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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Spotlight on Jill Elizabeth Nelson and Reluctant Smuggler

Today, I am happy and honored to host another one of my web site clients as a spotlight author. Jill has been a good friend and thanks to her husband, she provided me with my first real good picture of my husband and me before we were even involved in a romantic relationship. It's my pleasure to feature her latest book, the third in her To Catch a Thief series featuring the unique world of art thievery rings and detectives trying to stop them.



Jill Elizabeth Nelson writes what she likes to read—tales of adventure, pathos, and intrigue spiced with humor and faith. She and her husband of over 25 years live in rural Minnesota and have raised four children. They love to camp, hike, and participate in short term mission trips. They've been to Jamaica, New Orleans during Mardi Gras (a most bizarre and challenging mission field), and Thailand. For more about Jill, her books, and a chance to win a signed copy in a monthly contest, go to

by Jill Elizabeth Nelson
Published by Multnomah Publishers



They say keep your friends close and your enemies closer...but what if you can't tell the difference?

For security consultant Desiree Jacobs, the assignment is simple: make off with an ancient Mayan artifact, and hand it over to the good guys in time to plan her wedding to ultra-fine FBI agent, Tony Lucano.

Yet, in a world where no one is as they seem, Desi must decipher who the good guys are—before she ends up in the hands of a ruthless enemy.

Suddenly, artifact recovery turns into archaeological espionage, and the woman who finds all the answers must now ask questions. Who's looting priceless antiquities underneath the nose of the baffled Mexican government? And what does a violent gang of drug and human traffickers have to do with missing artifacts?

Even with Tony on her side, she'll need way more than luck to survive against the odds. She'll need the truth—not just to set her free, but to liberate many innocents caught in the snare of calculating evil.


1. This is book 3 in your To Catch a Thief series, and you continue with the story of Desi and Tony. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

Each book in the series stands alone as a complete story that will be understandable to readers starting anywhere in the series. The main characters and some of the secondary characters continue from book to book. Of course, relationships develop as each tale unfolds. In Smuggler, I drew together a number of on-going character threads, which was a lot of fun. The plot idea came from current concern in the news media regarding the spread of gangs and the tragic issue of slave trafficking, which can be a gang activity. I dedicated Reluctant Smuggler to the International Justice Mission (, a ministry that works tirelessly throughout the world on behalf of the captive and the helpless.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced the characters of Desi and Tony? What aspects became traits that were theirs and theirs alone?

I share Desiree's task-oriented focus, but in many ways she's what I wish I was rather than what I am. Her quick wit and boldness in the face of opposition inspire me. Most of the time, the snappy come-back occurs to me after the fact, and I tend to avoid confrontation. In Tony, I worked to create a strong man with a deep faith that affects his daily life. Then I threw into the mix a poignant vulnerability that makes him human and relatable. My husband shares all these traits, plus he likes his easy chair in the living room. He is not, however, a martial arts expert and has never arrested a crook in his life.

3. What themes exist in Reluctant Smuggler that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren’t overt but developed as the story progressed?

The core theme in Smuggler is the vital role of hope in the health of an individual and society. Gangs develop as a false and negative answer to the hopelessness and powerlessness experienced by certain segments of society. I trust readers will see the ultimate hope anyone can have in Jesus Christ. Truth is also a theme in the book, because it will take Desi and Tony discovering the truth for any of them to survive and be free. Tony's search for personal identity after a crisis event was a theme that developed as the story unfolded. I hope readers will apply his new understanding of self-worth to themselves.

4. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

I struggled with Tony's medical crisis to give him believable and character-consistent reactions to his unaccustomed helplessness. Most guys make very bad patients, and Tony needed to be real in that way, while illustrating a healthy resolution to his issues. I loved writing a long-awaited culmination in Desi and Tony's relationship. I strove to achieve deep emotional resonance for the reader without dripping over into sappy. My readers will have to let me know if I succeeded.

5. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

I have a two book contract with Steeple Hill for their romantic suspense line. Evidence of Murder comes out in February 2009 and the second book in June of 2009. Here's a short summary for Evidence of Murder: When a new business owner discovers on her property photos of a decade-old mass murder, she and the surviving son of the massacre become the target of a powerful and desperate killer.

Thanks for hosting me on your blog, Tiffany. You ask great questions!

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Thanks, Jill, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE copy of Reluctant Smuggler. If you don't wish to be entered, say so when you post. Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname or that it's available for viewing in your blogger profile, since many of you don't return to check the winner notification. Wouldn't want you to miss out on winning a book. :)

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.


windycindy said...

I have heard many great things about this author and her book! Please enter me in your contest. I appreciate it.....Cindi

Lori said...

You must all run out and buy this series! Fabulous writing by a fabulous lady! I can't wait for my copy of this book. :)

Jill said...

Thanks so much for hosting me, Tiff. You have a gorgeous blog! But then, you're a wonderful web site designer. I should know, since you designed mine!

Hannah said...

i'd love to win a copy of this book! hsmuda[at]gmail[dot]com thanks!

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

Cindi, it IS a great series, just like Lori said. Witty dialogue, engaging characters and excellent suspense plot. Jill weaves it all in an entertaining way.

And Jill...flattery will get you quite far. Oh wait, you already hired me. LOL! Thanks for the compliments on the blog and site. I'm always happy to help fellow authors in any way I'm able.

Winner announced tomorrow. One more day to leave a comment and be entered.

Lori said...

Did I miss where the winner was announced?

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

No, Lori, you didn't miss it. I goofed and forgot to come back to make the announcement. Ironically, the winner is:


How's that for coincidence? And just in case anyone wonders, my husband picks the winners from a nondescript random list. So, it is completely arbitrary.

Lori, please email me your mailing address and how you would like the book signed so I can have Jill mail out your book to you.

Winner of Julie Lessman's book is also announced. If you posted there, scoot on over and check to see if you won.