Sunday, August 13, 2017
Kris Bock @kris_bock THE MAD MONKS TREASURE #ContemporaryRomanticSuspense #NewMexicoandArizona #OutdoorAdventure
I’d like to welcome Kris Bock, author of The Mad Monk’s Treasure to my blog today.
RW: Tell us about yourself, your family, where you live, etc.
KB: I live in New Mexico with my husband and our ferret Marceline (a.k.a. Marceline the Ferret Queen). My home office looks out on nature, complete with distracting wildlife such as roadrunners and foxes. My BFA in photography is used mainly to show Facebook friends how lovely the Southwest is. As Kris Bock, I write romantic adventures. I also write fiction and nonfiction for young people under the name Chris Eboch.
RW: How many hours a day do you spend writing?
KB: I am a full-time writer. I generally work on a novel for a few hours in the morning, when I feel most creative. I spend the afternoon working on nonfiction articles or educational publishing books, or on business or marketing. I don’t actually write for forty hours a week, because there’s a lot of overhead with e-mail and so forth, but I basically work a full-time job as a writer.
RW: Why did you decide to write? When did you submit your first manuscript and what genre was it?
KB: I started writing for children as something fun to do while looking for a job in publishing. My first book was published in 1999. In The Well of Sacrifice, a Mayan girl in ninth-century Guatemala rebels against the High Priest who sacrifices anyone challenging his power. Kirkus Reviews said, “The novel shines not only for a faithful recreation of an unfamiliar, ancient world, but also for the introduction of a brave, likable and determined heroine.” The book has been picked up by many schools for use when they teach the Maya.
I’ve now published over forty books for children, including fiction and nonfiction, early reader through teen. I use the names Chris Eboch and M. M. Eboch for these.
Around 2008, I was starting to feel restless and wanted a change. I realized I had mostly been reading adult romantic suspense novels. I decided to try one, and now I’m publishing those under the name Kris Bock. As Kris Bock, I write novels of suspense and romance involving outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes.
RW: Would you like to write a different genre or sub-genre than you do now?
KB: I write fiction and nonfiction, for children and adults. I’ve written fantasy, historical fiction, paranormal, romance… there aren’t a lot more genres to explore. However, my current work in progress is a mystery for adults, which is a bit different from the romantic suspense I’ve been writing.
RW: How many books have you written, how many have been published?
KB: I have at least fifty published books, including six romantic suspense novels, two writing guides, and a lot of fiction and nonfiction for children. I’ve probably written another ten novels that are not published and most likely never will be.
RW: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?
KB: My romantic adventures should appeal to fans of “lighter” romantic suspense, along the lines of Mary Stewart, Barbara Michaels, and Nora Roberts. In fact, Roberta at Sensuous Reviews blog said, “Counterfeits is the kind of romantic suspense novel I have enjoyed since I first read Mary Stewart’s Moonspinners, and Kris Bock used all the things I love about this genre.”
You’ll find plenty of action and a sweet love story, but not the gritty violence and explicit erotica of some modern romantic suspense. I also tried to bring the New Mexico scenery to life—gorgeous sunsets, dangerous monsoon storms, and everywhere you turn a plant or animal that wants to scratch, bite, or sting you. Armchair adventure travelers are welcome!
RW: If I were a first-time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why?
KB: The Mad Monk’s Treasure, “Smart romance with an ‘Indiana Jones’ feel,” because it’s currently free at all e-book retailers. What’s better than a free book to find out whether you like an author’s work?
RW: How does setting inspire your romantic suspense novels?
KB: All of my romantic adventures are set in the Southwest. For example, in my romantic suspense Whispers in the Dark, my heroine is an archaeology Masters student working at the fictional “Lost Valley.” This site is closely based on Hovenweep National Monument. Located on the southern border between Colorado and Utah, these ruins were left behind by the ancestral Puebloans, also known as the Anasazi. It’s a smaller site than some, but that’s part of its charm. You can hike and camp without crowds. The lonely location allows for an almost Gothic atmosphere—mysterious lights in the canyon, spooky moaning sounds, and plenty of people hiding secrets. My heroine, Kylie, finds more than she bargains for, of course—including mystery, danger, and new love. She also falls in love with the Southwest, as I did after moving to New Mexico.
In Counterfeits, painter Jenny Kinley has spent the last decade struggling in the New York art world. Her grandmother’s sudden death brings her home to New Mexico, but inheriting the children’s art camp her grandmother ran is more of a burden than a gift. How can she give up her lifelong dreams of showing her work in galleries and museums? Her choice is complicated by meeting up with old friends, including dreamy Rob Caruso, the camp cook and all-around handyman, who of course has secrets. Jenny and Rob face midnight break-ins and make desperate escapes, but the biggest danger may come from the secrets that don’t want to stay buried.
I’ve been at many writing retreats at a music camp near Jemez Springs, New Mexico, and that inspired the children’s art camp which the heroine inherits in my book. I hiked in the surrounding area and took photos and notes to capture the setting. (See my Pinterest pictures.) The remote location provides for excellent action scenes and complications like limited cell phone service. I made it an art camp because I felt I could capture an artist’s persona after my time at Rhode Island School of Design.
RW: Are you in control of your characters or do they control you?
KB: I tend to be strong with plot but struggle more with characterization. I’ve learned not to start writing until I really know the characters. When they start talking in my head, I’ve got it. Some characters are loosely based on real people, which helps. For example, in The Mad Monk’s Treasure, Erin is precise, cautious, and thoughtful, much as I was when younger. (I’ve loosened up.) Camie has a lot in common with a dear friend of mine, though I switched genders for the character. Even the cat, Tiger, is based on a cat I once had the privilege of knowing. I’d like to hang out with these people (and Tiger). I hope readers will feel the same way.
RW: If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
KB: I love living in New Mexico, although I might move to a different part of the state, and I’d definitely travel more if I could afford it.
RW: Those are all the questions I have for you. Thank you for speaking to me.
KB: Thank you!
The Mad Monk’s Treasure
A legendary treasure hunt in the dramatic—and deadly—New Mexico desert.... Reviewers give it a 4.7 star average: “The story has it all—action, romance, danger, intrigue, lost treasure, not to mention a sizzling relationship....”
Get this romantic adventure free at ebook retailers!
The lost Victorio Peak treasure is the stuff of legends—a heretic Spanish priest’s gold mine, made richer by the spoils of bandits and an Apache raider. When Erin, a quiet history professor, uncovers a clue that may pinpoint the lost treasure cave, she prepares for adventure. But when a hit and run driver nearly kills her, she realizes she’s not the only one after the treasure. And is Drew, the handsome helicopter pilot who found her bleeding in a ditch, really a hero, or one of the enemies?
Erin isn’t sure she can trust Drew with her heart, but she’ll need his help to track down the treasure. She heads into the New Mexico wilderness with her brainy best friend Camie and a feisty orange cat. The wilderness holds its own dangers, from wild animals to sudden storms. Plus, the sinister men hunting Erin are determined to follow her all the way to the treasure, no matter where the twisted trail leads. Erin won’t give up an important historical find without a fight, but is she ready to risk her life—and her heart?
“Great balance of history, romance, and adventure. Smart romance with an “Indiana Jones” feel. Well-written with an attention to detail that allowed me to picture exactly in my head how a scene looked and played out.”
Among all the legends, all the fact and fiction, one story stood out. The Victorio Peak legend had it all. A Franciscan priest and a swindler. Torture, murder, a government cover-up. Where was the truth, among all the stories? Erin wanted to find out. Over time, and with Camie’s encouragement, she’d started to take the treasure hunt more seriously. It wasn’t so much for the treasure itself—that would most likely belong to the government or the landowners. But it would make her reputation, open up new job opportunities—change her life in ways she hardly dared dream.
She touched the book gently. The pages were falling out; she didn’t want to risk carrying it around. Instead, Erin snapped a picture of the petroglyphs with her phone. That would be enough to show Camie for now.
The timing was perfect; she just had to turn in grades and field a few tearful last-minute requests for extensions, and she’d be done for the semester. What better way to spend the summer, than hunting for buried treasure?
Erin shook her head. Who would’ve thought that she, the quiet, studious girl who’d spent her entire adult life in academia in one way or another, would be planning such an adventure?
Erin wheeled the bike around the front of her house and mounted. At the corner, she paused and looked both ways. The long frontage road was dangerously narrow, with a cement wall on one side and a ditch on the other. Fortunately, traffic was normally light, and at this time of day the road lay empty. Erin pushed off, still grinning from her find. She rode on the right side, by the ditch, instead of facing traffic, because it was just too frightening to ride alongside the wall when a car passed.
She’d gone a block when she heard the hum of a car engine as it pulled out from a side street behind her. She rode along the very edge of the pavement, even though the car would have plenty of room to pass her without oncoming traffic.
Erin glanced over her shoulder. The black SUV twenty feet behind her hadn’t bothered to pull out into the road at all. Jerk. When would drivers learn to share the road with bicyclists? Erin pulled onto the two-foot wide gravel strip between the pavement and the ditch. She couldn’t stop without risking a skid, but she slowed so the SUV could pass.
The engine roared. Erin glanced back again.
Black metal bore down on her. Her heart lurched and the bike wobbled. This guy was crazy! She whipped her gaze forward, rose up in the seat, and pumped the pedals with all her power, skimming along inches from the ditch. He was just trying to scare her. She’d get his license plate and—
She felt the bumper hit her back tire. The bike seemed to leap into the air, and she went flying. The dried mud and weeds of the ditch seemed to rise up to meet her.
She didn’t even have time to scream.
Kris Bock writes novels of suspense and romance with outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. The Mad Monk’s Treasure follows the hunt for a long-lost treasure in the New Mexico desert. In The Dead Man’s Treasure, estranged relatives compete to reach a buried treasure by following a series of complex clues. In The Skeleton Canyon Treasure, sparks fly when reader favorites Camie and Tiger help a mysterious man track down his missing uncle. Whispers in the Dark features archaeology and intrigue among ancient Southwest ruins. What We Found is a mystery with strong romantic elements about a young woman who finds a murder victim in the woods. In Counterfeits, stolen Rembrandt paintings bring danger to a small New Mexico town.
Fans of Mary Stewart, Barbara Michaels, and Terry Odell will want to check out Kris Bock’s romantic adventures. “Counterfeits is the kind of romantic suspense novel I have enjoyed since I first read Mary Stewart’s Moonspinners.” 5 Stars—Roberta at Sensuous Reviews blog
Read excerpts at www.krisbock.com or visit her Amazon page. Sign up for the Kris Bock newsletter for announcements of new books, sales, and more.
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