by Lorie Lewis Ham
& Terell Byrd
This week we have another in our On The Road to Left Coast Crime 2012 author interviews & reviews. L.F., or Louise, is another mystery author who will be attending this year’s LCC. Learn more about her and her writing, check out a review of her latest book, and enter to win a copy of the book in PDF-details at the end of this post.
Lorie: Is this book a part of a series?
Louise: Yes. I call it the In Blood series and Jane Blackwood’s amnesia story arc covers three books, Born In Blood, Memories In Blood (not out yet), and Betrayal In Blood (a work in progress book).
Lorie: How did you come up with the main character/characters and the setting?
Louise:I chose Sacramento because of the old adage, “Write what you know.” I know Sacramento. I did change the names of some familiar sites, so Heritage Airport is my version of Executive Airport in Sacramento. As for characters, I wanted a strong female lead whose life is thrown into turmoil because of surfacing memories, memories she’d like never to remember. I also wanted a sociopathic character that is loyal to Jane to show that kind of thought process (using my M.A. in Psychology), and why Jane would love and defend him as a brother (which I get into more in the second book). Lastly, I wanted two love interests for Jane because she then ultimately has to choose between Nick, the movie director, and the detective, Mac, who wants to prove her brother is a serial killer, or neither of them.
Lorie: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Louise:I went to Silver State Aviation and spoke with the pilots there, then took a ride on a Robinson-22, a little two-seater helicopter with a pilot named Anne, and she let me feel what an autorotation feels like, and also shared some of her experiences as a female pilot and instructor. I also spoke with a helicopter mechanic, Paul Carlson, about what can cause engine troubles or sabotage an engine. Unfortunately, my research “thank yous” got left out of the first book, so will be in the second.
Lorie: What are your future writing goals?
Finish the final book, Betrayal In Blood, and if there’s demand for more, do another one. I would also like to write a 4th Murry/Kidman suspense novel that deals with the horse-racing world and the labs in Davis, CA (near Sacramento) where equine blood-testing is done. The story will start with New Orleans Det. Jean Gallan (from Bad Moon Rising) following a lead to Los Angeles, where she ends up working on a homicide investigation with Det. Billy Kidman and Art Murry. I’m debating whether she’ll bring her dog, Sherman, a Mastiff, with her.
I also have a young adult novel that’s a kind of Harry Potter story for girls (Amy Ward and the Rift Guardian), which I’m revising and may try self-publishing through Kindle.
Lorie: What is one thing your readers would be surprised to find out about you?
Louise:Usually my writing explores issues that I’ve dealt with in the past or am working on. I don’t know if that’s a surprise, but I think my photo tends to make people think I’ve never smoked, binged on chocolate, or survived a very abusive childhood.
Lorie: Are you on Twitter and Facebook?
Lorie: Anything else you would like to add?
Louise: If you’re a writer, write what you know, and expand on it. If you’re a reader, I hope you’ll check out one of my books.
Lorie: How do you feel about the growing popularity of e-books?
Louise:I think the age of technology has finally caught up to books and reading on a screen has been made “easier on the eyes” for a lot of aging readers (you can adjust the font size), it’s saving trees, and it’s opening doors for many more writers to get their work out there. I will say that when there were only a few e-book publishers, I sold many more copies of my mysteries and suspense novels.
Now, I think it takes more promotional work/time to even let readers know about my books.
So writers are taking on more and more of the business side of books, things that used to be done by traditional publishers. Some writers love to get out there and promote, others do not and that affects sales. I’m in the “do not” category, so it’s a stretch for me to attend a conference like Left Coast Crime (in Sacramento this year), and do book-signings. My goal is to do one or two a year and call it “good enough.”
Lorie: Any tips for people attending their first Left Coast Crime?
Louise:I have never been to a Left Coast Crime before, so this will be my first! So I don’t have any suggestions other than to attend panels that interest you, talk to authors, and ask questions.
Born In Blood by L. F. Crawford
Review by Terell Byrd
Jane Blackwood has an exciting career as a helicopter pilot who does stunts for movies. She is currently dating a wealthy movie producer who is carrying a 3-carat engagement ring in a jeweler’s box. Life is good. So why does she suddenly run from the glamour of Hollywood to set up a small charter service in Sacramento?
Jane has had no memories of her life before the age of twelve. Suddenly, one day while doing a stunt for a movie, she has flashbacks to the time before she was discovered alone and dazed in a park in Sacramento. Broken shards of memory suddenly slash at her concentration and she nearly crashes a helicopter during filming. Her nerve is gone and she can no longer do any flying that is not routine. She has filled her life with mundane work.
A surprise visit from her adoptive brother Nelson Blackwood fills her with joy and guilt. Joy in seeing the one person she completely trusts and guilty that she has lost track of Nelson for almost 10 years.
Nelson has a history of fights back to the time they were in foster care together. He seems to be making a career out of being prime suspect for the police in violent incidents and now in murder. Jane is suddenly suspected of aiding Nelson in crimes, threatened by mobsters and tortured by the possibility that Nelson is a killer.
This novel is a gripping story that kept me from sleep on a weeknight. I am careful not to stay up too late when I have to work the next day, but I just had to finish the book. Jane’s love of flying, both by helicopter and motorcycle, is well written and reads as well as watching a sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat movie scene.
There is room left in the story for a sequel. Is Nelson what he appears to be? Will Jane choose the wealthy movie mogul or the hardworking police detective? I can’t wait for the next installment of the story to find out!
To enter to win a PDF copy of Born In Blood, simply email KRL at email@example.com with the subject line “Born”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 11, 2012. U.S. residents only.
If you love mysteries, why not check out Left Coast Crime: Mystery Conference in Sacramento, March 29-April 1, 2012. Registration is only $225 & day passes can be purchased for $75 for Friday and Saturday panel sessions. Registration information can be found at the conventionwebsite, or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.