Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Ashes Ashes by Julie Coulter Bellon

Are you ever really innocent until proven guilty?

Sophia Naziri is wanted for questioning in the murder of a U.S. senator. She’s worried the police will show up on her doorstep any moment, but when Detective Colby Black appears, it’s to help her put out a kitchen fire, not take her in. Yet. His easy smile and persistence in getting to know her pushes all her troubles to the back of her mind, until a hit man tracks her down. Getting arrested becomes the least of her worries and the handsome detective could be her only way out---if she tells him the truth.

Colby Black’s sniper skills have been a blessing and a curse to him. As a member of a Hostage Negotiation Team, he can use them to save people, but sometimes he can’t protect the innocent despite his best efforts. When a hostage situation goes bad, he tries to put it behind him by helping out his mysterious next-door neighbor, Sophia Naziri. But she pulls Colby into a web of lies and conspiracy that will force him to use every skill he has in order to survive. Faced with the moment of truth, can he trust anyone around him---including the woman at the center of it all?

So, so happy today to share this book with you guys.  It's a fantastic romantic suspense from one of my favorite authors in this genre.  The first book in this series is All Fall Down although you don't have to read the first to understand Ashes Ashes.  I would call these stand alone books with overlapping characters.  :)

Colby is such a good guy- all protector and by the rules.  He was a great lead man in this book.  He's got a thing for the hot girl next door, shrouded in some mystery.  I think he got more than he bargained for with her!

There are a few things I love about Julie and her books.  I know when I pick up a book by Julie, it will be a good, solid story.  I will be engaged from beginning to end.  The characters will feel real and I will be able to relate to them.  I know it will be clean and that I won't have to hide it away from my mother or small children.  :)  I also know that I will be given a good balance of romance and suspense that will divert me from my normal, every day life stuff.  It's easy reading.  What could be better than that?!  

You can find Ashes Ashes at Amazon.

It's my awesome pleasure to be able to share with you an interview I did with Julie for this book.  Enjoy!

Julie, I’m so happy to be reviewing your book on my blog today and even more <squee> happy to be able to do an interview with you. Thanks so much for taking the time today.

You’ve been writing for quite a while now. Are you still as enthusiastic now as you were in the beginning? 

I really am. Writing is something I love and being able to share my stories with others is a thrill. I think the best part of being an author is holding that book in your hand for the first time. Such an amazing feeling. I also love meeting new people so this is a great profession for me.

Is there anything that has changed over the years in how you write?

I used to be a pantser, where I just started writing and went where the story took me. Now I outline a little more and do character bibles and plot pages. Not a strict outline, but a nice directional aid for sure. I'm still writing in half hour increments, though. Whenever Dora the Explorer is on in the morning I can get at least half an hour of uninterrupted writing time at the computer while my preschoolers watch it. Needless to say, I'm a fast typer because of that fact alone!

You have a large family and so many obligations which must take up so much of your time. How do you find the time to write? 

I keep a notebook with me in the car and in my bag so that when I get a moment during carpool or waiting at an orthodontic appointment I can scratch down a scene or a piece of dialogue or a character quirk. Then, when I get my computer time I can quickly write it all down. It's learning to write in snatches which isn't easy, but something I have to do right now with young kids. I'm also lucky to have older kids and a supportive husband who jump in when I'm under a deadline and need more writing time. I wouldn't be able to do this without them.

Your latest books are suspense with a military/government angle. That must take a lot of research. How do you go about your research? 

I have a lot of real-life contacts that I've cultivated in law enforcement, including detectives, DAs, firemen, Marines, and former FBI. They are always so wonderful to answer my questions and help me with whatever I need. There's also great books and internet resources out there. It's a lot of work, but I want my storylines to be as authentic as possible. 

What was your inspiration for Ashes Ashes? 

I loved Colby's character from All Fall Down and wanted to see more of his background. What made him tick? How did he feel about being a sniper? He was such a straight arrow, I wondered how meeting someone who was a little gray instead of black and white would affect him. I'd also done a lot of research on arms dealers around the world and this story just sort of came to me one day. (I was actually sitting in church when Viktor's character came to me. I'm not sure what that says about the story. Haha!)

Who is your favorite character from Ashes Ashes and why?

Ooh, that's hard. That's like asking which one of your kids is your favorite. I like Colby because he's loyal and straightforward, wants to do what's right, and cleans and bakes to relieve stress. What woman wouldn't want that? But I also love Sophia because of her strength. She's courageous even though she's scared and I think there are a lot of courageous women in the world today. I hope I can look back someday and think that of myself. I also love Rafe and Claire and the appearances they make in this story. There's just too many to pick a favorite! I love them all.

I’ve heard it said that the best writers are the ones the read a lot. Do you agree? What are some of your favorite books? (besides the obvious choice of your own. :) ) 

I do read a lot. This year my goal is to read 113 books and so far I'm right on track. Lately I've been reading a lot of historical fiction. I just finished Her Hesitant Heart by Carla Kelly and Esther by Heather Moore. Both great books. I think my favorites that I come back to time and again are Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson, anything by Joyce DiPastena or Melanie Jacobson. I read for escape and these authors offer that in spades.

Thank you so much for the interview! I really enjoyed it.

Me too!  Thanks, Julie.


Julie Coulter Bellon loves to write international romantic suspense novels because she gets to travel to distant lands to research and add an authentic feel to all of her books. Her favorite cities so far are Athens, Paris, Ottawa, and London. She taught journalism at BYU for fourteen years and that kept her on the cutting edge of current events and world news---which is where she gets her story ideas.

Julie offers writing and publishing tips,as well as her take on life on her blog You can also find out about all her upcoming projects at her website or you can follow her on Twitter @juliebellon.

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