Author Patricia Paris talks about romance and murder

It’s a beautiful morning in Hawaii for Mondays Are Murder. Today I have with me author Patricia Paris.

Laurie: Good morning, Patricia. So glad you could talk with me today. I know you are basically a romance novelist, but this blog is about murder, so I’ll focus on your book, A Murderous Game. The plot makes it sound like a typical crime thriller. Is that what it is, or is this book a romance that happens to contain a murder?

Patricia: I am a romance novelist, and write two different types of romances. The first are contemporary romances that are both sweet and passionate. In these, the hero and heroine are faced with difficult decisions that threaten their new found love. My Cedar Cove Series: This Time Forever and Letters to Gabriella are examples of these. The second are romantic suspense, like A Murderous Game.

I wouldn’t call A Murderous Game a thriller, more so a mystery. The heroine, Abby Carpenter, is going through a difficult divorce. Her husband is a master at bullying her into concessions and embarrassing her through a string of public infidelities. As a way of dealing with her anger and frustration over his continual demands, or “exorcising the demons” as her best friend, Rachael, calls it, Abby imagines different ways of killing her soon to be ex. Her life is turned upside down when the man turns up “really” dead, and Abby becomes the primary suspect in the murder.

Her newly developing romance with Gage Farriday, a powerful man from her past, who was awarded a multi-billion dollar development contract that her dead husband had also bid on, leads to further complications when Gage also becomes a suspect. As the detective on the case begins to narrow in on the case, the murderer tries to cover their tracks, putting Abby right in the line of fire.

Laurie: That sounds both intriguing and exciting. What kind of person is your protagonist, Abby Carpenter?

Patricia: I see Abby as a very independent, career-minded woman who tries to make the best of whatever life throws at her. She has a wonderful, occasionally biting, sense of humor, but most of it self-directed. Despite becoming the target of a sleazy reporter’s expose, she finds a way to face the world with her head held high—at least until she can return to her townhouse each evening where she believes herself to be safe. She’s a bit of a dreamer, with a kind heart, but she has a quiet strength that serves her well when she needs it most.

Laurie: How do you come up with the characters in all your books? Are they based on people you know, or are they purely fictional?

My characters just come to me. Oftentimes, they take on different attributes and behaviors as I write the first draft and they begin to get more flushed out. None of my characters are based on actual people, although I will sometimes give them a characteristic, habit, or a quirk of people I’ve encountered over the years, like my hero, Blake in This Time Forever, who has a definitive habit of sticking his tongue in his cheek when he’s pondering something. For the most part, they’re purely fictional, but as they come from my head, I’m sure a bit of me has spilled over into each of them somewhere.

Laurie:  When did you begin your writing career?

Patricia: I’ve been writing since I was a little girl. As a very young child I wrote stories about animals, imaginary friends, or taking some wonderful adventure. I wrote my first novel in high school. It was horrible! I still have it in a box in the basement, and it’s amusing to look back on it every decade or so. I also wrote poetry in high school and was often a contributor to the school newspaper. My first published novel, This Time Forever, which was released about nine months ago, took me over three years and dozens of rewrites before I was satisfied with it. But there were several written both before, and in between, that I have stuffed away in file drawers waiting to be pulled out to see if I want to rework them.

Laurie: How much time do you put into writing?

Patricia: I spend most of my time writing. I’m fortunate in that I don’t work outside the home, so I can devote as much time as I have energy for on my writing. I do some form of writing almost every day. When I get stuck on plot, or my characters aren’t cooperating, I’ll sometimes take a break from my WIP for a few days or more to let things brew. While that’s bubbling on the back burner, I’ll usually work on another book, either outlining or flushing out what I’ve already written.

Laurie: What are you currently working on?

Patricia: I have two WIP’s going at the time. One is the third installment of my Cedar Cove Series, titled: Return to Cedar Cove. My primary focus right now however is on the sequel to A Murderous Game, which is titled: Run Rachael Run. It is also a romantic suspense, but slightly darker and a little edgier than A Murderous Game (AMG). The heroine, Rachael Gooding, was Abby’s best friend in AMG, and she’s a real corker! I can’t tell you how many readers contacted me to ask if I was planning to write a book for Rachael. She’s a high-spirited, in-your-face if she has to be, heroine. Her stunning good looks make men drool in her wake, but they cause her more problems than they’re worth, including murder. Run Rachael Run is set to be released in the Spring of 2013.

Laurie: Your fans clearly have a lot to look forward to! Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Patricia: I’d like to thank you, Laurie, for inviting me to spend time with you to talk about A Murderous Game. Although I’m a romance novelist at heart, I love all genres, and am an avid reader, especially mystery; so it was fun for me to focus on my story through the mystery lens as opposed to the romance one which I generally do.

Laurie: Find A Murderous Game and all of Patricia’s books on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/A-Murderous-Game-ebook/dp/B0057ZF5I0

Follow her blog at: http://patriciaeparis.com/wordpress/

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Author David Bishop Talks To Mondays Are Murder

The Hawaiian sun is setting on this Monday, but it’s never too late for murder. I am pleased to have with me the author of a number of excellent books, David Bishop.

Laurie: Thank you so much, David, for taking the time to answer a few questions this evening. You’re a very prolific author, with five books recently published and two more planned for release in the next several months. How long does it take you to write each book?

David: I began seriously writing mystery fiction in 2003. I delayed coming to market with my books because I wanted to study the craft and write-write-write before inflicting my early efforts onto an unsuspecting readership. By the time I brought The Beholder, a Maddie Richards Mystery to market, I had four novels finished, subject to the constant tinkering that authors do. As my study of the craft gave me greater skill, I went back and reworked each of the novels to reflect the lessons learned. I wanted to launch with several books to establish myself as a quality writer capable of supplying loyal readers with a continuing stream of stories.

Laurie: You proceeded with a great amount of patience—much more than a lot of authors do. Your write about a number of different protagonists. Do you foresee any of them reappearing as part of a series in the future?

David: The short answer is yes. In fact, this process is already started. The leading man of Who Murdered Garson Talmadge, a Matt Kile Mystery, will star in a second novel that will come out in June, The original Alibi, a Matt Kile Mystery. The Blackmail Club, a Jack McCall Mystery, is my second mystery starring Jack McCall; the first was The Third Coincidence. These two McCall stories are already available. The Beholder, a Maddie Richards Mystery, has been very popular. My second mystery featuring Maddie Richards will come out in the spring of 2013. The working title is Empty Promises, a Maddie Richards Mystery. Maddie will be joined by Ryan Testler who costarred beside Linda Darby in The Woman, a mystery well flavored with romantic suspense. So, yes, I love series characters and my readers will continue to see Matt Kile mysteries and Maddie Richards mysteries.

Laurie: Your fans definitely have something to look forward to. How much of your own personality do you put into your main characters?

David:  I suspect every author slips a little of himself or herself under the front door of his fiction. I certainly do. My sense of humor is definitely in evidence. Matt Kile is the protagonist through whom I most displayed the humor, but it is in all the stories to some degree. Also, I am a romantic so I strive to deliver enough of a romantic side story to please my female readers without being too much for men folk.  Beyond that my twenty plus years as a financial analyst gives me the attention to detail which comes into play as I plan the crimes, the salting of clues, and the solutions. I am also a big believer that justice should prevail, in some fashion; however, the justice doled out is often not in the traditional structure.

Laurie: It’s quite a trick to write a book that appeals to both genders. What about your secondary characters? Are any of them  based on people you’ve known? How do you come up with your characters?

David: Some characters are based, at least in part, on people I know. Sometimes the victims are based on people I don’t like. I encourage my friends to be nice to me so they won’t end up on the floor of one of my mysteries. Life and living brings us into contact with people constantly. Also I am a great observer of people. I see tics and talents I find interesting and often these are brought out in my characters.

Laurie: Now you’re going to have all your acquaintances in a who’s who guessing game. In Who Murdered Garson Talmadge, there is a dog named Asta. Are you a dog lover? Do you own a dog?

David: Asta was a fictional dog owned by Nick and Nora Charles in the wonderful book, radio, and movie series, The Thin Man. I used Asta as an historical drop-in to bring a smile to those readers who saw the connection, yet structured it so it would not be distracting to readers who did not see that connection. I do like dogs, have owned several, but not at the moment.

Laurie: I’m a dog lover myself, and saw the connection right away.

Would you name some of the authors who inspire your work?

David: So many who have come and gone, sticking to my own genre: Dashiell Hammett (Sam Spade and the Thin Man), Raymond Chandler (Philip Marlowe), Mickey Spillane (Mike Hammer), Willard Huntington Wright (Philo Vance), Earl Derr Biggers (Charlie Chan), Rex Stout (Nero Wolfe), and, of course, Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I shy away from mentioning living authors as there are so many whose works I admire.

Laurie: Do you have any writing pet peeves?

David:  I interpret that question to mean pet peeves with how other writers do a certain thing. If I did them, I’d just stop, thereby avoid the pet peeve. Like most readers, I am turned off by overly lengthy descriptions of almost anything, the exception being tense scenes. These should be broken down into inches and seconds to present the heightened stress at a nearly real-time pace. Two-thirds of a page describing a sunset or a bush or whatever is too much. We’ve all read books where we find ourselves skipping ahead to the next paragraph when the writer falls victim to diarrhea-of-the-mouth descriptions. As a reader, I also lose patience with stories which start too slowly, and keep that pace too long. For me, those books become wall bangers just before I pick up a different novel. I don’t want my books to be wall bangers for anyone.

Laurie: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

David: Yes, if I may, a statement to everyone reading this posting. The last several years I have been writing well enough to allow me to say: My stories are good. Take a journey with me. Laugh. Hold your breath. Cheer. Boo. The characters are rich, and the plots are grabbers. I promise most of you that you will be very glad you came along. I’d promise all of you, but nothing is liked by everyone. Some people don’t like golf, or chocolate, or apple pie, or even a hearty laugh. But I’ll bet you like some of that stuff and I’ll bet you’ll like my mysteries.

Yours Very Truly, David Bishop

david@davidbishopbooks.com

www.facebook.com/davidbishopbooks

Twitter.com/davidbishop7

History’s Most Famous Murder by Proxy, with Rachelle Ayala

Today in Mondays Are Murder, I’m excited to be featuring a very different kind of book. It isn’t a crime novel or a mystery whodunit, but a story about a murder, nonetheless. In fact, one of the most famous murders of all time. I think you’ll be as fascinated as I am by the tale Rachelle Ayala tells in Michal’s Window.

Laurie: Good morning, Rachelle. I am so pleased you could join me to talk about your fascinating book. Please give us a brief description of your debut novel, Michal’s Window.

Rachelle: Michal’s Window is an experiential treatment of the life of King David through the woman who loved him first. On the surface it is a historical romance, but as in real life, nothing is straightforward and love does not always triumph. Michal loves, loses, celebrates and grieves, but is vindicated in the end by the love of God who would never leave nor forsake her.

Laurie: Without giving away too much of the plot, tell us about the murder that transpires in your novel.

 Rachelle: The murder of Uriah is the most famous murder by proxy in history. David, the king, commits adultery with Uriah’s wife and impregnates her. When Uriah fails to cover up by sleeping with his wife, David orders his commander to put Uriah in a dangerous position and then withdraw the rest of the forces so he would die.

Laurie: For those who are familiar with the Biblical story, what surprises will we find in Michal’s Window?

Rachelle: Oh, I’ve embellished it so much, you’d have to have the Bible open as you read along to separate fact from fantasy. Let’s just say there’s a disturbingly hunky Philistine warrior, a goddess worshipping priestess, magic spells and henna painting, a hand-fasting scene with double serpents and a crimson rug of love.

Laurie: It sounds like a story that would appeal to readers of all genres, whether or not they have a particular interest in the Bible. What was it about this particular Bible story that touched you so strongly that you felt you must write a full length novel about it?

Rachelle: While David’s affair with Bathsheba is probably the second most famous Bible story, after David and Goliath, Michal’s role in David’s life has been diminished by Bible scholars, most of whom were men. Here was a princess who fell in love with a lowly servant, who was the only woman the Bible mentions as loving a man, and who sacrificed her comfortable lifestyle, position, family ties, and ultimately her husband David’s love to save him from her father. She lost everything she held dear when she let David escape from her window. Take a moment and realize that Michal saved the line to Jesus Christ. Yes, she made mistakes and was not the perfect wife, but the Bible immortalizes her love for David in two places, and I believe David immortalized his love for her in 2nd Samuel 3:5.

Laurie: There are many stories in the Bible of God using women to bring about epic historical changes. Let’s get back to the murder. How did Michal react to David doing away with Uriah?

Rachelle: She pretty much suspected David of having had an affair with Bathsheba, but the murder of Uriah caught her by surprise and she was horrified. For the first time, she actually walked out on David and refused to play along with his schemes. She matured as a woman and would no longer settle for a one-sided relationship.

Laurie: What about Bathsheba? How did she feel having to marry the man who murdered her husband?

Rachelle: Bathsheba was not a main character so I didn’t delve deeply into her psyche. She appeared aloof and lukewarm during her tenure in the harem. Later on, her grandfather led the conspiracy against David. I would imagine she would have been bitter about losing her husband and put all her hopes into her son, Solomon, to become the next king.

Here’s what she says in a fight with Michal over the Queen’s crown:

“You think I want it? It has cost me. Everyone. I. Love.” Her raging breath spit in my face as she detangled the crown from her hair and smashed it into my cheekbone with a bruising clunk. Ahinoam and Haggith broke us apart. Bathsheba sobbed in Ahinoam’s arms. I picked up her queen’s crown and looped it on my arm. Ayala, Rachelle. Michal’s Window (Kindle Locations 10091-10093). Amiga Books.

 Laurie: Do you write full time now?

Rachelle: I’m a retired software engineer, so between my duties as mother and wife, you could say I write full time, although being an indie author, promotion and marketing consume a significant portion of my day.

Laurie: I can sure understand all of those issues. What are you currently working on?

Rachelle: I’m absolutely in love with my current work, Broken Build. It takes my experience as a software engineer and transports it to new levels of danger and excitement not found in the green and grey cubicles of my former life. Let’s just say it’s a Romantic Suspense with a touch of comedy and lots of broken bodies, code, and lives. You can find out more about it at my blog.  http://www.rachelleayala.com/p/wip-broken-build.html

Laurie: Hopefully you’ll come back again to talk with me about your new book. What authors inspire your work?

Rachelle: This is actually a difficult question. I read so widely. There’s Agatha Christie, Michael Crichton, Diana Gabaldon and definitely Lisa Gardner, absolutely love her! But these days I read almost nothing but indie work.

Laurie: Lisa Gardner is one of my favorites, too. Wonderful that you support other indie authors–we need all the support we can get.  Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Rachelle: David’s life is a lesson on God’s love and mercy. He can take a premeditated murderer and give him two sons, Solomon and Nathan, who lead physically to Jesus Christ. David was far from perfect, but his repentance and dependence on God is an object lesson for all of us.

There is no hole too deep Your love cannot fill, no place too far You cannot go.” Michal’s prayer over Tamar, David’s daughter who was raped by his son Amnon.

Canadian author R.E. Donald talks about highway mysteries and horses

Aloha `auinala. Good morning from beautiful Hawaii. Today I’m talking with Canadian author Ruth E. Donald.

Laurie: Ruth, it’s great to have you with me for Mondays Are Murder. Let’s start with Hunter Rayne. An unusual twist on the typical protagonist, he’s a retired police detective turned truck driver. What kind of person is he? How does his personality make him unique?

Ruth: Given he had been a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for over twenty years, you could say Hunter “retired”, but in fact, he prematurely walked away from his chosen career as a homicide detective even though he was not  only an excellent detective, he was also passionate about solving crimes.  Why?  He’s somewhat of a perfectionist, and bit by bit his life as a police officer, husband, and father of two teen girls, had started falling apart.  His wife complained because he spent so much time away from home, both on the job, and in a bar reasoning with his long-time friend and fellow RCMP detective, Ken Marsh, who was struggling with alcoholism and severe depression.  Within a short time span, Hunter’s wife filed for divorce and his best friend committed suicide.  Deeply hurt, Hunter found he couldn’t focus on his job, and a chance meeting with a truck driver who told him that to be a long haul driver “you have to like being alone” made him decide to go on the road.

Hunter is a relatively serious guy, soft spoken, polite, intuitive and intelligent.  He’s trying to keep his life simple, and feels that the solitude of his life on the road is helping to heal his emotional wounds, but he also remains driven by that passion for justice that made him a good detective.  Although he tries to remain aloof, he is a compassionate man and so allows himself to be drawn into investigations where his friends are concerned.  It’s mainly his boss, tough talking dispatcher Elspeth Watson, who persuades him to become involved in helping out people in trouble.  His uniqueness stems from him not being your typical tough cop or smart ass detective.  He’s polite, neat and almost stoic.  He feels things deeply, but doesn’t like to show it.

The character of Hunter Rayne was actually inspired by my late husband, Jim Donald, who worked in the trucking industry for many years, including several as a driver.  People who knew Jim will probably see some resemblance, although Hunter has taken on a life all his own in my imagination.

Laurie: As a woman, why did you choose to write from a male point of view? Do you ever find it difficult, getting into a man’s head?

Ruth: When I started writing my mystery series, it never occurred to me that it would be difficult to write from a male point of view.  One of the maxims of a novelist, or any writer for that matter, is to write what you like to read.  Two of my favorite mystery writers at the time were Martha Grimes with her Richard Jury series, and Elizabeth George with her Thomas Lynley series.  (In fact, several years ago I did a workshop with Elizabeth George in California to improve my novel writing skills.)  For some reason I prefer reading mysteries with male protagonists and strong female support characters, representing multiple points of view.  To write effective characters, a writer has to understand what motivates people.  I remember in my very first writers’ group, a male colleague remarked on how well I nailed the motivation of a male character in one of my short stories.

Laurie: Are you working on another Hunter Rayne mystery? Tell us about your works in progress.

Ruth: I’m currently working on the third Hunter Rayne highway mystery.  As astute readers may have noticed, there’s the name of a highway in the title of each book.  The new one is called Sea to Sky and is set in the winter resort of Whistler, British Columbia.  It is set up in the second novel, Ice on the Grapevine, when Hunter meets an attractive female lawyer in Los Angeles, and she invites him to come skiing with her during her winter vacation in Whistler.  (Can you say “sexual tension”?)  I intend to have the novel ready to release this fall.

I have long term plans for Hunter Rayne.  Characters who have not yet been fully introduced figure prominently in his future, including the widow of his late friend, Ken Marsh.  There are many highways for him still to travel, including such intriguing names as the Top of the World, the Yellowhead, and the Beartooth highways, and even the Kamehameha Highway on Oahu.

My goal is to write one novel per year, and I’m delighted that some of my readers are already impatient for the next one.  (You know who you are!  Thanks for the encouragement!)

Laurie: I’ll definitely be looking forward to the next one, and I can’t wait to see what a Canadian truck driver is doing on Kamehameha Highway. Your books are true whodunits, classic mysteries. What authors inspire your writing?

Ruth: I love to read mysteries that keep me guessing who the murderer is, so I try to craft complex plots with multiple suspects and a surprise ending.  I’ve read and enjoyed the Dorothy L. Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes mysteries, and Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe mysteries, not to mention Agatha Christie’s classic series about Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot.  I’ve been lucky enough to meet some more contemporary writers that I have admired at writers’ conferences; I sat beside the late Tony Hillerman on a bus to the Seattle Bouchercon, for example, and met Anne Perry and John Lescroart at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference.  And of course, I did that workshop with Elizabeth George at The Book Passage in Corte Madera.

Laurie: John Lescroart and his wife sat down beside me in a hotel lobby and struck up a conversation. After a few minutes, I realized who I was talking to (he never mentioned being a writer) and my jaw dropped mid-sentence. Nice man.

Being a horse person myself, I have to throw this in. What kind of horses do you have? What are their names? Do you breed and train them?

Ruth: Thanks for asking!  We horse people like nothing better than to talk about our horses!  I first read about the Canadian Horse breed in 1997, and like most other people, had never heard of them.  They are descended from the first horses sent to the French colonies in Quebec by King Louis XIV in 1665.  Bred in isolation and surviving in the harsh Quebec winters for well over a century, they became strong and hardy all-purpose horses resembling foundation Morgans.  I was surprised to learn that at one time, the Canadian Horses were almost as well known in North America as the Quarter Horse is today.  The Union Army bought and used many thousands of them during the Civil War, and consequently Canadian Horses are used by some of the Civil War cavalry re-enactors in the United States today, notably the North West Cavalry Association in Oregon, who did an excellent demonstration at the Northwest Horse Fair recently.    In 2001, the Canadian Horse was officially recognized as the National Horse of Canada.  Visit www.chhaps.org for more information on the breed.  (Sorry, I can’t help it!)

We have three Canadian mares: Cherry Creek Danzon Gina (Gigi), her daughter Tickety Boo Prince Riella (Really), and Naro Haras Nisa (Nisa), but the herd “boss” is a palomino Quarter Horse gelding we call Rambler.  My husband, Gilbert Roy, does train horses for a living, but our four horses are part of the family.  We both trail ride, and Gilbert, a French Canadian cowboy, likes to do cutting and penning.

Laurie: That’s very interesting. I can’t say I’d heard of Canadian Horses before.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

Ruth: My first two novels are currently only available as e-books, but I plan to have print editions of Slow Curve on the Coquihalla and Ice on the Grapevine available later this spring.  I’ll be announcing it to the world via Facebook, Twitter and on my site at redonald.com as soon as they’re ready.

I’d like to say a big thank you to you, Laurie, for giving me the chance to talk about two of my favorite things: mysteries and horses, and to congratulate you on your own novels.  I’ve been to Oahu many times, and envy you for being able to wake up to a tropical sunrise every morning.  I’m looking forward to the day I can do some first-hand research for my Kamehameha novel in your part of the world!

Laurie: Mysteries and horses are two of my favorite things, too. It’s been a pleasure talking with you and maybe one day I’ll see you here on Oahu.

Meet novelist, playwright, artist and jeweler, Gerard Bianco

It is an honor to have with me today the very talented novelist, playwright, artist, and jeweler, Gerard Bianco. He is the author of the award-winning mystery/thriller The Deal Master. His latest book, Discipline: A Play recently won the Editor’s Choice Award. He is a contributing author in  Now Write! Mysteries, and was featured in Carol Hoenig’s book The Author’s Guide to Planning Book Events.

Laurie: Good morning, Gerard. Let’s start with your first novel, The Deal Master. Without giving anything away, can you give us a brief idea of what the book is about?

Gerard: The premise of the book is based on a mythological tale that comes down to us from the 13th century—modernized, of course. A serial killer is murdering women with red hair. Detective William Gillette and his team are on the hunt, but their investigation fails to turn up any concrete leads. They are clueless as to the identity of the killer or where he will strike next. Enter a mysterious man who holds information vital to the case, but this man will supply this information only through a series of deals. Gillette, desperate for a lead, accepts the stranger’s terms. This plunges the detective into a game for which he is unprepared. Each deal comes with a price, and Gillette soon finds himself in a predicament he can’t get out of unless he strikes the ultimate deal. Is this master of the deal Gillette’s answer to solving the crimes, or is he the detective’s worst nightmare? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

I should also mention that The Deal Master is a mystery/thriller. The story starts out as a mystery, but then slowly, a subtle, more important chain of events begins to take place, and soon the reader is galloping off into a spine-tingling thriller. This makes for an exciting read where you suddenly find yourself caught up in an entirely different adventure with the same characters. Reading The Deal Master is like getting two novels for the price of one.

Laurie: It sounds very intriguing. Your protagonist is Detective William Gillette. There are many murder mysteries written with a police detective as the lead character. What kind of person is he, and what makes him unique?

Gerard: William Gillette, son of the famous NYC detective Phil Gillette, was groomed from a early age to follow in his father’s footsteps. His youth and rugged handsomeness enhance his talent as a natural leader. He is well-liked, focused and serious. He was devoted to his mother, who was abused by his alcoholic father. He is not afraid to bend the rules, or even break them, to get what he wants.

There are some flaws in Gillette’s character, and this leads him to make mistakes. I am not a fan of a story in which an author presents his/her protagonist as someone who knows all the answers, solves all the riddles and shines brighter than all other characters in the book. When you read The Deal Master you feel Gillette’s anxieties, disappointments and trepidations. You know his exultation when he gets things right and you suffer his humiliation when he does something he shouldn’t—and he does this quite often.

Laurie: How much of you do we see in Gillette?

Gerard: I’ve always found it difficult to separate myself from my characters. There is a little of me in all the characters I create—some more than others. This metamorphosis is what breathes life into the characters. They would be made of wood, otherwise. My characters are real; they are made of flesh and blood. They have wants, fears and desires, like everyone else. And I’ll let you in on a little secret: by putting a bit of myself into my characters I get to live their lives as well. I get to solve the case. I get the girl, too. Most people live their fantasies in their thoughts and dreams, but these fantasies disappear when the dreamer stops dreaming. My fantasies last longer and seem to me to be a little more real because they’ve been printed on paper and are bound in a book.

Laurie: There are no doubt many authors, including myself, who have enjoyed the same sense of lasting fantasies. Do you foresee writing a series based on the same character?

Gerard: I’m asked all the time when the next Deal Master is coming. The fact is, I’ve already written a sequel, but it’s all in my head—there’s not a word of it on paper. Quite simply put, there are other projects I want to tackle before focusing on another mystery.

I love the theater and have always wanted to write a play. For the past three years I’ve devoted myself to this project. Voila! My newest book is titled, Discipline, A Play.

Laurie: Tell us a little about Discipline. It’s a comedy, is that right?

Gerard: Yes, Discipline is a zany, adult comedy. It’s funny and romantic. Paige Lovitt from Reader Views said, “Discipline truly made me laugh out loud.” But Discipline is also a powerful and serious play. If read correctly, you will see that it is the study of human behavior, injected with meaning where there appears to be none. It touches on subjects such as social norms, sexual overindulgence, society’s treatment of people with an affliction, the role of women in society as a force of good vs. evil and the advantages and disadvantages of a personal belief system.

The story takes place in Manhattan. The main character’s name is Harold Jenkins. Harold is a man stymied by his inability to overcome the outside forces that control his life. Essentially isolated in his apartment, he fights against the powers that be. Lilly, Harold’s lady love, keeps him at bay, adding sexual frustration to his already perturbed existence. New possibilities arrive for him, however, when he is awakened in the middle of the night by a strange man sniffling on his stove. The story continues from there.

Laurie: Do you see Discipline being acted out on a stage in front of an audience?

Gerard: Absolutely. Discipline was published in January, 2012 and already a local theater director wants to stage a performance. You see, the message of the play is timeless and universal, and it is for this reason that I foresee Discipline being performed locally, nationally and even globally. It’s a fun play—light and comical, even though the underlying message bears significance.

Laurie: That’s wonderful. I hope you will keep me informed about the progress. What else would you like to share with us?

Gerard: I’d be grateful if your lovely readers logged onto my website: http://www.writerenroute.com to explore more about Discipline and The Deal Master, both of which have terrific book covers, by the way. Readers can also log onto my blog from my website. My blog contains interesting articles about writing, film, fashion and creativity.

Laurie, I want to thank you for this opportunity to speak to your readers. I hope that they have enjoyed this interview and will want to follow me on Twitter and like my Facebook fan page at: https://www.facebook.com/GerardBiancoWriterEnRoute

Merci encore!

Laurie: Mahalo nui loa, a hui hou.

All About the Number Seven

I’ve been tagged by Jane Isaac. Like many others I don’t usually go in for chain letters, emails etc. but this one seemed like fun. Here are the instructions:

  1. Go to page 7 or 77 in your current manuscript
  2. Go to line 7
  3. Copy down the next 7 lines as they are (no cheating)
  4. Tag 7 other authors

Excerpt from Stairway to Heaven, page 7.

“That’s why I say it might be time to trade the ol’ girl in for a newer model. Something with a little more fire under the hood, if you know what I mean.” He glanced at me and winked before turning back to the road.

Chapter 2

“Is that Jackie?” Brian asked as he pulled to the curb in front of my cottage.

“That’s him.”

My little neighbor was sitting on my front steps with his dog, Dazy, beside him. Since Brian last saw him, Jackie had started wearing his hair cut short, bleached blond, and spiked. He was dressed in jeans and a red plaid hoodie. A teenager in the making.

I racked my brains on who to tag with and couldn’t resist on coming up with some of the loveliest people on Twitter:

  1. Gail Baugniet
  2. Philip Catshill
  3. Rachelle Ayala
  4. John Betcher
  5. Jerry Last
  6. Melissa Foster
  7. Toby Neal

Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

This Monday, Jane Isaac talks about An Unfamiliar Murder

It’s a beautiful Hawaiian morning, and it’s Monday. As you know, Mondays are murder. Today I’m talking with Jane Isaac, British author of An Unfamiliar Murder.

Laurie: Good morning, Jane. It’s so good to have you with me, virtually, all the way from the other side of the world. Your debut novel, An Unfamiliar Murder was released last month. Please tell use a little about it.

Jane: Although a murder mystery, An Unfamiliar Murder is essentially the story of two women:

Anna comes home from work to find the dead body of a stranger in her flat, becomes the main suspect in a murder enquiry and, just as she believes she has convinced police of her innocence, new evidence comes to light that links her directly to the victim – evidence that changes her life irrevocably.

DCI Helen Lavery manages her first murder enquiry whilst juggling the responsibilities of single parenting teenage sons. She is trying to make her mark amongst the senior echelons in the police force; an organization dominated by strong personalities, and faces many obstacles along the way. The case initially seems straightforward but, as people close to Anna start to disappear, it increasingly becomes complex, plunging her into a race against time – can she catch the killer before he executes his ultimate victim?

Laurie: For my American friends, DCI is Detective Chief Inspector. What makes Helen unique? What makes her stand out from all the other protagonists in similar positions?

Jane: Helen is passionate about leading a murder investigation, catching the bad guy, and making a real difference to public safety in the town of Hampton.

She isn’t an alcoholic, divorcee, who lives on her own – this has all been done brilliantly over the years by other authors. Helen is a regular person, like you or I, so we feel her journey, and quite representative of modern day policing in this respect. What gives her the edge is that she has little interest in the statistics, politics and resourcing issues that dominate the senior ranks – she raced through the ranks to follow in her late father’s footsteps into this ‘hands on’ role. Leading the murder squad is her ultimate ambition, forcing her to occasionally adopt unorthodox methods in pursuit of the killer.

Laurie: Your book opens in the point of view of Anna Cottrell, and some reviews have described her as the heroine of the story. Do you have two protagonists?

Jane: Absolutely! An avid reader of crime fiction for many years, I decided right from the beginning that I wanted to tell the story through two points of view: the police investigation through the eyes of Helen; and the other part of the story through Anna’s eyes. Switching perspective allows the opportunity to layer the story and adds to the excitement and ‘page turning’ element. Both women face their own challenges and crises as the story unfolds.

Laurie: Tell us something about Anna—her personality, what makes her respond to the situation the way she does?

Jane: Anna is a strong, independent woman that has never felt like she fitted in. She has always known that something in her life was awry, but was never able to put her finger on it; until now. The revelations in An Unfamiliar Murder highlight this angst and force her to deal with its consequences.

Laurie: Did you imbue either of your main characters with a lot of your own personality?

Jane: My main characters are made up of fragments of lots of different people, along with a little of my own imagination. There may be elements of me in there, but they are well hidden 😉

I admire them both immensely and am very fond of them too. It’s difficult to let go of characters that have lived with you for years, kind of like losing an old friend, LOL.

Laurie: I understand you are writing a sequel, and possibly a series. Will your future novels follow the career or Helen Lavery?

Jane: Both. I think that intertwining Helen’s personal and professional life makes her much more rounded and interesting. That way we get to enjoy a good murder mystery with all the twists and turns it demands, alongside the reality of juggling a personal life – something that we can all relate to.

And there are some very interesting revelations in Helen’s personal life in book two!

Laurie: That sounds very exciting. I can’t wait to read it. Do you have a title yet for your next book? When can we look forward to seeing it?

Jane: The title of my second book has changed many times and is proving a tricky customer! It should be finished by the summer and, hopefully, will be released by the end of the year. But the title remains a mystery, LOL 🙂

Laurie: Ah, another mystery. Then we’ll have to just wait and see.

You are a wife, mother, career woman, and dog owner, as well as a novelist. How do you manage to keep so many balls in the air and still find time to write?

Jane: Good question! Like many new writers, I don’t have the luxury of writing full time and it is difficult finding time to fit everything in. I try to be as organized as possible and devote at least two mornings a week to novel writing, but can often be found penning lines beside the pool whilst my daughter has swim class, jotting down notes in a supermarket queue, or churning ideas over in my mind whilst I trudge over the fields with the dog. My characters are never far from my mind.

Laurie: Spoken like a true writer. Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

Jane: I’ve been very fortunate in having two short stories entitled ‘Duplicity’ and ‘Perilous Truths’ accepted for crime anthologies, due to be released this year by UK based, Bridge House Publishing, and US based, Rainstorm Press.

Visit Jane Isaac’s website: www.janeisaac.co.uk

Check out her multi-faceted blog at http://www.janeisaac.co.uk/blog/ where she covers a number of topics including:

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