Introducing urban fantasy author Rachel A. Brune (don't miss the giveaway link at the bottom of the post, to win a signed paperback copy of Cold Run!)
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
When I learn something, I like to learn it all the way. I love reading, so I write. I like baking so I learned how to make bread from scratch. I like knitting, so I am learning how to spin. I enjoy German and Russian literature, so am learning the languages. All these random hobbies come in handy when I sit down to write a new project.
2. When did you start writing, and why?
My mom has a story I wrote in Kindergarten about Santa Claus and a pie. I think the jolly old saint got it in the face... I've always had an interest in writing, both creative and journalism. After college, I joined the Army as a combat journalist and had a chance to travel around and get experience writing about different subjects as well as producing work on a deadline. I don't know where this compulsion to put words on paper comes from, I just enjoy telling stories.
3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?
Currently I write news articles for a military-interest Web site, Task and Purpose, as well as short fiction and novels. As before, I enjoy reaching out to people, talking to them, learning what excites them, what they're passionate about. This goes for fiction, too — I enjoy getting to know my characters, finding out what makes them tick, what drives them crazy, and why they do what they do.
4. What is your latest book or series? Any forthcoming books?
My novel, Cold Run, launched August 4 from Untold Press. It's a bit shifter urban fantasy meets action spy novel. I'm currently working on a sequel, as well as a separate urban Fae fantasy.
5. "Welcome To My Worlds": Tell us a little about the world of your latest book or series.
Cold Run is set in our contemporary world, with the little added detail that the main character is a werewolf. His shifting ability gives him an advantage in sneaking around, so he spends a lot of time working for a covert organization, MONIKER, fighting crime and criminals. His abilities were discovered in WWII, so various groups of scientists have had a shot at analyzing and studying him. Some of this information has been leaked to some unsavory characters, with just about the results one would expect. The world as a whole, then, is a world of science with undertones of things that can't be explained.
6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
The three characters we spend the most time with are Rick Keller, our resident werewolf secret agent, and his partners John Tell and Karen Willet. Rick is kind of a pain, grumpy all the time and not really a team player. But he has a strong sense of loyalty, and will bend over backwards to help a friend, or someone who's getting a raw deal. John is an experienced agent, who used to be an NYPD detective. He's not very forthcoming about his past, and has an over-fondness for making shaggy dog jokes at Rick's expense, but when there is a job that has to be done, he will make sure it gets done. Karen has a military background, but is also a bit of a scholar. She is a legacy member of MONIKER; her grandmother was a founding member. When things — and Rick — are falling apart, she is the one to put them back together.
7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
One of my tattoos is based on a short story featuring Rick Keller that was published in the Dark Oak Press anthology, Luna's Children: Full Moon Madness. It was the tattoo that came from something I wrote, but probably not the last!
It is amazing how quickly a phone call can interrupt your life, even when you're a werewolf. Rick Keller hangs up from the unwanted call, but the shadowy organization he once belonged to doesn't take such an answer lightly. Waking up collared and caged by MONIKER is a quick way to learn retirement isn't always permanent. Death will be if he doesn't accept their assignment.
Keller and his new team follow a group of human traffickers on a thin trail across the globe. Their only hope is in a man who hasn't had much practice being a werewolf in a really long time, a sadistic agent who loves making dog jokes, and a beautiful operative who is better with guns than relationships.
If being forced back into service wasn't bad enough, he quickly discovers they have many new experiments to try out on their pet wolf. Even worse, MONIKER now isn't the only one who knows his secret.
Hopefully an old dog can learn some new tricks, especially if he wants to stay alive.
The man behind the weapon was a ghost, a black tactical suit concealing his form, expensive scope mounted on some sort of rifle. I howled again and lurched at him, brought down short by another surge of the change. I struggled to remain upright but found myself on my knees.
Another man appeared to the side, shining a bright, piercing strobe light at my eyes, disorienting me as I tried to turn to face the new threat, my traitorous body rendering my reactions unreliable.
I scrambled to get my feet under me, but the final throes of the change robbed the ground from me. I flailed my paws against the last remnants of my work clothes, now torn and scattered on the ground.
I heard the explosion of gases from the chamber of the first man's rifle a split second after the bullet pierced my side. I yelped and fell sideways, trying to relieve the pressure. I rolled to all fours and lunged toward the man, intent on relieving the pain by ripping the screams from his throat.
He shot again and again as I reached him, bowling him over and aiming for the soft pieces exposed to my grip.
Instead of soft viscera beneath my teeth, the next sensation I felt came as intense pain, which slowed and disjointed my movements. I raised my head, snapping and gnarling in vain against the folds of the net suddenly enveloping me. Ignoring the second man–stupid mistake. From the burning the lines of the net raised against my hide, I could tell the wires were laced with silver filaments.
The man with the rifle scrambled away from me. I let him go, rolling on the ground, trying to escape the clutching net.
"He's a big one." The second man spoke the words, looking down on me from an impossible height as the pain began to outweigh the panic. I could feel the silver working against my struggling.
"He always was." The first man hocked and spat. It smelled of Copenhagen. "It's going to be a bitch dragging him down to the truck."
The words made no sense. I listened, but could not understand.
"If we let you up, do you promise to be a good doggie?" The man with the rifle prodded the barrel into my side.
I growled, but it was mostly wishful thinking, the energy from the night and the change suddenly sapped by the ensilvered net. I lay on my side and simply lolled.
"Good boy." The man kept his rifle trained at me as his partner knelt down and fiddled with the edge of the net. Grasping a loop from the edge, he pulled. The line must have been attached in some ingenious way so when he pulled on it, it contracted the net into a small, compact circle around my neck.
"Come on." The second man jerked at my neck, holding the line as a leash. "I'm not carrying you down this hill in the dark."
The net continued to burn against my neck as he dragged me to my feet. Head hanging, I padded after him through the snow.
Cold Run is available at Amazon.
About the Author:
Rachel A. Brune graduated from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts in May 2000, and was immediately plunged into the low-stakes world of entry-level executive assistant-ship. Her unexpected journey out of that world and into the military is chronicled in her self-published book Echoes and Premonitions. After five years as a combat journalist, including two tours in Iraq, and a brief stint as a columnist for her hometown newspaper, she attended graduate school at the University at Albany in NY, where she earned her MA in Political Communication, and her commission as a second lieutenant in the military police corps. Although her day job has taken in her in many strange, often twisted directions, Rachel continues to write and publish short fiction. She released her first novel, Soft Target, in early 2013. She blogs her thoughts about reading and the writing life at http://www.infamous-scribbler.com.
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