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Rebecca Brooks
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A Spark of Light
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Maggie Price
Before embarking on a writing career, Maggie Price took a walk on the wild side and started associating with people who carry guns. Fortunately they were cops, and Maggie's career as a crime analyst with the Oklahoma City Police Department has given her the background needed to write awesome police procedural romances which have won numerous awards, including a nomination for the coveted and much-respected RITA award. MOST WANTED WOMAN wraps up your Line of Duty miniseries about the McCall family, in which almost every member is an Oklahoma City PD cop. So far we've met the three compelling McCall sisters and two of their tall, dark and disarming brothers. The glimpse readers got of Josh McCall in TRIGGER EFFECT was enough to let them know this sexy police sergeant radiates enough male magnetism to cause a riot in a nunnery. Tell us what kind of ride we're in for with MOST WANTED WOMAN. A wild one. What else can you expect from a man who grew up with enough rebel in him that he would have chosen almost any line of work that bucked family tradition? So, there was a time when Josh McCall was on the wrong side of the law? It was more like he stood on the line and did a balancing act. But a stint in juvie hall made a believer of him and he later embraced the family tradition and pinned on an OCPD badge. Still, he had no qualms sidestepping certain rules to get what he needed to take down a guilty bad guy. That method worked pretty good until Josh wound up at the right place at the wrong time, and his reputation for stretching the rules almost cost him his badge. MOST WANTED WOMAN opens right after Josh has cleared his name and he arrives at his family's lake house in Sundown, Oklahoma. His goal: enjoy some R&R while he gets his balance back. And that's when he walks into the local tavern and meets Regan Ford, a woman wanted for murder and on the run from the law. Right. Josh feels an immediate attraction to Regan at the same time his cop instincts blare the alarm that this is a woman with secrets. Needless to say, there's not a lot of R&R in Josh's future. The majority of your books feature a cop hero or heroine. How much do your fictional characters resemble the real-life police officers you worked with at the OCPD? While a crime analyst I analyzed robberies and sex crimes and snagged numerous assignments to homicide task forces, so I saw firsthand the evil that cops have to deal with and the horrific things they witness on an almost daily basis. The danger involved is phenomenal to the men and women who swear an oath to protect those who sometimes would rather see them dead. And to be able to stand over a dead colleague and still do what needs to be done takes extraordinary strength and courage. Those real-life cops are the blueprints I use for all my heroes and heroines, including the McCall sisters and brothers. You were an OCPD crime analyst for over a decade. Was your job anything like the duties of a CSI who collects evidence at a crime scene? No, instead of dealing with physical evidence, my job was to focus on the suspect's behavior. For example, when a rape report came across my desk, I assigned a code to every aspect of the crime -- location, time, day of the week, type of weapon(s) used by the suspect, his description, speech patterns, actions, hygiene and demeanor -- and input those codes into a computer's database. This uncollectible, unseeable evidence can't be slipped under the lens of a microscope or provide the identity of the offender like blood or a fingerprint, but it plays a starring role in a crime analyst's construction of an accurate suspect profile. A profile that can link other crimes the same suspect has committed, narrow the scope of the investigation and help create a trail to the suspect. (I always got this warm, fuzzy feeling when I helped nab a do-wrong!) Do the scenes in your stories set at the police department require a lot of research on your part? Setting my scenes anywhere at the cop shop (even in the jail!) is a snap because I've been there, done that. But my tenure at the PD was spent in the office, not in the field. So when I set a scene outside the confines of an investigative office, I have to do research -- which is great, since hanging around with cops is one of my favorite things. In the past, I've hitched a ride with the OCPD Vice Lieutenant during a prostitution sting while his troops worked an actual john trap. I spent an entire day in the forensic lab, learning each step in compiling a DNA profile. I've picked the brains of bomb techs, fire cops, paramedics, homicide investigators and district attorneys. In my opinion, the phrase "write what you know" should be revised to "write what you can find out about." How do you distance yourself from your dark "cop side" to write sizzling romance? I don't even try to distance myself. If anything, this meshing of the cop side with the romance side is a natural blending...and wasn't such a long step for me to take when you think about it. After all, people live for passion. People kill for it, too. People kill for the lack of it. To me, a mystery is infinitely more intriguing if it has a love angle. Either love started wrong and gone more wrong, or wrong with a right ending, or right with a wrong end. Suspense and romance -- they're all about emotion. After MOST WANTED WOMAN, what's next for Maggie Price? My next book is tentatively titled THE RANSOM, my first romantic suspense for Silhouette's Signature line, in which a beautiful divorcee's only hope of saving her kidnapped son is to team with the guilt-ridden ex-cop who jilted her. Thanks for visiting with us. I know that many readers, new and old fans alike, will enjoy knowing more about your background that adds to the enjoyment of your novels.
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