I’d like to welcome our guest today, Terri Reed. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.
I understand you have a new release out called Chasing Shadows. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?
When senior citizens start disappearing from a Boston retirement center, heiress Kristina Worthington is suspicious. Especially since she fears her beloved grandmother is next. Without solid evidence, she’s forced to turn to the one police officer who might listen—her former love, Gabe Burke. Now a seasoned cop, Gabe still sees her as the rich girl whose family thought he wasn’t good enough. And though he takes the case, Gabe seems convinced he’s chasing shadows. Until they start dodging threats, bullets...and their rekindled feelings.
Chasing Shadows is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?
While writing the book I had the heroine questions whether they were chasing the shadows in her grandmothers mind and as soon as I saw the words I knew that the title had to be Chasing Shadows.
Would you describe your book as a cozy, mystery, suspense, or thriller?
I would say this book is a bit mystery, a bit suspense with a dash of cozy through in.
What made you decide to write in this genre?
I had decided early on in my writing journey that I want to write for Harlequin but I couldn’t gain any traction. When the company started the Steeple Hill line, I realized my writing really reflected my faith and Steeple Hill seemed a natural fit. It still took a decade to finally sell my first novel to Love Inspired, but I know this is where I’m supposed to be.
Where did you get your idea for this particular book?
My grandmother was in a group retirement home for the last few years of her life. She had Alzheimer’s. When my mother starting showing signs of the disease, I began researching retirement centers. As I was contemplating the decision, my mind began to ask “what if”…what if residents started disappearing? What would happen? Who would care? And who would do such a thing and why? From there the idea started to blossom and then I had to people it. I had Gabe as a secondary character in my February 2007 book Double Deception, part of the McClain mini-series and I wanted to give him a story so I thought he’d be the perfect person for Kristina to call upon for help.
Do you have all the key suspense/mystery elements thought out before you begin writing?
For the most part I do. Though I had thought a different person was the villain in this story up until almost the end. That was fun for me to realize I had subconsciously kept the villain a secret even from myself.
Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?
I visited a retirement center in my area and loosely base the layout of the center in the story on it. I also belong to a wonderful network of writers who helped with the police info. Though I know I fudged on a few things for the sake of the story. Creative license, and all that.
What are your favorite research books or sites?
Well, that would depend on the subject matter. When writing books where one or more characters are in law enforcement I had several different resources, depending on which branch the characters serve in. Police Procedures and Investigation for Writers by Lee Lofland, Practical Homicide Investigations by Vernon Geberth, Witsec: Inside the Federal Witness Protection Program by Pete Earley—to name a few. The internet is an indispensible resource as well. You can find info on almost any subject and any setting.
Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?
I think I liked writing Sadie, the grandmother, the most. My own grandmother was spunky and very adventurous. She and my grandfather had the most romantic courtship and marriage. They met when they were twenty, married a year later and were married when they both passed on in their late eighties. I miss them both so much.
Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing?
I do fill out some sheets that help me to narrow the focus of the characters inner and external conflicts, motivations and goals. In the past, when a character wasn’t developing quick enough or thoroughly enough, I have had my characters tell their own story from their point of view and I discuss interesting facts. But mostly the characters develop as I write.
How does your research affect your character development?
If my hero, Gabe in this book, is a cop, then I use the info I’ve gleaned from the research books to help define him. For Kristina, being a heiress who was trying to gain autonomy from her family I watched reruns of Gilmore Girls. I wanted Kristina to have the same sort of drive and vulnerability as the Lorelei Gilmore.
Do you have any authors that inspired you?
Tons! The list would be too long if I started it.
What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?
I’m not good at promoting myself so I’m not sure what is the best avenue. I have done flyers, postcards, booksignings and joined several group blogs. And done interviews like this one. Thank you for by the way.
You're welcome. What do we have to look forward next?
Right now I have a short suspense story on the eharlequin site www.eharlequin.com titled Yuletide Peril that runs through the month of October and should still be available to read. I have Love Inspired Suspense book coming out in May 2010, titled Covert Pursuit which features a secondary character from Chasing Shadows. In August 2010 my Love Inspired Romance book Treasure Creek Dad will be available, this book is book two of the Alaskan Brides continuity series. And I have a Love Inspired Suspense novella coming out for Christmas 2010
To celebrate her book release, Terri is offering a free ebook of Chasing Shadows to one lucky commenter on today's blog. She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away... (please check Monday night to see who won. Chances of winning depends on number of comments.)
Check out author’s website at www.loveinspiredauthors.com or http://ladiesofsuspense.blogspot.com/ http://craftieladiesofromance.blogspot.com/