Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Author Interview: Kendall Talbot (Treasured Secrets)

Author Kendall Talbot joins us today to talk about her book Treasured Secrets

So, this is not a typical book that I usually promote. Where are the vampires? The ghosts? Zombies?

But, I loved the locations. And I was drawn to the idea that these characters were modern-day treasure hunters searching for riches. Swoon!

Kendall is a Romantic Book of the Year winner, and she totally does her own stunts! (Seriously, read on! Plus there’s a Rafflecopter giveaway at the end!) 

Here’s the description:

Some secrets should remain hidden forever…
The last place Rosalina expected the clue to a 700-year-old mystery to lead her was back into the arms of Archer, the man who broke her heart. When neither can solve the puzzle without the  other, they set off on a new adventure. They’re forced to ignore the sparks that still fly unhindered between them as their search for the golden riches weaves from Tuscany’s underbelly to Archer’s luxurious yacht in the Greek Islands.
Archer desperately wants to salvage his shattered relationship with Rosalina but fighting for her love soon takes a back seat to fighting for their lives. Ruthless competition is hot on their heels and will do anything to get his hands on the treasure. With evil close on their trail, and Archer wrestling with the remnants of a childhood tragedy, Rosalina begins to wonder if some secrets were never meant to be revealed.

This book is such an adventure, taking readers from Tuscany to a yacht off the coast of Greece. Where did you come up with the plot idea?

There were two instances that inspired my Treasured series of books. The first came from a friend of mine. She was dating a guy who wore an unusual necklace and whenever she asked him about it, he refused to elaborate on it. And he never took it off, even when she told him that it nearly knocked her teeth out when they had sex. Of course she became obsessed about it and eventually, after 8 months, he told her it belonged to his previous girlfriend who had died. Not long afterwards they broke up. My character in Treasured Secrets, Archer, wears an unusual gold pendant around his neck that he too refuses to talk about or take off. The story behind the necklace is central to the entire treasure hunt. 
The other inspiration for the story stemmed from my 20th anniversary a trip to Tuscany. We went to a little church in Florence that was very insignificant compared to the other beautiful churches around it. Inside, inlaid in the mosaic floor tiles, was an oval pattern. Our tour guide told us it was the trap door where they threw the bodies during the 13th century plague that killed 50 million people in Europe. My mind went crazy thinking about entire families being wiped out by that horrible disease. Then I began to wonder what happened to all the precious things those families left behind. On the plane flight home, I began plotting my Treasured Secrets action adventure romance.

Do you find it hard to weave the romance into all the action? 
Not at all, love is one of the most incredible emotions to delve into. My stories are full of action and adventure. Especially this series. It was brilliant unveiling clues to a 13th century missing treasure and all the while exploring an emotionally satisfying romantic journey for my hero and heroine. Despite the tumultuous ride, my characters truly do find love.

You’ve traveled extensively and are up for adventure yourself! What locations have inspired you the most as a writer? 
My stories are as much about the location as the thrill of the adventures I’ve done. For example Treasured Secrets is inspired by a couple of wonderful tours we did in Florence and a cruise I did around the Greek Islands. But the scuba diving in my story comes from a diving holiday we did at the Solomon Islands. The shark scenes come from scuba diving at Christmas Island. There are several scenes in Treasured Secrets that were inspired by the Underground Tour we did in Seattle, USA. The helicopter scenes come from my visit to the Grand Canyon. There’s a plot theme in Treasured Lies, book two in this series, that comes from a deserted beach we went to in Brazil. Much of my inspiration for my debut novel, Lost in Kakadu, came from hiking in the Milford Track in New Zealand. And I already have plans to use places I visited in Brazil, Egypt and Russia in my future books. I live to travel and I always have a holiday on the horizon. This year’s holiday is to Mexico, New York and Las Vegas… I wonder what stories they will bring on?

The way you research the books is kind of off the charts! (Witchetty grubs? You are a braver woman than I!) What type of research did you do for Treasured Secrets
I was really lucky with those witchetty grubs as I just happened to find them in my garden. How else was I going to get the texture and flavor right in my scene? I like to draw on my actual experiences to get the details right. Obviously much of my work is pure fabrication, and thank goodness too, some of my characters go to hell and back. Treasured Secrets is as much a treasure hunt as it is a culinary adventure. Rosalina, my Italian heroine in Treasured Secrets is a talented chef, so food and flavors abound as much as the treasure hunt action. Every one of the meals she makes in my books I made for myself. In fact, recipes from “Treasured Secrets” debut in their own book “Rosalina’s Treasured Treats” you can find this on my website and cook along as you read the book if you like. In addition to the cooking, Rosalina’s home in Treasured Secrets is a 700 year old villa that I holiday in in Tuscany. Villa Pandolfini is in Signa, a little village just a fifteen minute train ride from Florence. This spectacular historic villa with extremely high ceilings, magnificent frescoes and original antique furniture was surrounded by vineyards and olive-groves and offered an extensive view of Arno Valley… perfect for a romance set in Tuscany.

What are you working on now? Any new books on the horizon?

I used to daydream about robbing a bank that I worked at in 1992. So guess what? I robbed that bank. In a book of course. Double Take my first crime novel, is a gritty Quinten Tarantino meets Nora Roberts story set in that bank I worked in. I also chose to set the story in 1992 too. It was a time before the internet, mobile phones and electric windows. It was also a time of Cheers, Cagney and Lacey, boom boxes and Carrington Blush champagne. It was so much fun writing in that era.

Also, book two in my Treasured series, Treasured Lies will be out in October 2015 and book three, Treasured Love, will be released April 2016.

Do you have any writing rituals? 
My husband works interstate 3 to 4 nights each week, so that’s my writing time. I don’t watch any television, instead I write about 4 hours each night and usually at least ½ a day on the weekend. I also restrict my social media to 45 minutes each morning and 1 hour each night. The social media aspect of writing can be a real time sap if you’re not careful.

Where is your favorite place to write? 
I love writing by my pool in the afternoons, which overlooks virgin Australian bush. Kookaburras and cockatoos usually give me company. Along with my fluffy little dog, Josie McLuvin. I especially like sitting out there with a glass of wine to get my creative brain flowing.

What inspires you to write? 
The story. Once I get an idea for a story in my head it won’t leave me alone. I dream about it. I think about it constantly, even at work when I’m trying to do my boring bookkeeping job. It’s like I’m possessed and the only way to rid it from my brain is to write about it. My bank robbery stayed in there for 22 years, so when I finally sat down to write it, it took just 3 months.

What 5 books are on your bookshelf right now? 
Cherry Adair - Gideon
J.D Robb - Obsession in Death 
Matthew Reilly - The Great Zoo of China
Mandy Magro - Driftwood
Paula Hawkins - The Girl on the Train

What do you recommend people see/read/hear? I recommend you watch Game of Thrones - twice. The first time because you will get so caught up in it. The second time I recommend really listening to the dialogue and concentrating on how each character ‘owns’ their voice.

Another recommendation is Friends. An oldie but a goodie. Each one of those actors stay so true to their character it’s almost predictable how each one would react in a situation. They have good, strong, unique roles and by watching and analyzing you’ll learn ways to improve your voice.

Grab a copy of Treasured Secrets on Amazon, Booktopia, iTunes, Kobo or Google Play.

Stalk Kendall on the web at her site, Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest

Enter for a chance to win an ebook bundle of Treasured Secrets and Rosalina's Treasured Treats, the companion cookbook (yes! cookbook! witchetty grubs!). Ends 5/6

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Such a wonderful interview! So much fun. Thank you so much for hosting a tour stop with an interview!

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