Readers are raving about Nightbird: “Strong characters, exotic locales, a great read!”
“Toby Neal has written another crisp, colorful, dynamic and enticing work in Nightbird.”
“This short book packs a massive punch!”
- How did you come to be interested in the JET Series Kindle World #JetKWorld?
I have long been a fan of phenomenally successful Russell Blake and his Jet books. When I got my own Lei Crime Series Kindle World, I asked Russell to write for my World. Due to scheduling, he wasn’t able to—but I couldn’t resist the challenge to explore the Jet World!
- You have your own World. Why would you write for someone else’s?
What we’ve found that’s so great about the Kindle World is how readers can discover new authors. I’m hoping a few of Russell’s readers like the unique flavor I bring to the Jet World, and pop over to check out the Lei Crime Series.
- Tell us how your story links to the JET Series. Characters, setting, specific event? Is there any crossover or meetings between your characters and any of the original characters?
My novella, Nightbird, is a spy/suspense/romance set in the Jet Ops Files days, when Maya/Jet is being recruited to Mossad by a profiler code-named “Benjamin.” Maya has an older sister, Dr. Lila Weiss, a neurobiologist and part-time ballerina, who has been separated from her by divorce and their father’s death. Benjamin sees Lila's potential and recruits her as a Mossad agent, and sparks fly along the way!
- The JET Series books are fast-paced action and adventure stories. What genre(s) do you explore in your story?
Nightbird is a spy/suspense/romance with a layered mystery, a tangled web of family backstory, action and sabotage, and a simmering, bittersweet romance.
- The JET series has been set all over the world… the Middle East, Asia, South American, the Caribbean, etc. Tell us about where you set your story, and why?
My main series is set in Hawaii, so it was a blast to write a story set in Israel and Paris. I’ve been to Paris, but not Israel, so I had a Jewish writer friend, Laurie Hanan, who’s married to an Israeli and lived there for many years, read for me for authenticity. I always do research and have experts read for me—readers have come to count on learning new things from my books while being entertained, and Nightbird is no different.
- Tell us a little about your main character(s). Why do you think readers will like her?
Lila’s a sensitive, brilliant, idealistic scientist who wears her heart on her sleeve, has been sheltered all her life, and dances ballet to express her passion. She speaks seven languages and is physically brave, but doesn’t have Maya’s ruthlessness. She moves cautiously into the shadow world of Mossad, seeking a connection with her sister and with Benjamin, and wanting to protect her country. I fell in love with her and I think readers will to. She developed into someone I want to keep writing about for a long time!
- What major theme comes across the clearest in your story? Is this a theme found consistently in your other works?
The theme of a strong female protagonist coming into the fullness of her power and passion is something that I have explored in most of the Lei Crime Series and their ancillary novels. Overcoming the past, fighting for justice, the power of love to heal and good overcoming evil are all ongoing themes in my work. If you’re interested in an action-packed police procedural mystery series that’s a cross between Michael Connelly and JD Robb, but set in Hawaii, start the Lei Crime Series with Blood Orchids!
- Do you have a background related to your writing?
I’m a licensed clinical social worker, and assess people and do mental health therapy, which came in handy when writing the character of “Benjamin” Amos, who is a psychological assessor/profiler for Mossad. Recently, the Lei Crime books have been doing so well and demanding so much of my time, that I’ve cut way back on my mental health practice to write these psychologically-complex villains and those who hunt them.
What are you working on next?
I’m working on Bone Hook, Lei Crime #10, Under an Open Sky, a narrative nonfiction travel book, donating a short work to an anthology to raise money for literacy in Hawaii called Paradise, Passion and Murder, and I'm revising a new techno-thriller that Russell was kind enough to blurb for me, Wired In. I am never short on books to write! I hope you enjoy Maya’s sister Lila’s leap into the spy world in Nightbird!
Gifting a free copy of Nightbird to a lucky commenter, so don’t be shy! Chime in below and enter to win! Contest ends 8/2/2015.