Thursday, May 15, 2014

#Guest S.D. Skye and her new release Son of a Itch

S.D. Skye is a former FBI Russian Counterintelligence Program Intelligence Analyst and supported two major programs during her 12-year tenure at the Bureau. She has personally witnessed the blowback the Intelligence Community suffered due to the most significant compromises in U.S. history, including the arrests of former CIA Case Officer Aldrich Ames and Robert  Hanssen. She spent 20+ years supporting military and intelligence missions in the U.S. Intelligence Community.

Skye, an award winning author, is a member of the Maryland Writer’s Association, Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She’s addicted to writing and chocolate—not necessarily in that order—and currently lives in the Washington D.C. area with her son. Skye is hard at work on several projects, including the next installment of this exciting series.

  1. At any given time do you work on only one story at a time and maybe plot out the next one or are there many ideas racing around your head?
No, I always have any number of ideas bouncing around in my head at one time. Writing is the one profession where it’s actually good to be a little schizophrenic. I’m constantly hearing voices from any number of stories that I will tell in the future. I keep a gazillion notebooks in which I jot down ideas from random thoughts…and sometimes even dreams. I’ve had several ideas that have come from dreams. Actually, the name J.J. McCall came to me in a dream before I had really reconceived what the series would be about. Even though I love the J.J. McCall Series, I won’t make my career on this series. It’s a story I feel compelled to tell, but when it’s done, it’s done. My writing career started before I began the series and it will extend long after it’s over.

2. Is there a genre you haven't written in but would like to? Or wish you could write in?

My J.J. McCall novels really cross multiple genres and it combines really everything I’ve ever wanted to write—spy stories and mafia stories. I mean it was my dream to write books period and I always had a talent for comedy and romance. But I viewed mafia and spy stories as a major challenge and a huge test of my ability because they were so far beyond my own real life and I had the added challenge of not being able to write directly about my career in intelligence (because of those pesky non-disclosure agreements). So, if you told me a couple of years ago that I would write a series that actually does a decent job of combining spy stories with organized crime I would’ve asked you if you’d taken your medication lately because you’re crazy. I never dreamed I would fulfill this dream and step up to the challenge. So, I’m stretching myself and making my dream come true. 

Now, apart from that, I don’t really have the imagination for science fiction or fantasy, so I truly admire people who can world-build and create these alternate literary universes. It’s amazing to me…but I’ve never really had a desire to do it. I really LOVE what I’m doing now.

3. Do you add an element of romantic suspense in your stories?

Absolutely. Even in my romantic comedies there is an element of suspense. I can’t get away from genre mash-ups no matter what I do because my stories are really organic. I don’t try to force them to be one thing or the other. I just write what comes to me and then try to categorize it afterward—which is often tough.

In the J.J. McCall Series there is a love triangle between the main characters J.J. McCall, her co-case agent Tony Donato, and J.J.’s ex-beau, CIA Case Officer Grayson “Six” Chance. Tony and J.J. are falling in love with one another but it’s kind of taboo for both of them as her father is a former Black Panther and determined that J.J. marries and “good black man.” And Tony comes from a mafia family and they all want him to marry “a good Italian woman”—Sicilian if possible. Enter Six—who wants J.J. back after a nasty break-up. He’s somehow managed to insert himself in this new task force that J.J. is heading and he’s taking every opportunity to let her know that he wants her back in his life. Well, now that I think about it, it’s more like a love square because of Gia Campioni is a drop-dead gorgeous Sicilian member of the task force who has her sights set on Tony Donato. This romantic element underlies all of the stories and help offer some relief, often comic relief, from the action and violence in the spy stories.

4. Say you have unlimited funds: What kind of writing office/cottage would you create for yourself?

Oh, this is easy—I would build four places. I buy one of those Bora Bora Bungalow huts sitting in the middle of the turquoise waters of the South Pacific. I mean, that would be my dream. I’d have my laptop and one of those vintage Olivetti typewriters with a stack of typing paper next to it. That would be my dream place to write. I would buy an apartment in New York, somewhere in Greenwich Village. I would build myself a home on my family’s land in North Carolina…back in the quiet country. And I would buy myself a home on the beaches of Malibu. That’s in addition to keeping my home office. I would be a happy camper if I could write in any of these places anytime I wanted.

5. If you could turn your novel into a TV show, which novel or series would you do? Where would it be set? Network TV (ABC, NBC, CBS), Cable (AMC, BBC, Lifetime) or Premium Cable (HBO, Showtime, Starz)?

I think it would have to be a Premium Cable TV Show, maybe HBO because they don’t actually have a spy or intelligence-type series going on right now. It would be great competition for Homeland on Showtime. It would, of course, be set in Washington D.C. and if I had my choice of actors they would be as follows:

Aisha Tyler from The Talk as J.J. McCall
Henry Cavill (Man of Steel) as Tony Donato.
Morris Chestnut as Six.
Courtney Vance as Director Freeman
Tony Goldwyn (Scandal’s Fitz) as Aleksey Dmitriyev
Rachel Bilson – Gia Campioni
Michael Cera (Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist) – Walter Lowenstein

They could also do the movie.

6. Finally, tell us about your latest release!

SON OF A ITCH, Book 2 in my J.J. McCall series, picks up where The Seven Year Itch left off…but it can actually be read as a standalone because I give sufficient backstory. J.J. is leading a task force that was established to find moles (American traitors) in the U.S. Intelligence Community and they are preparing for their next mole hunt. In the meantime, the mole arrested in Book 1 escapes from jail and is out to kill J.J. so there’s an added level of danger.

The seed of the mystery in this story is based on a true crime. In 1999, the FBI’s Special Surveillance Group (also called the “Gs”) happened upon a situation that helped the FBI find one of the most surprising breaches in U.S. intelligence history. The Russian Intelligence Service had installed a listening device in the U.S. State Department in a conference room down the hall from the Secretary’s office. I used that case to develop a “What if…” scenario and it leads J.J. and the Task Force on to a pretty massive case. So, this is one instance in which real events are very much mashed up with fictional events to blur the lines between what really happened and what we’ll never know. For that reason, this was a very fun piece to write.


On the lam from the FBI, the ICE PHANTOM continues with plans to defect to Moscow but not before seeking revenge on J.J. McCall. Meanwhile, the FBI commences Task Force PHANTOM HUNTER, a team ordered by Director Russell Freeman to track down suspected Russian illegals within the U.S. Intelligence Community—and not a moment too soon. An agent of the Russian Intelligence Services is targeting the nerve center of U.S. national security, taking the lie-detecting FBI Agent and her cohorts’ next mole hunt to the highest echelons of the U.S. government.

J.J. and her co-case agent lead the motley crew of spy catchers while she struggles to deal with sobriety, conflicting feelings for Tony and Six, and an egotistical Secret Service agent whose jurisdictional stonewalling complicates her every effort to identify the culprit before he gets away—with murder.

Tony’s wannabe girlfriend bounced in the door with all the cheer of a drunken valley girl, gazelle graceful in her four-inch stilettos and body-hugging cranberry-colored pantsuit. After flipping her irritatingly thick Pantene hair behind her shoulder, she smiled and sang a bright, “Good morning!”

J.J. grabbed a handful of chocolate with the quickness of a hungry toddler. “Gia, you made it,” J.J. replied in a flat tone, offering a polite but grudging head nod. Her ears and cheeks warmed as she soundlessly growled and narrowed her eyes. “Please make yourself comfortable,” she said as the words “on Mars” flitted through her mind. She stuffed a handful of M&Ms in her mouth and waited for the next arrival.

“Wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Gia replied, carefree and nonchalant, full of herself because in the contest for the heart of Tony Donato, she’d scored a major victory over J.J. by all appearances. A flirtatious grin edged the corners of her lips upward when Tony arrived seconds later, in all his muscled Italian glory. A towering hunk of olive-colored fine. Her voice bounced as she sang, “Ciao, Signore Donato.”

Show off, J.J. groused as she shifted in her chair, cocked her head to the side and shook it in disbelief at Gia’s shameless pandering. J.J. had sensed an attraction between the two. Her fears were confirmed by Tony’s first lie.

Buy Links: Amazon


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting! Readers, be sure and click on the Rafflecopter link for a chance to win a Kindle Fire HD PLUS a $25 Amazon gift card!

MomJane said...

I really enjoyed your comments. I think this series sounds awesome. I loved the excerpt.

Rita said...

Great excerpt, thank you.


S.D. Skye said...

Thank you so much for hosting!! Thanks everyone for stopping by and I hope you'll enter to win this new Kindle sitting by my side. It's going to make some reader very happy.

Karen H said...

Enjoyed your interview today. And I love the character lineup for a TV show! BTW, you didn't mention doing a spy story set maybe in the Cold War era or maybe WWII or the like. There is a niche in the early to middle 20th century for a good spy story or two.

Have you seen The Americans on FX? That is a great spy show!

kareninnc at gmail dot com

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