Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I suppose there's something of myself in all of my heroines. They're all fairly plucky and I've been told that I'm pretty feisty. I try to write strong female characters, not only the main characters but also secondary ones. When I wrote my debut novel BURNING HEARTS, I didn't realize until final edits that my heroine's mother was quite like my Czechoslovakian maternal grandmother, who had quite a backbone, by the way. This character cooked and baked the same dishes my grandmother did. And she had quite a boisterous sense of humor, just like my grandmother.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Wow! I've done so many quirky things. One thing I'm known for that's sure to make my 14-year-old daughter roll her eyes is singing as if I'm in a 1940s musical. And I'll rewrite the lyrics to fit whatever current domestic situation is going on in our house. I tap dance right into the living room and sing my heart out. I've also been known to snap my fingers in time to the musak in supermarkets and boogie-along right down the aisle. At that point, my daughter hurries away having said, "So long, mom. You're now on your own here."
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I penned my first book when I was just a girl about my love of horses. Actually, it was written in Crayola. In my pre-teen and teen years, I wrote poetry with the requisite angst. About six years ago I got really serious about writing for publication. I still keep my first manuscript around just for laughs. It was that bad.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I read mostly crime fiction. I'm a loyal fan of detective novel series and police procedurals. I read general market mysteries and Christian thrillers. I'll also occasionally read a good historical romance or a nonfiction history title.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I'm not sure I'd claim to be sane. But I keep stress levels down with what I've been told is a whopping good sense of humor. A good laugh can release emotional pressure that's building up. If I want to get away from it all for a little while, I'll pour through my cookbooks or recipes to find something delicious to cook. I might turn on the Food Network and watch a cooking show. I'm a foodie. I'm also a firm believer in the restorative powers of a short nap.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
In addition to being a zany character in my own right, I'm also a highly disciplined writer. I keep detailed character name files, both first names and last names. I file them according to ethnicity and even religion. I also regularly check the top names in the year my character was born.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I'm most proud of my nearly 27 year marriage. Joseph and I adopted our 14-year-old daughter when she was six and she had quite a few remedial issues. Right away, we took her out of public school and enrolled her in Christian school. When that school closed due to financial reasons, I homeschooled her for two years. She will be entering high school next year and has auditioned for three of NYC's top public art and design high schools. Going along with her other strong interest, she's also applied to one of the city's oceanographic high schools. We'll be happy with whichever school accepts her. She's come a long way baby!!!
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Back in the day, I was an animal rescuer. I rescued and found homes for nearly 40 dogs and cats, not to mention the occasional baby squirrel that fell out of a tree, which was later released. I'm partial to North American mammals. I guess I'd have to pick one of my first loves, the cougar, also known as the puma. They are handsome, shy cats, who will slip away rather than attack, but corner them or threaten their young and watch out.
What is your favorite food?
A whole lobster. I'd like to have my lobster dinner complete with an ear of corn, clarified butter, cornbread, and coleslaw at a rustic seaside restaurant on a pier or the beach overlooking the ocean. If I had any room for dessert, which would be doubtful, I'd ask for Key Lime pie or lemon meringue pie.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
The research was the most time consuming. For my romantic historical thriller series I spent hours researching WWII, immigration,
Ellis Island, the idiom of the time as well as the
popular culture of the era. I have a great interest in that time period and as I stated, I'm a disciplined writer, so I just do
it. At the moment, I'm working on a contemporary thriller and have put in
hours researching NYPD regulations and procedures.
Tell us about the featured book.
Goodbye Noel: Genre: Historical Romantic Thriller
The first body is found under a trimmed Christmas tree, the second as they ring in the New Year (1947), the third goes headlong out a window. Will a young pediatric nurse determined to make it on her own be able to care for an infant whose mother was murdered and escape the killer who has struck again? Can she trust the stalwart village detective with her life and her heart as he works to catch this killer before somebody else dies?
Pediatric nurse, Katrina Lenart, grew up strong willed and independent minded, while sharing her mother's flair for high fashion. When the police chief gives her an orphaned baby to care for, her maternal instincts take over and she's willing to fight anyone who might not have the infant's best interests at heart, even the man she's growing to love. After an attempt is made to kidnap the baby, she and the resolute village detective team up and do some sleuthing, undercover at a cult as well as at a fancy ball.
Detective Ian Daltry is a widower with a child and is not interested in a new love. Hunting a killer who stops at nothing has placed him in the position where he must protect a beautiful young woman he's drawn to. Is there's something he's overlooked in analyzing the case? Will he find out what that is before this ruthless murderer kills someone he loves?
Please give us the first page of the book.
Katrina Lenart nodded toward a break in the leafless maples and snow-covered pines lining
Street then pointed with her black cable knit
glove. A fat blue jay sat on the tip of a pine branch and quirked his head at
her, almost mocking. The sun, more the color of wheat than yellow, floated in
the pale, cloudless, winter sky, surrendering little heat.
"It might seem like we're almost there to you, but we still have to climb that hill." It wasn't high, but steep, as if a pitiless hand had gouged earth from its side. She turned her head back and squinted against the glare off the snow, adjusting her black velvet earmuffs, stitched into a floret on one side, all the rage since the war.
"Said just like a female." Willie Brogna grinned, pulling the toboggan behind him, his rubber boots stomping deep impressions in the fresh fallen snow. Pivoting, he gave her a wide smile. "I know you're just being nice, helping me try out my favorite Christmas present. With my sister on her honeymoon and all, I don't have anyone to be my guinea pig." He resumed his climb, out-pacing her, and chuckled under his breath.
Determined to put her best friend's teenage brother in his place, Katrina lengthened her strides and arrived at the top of the incline breathing hard. "People often comment on how nice I am... and courteous. Willing to help those in need." She tossed off a teasing smile.
The tall, lanky teen snorted then tugged on his hand-knit gloves, securing them, and flexed his fingers.
Shading her eyes with a glove, she gazed south, unable to see the
of Sanctuary Point or the Great South Bay through the trees. Though she knew icy
wind whipped them both. The weather forecast said a storm was headed their way.
Directly below, the ground dropped away into an empty lot. Beyond that, Hill Street and the
tiny Bauer cottage.
"Are you ready? I'll steer and you take the rumble seat." Willie knelt and positioned the toboggan for the first run down the steep hill. "Don't forget to hang on tight, I'm gonna let 'er rip, if that won't bruise the dignity of Memorial's most promising nurse."
Katrina gave him a playful smack on the arm. "How you do go on. Just watch out for that huge bump down there."
"Aw, that's not even a blip on the radar."
She hunkered down behind him and clasped her arms around his waist. The toboggan sped down the hill, her hair airborne behind her. Icy snow crystals flew into her face. They hit the bump and went aloft. "Willieee," she shrieked.
They landed so hard her teeth clattered.
When they came to a stop, Willie jumped off. "While we were in the air, I saw something near Mrs. Bauer's cottage. Does she have a pet? A cat, maybe? It looked like a hurt animal... something bloody."
He trotted across the street. "It's not in the yard. It's away from the house. Closer and to the side of the road." He hastened down
Hill Street, slipping and sliding, to the
edge of the Bauer property.
Katrina hurried down the sloping street after him, her arms stretched out for balance. If this were his idea of a practical joke, she'd let him have it.
Willie bent over the object on the ground. Rising, he twisted toward her. "Well, it's not an animal. It's a piece of soiled cloth."
Rushing to his side, she tried to catch her breath. "That's blood on a kitchen towel. Not a lot, but sufficient to warrant concern." Please, Lord, let everything be all right in the Bauer house.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Nike Chillemi ~ Crime Fictionista blog. http://nikechillemi.wordpress.com/
Nike Chillemi Author Page/Desert Breeze Publishing.Nike Chillemi is also on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+
Thank you, Nike, for spending this time with us.
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Sanctuary Point Book Two: Goodbye Noel - Kindle
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