Best of A of A: What Did the CDC Know and When Did They Know It?
Best of A of A: Part 2, What Did the CDC Know and When Did They Know It?

Romance! Sexy! Autism? Harlequin Intrigue Debuts Kay Thomas' Better Than Bulletproof

Better_Than_Bulletproof_cover[1]GigiMama is the winner!

By Kim Stagliano

When was the last time you uttered "romance, sexy and autism" in the same sentence? I never had either, until I read Kay Thomas' novel from Harlequin Intrigue, Better Than Bulletproof.

Leave a comment to win a signed copy!  (BTB features a 5 year old with autism who has just started speaking thanks to biomedical treatments. A of A readers will love it!)

On secret military missions Harlan Jeffries has defied danger: he'd be damned if minding an adorable child -- and the boy's stubborn and all too sexy aunt -- would be his downfall. But when little Adam's mother went missing, Harlan had no choice but to take them both under his personal protection.

Scroll down to read my interview with Kay.

1) Hi, Kay and Congrats on your release of Better Than Bulletproof.  Can you give us a synopsis of your book, a sneak peak at the back cover blurb?

Hi Kim, Thanks. It’s great to be here.

BETTER THAN BULLETPROOF is about a Marine and a perpetual "screw up," who join forces to rescue an autistic boy from a web of murder and government conspiracy.

Gina Rodgers, a struggling advertising artist, has just landed the account of a lifetime when her sister mysteriously disappears and leaves behind a five-year-old autistic son. Even though she has no idea how to deal with her nephew’s overwhelming needs, Gina drops everything in her Dallas job and travels to Mississippi to care for Adam and look for her sister. There she discovers an unexpected ally in the child’s play therapist, Harlan Jeffries, an ex-military sniper seeking redemption through working with special needs children.

As they search for her sister, Gina and Harlan are caught up in a conspiracy involving murder, betrayal and a pharmaceutical company cover-up that reaches to the highest levels of government. Everything they believe about themselves and the people they love will be challenged as Gina and Harlan are forced to race across the country to find and protect her missing sister’s explosive research study that proves the vaccine-autism connection.

2) So what's this I hear about biomedical autism treatments appearing in a ROMANCE!  Do you have any idea how exciting it is (pun intended) to be able to read a book that incorporates autism and (I hope) sex too?  LOL!

I agree it’s an unusual venue for this particular subject matter. As you know Harlequin is all about romance in any setting. And BETTER THAN BULLETPROOF is a romantic suspense thriller set against the autism/vaccine issue. All through the editing process I kept expecting that I would be asked to soften the vaccine/pharmaceutical aspect of the story. But I was encouraged and excited that my editor did not back away from this controversial topic. It is my greatest hope that readers can enjoy Harlan and Gina’s story and be entertained by it, as well as learn a bit about autism and treatment options facing parents today.

3) Can you tell our readers who are also writers a bit about your publishing journey? Who is your agent and how did you sell the MS?

I didn’t always know I wanted to write. The first week of “Freshman Comp” my professor read something I’d written out loud to the entire class as an example of something “well done.” I still remember how that made me feel.

Unfortunately, that feeling didn’t last…I was a one hit wonder in composition and was thrilled with the C that I barely squeezed out of there with. But my fourth year of college, I met the teacher who would become my writing mentor and I started to “get it”.

He said, “Write on one side of the page only. You can write all over the page if you must, but one side only for your papers.”

You really have to understand Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” to do that. You can’t B.S. your way to a conclusion in a one-pager unless you have the concept down and can write tight. I fell in love with that kind of writing and I still keep in touch with that professor. He edited my first two books. He’s in his eighties now. A wonderful man.

A few years later, I took a couple of creative writing courses at a community college and started a manuscript. Got a hundred pages into it, got stuck, and life got complicated for a while. Finally in 2004, I joined Romance Writers of America and things started to really gel for me in terms of writing and process.

I completed three manuscripts and I targeted a contest with my new #1 “dream agent” judging (Helen Breitwieser of Cornerstone Literary) and I finalled! A dream come true in itself. She requested the full manuscript and offered to represent me. Less than a year later she sold that manuscript to Harlequin Intrigue. Six months after that we sold a second book to Intrigue on proposal.
4) Is this a standalone book?

5) Why autism?

I mentioned earlier that “life got complicated.” Eight years ago my son was diagnosed with autism and I immediately dove into an intensive array of biomedical and traditional therapies for him. He worked hard and responded amazingly well. I will be forever grateful to a multitude of people that I can never repay for giving me back my son. People who worked with him, played with him, prayed for him and for my family. Incredibly generous parents I’ve met through autism groups online but never met in person who shared their hard won knowledge and advice when we got stuck in various stages of treatment. Doctors, teachers, therapists, and friends who gave so much over the years. It’s a very long list.

Even with exceptional treatment, you don’t always get the kind of results we did. It’s been an extraordinarily humbling and overwhelming experience. When I think about where we were nine years ago, I’m completely awed.

6) Have you written other books or is this your debut?

Better Than Bulletproof  is my debut novel and my third completed manuscript. In April, Harlequin is releasing my next book titled Bulletproof Texas. It’s about caves and cancer research with continuing characters and a plot thread that carries over from Better Than Bulletproof.

Bulletproof Texas is a romantic suspense thriller about a pharmaceutical research scientist and a brooding caving guide who are forced to work together extracting a cancer-eating bacteria from a flooding Texas Hill Country cave. As the sparks fly and the sexual tension increases, so do the dangers when a competitor decides this potential cure shouldn't see the light of day--and is willing to kill anyone who gets in the way.

7) Will you be doing any book clubs by phone? How can readers get in touch with you?

I don’t have plans for phone book clubs right now, but I’m doing two different online bookclub/forum events in February and several blogs this spring. The details are on my website. Please check there for dates and sign up for my newsletter.

My website

I’m also on Facebook

With a Facebook group
Bulletproof Thrills – Romantic Suspense from Kay Thomas

And myspace (Yes, that’s an underscore after thomas!)

Come “friend me” at any of these venues. I’d love to hear from you!

Best wishes with sales, Kay!  And thanks for coming to Age of Autism .

This has been great, Kim. I appreciate your interest and the opportunity to tell you about my book. My very best to you and your readers. 
Readers, leave a comment to win a copy of Kay's "Better Than Bulletproof."  And don't forget to support her by buying a copy for yourself and a friend HERE!

If you can leave a review that would be great too!

Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor of Age of Autism.



Aw, man! I really wanted to win this! But that's o.k., 'cause now I'll go out an buy it...

Lynna Kay

Sounds like a great book! I love to read while my son is in therapy so I hope I win!


I beg your pardon? Price Waterhouse was HERE (I made them clean up a crapisode) and the winner was randomly selected.

Actually, I have my little system to select our winners, sometimes I take the date, add the numbers, count the posts until I reach that number or some other creative method.

If I were a cheater I'd have a hell of a library! :)

Kelli Ann Davis -- To Craig -- You Can Breath Now! didn't crinkle the paper right! I was *supposed* to win!! (Hint: It's how I won a car ;-)

Oh well, it's okay! I actually got to see the REAL JACK (BAUER) in action for 2 hours straight on Sunday night with another 3 hours waiting for me after tonight's episode!! Whoooo hoooo! It's like chocolate but wayyyyyy better!

Bottom Line: It doesn't get any better than Jack!

Maria Durci

I'm not usually a romance novel reader but I want to read this one. It sounds great! Way to go Kay!


One of my friends on Facebook won a car! I'd settle for a book.



Way to go kay, this is so exciting, i think any way we can make this world aware of what we are going through is wonderful, i cant wait to read your book. GOD BLESS YOU AND THINK YOU SO MUCH. BARBARA AND LITTLE BRANDON.

Elizabeth Hensley

The "smoking gun" for the connection between autism and vaccines has ALREADY been found and it is not fiction. Here it is.

If I win the book I'll read it and do my best to keep it looking pristine. And when you send it give the runner up my address so they can contact me. I'll send it to them when I'm through. If I kept everything I read I'd need another wing on my house and autographs don't impress me; good writing does.

Elizabeth Hensley <>< 8-)
Asperger's syndrome. Happy with brain but my gut is on fire. Check out my web pages.

Laura Kozlowski

I would love to read this. Getting Autism awareness out there any way we can is great


Count me in! Any book that supports biomedical interventions has my support! :)

Gabriella True

Romance? Not sure what that word means. Would love to learn more

Kelli Ann Davis -- FABIO IS NOT JACK!

FABIO?!! Are you kidding me?? Fabio wouldn't even know what "brawn" is and IF that's the case, then the "brains" part is obviously not in play either.

And Kevin: I ain't buying it -- the whole "this is for my wife...really...I swear...really" thingy. At least OjectiveAutismDad isn't *afraid* to admit he might actually get into the book!!!

Bottom Line: JACK (Harlan) is THEE man when it comes to HOT ;-)

(Psssst...Kim. When you put all the names into the hat, can you please "crinkle" the piece with my name on it *before* you put it in??? Better odds of winning that way!)

Marney C.

I started reading Harliquins when in high school (eons ago!) and graduated to Intrigue when it came out! I call them my "bubblebath" books - a glass of wine, one of these, and a hot tub of bubbles, and I'm good to go for another round. Put my name on the list:)


This post is for my wife, Tammy. Really.

Craig Willoughby

Ah, but Kelli and Gayle, I would only do the Gallant thing and donate said book to one of the lovely ladies who frequent this site. It's what any REAL man would do.


Alaina Jensen

Count me in!

Diane Cervi

I can't wait to read this book!! So glad to read your child is doing well.

Raquel Class

What mother of an autistic child would not love to go into fantasy land with a really good romance novel? The fact that it is right up our alley makes it even more interesting. It's great to see the word getting out more. It educates the public and brings awareness to battles we fight daily. I would love to get my hands on this book.

Barbara Bucknam

I would love the relaxation of curling up with this book!


Big pharma are the bad guys? Too bad that's non fiction as well as romance.

Sign me up!


Wow... I was wondering why Fabio was not on the cover?


Sounds like a nice book to me! Sign me up.


Long time reader, first time poster.
This book sounds like too much fun.
My hubby's a retired Marine, too! Wheeee!

Kelli Ann Davis -- Head's Up Craig -- You COULD Be A Winner!

"I hope you win this book, especially since you have such a tough time with the idea of holding a woman's purse! It would serve you right."

Yeah Craig! And besides, look on the bright-side -- IF you were to hit the *mother lode* and WIN this passion-adventure-and-suspense-all-rolled-into-one book, you wouldn't have to read it in public [Think: Under the covers with a flashlight in your teeth] and therefore, your *REAL MAN* status would remain intact.

(Oh and don't worry -- your *secret* [Think: My name is NOT "spill-the-beans Randy"] would be safe with me!)


Craig,... Craig,... Craig! Did you not read the fine purple print? It said, "Leave a comment to win a signed copy!" You left a comment, and now you are indeed as eligible to win this book as the gaggle of women (myself included) who typed in a comment. I hope you win this book, especially since you have such a tough time with the idea of holding a woman's purse! It would serve you right.

This book sounds absolutely wild! Thanks for letting us know about it.


I could certainly use reading other than biomed books for my long evenings in the chamber.


Count me in too,Kim! Sounds like a great read!

ps--yes, you were right about the buttons ;]


Sounds awesome!! I want my copy, can't wait to read this book! Amazing :)

suzanne Welsh

Hey Kay! Y'all I'm one of Kay's writer friends and I got to read an advanced copy of this book for a romance blog interview. It was exceptional, both from a romance angle and the autism/vaccine angle. You need to pick up a copy this week or next, and tell all your friends. It really is a great read!

Craig Willoughby

Kim, Kelli, and all you wonderful ladies,

I'll leave you to ask for this book. While I appreciate the premise behind it, reading it would violate the REAL Man code, and I would have my license revoked. Not a good thing :P

Kelli Ann Davis AoA Is SMOKIN'

"As the sparks fly and the sexual tension increases, so do the dangers"

It'ssss Jack (aka Harlan)! Brains and Brawn -- my number one, absolute fav combo!!! Wooooo hoooo! Sign me up Baby :-)

Oh, and Kim: "When was the last time you uttered "romance, sexy and autism" in the same sentence?"....about 3 days, one post, two fake big 'uns, and 75 comments ago.

Tami L

Sign me up! LOL


Oh I sure hope I win this one...I need all the help I can get!! Romance??? Can someone tell me what that is? I seem to remember something about that guy that sits across the room from me....hmmmm
Pick me!!!!


Enter me, too!


Love it!!


Wow, how amazing that this book was written and published! Enter me for sure. Thanks, Kay Thomas, for writing it! Congratulations on your son's wonderful progress. Thanks for publicizing these issues and for expressing something about our experiences -- so often left out of mainstream media -- and doing this in an entertaining way!

CDC, FDA, AAP, Pharma -- the cat is out of the bag! The vaccine/autism link and biomedical causes & treatments are becoming part of mainstream conciousness! The denial is crumbling!

Kay Thomas

Hi Everyone,

Thanks so much for your enthusiasm and interest in Better Than Bulletproof. I hope you enjoy reading Harlan and Gina’s story as much as I did writing it. Please let me know what you think. I'd love to hear from readers!

Kay Thomas

Diane F.

Please enter me to win. This book sounds like it would make a great television movie. Perhaps ABC would show it. ;o)

michele i

I want this book! pick me!


Oh, yah. Sounds good to me. Sign me up.


Sounds like a great book!


oh enter me please! i could use a romantic book- and her subject is of course an added bonus

Jennie Bentley

I'm still looking, Kay!

sue cranmer (sparkil2)

Sounds like a good read and something I could relate to.

Theresa C.

I'd like to enter!

Lisa Thompson

Better than Bulletproof sounds like my kind of book! Enter me please!

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)