Wednesday, August 1, 2018

#SummerRead - #Romance & #Suspense by @Kris_Bock

In honor of my birthday, here's an interview I did for a blog hop.

Tell our readers a little about yourself and your writing.

Twenty years ago, I started writing for children, using the name Chris Eboch. I have eight middle grade novels (for ages 9 to 12) published under that name. I also write a lot of educational nonfiction under the name MM Eboch.

Around 2008, I was starting to feel restless and wanted a change. I realized I had mostly been reading adult romantic suspense novels, so I started writing those under the name Kris Bock. The Mad Monk’s Treasure follows the hunt for a long-lost treasure in the New Mexico desert. In The Dead Man’s Treasure, estranged relatives compete to reach a buried treasure by following a series of complex clues. Whispers in the Dark features archaeology and intrigue among ancient Southwest ruins. In Counterfeits, stolen Rembrandt paintings bring danger to a small New Mexico town.

So I have over 50 published books now, but that includes fiction and nonfiction, for children and adults. The variety keeps me interested!

Tell me something unusual that isn't in your regular bio.

My first clear childhood memories are from Saudi Arabia. We moved there just before my fifth birthday and lived in an American camp for six years while my father worked for the oil company. My classmates were mostly American, but I had friends from Britain, India, and Pakistan. My family camped in the desert and shopped in the nearby Arab town. Santa visited on a camel.

Despite taking daily life for granted, I learned early that the whole world was not like my neighborhood. We skied in Austria, went on safari in Africa, slept on a houseboat in Kashmir. I have no memories at all of visiting Greece at age 6, but apparently I hung on every word of our elderly British tour guide. I’ve been fascinated by foreign cultures and ancient history ever since.

Tell us about your home.

I live in a small town in central New Mexico with my husband and our ferrets. I am a full-time writer, and my home office looks out on nature, complete with distracting wildlife such as roadrunners and foxes. I use my BFA in photography to show Facebook friends how lovely the Southwest is. The only ways to get around are on foot or by car, but it's such a small town that I can often walk to friends’ houses and rush-hour is less than five minutes.

Does your real life show up in your writing? In what ways?

My historical novels for children don't use a lot of real life experience, since they are set in different cultures, hundreds or thousands of years ago. Of course, I assume that people haven't changed that much – the seven deadly sins are pretty relevant today – so I draw on my understanding of people and my general experiences with emotions. For example, in The Well of Sacrifice, the main character idolizes her older brother and is envious of her prettier sister. She's at an age where she thinks the adults should take care of things but is realizing that they don't always do what's right. I think those aspects resonate with kids today, even if you're talking about a pre-Columbian Mayan setting with a very different culture and lifestyle.

Real life experiences often give me ideas for my adult novels, written as Kris Bock. What We Found is a mystery inspired by finding a dead body while hiking. Someone in law enforcement said that people often don't report crimes they stumbled across. That got me thinking – Why? What reasons would you have for not calling the police? The book also includes falconry, based on experiences I’ve had hanging out with a falconer.

Whispers in the Dark follows a young archaeologist who stumbles into danger as mysteries unfold among ancient Southwest ruins. That was inspired by a trip to Hovenweep National Monument some years ago. I loved that setting and had to use it in a book!

I had an idea for a series about treasure hunting adventures in the Southwest, so I read up on some lost treasures. In The Mad Monk’s Treasure, two friends search for the Victorio Peak treasure – a heretic Spanish priest’s gold mine, made richer by the spoils of bandits and an Apache raider. Their experiences in the desert are based on my experiences hiking in New Mexico, though they get more danger and drama.

Who is your ideal reader?

My romantic adventures should appeal to fans of “lighter” romantic suspense, along the lines of Mary Stewart, Barbara Michaels, and Nora Roberts. In fact, Roberta at Sensuous Reviews blog said, “Counterfeits is the kind of romantic suspense novel I have enjoyed since I first read Mary Stewart’s Moonspinners, and Kris Bock used all the things I love about this genre.”

You’ll find plenty of action and a sweet love story, but not the gritty violence and explicit erotica of some modern romantic suspense. I also tried to bring the New Mexico scenery to life – gorgeous sunsets, dangerous monsoon storms, and everywhere you turn a plant or animal that wants to scratch, bite, or sting you. Armchair adventure travelers are welcome!

What writing projects are you currently working on?

I’m about to submit a mystery about a former war correspondent who returns to her childhood home after an injury and uncovers a mystery at the Alzheimer’s care unit where her mother resides. It’s intended to be the first in a series with the same main character.

Kris Bock writes novels of suspense and romance with outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. The Mad Monk’s Treasure follows the hunt for a long-lost treasure in the New Mexico desert. In The Dead Man’s Treasure, estranged relatives compete to reach a buried treasure by following a series of complex clues. In The Skeleton Canyon Treasure, sparks fly when reader favorites Camie and Tiger help a mysterious man track down his missing uncle. Whispers in the Dark features archaeology and intrigue among ancient Southwest ruins. What We Found is a mystery with strong romantic elements about a young woman who finds a murder victim in the woods. In Counterfeits, stolen Rembrandt paintings bring danger to a small New Mexico town.

Fans of Mary Stewart, Barbara Michaels, and Terry Odell will want to check out Kris Bock’s romantic adventures. “Counterfeits is the kind of romantic suspense novel I have enjoyed since I first read Mary Stewart’s Moonspinners.” 5 Stars – Roberta at Sensuous Reviews blog

Read excerpts at www.krisbock.com or visit her Amazon page. Sign up for the Kris Bock newsletter for announcements of new books, sales, and more.