Our Top Pick in Romance for November 2013 is Pamela Clare’s new romantic thriller, Striking Distance. Part of Clare's I-Team series, this novel is filled with high-stakes action and covers some pretty dark and heavy territory with sensitivity and thoughtfulness. The story involves a broadcast journalist, Laura, recovering in Denver after enduring 18 months as a terrorist hostage while on assignment in the Middle East, and Javier, one of the Navy Seals from the very team that rescued her. Romance columnist Christine Ridgeway calls it “a steamy story filled with action, intriguing twists and an unexpected emotional wallop.”

We caught up with Pamela Clare and asked her about where she writes, her trips to the shooting range and her favorite action hero hunks in a 7 questions interview.

Describe your book in one sentence.
A wounded Navy SEAL offers his protection to the traumatized journalist he helped rescue from Al-Qaeda—and finds redemption and love.

What’s the best part of writing romance?

"I really love the happy endings I get to create for my characters—something I wasn’t able to do as an investigative journalist."

I really love the happy endings I get to create for my characters—something I wasn’t able to do as an investigative journalist. I can start with problems that exist in the real world, truly terrible situations, and I can make them better by the end, ensuring that the hero and heroine get their reward and giving the villain what he or she deserves.

I also love my readers and fellow authors, whose support and kindness is amazing and brightens my life every day. The romance community is unique in how caring people are toward one another and how willing they are to help each other.

Striking Distance is packed with action and suspense. Who’s your favorite action hero hunk and why?
Oh, that’s a tough question! I love Indiana Jones, of course, because of his sense of humor and his ability to find solutions in no-way-out scenarios. He never runs out of options—or one-liners.

And I do love Thor . . . because he’s played by Chris Hemsworth, who is so incredibly hot. (Yes, I’m shallow that way.)

But my favorite all-time favorite action hero is Aragorn, son of Arathorn from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. He faces not only extreme physical challenges—endless battles against orcs and so on—he also faces deep personal struggles and moral battles. And he overcomes all obstacles by the end, earning that crown. The fact that he was played to perfection by Viggo Mortensen in the films doesn’t hurt either.

Where do you do your best writing?
I love working in coffee shops, and I do that as often as I can. I get more done there than I do at home. But lately, I’ve been going back and forth between my new treadmill desk and my sofa, and somehow that combination is really great, too. The motion helps me focus, and it’s good not to be so sedentary.

Trips to the shooting range are part of your research process for your I-Team series. Tell us more about your research process for Striking Distance.
Yes, I did make trips to the shooting range and fired all of the weapons my hero, Javier Corbray, an active-duty Navy SEAL, fires in the book.

Before I even started plotting the story, I put a lot of work into learning a new vocabulary. I put together my own little dictionary of Navy SEAL slang and firearms and such. I watched some documentaries, pen and paper in hand, to glean whatever I could, including the way the men talk to each other.

I also had the good fortune of making contact with an active-duty SEAL who was willing to will to answer my many questions and even read sections of the story for accuracy. Getting to know him and learn about that part of his life was fascinating. I was deeply impressed by how humble he is and how willing he was to help.

What are you reading right now?
Right now, I am reading Kaylea Cross’ Deadly Descent, which I am really enjoying. I love the level of authenticity in her writing. The detail is fantastic. You can tell she really did in-depth research because she makes that detail come alive.

What’s next?
I am getting to work on the next I-Team story, probably Holly’s story, but I’m also considering where to take my romantic suspense writing from here. I’ve worked a few possibilities for connected series into the I-Team books over the years—readers can guess what those are—and I am already contemplating what might lie ahead. I still have a few books in the I-Team series planned, however, so that’s what I’m focused on.

I would also like to get a historical romance in there somewhere. My MacKinnon’s Rangers series, which is set during the French and Indian War, has a couple of loose threads that need to be tied up. So I’m hoping to work one of those sometime soon.

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