Character Interview: Lieutenant Jim DeLong

I’ve seen authors choosing one of their characters to interview. After checking out some character interviews, I decided to join in on the fun and do one for my protagonist, Lieutenant Jim DeLong. Some of you know that he was the lead investigator in my debut novel, The Murder of Manny Grimes. Well, Lieutenant DeLong will return within the next few weeks in the follow-up novel, Blood Runs Cold. The upcoming case will be the most difficult of his career, filled with tension and suspense. Will he be able to pull through? Or will DeLong fall even further down the darkness of his soul? Well, you’ll have to pick up Blood Runs Cold once it’s out to find out! In the meantime, enjoy my sit-down with Lieutenant Jim DeLong.

This interview takes place before the events of The Murder of Manny Grimes.

  • What do you do?

I’m a lieutenant at the Columbia County Sheriff’s office in Augusta, GA. I usually push paperwork but I find that boring. I like being out in the field. I do that every chance I get.

  • What impression do you make on people when they first meet you?

I can’t really say. I mean, I don’t usually ask. When it’s about work, I’m there to do my job. I’m dedicated to my work. Sometimes obsessively. When I first meet people, I get right to business. Other than that, I don’t make much small talk.

  • What about afterward?

(Chuckles) I’d say it depends on the person. Some say I have anger issues. I’ve had others say I’m down-to-earth.

  • So, are you bi-polar?

(Laughs) No. I guess you can say I just feel things a little more than I should.

  • I see. Tell me about your family.

Well, I’ve been married for seven years. My wife’s name is Samantha. We met when we were in college. We have a six-year-old daughter, Bella. She’s great. (Laughs) But she certainly can be a bit of a handful.

  • (Laughs) Gotta love that kids keeps life interesting, huh?

Yeah, she certainly does.

  • How is your marriage?

Um, isn’t that a bit personal?

  • Yes. But I believe people like to know what makes Augusta’s finest tick.

Umm….well, we have our ups-and-downs. Just like any other marriage. We just do what we have to, right?

  • I suppose so. Do you think you turned out the way your parents wanted you to?

Does anyone?

  • I’m pretty sure some do. What makes you think you didn’t?

I didn’t say that I didn’t. Is this interview over, yet? I really need to get back to work.

  • You implied it. Lieutenant, is there a reason you don’t want to answer the question?

No, I just have a lot to do. Look, if you want an answer, let’s just say our past makes us who we are today. When things happen that’s out of your control, you deal with it the best way you know how.

  • “When things happen.” Did something happen to you? Something you couldn’t control?”

OK, you know what? This interview’s over now.

  • Wait. Let’s move on. Is that OK, Lieutenant?

Fine.

  • Who is your best friend? Tell me about him/her.

Russell Calhoun. We go way back. He used to work in the Navy. He retired as a criminal investigator. He’s a good guy. As good as they come. Russ has done a lot for me in the past. I don’t know where I’d be today without him.

  • You seem very close to him. What does he give/do for you that no one else can?

(Pause) I don’t know. I guess…a sense of peace.

  • I see. Are you happy with your life?

Happy? Sure. Maybe. I mean, I love my family. And my daughter means the world to me. I have friends. But…

  • But?

Well, I’m alive, aren’t I? I have troubles, just like the average guy. I’m working through them. Trying to find…

  • True happiness?

Yeah. I guess that’s accurate.

  • Thank you for your time, Lieutenant DeLong. I wish you the very best.

Right. Uh, you too.

 

Got comments? Place them below! Let’s get a chat going!

Lieutenant DeLong is featured in The Murder of Manny Grimes, available at B&N and Amazon in paperback and eBook. Blood Runs Cold is set for release soon! For more information or the link to order, click here.

Interview with Steven James @readstevenjames

stevenjames-netI had the honor of interviewing national bestselling author, Steven James. He is known as the “master of storytelling,” and for a very good reason. Ever since I happened upon The Rook, book two of his Patrick Bowers Files, he’s been my favorite author.

I’d like to thank Mr. James from the bottom of my heart for taking his time out of his busy schedule to answer my questions.

*Originally posted on the other blog I’m affiliated with, Lit World Interviews*

1) What did you enjoy most about writing Curse?
In Curse, several new characters are introduced into the series. For me, since I don’t outline my books, it’s always exciting to see who shows up on the page and what they’re like. In this book, maybe my favorite character ended up being a girl who was blind. I consulted with a girl who’d been born blind, asking her what her nightmares are like since she has never seen anything. That journey and what I ended up including in the book was fascinating to me.

2) What do you like to read in your free time?
Even though I like to write thrillers, I tend to read more literary fiction, philosophy, and poetry, as well as books on the craft of writing. I still love suspenseful and scary stories, but lately I’ve tended to watch these in film instead of read them in books.

3) What are your hobbies?
I live near the Appalachian mountains, and so I love to get out to trail run or even play disc golf. Besides eating Cheetos, drinking coffee, and binge-watching on weekends, I like to play basketball with my friends and moonlighting writing poetry that will probably never end up in print.

4) Do you have a ritual you use while writing? (During commercials, certain music, etc)
I almost always write standing up. I tend to listen to trance or EDM. I do best working in long stretches, rather than working at a project here and there throughout the day. Give me ten hours in a row over 5 hours spread out throughout the day and I’ll be happy.

5) What is your writing space like?
My basement.

6) Do you have a favorite book you’ve written?
As far as novels, I think my favorite might be The Rook or Checkmate. I also wrote some inspirational nonfiction books, and I believe my favorite of those is called Story: Recapture the Mystery.

7) Where do you get your inspiration?
From everything. I’m always thinking of ideas, jotting down thoughts of dialogue on scraps of paper, receipts, notebooks. Typically at the end of the day, I have far too many ideas to write the next day, and it sort of keeps cascading like that. I keep thinking someday I’ll catch up, but at this rate, that won’t happen for another two or three hundred years.

https://i1.wp.com/breatheconference.com/home/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Steven-James.jpgBiography

Steven James is a national bestselling novelist whose award-winning, pulse-pounding thrillers continue to gain wide critical acclaim and a growing fan base.

Suspense Magazine, who named Steven’s book THE BISHOP their Book of the Year, says that he “sets the new standard in suspense writing.” Publishers Weekly calls him a “master storyteller at the peak of his game.” And RT Book Reviews promises, “the nail-biting suspense will rivet you.”

Equipped with a unique Master’s Degree in Storytelling, Steven has taught writing and storytelling on four continents over the past two decades, speaking more than two thousand times at events spanning the globe.

Steven’s groundbreaking book on the art of fiction writing, STORY TRUMPS STRUCTURE, won a Storytelling World award. Widely-recognized for his story crafting expertise, he has twice served as a Master CraftFest instructor at ThrillerFest, North America’s premier training event for suspense writers.

Respected by some of the top thriller writers in the world, Steven deftly weaves intense stories of psychological suspense with deep philosophical insights. As critically-acclaimed novelist Ann Tatlock put it, “Steven James gives us a captivating look at the fine line between good and evil in the human heart.”

After consulting with a former undercover FBI agent and doing extensive research on cybercrimes, Steven wrote his latest thriller, EVERY CROOKED PATH—a taut, twist-filled page turner that is available now wherever books are sold.

If you’ve never met environmental criminologist and geospatial investigator Patrick Bowers, EVERY CROOKED PATH is the perfect chance to dive into the series and find out what fans and critics everywhere are raving about.

 

Interview with KT Munson @ktmunson

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I had the pleasure of interviewing author K.T. Munson. The first book of hers I read was Zendar: A Tale of Blood and Sand, which I loved. I also recently read and enjoyed her latest, Unfathomable Chance. Thank you, K.T., for allowing me to interview you!

What do you like to read in your free time?

I actually like to review indie authors and small press houses books in my free time…the little free time I have. I’ve had some real gems come across my kindle and they inspire me to work harder and become a better author. Plus I get to help out fellow indie authors, so that is always a bonus.

What did you find most useful in learning to write?  What was least useful or most destructive?

This is a tough question for me because I never really paid attention to anyone and just sort of did my own thing. So instead I’ll take some creative liberties here. The most helpful thing I can think of is when my mother showed me that we have an ancestor who is a published poet. I told my mum I was going to be published one day too. Her encouragement and support has always gotten me through the rough patches. She is my #1 fan and I’ll continue writing and publishing if she is the only one who reads it. The most destructive thing was relying on technology. I lost chapters and chapters of a book in college. It broke my spirit to write for a long time because I felt like I lost a part of me when my USB stick died. Don’t rely on technology; always have backups of all your work!

Aside from writing, what are your hobbies?

I like to paint, make jewelry, and grow plants. I honestly have a ton of hobbies some of which never took, like knitting. I like to keep myself busy year round since I live in Alaska with everything from camping to hunting on top of the inside hobbies. Don’t even get me started on TV, movies, video games, and D&D.

Do you have a ritual you use while writing? (During commercials, certain music, etc)

I have to edit my books from printed copies. Everything else I just go with what I feel like. The moment my book writing becomes structured and rigid the moment it stops being fun.

What is your writing space like?

Anywhere I like. Honestly I take my books with me and work on them when I’m flying for work, sitting at home on my computer, or typing ideas into my phone. My work space is wherever I am but most of it is in my computer room. It is an old pine desk my parents bought when I was 5. The darn thing is falling apart but I just can’t bring myself to replace it. Under it is the group of my works, all broken into little accordion folders that contain editing, beta reader notes, original concept notes, and even sketches.

Do you have any pets? Can you tell us a funny story about them?

I have two cats: Emma and Lizzie. They are both named for Jane Austen characters (Emma Woodhouse and Elizabeth Bennet). Emma is more my cat than Lizzie. As to a funny story I have tons, but my favorite is when I brought Emma home from her first vet visit, and she of course howled the entire way over and misbehaved the entire time (constantly trying to slink away) but honestly she got a thermometer shoved up her butt so I could sympathize with her distress. When I brought her home and parked in the garage I let her out of the cat carrier so that she could wander back into the house. Instead she hides under the car and wails because she doesn’t recognize the garage as home. I can’t get her out of there and after trying to push her out with broom, I abandon her and go and stand in the hallway and wait. Twenty minutes of constant wailing and she finally walked into the hallway. She immediately recognizes it as home and stops. She gives a look that says ‘You’re a jerk and I’m not an idiot’ and proceeds to go upstairs and eat some food. Needless to say I don’t let her out in the garage anymore.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I try to edit or write every day. I constantly have at least 2 books I’m working on at the same time. Usually a main book and what I like to call my relief books, which is usually a romance of some sort.

Where do you get your ideas for your books?

Everywhere. Cliché I know but seriously, everywhere. Usually the main concept comes to me in a dream. I’m a lucid dreamer most times and I get some doozies that are like living books or movies in my head which I remember 90% of when I wake up. 1001 Islands was Chapter 1 and Unfathomable Chance was Chapter 4. Sometimes it is a single image I am working towards or a concept. For North & South it was both, the image of a girl alone in the desert wandering towards certain dangers and the idea that every decision we make affects another person, like the butterfly effect.

What do you hate most about the writing process?

*Groan* Editing. I don’t mind rewriting but editing is killer. Thank goodness for editors.

What do you think makes a good story?

Originality with a color of the familiar. I like to bring whole new worlds alive and I think creating a world that people lose themselves in is a good story. Right up there with characters that are relatable or believable.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

Gosh everything. Lawyer, doctor, inventor, and an accountant to name a few. Little did I know that I could do all those things…in my books. I have researched the strangest things, let me tell you.

What is your favorite book that you didn’t write?

The entire A Song of Ice and Fire series.

Interview with John Nicholl

John Nicholl

Today’s interview guest is John Nicholl, author of White is the Coldest Colour, When Evil Calls Your Name and Portraits of the Dead.

What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

I wrote ‘White is the coldest colour’ primarily as an entertaining dark psychological thriller, but I also hoped it would play a small part in increasing public awareness of the heinous risks posed by sexual predators.

What was the hardest part of writing this book? 

The book draws heavily on my working life. Some years have now passed, and that time sometimes feels like a different life; but, with that said, writing the book brought back some memories of real events that were perhaps better left in the past.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Writing some aspects of the book proved cathartic, in that you can control events in books a lot more easily than in real life.

Are there misconceptions that people have about your book?  If so, explain.

I think the vast majority of reviewers understood what I was trying to achieve. I have had to accept, however, that you can’t please everyone. The book addresses an emotive subject, and was always going to engender strong emotions.

What do you like to read in your free time?

I read an eclectic range of books, from historical biographies to modern thrillers. I find books written by people who have experienced extraordinary events particularly interesting.

How long have you been a police officer and child protection social worker? Is there anything you can tell us about that?

About 21 years in total. I finally retired from a post heading up child protection services for the county of Carmarthenshire in Wales.

When did you decide to write this series?

The first book tells the story from the perspective of the offender, his intended victim, and the boy’s family. The sequel tells the story in the words of the perpetrator’s wife, and explores issues of domestic violence and manipulation. It answers some of the questions readers are left with after book one.

What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your subject, that isn’t so?

When I first worked in child protection it was extremely difficult to convince other professionals, let alone the general public, that a significant number of adults, most of whom were male, posed a significant risk to children. This lack of knowledge was one of the reasons men like Jimmy Saville avoided arrest for as long as they did. That’s changed now, and I think the public have a much better awareness of the activities of this group of deviant criminals. That has to be a good thing from a protective perspective.

What makes your book stand out from the crowd?

While fictional, my books are influenced by real experiences. Readers tell me that that shows in the writing.

Aside from writing, what are your hobbies?

I used to run a Taekwondo club and play squash, but these days it’s yoga, swimming and travel.

Do you have a ritual you use while writing? (During commercials, certain music, etc)

I tend to write until lunchtime, with weekends off; always with music playing.

Are you working on anything presently?

Yes, I’m working on a serial killer thriller, which I hope to finish by September 2016.

What is your writing space like?

I only wish I had one! I write at the dining room table with family life going on around me. Such is life.

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