Saturday, April 28, 2012

Karna Small Bodman - A Look Inside the Beltway

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a Washington insider, pick up a book by Naples writer Karna Small Bodman. After being appointed by President Reagan as Deputy Press Secretary, Bodman spent several years moving in D.C’s inner circles.  It was her job to explain domestic policy initiatives to the national press corps, and she was involved with some of the most important issues of the time. She met almost daily with President Reagan, often travelling with him on Air Force One, and was sent to South America and the Far East to give speeches on the President’s economic priorities. Later, Bodman became a Senior Director and spokesperson for the National Security Council. She attended arms control talks with the Soviets and traveled with the team that briefed the leaders of Great Britain, France, and Italy, as well as Pope John Paul II.  When Bodman left the White House to become Senior Vice-President of a public affairs firm, she was the highest ranking female on the White House staff.

Her years in the White House gave Bodman an opportunity to observe how the executive branch of the government works and the challenges it faces. Since she had always wanted to write a book, Bodman decided to use her insider knowledge as the basis for a novel. “I’d been writing news scripts, briefings, magazine and newspaper articles my entire career, but the premium was always on brevity,” she explains. “I had to learn how to take ideas and extrapolate.” Her writing was influenced by her favorite authors: Nelson DeMille, Charles McCarry, and Vince Flynn.  Drawing upon her fascination with President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, Bodman came up with the idea for her debut novel, Checkmate. It tells the story of Dr. Cameron Talbot, a brilliant young scientist who devises a computerized system that can take over incoming missiles and send them back to their points of origin. When a group of militants send an agent to Washington to steal the new technology, Dr. Talbot finds her work and her life in imminent danger.

Bodman spent months researching the technical aspects of the novel. “The most difficult part of writing for me is organizing the research,” she says. “I probably over-research.” And it was her research that inspired her main character. According to Bodman, “Cameron Talbot isn’t based on any individual. I started with the technology and molded a character to fit. And I blended in many of the very smart women I knew in Washington.” The result is a novel that seamlessly melds fact and fiction into a political thriller with a strong romantic twist.

Since then, Bodman has written three more novel, each focused on a different threat to our national security. The characters work on the White House staff as well as in and around Washington, DC and in hot spots overseas. While there are international plots and political intrigue in all her books, Bodman also weaves a love story into each one. All her novels have hit #1 in Thrillers on Amazon. 

Bodman is most excited about her newest international thriller, Castle Bravo which will be released on June 1,  in time for her signing at the big publishers’ convention, “Book Expo,” in New York.
The plot of Castle Bravo centers around the White House Director of Homeland Security receiving intelligence about the possibility of a staggering new threat.  What if a hostile country or group was to obtain a small nuclear device, and instead of aiming it at one of our cities, they detonated it high in the atmosphere? The result would be the creation of an Electro-Magnetic Pulse or “EMP” sending shock waves that would fry all electronics on the ground in its line of sight.  There would be no electricity grid, no internet, no communication, transportation, refrigeration, ATMs.  Could it really happen here? Bodman hopes you will read the novel and decide for yourself.
A number of New York Times bestselling authors have already weighed in with their opinions of Castle Bravo. Christopher Reich calls it “Smart, slick, and exciting as hell. Castle Bravo is one great read. Karna Small Bodman has an insider’s feel for the corridors of power.  As you quickly turn the pages, you will find yourself wondering if the book is truth or fiction. A winner!” According to Steve Berry, “Bodman skillfully moves her players around on a global chessboard, presenting a provocative concept that rings all too real. You’re there, in a labyrinth of intrigue, where danger and drama abide. It’s fresh and relevant and makes you clamor for more.”
Bodman hopes readers will enjoy Castle Bravo, as well as her other novels, Checkmate, Gambit, and Final Finesse as she endeavors to make arguments about the importance of national defense.  As George Bernard Shaw said, “The best way to get your point across is to entertain.” Bodman’s books will certainly entertain while taking readers on an unforgettable journey inside the beltway.
To find out more about Bodman’s books, you can visit her website at

Next: Robert Tacoma - Laughter's the Key

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tina Wainscott - Romance with a Thrill

Tina Wainscott was born and raised in South Florida and is a self-described “true cracker,” but the story of her life really begins in Pennsylvania. “I was conceived at a drive-in movie outside of Philadelphia, believe it or not. I guess the movie was pretty boring,” she says. “Then my parents, who were just kids, moved to Florida and discovered they were expecting. They collected shells from the beach to sell to souvenir shops to pay the doctor’s bills, and they managed to get the bills paid days before I arrived. They were the original shell seekers.”
Wainscott’s talent for storytelling developed at an early age. As a child growing up in Naples, she loved to direct make-believe movies with her neighborhood friends and create adventures where characters were caught in dangerous situations. When she was seven years old, she wrote her first story: “Pathways to Death.”  According to Wainscott, “I had a happy childhood and a stable home (as my mom is eager to tell people). But I grew up on Alfred Hitchcock.”  She took business courses after graduating high school because she “wanted to be sensible,” but she also enrolled in creative writing courses at night to satisfy her desire to write. She eventually took a job as a sales support manager for a software company, but she continued to write short stories in her spare time. One of those short stories “got too long” and developed into her first full-length novel. In an ironic twist, she was laid off from her job the very month her first book, On the Way to Heaven, was published. She has been writing ever since.
Wainscott describes her books as “romantic suspense with a paranormal twist.” Of her twenty-three published novels, seven are set in Florida; two of them in Naples. Her favorite, Unforgivable, was inspired by an actual event. “A little girl was giving away kittens in front of the local Publix,” she recalls. “A man came out, took one of the kittens and threw it against the window. Luckily, the kitten survived, but I was so incensed, I sat down and started writing. I imagined what might happen to the girl’s life as a result of that incident, and the whole story came together. I call it my gift book.” Wainscott later got to meet the actual kitten that inspired the story.
Wainscott’s career has taken twists and turns (much like those in her novels) from paranormal romantic suspense to straight suspense with some romance, and now, plunging back into paranormal romantic suspense again as Jaime Rush. "I took a pseudonym because I'd gone away from romance and paranormal and my new publisher wanted to bring me out as a fresh new author," she explains.
Her “Offspring” series, for Avon Books, is about a group of people with extraordinary psychic abilities and a shady government agency out to kill them. "In the first four books, each couple is dealing with being thrown together with strangers and being hunted down,” she says. “They've got to solve the mystery of who's behind it and how their parents were involved, parents who are now dead. I call it X-Files meets Lost. The fifth and sixth books in the series (Beyond Darkness and Darkness Becomes Her) are more stand-alone as far as the plot arc goes. You can pick up any book and jump right on the train, but it's always nice to start a series at the beginning to watch the characters evolve."
Wainscott is also doing some stand-alone novellas in the “Offspring” series so new readers can get a taste of her writing for $1.99. The Darkness Within is available now, and a spin-off story will be out soon.
Wainscott continues to evolve in her writing. "I'm finding that my writing is veering into more traditional paranormal elements. For example, in the “Offspring” series, I discovered there really is a Darkness. Some of the characters in Darkness Becomes Her and the novellas actually possess Darkness … or does it possess them?"
Wainscott is “wildly excited” about a whole new series that's scheduled to come out starting April of 2013, called “The Hidden”. In the series, Crescents (humans who hold the essence of deities) walk the knife’s edge between the glamour of Miami and the “Hidden,” a place filled with dark magic. Dragons, angel hybrids, and sorcerers, Crescents must fight the dissention among their kind and the lure of their darkest nature. "I'm having a ball creating a world, a history, different kinds of beings, and yet all anchored in the quasi-normality of a real city,” Wainscott says. “Playing with magic really opens up the possibilities.” She was inspired by “those mysteries in our everyday lives, like where our socks go, and why things are in a different place than we know we put them.”  Her Crescents can see the dangers in this other world that exists right along with ours. They have to deal with this without revealing it, or their own magic, to regular humans. Wainscott will be writing as Jaime Rush for these books and plans to releasre two related novellas prior to the series’ launch.
While her deadlines keep her writing for more than eight hours a day, she sets aside weekends for “family time” with her husband and daughter. She also enjoys reading, swimming, and watching favorite shows like Supernatural and Once Upon a Time. But being a writer is her true calling, her passion and her obsession. “It’s so exciting when an idea first blooms in my mind,” she says. “I love the writing process, especially when everything’s flowing.  And I love creating people and worlds and drama. But, as I was preparing a talk for the Friends of the Library, I discovered the real reason I write. My characters come to the story with baggage, with hurts and vulnerabilities as well as strengths. And while I put them through hell during the course of the story, they come out on the other end stronger. Not only do they find love, but they love themselves. We all have baggage. Isn't it nice to know there's hope that we can overcome anything?"

For more about Tina Wainscott, visit her website at

Next: Karna Small Bodman - A Look Inside the Beltway