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Take 5: Gwen Hernandez and LIE WITH ME

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Lie With Me by Gwen Hernandez: Take 5 Interview header for Writer Unboxed

Lie With me, the new title from Writer Unboxed contributor Gwen Hernadez, releases this coming Tuesday, and we’re delighted to help her celebrate the occasion.

The latest in a series Gwen started in 2010, this edition is centered on a group of found family, but formed by—and mostly around—women. In spite of the women-centered cast, Gwen tells us, “At the same time, I wanted to write a story for one of the characters who’s been in all of my previous books, Jason Chin.” Gwen was raised in the Army and Navy, and married an Air Force engineer, so it’s natural that her Men of Steele series features military heroes and heroines who must overcome danger to find true love. Lie With Me is a crossover that brings Jason from the Men of Steele, and pairs him with an old flame from college, Emma Gallagher, who’s part of a secret group called the Night Herons. Bonded by a painful shared past, the Night Herons take down wealthy and powerful men whose evil deeds often go unpunished. Sounds like a delicious recipe to us, but don’t take our word for it. USA Today bestselling author Rachel Grant says Lie With Me is “another emotional, gripping page-turner from Gwen Hernandez. You can always count on her to deliver the perfect balance of steam, action, and suspense!”

Want to hear more? Read on. Congratulations, Gwen!

Q: What’s the premise of your new book?

GH: While on a mission to expose a billionaire businessman who preys on vulnerable women and girls, Emma Gallagher’s informant is killed before he can hand over the proof she needs. When the man who once broke her heart gets the files instead, she’ll use their fierce attraction, his guilty conscience…whatever it takes to recover the evidence to bring a murderer to justice.

Former special operator Jason Chin was hired to protect his wealthy client’s interests, but when an assassin attacks Emma, he’s forced to rethink everything he knows about the job, the choices of his past, and the woman he never stopped loving. On the run with her, he risks it all to outwit a deadly enemy and convince Emma to be his future.

Q: What would you like people to know about the story itself?

GH: It’s an action-packed adventure full of danger and romance that’s also a blatant love letter to the city of Lucerne, Switzerland, where most of it takes place. I had a blast virtually revisiting one of my favorite places while writing the book.

I tackle some tough subjects, but it is ultimately—as all of my stories are—about hope.

Q: What do your characters have to overcome in this story? What challenge do you set before them?

GH: From the beginning, they’re at odds. Emma’s out to destroy a man whose interests Jason was hired to protect. And it’s personal for Jason because his brother is the rich guy’s right-hand man, so he’s torn between believing Emma and believing his brother.

For her part, Emma has good reasons to be angry with Jason, but she has to set aside their history if she’s going to get the evidence from him. She thinks she can use a pretext on him, send him on his way, and never see him again. Fate has a different plan. ;-)

Jason is this impossibly beautiful man who was a college football player, a famous underwear model, and later an Air Force pararescueman, but he has so many insecurities around being wanted only for his looks or whatever exciting role he embodies, and never for the person on the inside. It was interesting to explore how that informed his and Emma’s backstory, and how it impacted their responses in their new situation.

Neither of them trusts easily.

Q: What unique challenges did this book pose for you, if any?

GH: Oh, boy. Lie With Me took longer than any book I’ve ever written, for so many reasons. It was the first time I’d ever started a new series on purpose (my first series began as a standalone novel that I pulled secondary characters from), and I struggled to find a unifying element for the group.

I also waffled on their mission, their location, their history… This book went through several drafts of the first half, just to help me figure out the series stuff. Once I nailed it down, writing the rest of the book was easier.

Another challenge was merging characters from two series. I had to determine how and why their paths would cross in a way that was true to the mission of the Night Herons, and provided enough conflict to carry the book.

The pandemic, having my husband work from home for three years, the revolving door of adult children, losing my dog/writing companion, and trying to tease out my most effective writing process all definitely slowed me down. The family and process stuff had upsides, but getting the words down wasn’t one of them!

Q: What has been the most rewarding aspect of having written this book?

GH: Finishing the book despite all of those challenges, and loving the story I created. I have a renewed sense of confidence in my ability to write, and to create a series, and a better set of tools for maintaining momentum.

The feedback from early readers has been very gratifying too. One member of my ARC team emailed me at 2:30 a.m. to tell me she was trying to “come down off the high” she got reading the book, and that she couldn’t put it down.

That’s the highest praise I can imagine.

Thanks for letting me share my new book with you!

You can learn more about Gwen’s writing, and her teaching, at her website. Or connect with her on Instagram or Facebook

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