Wednesday, May 7, 2014


My guest is romantic suspense writer, M.L. (Matt) Buchman. I love his books. The romance is great but what I love is the action, danger, kick-ass solutions, and of course a happy ever after. What's not to like? 
Today Matt talks about the challenges of writing romantic suspense based on real life heroes. 

Hi and thanks for coming aboard for a short flight.

I have this friend who says he likes writing romance because it gives so much structure which he can than hang his story on. And I see his point: her, him, love interest, love challenge, love resolution, HEA! Voila!

After 15 published romance novels, I've concluded that my friend is a lunatic. Totally! Why? (So glad you asked!)

Most of my novels aren't just romance, they’re romantic suspense, including my latest release Pure
LA County Fire Department's S-70 Firehawk
which launches my new Firehawks series. Rom Sus means I've set myself a tough challenge, winding together a love story and a suspense story in such a way that one drives the other and neither can be removed without the whole thing falling apart.

But was that enough for me?

Nooo! Fool M.L. Writer had to set a higher challenge of writing about real world heroes and heroines. I struggle to be as accurate as possible, though not as realistic as possible. (Military battle and fighting forest fires are much too ugly and scary to include all of the details and at the core I want to tell a love story; so I clean it up a little.)

That means that one of the major tasks I set for myself is research. Oh, I’m fine with reading books, blogs, and following the news. I did two years of that before I even tried to start my Night Stalkers or my Firehawks series. My trouble is that I’m pretty shy in new situations with people.

Drop me into a corporate environment, and I can rock-and-roll; I spent over 25 years there. However, on my very first day in corporate, I was assigned to copy a large box of court documents. As I squatted down, I blew the seam out of my pants from the bottom of the zipper all the way up to my back belt loop. I was too terrified to do anything, so I didn't take lunch, I didn't take breaks, I spent the whole day with my butt facing a wall and then snuck out with my suit coat held just so.

Every interview I do for my writing is like that. Over the years I've conducted hundreds of job interviews as well. But when it comes down to my writing, not so much. For example, I had a change to talk with a Coast Guard heli-rescue pilot, who was at an airshow with his chopper specifically to answer questions. I fell mute. It can take me weeks or even months to gear up for an interview.

And oddly, instead of getting easier with time as it did in corporate, I find personal interviews for my stories keeps getting harder. The more book-based knowledge I acquire, the more I am daunted by the men and women who fly to the rescue—military or fire. I once had the opportunity to interview a woman who flew two tours in Iraq as a Black Hawk crew chief. She was an incredibly shy and soft-spoken woman half my age, and I was so daunted by her that, if my friends had not dragged me in, I would never have managed to do it. (She was awesome and immensely helpful, by the way.)

Oddly, my reaction has become one of the key features of my books in both of these series. I am in true awe of the real life versions of these people and I attempt to capture that, yet show the real people that I came to know and several of whom I now count as friends. These are the men and women of Pure Heat!

Let's chat 
I’d love to hear who are the people you go gob-smacked mute in front of?
One commenter will win a copy of Pure Heat, and I'll announce the winner Friday's blog. 

These daredevil smokejumpers fight more than fires.
The elite fire experts of Mount Hood Aviation fly into places even the CIA can’t penetrate.

She lives to fight fires
Carly Thomas could read burn patterns before she knew the alphabet. A third-generation forest fire specialist who lost both her father and her fiancĂ© to the flames, she’s learned to live life like she fights fires: with emotions shut down.

But he’s lit an inferno she can’t quench
Former smokejumper Steve "Merks" Mercer can no longer fight fires up close and personal, but he can still use his intimate knowledge of wildland burns as a spotter and drone specialist. Assigned to copilot a Firehawk with Carly, they take to the skies to battle the worst wildfire in decades and discover a terrorist threat hidden deep in the Oregon wilderness—but it’s the heat between them that really sizzles. Download chapter excerpt

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M. L. Buchman has over a dozen romances and more than 20 books in print (he also writes science fiction and fantasy). His full name, Matthew Lieber Buchman, translates as Matthew Beloved Book Man, no wonder he’s a writer.
He is now making his living full-time as a writer, scribbling away with his wife on the Oregon Coast.

Monday, May 5, 2014


Did you have a restful weekend?

I imagine many of you are just about blogged out after April’s A-Z. It takes a lot out of you, doesn't it? I've also found it to be fun and many of the topics fascinating. Don’t you love seeing the creativity our blogging community? It reminds you how disparate our community is in interests. Even though I didn't comment much due to my shoulder and typing difficulties, I did read some great posts.

I want to express my heartfelt appreciation to Kat Sheridan for expert handling the blog in April during my absence. If not for her, my blog would have been on hiatus for the month. I had actually cancelled several guests due to the upcoming surgery and recuperation time. She offered to host Over Coffee for me—that blew me away for a number of reasons. For one, I know she’s in the middle of researching and writing her latest book and I know the work involved with the blog posting 3 times a week and herding cats, erm, guests. And it was April A-Z challenge and no way would I ask someone to take that on, friend or no.

Kat has been an occasional contributor and host Over Coffee for a couple of years. I've been around and participating in the A-Z for the last three or four years and am familiar with it. Kat, on the other hand, wasn't. I mentioned that she could handle the blog however she wanted during my absence. Kat has a wide range of interests, is well read, and has a wicked sense of humor. I love that about her—never dull and boring. You can imagine my surprise when she wanted to do A-Z, in our quasi way of three times a week. I sent her all the information on A-Z and the links. She was a real trooper and dove right into A-Z. I was impressed with the interesting subjects chosen and participating guests willing to contribute.

None of this would have been possible without some amazing people. I want to thank my writing group, The Writing Wombats for their support and help as well as Central Ohio Fiction Writers members who helped and their historical romance group that stepped up as guests and articles. My thanks to Mark Koopmans for the offer to help with articles if needed. I also want to thank all of you for the support you gave Kat in my absence.

I’m 5 weeks post op. The shoulder is healing at what feels like a snail’s pace. I still tire easily. My range of motion and manipulation is still limited. I can type with two hands, but only in short duration. So even taking up the reins of Over Coffee again, I’m still wobbly. And now, new pain from intensive physical therapy—I call it the Midwest chapter of the Spanish Inquisition, J Hate those pretzel maneuvers. Commenting will still be tough for me. Just be patient with me. I will get around to y’all as I can. It's not a lack of interest or caring just pesky limitations. J

Any favorite posts in A-Z you like to share with me? Did you have a favorite post from Kat’s hosting the Over Coffee? Did you do anything fun this weekend you’d like to share?