Natalie Walters is the author of Lights Out and Fatal Code, as well as the Harbored Secrets Series. A military wife, she currently resides in Texas with her soldier husband and is the proud mom of three. She loves traveling, spending time with her family, and connecting with readers on Instagram and Facebook.
In this interview, she talks with us about Blind Trust, the third book in her The SNAP Agency Series.
FF: Can you please provide a brief summary of your novel Blind Trust?
Lyla Fox is the wild card of the SNAP Agency, and sometimes her impulsivity gets her into trouble. That’s the case when she receives a threatening letter from someone she put in prison and begins an unsanctioned investigation that not only puts her in danger but threatens the agency too. Nicolás Garcia thought working with explosives was the most dangerous thing he’d ever do, but that was before he began working with Lyla. In order to keep her safe, Nicolás commits in what might be his final mission with the team to help Lyla figure out who is behind a series of crimes and their deadly history, putting his own life and heart at risk.
FF: Blind Trust is the final book in The SNAP Agency Series. What themes or elements connect the books in the series?
I think the main theme throughout the series and within each book is trust. I don’t know if that was intentional on my part, but as I close out the series and reflect over the three storylines, I can see the elements of trust playing out within the characters, the team, and the plot. I also LOVE the team, how they work together and get along (and sometimes don’t), but mostly how at the end of the day they are there for each other through the good, bad, and ugly. That unconditional commitment to each other makes me wish they were real and I could be their friend.
FF: Do characters from previous books in The SNAP Agency Series show up in Blind Trust?
Yes! Besides the team (Walsh, Jack, Kekoa, Garcia, and Lyla), readers will also see Elinor and Brynn make an appearance on the page. And if readers have read the novella prequel to the series, Initium, they’re going to see a couple more familiar faces that make a huge impact in the conclusion to this series.
FF: What type of research was required to give authenticity to the job of your male protagonist, Nicolás Garcia?
I had to learn what goes into explosive devices, including their chemical and mechanical components and impact radius, how to disarm them, and ways that terrorists disguise them to get past armed guards and trained canines at an embassy.
It makes her a bit of a liability. Next to Jack, she’s been with the Agency the longest, and that has allowed her team to understand how she operates and to be prepared as much as they can for when she goes rogue. But it also gives her a level of courage that pushes past some of the hesitancy the other team members might have. She’s an all-in kind of gal and a fighter for justice, which is both admirable and alarming.
FF: What do you hope readers will gain from reading Blind Trust?
There’s a theme of control in this story that I think originates with trust. Nicolás experiences something that has him believing if he can control certain things it will prevent bad stuff from happening. Lyla believes control inhibits her from doing her job and trusting her instincts. Each of them has to release their perception of control and trust the other to do the right thing. I think there’s a balance in life where we have to trust God to control the things we can’t but also trust that God has enabled us to do the hard things.
FF: Does your background inform or influence your writing?
I think so. As a military wife and with family members and friends in various law enforcement agencies, I think I have good insight into scenarios involving large-scale government plots and more localized crimes. At the very least it gives me a great list of resources who can help me come up with fun storylines and plot twists. And I think being a military wife for more than twenty-five years and having moved nearly as many times, I enjoy writing stories with strong communities of friendship.
FF: When writing a series, would you say you are a “pantser” or a “plotter”?
Oh, I’m for sure a plotter. This has never been clearer than when I decided to fast-draft my current manuscript: I went free-range and ended up writing myself right into a hole. I had to scrap that whole chapter and force myself to go back to the plot I had sketched out. I do believe there’s room for the “pantser” method while I’m writing, where I allow myself to visualize the scene and then write freely, but it’s very helpful for me to know where I need to go. What do you enjoy most about writing romantic suspense? For me, it’s the tension. Suspense tension and romantic tension keep me turning pages, and I love trying to create the perfect balance of that in my own stories.
The SNAP Agency Series #3
Genres: Mystery/Suspense, Romantic Suspense
Release Date: April 11, 2023
Lyla Fox has a reputation at the SNAP Agency for being impulsive, something she knows she needs to work on. But when a threatening letter arrives from someone from her past, she can’t stop herself from jumping into the deep end to uncover his motives. Unfortunately, she will need to ask Nicolás Garcia for help—the one person who questions her reckless choices more than anyone else.
Nicolás is wary of Lyla’s tendency to run headfirst into danger and pushes back on her daring decisions. But the best way to protect Lyla is to work by her side, using his explosives and weapons expertise to keep the greatest dangers at bay. Despite his best efforts, Lyla’s involvement in the investigation puts a target on her back, one that even Nicolás may not be able to save her from. Dealing with bombs is dangerous, but working with Lyla is proving to be just as treacherous—to both the mission and his heart.
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