I’m excited to say that we have roped award-winning author and criminologist Jennifer Chase into joining us in the forum today. Her crime novel Silent Partner will be the center of our discussion, but I’m betting we might be able to drag out information about her other titles, too.
Tim Greaton: I understand that you were reading almost as early as you were talking. Is that true?
Jennifer Chase: I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember. There was something about cracking open that binding and embarking on an adventure. Even before school age, I looked forward to my mom taking me to the library once a week. Once there, I would pile up all the books that my little arms could carry. My mom would tell me that I could save some for the next time, but I still carried out a full load. Reading so many books early on gave me an appreciation for authors and what it takes to write books.
Tim Greaton: So those early trips to the library were your motivation to write?
Jennifer Chase: I really do think so. Those young reading adventures definitely helped to propel me in the writing direction. I always dreamed about becoming a published author. It has been with me all this time until 2008 when I wrote my first book.
Tim Greaton: What part of the world do you most like to use as a setting for your stories?
Jennifer Chase: My settings up to this point have taken place in various areas of California, which offers an amazing variety of beaches, deserts and mountains to choose from, not to mention the great cities and rural areas. These are places that I know, have visited and have been inspired by. They’re also wonderful backdrops for my stories.
Tim Greaton: Could you describe your office space and a little bit about your writing process and habits?
I write from my home office, which looks out at the trees and a pesky squirrel who chatters at me through the window from time to time. Though I do most of my computer work inside, I do carry a notebook to more distracting locations like local coffee houses, where I often jot down plot ideas or new quirks for serial killers.
My office is fairly typical with a desk, computer, books, a bulletin board, a dry erase board (which looks a lot like a police investigation), lots of sticky notes. Of course, I can’t forget my faithful Labs who are forever at my feet. I write six days a week when I’m working on a book project and generally spend the afternoons writing. Mornings are blocked off for promotion, blog articles, housework (ick), errands, exercise, and anything else that may pop up. Oh, one odd writing quirk I probably shouldn’t share: I have to write barefooted…even in winter. ‘Not sure why.
Maybe that could be our little secret.
Tim Greaton: Do you usually have specific people in mind when you’re writing, or do you find your story is populated entirely by fictional people?
Jennifer Chase: Typically, I design my storylines first; then I create the characters (with the exception of my series heroine). Though I don’t usually have “one” person in mind when I create a character, he or she is often inspired by someone I’ve met, interviewed or have known throughout the years. My characters are really a combination of those people mixed with imaginary traits. I also think a lot of my own qualities find their way into that mix. It’s always fascinating to see how my story people evolve beyond their original outline and descriptions.
Tim Greaton: What is the title of your latest book?
Jennifer Chase: It’s called SILENT PARTNER.
Tim Greaton: Is it true that Silent Partner won an award recently?
Jennifer Chase: Yes, I was really pleased and surprised when Readers Favorite named it the 2011 WINNER of Best in Suspense.
Tim Greaton: Congratulations! Maybe you could tell us a little about this award-winning crime/suspense novel.
Jennifer Chase: Deputy Jack Davis is a police K9 officer who gets tangled between love and deceit when he falls for a murder suspect. Then, while dodging the fine line of the police brotherhood, he stumbles headfirst into a deadly cat and mouse chase with a taunting serial killer.
Tim Greaton: It sounds fascinating, Jennifer. Did you fully plot the story out or did it grow organically as you wrote it?
Jennifer Chase: I’m usually an outliner—which in my case is someone who writes choppy first drafts—but Silent Partner actually grew out of a screenplay that I had written several years ago. I had already written two previous books in my Emily Stone series, so I decided to take a break and adapt this story into a novel. A little backwards, I know. The book allowed me to incorporate more details and twists that weren’t originally penned in the screenplay.
Tim Greaton: Is there a scene in this book that made you laugh? Cry?
Jennifer Chase: I have to say both. Writing this story was like riding along with the K9 unit for me, and I actually laughed out loud while writing several scenes. Some of the most emotional scenes involve the dogs. I think a lot of readers will experience a tear or two. I know I did. What I am most pleased about the story is how likeable my hero turned out to be…even in the face of the difficult decisions he has to make.
Tim Greaton: What parts of the book were faster to write than others?
Jennifer Chase: Great question! The challenge is often in writing the serial killer scenes…so they usually go the slowest. There is something inherently difficult about writing from a killer’s perspective, a place that is both dark and brutal…but also essential to the story. On the other hand, I love to write exciting chase or escape scenes, and these types of scenes seem to just flow along quickly for me.
Tim Greaton: Is there a sequel in the works or are their other books available in this series?
Jennifer Chase: Though Silent Partner wasn’t written as part of a series, I’m contemplating it. Dark Mind, which is book #3 in my Emily Stone series, will be coming out in the fall, however.
Tim Greaton: Just for fun, if this interview causes your book to sell so many copies you have as much money as JK Rowling, what are the first three items you will buy?
*There’s that grin again*
Jennifer Chase: Hmmmm, other than a fleet of sports cars with prepaid speeding tickets. Well, immediately I would say a nice house on the coast where I can walk the beach every morning while two full-time assistants manage book promotions back at my office would be great. On a more serious note, I would love to get involved with the “Project Pooch” program and start one in my central California area to help juvenile offenders and shelters dogs. As a criminologist, I feel that if we want to curb crime we need to start with young offenders and rehabilitation.
Tim Greaton: It would be great if you could share your website/blogsite and links to where our audience could directly purchase your books.
Jennifer Chase: My books are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. They are in both paperback and e-book formats.
Crime Watch Blog: www.emilystonecrimewatch.wordpress.com/
Book & Crime Talk: www.blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase/
Current Books Titles:
Compulsion (Emily Stone series)
Dead Game (Emily Stone series)
Tim Greaton: I can’t tell you how great it has been to have you on the forum today, Jennifer. I have no doubt that oodles of readers are opening their e-readers and bookstore websites to find your titles right now.
Jennifer Chase: Thank you so much for the interview opportunity, Tim. It’s been fun! I hope your readers know I welcome questions and comments, and will get back to them right on your blog for at least the next few days.