Interview with Jordan McCollum, author of I, Spy


Publisher: Durham Crest Books

Publish Date: June 5, 2013

Order Links:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Spy Another Day Series: I, Spy (1)

Author Bio: An award-winning author, Jordan McCollum can’t resist a story where good defeats evil and true love conquers all. In her day job, she coerces people to do things they don’t want to, elicits information and generally manipulates the people she loves most—she’s a mom. 

Jordan holds a degree in American Studies and Linguistics from Brigham Young University. When she catches a spare minute, her hobbies include reading, knitting and music. She lives with her husband and four children in Utah.

Interview: Q. Please tell us about your current release.

My current release is 'I, Spy', a romantic suspense novel.

Canada is probably the last place you’d expect to find an American spy. But even idyllic Ottawa has its deadly secrets—and so does CIA operative Talia Reynolds. She can climb through ventilation shafts, blend in at the occasional diplomatic function, even scale buildings (small ones). But there’s one thing she can’t do: tell her aerospace engineer boyfriend Danny about her Top Secret occupation.

It worked for a year, keeping Danny in the dark, keeping him away from danger, keeping her secrets. And then Talia finally catches a hot case: Fyodor Timofeyev. Russian. Aerospace executive. Possible spy?

She can make this work, too--until Danny needs her at the same time her country does. And when Fyodor targets Danny? Suddenly her schedule isn’t the only thing suffering. Now to save her secrets and her country, Talia must sacrifice the man she loves.

Q. How did writing this book affect you?

Aside from the usual of falling in love with my characters and their journeys, the research behind this book taught me a lot. I read a lot about the real life of a CIA officer, and the sacrifices, challenges and hardships that lifestyle entails.

Q. Can you tell us about the journey that led you to writing?

I don’t remember ever not wanting to be a writer, but after an abortive attempt at epic fantasy in college, I left writing for five years. When I did finally come back, I struggled with my expectations for myself: I should be writing high literary fiction, not genre “fluff.” Eventually, I've come to accept that I love these stories and these characters, and the emotional journeys they go on aren't less valid because they’re taking place in a genre story. You can read more about the steps in my writing journey in the series on my blog: http://jordanmccollum.com/series/my-writing-journey/ .

Q. What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Editing. Emotion. Love-y stuff. Figurative language. Endings—my outlines often sum up the entire fourth quarter of my book with “they defeat the bad guys and find love against all odds". Kind of hard to figure out the exact events of 20,000 words of the story from there.

Q. Do you have a musical playlist you listen to while writing? If so, what kind of music?

I used to prefer silence (or the TV on in the background), but for my last four novels, I've used music to write and edit. It all started with a character who was obsessed with Led Zeppelin—and who ended up searching for Viking treasure. “Immigrant Song” was the natural fit for the novel’s theme song. Now Zep is on my playlist for all my novels, along with Queen and The Who. Also, for each novel, I have a few select songs that reflect the novel’s theme and tone. “Secret Agent Man” was one of the selections for I, Spy—but the novel was actually inspired by another ’60s song. I've run a contest to guess it, and you can still find the clues on my original blog tour stops: http://jordanmccollum.com/2013/06/entered-emi-spyem-songs-contest/

Q. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Aside from classic rock playlists, probably that I’m an obsessive writer. My seventh, eighth and ninth novels were each written in two to three weeks—five thousand or more words per day—and I loved it. My house kind of fell apart and my kids were a bit neglected, but after only a couple weeks, we could all get back to normal and I had a whole novel.

Q. Do you plan any subsequent books?

Yes! I’m planning two to three more novels in the Spy Another Day series. I also have a prequel novella, 'Mr. Nice Spy', available now, and I’ll be writing one to three more prequel novellas.

I also have several other completed manuscripts that I’m planning to publish over the next few years.

Q. What are you currently reading?

'Perfect Scoundrels' by Ally Carter.

Q. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

It’s so hard to pick just one, but since I’m reading her now, I’m extra appreciative of Ally Carter’s writing. In her Heist Society series, she creates such a rich tone of the world of a thief. In her Gallagher girl series, it’s the world of a boarding school for teenage spies. In both series, she really grabs your heart with the characters’ relationships and relatable problems—as well as her fresh and clever ways of describing them.

Q. Please tell us your latest news (book-related or not!).

I’m really excited about some great reviews I've gotten! Even bigger, in non-book news, we welcomed a new baby into our family just two months ago (our fourth).

Q. Please tell us a fun-fact about yourself!

Hm. . . . I’m a direct descendant of Benjamin Franklin—it’s my dad’s name. (First and last. Yep.) My dad took me with him on a business trip to Ottawa when I was 15, and that inspired the location of I, Spy.

Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Enjoy the adventure, and thank you!!

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