Mystery Thriller Week, a celebration of the genre and its authors and readers, is underway through February 22. If you’ve done the math, yes, it’s 10 rather than the usual seven days. It’s a super-sized week for a super-sized genre. For more information, stories, and author interviews, pop over to mysterythrillerweek.com.
In conjunction with the event, I’ll be sharing Q&As with mystery and thriller authors throughout the week (and a half).
Today, I welcome Ronnie Allen (no relation), author of The Sign Behind The Crime series.
About the book
Lying. Deception. Cover-ups. Anger. Revenge. Death. That’s what happens when an Aries-obsessed killer combines black magick rituals, knives…and murder. Samantha Wright, a rookie NYPD detective, gets her first case, a big one, by stumbling over the body while jogging in the park. Sam has a lot to prove, both to herself and to her new precinct, on this serial murder case involving fashion icons in NYC. Together with a rough around the edges BJJ fighter, forensic psychiatrist, Frank Khaos, Sam chases down leads through the five boroughs of NYC. As the bodies pile up, sparks fly and Sam and Frank, polar opposites, go from their dislike for each other to setting the sheets on fire. But their main suspect is hooked up to an IV in a hospital bed, so how has she pulled off five murders in seven days? And can Sam and Frank stop her before even more innocent lives are lost?
So far, I have two books out from my series the Sign Behind The Crime. Gemini is book one, and Aries is book two. Gemini is a psychological thriller with romantic elements, while Aries is a romantic thriller. Both books are steamy romance.
Do you start writing at the beginning of a story or to reach a future point you see in your imagination?
I always start at the beginning, and with that being said, I will plot for up to five months in my notebook before I type one word. Even though I’m a plotter, I do allow my characters to take off and create lives of their own and even give themselves more of a role than I had intended. Because I plotted so well, my second book Aries, came out onto paper in three months and 10 days and ended at 122k words. Because I do this, I do know the ending before I start writing. What I do to make sure I’m consistent and I pay off all of my set-ups, I print out about 12 chapters and go through them and mark set-ups so that I know what I need to pay off. I will also find inconsistencies, errors, and plot holes.
What are your protagonist’s best and worst qualities?
Since I found out on Jan. 20 my publisher nominated my second book Aries for Mystery Writers of America Nero Awards, I would like to focus on Aries for this question and blog. So, in Aries, rookie detective, Samantha Wright is a sassy, smart, intuitive woman. What is on her brain is on her tongue and out of her mouth. What she says however, is on target in solving the case. Her negative side? She’s a shopaholic, like me. This will be dealt with eventually, and has partially been addressed in Aries, and will be continued in Scorpio, the third book in the series, coming out in September. For forensic psychiatrist Dr. Frank Khaos, he’s an amazing human being, a humanitarian, and someone who wants to give back for his privileged life after he was adopted at 10. Having a very scarred childhood could’ve led him to gang life, but instead, he chose to rescue those he’s recruited to leave the hood in his MMA training gym in Harlem, New York. His negative side? Since the murder of his wife Jen, two years prior, leaving him a single dad to his 7 year old son, he has blocked himself off from relationships because he blames himself for Jen’s death. It isn’t until he meets Samantha who solves his wife’s murder that he can look toward having a relationship.
What’s the most surprising or unexpected thing that happened to your characters as you were writing the story?
One, the shopaholic plot came out. I went into more sexual content, even steamier then in my first novel, Gemini, and I added some erotic elements with BDSM. The characters go into a club to investigate a lead in a serial murder case, and that opens up the wild and hot relationship between Samantha and Frank.
What’s the best writing advice you’ve heard or been given?
Learn your craft, every day get your butt in the seat and write, listen to your critique partners and beta readers without stubbornness. Keep an open mind and don’t keep submitting the same manuscript that’s getting rejected tons of times, without editing and revising. That’s my own personal point of view so it’s advice I give very strongly.
How can readers find out more about you and your work?
More Mystery Thriller Week Q&As: