Review & Interview: Vertigo by Gwenan Haines

June 21, 2013 Review 1

Review & Interview: Vertigo by Gwenan Haines

When attorney Blake Cartwright abandons a successful career to turn a dilapidated lighthouse into an inn, everybody thinks she's gone a little bit crazy. After witnessing a body fall from the tower, Blake wonders if they might be right. According to local legend, the spirit of a former keeper's wife lures women to their deaths in the icy water below. Has Blake witnessed a suicide, seen a ghost--or is she just seeing things?

Declan Hunter, the mysterious man she hires to help with renovations, doesn't help matters. The man with the Navy SEAL physique claims to be nothing more than a local handyman, but Blake's instincts warn her not to trust him. As the mystery deepens, she finds herself drawn into a dangerous labyrinth of secrets, lies, and murder. But the most serious danger of all may be falling for a man determined to leave her.

Title: Vertigo
Author: Gwenan Haines
Published by Wild Rose Press
Source: Author
Published: February 22, 2013
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 270
See the title at Goodreads
Purchase your copy: Visit the Author's Website

Stars: five-stars
Flames: three-flames

Romantic suspense readers of will absolutely adore Vertigo by Gwenan Haines. The author’s complex plot—equal parts mystery, romance, and ghost story—pulls the reader into this fast-paced novel.

Buying a lighthouse that she wants to convert into an inn, Blake Cartwright leaves her job as a New York lawyer and relocates to Maine. Upon arriving at her new lighthouse, Blake discovers Declan Hunter inside. She does not believe his story about being a building renovator but hires him anyway. When strange things start happening, Blake begins to think the ghost stories about her lighthouse are true, and she is grateful that Declan is there to help her. Even though Blake wonders what Declan’s real story is, she is attracted to him in ways she has never been attracted to a man before. Investigating a drug-smuggling ring, Declan is a DEA agent who cannot afford the distraction Blake is becoming. The rapid-fire dialog and intense situations spark the simmering sexual chemistry between Blake and Declan, making them an engaging couple. Their bedroom antics are sexy and riveting.

Completely enthralled by the mystery and suspense-filled plot, I was unable to put this story down before reaching the pulse-pounding climax. Haines does a nice job of tying up the major plot points and providing the perfect romantic conclusion.

I received an eBook copy from the publisher for purpose of an honest review for The Jeep Diva. I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility.

T.C. Archer


Gwenan Haines

Vanessa: Would you please start by telling us a little bit about yourself?

I live in New England with my 12-year-old daughter and a red Siberian husky born on Halloween. My life is pretty crazy because I’m doing the whole divorced mom gig, plus writing, working a full-time job and teaching at the local community college.

Vanessa: What is one thing about you that your readers would find surprising or never guess about you?

That I once was stranded in the Himalayas with a member of the Afghan resistance.

Vanessa: Can you tell us about your current work in progress, perhaps you could share a favorite fact or piece of fascinating information about it?

Right now I’m working on Chasing Eternity, the sequel to my urban fantasy series. In Risking Eternity my male lead, Valentin Grigorievich, has been consumed by the idea of avenging crimes that one of history’s most famous killers has committed against him. In Chasing Eternity his focus shifts. Don’t want to say too much more because I’m afraid I’ll give away the story.

Gaele: Where do your ideas come from? Do you set out to ‘outline’ a plot and situations, or do you let the characters take you along for the ride, and clean it up later?

My ideas come from everything. Movies, books, life. When my daughter was young we used to make up bedtime stories about two girls who lived in a lighthouse and would solve mysteries. That eventually sparked the idea for Vertigo. Of course the novel’s completely different than the stories we used to tell. For one thing, there aren’t any dolphins or unicorns. Plus a couple of characters wind up dead and there are some R-rated love scenes. . .

In terms of plotting, I tend to plan things beforehand, which is odd because I’m not the most organized person in “real” life. Before I even sat down at the computer to write Vertigo, I had done the majority of the research for the novel and outlined it. Though sometimes the characters asserted themselves and the plot changed accordingly.

Gaele: With all the characters you have created – are there any that you feel need to have another book or series to get their “story told”?

Blake and Declan’s story feels finished at the end of Vertigo. In my urban fantasy novella, Risking Eternity, Valentin and Hayden’s situation is a different matter. For one thing, there’s no Happily Ever After for them. I couldn’t write one for that novella, even a temporary one, because it didn’t feel right. Valentin’s character is too dark and I couldn’t have Hayden commit to him, not until he changes. She’s also got to unravel her past before she’s ready to be in a relationship.

Gaele: Best advice you have ever been given about writing?

Write something every day, even if you don’t feel very inspired. I don’t always follow that advice, but I try to.

Gaele: What do you do to relax, when you aren’t writing or thinking about it?

Read. Though that’s sort of related to what I do….hmmm…to be honest, I don’t have a lot of time for relaxing. I’m always juggling about three tasks: driving my daughter to dance, planning my next lecture, plotting out my latest novel. I do try to run with my husky on a pretty regular basis. If I don’t run I start stressing about things. After a run, my dog can decimate a tube of toothpaste (unlike me, he never gets tired) and I’ll be fine with it. Well, not fine. But I can handle it. I also have a fondness for margaritas and horror movies. And my daughter and I have movie nights too.

Rachel: If you could visit any time period and location (past or future) when and where would you go?

That’s such a hard question! There are so many places I’d love to visit. Paris in the 1920’s. Victorian England. Medieval Scotland. The Wild West. Or I’d like to fast forward and see what the world will look like in a hundred years.

Vanessa: Where is the strangest place you have found inspiration? 

Sometimes I take my husky to run at a 900-acre piece of land that used to be a prison for tuberculosis patients back in the early 1900’s. It’s great for a Siberian because there’s so much open space. You can still see the ruins of the solitary confinement building, the hospital, some of the farm buildings. The area is supposed to be haunted and a couple of years ago I ended up going on a ghost hunt there after dark. Very creepy. I ended up writing a paranormal short story about the experience from the point of view of a serial killer.

Vanessa: I’m a bit of an author stalker and I love going to signings and conventions. Do you have any upcoming appearances?

I’ll be blogging and doing online interviews at Reading Between the Wines, The Reading Café, Sweet n’ Sassi, Bookishly Devoted and a few other places during the next month or so. For a more detailed listing, visit my blog at

Twitter: @GwenanHaines
Wild Rose Press:

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