Hey, friends! I have teamed up with the U.K.'s "Novel Kicks" book blog to share some fun facts about me and my latest novel, COLD CASE, TRUE CRIME. Laura, who runs the blog, is a popular book reviewer, book lover, and huge supporter of authors. Keep reading to check out our chat!
True Crime is her passion. But this cold case is personal...
COLD CASE, TRUE CRIME is about a true crime blogger named Samantha Vincent who
begins investigating a friend’s suspicious death after his case goes cold.
While the town’s police department shows no interest in solving the murder,
Samantha talks Detective Gregory Harris into secretly joining in on her
investigation. But when Samantha becomes a target, she and the detective
realize that someone doesn’t want the case cracked. It becomes a race against
time to catch the killer before Samantha loses her life.
My "Novel Kicks" Interview
Laura: Can you tell me what inspired you to write COLD CASE, TRUE CRIME?
Denise: I am a self-proclaimed true crime addict. So this book was inspired by my interest in cold cases and the desire to see victims receive justice. Digging through the facts of cases and discovering new evidence in real life investigations is a hobby of mine, and I referred to those skills while penning this story.
Laura: What's your typical writing day like?
Denise: During the mornings, I usually take care of administrative work and manage my social media accounts and blog. That helps me to warm up before I begin writing. During the afternoons and evenings, I try and write in 500-1,000 word increments, taking a break in between to rest my eyes and refresh my mind. I strive to write 2,500 to 3,000 words a day. But if I don’t reach that goal, I don’t beat myself up. As long as I’m getting words in, I’m happy.
Laura: What are the challenges you found when writing your novel?
Denise: COLD CASE, TRUE CRIME was the first thriller that I’ve written, so this was a different genre for me. While I read and watch true crime incessantly, I had to do a lot of research and fact checking while writing this book. I also took a different approach with it than I normally do when writing romance. This novel required a different mindset since I was creating scenarios where tensions ran high and intense action scenes took place. I also watched a lot of true crime television while working on this book to help keep me motivated.
Laura: What songs would make up a playlist for your book?
Denise: I think that a playlist for this book would be filled with haunting jazz music. Instrumentals by greats like Miles Davis and John Coltrane would be fitting for its intense mood. And of course a few romantic songs would be appropriate as well, such as the ones on Spike Lee’s soundtrack for his film, She’s Gotta Have It.
Laura: From idea to finished book, what's your writing process like?
Denise: I start by creating an idea in my head, then immediately put pen to paper. I write an extensive proposal; one that lays out the book from beginning to end. These proposals are a wonderful resource during the writing process because whenever I get stuck, I can always refer back to them. And I keep a notebook and the Notes app on my cell phone close by so that whenever I come up with a new idea, I can jot it down quickly so not to forget.
Laura: Which authors do you admire?
Denise: I grew up reading Jackie Collins, Danielle Steele and Sidney Sheldon. They were always huge inspirations, and I admired their amazing careers. As I began writing my own books, I grew to admire Terry McMillan, Jacqueline Thomas and Alyssa Cole. Maisey Yates is also someone I admire. She’s so prolific, having written over 100 books for Harlequin in a 10-year span.
Laura: What's your favourite word and why?
Denise: I love the word dream and everything it embodies. Always having hope. Never giving up. And keeping the faith. As long as you have a dream, there’s always something to look forward to.
Laura: Any advice for aspiring writers?
Denise: I would tell aspiring writers to just start. Start the book. Get the words down, and then keep going. Push all fears and doubts out of your mind, believe you can do it, and write. You’ll never know how far you can go until you finish the book and put it out into the world. But you just have to start.
Laura: In your opinion, what are the common mistakes aspiring authors make?
Denise: I’ve seen many aspiring writers lack confidence in their work, or their efforts. They don’t believe that they can actually write a book, put it out into the world and gain fans. Or they don’t think their ideas are good enough. Self-doubt is the biggest deterrent, as is comparing yourself to others. Going at your own pace and believing in yourself is half the battle. Also, consistency is key. Aspiring writers who struggle with consistency tend to have a hard time completing their project.
Laura: Which comes first for you, plot or characters?
Denise: The plot definitely comes first. Knowing what is going to happen in a story helps me to develop the characters. I can mold them into being the types of people who’d experience the book’s storyline.
Laura: Which fictional world would you like to visit and why?
Denise: Danielle Steele wrote a book called Bungalow 2 about a heroine who was a screenplay writer. The novel was based in California, and she had to travel to Los Angeles and live in the Beverly Hills Hotel while working on a movie set. What a dream life that would be for me! I love LA, and the Beverly Hills Hotel is one of my favorite places in the world. Along with that, writing is my passion. So I’d have to say the glamorous, whimsical world that Steele created in that novel is one that I would love to visit.
Laura: Do you have any particular writing quirks or rituals?
Denise: I always have to have some sort of sound going in the background while writing. Total silence can be louder than actual noise for me. So whether it’s soft music or the television, I need for noise to flow through my eardrums while I’m writing, or else I’ll be distracted. Sounds weird, but it somehow works for me.
~ The End ~
I would like to thank Laura for conducting this insightful interview. I thought about things involving my writing that hadn't even crossed my mind until I was actually presented with the questions.
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