We’re extremely pleased to introduce Sue Coletta, a very good friend of e-Books India. Sue is a crime author and blogger who recently had a novel published entitled Marred. We interviewed Sue to find out more about her work as an author, her book and to get some experts tips on writing crime fiction. Continue reading to find out what Sue had to say.
Welcome to e-Books India, Sue! Thanks very much for joining us for this interview! Can you tell us about your background? Where are you from? How did you get into writing crime fiction?
Hi, Hiten! I grew up on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in a town called Marblehead, Massachusetts. From very young I always wrote letters and stories, especially if I was in trouble with my parents. Nothing like a sweet story to calm the waters. I soon realized the power of the written word. From there I ventured into law and cosmetology. Strange combination, I know. I owned two salons and also worked as a paralegal.
Through the years I always wrote stories. Back then I wrote mainly children’s stories. But it was my love of crime fiction that made me want to write for a living. Flash forward several years, I now live in rural New Hampshire and am living my dream.
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Ah, the dreaded question: what’s your story about?
I’m going to cheat and give you the back cover blurb.
A serial killer breaks into the home of bestselling author Sage Quintano and she barely escapes with her life. Her husband Niko, a homicide detective, insists they move to rural New Hampshire, where he accepts a position as Grafton County Sheriff.
Sage buries secrets from that night, secrets she swears to take to her deathbed.
Three years of anguish and painful memories pass, and a grisly murder case lands on Niko’s desk. A strange caller torments Sage–she can’t outrun the past.
When Sage’s twin sister suddenly goes missing Sage searches Niko’s case files and discovers similarities to the Boston killer. A sadistic psychopath is preying on innocent women, marring their bodies in unspeakable ways. And now, he has her sister.
Cryptic clues…hidden messages…is the killer hinting at his identity? Or is he trying to lure Sage into a deadly trap to end his reign of terror with a matching set of corpses?
Are you working on any other books(s)? If so, can you please tell us what we can expect to see from you in the future?
Basically, you can always expect twisted murders and complex puzzles. In the Marred series, I will always include forensics (one of my passions). I recently submitted a new psychological thriller, Wings of Mayhem. In the Mayhem series, I leaned more toward the ME’s work and profiling, which I also find fascinating.
In a nutshell, this is what Wings of Mayhem is about:
Cat burglar Shawnee Daniels always believed her “fearlessness rules” mantra would keep her on top and out of jail. When her latest break-in leads her to a secret lair, she instantly realizes there are some people more dangerous than cops…serial killers.
She tells herself it’s no big deal until a mutilated chipmunk arrives at her door soon after. Somehow, he’s found her. When the midnight Skype calls start, she knows he’s not going away. She listens as his demon-like voice whispers how she inadvertently stole his precious trophy box — and he wants it back!
The only problem is, she can’t find what he wants. Did she drop it when she bolted from the house? She’s afraid, but outing herself as a cat burglar is not an option. By day she works at the Revere police station as a computer forensics specialist. When she gives into charismatic Detective Levaughn Samuels’ charm, her two worlds might collide. Ordinarily Shawnee keeps a firm line between her professions, but dating Levaughn might help her get this psycho off her tail.
Now she’s juggling being stalked by a killer, dating the lead detective on the case, and trying to hold on to her own heart. Plus, the closer she gets to Levaughn and the case, the more she realizes she’s responsible for the killer’s next victim. If she doesn’t find the trophy box, the killer’s coming for her. If she doesn’t come clean with Levaughn, more will die. And if she does, she could lose the only man she’s ever loved.
You also run a very popular crime website. When did you start this site and what can readers find there?
I finally crawled out of my writer’s cave and started my website three years ago. In Murder Blog, you can find crime writing tips, research I’ve done over the years, guest posts from law enforcement and bestselling authors, a few short stories, and anything and everything in between. Crime, crime, and more crime.
What other things do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Tough question, considering I’m almost always working. But I do enjoy nature and animals and spending time with my two granddaughters, ages 7 months and 2 years old. No, I’m not old enough to be a grandmother. Long story; don’t ask. That said, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Nothing compares to the first time a little one calls you Nana. Plus, y’know, I get to spoil them and then send them home. LOL
From your experiences, could you please share 2-3 top tips to help beginner authors who are new to writing crime fiction?
Tip #1: Research, research, and then research more. Get your facts wrong and you’ve lost all credibility.
Tip #2: I use deep POV for my stories. So here’s a tip when writing in deep POV. It’s crucial to remain in the character’s head at all times. This is where “show, don’t tell” can get confusing for new writers. For instance, you wouldn’t write “he thought” or “she wondered” because people don’t think this way. Those are telling words. Yes, many big-named authors do it. But until you become a household name I suggest you don’t.
Let me give you an example. Your character is speeding down a one-way street the wrong way when a gunshot rings out. The windshield splinters, cracks, and then shatters.
He ducks. What the heck happened?
Notice I didn’t include “he thought.” Because if we’re in the character’s head, we wouldn’t think to ourselves, “What the heck happened? he thought.” Right? No. The only thing going through our mind would be: What the heck happened? By writing in deep POV, you help your reader connect with your character. Other telling words include: wished, mused, believed, hoped, knew, etc…
Tip #3: This is probably the hardest tip to master, but it will help you find your voice.
I never write in my voice. I write in my character’s voice. In order to do that I need to know them on three levels. This is called the three dimensions of character.
Level #1: The false façade they show the world. Everyone has a public persona. A person’s public face is their best possible side. We don’t show our worst traits to the world. Neither should our characters. We might show a character’s public façade by having them wear flashy clothes or by driving a red corvette. The he-who-dies-with-the-most-toys-win type of dude.
Level #2: Who we really are inside. This level is made up from past experiences, childhood, a broken heart from a bad breakup, witnessing a traumatic event. Our past shapes us as human beings. Take Clarise Starling for instance. She was badly scarred from witnessing the slaughtering of the lambs by the hand of her father. Thomas Harris did an amazing job showing us who Clarise truly was, her hopes, her fears, her dreams for the future. This is what level #2 is all about. Sometimes past tragedies can cause a facial tick or mannerism. Show the reader this. Let them connect with your character’s heart and soul.
Level #3: Our true character. When trouble ensues how will our character react? If trapped in a burning building, will they elbow their way toward the door? Or will they try to help others? It is only during times of conflict that our true character reveals itself. Same holds true for our characters.
How can people find out more about you?
You can connect with me on my website: https://www.suecoletta.com
Tirgearr Publishing: https://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Coletta_Sue/index.htm
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/hv1.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Hiten Vyas is the Founder and Managing Editor of eBooks India. He is also a prolific eBook writer with over 25 titles to his name.[/author_info] [/author]