We’re thrilled to have here today Major Ash Hunter, a Navy SEAL currently on medical leave, born and bred in the Rocky Mountain town of Copperhill, Colorado. Ash is the hero in The Asset, Anna del Mar’s new romantic suspense novel. He’s here with service dog, a black German shepherd called Neil, the handsomest dog I’ve ever seen. It is a pleasure to have Ash and Neil with us today at Beyond the Books!
Thank you for having us.
Is it my imagination or you look kind of uncomfortable at the moment?
I’m not much for words. Neil and I, we don’t like people a lot these days. I’m only doing this for Lia. She’s wary of strangers and she’d never do a public interview like this one. But she asked for an assist and I can’t say no to Lia. And please, don’t ask about my prior missions or what I did during my time in Afghanistan. That’s classified.
Okay, well, thanks for doing this interview anyway. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?
Fairness. There’s a high minded concept. Who the hell knows what’s fair or not. I’m not one for platitudes. You give me a job, I go out and do it. Our story…it probably wasn’t easy to tell.
You mean the story of you and Lia Stuart, your co-protagonist in The Asset?
How did you two meet?
When Lia and I met, Lia was hiding in Copperhill, pretending to be someone else, running away from the drug lord who’d terrorized her life. She didn’t want any attention and neither did I. I was just out of the hospital. Well, technically speaking, I hadn’t been discharged yet, but I had to get the hell out of there.
What was wrong with you?
I was wounded in Afghanistan. I’d been at that hospital for weeks on end. I was done with hospitals and doctors. I decided to go home. So I went to the old lakeside cottage, the one place I knew where I could be alone and get my head on straight. And there she was. Lia. Aiming a loaded shotgun at me. Hiding. Pretending. Jumping three feet high when anybody approached the cottage. I knew she kept secrets right away.
Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality? If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?
It is what it is. I wasn’t in my best state of mind when I first got to the cottage. I was sick. Hell, I threw up in Lia’s kitchen. But Lia, she’s not like most people, you know. She was afraid, and God knows, looking back, she had some very good reasons to be frightened, of strangers, of me. That’s why she welcomed me with a shotgun.
You were lucky she didn’t shoot you on the spot.
I’ve got Neil to thank for that. Lia would never hurt an animal. Never. She loves animals and she adores those rescue animals of hers.
So what happened next?
The girl’s got guts. When she figured out who I was and what was wrong with me, she took me in, even if she risked her cover—and her life—to do so. She vouched for me when the Marines came looking, then devoted herself to making sure I got better. It takes a special person to do all that for a stranger.
Sounds like you have a lot of admiration for Lia.
If you knew Lia, you’d know the truth. She’s the hero of this story and, for a guy who was in bad shape, she became my number one asset.
What do you believe are Lia’s strongest traits?
She’s brave. I’m telling you, she’s all heart and guts. After everything she’s gone through, she’s resilient as hell. She’s gorgeous, resourceful, self-reliant, smart and loyal. Oh, and she’s funny too.
Sounds like she ticks all your boxes.
Affirmative. That she does.
She doesn’t trust people. But do you blame her? If you’d experience terror like she has, you’d be distrustful of the world too. She’s skittish, especially if she doesn’t know you, and she’s used to keeping secrets.
What about you? What are your strongest traits as a hero?
I really hate it when people call me a hero. Most SEALs do. I mean, we go out there every day and we do our job. That’s not being a hero. That’s performing up to standard.
But surely, after reading the story, and—well, looking at you right now—any reader would agree that you are indeed a fitting hero.
What would you like me to say to that? That am skilled? Okay, I’ll admit to having skills, but all the members of my teams, past, present and future perform at a high level of skill. It’s who we are. It’s how we’re trained. All I did was apply my professional training to an extremely dangerous situation that required resolution. That’s doing the job, not being a hero.
If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?
Oh, for Christ’s sake. Are you serious?
Then you pick, ’cause I’m not touching that one with a ten-foot pole.
How about Tatum Channing?
A pretty boy. Really?
Tatum Channing has brawn and looks. He’s got game, Ash.
Whatever tickles your fancy. Let’s move on, shall we?
When did you start to fall in love with Lia?
Man, you really are a nosy witch, aren’t you?
That’s my talent. That’s why I do character interviews while you go get the bad guys. Are you going to answer my question?
Damn. We ought to deploy bloggers like you on the battlefield. The world would be a safer place if you were in charge of gathering intel from the Taliban and ISIS.
If you really want to know, I thought Lia was hot from day one, even if the first time I saw her she was wearing her pajamas and pointing a loaded gun at me. But it was the way she watched my six that got me, how she cared for me, even when I knew she was frightened. In a firefight, you want someone like her watching your back.
At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?
I was on maximum alert the entire time. Lia’s brave, so I knew that if she feared something or someone, it was going to be bad. Once I figured out that the drug lord stalking her was Luis Ramon Rojas, AKA Red, the head of the largest drug cartel in the Americas, I understood the full scope of the danger. I decided it was time to pay my rent and take care of business.
How did you go about taking care of “business?”
I engineered the mission, brought on the guys, watched and waited. There were many operational challenges. I worried about Lia’s self-reliance. She wasn’t used to being part of a team. Lia wanted to protect everyone in her life, including me. I worried that, no matter how hard I tried to protect her, she was going to get hurt.
How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?
I feel Goddamn lucky, that’s how. I swear, the last few scenes about killed me.
Will we be seeing more of you in the future?
I’m not sure you’ll be seeing more of me, as Lia and I like to stay out of limelight. But you’ll definitively be reading about some of my friends in Anna del Mar’s Wounded Warrior series, guys who deserve the hoopla.
Really? Like who?
Like Seth Erickson, for example. I’m not sure if he’ll talk to you, but he’s the protagonist of The Stranger, book two of the Wounded Warrior series due out August 2016. Seth’s the kind of hero you’re looking for, a legendary helicopter pilot and an Alaskan tycoon who met his match when he ran into Miami native, sun-loving Summer Silva. Talk about a hero. That’s a story you might want to hear.
Great. I can’t wait to meet Seth Erickson and Summer Silva in The Stranger. Give my regards to Lia and thank you for this interview, Ash.
Thank you. Come on, Neil. Let’s get the hell out of here.
Title: The Asset
Genre: Romantic suspense, Contemporary romance, Military romance, SEAL romance.
Author: Anna del Mar
Publisher: Carina Press
Purchase on Amazon
About the Book:
Ash Hunter knows what it is to run. A SEAL gravely injured in Afghanistan, he’s gone AWOL from the military hospital. Physically and mentally scarred, he returns home to his grandmother’s isolated cottage—and finds a beautiful, haunted stranger inside.
Like recognizes like.
Lia Stewart’s in hiding from the cartel she barely escaped alive, holed up in this small Rocky Mountain town. Surviving, but only just. Helping the wounded warrior on her doorstep is the right thing to do…it’s loving him that might get them both killed.
Soon, Ash realizes he’s not the only one tormented by the past. Pushing the limits of his broken body, testing the boundaries of her shattered soul, he’ll protect Lia until his last breath.
About the Author:
Anna del Mar writes hot, smart romances that soothe the soul, challenge the mind, and satisfy the heart. Her stories focus on strong heroines struggling to find their place in the world and the brave, sexy, kickass, military heroes who defy the limits of their broken bodies to protect the women they love. She is the author of The Asset (Carina Press), the first novel of her Wounded Warrior series and three other novels scheduled for release during 2016.
A Georgetown University graduate, Anna enjoys traveling, hiking, skiing, and the sea. Writing is her addiction, her drug of choice, and what she wants to do all the time. The extraordinary men and women she met during her years as a Navy wife inspire the fabulous heroes and heroines at the center of her stories. When she stays put—which doesn’t happen very often—she lives in Florida with her indulgent husband and two very opinionated cats.
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