Today I’m thrilled to have historian and author, Hunter S. Jones who has dropped in to chat about her latest release, Red Stiletto Strategy, and her writing life.
Welcome! It’s a pleasure to have you with us today and congratulations on your latest release. I can’t wait to read this – I have my copy right here. Now, your book is quite a departure from your usual writing, having taken you to the turbulent historical period of World War Two. Can you tell us a little about it? Are any of the characters based on real people?
Thanks for asking. Red Stiletto Strategy is a World War II espionage short story based in 1942 London. All the characters are fictional, but the RAF pilot looks like my husband. It’s funny how that can happen every now and then.
Now, this is your first WW2 story. How did you come to write about this historical period?
There was a call for historical fiction short stories by a UK based author’s site. For some reason, when I saw the announcement, the title immediately sprang to mind. Within 24 hours I had written the rough draft. It was as if the story wanted to be told. It’s been one of the most interesting writing adventures I’ve ever had.
That’s so fantastic. It’s amazing how the muse operates at times.
What do you enjoy most and least about writing?
Thank you for asking. I seem to really enjoy research more than writing. Once I find a topic, I want to find what food people ate, how they dressed, what make-up women wore…the list goes on and on.
I know exactly what you mean. The research aspect is fascinating, and it’s so easy to become completely immersed.
What is your writing process like? Are you a plotter or a panster?
Great question, Suzy! I’m an outliner. Then I research everything. After all that, the story almost writes itself.
What genres do you prefer to read when time allows? Favourite books?
I love actual history books. One year I took a 400+ page on the Plantagenets on vacation. My poor husband just looked at me and said, “Why?” Although, I love a good historical fiction read, and short stories are my guilty pleasure.
When did you begin writing – was it from an early age or did it happen later in life?
It’s been one of those life things. High school and uni papers, a couple of indie alternative rock rags, newspaper and magazine articles along the way. I ruptured my Achilles tendon in a freak accident 5 years ago and was bedridden for a year and a half. That’s when I started writing and playing around on social media full time. You have to make the best of a bad situation, don’t you?
You certainly do, and you truly have. Are you a full-time writer or do you have to fit writing into your home/working life?
I write full time. Actually, I’m a housewife with a very expensive hobby, according to my sweet, very patient husband. 2018 is shaping up nicely though. I have two books being released – one on sexuality in British history, the other on the actress Lillie Langtry. Hopefully, I will make it to London for the release of The British Stripped Bare. Fingers crossed and I’ll let you know. The Langtry story is having a launch party in Manhattan, which is so perfect for her and I can’t wait to tell you more about it.
The Atlanta Writer’s Club has asked me to speak at one of their events. I’m stoked about that! And, the Rivendell Writers Colony, which is associated with the University of the South, has invited me to be a Writer In Residence. It’s a super exciting time for my career.
Thank you so much for chatting with us today. I wish you all the very best with the new book and the next release – I’ll look out for that one too.
Publication Date 12th October 2017
ebook available to Buy Now
Genre: Historical Fiction
Born to an alcoholic, single mother in Texas, Luckie Stratton learns from a young age to keep her distance, avoiding getting close to anyone. She moves to LA as a young film actress, becomes enchanted by a swarthy English gentleman and flies to London in 1940 to join his secret British spy elites. The seductive blonde becomes an undercover assassin.
Armed with her charm, a switchblade and a Derringer, this femme fatale never fails her mission. Disguised as an anxious wife waiting for her British ‘husband’ to return from battle proves to be irresistible bait to Nazi covert operatives.
Tonight, she has a date with destiny.
Her newest lover is revealed as a double agent and she is given a Code Red: Order to Execute. But, the unexpected appearance of a handsome RAF pilot makes her lose her focus…her target…and betray her command.
Knowing the consequences of failure will make you either the hunter or the prey.
Red Stiletto Strategy Excerpt
Luckie Stratten looked across her right shoulder into the mirror, then reached down and straightened her left stocking until the seam ran up her leg with the precision of a surgical knife. The room was dimly lit, and she checked her purse for the small Derringer pistol and the switchblade stiletto. Scraping the bottom of a lipstick tube, she applied the last of the Regimental Red she had brought from Los Angeles. She slipped her feet into her best heels and clicked off the table lamp. Smoothing her hair, she walked outside the apartment door, looking both ways before locking it.
Tonight, she had a date with destiny.
Dr. Smithers had been her mark for the last few months. Making her way into the misty haze of the London night, Luckie Stratton knew she had a mission to complete. Hamish had sent her a coded message yesterday saying that the German spy—a double agent—would be at the USO where Joey’s band played. She was to kill him by any means necessary. It was a job she had completed successfully many times, and what had earned her the nickname Luckie.
She was born in Red River, Texas; her mother had had a weekend fling with a doughboy she met in Dallas the weekend the First War ended. The boy left, her mother discovered she was pregnant two months later, and eventually moved to L.A. with the little girl. Her mother dreamt of being an actress but only became successful at becoming an alcoholic. Eventually, the young girl took on acting jobs to support her mother and herself. Fortunately for her, she learned early that if you didn’t become too attached to someone, you wouldn’t feel abandoned when they were no longer in your life. By the time she was eighteen, she knew she had a way with men; finding companionship with producers and businessmen was much more lucrative than being a bit player in movies. With her long legs and sultry voice, men were hooked once they met her. When she dyed her hair platinum blonde, the world was hers for the taking.
Then, war broke out in Europe and everything changed.
Hunter S. Jones is passionate about the history of romance, science and music, a.k.a. sex, drugs and rock & roll. The Pulitzer Prize nominee has a popular history blog and is the author of the best-selling Anne Boleyn story, Phoenix Rising. She is a historian for Past Preservers Casting. When she isn’t writing, talking or tweeting about kings, queens and rock stars, she’s living the dream in Atlanta, Georgia with her Scottish born husband.
To find out more, visit Hunter S. Jones’s website.
You can also connect with her on:
Book available to buy here