MW: Why did you choose to narrate from Alex's POV rather than alternate between him and Holly?
HK: In the first book, Always Cambridge, I portrayed Holly as the adolescent girl she was with a somewhat scattered, uncertain, not always rational thought process, sometimes verging on the obsessive side, especially when it came to her beloved bodyguard, Randy Phillips. But in Running, I wanted to show that she was maturing, and I didn’t want to be in her head for that development. I found when writing from Holly’s point of view, I tended to go that obsessive route whether it was about the men in her life or her absolute need to find justice. I became a bit fanatical about Holly’s men, too. (And I think that comes across) :-) [I can see why you'd be a bit fanatical about them. Talk about smexy!]
I attempted to write this part of the story from both points of view but I found flipping back and forth between Alex’s and Holly’s POV, I wasn’t perfecting Holly’s growth. It was still coming off as unsure, and I needed Holly’s determination to find justice and her need to protect Randy, to be predominant and absolute. I couldn’t seem to do it, in her head. But I could prove it through Alex’s observations of her. [I loved his observations of her. It gave me a lot of insight to her character.] On the other hand, I also didn’t wish for Holly to mature over night. I hope the reader still on occasion stops and thinks, Oh, Holly, what are you doing? Don’t do that! [Oh, I had those moments for sure!] But I still think readers will see a growth and change in Holly that they may not have anticipated from the first book. [I did see her grow, and in a different way than I anticipated from the first book. well done!] So, once I started telling Holly’s story from Alex’s analytical profiler type mind, it started to come together. And I like how it turned out. [Me too :-)]
I also hoped to capture Alex’s resolve to keep things professional between the two of them. To show how this strict self-controlled Federal Agent struggled to keep Holly in that “Cambridge” box he’d placed her in before he’d even met her. The mob princess that he could never think of as anything more than a criminal by association, a woman to distrust. [And I just love how that worked out for him!]
When she first walks into his office, he sees her as nothing more than a stepping-stone for career advancement. But he soon realizes there is much more to the shy, wounded, determined young girl. One of my favourite scenes from Running is the passage where Holly and Alex profile each other. [That was a great scene!] It really sets up their adversarial relationship but also establishes the mutual respect growing between them. That moment when Alex realizes that Holly is intelligent, is dynamic (at least I hope it is). [Oh, it's dynamic. It certainly sets the tone for many things that follow.] She challenges him and not many people can do that. And from that point on, it’s a losing battle for him. We also see an Alex evolution. She changes him, too. [Just like in all good relationships-you each change a little.]
In addition, I found choosing to write from Alex’s point of view helped keep Holly’s thoughts up for interpretation. I want the reader to make up their own mind about Holly and her agenda. (Though, I will share, while writing it, at this point in the WIP, I wasn’t even positive of Holly’s agenda.) [I will say, I wonder about her agenda a lot. I know it's all about keeping Randy safe, but there are times I feel she's playing both ends against the middle and going to get burned badly by it.]
I also think this is what makes the entire Always Cambridge Series unique and different—the narration of events coming from so many different characters points of view throughout the saga. I hope it gives it and the characters some extra depth. [I do enjoy getting to see the story from so many different points of view. It really gives a well-rounded picture of what's going on.]
MW: While Holly worked with Alex, I got the sense that she is playing her own game, and is only helping Alex so far as it furthers her end along. Will we see more of this in the next instalment?
Holly and Alex’s working relationship is like a chess match. But the choices Holly makes are not always calculated, especially early on in Running. Often she allows her emotions to dictate her decisions. She doesn’t set out to manipulate. But while Alex is ruled by rules, Holly plays by her own set. And the more she comes into her own, the easier it is for her to justify or excuse her own actions, especially once she has tested and established, Alex’s boundaries. [Oh, I totally saw that Holly plays by her own rules :-)]
MW: I have to confess, I never saw Randy's secret coming. Great job!!! Now that Holly knows that, will we see a change in her plans, or is she set on a course she can't break free from.
Thank you! What a great compliment. I hope you’ll experience quite a few of those, I-didn’t-see-that-coming moments throughout the series. I know I did. [Oh, I had a few more-especially in Misfortune of Birth]
As for altering her course, you’ll have to wait and see, but keep in mind; Randy’s safety is paramount to Holly.
MW: Last time, I said I liked Holly with Randy, but wanted to see how things played out with Victor. Having seen more of him, as well as her relationship with Alex, I have to say, I'm starting to be more firmly planted in Team Randy. So, I'm wondering, will he be making an appearance in Misfortune of Birth? If not, when will we see him again?
Randy Phillips does make a very brief appearance in Misfortune of Birth. But MOB—LOL see what I did there? :D [LOL! I never realized that until now! Nicely done!!!] — is all about Holly trying to resist the irresistible Victor Mayhue (whether readers think he’s good for Holly or not (but I almost guarantee you will have a soft spot for Victor, by the end of Misfortune) [Oh, you made sure I had a soft spot for him! And, without giving away too much for our talk about MOB, I'll just say, I might be rethinking my team.]
Thank you so much for having my Cambridge gang back, Mary!
MW: You are so welcome! Thanks for answering all my questions about this amazing series. I can't wait to share our exchange on Misfortune of Birth. I'm also excited to read Law and Order: Crime and Chaos so I'm all caught up for the release of Afterlife on August 1st.
Running Book Two in the Always Cambridge Series
The Always Cambridge Series chronicles the life of Holly Cambridge through her tumultuous childhood, violent teen years, into adulthood, and the consequences that stem from being the daughter of mob boss, Bill Cambridge.
~No matter how far or fast you run, you'll never escape the past.
It’s been three years since anyone has seen or heard from Holly Cambridge. But when she surfaces, she doesn't return home to the loving arms of her family. Instead, she heads straight to the FBI offering information that will destroy the Cambridge crime family.
Special Agent Alex Orton sees Holly Cambridge as nothing more than the next commendation standing between him and the ultimate promotion. What he doesn't bargain for is the shy, damaged, but feisty little woman that convinces his superiors to let her infiltrate a rival family, with Alex heading up the mission.
Holly and Alex clash at every turn, but Alex is intrigued by Holly’s sharp mind and boundless courage and must constantly fight his burgeoning feelings for his lovely informant. Alex is a strict disciplinarian of the rules and can’t reconcile the girl who can’t play by them.
As Holly carries out the sting and insinuates herself into the enemy’s camp, she develops a close and common bond with the middle Mayhue son, the exotically good looking and charismatic Victor. The very man who could end her life, if he were to discover her secret.
Hands tied, Alex must stand back, for the good of the team, and watch the tragedy play out.
Author Note: This series is a true saga in the sense that each new installment begins exactly where the last ended. The books should be read in sequence.
About the Author:
H K Carlton is a multi-published Canadian author of romance and it’s varied sub-genres, including contemporary, paranormal, historical, family saga and erotica.
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