Interview: Paige Tyler

The SEALS of Coronado Series by Paige Tyler

SEAL with a Secret

Book 10

Secrets are his job.

Navy SEAL Lane Roberts is used to danger––but not from within his own SEAL Team. However, secretly dating his teammate Noah’s little sister Laurissa might put Lane in more jeopardy than walking into Afghanistan carrying only an American flag. Noah has a huge problem with his sister getting involved with a SEAL, and both heandLane have a problem with political pawns infiltrating the ballet company where Laurissa performs. Living on the edge every day is part of Lane’s job but letting the woman he’s falling hard and fast for risk her life doesn’t sit well. How can he keep his mind on protecting a diplomat’s family and salvaging government secrets if he’s worried about keeping his own beautiful secret safe?

This secret is personal.

Laurissa Bradley has had her heart set on Lane Roberts for quite some time. But between his SEAL missions and her work dancing with the San Diego Ballet Company, they’ve had to postpone all their dates. But when Lane is assigned protect one of the foreign dancers, it throws him and Laurissa together every day––and thankfully, some nights. It also puts Laurissa in the deadly path of international espionage and the hired killers who will stop at nothing to gain access to the information being traded by a member of the dance troupe. But despite what Lane and her brother think, Laurissa isn’t the fragile flower they imagine. And she isn’t about to let her hunky new boyfriend be killed by some terrorist––not without a fight. Who says only SEALs can save the world?

SEAL in Deep Waters

Book 11

His life is always in danger, but never his heart.

Petty Officer Ace Harmon is used to almost dying on a weekly basis. It comes with the territory. But this time there’s an actual contract on his head. Someone powerful wants him dead. The Navy figures hiding him in plain sight—like “SEAL central” San Diego—will buy them some time while they figure out who has it out for Ace. Blending in is the name of game, and the guys on TEAM 5 take him in as a brother immediately, willing to protect him as one of their own. But when he meets Tabby at a cookout, he realizes it’shis heartthat might need protecting. A licensed electrician and Jane-of-all-trades, she’s like MacGyver mixed with Megan Fox, but more down-to-earth than any woman he’s ever met, and he’s falling head-over-combat boots. But his time in San Diego is limited––so is breathing if the Team doesn’t figure out who paid to have him killed.

Until now.

Tabitha Turner isn’t your typical California beauty. Defying her high-powered parents’ plans, she’s been on her own since the ink dried on her high school diploma. Independent and proud of it, relationships have never been her thing––not after growing up in her parents’ marital war zone. That is until she met Ace. They fit together like the proverbial missing pieces but getting involved with a SEAL on temporary assignment isn’t smart, and Tabby prides herself on being smart. However, keeping it casual is easier said than done because her heart isn’t listening. Even when she finds out he’s the target of a vengeful enemy, she refuses to walk away from the man who’s quickly becoming the love of her life. But when Tabby is kidnapped and used as a pawn to ambush Ace, all hell breaks loose as SEAL Team 5 jumps into action.

Ace doesn’t care if he has to break every military code ever written to rescue Tabby. He’ll get her out alive or die trying.

The SEAL Who Kissed Me

Book 12

A woman out for revenge.

Former Russian spy, Kira Babin, has covertly spent the last ten years looking for her younger brother Mikhail––and hunting the man who kidnapped him. When she recently got her chance to defect to the United States, she took it. Away from her Russian handlers, she can search on her own. The last thing she needs is unwanted attention. But when she finally gets a lead, she ends up in the same alleyway,the same gunfight, as the sexy SEAL who fills her dreams and makes her heart beat a little faster––the one she’s been avoiding. It’s not that she doesn’t want Colt––she does. He’s the most amazing man she’s ever met. But if he knows the real her, he’ll walk away, and that’s something even this hardened spy couldn’t survive.

A man who can change her mind.

Petty Officer Colt Hughes never expected his latest mission to land him beside the beautiful blonde he’s been trying to get close to for months. Last he knew she ghosted him. So why was the sexyex-spy now engaging terrorists in dark alleys? Since Kira saved his and his Teammates’ proverbial bacon, he intends to find out. But when the man who killed her parents and abducted her brother turns out to be a person of interest to the CIA, suddenly SEAL Team 5 is helping Kira with an international manhunt. Posing as newlyweds suits Colt just fine because that means alone time with Kira, but the more he gets to know her, the more he sees beyond her beauty to the incredible woman inside. He’s falling hard and fast––if only she’d trust him.

Kira never expected help from Colt, much less from a SEAL Team. But when she has to choose between trust or revenge, life or death, love or heartache…will she listen to her heart or her head?

Read more about the SEALS of Coronado Series


What inspired you to write a series centered around Navy SEALs? Is there a personal connection or particular fascination with this subject matter?

Years ago, a writer friend, Cat Johnson, had a Kindle World that involved Navy SEALs. For those who don’t remember, or aren’t familiar with it, Kindle Worlds was about writing stories that fit inside someone else’s fictional world. Cat asked if I wanted to contribute something and being the kind of author who not only likes to write, but also likes to get paid, I said yes. Since hubby is retired Army, we wrote a story with characters who were Army Special Forces and slipped them into Cat’s SEAL world. While we ended up with a really good story, the sales weren’t what we’d hoped. Some of the readers mentioned that Army Special Forces didn’t have the same draw as Navy SEALs, much to my husband’s consternation. So, to see if that was indeed accurate, we decided to write a SEAL series of our own. During that time, everyone was giving all the love to the East Coast SEAL Teams, specifically SEAL Team 6. Wanting to do something different, we went with SEAL Team 5 in Coronado, California. That first book, SEAL for Her Protection, sold very well and still does. Again, hubby wasn’t thrilled that Navy SEALs are more popular than Army Special Forces, but he likes money, so he dealt, and the series grew from there!

How did you approach the research process for this series, considering the military and special operations aspects? Did you consult with real Navy SEALs or experts in the field?

As I mentioned, hubby is retired Army, so he helps with the military terms, weapons, and fighting stuff. We did a lot of research in the beginning to set up how a SEAL Team (and platoon) is set up as far as number of people involved, ranks, special training, etc. It’s possible to occasionally find stories about what the SEALs are involved in, but as you can imagine, they’re a tight-lipped bunch and tend not to talk much about what they do. In the end, we took a bit of creative license so we could tell the kind of romantic suspense we wanted to write. We try to be as realistic as possible, but we are writing fiction, so there are some things that can’t be completely true to life.

Each book in the series seems to feature a different SEAL protagonist. How did you develop the unique characteristics and backstories for each main character?

As a romance series, each book revolves around one of the SEALs, and the woman they fall in love with. Originally, we started with eight main SEAL characters, with only a very general idea of what their stories might look like and even less about their backgrounds. Truthfully, we had no idea if the series would catch on, so we didn’t want to spend a lot of time on detailed world-building and storyline development.

The first book, SEAL for Her Protection, was inspired by a news article we read on a new SEAL training facility being built on Coronado. From there, we created the plot to fit with the new facility they were building, going with the idea of some kind of corruption and allowing the other characters—including the heroine—to develop from that basic plot. The characters create their own unique backstories and personalities from that point. They tell us who they are as the story develops.

Since the books in the series focus on the team aspect of the SEALs, there are always three or four other secondary SEAL characters around. That allows us to get a feel for which hero should get the next story. By the time we finished writing SEAL for Her Protection, the characters for the second book in the series—Strong, Silent SEAL—were already talking to us.

The series blends romance, suspense, and action. How do you balance these different elements to create a compelling and engaging story?

Honestly, maintaining that balance can be a little complicated sometimes. When you’re writing a story about Navy SEALs, it’s easy to get caught up in the suspense and action parts of the plot. One action sequence becomes two and then four, and the next thing you know, you have a Mission Impossible story on your hands without more than a trace or two of romance. To counteract that tendency, it’s critical that you lay out the complete story idea first in a way that lets you clearly see the suspense and action parts of the story versus the romantic parts.

Writing in the program Scrivener helps tremendously with that. You’re able to see each color-coded scene by whatever you label it, like it’s listed in a table of content, or you can change to a corkboard, seeing little notecard descriptions of the scenes. You can treat the suspense and action parts of the plot as a separate story, building a logical sequence of beginning, middle, and end. Then you go in and write the romance, making sure you have the requisite meet cute, the parts where the hero and heroine get to know each other, the build-up of feelings, and the angst of not knowing if the relationship is going to work.

From that point, the suspense and action parts of the plot can actually help the romance. They can become the external conflict, that the thing that keeps the hero and heroine apart and getting in the way of the relationship. But those suspenseful, adrenaline-filled moments can also give you snapshots of clarity as the two main characters come to realize how important they are to each other.

As a writer, you hope that after blending all these elements and scenes together, you have a good, comprehensible story that provides the perfect amount of excitement, intrigue, and romance.

Of course, only the reader gets to ultimately decide that.

What themes or messages do you hope readers will take away from the series as a whole?

Our go-to themes with most of our books are the ideas that love conquers all, love finds a way, and you have to give love a chance. These three themes are critically important within the SEALs of Coronado Series. As most people can probably guess, the life of a Navy SEAL is intensely hard on relationships. They’re frequently deployed to places that many people have never even heard of. They’re always in incredible danger and their return home is never guaranteed. Worse, due to the security classification of the work they do, they’re rarely able to tell their loved ones what they are doing, where they are going, or when they’ll be back. There aren’t many women who can deal with that kind of life and the SEALs know this better than anyone. So, in one way or another, all of the stories in this series will ask the hero and heroine to take a leap of faith and believe that love can grow in the harshest of environments. We want our readers to believe that as well.

Can you share any memorable or challenging moments you encountered while writing this series?

Probably the most memorable and challenging moment in this series occurred in the book that releases July 18th, The SEAL Who Kissed Me. This story has been in the works for a while featuring characters we introduced in previous stories. The heroine of the story is Kira Babin, a former Russian spy looking for her missing brother. We wanted to place some of the scenes in the book in a country near the Russian border, probably Ukraine. We didn’t overthink the idea until Russia invaded Ukraine and several of the cities we intended to include were involved in that. We try to make our books as realistic as we can, but this was way too real!

We considered changing the story completely and going in a whole new direction to avoid coming across as insensitive to the pain going on in that part of the world. But in the end, we decided to stay with the original plot, realizing that if we’re going to put characters in realistic scenarios, then they would see stuff like this. In a way, it highlights that books like ours mirror the real world. There’s suspense, action, and conflict going on all around us. You just have to write your way out of it.

The series includes a wide range of settings and scenarios. How do you approach creating authentic and vivid descriptions that immerse readers in the story?

Two words: The Internet. How did we ever do research before it? Oh, I know. Endless trips to the library. Now that the Internet exists, it’s all about finding cool cities to use as backdrops for books, and then using various websites (Google Maps is the absolute greatest!) to layout the chase or fight scenes. If we need the characters to have a fun date night, we jump on the Net to find the cool romantic getaways for the hero and heroine to go. We’ve even found Go-Pro videos taken by people on motorcycles as they drive around these places. Those are always amazing tools to help you get the feel for a new place. The important thing—at least for us—is to give the reader just enough detail to paint an image in their head without turning it into a travel guide article. Less is more!

With 12 books in the series, how do you maintain consistency and keep the storyline fresh and captivating for readers?

Step One on the path to consistency is to always remember that the series is about the camaraderie of a tight-knit group of friends who just so happen to be on a SEAL Team. These guys might occasionally argue, they’ll get mad, they’ll do stupid things, because that’s going to happen. But in the end, they’ll always risk their lives for each other, no questions asked. Step Two when it comes to consistency is to remember that the books are all about these amazing guys find incredible to love. Together, these two themes help the books feel like they all belong in the same world.

As far as fresh storylines? That’s easy. It’s kind of sad how easy it is to find news articles about all kinds of scary, dangerous situations around the world. All you have to do is imagine how a small team of Navy SEALs would fit into these international situations and you have the basis for a plot. Then you figure out where the romantic elements will fit, and you’re done. With that approach, there’ll never be an end to fresh new ideas!

 Are there any specific challenges or rewards that come with writing a long-running book series compared to standalone novels?

You have to keep the basic stories, themes, and characters consistent. That means you have to follow some rules about the kind of stories you’ll be able to tell (SEALs do a certain kind of work, so don’t stray too far from the basic premise of their mission), the way characters will behave (SEALs are the good guys so they have to act a certain way), and how the stories will end (HEA obviously). Sometimes you want to break out and do something completely crazy, but don’t, because it would be off brand.

Then there’s the challenge of keeping on top of all the characters. We have a spreadsheet with all of the people that have shown up in the series. There are almost two hundred characters and running. Keeping that all straight (like hair color, eye color, and family backstory, remember who you already killed off and who you didn’t, which agency did everyone work for, making sure you don’t repeat names, don’t have names that are too similar sounding, etc.) can be complicated.

There’s also the challenge of getting the story right every time. There can’t be any let-downs. Readers who love the series will let you know when they think you’ve done something wrong, and they have no problem pointing out the flaws.

But all of those things are also the rewarding parts of writing a series. As an author, you want the pressure of always keeping it fresh, of never letting your readers down, of juggling two hundred characters without a single mistake. The pressure keeps you focused.

Plus, after all this time, you come to love these characters—these people—you write about. They’re like a huge family and you want every one of them to get to a happy place after all their trials and tribulations.

Lastly, what can readers expect from future installments in the “SEALs of Coronado” series? Any hints or teasers you can share about upcoming plots or character developments?

For those readers who enjoy our other series—SWAT: Special Wolf Alpha Team—you’ll be happy to hear that there will be a brand-new crossover series with The SEALs of Coronado. The first book in the new series won’t be coming until late next year, but if you’ve been watching the two series very closely, you might see it coming. We’re really excited about it and can’t wait for that first book. In addition to that, of course, we’ll also be writing more books in the SEALs of Coronado Series, too!

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