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Posts tagged ‘Suspense’

Author Interview: Nike Chillemi

NikePixInner Source welcomes author Nike Chillemi. Like so many writers, Nike started writing at a very young age. She still has the Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned (colored might be more accurate) as a little girl about her then off-the-chart love of horses. Today, you might call her a crime fictionista. Her passion is crime fiction. She likes her bad guys really bad and her good guys smarter and better.

Nike is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and is its Chairman, a reader’s choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She writes book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She was an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category and a judge in the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories. Her four novel Sanctuary Point series, set in the mid-1940s has won awards and garnered critical acclaim. Her new contemporary whodunit, HARMFUL INTENT, is scheduled to release in the spring of 2014.

She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Christian Indie Novelists (CHIN) and the Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers (Ning). You can meet up with Nike on her blog, Crime Fictionista, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Nike I have to tell you that I read Harmful Intent in almost one sitting. I enjoyed it very much.

This first question is one that I’ve been wanting to ask since we met online. Your first and last name are very unique. What is their origin?

My parents were looking for a name beginning with an “N” in honor of my uncle Nicolas who died in the Pacific during WWII. He was in the Air Force and his plane went down in the ocean. We’re of Eastern European stock (Ukrainian, Czechoslovak, and Yugoslavian). Among the Eastern European community at that time, Natasha was an extremely common name or girls, much like Chloe or Madison are today. So, they chose an obscure Greek name with an “N” ~ Nike. They were aware of the Nike of Samothrace when they named me, as they knew a bit about mythology. I’ve only met a handful of women named Nike and they were all born in Greece. Chillemi is Italian and is my husband’s surname. It’s not uncommon, but it’s also not the “Smith” of Italy.

Because I know you’re a New York gal, and you like the nitty-gritty of the big city in your stories, I was surprised to find your character facing her dilemma and her mystery in Abilene, Texas. How in the world did one of your characters end up down South?

It started due to a writing challenge I came upon. I started playing around with it thinking how interesting to put my heroine out of her geographical element. At the most, I thought I’d have a short story. Then the idea of the series hit me and I thought HARMFUL INTENT would turn into novella (about 35K words) introducing the series. Well, as sometimes happens with my characters, they started running away with me and before I knew it, I had 66,000 words.

The series I’m envisioning is quite ambitious. There will be four couples who are all involved in law enforcement or who have military backgrounds. Each couple will have their own novels, solving murder cases, terrorism threats, and the like. A main character in one novel may show up as a secondary or minor character in another.

Having been a foster mother and adoptive mother of children who had been in foster care for some time, I’m keenly aware of what long-term damage can be done to children due to parental neglect and abuse. So, as a subtheme in this series, at least one member of each couple will be emotionally damaged due to some type of childhood trauma. Naturally, as I usually do, I will be crafting characters who are likeable in spite of their flaws. And as always, some of my characters will be quite quirky.

I love Deputy Sheriff Dawson Hughes from his Stetson hat to his very Southern moniker. Is he sketched from someone you know, from an actor, or from any other venue or does he solely come from the imagination of Nike Chillemi?

Dawson Hughes came solely from my imagination. At the beginning of the novel, Ronnie thinks he looks like a famous country-western star she saw on the cover of People magazine who looks fabulous in a tux. However, I leave it entirely up to the reader who that singer might be. Hughes evolved as I was writing him and became deeper emotionally. In the second draft, I went back and layered in the trauma of his divorce. He’d always been a decent man, but having survived a nasty divorce during which he made some mistakes, he grew into a truly honorable man.

This novel is not an in-your-face Christian mystery/suspense, but it works, and it works well. In your novel is there a key scripture or biblical concept that you explore? If so, what scripture or concept do you hope to bring to the light for your readers?

Neither Ronnie nor Dawson are committed Christians, although I do have committed Christians in the story as secondary characters who walk-the-walk. I use Ronnie and Dawson to appeal to Christians who have backslidden or to those who come from a loosely Christian background. Dawson’s faith was shaken during his short marriage. I won’t explain exactly why as I feel that’s a bit of a spoiler. He tells Ronnie the Bible won’t do her wrong, but she doubts he spends much time reading it. There are moments he wishes he had more faith, but then life sweeps him up and he functions by rote. Ronnie is angry at God, doesn’t trust him due to her childhood trauma. But she asks a lot of spiritual questions as the novel unfolds. She wonders about the comfort of God. She’s not quite a seeker. She’s just beginning to admit to herself there is One she might want to seek.

I want to first of all thank you for naming a character in Harmful Intent after me, but do you think you could have made her a bit nicer.  J

Oh, yes, La Mayor. Faylene Hunt. She marches rather than walks, sort of like power walking. Her red framed glasses sit on her pug nose and she’s got harshly cut razored bangs. Hughes thinks they look like someone put a bowl on her head and wacked them off. She’s a manipulator as the mayor of Arroyo and in her personal life as well. She likes to play power games, that’s for sure.

Sorry I didn’t make your name sake nicer, but she’s so much more fun this way.

Do you have any future projects in the works, and if so, what issues do your characters deal with?

When HARMFUL INTENT ends Ronnie’s adulterous husband has been deceased only a little over two weeks. She’s falling in love with Hughes but is definitely not ready to jump into another relationship. She plans to come back to Texas for their mutual friends’ Thanksgiving wedding. And Hughes intends to travel to New York City for Christmas. However, as book two starts at the end of August, Hughes finds himself on the east coast in an official law enforcement capacity and gets drawn into a missing child case Ronnie is working on that might have terrorism implications. And that one is entitled DEADLY DESIGNS.

That sounds like it might be a page turner just like Harmful Intent. I hope you’ll come back and visit with us to share the Inner source on Deadly Designs.

Sheriff's CarAbout Harmful Intent (Soon to be Released):

Betrayal runs in private investigator Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels’ family. So, why is she surprised when her husband of one year cheats on her? The real shock is his murder, with the local lawman pegging her as the prime suspect.

Ronnie Ingels is a Brooklyn bred private investigator who travels to west Texas, where her cheating husband is murdered. As she hunts the killer to clear her name, she becomes the hunted.

Deputy Sergeant Dawson Hughes, a former Army Ranger, is a man folks want on their side. Only he’s not so sure at first, he’s on the meddling New York PI’s side. As the evidence points away from her, he realizes the more she butts in, the more danger she attracts to herself.

Be sure to meet Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels.

Character Interview: Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels from Nike Chillemi’s Harmful Intent

Texas Lone StarToday’s special guest, Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels is the heroine in Nike Chillemi’s delightful romantic suspense, Harmful Intent.  Ronnie, I’m so glad you could be with us today. I loved your story. Please tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? What do you do?

I’m a private investigator. I was born and raised in Bay Ridge Brooklyn. My father was a successful stockbroker and my mother was a stay-at-home mom until I was in college. One of my best memories is of being a Girl Scout. Mrs. Gosner was my leader, and she had the troop repeat lines from the manual so many times they seem to be etched into my memory. A Girl Scout is ready to help out wherever she is needed. Willingness to serve is not enough; you must know how to do the job well, even in an emergency. That had a great influence on me. I think whatever I commit to doing, I commit to giving my all.

I’m a Southerner, and well, your story just begs this next question. How much of a culture shock is it for a Brooklyn gal when she’s in Abilene, Texas?

Let me say this about that, you guys and gals never get into a conversation you don’t think couldn’t be made better with more conversing. What’s that about? I mean, I’m standing in line in a donut shop in Abilene, or in some gulch town, dying for coffee to the point my tongue is sticking to the roof of my mouth. Then, I hear the clerk asking the lady at the counter how her day has been. The lady begins to tell him, chapter and verse. It’s only eight-thirty in the morning. How much is there to tell?

Yes, we do love to chat, but it’s about the gossip, you know.

You suffered a devastating betrayal by your husband and the woman you considered your best friend. The truth is, they really weren’t the people you thought they were. How do you recover from not only the loss of your husband but also the betrayal?

I’m the type who believes you just put one foot in front of the other and somehow muddle through. I got a lot of support from my mother’s quiet grace. I’m not at all like my mom. I’m a klutz and have a talent for messing up social situations. I had always thought my mother to be too timid and a bit of a push-over. You might call her a type of Ms. Manners. Mom is quite at home with a pair of pearl earrings and a matching string of pearls around her neck. During my own personal tragedy, I came to see that her penchant for good manners was a kind of bulwark that protected her. Faced with some of the cruelest and rudest people I’d ever met, I came to appreciate the role of etiquette in smoothing the rough edges of life. I can’t say my social skills improved much, but my esteem for good manner did.

The betrayal you experienced was made more devastating to you because you had suffered this type of betrayal and abandonment as a child. Do you think that you made this choice subconsciously because of your past?

One thing I never wanted was to be was like my mother. Then I went and married a man just like my father, a womanizer. I suppose it’s hard to get away from the negative patterns of childhood. I prided myself that I was so different from my mom, and much stronger than she was. I guess pride goeth before a fall.

What advice would you give to someone who has suffered from betrayal and abandonment at any time in their lives?

When you’re down and out, you’ll find out who is in your corner. As I’ve said, I had my mom, but I also had my boss at the PI agency, Jack Cooney, who’s kind of a Dutch Uncle to me. Stern, but always has my back. Then I met a whole slew of eccentric and loving people in the hill country of Texas who turned out to be true friends. There’s an old saying on the streets: Keep you friends close, your enemies closer. What I learned is you ditch your enemies (don’t turn your back on them, but tell them to take a hike) and keep your friends close.

Thank you, Ronnie. I’m so glad I got to know you. I loved your tale of betrayal and “displacement.”

More about the soon-to-be released Harmful Intent:

Betrayal runs in private investigator Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels’ family. So, why is she surprised when her husband of one year cheats on her? The real shock is his murder, with the local lawman pegging her as the prime suspect.

Ronnie Ingels is a Brooklyn bred private investigator who travels to west Texas, where her cheating husband is murdered. As she hunts the killer to clear her name, she becomes the hunted.

Deputy Sergeant Dawson Hughes, a former Army Ranger, is a man folks want on their side. Only he’s not so sure at first, he’s on the meddling New York PI’s side. As the evidence points away from her, he realizes the more she butts in, the more danger she attracts to herself.

NikePix

About Author Nike Chillemi:

Like so many writers, Nike Chillemi started writing at a very young age. She still has the Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned (colored might be more accurate) as a little girl about her then off-the-chart love of horses. Today, you might call her a crime fictionista. Her passion is crime fiction. She likes her bad guys really bad and her good guys smarter and better.

Nike is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and is its Chairman, a reader’s choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She writes book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She was an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category and a judge in the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories. Her four novel Sanctuary Point series, set in the mid-1940s has won awards and garnered critical acclaim. Her new contemporary whodunit, HARMFUL INTENT, is scheduled to release in the spring of 2014.

She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Christian Indie Novelists (CHIN) and the Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers (Ning). You can meet up with Nike on her blog, Crime Fictionista, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

 

Character Interview: Jennifer Akihara from On the Pineapple Express

perf5.500x8.500.inddJennifer, tell us a little about yourself? Your background? What you do for a living?

You recently found yourself in a precarious situation dealing not only with nature but with some very dangerous and evil men? Care to tell us what led you into this fight?

My name is Jennifer Akihara. Soon to be Jennifer Brandt. I’m Japanese Hawaiian, raised in the Islands. When Lee Brandt and I met, I was preparing to start my PhD work in Computing Security. But meeting Lee seven months ago changed my plans, my life, my eternal destiny and—I’m getting off track. After a cyber espionage investigation brought us together, Lee and I started courting. Then I took a job as a research scientist with NSA. They wanted me to apply my Internet forensic skills to wireless communication, and that’s when I accidentally intercepted the phone call revealing human trafficking. These people were selling girls from a remote spot on the Olympic Peninsula. You’ll probably think I’m crazy, but I heard a young girl crying for help. It was like she was crying out to me, pleading with me. We didn’t have enough information to convince the FBI to stop the next scheduled sale of girls, so Lee and I went to get the needed evidence. We got a little more than we bargained for — heavily armed international criminals and a 100-year storm.

As I read, I kept asking myself why you and Lee didn’t listen to the authorities in this situation. Care to tell us why you and Lee would risk your lives and go against the advice of the FBI?

Look, I told Agent Peterson everything I knew. He said it wasn’t enough. He couldn’t guarantee the FBI would stop the next sale of girls. With the desperate cries of a girl echoing in your mind, begging you for help, what would you do? We had to locate the girls to get the authorities to intervene. I couldn’t have just done nothing and lived with myself. Lee knows me. He understood. And we both knew what we were risking by doing this … our future together. But, you know something; we’re an awesome team when we both commit to accomplish something.

Yes, you are. I can’t imagine facing the danger you did without having a solid faith. Can you tell your readers how you leaned upon your faith in order to do the job you felt the Lord was leading you to do? Is there scripture or a biblical concept that helped you through your ordeal?

Some people would call Lee and I fools. And that would be true if we weren’t sure God was leading us. His word says more than 400 times, “Do not be afraid.” However, even recognizing His leading doesn’t remove all the fear, but it does provide the courage to act in spite of our fears. I struggled with that several times. The worst time was when both paths before us led to certain death. How do you choose between—I’ll let you read the story, because I can’t begin to describe what happened, and some of it I don’t even remember.

So, do you plan to get yourself into such a horrendous position in the future?

Are you kidding? Right now, I just want to marry Lee and go on a long, relaxing honeymoon. Did I tell you he’s going to take me to Maui for our honeymoon? Watching the Moon over Maalaea Bay, soaking up sun, walking miles of sandy beaches, snorkeling with colorful, tropical fish swarming around us — what could possibly go wrong in a romantic island paradise like Maui?

Jennifer, I think you may be surprised. I bet you and Lee will find lots of trouble. Thank you for visiting with us today.

More about On the Pineapple Express:

In one of the most beautiful places on earth the ugliest of crimes holds young, innocent lives in its evil grip. An intercepted cell-phone call from a remote area on the Olympic Peninsula tells beautiful, brilliant NSA researcher, Jennifer Akihara, a group of girls will soon be sold into slavery by human traffickers. She enlists her fiancé, Lee Brandt, to help find the holding location and convince the FBI to intervene. With the clock ticking off the last few hours before both the sale of the girls and the arrival of a deadly storm, and with international criminals pursuing them, can Jennifer and Lee save the girls, or will their wedding plans be cancelled … permanently?

Hide_and_SeekAlso available Hide and Seek:

A computer security breach within a US defense contractor’s firewalls leads investigators, Lee Brandt and beautiful, brilliant Jennifer Akihara, onto the cyber-turf of terrorists, where they are detected and targeted for elimination. Lee leads them on a desperate and prayer-filled flight for survival into the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. Will Jennifer’s pursuit of truth about the conspiracy, and the deepest issues of life, lead her into the clutches of terrorists, into the arms of Lee Brandt, or into the arms of the God she deems untrustworthy?

SONY DSCAbout Author H. L. Wegley:

H. L. Wegley served in the US Air Force as an Intelligence Analyst and a Weather Officer. He is a Meteorologist who, while working as a forecaster and a research scientist in Atmospheric Physics, published extensively in the scientific literature. After earning an MS in Computer Science, he worked more than two decades as a Systems Programmer at Boeing before retiring in the Seattle area, where he and his wife of 47 years enjoy small-group ministry, their grandchildren, hiking beaches on the Olympic Peninsula, snorkeling Maui whenever he gets a chance, and where he writes inspirational thrillers and romantic suspense novels. Besides his scientific publications, he published one non-fiction work, Colby and Me: Growing up in the ’50s, a humorous collection of the childhood adventures of an early baby boomer.

You can also meet up with H. L. at his website, his blog, on Facebook, Twitter, his Amazon Author Page, and on his Publisher’s Book Page.