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Today I welcome Nike Chillemi, Crime Fictionista and author of Burning Hearts and Goodbye Noel, books 1 and 2 in her Sanctuary Point series.

Explain your “Crime Fictionista” philosophy. Sounds fabulous!

Something many in Christian publishing might not realize is that I was once part of the fashion industry. I graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in the garment district in NYC and worked in the bridal industry. I’ve attended bridal fairs in Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, Las Vegas, and of course in my hometown NYC. When I was working in fashion, I’d always here bandied about, “Oh, she’s such a fashionista.” So, it occurred to me, what about crime fictionista? I googled and found nobody was using the term, so natch, I grabbed it. It’s been a fun moniker to have.

What can readers expect from your books?

My readers have come to expect a good story. There’s suspense, action, a love story all in equal measure. Each of these elements is intrinsic to the plot. And there will also be some humor thrown in. Readers have commented that I also write about food. I always have characters who are cooking and baking and those aromas seem to be wafting off the page. In GOODBYE NOEL heroine Katrina Lenart isn’t very good in the kitchen, so sometimes the smells are more like a fireplace that needs cleaning. Those scenes would fall into the humor category.

How does your Christian faith show in your work?

Katrina and Det. Ian Daltry, who is a widower with some pain in his life, are both committed Christians and sharing the intimacies of their souls is part of their love story. They communicate deep, deep feelings to each other and even a few things that are quite difficult to talk about. And they share their faith with each other and help each other to a stronger faith.

Some crime/mystery novels nearly ignore characterization in favor of plot – where do you draw the line between action and the individual?

I’m heavily into characterization. In fact, my stories are character driven. The next step in the plot has to occur because it’s natural for it to happen to the characters. I like characters who are fairly intense. They don’t always have to be likeable, though I want the reader to be rooting for them. I try to depict ordinary people who rise to great heights in standing for what is right and against evil. I hope my readers can see the “natural nobility” unpretentious people can display when against all odds they do the right thing. I hope my main characters Katrina Lenart and Detective Ian Daltry come off in this way. I want to show that LOVE is the greatest power on the earth, that the depth of human love is something that will always persevere. Of course, Christians understand this powerful love is God’s love in us.

What connects GOODBYE NOEL with BURNING HEARTS? Do any of the same character’s appear?

In book one, BURNING HEARTS, main characters Eric Brogna and Lorne Kincade were innocents when it came to the opposite sex. They were very inexperienced and taking baby steps in their romance. Katrina, my heroine in GOODBYE NOEL, was Erica’s best friend in the first story who pushed Erica into Lorne’s space every chance she got. Ian Daltry, the Sanctuary Point detective, considered Lorne to be a suspect at the outset in the first novel. In GOODBYE NOEL, of course Katrina and Ian develop as characters. They both have very strong convictions about finding justice for the murder victims as the bodies pile up. They’re also committed Christians who act accordingly, yet are very aware of their feelings toward each other. I’d call this story a warm love story.

What are your favorite scenes to write? The romance? The crime? The suspense?

I hope you don’t find this a cop-out, but I enjoy writing them all. That’s why my novels are known for having an equal portion of suspense, romance, action, and pretty vivid crime scenes. I like the page turning aspects of suspense coupled with action. Then, for me there has to be accurate police procedure to the time-period. And finally, I want a deeply moving love story.

Who’s been your favorite character to write? Has there been one you’ve particularly connected with as you brought him/her to life?

I think Katrina has been the one I’ve enjoyed writing the most. She’s got a snarky side to her that was a hoot to write. She’s no perfect Christian, though she’s a rock solid believer. I’ve also enjoyed writing about her fashion flair, and also her mother’s. Katrina got her sense of style from her mom. I try to make that evident in the story. It’s a wonderful sense of femininity the females in her family pass down generation to generation and they bring Ian’s motherless four year old daughter into their feminine fold and begin helping her to feel like a princess.

What’s next for Sanctuary Point?

Well, of course, the crime wave continues to sweep the tiny village of Sanctuary Point. The next novel in the series is PERILOUS SHADOWS. Radio news broadcaster Argus Nye, who was a character in the first two novels, is the hero. Kiera Devane is a young woman who abandons her family’s high society lifestyle to become a newspaper reporter. Together she and Argus hunt the killer in Perilous Shadows.

GOODBYE NOEL was released December 15th and will be available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the Sony Reader Store, and Christianbooks soon!

Grab now at:

Desert Breeze Publishing

Nike Chillemi ~ Crime Fictionista http://nikechillemi.wordpress.com/

Stay tuned tomorrow for an excerpt from Nike’s new novel, Goodbye Noel!

 

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Please tell us a bit about your Support the Troops initiative.

My son is in the military and I am very supportive of the troops. It’s particularly difficult for the troops during the holidays, so I wanted to ensure that they knew there were authors out here ready to support them. Offering a free e-book is the least I can do. It’s a great feeling to know that even for the brief time it takes to read a book, I will have added something to someone’s day, while they’re over there.

What we could really use help on right now, is to just spread the word to the troops and military members. Everyone knows someone who knows someone. We want to make sure the word gets to the troops. We have over a thousand e-books to give out for the holidays.

I would ask every person reading this to send out at least a few emails and to post it on their facebook page, blog, twitter, or whatever other social network they use; so these guys and girls over there will be able to find out how that they can get a little unexpected gift from us this year.

What drives you to give back to the troops like this?

I think most people have been through hard times, or some sort of struggle during their lives. Once you’ve been there, you can easily empathize with others who need support. You remember the people who’ve been there when you needed them and it makes you want to be one of those people. You find yourself wanting to go that extra mile when you feel led to. I feel led to.

Tell us about your debut novel, Blind Veil.

Blind Veil is a psychological thriller. It’s about a New York City Cop who finds himself in a sticky situation and has absurd conversations with a certain ‘Doctor’. The whole incident is very much unexpected, and unplanned, and he is at a loss as to how to handle it.

Afterwards, and because of it, he finds that his life at work will never be the same. To make matters worse, he begins to fear he is losing his grip on reality. It becomes his ‘forced circumstance’ to get to the bottom of his troubles. In order to do that, he must look to an unreported crime that occurred decades earlier and on the other side of the country.

It’s a pretty harrowing story and there are enough twists and turns that there’s no telling what will happen next. Part of the ride for the reader, is to take the strange trip along with him…to delve into his mind to try to figure out what’s real and what’s not.

Blind Veil was released as an e-book. It is a pre-release to the soft cover. The soft cover version will be available in January 2012.

Is there a real-life inspiration to the story?

No, it’s completely fiction, though there are some who would disagree. That’s something that I find fascinating. Anyone who’s read the book will understand that answer completely.

This isn’t your first career. Has writing always been a passion? How does it fit into your life now?

I used to be in law enforcement and I’ve also worked in business. Writing has always been a passion, but I didn’t pursue getting my work published until now. Now this is what I do, and I love it. I should have pursued it years ago.

Do you have a set routine when you write? What gets you in the groove?

I feel really fortunate in that the words pour out as soon as I sit down to write. One thing I do need though is silence. Being a single parent with two dogs, that’s the tricky part. Still, there is always time to write and I do most of my work either late at night, or during school hours.

What’s next for you?

I’m currently working on the second Blind Veil book and the edits for a fantasy novel. Both are series. I also have a children’s book which will be out within the next two months. Yes, it’s quite different than Blind Veil. There’s nothing scary or strange in it at all.

Where can people find out more about your books and the Support the Troops drive?

Author Site ~ Blog ~ Book Site

Youtube: Trailer 1 (story trailer) ~ Trailer 2 (five star reviews) ~ Trailer 3 (99¢ special holidays sale)

You can purchase Blind Veil for only 99 cents right now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Support the Troops Authors: Blog ~ (we will have interviews with the authors involved between now and Christmas. Please check us out daily.)

Youtube Video 1 ~ Youtube Video 2

Main site: www.ebooksforsoldiers.com

Please spread the word to the troops!

Thank you so much!

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Today we welcome Stacey Rourke, author of The CONDUIT, for a chat.  Her debut novel is a mystical, YA fantasy tale involving an ancient Irish myth, four special humans with superhuman powers and an evil demon that can morph into any animal including a fire-breathing dragon.

The CONDUIT is your first book, Stacey, and it’s already getting some great reviews. Where did the idea come from?

It all started with a dream. There’s a scene in the book where a hand comes up out of a darkened orchestra pit and Celeste, the main character, is creeping forward not knowing what was going to rise up out of it. That was my dream exactly. It was so haunting and realistic that I woke up covered in sweat. When I couldn’t shake it, I jotted it down. I began expanding on it, creating back story for the characters. My Gryphon series was born!

Tell us a little bit about the journey that led you to this point  and into the writing and publishing life.

I had my first manuscript completed for a full year before I outed myself as an author. After that I embarked on what seemed an endless journey through a sea of rejections. Yet, whenever a literary professional took the time to offer me constructive feedback I mulled it over and seriously considered if I felt there was something valid that needed to be altered. Little by little my manuscript was chipped away at and polished up enough that when I submitted it to Outer Banks Publishing for consideration I finally got to experience the wonderful rush of being picked up for publication.

Are you a panster or plotter?

Plotter. I outline the entire book first, then storyboard each individual scene before I even think about beginning my first draft.

You have kids – did they inspire your main character or her side kicks?

They are the inspiration behind Kendall. Children love without bias or judgment. They see the good in everyone. That’s how Kendall is. To her everyone is good and worthy of love, even if they’re an evil shapeshifting demon.

What are you working on now?

Well, the second installment in The Gryphon series is coming soon with Embrace, and I am currently working on book three.

Stacey Rourke lives in Michigan with her husband, two beautiful daughters, and two giant, drooly dogs.  She is currently hard at work on the continuations of The Gryphon series, as well as other literary projects. You can connect with her on Twitter @Rourkewrites or on her website. The CONDUIT is available for only $2.99 on both Kindle and Nook.

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