Tara Manderino


Meet the Author /Interview with a Character Blog Hop

Posted by tjmanderino on August 25, 2013 at 11:50 PM

Welcome to the Meet the Author / Interview with a Character Blog Hop.

Please be sure to leave a comment with your name and emailaddress for a chance to win a download of Heart Quest, my historical western.

The Grand Prize for this hop is a $50 Amazon gift card. To be sure that you have a chance at it, visit http://www.kaseydean.com/2013/08/meet-authorinterview-with-character.html?zx=fba193cc3b514f76

To enter the Grand Prize drawing, you will need proof thatyou have visited this site. The code to enter is further down on this page.


Characters have a tendency not to stay in the pages of abook. Luke Hayden, a Secret Service Agent from my historical series, President’sOrders, is the perfect example. Although the books are part of a series (the third one will be out in November) they can each stand alone.

The series alternates stories. While both men are maincharacters, they’re partners after all, Simon is the hero of False Notes, while Luke is the hero of Heart Quest.

While the men can be competitive, they are partners and used to knowing the other has his back, whether dealing with personal issues or work related one.


While I was writing False Notes, in the back of my mind, I was playing with the scenario for whatwould become Heart Quest. Luke knew this was going to be his book. Every once in a while he would give me a little poke and say, “Will you finish that already and get to my story.”


I just had to ask what was so important that he needed myundivided attention.


Luke: I really like puzzles. To figure things out.

Me (hesitantly): Yes. I did know that.

Luke: And I’m more patient than Simon.

Me (hesitantly): Yes. I did know that. (So far, I’m not surewhere he’s going with this.)

Luke: So I need my own story.

Me: Got it. Working on it.

And that’s where I left it. I always intended Luke to have his own story. Now that I appeased him, so I thought, I went back to working on Simon’s story.


The closer I got to the end of False Notes, the louder Luke became. It started with a few little ‘ahems’then worked itself up to pacing.


Me: What is the problem?

Luke: I want to ride the train. You know, now that it goes across country, and you don’t have to ferry across the Missouri anymore, youcan cross the country in seven days. Seven days. Just think of it!

Me: Yeah. (I’m thinking space station and he’s rhapsodizing about a train.) I don’t know much about the trains.

Luke: Learn as you go, that’s what I say. You can’t be in the agent business and not be open to all the possibilities.

Me: I’m a writer, not a Secret Service Agent, not even atravel agent.

Luke (totally ignoring me): I looked over the train schedules. There are a few places where it will actually be faster to go on horseback.

Me: I don’t even know where we’re going.

Luke: Where ever the puzzle takes us.

Me: We’re going in circles now. Is Simon coming with us?

Luke (looking at me in surprise): Of course he’ll be there.We’re partners, remember?


It turned out that Luke not only got his puzzle, but got todeal with part of it in disguise. He only had a short appearance in disguise in False Notes, but in Heart Quest, he spends a good portion ofhis time as Mr. Brownington, which is not always to his advantage.


An excerpt for Heart Quest:

Blurb: With one week to find the stolen stone from the Heart of Egypt, Luke Hayden, one of the premiere agents of the 1874 US Secret Service, travels in disguise across the continent. When he learns Maj Bentzer, a woman he’s loved in the past, playsa key role in the stone’s disappearance, he’s not sure he can trust his instincts.



“I take it you travel a great deal.”

“More than you can imagine,” he told her. And that wasdefinitely the truth. “But there are so many fascinating gems all over the world.” He didn’t want to talk to her of gems. He would love to adorn her with them, but if she never saw him for who he was it might take longer than he hoped.

“Why, I was just coming from Washington – the Smithsonian,you know – where they had the Egyptian jewels and artifacts on display.”

“Egyptian! What were they like?” Her voice was an eager as a child’s and she leaned forward. He found himself taking delight in describing the artifacts to her. She asked intelligent questions, most of which he was glad he could answer. A few he could not. “But perhaps you will get to see them when the exhibit is in San Francisco.”

“Me?” She chuckled. “I don’t think so. I’ve never been to San Francisco. Besides, I haven’t decided if I should return back east.”

“Surely you will be in Denver for a little while.”

“Only to deliver this moppet.”

“And her doll.”

Maj’s smile faded and she gave him a brief nod.

What could he have said wrong there? “She seems rather attached to it.”

Again she nodded. She bit her lip, and glanced down,reluctant to meet his gaze. He sat quietly, careful not to study her. Surely he imagined there was some problem.

Finally seeming to come to some resolution, she picked up the doll, put it on her lap and leaned toward him, careful not to dislodge her sleeping charge.

“Are you really a gemologist?” she asked in a whisper.

He swallowed hard. He had a feeling he was not going to like this, but this was Maj and if she was in trouble he would have to help her. Not at the expense of his honor, but help nonetheless. He shook the mental cobwebs away. “Of course I am, my dear. What? You have some jewels in your reticule you would like me to look at? I would be happy to do so.” He reached in his pocket for his loupe.

Her hand on his arm stilled his actions. “No. But I would like you to look at something for me please. Perhaps at the next stop you would not mind waiting here at the train with me for a few moments.”

“I would be happy to help, my dear.” He turned in his seat,facing forward again, not able to look at her. A thousand fragments of thoughts chased their way through is mind.

He hadn’t known thirty minutes could stretch alifetime.  Eighteen hundred seconds.That’s how long it would be before the train pulled into the station. Whatcould she possibly have that she couldn’t show him at the moment? Could shehave taken something from her uncle when she left Hobart, Oklahoma?

Now that he had caught up with her he wasn’t letting her out of his sight.



 To enter the Grand Prize drawing, you will need proof that you have visited this site. Please use the code word TRAIN when prompted.


 To check out some of the fantastic authors on this bloghop click here  .



Categories: None

Post a Comment


Oops, you forgot something.


The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.

Already a member? Sign In


Reply nikki flannery
12:28 AM on August 27, 2013 
thanks for thw giveaway
Reply Tracey Reid
11:07 AM on August 27, 2013 
Hi! Thanks for the fun contest! I would love to read Heart Quest! My name is Tracey Reid and my email is [email protected] . Thanks for the opportunity! Cordially, Tracey
Reply Mel Bourn
6:03 PM on August 27, 2013 
Thanks for the interview. Funny thing is we still do have a working ferry in Missouri. Thanks.
bournmelissa at hotmail dot com
Reply SheriV
7:21 PM on August 30, 2013 
Great post! :)

smurfettev AT gmail DOT com
Reply Tammy Faris
8:15 PM on August 30, 2013 
Great interview! Am loving this blog hop and so glad I joined! It has led me to new to me authors like you!!!!