Saturday, April 27, 2013

Blood Moon, out now!

Yes, Book II in my Huntress/FBI series, Blood Moon, is now live and available to buy, although my official launch is not until May 6.

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon DE

(I know, I'm sorry, exclusive to Amazon for the first three months.  It's the financial reality of it.  But you  know me - if it's a Nook or Kobo version you need, just e mail me at AXSokoloff  AT  aol  DOT  com and I will get it to you!).

I have been doing a million interviews (it feels like!) about the book, and about Huntress Moonsince the Thriller Award nomination.

Amazon UK   
Amazon DE

At first you resist this kind of thing, and then you start getting into it.  After the frenzy and despair of writing and then the massive adrenaline crash/release of finishing, it's kind of fun to remember how the whole thing got started.

Here are three of by far the most frequently asked questions:

* What inspired the book?

I've been researching serial killers for years.  I'm really much more interested in what causes human evil than I am in supernatural terror.  And I've wanted to do a story about a female serial killer for just about as long.  But if you talk to FBI profilers, some will tell you that from a psychological and forensic standpoint, there’s no such thing as a female serial killer.  Women commit homicide, but not sexual homicide.  That’s a little-known fact that has interested me for a long time.  So all this time I’ve been looking for the right story to explore that issue.

The idea of how I could do it came to me in a flash at the San Francisco Bouchercon, always the most inspiring of the mystery conferences for me. One afternoon there were two back-to-back discussions with several of my favorite authors: Val McDermid interviewing Denise Mina, then Robert Crais interviewing Lee Child. (Can you even imagine...?)

There was a lot of priceless stuff in those two hours, but two things that really struck me from the McDermid/Mina chat were Val saying that crime fiction is the best way to explore societal issues, and Denise saying that she finds powerful inspiration in writing about what makes her angry.
Write about what makes you angry? It doesn't take me a millisecond's thought to make my list. Child sexual abuse is the top, no contest. Violence against women and children. Discrimination of any kind. Religious intolerance. War crimes. Genocide. Torture.

That anger has fueled a lot of my books and scripts over the years.

And then right after that, there was Lee Child talking about Reacher, one of my favorite fictional characters, and it got me thinking about what it would look like if a woman were doing what Reacher was doing. And that was it—instantly I had the whole story of Huntress Moon.

* What is your creative process like?

This may come as a huge shock but I actually do take my own writing advice!  My usual creative process is to outline extensively using the story structure method I blog about here and write about  in my Screenwriting Tricks for Authors workbooks. I was a screenwriter for eleven years, and there’s no way to do that job without precise outlining.  You need to be able to tell the whole story to the studio long before you get to sit down to write.  I use index cards, the three-act, eight-sequence structure, a story grid, the whole nine yards.  But once I have that outline, the first draft can and often does take off in directions I never anticipated. The characters have their own ideas about what needs to happen.  You’d be a fool not to go with the flow in the heat of the moment, to mix a metaphor.

* Did the story require a lot of research?

Tons. I made this series hard for myself by making the main character an FBI agent, which means I had to cram a lifetime of forensics and law enforcement procedure into several months of catch up.  Luckily author and former police detective Lee Lofland has created a fabulous program for writers to experience hands-on police and forensics training under the supervision of an incredible professional staff, the annual Writers Police Academy. I couldn’t write this series without them.

And here's a question I don't get often, but that I found interesting:

* What will the reader learn after reading your book?

What will the reader learn?  Well, the first thing they'll learn, factually, is that women aren't serial killers, not per the FBI Behavioral Science definition of sexual homicide.  This sometimes generates some fierce argument.  ("Well, they WOULD if they COULD!"  Um... okay...)

But also, the series seems to force readers to question their own beliefs about justice and punishment and retribution. I am thrilled that so many people find themselves torn about what they want to see happen to my killer, and that they even find themselves hoping for a love that really shouldn’t ever happen.  So I guess what readers learn is that there may be some vast gray areas between good and evil. 

So authors, what questions do you find coming up over and over in interviews?  What's the best question you ever got?  What about what the reader will learn after reading your book?

And readers, what's the question YOU always want to ask authors?

- Alex

1 comment:

Joanne Irwin said...

Wow -I am just discovering your books and website. I am writing my first novel and first YA book - starting from a theme basis and now it has grown so that story is developing. My deep desire in theme is to encourage young adults/people to believe in their multi-sensory experiences of intuition, metaphysical, real multi-sensory experiences and not to dismiss them - 21st Century spirituality based in body and spirit. Such a serious topic which I don't want to preach about but do want to create a story of things that really happen - enjoying reading your plots where you mess with what is real and what is not. Jody