Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Guest blogger -- Toni Anderson, author of Sea of Suspicion

 Hi, Toni.  Thanks for visiting.  Let me ask you a few questions about you and your book.

Tell us about your Carina Press release.

Thanks for letting me be on your blog today, Alice. I write Romantic Suspense and my latest book, SEA OF SUSPICION, has just been released by Carina Press and I’m thrilled! It’s a moody atmospheric sexy romantic mystery set on the misty shores of contemporary Scotland. This story is particularly special to me as I set it in the Scottish Marine Laboratory where I conducted my Ph.D. and met my husband in the early nineties. I was lucky enough to revisit the lab in April this year and, though it has grown and morphed into a much larger institute, the essence of the original Victorian building remains the same. The rugged beauty of the East Fife coastline and the hypnotic rhythm of the sea never fail to enthrall and I know I’ll never get enough of that gorgeous coastal region.

I’m fascinated with how books get their start.  Do you remember the spark of an idea that grew to become this book?

Yes—I do  The idea was sparked by the powerful emotions that surge through you after you become a mother. The theme of the book in many ways is the fierceness of that emotion. I’m an easygoing sort of person except when my kids are involved and then I become more lioness than pussycat.

What kinds of stories do you like to read and write?

I write Romantic Suspense and Romantic Mystery stories and that’s what I like to read. And although I haven’t jumped on the paranormal wagon I adore Karen Marie Moning’s Fever books. I also read fantasy, crime, police procedurals, thrillers, and a huge array of non-fiction—partly research, partly fascination with other people’s lives.

Tell us a bit about yourself.  Family, house, pets, hobbies, that sort of thing.

I’m the third child of four and grew up in rural Shropshire, tucked deep in the heart of England. Now I live with my family in Winnipeg and find myself enjoying Canada, despite the bugs and weather. Pets… I lost my best friend, Benn, a black retriever, last November and because we’ve been away from home for the last six months it hasn’t quite sunk in that he is no longer a part of our lives. Still find it hard to write about him. We were lucky to have him—oops, there we go, crying again!

What kind of music do you like?  Do you listen to music while writing?

I’m a musicholic, but I have no real preference in terms of type of music. At home I listen to a lot of country, Brad Paisley and the Dixie Chicks. In France we discovered Lily Allen and Owl Music. My hubby is Irish so U2 feature massively in our daily lives. I suppose my musical hero is Bruce Springsteen—if I need comfort music, Bruce is my guy  As for listening to music while I write—YES!! Even to compose this blog I’ve scrounged up a Rod Stewart CD from my father-in-law. For every story I write I have a soundtrack that plunges me straight into the setting and mood of the story. SEA OF SUSPICION rocked with The Rolling Stones (I’m a recent convert to their music) and Runrig (a Scottish rock band who almost brought down the stage—literally—in Younger Hall in St. Andrews in the early nineties).

Who do you think is the sexiest man on Earth?  What makes him sexy?

Eric Bana features heavily in my sexiest man alive list. He’s gorgeous, but it is that intensity in his gaze that makes him sexy—those intelligent eyes.

Is there something else you’d like to mention that I haven’t asked about?

I’ve set up a fan page for SEA OF SUSPICION with location photographs and anecdotes. I’d love to hear what readers think. My first Romantic Suspense, HER SANCTUARY, was released in 2009 to some great reviews.  I love to hear from people and I write about my travels on my blog and update on Twitter.  Readers can sign up for my newsletter on my website, or friend me on Facebook. 

Thanks so much, Alice, for having me!



Marine biologist Susie Cooper traded her life in America for a dream job on the rugged Scottish coast. Now all she lacks is the right man to start a family with. After their first meeting, she knows sexy Detective Inspector Nick Archer isn’t what she’s looking for. He’s the type of guy whose idea of commitment is staying the whole night.

Nick has returned to St. Andrews for one reason only—to fulfill his vow to find his wife’s killer. Relentless in his twelve-year quest for justice, he has no problem using Susie to get close to his primary suspect: her boss. But the passion between them smolders, and as it ignites, Nick finds himself torn between his past and his present—with Susie.

When one of her boss’s students is murdered, Nick’s investigation draws Susie into a web of madness and betrayal. They will have to learn to trust each other if they’re going to catch a killer…and come out of this alive.



“What you got, Lewis?” Nick asked the square-faced policewoman. Her expression was serious. P.C. Julie Lewis was slow to smile, but smart and dedicated, with no pretensions.

“Those two found a body.” She indicated the girls, who sat crying. “I think we’re looking at a murder, sir.” At his raised brow, she added. “Pretty hard to smash in your own skull.”

Nick’s stomach clenched. Murder?

He looked along the footpath, dread digging claws into his stomach and trying to find purchase. He knew homicide. He’d done four years’ homicide after he’d finished his undercover stint, but St. Andrews hadn’t seen a murder in years.

Had this poor bugger been bleeding to death when he had broken into the Gatty? Had he tracked the vic’s blood into the building? Into Susie’s car? Could he have saved a life if he’d been paying more attention to the present, rather than wasting his time trying to avenge the past?

Nick looked up at the overcast sky and thought for one split second he heard Chrissie’s laugh. He was going to hell for a little B&E. Or maybe for wanting a woman in a way he hadn’t in more than a decade.

The wind blasted his cheeks, icy and raw. Twin flashlights beamed into his eyes and he was instantly blind.

“Get those things out of my face,” he yelled.

“Sorry, sir.” Two synchronous replies.

Nick smelled blood in the air, sharp and cuprous. His intestines flip-flopped as he took another step down the grassy slope. P.C. Eric Mosel and Sergeant Hammy Soothill ran their beams over the body of a young woman.

Christ. “ID?”

Both men shook their heads.

“We tried not to disturb the locus.” P.C. Mosel, or Mouse as he was known in the station, was normally a bit of a twat, niggling away at the division between CID and uniform coppers—the filth and the woodentops as they were called. But not tonight. Tonight he was all business. “I thought she might still be alive.”

The back of her skull was smashed like a broken eggshell, pale bone gleaming amongst gore. The flashlights picked out blood matting her hair, streaking her neck, staining the sand beneath her body a rusty brown. It was bloody obvious she was dead, but they’d still need a doctor for verification. A body could be trailed from one end of the beach to the other, but police officers still needed a doctor to confirm death. Rules and regulations of the God-almighty handbook.

Sobs reached him, but all Nick could do was stand and stare. This woman was his first homicide victim since leaving the crime-ridden streets of London. He hadn’t expected to feel quite so appalled, but St. Andrews was the one pure spot in a life of brutality and it had just been violated.

He nodded toward the wailing girls. “They report it?”

“Yes, sir.” Sergeant Hammy Soothill waved his flashlight as if looking for footprints, but the sand was too dry. There wouldn’t be any tracks down there worth saving. “The one lassie slipped and fell in the blood.”

The distaste on Hammy’s face was echoed by Nick’s stomach. There was none of the usual black humor that accompanied sudden death and no one prodded the corpse with a ubiquitous black boot.

They were all somber as they got on with the job, maybe because no matter how many cases they’d had in other places, this was the first of its kind in St. Andrews.

“Get the photographer down here when the doctor’s finished. See if we can get hold of floodlights for the forensics team. Mouse, we’ll need a scale drawing, and Hammy, I want you to oversee every piece of evidence and make sure it is catalogued like the Crown Jewels.” He glanced at his watch. His boss would want to be notified, and the Procurator Fiscal.

His gaze lingered on the young woman’s body. Her skirt was hiked up around her thighs, suggesting a possible sexual assault, arms outstretched over her head as if she’d tried to crawl away.

All that blood…

She’d taken time to die.

SEA OF SUSPICION released June 14th

Download from


  1. Hi, Toni,

    Your book sounds wonderful, and I'm sooooo jealous of that beautiful place in your picture.

  2. Thanks for having me Alice! I'll be going past that spot in the photo again in a few weeks. You really have to visit it you're near Lake Louise!


Leave your comments here, but be courteous.