at-close-rangeNew York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin is celebrating a new book today! AT CLOSE RANGE, her newest Tracers novel, is out now, and if you’re a romantic suspense fan, we’ll say run, don’t walk, to snatch up this whole series about an elite CSI lab that solves the cases no one else can. We asked Laura to tell us a little bit about how she researches her series, and she shared a bit of advice with us!

One of the best things about being an author is getting to go out on adventures with your characters! A lot of my writing days are calm and peaceful, but while creating the Tracers series, I’ve had some X-TREME adventures… evasive driving maneuvers on a police training track, responding to a domestic disturbance during a ride-along, fingerprinting a body…

But one of the most hair-raising adventures of all time was when my sweet, quiet editor [ed. note: That’s me! Abby!] invited me out to a gun range to try our hands at some target practice. Fun! Here are some firing range myths we managed to bust:

“Earmuffs are for wusses.” Nope. Any gun range, especially an indoor one, is LOUD! And remember, that gun you’re firing is right next to your ears. So, if you ever want to hear again (or at least within a few hours of leaving the range) those goofy-looking ear covers are a must.

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Laura getting some help from our instructor, one of many veterans who work there.

“It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.” Um, no. Even if the target you are aiming at is close, it’s much harder to hit than you might think… especially for novices like Abby and me. Successfully hitting that little bullseye takes practice, practice, practice.

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Hang on, Laura!

“But at least it looks cool…” Again, no. At least we didn’t look too cool. The problem? Those guns have a KICK! Wow. The first shots with the MP5 knocked me back a few steps. And when my arms jerked up from the recoil, I didn’t have a chance of hitting the target. If you strike one of those badass poses like you see in movies, holding the pistol sideways while you take aim at the bad guy? Turns out, not such a good firing stance.

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Abby, not quite ready for the Tracers yet

Abby and I may not be the next GI Janes, but we definitely had fun! And I gathered lots of colorful details for my new book, AT CLOSE RANGE, starring firearms expert Scott Black. In the book, he’s paired up with a kickass heroine who knows her way around a long gun, just like me… sort of 😉

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We also rode in a truck with a machine gun on top–Laura’s “driving” while Abby discovers she’s too short to work the gun!

If you find yourself in Las Vegas and want to try firing a gun or two, we had a great time at Battlefield Vegas, where these pics were all taken.

Want to know more about Laura Griffin? Check her out on the XOXO After Darkcast. Or take the quiz and find out which Tracers specialty is right for you!