It’s fair to say I’ve lived an unusual life. I was born into a nomadic apocalyptic cult and raised in a belief system that eschewed connections to “worldly things” such as education, gainful employment, property ownership, and personal belongings. I grew up in communes, moving often from one to the next in a trek that crisscrossed the globe. Those nearly thirty transient years, plus the culture shock of walking away from everything I knew for the foreignness of the real world, means that no matter where I go or how long I live in any one place, there’s always a part of me that will feel like a stranger. That outsider status and the sense of not quite belonging finds its way into many of my characters—that, together with independence, fierce intelligence, and a high level of kickassery—and also seems to be what most draws me to the stories I love to read. In no particular order, I share with you a few of my favorite femme fatales:
- Thea Paris, in SKYJACK by KJ Howe: Thea, a hostage rescue specialist, is strong-willed, stubborn, independent, and perfectly capable of saving herself as well as those she’s contracted to save. She also happens to be diabetic, which means she’s a kickass heroine dealing with everyday real life health issues most characters get to skip. But what makes her especially appealing to me and sets her apart in the world of fantastic fictional women is the uniqueness of her job and the authentic international childhood that informs her relationships and career choices.
- Charlie Fox, in KLLER INSTINCT, by Zoë Sharp: Charlie doesn’t fit into placid suburbia any better than I do—although for different reasons. Combine a slightly shady military background and a fair share of baggage with some serious combat skills and a rough-around-the-edges take-no-prisoners attitude, put it all into a brawler biker chick who might just be borderline insane and you get a fantastic good bad girl vicarious binge fest.
- Mercy Kilpatrick in A MERCIFUL DEATH, by Kendra Elliot: Mercy is an FBI agent who grew up in a family of survivalists and who, in wanting a different path in life, left them to attend college. She is determined, honest, and still something of a survivalist herself. Normally FBI agents are too “traditional” as characters to appeal to me, but the way Mercy was raised and the estrangement she faced from turning her back on the life she grew up in is something I relate to on so many levels and that draws me to her.
- Kathleen Mallory in MALLORY’S ORACLE, by Carol O’Connell: Mallory is a NYPD sergeant who grew up on the streets a kid. As an adult she has made something of herself in a respectable sense, but she’s still that same wild child at her core—unpredictable, street smart intelligent, and driven by her own sense of right and wrong. An NYPD sergeant would also normally be a bit too “traditional” of a character for me, but nothing about Mallory is traditional and that makes her awesome.
- Vanessa Michael Munroe, in THE INFORMATIONIST: This one is a bit of a cheat because Munroe is one of my own creations, but it’s impossible for me to not include her because she is one of my favorite characters of all time. This missionary’s daughter turned mercenary information hunter is a cultural chameleon, a loner following her own moral compass who walks a psychological tightrope between wanting to belong to a normal life she doesn’t relate to and giving in to the predatorial urges that make her the lethal killer she is.
A master of international intrigue, New York Times bestselling author Taylor Stevens introduces a pair of wild cards into the global spy game—a brother and sister who were raised to deceive—and trained to kill . . .
They live in the shadows, Jack and Jill, feuding twins who can never stop running. From earliest memory they’ve been taught to hide, to hunt, to survive. Their prowess is outdone only by Clare, who has always been mentor first and mother second. She trained them in the art of espionage, tested their skills in weaponry, surveillance, and sabotage, and sharpened their minds with nerve-wracking psychological games. As they grew older they came to question her motives, her methods—and her sanity . . .
Now twenty-six years old, the twins are trying to lead normal lives. But when Clare’s off-the-grid safehouse explodes and she goes missing, they’re forced to believe the unthinkable: Their mother’s paranoid delusions have been real all along. To find her, they’ll need to set aside their differences; to survive, they’ll have to draw on every skill she’s trained them to use. A twisted trail leads from the CIA, to the KGB, to an underground network of global assassins where hunters become the hunted. Everyone, it seems, wants them dead—and, for one of the twins, it’s a threat that’s frighteningly familiar and dangerously close to home . . .
Filled with explosive action, suspense, and powerful human drama, Liars’ Paradox is world-class intrigue at its finest.
Praise for Taylor Stevens and Liars’ Paradox
“Stevens is a sensational writer.” —Lee Child
“The best thriller I’ve read this year. . . right up there with Lisa Gardner and Lee Child.” –Allison Brennan, New York Times bestselling author of the Max Revere novels
“A twisting tale of espionage and revenge, compelling and addicting.” — Jamie Freveletti, international bestselling author of Blood Run
“An exceptional thriller . . . the most fascinating characters I’ve seen in years. Bravo!” — John Gilstrap, New York Times bestselling author of Scorpion Strike and other Jonathan Grave thrillers
“This kinetic masterpiece will rattle readers to the bone.” –K.J. Howe, bestselling author of The Freedom Broker and Skyjack
“Liars’ Paradox is topnotch . . . and brings a fresh sense of intrigue and danger. Can’t wait for book two.” –Reed Farrel Coleman, New York Times bestselling author of Robert B. Parker’s Colorblind
“A high-octane thriller that takes sibling rivalry to a new level.” —Jeff Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of The Three Beths
“One of the most exhilarating, entertaining, and emotionally complex thriller series in years.” —Julia Heaberlin, international bestselling author of Black-Eyed Susans and Paper Ghosts
“Liars’ Paradox sends the reader on the adventure of a lifetime. I loved it!” –Gayle Lynds, New York Times bestselling author of The Assassins
“Liars’ Paradox is pulse-pounding thriller in the vein of Nelson DeMille’s The Charm School. Taylor Stevens weaves a web of betrayal and intrigue that kept me flipping pages, blew me away, and left me hungry for her next release!” –Mark Greaney, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Mission Critical