Author Interviews: Linda Berry

Author Linda Berry

Today I’d like to present author Linda Berry, a new to me police thriller author. Linda, let’s talk about your book first!

Your latest mystery, Pretty Corpse, was recently released. Tell us about the story.

The year is 1999. A serial rapist is targeting teen girls in San Francisco. While on patrol, Officer Lauren Starkley discovers one of the victims, and she’s shocked to find out the girl is a close friend of her daughter. The case instantly becomes intensely personal. Because she isn’t a detective, Lauren is restricted from investigating, but she does so nonetheless on her own time. Lauren has an uncanny ability to find obscure clues and link them together. Her relentless pursuit of the rapist draws her deeper into his world. He in turn, starts getting closer to Lauren and her daughter. Lauren needs to lure him out of hiding, fast, before her daughter becomes his next victim.

 

You populate your novels with an interesting mix of characters. Tell us about that.

My stories reflect the range of characters each of us knows in real life. We all have people we admire, people who threaten us or are just plain luny. I like to keep a reader alert and surprised by creating several interrelated stories that and ebb and flow through the main story. We are all multi-dimensional, and have many stories happening simultaneously in our lives, and sometimes conflict erupts on many fronts. I like to get into those emotional tsunamis and explore a person’s breaking point, and how they deal with the challenge. Complex characters that are bitterly wounded or pathologically twisted are interesting to me. I like to contrast the most vile and repugnant aspects of human nature to the most heroic and noble, and throw some quirky characters in for good measure.

 

How did you research this police thriller?

To write authentically, I do extensive research. That doesn’t mean I let my fingers do the walking. I have to give a big thank you to the police officers at Mission Station in San Francisco in 2001, when I wrote this first draft. My research for Pretty Corpse came in the form of dozens of ride-alongs I did with various female patrol officers. I chose the night shift when the city was rife with criminal activity, and I got to see these courageous women in action. Several of my characters were inspired by the female cops I came to know, and also by the captain of the station, who gave generously of his time to help me authenticate my writing. Many of the side stories in Pretty Corpse are based on actual events relayed to me by police officers from Mission Station.

 

Where do you write?

I write in a sunny office in my home overlooking a canal and peaceful wooded area. I live in Central Oregon, a resort town in the shadow of the Cascade Mountains.

 

You were an award-winning copywriter and art director for twenty-five years, and worked part of that time for the film industry. Did that experience shape your decision to become a novelist?

Absolutely. I had the privilege of collaborating with talented writers and some of the best editors in the business. I love books and have been an avid reader my entire life. I wrote novels as a passionate hobby. In fact, my three novels released this year by Winter Goose Publishing are the result of my efforts spanning a decade. Now that I’m retired, I write every day. It’s so much easier to produce good work when you can keep your train of thought moving forward, and are not constantly interrupted.

 

What do you love most about your work?

I love the creative process itself—the challenge of developing and constructing plots that continually surprise the reader and hold them in a state of suspense. Writing is both a passion and a compulsion—a truly satisfying form of escape. My reward comes when a reader tells me they couldn’t put my book down and they talk about my characters as though they’re real people. Then I know I did my job well.

 

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Happiness comes to me in many forms. Appreciation of life itself is the foundation of happiness. I find this planet miraculous, from subatomic matter to the galaxies in space. I enjoy the beauty of ecosystems, how so many forms of life—plants, birds, mammals, reptiles, insects—the smallest creature to the largest, are dependent on each other for survival. My idea of perfect happiness is living on a healthy planet where people live together in peace and are trusted guardians of nature.

 

What is your greatest fear?

Being impoverished, homeless, or mentally or physically impaired and dependent on others. I did undergo some terrible threats to my health six years ago. I had a bout of debilitating pain for about 8 months, which diminished my ability to enjoy life. I’m now completely recovered, and feel I’ve been given a second chance at life. The experience sharpened my awareness of how fragile life is, how it can be taken away in an instant, and how one might be forced to languish in pain for a period of time. It heightened my appreciation for the quality of life I have now, for every precious moment I’m healthy and independent.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Lack of patience. Sometimes I get caught up in the every day demands of life, and the illusion that I don’t have enough time to do everything I want to do.  I have to remind myself at times to live in the moment, address what is happening right in front of me, and listen to people, even when I feel I’m short on time. Giving another human being a few minutes of conversation can make a huge difference in that person’s life. Kindness goes a long way.

 
Who in your profession do you most admire?

I read everything, and admire countless writers, from journalists to screen writers to poets to authors. I especially love mysteries, and I read an average of two books a week. If the writing is solid, and the story is well-constructed, I’ll read it regardless of genre.
What is your greatest extravagance?

Disconnecting from the world. Getting out in nature with my husband and our dog in our motorhome. I love being on a lazy schedule and disconnecting from social media, where the only decision I have to make is when to eat and what hikes to takey. I can write in uninterrupted peace for hours at a time, surrounded by nature, sometimes listening to the gentle patter of rain, watching water drip off leaves. I love going to national parks, off season. We went to Bryce and Zion and Arches and the Grand Canyon two years ago. Last year we went to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, and this year we may be going to Yosemite.
On what occasion would you lie?

I don’t tell big extravagant lies, but I do tell baby lies frequently, mostly when complimenting people. For example: “no, your ass doesn’t look big in those jeans” or “you look marvelous” when in actuality, you look hungover, and you have stains on your shirt.
What do you dislike most in your work?

When I hit a brick wall and I have to stop writing, sometimes for days, while I process my story and play out different scenarios in my head. I never force the creative process. What generally helps me break through the logjam is reading. I’ll bury my nose in a good book, and before long, ideas start percolating to the surface. I also have a muse. My nail goddess, who’s held captive doing my mani/pedi for 2 hours, and I bounce ideas off her. She has a creative mind and has been a wonderful contributor to my stories for years.
When and where were you happiest in your work?

This current period in my life is the happiest. Now that I’m retired, I have the luxury of writing every day. I wake up eager to get to work. I take my coffee up to my sunny office and dig in. I believe I’m at my most happiest when my husband and I are traveling and we’re parked in a beautiful wilderness area and the peace of the place seeps into my bones. I can write with no interruption.
If you could, what would you change about myself?

I would take twenty years of physical wear and tear off my body. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, I would change nothing. If I had to lose twenty years of life experience to be in a younger body, I would say no. I’m more at peace with myself at this stage of life than I have ever been.
What is your greatest achievement in work?

Having three novels completed and coming out this year, 2017. It’s a wonderful sense of accomplishment to see the culmination of years of work and endless rewrites in a physical book. Hidden Part One and Pretty Corpse are out, and Hidden Part Two comes out in September. I’m expecting my fourth mystery, Quiet Scream, to be out in December or January.

 

What is your most marked characteristic?

My friendliness, and my sense of humor. I have always had a keen interest in people and I’m a good observer, passionately interested in humans and the world around me. I’m an optimist at heart, and I’ve been blessed with a jolly spirit. I enjoy socializing but the greater part of my waking life is spent in solitude, writing, reading, and doing projects.


What is your most inspirational location in your city?

I like to get out on the wilderness trails with friends and dogs. We have a beautiful river, the Deschutes, that meanders through town and its character changes every foot of the way. There are many meadows, sagebrush flats, waterfalls, and breathtaking views of the Cascade Range. The look of a wild river, the various sounds of water rushing, falling, cascading over boulders, is invigorating and soothing. Hiking clears my head of thoughts and worries and puts me in a state of peacefulness.

What is your best advice for beginning writers?

Write about something you love and then your passion will come out in your words. Write often, everyday, if possible. Read, read, read. I read one or two books a week, and I also watch movies and TV productions that tell good stories. I take notes. I have volumes of notes, and refer to them daily.

 

Thank you so much for talking with us today, Linda. I’ve already read Pretty Corpse and it was fantastic!

So, gentle readers, you can pick up Linda’s book on Kindle Unlimited for free right now or wait until the release, June 10th! You can find our more about Linda and her books at:

Linda’s Youtube trailers:

Hidden: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-bNoFgaD9U&t=7s

Pretty Corpse: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QHSvirTYdw&feature=youtu.be

 

You can also find her at:

https://www.facebook.com/linda.berry.94617

www.lindaberry.net

@LindaBerry7272

lindaberrywriter@gmail.com

 

 

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Memorial Day 2017: Monday Blog Post

A character holds my book, Troubled Streets!

Newest News:

Happy Memorial Day, everyone. I hope you’re having a great day, family and friends present, and being safe!

I spent the weekend (last Thursday through Sunday) at the Phoenix ComiCon. What an event. Multiple buildings, four floors, thousands of people, a huge percentage of them in costume. It was fantastic. I was there in booth 1797 with authors Holly S. Roberts, Marsha Ward and Alyssa Louttit and we had a blast. I’ve already signed up for next year. Mark your calendars.

Mystery at the Book Festival is still on pre-order and will be released on June 1st. Both the paperback and ebook will be available. You can find it at Amazon on (https://www.amazon.com/Mystery-Book-Festival-J…/…/B072LKF3DM) and on Smashwords (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/725756). I’d love it if you could help me with my rankings and buy that book on presale, then leave an honest review.

Gardening: Peas, beans, and squashes are up and doing well. One of my cherry tomato plants was eaten by something but I haven’t replaced it yet. The other cherry I found lying limp on the ground this morning. Perhaps lack of water. Hubby didn’t water while I was gone. All of the fruit trees are full of fruit. Except the nectarine. That only has a few nectarines on it.

Giveaways:

My multi-author giveaway is called Spring into Reading: Easter Giveaway is now on. If you missed out on the last one, this is your chance to win.

Shout Out:

Author Linda Berry is promoting her book Pretty Corpse by having it free on Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited until its release on June 10th. If you’re a police thriller fan, you will want to take a look at her book. I’ve already read it and loved it. See it at https://www.amazon.com/Pretty-Corpse-Linda-Berry/dp/1941058655. Check out her video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QHSvirTYdw&feature=youtu.be.  As always, an honest review will go a long way to helping her out. I have a full interview with her coming up on Wednesday, the 31st. You can find out more about Linda at www.lindaberry.net.

 

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my next engagements.

July 22nd is the Payson Book Festival. I have to say, this festival has turned into quite a thing. Over 600 people came to it last year. The tables have already been filled with authors. You can find out who is attending at www.PaysonBookFestival.org. The event is free to visitors and starts at 9am and runs until 3:30pm. Details about the location, video from last year, and more, can be found on the site.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

Mystery in the Woods released on December 25th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Author Interviews: Colleen Cross

colleen-author-pic

I’d like to welcome Colleen Cross to my blog today. Colleen Cross writes page-turning thrillers and fun, cozy mysteries. She lives with her family on the West Coast. When she’s not writing, she loves to run, hike, and explore with her rescue dog Jaeger, who reminds her daily that life’s too short to not follow your dreams–or a squirrel or two. Her books are international bestsellers and have been translated into multiple languages with more to come.

I’m sure we’ll have fun today. Let’s get started, shall we?

1. Let’s start with something fun. What’s your favorite hobby?

I like to run and hike with my dog, Jaeger. We have fun wearing each other out. 🙂

2. If you had the opportunity—who would you like to spend an afternoon with and why?

Agatha Christie. Aside from her talent as a mystery writer, she was extremely successful as a businesswoman in an era where women didn’t work. It would be fascinating to get her perspective on things.

3. Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

Strong coffee.

4. What are you working on right now?

witch-you-well-cover

I am writing books 3 and 4 of a humorous witch cozy mystery.

5. How would you describe your writing style? Do you have any advice for a person just beginning their writing career?

Read lots on the craft, join a critique group and write as much, and as regularly, as you can. Practice makes perfect. I would also advise someone just starting out to research their genre by studying bestsellers. You can write what you love, but you also want to be able to see it. There’s a way to do both if you study the market.

6. Do you immerse yourself in new situations for writing ideas or do your ideas come to you through your normal, day-to-day life?

I am never short of ideas. I probably have 3-4 ideas a day for different books. Plotting and writing it out is where the real work is for me.

7. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

You can find me here:

Website: http://colleencross.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/colleenxcross/

exit-strategy-cover

Thank you so much Colleen. Both of your series sound like a lot of fun. Dear readers, please visit her website at www.colleencross.com and sign up for her twice-yearly private newsletter to hear about new releases and exclusive subscriber-only offers. You can also connect with her on social media: Twitter: @colleenxcross or find her on Goodreads.

 

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Author Interviews: S. C. McCole

Author S.C. McCole

Author S.C. McCole

Let’s give a warm round of applause to today’s author, S.C. McCole. McCole is a vagabond tapping tales on his iPad everywhere he travels. When he finally gets back to Peachtree City, GA, it’s nap time with his wonderful wife and two dogs, refresh the bags, then back on the road again! He can often be found hiding out in one of these boxes:  Ghost Writer | Shark Diver | Metal Guitarist | Dog Lover | Runner | Hubby | Dad |.

Thank you S.C. for joining us today. Let’s get right to the questions, shall we?

1. Favorite Hobby?

Oh, so many to choose from! Some people say they can’t retire because they’d be bored out of their skulls. I can’t wait. I have way too many hobbies (and bucket-list-items); I’d never be bored.

Shark-swimmin’, song-playin’, sword-collectin’, spirit-summonin’, Survivor-preppin’ (the TV show not bunker-hoardin’ lol)… but, if you’re making me pick just one, it would have to be story-readin’. I could spend my first year in retirement just page-turnin’ my way through the to-read shelf, starting with the Bhagavad Gita.

2. Who would I spend the afternoon with?

The greatest man that ever lived: My Dad. Fate stole my opportunity for a sit-down in-depth conversation with him and I have so many things I’d want to discuss.

3. Coffee, tea, soda, or something else?

I love this topic. Big fan of imbibing! Depends on the moment:
­
– I drink Dunkin’ Donuts coffee with half & half religiously every morning. I grind my own beans, and use filtered water—ok, I’m a bit OCD.

– When I’m home, I drink several spots-o-tea with the wife in the evening—mostly bagged herbal, floral, or green, though sometimes we brew from a fresh mix (Champagne Rose is our fave). Also, living in the South, I’m required to drink iced tea—unsweetened, because I’m a northern intruder, heh.

– Alcohol, on occasion, as a social lubricant. My go-to is a Crown & Diet Coke w Lime. Beer: I like anything interesting and not too hoppy. My fave is a Belgian Grimbergen Blonde or a pint of Murphy’s. But, a good margarita is hard to beat when I’m on vacation (rim salted please).

– For all other times I’m a big fan of water. I drink a lot of it. It does the body good!
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– One rule for liquids: I never use a sweetener. I’m scared it may spoil my finely-crafted curmudgeoness!

4. What am I working on right now?

Writing: I’m in the draft phase of my first novel—Black Friday, an urban fantasy thriller featuring the heroine Kali Stone. The book begins a series, which is the first in a group of chronological series based in a supernatural, apocalyptic world I’ve been developing the last few years. It’s an ambitious blueprint. I hope my hobbies leave me time to do it justice!

Craft: Lately, much to the chagrin of my novel, I’m spending quite a bit of time launching a new fiction writer’s resource. It’s a newsletter/blog where I put my 25 years as an investigator on the line to crack the code of publishing today. It’s all free, interactive, no-holds-barred info. That project is launching soon.

5. How would I describe my writing style?

My style of writing is: FAST HEAT.

I created this acronym to explain that I strive to be FAST (Fearless;
Authentic, Sexy; True) and deliver the HEAT (a story that is: Hot; Exposed; Adventurous; Thrilling).

6. Advice for a new writer?

“Do or Do Not. There is no TRY.” ~ Yoda.
“Even if it’s crap, just get it on the page.” ~ my coffee mug.

7. Where do my writing ideas come from?

The most fertile breeding grounds for my ideas are Titles. I start by brainstorming an intriguing plot nugget (usually the inciting incident or the final showdown) then I wrack my noggin for a working title before I begin a detailed outline. Once I start writing the title often changes, but I need to start with one that thrills me.

In college, I majored in Architecture, so I’m a planner when it comes to art. Since I have a master blueprint for my fiction, my plot nuggets are usually inspired by the world foundation I’ve built. But, my current novel wasn’t part of that original plan—it was born out of necessity. I was enrolled in James Patterson’s MasterClass and needed to submit a thriller plot, so I extracted a nugget from my current profession (in anti-terrorism) and created the plot of Black Friday. It wasn’t intended to be a series or even part of my world, but I’ve since morphed it to fit into the greater structure.

Last, but certainly not least, one of my bucket-list writing ideas comes from my dad. At bedtime, he would spin a fascinating yarn with some crazy characters he made up. Those memories are very special to me. So, for my future grandchildren, I plan to write a series of bedtime stories based upon my dad’s characters. That will be my tribute to him and my our legacy.

8. Where can I be found online?
Come chat with me on Facebook: fb.com/SCMcCole or Twitter @SCMcCole. I’ll be sharing the release of my upcoming investigative report site in those hangouts. Cheers!
Thank you so much for sharing with us today, S.C. We appreciate your time. Good luck on your release of Black Friday.

So, gentle readers, stop on by S.C.s facebook and say hello.

 

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