Posted by Sarah Andre
Thank you so much for helping us launch our Kiss and Thrill Blog, Allison, and congratulations on your new release: If I Should Die, your 17th novel that was published last week!
You are a prolific, multiple NY Times and USA Today Bestseller. Which current Romantic Suspense authors are absolute favs or impulse buys for you? (Online, airports, bookstores…)
J.D. Robb is an auto-buy. I have all her books. Love Eve Dallas and Roarke! Laura Griffin & Roxanne St. Claire are auto-buy romantic suspense; Tess Gerritsen, Lisa Gardner and J.T. Ellison are auto-buy suspense “with romantic elements” for me, too. I also recently bought a Shannon Butcher book on impulse—can’t wait to finish my revisions so I can dive into my towering TBR piles!
You do a fabulous job scaring your readers- what situation in daily life/news event scares you the most?
Crimes against children. There’s a special place in Hell reserved for anyone who hurts the most innocent in our society.
If you could interview a serial killer (alive or dead) who would it be, and what would you ask?
Oh, just one? Actually, I don’t know that I’d want to go face-to-face with a serial killer. Maybe Dorathea Puente, because she’s from Sacramento and killed her boarders for their social security checks. Right after I moved to Sacramento when I was 19, a friend drove me past her house and told me all about her crimes. She’d just been arrested, but the trial wasn’t until several years later. I think she got away with it for so long because she was a little old lady and no one thinks that “grandma” is capable of murder.
How do you separate the twisted violence of your plots from your hectic life with 5 kids? (Meaning go straight from describing a serial killer butchering a victim to fixing dinner.)
I don’t think I’m that gruesome in my books! LOL. I write when the kids are at school, then take the afternoon and evening “off” to do kid stuff (sports, homework, dinner, etc.) Then I write at night. I think about other people who have far more difficult jobs—like the cops and coroners and crime scene investigators who have to work with real victims and killers. They, too, go home and have families, but they deal with far more violence than I do. Mine is fiction! But I probably compartmentalize in a similar way.
I know you’re a pantster (write by the seat of your pants, instead of plotting a story out), and your research is impeccable. Do you research first for ideas (i.e., cyber stalking/burying an IP address in cyber space like a needle in a haystack) or get an idea first and then research specifically what you need?
I prefer “organic writer.” <g> I do both forms of research. I read a lot of true crime and participate in a lot of research “field trips” that aren’t specific to any book I’m writing, so I have a lot of ideas and information I can pull up when I need it. But for the details, I research as I need information. For example, I wanted to confirm a crime scene detail that I thought I had right, but couldn’t find the specific in my forensic books, so I emailed a friend (the fabulous writer D.P. Lyle) who confirmed my set-up, and also gave me the whys (which helps!)
The Evil Series (Speak No Evil, See No Evil, Fear No Evil) were all published in 3 consecutive months in 2007. Please tell me you were not on a book-a-month deadline?! If these were not previous stories you’d written, how difficult was this to pull off?
I had two back-to-back trilogies. The first (The Prey, The Hunt, The Kill) were all written before the first book came out, though The Kill was on a tight deadline. We contracted for the second trilogy in February of 2006, and I had tight deadlines, but not each month!
Practically, when writing these trilogies especially since Ballantine wanted them out sooner to capitalize on the success of the first trilogy, I had to juggle all three books at one time. I didn’t have any of these written, though because I focused on one setting (San Diego) and one family (the Kincaid’s) it made the story research easier.
That meant while waiting for revisions on SPEAK, I started writing SEE. When I got revisions back, I put SEE aside, revised SPEAK, then went back to writing SEE. I turned in SEE and worked on copyedits for SPEAK. Then turned those in and worked on revisions for SEE.
The Evil Series and part of the FBI series features heroes and heroines from the Kincaid family, (brothers and sisters of your new series heroine, Lucy Kincaid.) What was it about Lucy that inspired you to give her her own series?
Lucy is a strong and compassionate heroine who suffered great crimes and in turn killed her attacker—in cold blood. He was unarmed when she shot him. She has some issues she hasn’t addressed yet; she’s complex and believable. Better, I can focus on one protagonist from the beginning of her career, building her over time.
I had wanted to write a series, and after writing FEAR NO EVIL I knew that I wanted to write about Lucy. When I met Sean Rogan briefly in Fatal Secrets and Cutting Edge, I just knew he was perfect for Lucy. I was thrilled when I put them on the page together that there was chemistry! Sean has a very interesting backstory as well, most of which hasn’t been revealed. I can’t wait to see what pops up for him over the next few books!
As a follow up, this is the first time in your publishing career that you’ve centered a series around one reoccurring heroine. Are you finding that difficult? (For example, your books have a romantic Happily Ever After, and now you have Lucy Kincaid and Sean Rogan together in more books. Is it difficult to keep the conflicts and growth going?)
Yes and no. I like being able to build Lucy & Sean’s relationship over time—one of my problems in romantic suspense is the HEA after two days. With Lucy & Sean, I can add layers to their relationship, to give them a solid foundation that will withstand the pressure of their careers and conflicts.
I thought I would have a much harder time with conflict between them. Once they’re together, how can I keep them together while also growing their relationship and have conflict that’s organic to the story? I start with the foundation: they are together and are willing to fight to keep their relationship. Then I look at who they are: Lucy is driven to fighting bad guys, sometimes at the expense of all else. She internalizes the pain of the victims, she understands the motivations of the criminals even though that makes her uncomfortable and depressed. She is battling her own feelings of right and wrong. Sean is fun-loving, arrogant and super smart—but he has some very justified animosity toward law enforcement. Yet he’s in love with Lucy, who wants to be an FBI agent above all else. As Sean’s reasons for distrusting cops come out, it’s going to increase the tension between them. Plus, Sean is no saint—even I don’t know what he’s capable of. But I do know that anything he does that might be illegal he does for the right reasons.
Anyway, I’m having fun exploring the grey areas in crime and punishment and justice, and I can think of no two better people to tell these stories than Sean and Lucy!
How many books do you plan for the Lucy Kincaid series? What’s after that?
I don’t have a set number. When I feel there is no more room for growth or conflict that’s organic to the story and characters, I’ll probably end the series. I’d like to write at least ten books in the series because I don’t think Sean’s past is going to really come out until after book six.
The third Lucy Kincaid series, ‘If I Should Die’ came out last week, 11/22/11. And the next is ‘Silenced’ coming in April 2012. Can you give us a sneak peek of ‘Silenced’?
SILENCED: Washington sex scandal and a cold-blooded killer. Lucy risks her career and her life when, three weeks before she’s supposed to report to Quantico, she and her training partner Noah Armstrong are assigned to investigate the murder of a known mistress to a powerful congressman.
For Kicks: Which Hollywood stars would be great to play Lucy Kincaid and Sean Rogan, if the series became a TV or movie deal?
Oh, how fun! Hmm … It’s hard to pick, because I have a picture of her in my mind, and no one quite matches it.
For Lucy, I think someone like Salma Hayek or Jessica Alba or Natalie Martinez or Serinda Swan.
For Sean, Henry Cavill is probably leading right now … though I also like Milo Ventimiglia or Matt Bomer might work. Matt has his eyes …
Now, for Noah Armstrong, an important secondary character, I’d love to see Mark Wahlberg play him!! Actually, I’d love to see Mark Wahlberg play anything …
Would you ever consider self-publishing the remaining paranormal series Original Sins?
Yes, I’m considering it. I’d prefer to find a publisher for the series, but if that doesn’t happen, I’ll look at doing it myself and publishing it the way I want—as urban fantasy/supernatural thriller, not paranormal romance.
Thank you so much for hosting me this week! I’m excited about this new blog, and hope to visit often!
Thank YOU, Allison! For more info on Allison Brennan, her books and future speaking engagements please visit her website at www.AllisonBrennan.com
Do any of you have questions, comments or want to share your favorite Allison Brennan novel with the rest of us?
***All participants are eligible for the Thurday, 12/1 drawing! Allison is giving away a copy of: Love Me To Death. Check back to see if you’re the winner!