Welcome to Jersey Girl Book Reviews, Jennifer!
Before we get to the interview, can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
I'm a writer, author, and consulting criminologist. I have degrees in forensics and criminology along with certificates in criminal profiling and serial murder. I was at a cross road between writing and criminology, but decided that I wanted the best of both worlds. I've always had a love for writing, but it wasn't until 2008 when I wrote my first crime thriller. I've been hooked on writing crime fiction ever since.
I was born and raised in California. I currently live along the beautiful central California coast with my husband, two dogs, and two incorrigible cats. I'm in the process of writing my next crime thriller.
How long have you been a writer? Describe your journey as a writer.
I've loved writing for as long as I can remember. It seems that writing has always been in my life. My journey into adulthood took me into the business corporate world for many years, some freelance writing along the way, and then my life came to a halt when a violent psychopath moved in next door. The reality of the crime and having a stalker for more than two years piqued my interest into the criminal mind and changed my career path forever. This experience actually became the inspiration for my first book Compulsion.
Do you have a "day job," or is being an author your career?
Writing is my primary job and takes up most of my time, but I also consult as a criminologist with cold cases for crime scenes characteristics as well as assist with current cases.
What inspired you to become a writer?
Books! My love for books, all types of books, inspired me to become a writer. I used to dream that one day I would see my own books published.
Please give a brief description / storyline about Dark Mind.
Vigilante detective Emily Stone continues her covert pursuits to find serial killers and child abductors, all under the radar while shadowing police investigations.
Emily searches for an abducted nine-year-old girl taken by ruthless and enterprising slave brokers. Following the clues from California to the garden island of Kauai, she begins to piece together the evidence and ventures deep into the jungle.
It doesn't take long before Emily is thrown into the middle of murder, mayhem, and conspiracy. Locals aren't talking as a serial killer now stalks the island, taking women in a brutal frenzy of ancient superstitions and folklore. Local cops are unprepared for what lies ahead. In a race against the clock, Emily and her team must identify the killer before time runs out.
What was the inspiration for this story?
Dark Mind is part of a series with recurring characters, but I've written each book to stand alone with different adventures for Emily Stone. A few years ago, I was sitting on an incredible deserted beach in Kauai and I thought to myself, "what if?" Basically, I thought what if there was a serial killer on the loose and what it would mean for a small island?
How did it feel to have your first book published?
Awesome! It's a wonderful, invigorating feeling and it doesn't change with any book you publish.
What genres are your favorite(s)? What are some of your favorite books that you have read and why?
I love thrillers and mysteries, but I venture out into sci-fi and fantasy too. As a child, I loved the Nancy Drew Mysteries and The Secret Garden. I'm a big fan of Dean Koontz, Jeffrey Deaver, Lee Child, David Baldacci, and the list goes on, but I love a good, gritty thriller, and even when there's a psychopath or two thrown in for good measure. I enjoy trying to piece together a puzzle and figuring out the crime.
What made you decide to write novels in the crime / legal / suspense / thriller genres?
This is my favorite genre, so I figured it was a good fit for me.
Do you have a special "spot/area" where you like to do your writing?
I like a structured, quiet place, which ends up being my home office. I'm able to get the most amount of writing done in the shortest amount of time. I also like to take my notebook or laptop outside in the warmer months, but I tend to gravitate back inside to my office.
How do you come up with the ideas that become the storyline for your books?
The main driving force of vigilante detective Emily Stone hunting serial killers was loosely inspired by my own experiences of living next door to a "real" psychopath. It was my way of solving the problem with someone who hunts down these violent types of criminals.
From concept to publication, about how long does it take for you to complete a book and have it released?
It takes me less than a year to complete a book project from concept to release date. It really does take longer than you think to write the book, then go through the grueling editing process, and then finally release the book.
When you write, do you adhere to a strict work schedule, or do you work whenever the inspiration strikes?
I find that I treat my book projects like a regular job and work every day (except Sunday) for about 4 hours of solid writing time. Some days are more difficult than others because procrastination can be my work nemesis.
What aspects of storytelling do you like the best, and what aspects do you struggle with the most?
I struggle a little bit with my outline process because I want to sit down and let the words tumble out. Patience is difficult for me. I spend more time to make my completed outline like my choppy first draft. It's a way for me to fine tune the pacing and make sure there isn't any lag times in the development of the thriller. I love to sit and let the words drive me when I know where I'm going with them.
What are your favorite things to do when you are not writing?
I like to relax and change my perspective with my outdoor photography, hiking, and spending time at the beach with my Labradors.
What is/was the best piece of writing advice that you have received?
Over the years you hear a lot of writing advice, but what stands out to me is to write what you love not what you think you should write. Go with your gut and write, write, write.
What is the most gratifying thing you feel or get as a writer?
It is so gratifying for me when I've accepted the challenge of writing a novel, and then completed it.
How do you usually communicate with your readers / fans?
For updated information with my email and social network sites, please visit my blog: http://authorjenniferchase.com/
Are any plots in your book based on real life experiences or are they purely all from your imagination?
Certain situations have inspired me from my own experiences with psychos and law enforcement, but it is mainly my imagination that fuels all my stories.
What authors have been your inspiration or influenced you to become a writer?
Dean Koontz, Jeffrey Deaver, Stephen King, David Baldacci, and my list gets embarrassingly long from there.
What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Be prepared to work a lot, but enjoy everything about the process along the way. Write, write, write, and find your own unique writing voice.
What is your definition of success as a writer?
It's not about how many books you sell, but how you strive to improve your work and learn from each project that will keep readers coming back.
Are you currently writing a new book? If yes, would you care to share a bit with us?
Yes, I'm working a crime thriller Dead Burn about a pyro serial killer. This novel takes Emily Stone into the dark areas of hitmen, secret government agencies, and her latest serial killer.
I would like to thank author Jennifer Chase for graciously allowing me the opportunity to interview her, and for allowing us to take a peak into her world, and telling us all about her fascinating career as a crime thriller author and consulting criminologist.
About The Author:
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 an affiliate member in the criminology section of the Academy of Behavioral Profiling (ABP).
Jennifer is an author, freelance writer, and criminologist. She has authored three thriller novels Compulsion, award winning Dead Game, and Silent Partner. In addition, she currently assists clients in publishing, ghostwriting, book reviews, blogs, articles, screenwriting, copywriting, editing, research, and writer's assistant.
Jennifer was born and raised in California where she currently resides with her husband, two dogs, and two cats. She developed a love for books and writing at an early age. Jennifer has an intense curiosity about crime and the varied connections between the actual crime and the criminal mind. This propelled her to return to school and earn a master's degree in criminology. Her academic background has helped to prepare her to write in the thriller and true crime genres.
Jennifer enjoys the outdoors, beach, hiking, and photography.
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Book Description: Dark Mind
A serial killer plagues an island paradise. Vigilante detective Emily Stine continues her covert pursuits to find serial killers and child abductors, all under the radar while shadowing police investigations. Emily searches for an abducted nine-year-old girl taken by ruthless and enterprising slave brokers. Following the clues from California to the garden island of Kauai, she begins to piece together the evidence and ventures deep into the jungle. It doesn't take long before Emily is thrown into the middle of murder, mayhem, and conspiracy. Locals aren't talking as a serial killer now stalks the island, taking women in a brutal frenzy of ancient superstitions and folklore. Local cops are unprepared for what lies ahead. In a race against the clock, Emily and her team must identify the killer before time runs out.
Book Trailer: Dark Mind