As many of you may remember from some of my experiences, including this one, research has a way of happening in all sorts of interesting settings. What I love about authors is that they also find unique and interesting ways to bring their books together as well!
Speaking of…. I get soooo excited when I have an opportunity to introduce you to new things and new people. Especially fellow authors. Have y’all met P.A. DePaul? If not, you’re about to. And if so? Stick around. She’s got some cool stuff to share with us!
Hello Kitt!!! Thank you so much for allowing me to take over today and talk about how hands-on experiences have impacted my writing! Who am I?
Are you sure you’re not psychic…. because I was soooo about to ask you that question. ;-)
So glad you asked! My name is P.A. DePaul and I’m the author of the Romantic Suspense, SBG series. Exchange of Fire, SBG #1 introduces a clandestine Black Ops team working for SweetBriar Group (AKA SBG), a corporation the rest of the world believes is an environmental company.
In my opinion, one of the best ways to gain knowledge about a topic is to experience it. Sounds reasonable, right? Common sense, really. But what if you write about a Black Ops team who run covert missions? Hmmm…now that simple sentence gets a little trickier. Enter the Writer’s Police Academy.
Oooh! I’ve heard about this. Another author friend of mine went to one this last year as well. Wonder if she was at yours? Anyway. Back to you. It sounds like things are about to get exciting!
For two years I’ve been able to attend this awesome academy (which is getting harder and harder to do since attendance is limited and its popularity is increasing). What is the Writer’s Police Academy (WPA)? Great question! To quote their website (because they define it best) “The Writer’s Police Academy offers the most hands-on, interactive and educational experience writers can find to enhance their understanding of all aspects of law enforcement and forensics. This is a one of a kind event, featuring real police, fire, and EMS training at an actual police academy. Top instructors and experts!”
Now we’re talking! While I may not need every aspect in that definition for my SBG Series, I’m able to surround myself in a world where I would normally be shut out.
Now, as I said in the opening line, gaining knowledge through experience is the best way. In WPA, they offered Hands-on training. I can’t stress how valuable this was for me. In the two years, I got to perform building searches (you know, like on TV when the police are stacked outside a residence and they burst in and begin searching the home for the suspect), use a Glock in “real-life” simulations (the gun was modified with a laser “bullet” so when I hit the screen, I didn’t actually put a hole through it <grin>), put on the bomb suit and pass their “test” (the suit is over 80 lbs and they lay you on your back and you have to stand up without help…I did it! Wasn’t pretty, but I did it!), drive an ambulance in a specialized simulator to rescue victims, sit in a surveillance plane as the instructor described all the aspects regarding aerial searches, hand-to-hand combat where I disarmed “bad guys” of their guns and knives, and a self-defense class that allowed me to yell and curse at the top of my lungs while I beat the snot out of an assailant. Whew! And this is only what I participated in. There were so many more hands-on activities I just couldn’t get to.
What did all of this mean for writing the SBG series? Everything! Before I attended WPA, I could not fully describe any of the above situations. Sure, I could technically state the Glock was black but not how it felt in my hands or how nervous I was as the real-life scenario burst up on the screen and I had seconds to react or how I had trouble releasing the magazine because my hand was too small for the grip. All of this gave me so much more perspective. It allowed me to add emotion and a deeper description to every nuance of the scene. I also never would have been able to put on a bomb suit anywhere else or truly feel how claustrophobic that suit was and how heavy! I could go on, but I think you get my meaning. Having the hands-on experiences have helped me take my scenes to the next level.
Thank you so much for taking the time to experience one of the nuances of attending the Writer’s Police Academy with me! Do you have any questions? I’ll promise to answer almost anything (I have to put “almost” in there because I know you crazy (wonderful) folks can come up with some doozies, so I want to reserve the right to make up an answer for those).
By the way, I’ve got pictures to share with you guys, too!
Ambulance simulator and real-life EMT:
Me getting “suited up” in the bomb suit:
Wow! Now that’s taking your art seriously. What an exciting class to take. Now I need to find an excuse to take a class like this, too! It sounds like such a cool experience. Soooo…. you gonna share with us a hint of how you brought all this together?
If you get a chance, you really should. As for bringing everything together, how about an excerpt and teaser? Heck, I’ll even throw in a giveaway opportunity at the end!
I’m totally good with that!
In the following excerpt, our heroine, Wraith, and our hero, Casper Grady, have just escaped an assassination attempt when they were inside Wraith’s apartment. Wraith knows she needs to disappear and has to convince Grady to join her in order to keep him safe.
A little background: Wraith (sniper of Delta Squad) faked her death after her last mission went horribly wrong in order to escape SBG (or more accurately its CEO). The CEO got wind that she’s still alive and instead of celebrating, he sent assassins after her to rectify her still breathing status.
Faking her death was easy, living with her past is harder, but nothing is more dangerous than falling in love…
Sandra Walsh was a deadly sniper for the Sweet Briar Group, a covert agency with assassins for hire, until her last mission went horribly wrong, accidentally killing an innocent girl. Knowing she’s a danger to her team, Sandra goes off the grid, becoming a Shade—an agent declared dead but secretly hiding among the living. She intends to honor her vow never to pull another trigger or have contact with the spy world again. Until she meets Casper Grady…
Grady is a former Marine with a troubled past and a debt to pay. His life mission has gone from protecting the nation to helping local children and their families. The moment he meets Sandra, he knows there’s more to her than meets the eye, but he can’t help but be drawn to the mysterious femme fatale. And when Sandra’s past suddenly catches up to her, Grady is determined to protect her at all costs, no matter how dark and dangerous her secrets are.
As the danger increases, so does their intense attraction. But when they’re forced to choose between each other and the people they’ve sworn to protect, their growing love might not be enough to keep them together—or alive…
[Grady] “So what’s your plan?”
Just like that, the spell was broken.
“We go underground.”
“I’m assuming you don’t mean that literally.”
“Unless you know of bunker in the mountains that still has an Internet connection, no.”
“What’s so important about the Internet? You jonesing for a sale?”
“Ha. Ha. I need to jump on a message board.”
He crossed his arms; the position just served to show off his biceps. She suspected that’s why he did it so much. He leaned on the back of the couch. “And?”
“And don’t worry about it yet. I really need you to pack. I’ll raid your kitchen for nonperishables.”
He didn’t budge.
Damn. The first part of the evening she couldn’t convince him to go away. Now she couldn’t convince him to stay by her side for his own protection? What the hell? “Time is not on our side here. We gotta go.”
He dropped his arms and stalked forward. She held her ground. Just watching him move closer had her adrenaline pumping and her skin tingling in anticipation. He stopped inches away, his height looming above her. So not the time to notice how full and inviting his lips were. Nor the time to breathe in his addicting scent and instantly be ready for him.
His gaze darkened as it captured hers. He raised a hand and traced a finger down her cheek. “Since you’ve made it clear time is of the essence . . .” he said, his voice low and husky.
Her heart skipped a beat. Damn her for that statement.
“I’ll make this brief.” He leaned down until he was a breath away from her mouth.
Her lungs stopped working.
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PA is offering a tour wide giveaway of 5– $10 Amazon or B&N gift cards (winner’s choice) plus 4 e-copies of Exchange of Fire (sent via Netgalley). Just check out today’s post, leave a comment, and then fill out the giveaway widget!
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About the Author:
P.A. DePaul is a multi-genre romance author including paranormal fantasy and romantic suspense. She originally hails from Carroll County and Baltimore County, Maryland, but also lived in Macon and Warner Robins, Georgia. She currently resides in a beautiful community just outside Philadelphia. Exchange of Fire is the first novel in the SBG series with the second novel, Shadow of Doubt, releasing April 2015
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