrible going on, or somebody is danger, and all of a sudden, people are . . . ahem . . . well, in need of a room, at the worst possible moment. As the story unfolds, the right time reveals itself. And that, really, drives up the sexual tension, in my opinion.
Larissa: As an author, I know how much thought goes into naming the characters, and I’m curious about the name “Trinity.” When you named her, were you hinting at three qualities in her character?
Shiloh: Not three qualities. I’d named the hero first, and he’d had . . . well, a lot of upheaval in life. The heroine I needed for him was somebody who was just . . . peaceful. Even though Trinity has had some rough spots, she’d glided through them, and she’s solid. She handles things with grace and peace, and I knew that was how she’d be. I wanted a name that seemed to echo that sort of grace and peace. Trinity appealed to me in that way.
Larissa: You wind up Deeper Than Need’s romance and show justice beginning to take over in Madison, but there’s still a lot of wickedness to be resolved in that small town. Can you give us a hint of what’s to come in Sweeter Than Sin? Whose story is it? Does it take place in Madison?
Shiloh: Sweeter Than Sin is Adam’s story—readers meet him in Deeper Than Need. Yes, all these stories are in Madison, and, yes, there is still more to be resolved. The depth of what’s going on in the town isn’t something that can be tidily wrapped up in one book. But the HEA? You’ll get that with each one. I promise.
Larissa: Final question! How would you describe your books to a reader trying to decide if she should read a Shiloh Walker book?
Shiloh: Something hot. Something emotional. Sometimes something dark.
Larissa: Thanks, Shiloh. We do need to meet up again soon.
Shiloh: You name the place (another bar maybe?), and I’ll be there.
GIVEAWAY: And thanks to all you Randomites, we will each give a copy of our latest novel (Shiloh’s Deeper Than Need and Larissa’s Azogath) to not one but TWO readers who comment on this interview. (Note that Larissa’s Azogath will be in digital format.)