I can’t overstate how excited I am to have Rebecca Fairfax on the blog today! She’s been my rock, my strength, my incredible editor for the Triple Diamond series, Full Swing series and At My Lady’s Pleasure series and I wouldn’t be where I am today without her guidance, creativity, and incredible patience.
I got the chance to read this awesome book and here’s my short review of it:
You can’t go wrong with Ms. Fairfax’s Heat books! The characters are dynamic, unique and sexy as hell, the settings are rich and fascinating and the story is fast-paced and totally original. I can’t wait to read the next one in the series!
And without further ado, it’s my pleasure to introduce Rebecca and her first book, Belgium Heat!
Hello, Gemma! It’s so nice of you to have me here, particularly as I only have one book out. Thanks!
I’m so happy to have you! Let’s get started! When did you realize or decide you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always written stories, since I first learned to write. My head has always been full of stories. My eldest sister used to type them for me to practise her typing speed when she was taking a secretarial course, and when we spoke the other day, she’d found me another beta reader! Katharine, you’ve always been an amazing person.
What has been your best experience as an author so far?
Meeting such great people both online, such as Desiree Holt and you, and in real life. For instance, a fairly well-known classical guitarist allowed me to quiz her, to steal her life for a heroine’s, and later this week I’m sitting down to chat with an early career researcher from the local university who works in human rights. She’s going to be my shifter rights’ awareness and advocate heroine!
What sort of challenges have you faced as a writer? How did you overcome them?
Finding time is the biggest challenge. I’m the family breadwinner so work A LOT of hours, seven days a week, and it can be tough to get back into the headspace required for writing, say, a sex scene just as and when I have a spare twenty minutes. I don’t know that I have overcome this challenge… A thing that helps me is to sign up for things I can’t back out of, so I’m committed to producing something and meeting its attendant deadlines. But I know this kind of pressure doesn’t work for everyone.
Another challenge can be starting the new book! There’s a Portuguese expression o medo da página em branco, the fear of the blank page, that resonates with me, so to overcome this I paste the outline for the chapter onto it to have something on it but not make it cluttered. Here’s the one from Belgium Heat from my Notes doc:
1 Carrick at Vauxhall interview – thought it was another increment job but finds it’s to bodyguard SIS people – rejects – denies he’s lost his edge. Facing off against establishment and military, who put plan in motion. Goes to see friend with dog in pub. Backstory hinted at. Carrick kidnapped.
How do you research and plan your books? Do you find outlining helps or hinders your process?
An idea comes, and I have to work it to death. I have to outline, to know what’s in each chapter so I can see the shape of the piece as a whole. That means research and planning. I do more research as I’m writing, as I’ll always find I need something.
Have you learned anything really cool or interesting while researching your books? What’s been the weirdest research you’ve ever had to do?
Things about the special forces have been eye-opening. Recently I was researching into clitoral hood piercings… I didn’t even know there was a vertical and a horizontal. That was eye-watering.
What advice would you give to new writers in the field?
Read as much as you can and write as much as you can. It does help to study the mechanics of writing, from grammar to plotting, and there are so many free resources on the web to help with this. Join writing groups, find critique partners, beta readers, an editor, but overall, make sure you enjoy it.
Tell us a little about your writing nook! Favorite tea/coffee/writing snack?
Nothing special, sadly. Just the old, wobbly plastic-topped picnic table I work at, fuelled by coffee, diet soda, energy drinks and satsumas – when I can get them. There’s always an element of uncertainty to satsumas in our house as Charles, my other half, is too vain to wear his glasses, so he’s equally as likely to bring back tangerines, mandarins or clementines from the market as he is satsumas. It’s a one in four chance I live with every week.
(It’s not that I’m fussy; the other citrus fruit is too acidic for me. Learned that the hard way.)
(Buy my own? When I go to the market, I tend to get detoured into the pub there. Learned that the hard way, too.)
Of all of your own characters, who would you most want to date?
All the heroes from PSI Europe. I could easily imagine going out for a pint with the four of them, listening to their banter and stories of past missions, playing darts for forfeits…
What project are you currently working on?
I’m writing the first in a series called Raw Britannia, for Milly Taiden’s Paranormal Dating Agency Kindle World. In Milly’s books, Geri Wilder, the owner of the dating agency, finds matches for paranormals, mostly shifters. In my series, she comes to the UK to matchmake, with each story taking place in a different part of the British Isles and featuring legendary creatures associated with each place. So we have griffins in England, kelpies in Scotland, pookas in Ireland, spriggans in Cornwall… This series is m/f/m ménage.
What’s next for you?
Sassy Ever After! Another Milly Taiden Kindle World and I’m developing an m/m series called Sassy by Nature, about Daire, a wolf shifter actor just making it big in Hollywood, and Sam, a human reporter who meets him when he’s sent to interview him at a press junket…
After having lived and worked all over Europe, Rebecca Fairfax is back in her native UK, bursting to share all the stories she’s dreamed up and describe all the places she’s seen and all the people she’s met. Romantic suspense, light contemporary, urban fantasy—it’s all on the way.
Her life is not her own; it belongs to her demanding Old English Sheepdog and her bossy British Blue cat. Once she accepted that, things got easier.
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About the Book!
Tell us a little about your new release: Belgium Heat!
It’s written for Desiree Holt’s Phoenix Agency Kindle World. She invited me last year and I said yes, but kept delaying, so decided to just go for it.
The overarching description of this world and its heroes and heroines is: The Phoenix Agency. They served their country in every branch of the military – Army Delta Force, SEALs, Air Force, Marines. We are pilots, snipers, medics – whatever the job calls for. And now as private citizens, they serve in other capacities, as private contractors training security for defense contractors, as black ops eradicating drug dealers, as trained operatives ferreting out traitors.
With the women in their lives who each have a unique psychic ability, they are a force to be reckoned with. Risen from the ashes of war, they continue to fight for those in need. They are Phoenix.
Belgium Heat, the first in my PSI Europe series, is the story of two very different people, Carrick O’Neill, from the UK’s SAS (Special Air Service) and Christabel Hardy, who works at the European Defence Agency in Brussels. Christa’s psi abilities lead to them getting caught up in events beyond their control, and soon they’re involved in a deadly plot to manipulate governments!
Here’s the blurb:
What would you do if a stranger claimed everything you believed was a lie?
Christabel Hardy doesn’t believe a word special forces operative Carrick O’Neill says about the top-secret defence department she works for. Why should she, when he kidnapped her? He’s the enemy, not her.
Determined to use her psi abilities and escape from him the first chance she gets, she must ignore the heat blazing between them. The heat that scorches white-hot, burning through her inhibitions and fears.
But as dangerous enemies are revealed and danger mounts, Christa’s going to have to trust Carrick to keep her safe—hell, to keep her alive.
And when it’s all burned to the ground, will she and Carrick be among the ashes?
Where did your inspiration for the book come from?
I have such a lot stored up in me from working and living in so many places all over Europe – I’m the sort of person who sees something or meets someone and thinks: there’s a story there! Or: that would make a great scene in which… I have notes scrawled on bits of paper and napkins from a lot of places.
Brussels, where the bulk of Belgium Heat takes place, is such an interesting city. De facto HQ of the EU yet still quaint and charming, with a beautiful Grand Place and narrow cobbled alleys. Young people tend to work there at one of the institutions for a short period of time before moving on, and there’s a culture of guardedness about what one’s doing, so there’s that sense of never quite knowing who anyone really is, if they’re truly who they say they are!
Did you outline the story, or dive right in?
I had the overall idea of Christa working in Brussels and meeting Carrick, and then her psi powers causing events to spiral and her life to unravel, and her determination to knit it together again. I then outlined after that.
How did your characters come to life?
My characters tend to be based on people I know or people I’ve met, so the kernel is usually there. I added the characters to the location, and once the story started, they developed along with it.
Did you do any cool or interesting research for this story? What did you learn?
I’d forgotten so many details about Brussels and Bruges! It was lovely revisiting both cities. One thing I laughed at is that the Manneken Pis, Brussels’ famous bronze statue of a small naked boy urinating into a fountain basin, gets dressed up to celebrate whatever’s going on in Brussels! So he gets a Santa outfit at Christmas, national dress of whatever rulers or leader are visiting the city, and even football strips, all the while pissing away with people taking photos!
What was your favorite part of working on this story? What was the most challenging?
I loved deciding how to use all the gorgeous places! Most challenging for me is building the rising action part of a story, heightening and maintaining the pace and flow of events to a conclusion.
What’s next for this story – is it part of a series? When does it come out?
Belgium Heat released February 14, with the launch of this round of the Phoenix Agency Kindle World.
Next up, in July, is Greenwich Heat, Hunter’s story. Hunter is another member of Carrick’s four-man SAS patrol whom we meet briefly in Belgium Heat. In Greenwich Heat, he goes home to deal with the death of his beloved younger brother and meets Chessy, who seems to know more about the death than she should…
Then, in the fall, it’s Sintra Heat, which is Teirlach’s story, which only leaves one of the four, Macsen, with his story untold…
The man removed his dark glasses and rested his gaze on Christa, and the intensity, the power in that green stare made her gulp.
“Maybe you should be afraid of me,” he said.
“Afraid of you? Why should I be?” Christa couldn’t refrain from asking, to immediately castigate herself.
Stupid! Alone with a strange man? A big, powerful-looking strange man? D’uh! And he was big. Even with him seated, she could tell that. Could see his muscles flex in his Oxford shirt. But she wasn’t alone. The square, the town centre, was populated. And she was known hereabouts. Knew the streets. So she should apologize for her friend’s behaviour and just leave, right? Except…she wasn’t. Her voice wasn’t doing what she wanted. Her legs weren’t carrying her away, never to look back. Instead she sat and stared into those peat-green eyes and wanted him to speak more, to let his soft accent caress her.
“Why shouldn’t you be? You must be brave,” came his comment, accompanied by a raised brow. “Or foolhardy.”
“Just Hardy.” Pathetic. Is this the best, what, flirting, I can— Wait. I’m flirting? Wow.
“Hardy?” he echoed, as she sat, mute, discovering things about herself, mainly that his company, his proximity was stirring feelings—yearnings—she hadn’t realized had grown dormant.
“My surname. I’m Christabel Hardy. Nice to meet you.” Although of all the adjectives to apply to him, she wasn’t sure nice could be employed.
“Nice.” In an echo of her musing, his lips twisted. “Carrick O’Neill. My pleasure.” He held out his hand.
Christa took it and nearly gasped. It tingled, warm and alive. Just for a second, before it stopped as though a switch had been thrown. She, or he, held on too long, fingers tightening and unable to look away from the other’s eyes, A sudden noise had her sitting back, breaking the contact. She flinched at the oom-pa-pa of the one-man band marching past, parting the crowds as he progressed, leaving them clapping in his wake. The training she did left her sensitive to noise and light. She coped better now, but the first few months had seen her wearing headphones and sunglasses every time she stepped outdoors.
Carrick leaned towards her. “Would you like to get out of here?”
His question stunned her, but not as much as her answer. “Yes.”
Read more HERE!
Thank you so much for inviting me here! It’s been great thinking about all these questions. And realising how often I reference the pub or drinking…
Thank you for coming! ❤ (And it’s a writer’s due!)