By Tee O’Fallon
An essential part of writing a new series is introducing exciting, intriguing characters in book one who will catch a reader’s attention and get them thinking: Hey, I gotta buy the next book in this series. And the next…and the next… You get the picture. So how is this done?
There are no hard and fast rules. Because of my law enforcement background, the characters in my stories are typically law enforcement officers. In book one of a series, I introduce a “band of brothers” or a “band of sisters,” each of whom will wind up being the hero or heroine of a successive book in the series. But a quick intro to a secondary character isn’t enough. I need to throw in a few tantalizing tidbits here and there to hook the reader and leave them craving the answers to a few questions I’ve mystically planted in their brain: What happened in that federal agent’s past to make him so mistrusting of rich people? Why does he avoid long term relationships like the plague? How did he get that deep gash in his forehead? What haunts him to the point where he makes brooding an art form, and he can’t sleep most nights? But I won’t give you the answers to any of those questions until the next book. Clever, huh?
For example, in Lock ‘N’ Load, the first novel in my Federal K-9 Series, you’ll meet the main characters: CIA K-9 Sgt. Matt Connors, crack analyst Trista Gold, and Sheba, the Belgian Malinois K-9. This book, of course, focuses on these characters, but I also introduce you to Matt’s closest friends and colleagues: Massachusetts State Police Sgt. Nick Houston, ATF Special Agent Eric Miller, FBI Special Agent Dayne Andrews, Homeland Security Special Agent Kade Sampson, and Secret Service Agent Markus York. In Lock ‘N’ Load, I smartly drop in a few hints about the heavy duty baggage Nick’s been carrying around for years. In book two, Armed ‘N’ Ready, I not only scatter in a few things about Eric being adamantly opposed to commitment, but I toss in something even more intriguing about Tess McTavish, the spunky heroine of Dark ‘N’ Deadly, book three of this series. Tess’s baggage might just rival that of all the guys’ issues combined!
Here’s the back cover and a sneak peak inside Dark ‘N’ Deadly, releasing October 21, 2019:
DARK ‘N’ DEADLY
Secrets will tear them apart.
ATF Special Agent Eric Miller and his explosives detecting K-9, Tiger, pull over a truck, the contents of which are explosive. Literally. More shocking, the driver is the kid brother of a woman he left behind. One who still haunts his days and his nights.
They’d never so much as kissed, but Tess McTavish never forgot the handsome, dangerous agent who vanished in a shroud of mystery. Now the last thing she needs is an ATF agent with his own agenda. Doesn’t matter that Tess and her brother are innocent. If Eric learns the truth of their past, they’ll never be free.
Eric’s drive for revenge against the man who targeted him and his colleagues in a deadly explosion still burns hot inside him. Another bomb is about to be detonated and he’s sure there’s a connection between that man…and Tess’s family. But Eric and Tiger will do everything they can to protect the woman he’s falling for from what’s coming…
Fear—for her—clawed at his gut so much he could feel it ripping his insides apart. He couldn’t believe this was happening. The entire operation had gone from one over which he’d had total control, to one that was spinning completely out of control faster than a tornado.
“Eric?” Dayne took a step into the room. “She’s right. We’ve got nothing without her.”
“Dammit, Dayne! Don’t you think I know that?” This time, he couldn’t stop himself. The lid that had barely been keeping his emotions in check exploded like the top of a volcano, and he slammed his fist against the wall, leaving behind a one-inch dent in the sheetrock. Pain shot from his knuckles up his arm, but he barely felt it.
He hated her idea. Hated it because it would put her life in incredible danger, and it had to be a trap. She might have ripped out his heart and stomped on it, but he didn’t want to see her get hurt. Despite what he’d told her, he couldn’t automatically flip a switch and completely shut off his feelings.
Eric stared into Tess’s vivid green eyes. “You can’t believe for one second that he’d actually let you go.”
“No. I don’t,” she agreed solemnly. “He’ll either take us both back to Alabama, or—”
“Kill you,” he interrupted, finishing her sentence. A new rush of heated emotion welled inside him. There was so much to say, but he couldn’t bring himself to voice a damn thing. He just needed more time to process the revelations that were tearing him apart.