My pen name – ah, therein lies a tale! When my first three thrillers were published by Warner Books over ten years ago, I wasn’t well known. Those books were big-canvas stories, the kind of thriller-adventure structure used by best-selling authors Robert Ludlum and Tom Clancy, and I had a theory that male readers browsing in bookstores and seeing a big thriller by a new author might subconsciously think: How exciting can it really be if it’s written by a girl? I had no market research on which to base this, mind you; it was just a gut feel. I’d noted that women don’t care much if a book is written by a man or a woman, but I sensed that men preferred books by men. I didn’t take it personally, I just wanted to sell lots of books! So I created the male pen name Stephen Kyle.
Things have changed since then. I’ve had quite a bit of success as an author, having published under my own name four historical novels – my “Thornleigh” series set in Tudor England – with Kensington Books. The latest release is The Queen’s Gamble which features the young Queen Elizabeth I as she faces the first international crisis of her reign. And I’ve recently signed with Kensington to write three more “Thornleigh” books.
So now, I’m very happy to use my own name for my new novel of suspense, Entrapped. Set in Alberta, Canada, Entrapped is the story of Liv Gardner, an ambitious young oil executive intent on stopping farmer Tom Wainwright who is sabotaging her rigs after a spill of lethal “sour” gas poisoned his wife. Desperate to save the company she built, Liv plants evidence to frame him. But her world shifts when she finds that Tom is just a single father trying to protect his family . . . and when the evidence she planted is used to indict him for a murder he didn’t commit, only Liv can save him.
By the way, now that I’m better known I decided to make those three early thrillers available under my own name, too, so I’m re-releasing them as e-books over the next few months. The first is The Experiment, available now from Amazon. It’s about stunt-woman Alana Marks, who is fearless in her work but is haunted with super-human knowledge of a past she could not possibly know. When she learns that she’s the result of a Nazi genetic experiment that enabled a mother’s knowledge to be transferred to her offspring, she also learns that she’s the target of the gene’s creator, Dr Viktor Schiller. Schiller is on a mission to exterminate his new Eve before she can foster a master race that will turn human evolution onto a brutal new course.
As for drama, all my books – the historicals and the contemporary thrillers – are complex stories involving intense emotions that people of all eras experience. That’s the very essence of drama. In fact, I’d say that the author’s job is to maximize the drama by throwing characters into situations of tremendous pressure, forcing them to make hard decisions. Readers respond to this empathetically, making us ask ourselves, What would I do in that situation? Drama? Bring it on!
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I have been allowed to host a giveaway of two books by Ms. Kyle. The first book, Entrapped, is an eBook. The second book, The Queen’s Gamble, is a print book. There will only be one winner in this giveaway so the winner receives two books. The book descriptions are below. This giveaway ends on November 28th, open only to US and Canadian residents (sorry internationals! the print copy can only be mailed to US/Can).
Entrapped book description:
Set in Alberta, Entrapped is the story of Liv Gardner, an ambitious young oil executive intent on stopping farmer Tom Wainwright who is sabotaging her rigs after a spill of lethal “sour” gas poisoned his wife. Desperate to save the company she built, Liv plants evidence to frame Tom. But when the evidence is used to indict him for a murder he didn’t commit, Liv alone can save him.
The Queen’s Gamble book description:
Young Queen Elizabeth I’s path to the throne has been a perilous one, and already she faces a dangerous crisis. French troops have landed in Scotland to quell a rebel Protestant army, and Elizabeth fears once they are entrenched on the border, they will invade England.
Isabel Thornleigh has returned to London from the New World with her Spanish husband, Carlos Valverde, and their young son. Ever the queen’s loyal servant, Isabel is recruited to smuggle money to the Scottish rebels. Yet Elizabeth’s trust only goes so far—Isabel’s son will be the queen’s pampered hostage until she completes her mission. Matters grow worse when Isabel’s husband is engaged as military advisor to the French, putting the couple on opposite sides in a deadly cold war.