Finding Matt

JD Ruskin
Finding Matt


Dreamspinner Press
Release Date
December 2014
Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense/Mystery

When six-year-old Matt Wilson and his Shih Tzu, Pixie, step out of the Stanton Community Hospital and disappear, his desperate parents convince Jaron Greenberg, a local pet psychic, to aid the police in the search. Jaron specializes in finding lost kitties and fixing problem pooches. He isn't prepared for a case with so much at stake. And as soon as he starts, the abilities he's had since childhood begin changing and growing in unexpected ways.

Paulo Silva is a veteran detective new to the small town of Stanton. As the low man on the totem pole at Stanton PD, he isn't happy when the chief assigns him to babysit the pet psychic instead of actively working the missing child case. As Jaron uncovers clues, Paulo starts to wonder if he might be the real thing. Or maybe it's just his testosterone reacting to what he's sure is mutual attraction.

Interview by Laura

JD, welcome to The Romance Reviews. Congratulations on your release, FINDING MATT!

Q: Where did you get your inspiration for FINDING MATT?

Jaron Greenberg's Newfoundland dog, Bear, was inspired by my childhood dog. Bear's fearlessness and protective nature are a nod to my very first dog. I also tend to get a lot of inspiration from the news. I live in a small town similar to Stanton, IL. The inspiration for FINDING MATT is based on a real life kidnapping case that happened in my small town. The details for the case are completely different, but reading the articles helped me to understand how a small town handles these types of cases.

Q: What is it about the paranormal genre, specifically psychic talents, draw you?

I've always been fascinated by the idea of horoscopes and psychics. Like Detective Paulo Silva, I'm a born skeptic, but I want to believe. I've read plenty of great fiction novels about psychics, but I hadn't read one about a pet psychic. I liked the idea of combining my love of animals and interest in psychics into a novel.

Q: That's interesting. Please tell us more about Jaron Greenberg, the person who was tasked with finding Matt, the kid who disappeared. What kind of man is he? What kind of abilities does he possess?

Jaron Greenberg is a kind, gentle man who has trouble believing in himself thanks to a difficult childhood. He's had the ability to communicate with animals since childhood. He can also track animals by getting a reading on an object of significance such as a dog toy or leash. For his pet psychic business, he charges barely over minimum wage, because he'd rather be seen as a freak than a fraud. The Matt Wilson missing child case forces him to push his abilities beyond what he thinks he's capable. Matt's parents hire Jaron to track Pixie, Matt's Shih Tzu, who was also abducted along with the boy. Jaron desperately wants to find Matt, but first he needs to convince skeptical Detective Paulo Silva that he can help.

Q: How about Paulo Silva? What kind of detective is he? What was the one thing he learned from working with Jaron on the missing child case?

Detective Paulo Silva used to work a high profile position with the Illinois State Police. After a devastating case, he left ISP and came to the Stanton Police Department (SPD). Paulo isn't used to operating in a small town with limited resources and personnel. Working with Jaron on the case, Paulo learns to have an open mind and not enter situations with his mind made up.

Q: What is their first meeting like?

Paulo and Jaron's first meeting isn't a happy encounter. Detective Paulo Silva isn't happy when Chief Tucker requires him to work with Jaron in order to appease the parents of the missing boy, Matt Wilson. In this scene, Paulo meets Jaron for the first time:

Paulo picked up a business card from a stack on the desk and read it. "Lost pet retrieval, pet communication, behavioral problems, and new pet integration. How exactly can you help the investigation?"

"I honestly don't know that I can, but Mr. Wilson wants me to try anyway."

"How do you know the Wilsons?"

"Pamela, the director of Healing Paws Therapy Dogs, has me come in to do readings on the dogs applying to be part of the program. I met Pixie during one of those sessions, and I've also taken a yoga class with Mr. Wilson."

"How long have you've been working with the therapy program?"

"It's been about two years, I think, but I'm not an official volunteer."

"Was Matt at the therapy training the day you met Pixie?"

"I don't actually know. I only meet the dogs. Pamela puts me in an exam room and brings in each dog to meet with me. It's easier for me to get a reading if there are fewer distractions."

Paulo opened his notebook and took a few notes, more interested in observing Jaron than remembering the conversation. People tended to get nervous when they think they've said something noteworthy. "Do you only get readings from pets or can you read people as well?"

"If I get a reading from a person, it is directly related to a pet, usually their own. The information is usually very general. For instance, I know you don't have any pets and you never have."

Paulo cocked his head. "Close, but I had one when I was a kid," he said, wanting to see how Jaron responded to being challenged.

Jaron shook his head. "Not true." His vibrant blue eyes slid shut and he pursed his cupid lips. "Your first grade classroom had a pet gerbil. It died before it was your turn to take the pet home for the weekend." The words were spoken with confidence, with no attempt to seek reassurance. Jaron believed what he was saying. There was only one problem. Paulo didn't remember ever having a classroom pet, let alone one that died. The scenario was a complete fabrication that Jaron apparently believed. Devin had been right. Beautifully delusional.

Q: What for you is a tender moment between them?

Jaron wants to prove himself to Paulo, but his new abilities begin to affect him physically. In this scene, Paulo helps Jaron after a reading leaves him exhausted.

Jaron pulled back the dark covers and slipped into the bed. Bear joined him, claiming the other half of the bed. Paulo chose not to see that as a sign.

Sitting on the edge of the mattress, Paulo said, "How about I take you to lunch tomorrow? And then we could go for a stroll at the park."

Jaron stifled another yawn. "Won't you get in trouble? I could call you and let you know what I find."

Hell no, Paulo thought. No way was he risking Jaron working this case alone. "I have tomorrow off. Devin can't bitch about me going on a date with a hot guy."

Jaron's cheeks flushed. "So it'll be a pretend date?"

Paulo brushed his knuckles across Jaron's cheek. "When this case is over, I want to take you on a real date. And it won't end at a crime scene."

Jaron smiled, his eyes drifting closed. "I'd like that," he murmured.

Paulo placed the glass of juice on the nightstand in case Jaron needed it. Jaron fell asleep quickly. Leaning over, Paulo lightly kissed Jaron's forehead. "Doces sonhos, anjo," he whispered.

Q: Which character is the hardest to write? Why?

The point of view scenes for the kidnapper, Marnie Becker, were the most difficult to write. I have a lot of sympathy for the struggles Marnie has endured in her life. But those struggles don't excuse her actions. She isn't a monster or evil, but her choices negatively impact an innocent child.

Q: Which character surprised you the most in terms of their involvement in the story or their character growth?

Jaron's lifelong best friend, Stephen, ended up having a bigger role than I originally planned for the character. The events in the story put a strain on their twenty-year friendship, but in the end, they are family in all the ways that matter.

Q: Give us a favorite quote from FINDING MATT.

Jaron flapped his hand. "Just because I can communicate with cats doesn't mean they'll actually listen to me."

Q: What kind of research did you have to do to write this book? Please share an interesting fact or unique behind the scenes experience.

My books tend to have a lot of research mostly because I really enjoy the process of gathering information. I learned about a range of topics that included information on small town police departments, police procedure, pet salons, pet psychics, therapy dogs, mental illness etc. The most fun bit of research was completed on Dog Day. I spent several hours with a pair of beautiful golden retrievers that belong to a family member. I have a lot of experience with dogs and cats from when I was growing up, but on Dog Day I became a dog stalker. I took notes on how they interacted with me and each other. I ended up covered in hair and dog slobber and loved every minute of it. Those goldens have a cameo in the novel.

Q: What's up next for you?

I'm writing a sequel to FINDING MATT.

Thanks, JD, for taking the time for this interview! Love that tender scene between Jaron and Paulo.

Bio of author JD Ruskin:

JD Ruskin writes character-driven romance stories about complex men from a variety of backgrounds. JD is greatly influenced by her time in the Midwest, from the bustling streets of Chicago to the cornfields of rural Illinois. She enjoys writing stories with juicy plots, memorable characters, and smoking hot encounters.

JD's first novel, When One Door Opens, was a finalist in the Rainbow Award and the winner of 2014 Epic E-book award. When not writing, she has a passion for traveling, photography, and graphic design.



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