Waking Nightmare

 Waking Nightmare  As the release date for WAKING NIGHTMARE approaches (Sept. 1) I feel a bit like I used to when I waited for my due date to arrive.  Certainly it feels like this book has been in the works forever.  No mere nine months for this particular baby–I sold the series in 2007.  That’s a long gestation!

When I sold The Mindhunters series to Berkley, Waking Nightmare was a complete.  But I also owed two books to Silhouette, and I work full-time.  My Berkley editor wanted to release the dark romantic thrillers back to back, so the books were scheduled for 2009.  At times it felt like this day would never come!

The Mindhunters series features a private forensics agency that consults with law enforcement on particularly puzzling or high profile crimes.  Headed up by the legendary Adam Raiker, a former FBI profiler, the agency includes some of the best criminologists in the country.  Each story features one of his employees investigating a case.

Waking Nightmare is the first in the trilogy.  Ryne Robel is a Savannah police detective on the trail of a sadistic serial rapist.  He’s requested another investigator for his task force and he isn’t pleased when his commander instead hires Abbie Phillips as an outside consultant.  She may be a brilliant forensic profiler, but Ryne needs answers, not psycho-babble and head games.

However, Abbie convinces him that head games are exactly what this elusive suspect is all about.  The seemingly random acts of torture are actually calculated to match each victim’s darkest fears.  And the stakes are rising.  While they study the devious psychopath, he’s watching them–the next objects of his terrifying obsession.

After writing twenty-five books for Silhouette Romantic Suspense, it was incredibly liberating to write the three Mindhunters books.  While they’re definitely romance, a gritty suspense is at the forefront.  The length allowed me to include a complex suspense with plenty of plot twists and a relationship that developed at a believable pace.  Ryne and Abbie have every reason not to end up together.  She’s only there for the course of the investigation and then she’ll be gone.  Neither of them are a good bet in the romance department.  And isn’t that what makes for a satisfying romance?  When two people defy all odds to find their happily-ever-after?

Book two in the series, Waking Evil will follow in October and Waking the Dead is released in November.  Check out my website at www.kyliebrant.com for excerpts, news and sign up for the monthly contests!

What makes a book work for you?  What does it take for you to find the romance between the characters credible?  Have you ever read books when you didn’t believe the characters should end up together?

I’m giving away a signed copy of  Waking Nightmare to one lucky commenter today!

54 Responses to Waking Nightmare

  1. Deidre

    Kylie, I’m not far from Savannah. Have you visited? It’s beautiful in the historic area, isn’t it?


  2. Lisa

    Wow did know this was out will have to fine it in the store. Thanks!

  3. Lindy

    It’s more believable for me if the characters have known each other for a while, and have already established a friendship. If I don’t think they should get together, I might not finish the book…


  4. Barb Kroon


    Congratulations on the Mindhunters trilogy. It’s a fascinating concept for packaging different kinds of stories involving forensic science and criminology. There’s a certain gift card I’ve been holding onto since Mother’s Day that I think I’m going to put to use to get this new release.

  5. Little Lamb Lost

    There have been occasions when I read a romance where I remained unconvinced regarding the main characters really belonging together. However, I usually had quite a bit of difficulty with enjoying the writing of those stories and didn’t analyze the why. A longer book does give more time for a relationship to be built credibly and characters which I admired also help me to see why the characters would be attracted to each other.

    How long has the story for your first book in this new series been simmering? Am curious.

  6. Guestauthor

    Lexee, as a reader I get disappointed when I invest in characters and then they don’t end up together. I always rewrite their ending in my head 🙂

    Martha, perfect characters make me feel inferior, so I don’t like to read them either!

    Thanks, Pam! I blame my love of police procedurals on my dad. He controlled the remote and that’s always what he was watching. So I grew up watching the same. Never thought I’d end up writing them, though!

  7. Guestauthor

    Cherie–as you said, the balance is what is important. Too perfect characters are also boring. But they can’t be so stupid or heinous that you don’t care about their happiness. I always say I can’t pick who I spend time with everyday (work) so I’m doubly picky with my story people!

    Thanks, Catslady. Mindhunters seemed the perfect title for the agency’s investigators!

    Cathy, I’m a sucker for a bit of humor in my plots too, even if it’s only in the dialogue.

  8. Guestauthor

    Sherry–yes, first of all things have to be believable. And trying to convince the reader that the protagonist is great at his or her job and then they go and do something ridiculous…hard to suspend disbelief!

    Pam-you sound pretty easy to please! And my dh gets sick of me watching movies and saying, “OK, this is strictly male fantasy because a guy like that would never get a woman like her.” LOL. So I guess there are storylines where I don’t buy the HEA!

    Thanks, Maithe! I read for voice and characterization first but every facet has to be there to make for a super read.

  9. Guestauthor

    Debby–I read different books, depending on my mood 🙂

    Tina–I just agreed to three more books in the series to come out in 2010–2011.

    Sabrina–hope you enjoy it!

    Valerie–let’s just say that I’m glad you’re not looking at my office right now! I can’t seem to keep the desk cleared off. It’s at the stage where the place needs to be shoveled out. These days I work in the family room on the chaise lounge with a lap top. During the school year, I write nights and weekends. During the summer I exercise a couple hours and then settle down to write ten pages, five days a week. So the school year really slows my process down. It takes me five months to write a book during the year, and four in the summer (because I do some playing then too ).

  10. Guestauthor

    Hi Carol–As I recall, I was sick in bed with laryngitis when I got the call. Had to croak out my acceptance because I couldn’t talk. And when I tried to call people and tell them no one could understand me!

  11. Pam Keener

    Just my cuppo tea. I love love love police procedurals. Suspense is something I will ALWAYS reach for. Congrats on your new release.
    Love & Hugs, Pam Keener in Pa

  12. MarthaE

    Sounds like a lot of work went into the series. Congratulations and Best Wishes on the release. Good tension… reparte and not always “perfect” characters makes good romance for me. I love suspense. Not sure if I have read a book where I didn’t think they should get together. mesreadsATgmailDOTcom

  13. Lexee

    I have never read a book where I thought that the characters shouldn’t end up together but have read a few where I thought that they should and that they would and then they didn’t. A book works for me when things are not perfect, nothing’s perfect. I love action so something going on always works for me.

  14. Cathy M

    I read all kinds of romance stories, and my favorites always have lots of chemistry, both in and out of bed, a bit of humor, a storyline that flows, and characters that are interesting.

  15. catslady

    I too really enjoy romantic suspense. I started out reading mysteries and romantic suspense is the perfect blend of genres. I also like the series name of Mindhunters!

  16. Cherie J

    What is most important is that the characters are well developed. I want them to be likable and have a strong code of honor. I want to see a build up of the sexual tension between the hero and heroine. I don’t just want them to jump in bed within the first few chapters. Makes me feel cheated when an author does that. I have read books where I disliked the heroines so much because either they were wishy washy and agonized over the same thing over and over again or because she thought she knew everything and refused to listen to good counsel. A heroine should have flaws but the flaws should not be so strong that you end up not liking her. There has to be a balance.

  17. Maithe

    Hi Kylie! Oh my, The Mindhunters trilogy sounds so good! I absolutely love trilogies and romantic suspense makes it even better. *G*

    I think the most important thing for me in a book is the plot…give me a decent plot! If it is not good, I will keep focusing on that and it will be torturous reading for me. Secondly, the characters need to be 3-dimensional…make them believable!! I cannot stand these characters that sound like little paperdolls that you move from point A to point B without rhyme or reason. And lastly, please do not give me excessively flowery language…it just makes me sleepy. I don’t need 500 words to describe something that would have been better said with 250 words.

    Yup, I am a difficult reader, but man, I just love my books. *L* I am really looking forward to reading your books Kylie!! Best of luck!!

  18. Pam S

    There has to be something in it that grabs my attention, complex characters, good world building, a meaningful plot. I like mystery, action, and humor thrown into my romances… okay so a bit of everything lol?

    I have read a few books where the hero/heroine just didn’t see to fit for me. Though I liked the story as a whole on most of them would have liked to see something more that connected the characters.

  19. Sherry H

    What makes a book work for me is that I believe in the characters. I hate the ones that have a FBI agent that does really stupid stuff. That is just not believable to me.

  20. Valerie

    This looks really good and I’ve enjoyed reading all the comments.

    So, what’s a normal writing day like for you?

    What does your work space look like?


  21. Sabrina

    I love romantic suspense and this is one I’ll need to add to my TBR pile!

  22. Tina b

    i love this! i hope you make many more like this to come!

  23. Debby

    Different books do different things for me

  24. Carol M

    Congrats, Maria!

    This sounds like a great trilogy. I’ve always enjoyed romantic suspense.

    I always like to ask authors how they felt when they sold their first manuscript. What did you do when you got the call?

  25. Maria

    OMG! Thanks so much! I can’t wait to read it!

  26. Guestauthor

    Winner of the signed copy of Waking Nightmare is Maria 🙂 Please send me your snail mail addy!

    Thanks to all the commenters! I enjoyed discussing books with everyone!

  27. Guestauthor

    I do, Deidre! Thanks for the congrats!

  28. Deidre

    Congratulations on the almost, finally release of Waking Nightmare. It must have been torture waiting so long. Just makes it all the more sweeter when it does happen though, don’t you agree? lol


  29. Guestauthor

    Thanks, Mariska 🙂 I think a book without emotion is too dried out. Difficult to invest in the characters if you don’t know what they’re going through, internally!

  30. Mariska Hadienns

    Hi Kylie! Your book seems awesome. I love the way you make me suspense about what will happen next with the main characters 🙂 I love a book when it can carry me emotion thru, till the end of chapters. A book that has mystery, suspense, conflicts and romance will absolutely catches my attention! And i found them in your book 🙂

  31. Guestauthor

    I’m with you, Pam. I want characters I can pull for. I don’t want to read about two people who at the end of the book I’m thinking–good! They deserve each other, LOL!

  32. Guestauthor

    Not much longer to wait, JoAnn! Seems like we’ve been talking about them forever!

  33. Pamk

    I’ve read books were they hero/heroine neither one did it for me. Arrogant Ahold hero do not do it for me and whiny or tstl heroines will make a book a wallbanger in a minute. I not read one like that in a long time thank goodness. I hate getting a book like that.

  34. JoAnn Peterson

    Hi! I’m so happy that the trilogy has finally started! I can’t wait to read the first book! I love books that keep my attention so that I hate to put them down AND your books do that for me!! The suspense is great!! Can’t wait to get my hands OR should I say my eyes on it!!

  35. Guestauthor

    LOL, Allison, sometimes I freaked myself out a little…especially with the last one 🙂 But I think you can read them at night okay. Most people are braver than me . This has been a great ride but has seemed to take forever, because of other writing commitments. It’s great to heave a sigh of relief that they’ll finally be here!

  36. Guestauthor

    Thanks, Kara, I hope you enjoy it! I like humor in mine too, even if it’s just the occasional dialogue.

  37. Allison

    Books work for me when the characters are portrayed as real people and it’s like I’m walking into a moment of their lives. If an authors tries to provide too much back story it makes it seem fake. A characters responses should reflect their backstory but it’s that whole “show don’t tell.”

    I am really excited about this new trilogy. I “discovered” you through facebook and it’s been a great process to watch your posts reflect your excitement and frustration with the process. My husband is going away to school for a year so I plan to use this trilogy as a way to distract me while he’s gone (and likely scare me to death as well).

  38. kara c

    I have been anxiously awaiting the release of this series. It sounds so good and exactly like the books that end up being my favorites!
    Books on my keeper shelf always have a great balance of suspense, romance, action, and even a bit of humor.
    Can’t wait to read this first one!!

  39. Kylie Brant

    Thanks, Eve, I like the cover, too. Appropriately creepy, I thought! Berkley wanted to give a taste of the overall tone of the trilogy with cover one, and covers two and three are more representative of the individual books. Hopefully the covers will cause people to pick these up!

  40. Kylie Brant

    Anna, I think you nailed all the elements I would name, as well. I especially need to like the storytelling or voice before I want to finish a book.

  41. Kylie Brant

    Thanks, Audra. I had a blast writing the trilogy and signed on for three more Mindhunters books.

  42. Eve Paludan

    One other thing that I forgot to mention is that the cover art helps me to conceptualize the story and decide if I want to read it. By the way, your cover is fabulous and scary!

  43. Anna Patterson

    What works for me in a book:
    !. Characters I can identify with in a positive manner
    2. Page turning prose
    3. Mysterious draw to emotions
    4. Something which makes me want to buy it and then read it.

  44. Audra Holtwick

    Great job jumping in to write a new trilogy with a great suspense Story and scary psychos-KEEP UP THE GREAT STORY TELLING.

  45. Kylie Brant

    Hi Aly–yes it’s exciting, especially now that the release dates are coming. It felt for while like that would never happen!

    I agree that there are certain things that aren’t forgivable. Despite the popularity of the secret baby hook, I never felt that it was justified to keep a man’s child from him unless the guy’s a real whack job or something! So those books rarely work for me.

    Usually I like to see the couple build the sexual tension first. But sometimes an author can make it work for two people who don’t want strings to jump into bed…then struggle with the emotions that follow, that they hadn’t expected or wanted . Hope you enjoy the books!

  46. Aly

    WOO HOO! Congrats on the release of these books! I have been looking forward to the them since I first read about them! All the books sound fantastic! Yipeee!!!! And I love wacko villains in books. (I think that makes me sound a bit crazy)

    Couples that continually face absurd obstacles, like on the daytime soap operas, just drive me nuts. For me their story isn’t credible.

    I like seeing a couple get to know each other a little and create a little chemistry before they hop into bed. Sexual tension that plays out before they actually hit the sack normally makes for a better story!

    The books I have read that I didn’t think the couple should end up together all had to do with one of the characters being redeemed. Obviously certain things are forgivable but others to me aren’t.

    Congrats again! This is so exciting for you!

  47. Kylie Brant

    Thanks, Eve! I wanted to make the villain really scary. And what’s even scarier to me than a random selection is someone who watches, learns and waits. Then uses what he’s learned to make his victims suffer even more. He’s creepy

  48. Kylie Brant

    Zelda, sometimes the movies seem to throw in a relationship but they really don’t put the effort into showing a romance arc. So for me, it doesn’t work because we didn’t see the hero and heroine as they grew closer.

  49. Kylie Brant

    Thanks, much, Maria. I don’t tolerate TSTL very well myself. Unfortunately, those people are everywhere, LOL. And the worst is a story when you end it thinking, “He or she could have done so much better!” And guess what, those couples are everywhere, too, !

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  51. Kylie Brant

    Anastasia–like you, I bore easily! I need action with my stories but I also need to feel like the romance isn’t predictable. I hope you have a chance to read the trilogy!

  52. Eve Paludan

    I’m a Silhouette Romantic Suspense reader fan from way back. A woman in trouble is my favorite kind of read. I enjoy gritty suspense and your book seems like it fills that bill. Even better if all odds are surmounted (no pun intended) in order to get the unlikely couple into the bedroom.

    Congrats on your leap onto the next level of your writing career. Yum, yum! I can’t wait to read this book.

    This is what is most intrigiung to me:
    “The seemingly random acts of torture are actually calculated to match each victim’s darkest fears.”

    Throw a little prickle up my spine before the couple gets together!

    Best wishes for your trilogy!

  53. Zelda Benjamin

    I have also seen movies where the chemistry between the characters doesn’t do anything for me.

  54. Maria

    A book works for me if the heroine is strong yet sympathetic. I dislike a TSTL or a battered heroine – although I know that stupid or abused women are a fact of life, I don’t like reading about them. I have read many books where I thought the hero could definitely have done better and that they should not have ended up together.

    You are such a great writer, with such strong and believable heroines. I have never been disappointed in any of your books, although I do have my favorites. Do you use any of your own personal characteristics/experiences in the formation of a heroine?

  55. Anastasia

    It sounds like you have made quite an achievement in your writings. This trilogy sounds like something I would read because short and to the point romances are borish to me. Exciting plots and twists are good to read when trying to follow a romance. In order for a book to work for me it must be exciting and dramatic. Boring shuts me down in the first couple of chapters. The credible romance between characters are the struggles that they go through in order to achieve that romantic connection. Again, straight and to the point in its briefness does not fascinate me at all. I have read books that I didn’t believe the characters should end up together because it was not a “credible” chase to the romantic side.

    Take care and be well. I would love to read the trilogy. Anastasia

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