‘A serial killer texts his victims first.
A detective vows revenge.
He comes after her.’
Today I join writer J.A. Schneider on tour with the publication of her latest police procedural, Watching You. Detective Kerri Blasco returns in this, Book 3 in the series, described as ‘a terrifying thriller with a mind-bending twist’ (see below for further details and purchase link)
Joyce has written a great post relating to the self analysis that many writers face. Please read on to find out more….
Is Writing Fiction the Best Self Analysis?
By J.A. Schneider
Before starting to write fiction, I thought I knew myself pretty well.
The surprise came when I got a bit better at writing, and discovered that going deeper and deeper into my characters involved going deeper into myself. Whoa – what’s this? I’d think. Where did THAT come from?
What most of us write really does come from deep in our psyches. “Write what you know,” goes the old adage – but that’s really a puzzle with layers like an onion. Sure, you can base your writing on your professional background, or the fact that you know small town life because you grew up in one, or you know dysfunctional families because – ditto – you grew up in one…but I call all that the “canvas” that holds the painting.
And that painting can be from a motel wall, or Monet’s thousand brush strokes to show dappled light under lily pads.
My earliest attempts were, to use the polite term, derivative: How did So-and-So the Best Seller do it? I imitated, but I learned the basics of how to write, which may not be such a bad thing. Baby steps and all that, I hear similar stories from other authors.
(I should mention that from childhood I’ve always been a reader: that has to be a basis for writing.)
So I wrote and wrote. Got rejections, got disappointed, gave up, tried again…the usual story. Then things started to improve. I wrote a six-book medical thriller series which involves doctors and cops…a duo idea which I still love since I’ve actually seen ER physicians try to help detectives find justice for victims of assault and murder.
The series did fine…two young doctors – one of them a crack shot – helped the police and loathed the fact that too many bad guys slip through the system to harm again. The young female physician, Jill Raney, usually led the charge and pulled her boss, senior resident David Levine, into the investigation, and soon the exhausted, driven pair were “going where cops couldn’t” – “No warrant? No problem!” – acting as detectives on their own, and helping. Becoming great friends, in fact, with NYPD detectives Kerri Blasco and Alex Brand, who now continue in my new series.
The doctors-&-cops stories are intense, but they’re mainly crime stories with two different kinds of detectives.
But after the 6th in that series, I wanted to go deeper, into character and psychology and the dark secrets of people we think we know.
So I got interested in psychological thrillers.
But wanted to keep my cops!
Re-enter Alex Brand and highly intuitive Kerri Blasco, with her ability to read people and the language of crime scenes often better than her bosses.
Bringing Kerri to the forefront marks a new discovery about myself, because I realized I’d created a new kind of woman and person. Kerri is strong (tough and tender), very smart, and…confident.
In the three psych thrillers I’ve written so far, Fear Dreams, Her Last Breath, and Watching You, the people Kerri investigates aren’t confident and are often full of secrets. They can also be overly sensitive, artistic, Nervous Nellies like I sometimes was.
I love art (like Liddy in Fear Dreams), have had my battles with anxiety (again, like Liddy and also like Mari Gill the, ahem, writer, in Her Last Breath), and both those women get into horrid trouble – Liddy desperate she’s losing her mind, Mari accused of murder.
Then Kerri is called in to investigate. She digs furiously, listens and analyzes, follows her gut as she battles her police bosses.
Kerri is a strong, confident character. She does have her grief and demons, but she only cries – sometimes – at night. By day she can be a loveable goofball who drives too fast and cracks up the squad room with jokes and battles only a little with her irascible Lieutenant Tom Mackey because she also worries about his high blood pressure.
Mainly, she’s strong.
Does that mean I’m feeling stronger?
I never could have created Kerri in my early, less confident days, although Kerri probably was always in me.
It just took me a while to find her.
Joyce Schneider Bio
J.A. (Joyce Anne) Schneider is a former staffer at Newsweek Magazine, a wife, mom, and reading addict. She loves thrillers…which may seem odd, since she was once a major in French Literature – wonderful but sometimes heavy stuff. Now, for years, she has become increasingly fascinated with medicine, forensic science, and police procedure. She lives with her family in Connecticut, USA.
Follow The Tour
A serial killer texts his victims first. A detective vows revenge. He comes after her.
In the chill of an October night, Detective Kerri Blasco is called to a bizarre murder scene. Leda Winfield, a young volunteer for the homeless, has been shot. Her cell phone displays the frightening text, WATCHING YOU, and into her back, hideously pushed with a hat pin, is a note with the same awful message. Leda’s socialite family and friends insist that no one would have wanted to harm her, but Kerri isn’t convinced.
Until another random young woman is killed in the same way. Kerri and her team profile a monstrous killer who enjoys terrifying his victims before stalking and killing them.
But how does he get their phone numbers?
Kerri soon finds that the killer is after her, too, and that the key to finding him may just be in the homeless shelter. When the body count rises, she vows to stop the madman – even if it means battling her own personal trauma, risking her job, her love relationship with her boss Alex Brand, and her life.
Purchase Link ~ Watching You