One Cop, One Serial Killer, One Witness
Who Will Survive?
Northern California’s elite Police K9 Units arrive at an abandoned warehouse after a high-speed chase and apprehend two killers after they have fled a grisly murder scene. This barely scratches the surface of a bloody trail from a prolific serial killer that leads to unlocking the insidious secrets of one family’s history, while tearing a police department apart.
Jack Davis, a top K9 cop with an unprecedented integrity, finds himself falling for a beautiful murder suspect and struggling with departmental codes.
Megan O’Connell, suffering from agoraphobia, is the prime murder suspect in her sister’s brutal murder. Darrell Brooks, a psychopath who loves to kill, is on a quest to drive Megan insane for profit.
Everyone is a suspect. Everyone has a secret. Someone else must die to keep the truth buried forever. Silent Partner is a suspense ride along that will keep you guessing until the bitter end.
Award Winning Author and Criminologist
Jennifer Chase holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling. She is also a member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists. She has authored three thriller novels with her newest thriller release, Silent Partner. In addition, she currently assists clients in publishing, ghostwriting, book reviews, blogs, articles, screenwriting, copywriting, editing, and research. For more information: http://authorjenniferchase.com/
Interview with Jennifer Chase:
Your first books, Compulsion and Dead Game where Emily Stone takes it on herself to track down paedophiles and killers, has received fantastic reviews. Will there be any more from Emily Stone?
Thank you. I’m thrilled that so many people have enjoyed these books because I love writing them. Yes, I’m currently working on the third book in the Emily Stone series, Dark Mind. It’s scheduled to be released in the fall of this year.
Is she carrying out your secret fantasy (something you’d like to do)?
In some ways yes, I began developing this character after I had a personal experience with a person who stalked and harassed me (death threats) for more than two years. To make matters worse, he lived next door until I was forced to move. Everything worked out in the end, but I began to put together a profile for a character I wanted to write. I wanted a heroine who would track killers and pedophiles anonymously and help the cops behind the scene. It’s true what they say, good things can come out of a bad situation.
Do you work with the police/forensics when researching your novels?
I’m lucky to know some great people in many different areas of law enforcement. It helps me to iron out details or to just run by part of a storyline. I’ve learned a lot from these extremely interesting people who are the “real” CSI and homicide detectives.
Compulsion was the first book that I took seriously. It was originally going to be a screenplay, but as I began developing the storyline it turned out to be a novel. It literally took on a life of its own. I’ve written ten screenplays and I have a dozen storylines tucked away for possible future novels. The more stories you write, the more ideas flood your imagination. These ideas sometimes turn into parts of other stories or into a feature length story.
Is there anything you’ve done differently since writing Compulsion?
Since Compulsion was originally outlined to be a screenplay, I wrote the novel in present tense. I know that it makes some people cringe at the thought of a novel written in present tense. It’s one of those “writer no nos”, but I took a chance. I personally felt that it kept the reader in the loop with the action and heightened the suspense. I wanted readers to be right there in the action. However, all my other novels are written in the “traditional” third person narrative. After weighing all the options, I decided to conform.
Absolutely. That was an important aspect I wanted to make sure was executed in the series – each novel is a stand-alone book. If anyone picked up any of the novels in the series, they weren’t lost or felt that something was missing if they didn’t read the books in order.
Your curiosity about crime and the links between that and the offender’s mind drove you to return to school and gain a Master’s. Congratulations on that, but what was it like to return to the classroom as a “mature” student?
I enjoy learning new things. It was difficult at first to become a student again and to train yourself to think in those terms. I was so engrossed in the subject matter and writing research papers, I settled into the student mode quickly.
What came first your interest of criminology or writing?
Reading and writing has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. Writing has always been incorporated into my life in some form or another. Criminology has turned into part of my writing journey that helps to compliment my novels. I feel that writing and criminology are partners in crime, so to speak.
I like your epithet for Silent partner: One Cop, One Serial Killer, One Witness Who Will Survive? Why “Silent” Partner? Will it give the ending away if you tell us what made you come up with that title?
The main character Deputy Jack Davis is a K9 cop and he refers to his four-legged partner as “silent”. Even though, dogs do bark and are clearly visible to everyone. I liked the idea that dogs know so much more than we think, but they just can’t tell us. We just have to figure things out for ourselves. This is especially true for working K9 teams.
You also write screenplays, and have a non-fiction book out called, very aptly, How To Write A Screenplay. Have you written a screenplay and seen it played out on stage?
Yes, I’ve written and completed ten screenplays and have taught beginning screenwriting online for more than two years. I also give workshops for aspiring screenwriters. My last screenplay was close to being optioned and sat in idle for a while between two production companies. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the pleasure to see any of my screenplays made into a movie.
Has your publisher JEC Press published all of your books?
Compulsion and Dead Game were published through Outskirts Press, Inc. Silent Partner was published through my own company JEC Press: www.jenniferchase.vpweb.com. I decided to publish myself for a variety of reasons. I have control over my work, accounting, pricing, and sales. One main reason is that I can keep paperback pricing down for the consumer and I have access to recycled paper. All of my novels are available in ebook formats (Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, etc.), which has been the most popular type of format in recent months.
Why not a traditional press?
I chose to go the independent route with my work, but that could change down the road. I’m always open to new or different ways of publishing. I found that many publishers didn’t even bother to send a form letter of rejection. It’s the frustration of waiting months, even years to hear anything. I decided that I had a story to tell and I wanted it to be available. I’m not saying that mainstream publishing is not a way to go, it just didn’t work for me. I’ve met many authors who have published through mainstream publishers and then have decided to self-publish to become an indie author. I think you have to figure out what works best for you, what type of book you want to publish, what are your realistic book goals, and look at all the publishing possibilities. We live in a technological age and the proven high sales of ebooks seem to be the way of the future. The publishing industry is changing fast and allowing more people to publish ebooks.
You makes you want to write?
I love to tell stories that incorporate mystery or suspense to keep the reader guessing. Once I began writing, I found that everything inspires me from people, places, and interesting things. You don’t have to look far to find something inspiring to write about. I create some of my best story ideas from being out with people doing my errands.
Was there a character you struggled with?
The process of creating characters for my storylines has been the most fun. However, I find that I do struggle with the “bad guys” because I want to make them believable and not one-dimensional. It’s especially difficult to get into the mind of a serial killer and it can be quite tiring at times. I work out all my characters, even the small ones, with an in-depth profile. That’s where my academic background assists me in my fiction writing. I begin to see a person appear on paper and soon after I know everything that makes them tick.
How do your juggle a writing schedule?
I find that I have a tendency to procrastinate, so I’ve found I treat my writing schedule like an appointment. It’s difficult to juggle daily life and blocks of writing time. That’s what makes life interesting! I make sure that I write every day during the week and leave weekends (Saturday only) to finish up goals from the week.
What’s the best/worst part of being a writer?
The best part of being a writer is being able to do what you absolutely love. It doesn’t get any better than that! The writing possibilities are endless to creating stories and characters. Each new book you write is a new challenge from the last one. To me, that is exciting. The worst part is there are too many stories and not enough time to write all of them.
What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
I used to be a night owl and write in the middle of the night because it’s quiet and it helps to inspire some of my thrilling scenes. I found that I wasn’t getting enough sleep during the day, so I changed my writing schedule to a regular workday. I find that the mornings are more productive because my mind is charged and ready to go as fast as I can type.
Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
I outline my books. I begin with notes I jot down in a notebook, which is a brief overview. Then I switch to the computer to organize my ideas and work out the extensive outline that becomes my choppy first draft. When I have some minor ideas to incorporate, I use large sticky notes. I end up with quite a few and then I can put in order and insert where applicable.
What/who do you draw inspiration from?
My inspiration is drawn from everything around me, books, news, experiences, people I meet, research, and creative ideas that seem to come to me on a regular basis.
Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?
This has been the most difficult for me, but I’ve been able to fine tune my goals and productivity. I give myself a daily writing goal of ten (double spaced pages). Sometimes I don’t reach that goal (sometimes I write more), but I’ve learned not to not fixate on what I didn’t accomplish and concentrate on the pages I did write.
What are you working on now that you can talk about?
I’m currently in the middle of writing the third Emily Stone Novel: Dark Mind. I take Emily Stone to Kauai where she’s pushed into a serial killer case. It’s a fun and challenging project because of the remote areas of the island. You never know what Emily Stone is going to get herself into or who she’ll meet.
Is she eternally youthful or will she grow older?
Emily Stone ages, slowly of course. Although, it would be nice for her to stay the same age, I feel aging should be a part of a character’s life. I like for characters to seem real, learn from their experiences (or not), and have something new to offer the storylines. I think it helps readers to become more involved with a series and relate to characters as they age, deal with everyday problems, and prepare for the next set of obstacles in the next story.
How do/did you deal with rejection letters?
When I was submitting to publishing houses, I tried not to get discouraged, but no one likes to be rejected. I developed an attitude that I was going to get rejected before I sent the letter and that seemed to help. Also, there have been many famous authors who were rejected, so you have to keep everything in perspective. It’s a healthier way to approach the writing and publishing field. I also reminded myself that there’s many ways to accomplish a goal.
Do you have a critique partner?
I don’t have one critique partner, but I do have readers and others who give me feedback. It’s very important to have your work critiqued before publishing, I realize that now more than ever. I love what readers come up with when they read a new book. They can see things that I never thought about. It’s a very productive endeavour for a writer.
You won an award for Dead Game, you must have been thrilled! Can you tell us a little more about that?
Yes, I’m very excited about receiving an award. My novel Dead Game won the bronze award in the fiction/thriller category at Readers Favorite in 2010.
Can you sum yourself and your novels up in a few short sentences?
My Emily Stone Series (Compulsion, Dead Game) revolves around a vigilante detective who hunts down serial killers and pedophiles using forensic and CSI techniques anonymously, and then emails the local police departments with the results. Silent Partner throws a K9 cop and his four-legged partner into a police conspiracy, dicey love entanglement, and on the hunt for a serial killer.
First, I want to thank you for taking the time for this interview. It’s been fun! Also, I want to thank everyone who has supported me and read my books. It makes it that much more exciting for me to continue writing. I look forward to hearing comments and questions about any of my books. Please feel free to visit me: www.authorjenniferchase.com/