My latest book is Primal Force (September, 2015). It’s the third novel in my first series called the “K-9 Rescue” series. All the books in this Romantic Suspense series feature a different professional K-9 handler and his canine partner. A one sentence pitch would be: Hot guys, cool dogs and the women they love! There are females handlers, too. But if you’ve seen my covers, you will understand the pitch. 😉
While developing the series, I did a lot of research. A brief look around the internet showed me that the professional K-9s in today’s world are exceptional in every way. They aid, protect, and save lives each and every day. There are dogs trained for everything from search and rescue to patrol and apprehension to medical alert to explosives detection to arson investigation, PTSD service and so on. I wanted to write about them all! That’s when my series settled on being about K-9 teams with a different specialty highlighted in each book.
The first, an eBook novella Necessary Force, features an FBI agent and his explosives detecting K-9. The full-length novels are #1: Irresistible Force, about a police patrol K-9 team. #2: Force of Attraction has two teams. The heroine is a police officer with a K-9 who does dog agility as a hobby. The hero is a DEA officer with a drug detection K-9. He’s also her ex! When they go undercover the suspense and danger doesn’t only come from their assignment.
#3: Primal Force is a bit of a departure because it’s about a veteran, a former Military Policeman with a K-9, who was badly injured in Afghanistan. He lost both his K-9 and his leg in an attack. It’s four years later and his physical injuries have mostly healed but he has begun to suffer bad PTSD issues. The heroine is a K-9 trainer who trained the dog my vet is given. After having a hard-charging war dog, this quiet service dog named Samantha is not my hero’s idea of a real dog. I’ve been told the book has two love stories. One between the humans, and one between my veteran and the dog whose different qualities he has to learn to appreciate. That response made me very happy. I hadn’t thought of it that way. But it’s true.
The K-9 Rescue series novels are available in all formats: print, digital and audio. The next book in the series, titled Rival Forces, is due out May, 2016. I’m in the midst of writing Elemental Forces at the moment, due out in the late fall of 2016.
2. Is your book part of a series or can it be read as a stand-alone?
While the books are part of the K-9 Rescue series, each book can be read as a stand-alone because each K-9 team and couple are different. They are loosely joined by a common thread, the kennel (Harmonie Kennels) where the K-9 and/or handler trained, and a connection to the kennel owner (Yardley Summers). But they can be read in any order.
3. When does your book release?
Primal Force, the latest, is available now in print and eBook. Audio should be out soon, I’m told. Rival Forces is scheduled for May of 2016.
4. Which character of your book was the hardest to write?
Wow, that’s a tough one! In Primal Force, it was definitely Lauray “Law” Battise. He had a very difficult upbringing with a mostly absent father who taught him women were mere playthings, and that a man who needs help or love is weak. Law knows deep inside that this can’t be true, but he has a lot to overcome. He doesn’t even like himself when the book opens. And he certainly doesn’t like the bright red curly Labradoodle he’s given as a PTSD dog. He calls her a “Cheese Doodle” because of her long curly tail. So, I tried something different in this book to soften the reader’s view of Law. I gave Samantha, the “Cheese Doodle” a point of view. She’s a dog and I wrote it to sound as much like a dog thinks as I could imagine. She’s not a human in a dog suit. So, really, Law’s character helped stretch me as a writer.
5. If you’re not writing, what do you love to do?
I really love to read, naturally. And I love to cook. I create my own recipes. In fact, I just contributed three recipes to a St. Martin’s author holiday cookbook called “We ♥ The Holidays.” I included a recipe for your dog or cat: PupCakes. Anyone can download a FREE COPY at my website: http://www.ddayres.com. It’s available in all formats.
I’m also a big fan of movies and T.V. shows, in particular British mysteries. I also love to travel, especially internationally (when I get the chance!)
6. Did anyone inspire you to start writing or did you always knew you just had to write?
I’ve been writing a good while. I started when I had children – three, two in diapers- as a way of doing something creative. I didn’t know anyone who wrote but I ran out of something to read (big reader!) and started telling myself a story, and fell in love with writing. I sold my very first book, a historical romance titled Silks and Sabers to Dell Publishing under my birth name of Laura Parker. Many more Laura Parker romance novels (and one non-fiction) followed. I then switched to a genre I call “Women’s Fiction” under my married name, Laura Castoro. Some of those titles are A New Lu, Icing on the Cake and Crossing the Line. I have more than 40 titles published traditionally. The name “D.D Ayres” was adopted for my Romantic Suspense writing. I love it. The freedom to recreate one’s writing style!
7. Any advice/tips for newbies?
Write! Every day! Keep writing and reworking to get better. If you don’t love writing you won’t make it as a career. The pressures are too strong. That’s not to say there aren’t days when you’ll hate it, but it’s something you can’t stop doing, even if you quit. I can attest to that.
The other thing I would suggest is to join organizations and book clubs, and to attend a writer’s conference. One caveat: Get to know your writing style before you show your work to others. If you share an idea before it’s fully formed, you can find you lose it to the input of others. Protect your creative impulse. Share what you feel confident in. There will be criticism but you’ll know what helps and what doesn’t.
8. Are you already writing a new book? Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Yes, I’m at work on the fifth book in the K-9 Rescue Series- tentatively titled Elemental Forces. It features a fire investigator and his arson dog, and the woman who rescues them both! It will be out later in 2016.
9. A word that you use way too often? (Mine are “quite” and “probably”)
Every book seems to have a different over-used word. In general, “because” and “but.” Have to weed them out.
10. Last but not least: What’s your favorite type of candy, if you don’t mind me asking?
CHOCOLATE! Darker the better, rich, expensive chocolate!
A veteran author of romance and women’s fiction, D.D. Ayres now writes Romantic Suspense, and loves it! She believes the lure of romance is always the human connection. Put that connection in physical jeopardy, and we learn a bit more about who we really are.
With her K-9 Rescue series, D.D. hopes you will enjoy her sexy, suspenseful portrayals of K-9 teams at their best.
D.D. lives in Texas with her husband and a soft-coated Wheaten Terrier named Zoe.