Welcome to Night Owl Reviews, Nancy Bush! It was fun seeing you in Vancouver, Wash., recently. Since then I’ve been eager for Night Owl readers to hear about your new book THE KILLING GAME. Give us the down and dirty on this edgy, chilling romantic thriller.
Nancy: So many of us enjoy playing games—on our phones, on the computer, board games, fantasy football—there are a gazillion of them. I thought it would fun to pursue someone who’s gone around the bend when it comes to games. For him, winning is better than sex. It’s the ultimate high, and in his game the stakes couldn’t be higher.
This guy’s game is like chess. The pawns are his victims. He picks out his pawns and studies their weaknesses. Then he teases them; he plays with them; he tantalizes them; he scares the bejesus out of them. And then he goes in for the kill.
But this is a romance, too, right?
Of course! Andi Wren is recently widowed after her husband’s untimely death. She’s trying to carry on with his family’s development firm, with his pet project: building a lodge, for starters, on the shores of a remote lake, with a good deal of opposition from his husband’s siblings. Someone obviously wants Andi out of the picture. She receives sinister notes in her cabin, thinly veiled verbal threats. So she hires a local PI, who has his own reasons for bringing down the ruthless competitors Andi thinks are out to win at all costs. A seriously sexy former police detective, Luke Denton, recognizes immediately that Andi’s up to her keester in trouble. Being the good guy he is, he sets out to track down the bad guy (or is it guys?) and protect her at the same time. Sizzzzlllle.
You live on a lake similar to Schultz Lake in THE KILLING GAME. While you were writing the story, did it ever feel like the story was taking place right there? Was that spooky? Did you ever look out your window and think, this could happen here?
Once or twice at night, when I was really into the story, and I heard an unexpected loud sound, I about jumped out of my skin. Looking out at all that dark water can definitely give me the heebie-jeebies, but there are a lot of houses around, so I generally feel pretty safe.
Your sister is author Lisa Jackson, who also writes romantic thrillers about guys who get their jollies out of killing people. Do you two plot together? Discuss your stories while you’re writing them?
We almost always plot together and discuss with each other. If we’re stuck in a scene, the other one offers up ideas, and more often than not it gets us going again. We also edit each other’s work. As a matter of fact, I’m in the middle of editing one of Lisa’s books right now.
What do you do for fun?
I spend a lot of time with my daughter and two granddaughters. They live in California, but my husband and I try to see them as often as possible. I also often meet my sister at the Oregon beach, and we work on our books, go out to dinner, drink a little wine, just hang out together. It’s great.
What’s something your readers don’t know about you, something that will make them smile?
I’m a huge GAME OF THRONES fan. Have T-shirts, wine glasses, socks, even a map of the GAME OF THRONES world. I’ve never been much of a fantasy reader, so it’s way out of character, but I’m totally hooked. My pug, The Binkster, sits on the couch with me and is a great viewing companion— unless she sees one of the direwolves—then she starts barking, and I have to pause the show till she pulls it together.
Speaking of making readers smile, I understand you’ve invited readers to play your version of the board game Clue on your Facebook page. Tell us about that and how Night Owl readers can play.
Since the villain in THE KILLING GAME is obsessed with playing a game (where the pawns are people and their lives), I thought it would be fun to post pictorial clues on my Facebook page and ask readers to think about each clue and tell me how they think that clue might play out in my story. For example, one is a photo of a cabin in the woods. What might happen there? There’s a new clue each weekday, for two weeks. I’ll pick my favorite reader post each of those days and send the winner a KILLING GAME advance reading copy, a made-in-Oregon gift or one of my signed books. Hey, all you Night Owls—hop on over to my Facebook page and play! Hint: I have a wicked sense of humor, so be creative.
Thanks for dropping in, Nancy! I’m sure our Night Owls have enjoyed getting to know you!
I’ve enjoyed visiting with you! Night Owls are my kind of people!
Nancy Bush Bio:
New York Times bestselling author Nancy Bush has had an eclectic writing career. She started her first story when she heard how young mothers were making money writing romance novels. She thought, “I can do that,” and talked her sister, bestselling author, Lisa Jackson, into joining her in her foray into writing. At the time Nancy was a young mother herself. Now, she says she's just … a mother. And a grandmother.
Nancy began her career in the romance genre, writing both contemporary and historical novels, but being a mystery buff, she kept trying to add suspense into the plot, as much as her editors would allow. In 2002 she was chosen by ABC Television to be part of a writing group “think tank” which was tasked with developing story for ABC's daytime dramas. She was one of two people selected from that group to actually become a breakdown writer for, at the time, one of ABC's top-rated daytime shows: ALL MY CHILDREN. Nancy made the move to New York to join the AMC team while she was writing for the soap. That was an experience, she admits. Ask her, and she'll swear that the pressure cooker of delivering story every day—lots and lots of story—helped focus her writing.
When Nancy returned to her home state of Oregon, she channeled that newfound energy into writing the kind of books she's always loved: mysteries. She wrote three Jane Kelly Mystery novels in the space of three years, and another is in the works. The last several years she's turned her attention to romantic suspense and romantic thriller novels, writing both with her sister and on her own.
Nancy's latest project is July 2016’s THE KILLING GAME, a chilling romantic thriller set in her home state of Oregon, on a fictitious lake not that different from the one where she lives with husband, Ken.