Hello and welcome to my blog for another round of Meet the Characters! Today I am featuring a guest blogger who has graciously agreed to let me do a character interview, which is my favorite kind of interview. Join me in welcoming author, Riley McKissack, and her characters from Targeted. It’s a fantastic romantic suspense with wonderful characters so without further ado here is the interview with Mick Hampton, hero from Targeted .
How did you first meet your writer?
I don’t remember first meeting Riley. She was just always there, outside the yellow, crime scene tape, videotaping away. Course you couldn’t miss her. There are very few television camera women in Atlanta. But, she was just always part of the scenery at crime scenes. But, the night I got shot? She was the first person to get there besides a cop that had happened onto the scene. My partner was much more seriously hurt than me, so I told the cop to help her. Riley happened along. I’ve always suspected she monitored cop frequencies even when she wasn’t working. She used to be kinda driven to get the best video. But, that night, she jumped out of her SUV and ran to me, putting her hands onto my bullet wounds, staunching the blood as if she’d been trained to do it. I guess she’d seen so much, it’d just become part of who she was, like mosquito bites on a hot, summer night at a crime scene. Anyway, I owed her after that for sure.
Did you ever think that your life would end up being in a book?
Riley put me on TV so much that she used to joke that she was just gonna line up the stories she’d shot of me, and type down what she saw. Although, mostly all she got of me was my back. I didn’t really want my face getting on TV. But, she was good about that, not putting cop’s faces on TV that asked her not to. I don’t really resent her putting the incident with my partner in the book. How could I after I bled all over her.
What are your favorite scenes in your book: the action, the dialog or the romance?
Well, the sex scenes were the best when they were actually happening. I don’t know how she got the details right. But, heck, whatever. What she did get right was all the action. I guess she’s felt the adrenalin on breaking news enough to know what I was feeling.
Did you have a hard time convincing your author to write any particular scenes for you?
Yeah, she didn’t want to write the scenes where I (and another person in the story I’m not gonna name) were a little less than professional in our attempt to get information from a bad guy or two. But, I said, “Hell Riley, don’t you want to put it down like it really happened? You always said you journalists weren’t there to glorify cops. Write it down like it happened, Riley. Don’t spare me.
Do you infiltrate your writer’s dreams?
I don’t know how I couldn’t have. When a person goes through the trauma of an event like the day I got gunned down in Atlanta, you don’t just go back to watching Downton Abbey, and falling asleep at 10:30 afterwards like nothing happened.
What do you like to do when you are not being actively read somewhere?
I like to catch bad guys. And put their sorry asses in jail. Preferably for a very long time.
Are you happy with the genre your writer has placed you in?
Heck yeah. It had to be a suspense. And I’m damned glad she threw in some romance. Pardon my grin, ma’am.
If you could rewrite anything in your book, what would it be?
The love scene would have been longer.
Do you like the way the book ended?
Heck yeah. I didn’t die. And I put away some bad guys.
Would you be interested in a sequel, if your writer was so inclined?
I wouldn’t mind if she wrote some stories about some of my buddies. You don’t know how much cop types will rag your ass for being a ‘hero”. The high, whiney tone on the word hero wasn’t by accident. “Get out of the way. Here comes the hero.” Yeah, I’m about ready to be done with that phrase.
What is your least favorite characteristic your writer has attributed to you?
I don’t know. She seems to think I’m noble or something. When you’ve got a vicious desire to throw someone into a cell for the rest of their lives, I don’t know how noble or heroic that might come across.
What do you do for a living?
Put bad guys away. Used to be an Atlanta Cop. But, moved on to being an FBI agent so I had more latitude to go after bad guys.
What is your greatest fear?
Dying before I get enough bad guys. Seems to be a trend here, huh?
What do you wear when you go to sleep?
Only person who gets to know that is the woman I wake up with in the morning.
What is your most prized possession?
Have to be my gun. Or my badge, that gives me the authority to throw scumbags in a cell and slam the door on them for a very long time.
Who was your first girlfriend and what do you like most about them?
Becca, the woman in Riley’s book, was my first girlfriend. What do I like about her? Everything. The way her skin feels beneath my hands, those blue eyes that says she thinks I’m a decent guy, that how I started out in life doesn’t define me.
Did you have a pet as a child?
Do you count the rats that ran around underneath my parent’s trailer? No. We didn’t have pets at our home. I would never have brought anything I loved into that place. I would have been afraid my dad would have killed it. It was bad enough when he . . . Nevermind.
What do you think your greatest weakness is?
Weakness? You think I’m gonna put it out there, so some scumbag can use it against me?
What are you proudest of?
The fact that Becca’s father, the judge, speaks well of me.
What embarrasses you?
Answering these questions. I’m only doing it cause the judge thinks it reflects back well on law enforcement. I owe that guy. Would do anything he asked. We about done here?
What is something no one knows about you?
It wouldn’t be something no one knows about me if I were to tell it here, now would it?
Why do you keep it a secret?
Cause it’s my business.
And what would happen if everyone found out about it?
What do you find most appealing in men or women?
What do you find most unappealing in men or women?
What do you like most about where you live?
I like the way people talk. Some people think Southern accents are hokey or make people sound uneducated. But, to me they are like music, something beautiful.
What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy Sunday?
Stay in bed with Becca.
What is your vivid memory of your mother and father?
My mom crying. My dad yelling. And hitting. Hitting me, hitting Mom. And the last time he ever hit me.
What word makes you the happiest?
Guilty, said by the foreman of the jury.
What is your least favorite word?
That’d be a Not in front of the word Guilty.
Would you ever use a voodoo doll to hurt anyone?
You’re kidding, right? A gun’s real. A prison cell’s real. I’ll stick to what’s real.
What is your most favorite memory?
The first time the judge took me home to have dinner with him and his twin daughters, Becca and Tess.
If you knew a zombie apocalypse was coming in one week, what would you do?
Try and look like a zombie? And maybe use a voodoo doll on them?
How do you react when people sing “Happy Birthday” to you in a restaurant?
I try not to let that happen.
What’s your favorite animal?
Barley, Becca’s dog. That dog if he were human, would be a cop. No other way about it.
Have you ever thought about getting a tattoo, what would it be and where? If not, what if you had to?
I’d never get a tattoo. I don’t do undercover anymore but if I did, it wouldn’t be good. You really don’t want stuff criminals can identify you by.
FBI agent Mick Hampton has a blood grudge against the drug runners who killed his partner Tess Jefferson. The guilt he feels over his inability to protect her has destroyed any chance for a life together with the woman he loved, Becca, his dead partner’s twin.
So, when Mick gets a chance to go undercover with a domestic terrorism cell who justify their drug trafficking as a way to fund their fight against the federal government, the danger is insignificant compared to the guilt he’s lived with since the day his partner was gunned down.
The undercover operation takes a drastic left turn when the drug dealers kidnap his former love, who is also a daughter of the judge who put them away in prison.
Coincidence? Or a premeditated move to get Mick out of the way for good?
No matter the circumstances, Mick and the woman he’s loved and lost could end up dead. Not to mention the fact that countless civilians could also die if Mick doesn’t stop the drug runner’s plot to wreck vengeance on the federal government they hate.
From below, she heard shouts and knew the chase was on full force. Would they alert their buddies, so that no part of the county would be safe, countless eyes watching out for her? Countless anonymous eyes?
“Girlie, come on out, girlie,” Rowdy’s voice cut through the greenery like a machete, slicing at her hope of escaping. Her only immediate need was to get away from him.
“Don’t make me come find you. If I have to come in there and find you, I’m gonna be real mad.” His voice careened up high into crazy territory. “Don’t know what I might be capable of if I get that mad.”
Clawing nails raked along her nerve endings, spiking into her flesh, visualizing all that a man like Rowdy could do. Would relish doing.
“Get me that deer hunting knife, Stan. I might have me some skinning to do.” He laughed like a hyena on the hunt. “Come on out, girlie. Don’t make me come in there looking for yoouuu,” he yodeled out the last word.
She froze, paralyzed for a second, his words inspiring the sort of terror that almost convinced her to give herself up rather than provoke his wrath further.
Then, a fiery spike of anger cut through that insane thought and like a deer flushed out by the dogs, she ran, ran for all she was worth, ran for her life. Or from worse.
Ran from what a depraved monster like Rowdy could dream up.
Spurting up the hill, rocks raining down the slope, she must be alerting everyone to her exact location. She couldn’t worry about that, needed to put as much distance between herself and the cabin as possible.
She ran like a mad woman, like a fox with hounds after it, baying for her blood. Felt as crazed as the little creatures must feel. Ran for what seemed forever, through dense, malicious clawing greenery. Barley ran at her heels, his eyes frantic, unhappy, seeming instinctively to realize what was at stake.
Her breath came in ragged gasps, ripping, burning breaths racketing through her lungs. Finally, she had to stop, panting for oxygen. Half collapsing against a tree, she listened, trying to hear over the blood pounding in her ears.
Then, she heard it, a faint sound of footsteps, kicking loose gravel, bringing someone closer and closer up the mountain.
Nearly shrieking with terror, she sucked in the sound that would reveal her whereabouts, pivoted and ran in a half limp, half stumble, leaning to favor her right side, where the ribs threatened to rip through the skin.
If they caught her, even Mick might not be able to keep them from killing her, or merely torturing her to make her pay for her escape. If Mick tried to stop them, they both might end up dead.
And Mick would try to stop them.
The crazed blood fear that prey experienced pulsed through her body. Her pursuers might be equally crazed with bloodlust that the chase excited. Who knew what would happen if they caught her?
She ran then, ignoring her side, only knowing she had to get away. Get away from the monsters.
Buy the Book:
Riley McKissack is an award-winning, television news photojournalist. Cornered gunmen, cop killers, a bomb going off in a domestic terrorism incident. She’s videotaped it all and has the Emmy’s to show for it.
She spent years chasing stories involving every type of bad guy and cop imaginable, including FBI, Homeland Security, homicide detectives and arson investigators.
She sponged up the drama, tension and danger on SWAT operations, hostage negotiations, drug busts and countless other dangerous situations.
That passion and drama spills out onto the pages of her novels, along with the personal stories behind the men and women who stand between danger and the people they love.
As a special treat Riley is hosing an awesome GIVEAWAY! Just go to Riley’s facebook page and identify the dog featured in Targeted. One lucky
commenter will be chosen at random to receive a $25 Starbucks or Home Depot gift
card. (winner’s choice.)
Thank you for joining us today! I hope you enjoyed this round of Meet the Characters and will join us again next week!