Erica Spindler
 

 

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Please welcome Erica Spindler, our July featured author!

 

       

        Erica Spindler's latest novels from Mira publishers:

                                               
        Copy Cat         Killer Takes All     See Jane Die

 

 

Review and synopsis of Erica's latest, COPY CAT:

It was five years ago that the Sleeping Angel Killer, aka SAK, first struck the idyllic community of Rockford, Illinois.  Three precious young girls lost their lives to the madman, his slayings abrupt and senseless- seemingly the "perfect crimes", leaving nothing behind but shattered lives.  Bewildered and obsessed, the case nearly destroyed homicide detective Kidd Lundgren, a woman who had just lost her own daughter to a tragic disease, leaving her to find refuge in a bottle with everything she once loved lost.  Pulled from the case and put on leave to get her life back together, Kitt tries to forget, and when the brutal slayings suddenly end just as quickly and as inexplicably as they had begun, somehow Kitt knows its far from over.

And now five years later it appears he's back, little angels are dying once again, but the madman won't play unless Kitt plays too and so she's forced to return for another deadly round of cat and mouse.  This time she's teamed with Mary Catherine Riggio, a hot new detective who has no intention of allowing Kitt to jeopardize the case yet again with her obsessions and faulty judgment.  But the killer has raised the stakes, and this time out only Kitt's personal demise will satisfactorily end the story started years before, and so as more young girls die, these two women will have to learn to trust each other to track a killer who is much closer than they can even imagine.

Spindler is in top form in her latest outing, an outing that might just qualify as one of her all time best.  Not only is the plot addictively suspenseful, but her fully developed characters of Kitt and MC add a supremely balanced and compelling edge that make this read both emotional and heartfelt.  This tale of madness and murder, courage and friendship, and hope and redemption is a must read for any fan who likes their stories dynamic and convincing.  These are characters we'd love to see again, and can only hope that Spindler will grace us with another compelling outing in the future. 

 

Interview:

1. As a long time fan, I'm thrilled to have you join us for this feature, thank you Erica. I've been reading your books for about a decade now and must tell you that you're partly responsible for my initial interest in the genre, you've helped create a monster!  So tell us a bit about where/how/why/when it all started. (looking for a more general background type of answer here of how/why you started writing, will go into greater detail in the next for specific suspense
writing)


Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine myself being a multi published, best-selling author. I'd planned on being an artist and university art instructor. I studied and planned for that career, had earned a MFA from the University of New Orleans and secured a teaching job at a local university when I was bitten by the writing bug.

I came down with a summer cold and stopped at a local drugstore for cold tablets and tissues. A free category romance novel was dropped into my shopping bag--a Nora Roberts, no less! I'd always been a voracious reader, but had never read a category romance. Well, I read that one and became addicted to them. For the next six months I read as many as I could get my hands on. Sometime during that reading frenzy, I decided I wanted to try my hand at writing one.

The moment I did, I knew I had found my true calling. Goodbye paint and brushes, hello tablet and keyboard.



2. You began with romance and then made the switch to more suspenseful
plot lines, why the change?

The writing transition was organic: In 1996 I came up with a story in which the hero was a NOPD homicide detective and there was a serial killer subplot. (FORBIDDEN FRUIT.) I had so much fun writing those parts of the story--it felt so right--that when I began plotting my next novel, I decided to focus more on the suspense. Then with the next novel, I pushed the suspense even more. And on and on. My publisher came willingly along for the ride--a fact I really appreciate.



3. You've had some pretty unique plots throughout the years, where do you get your ideas from?

My ideas are always from personal experiences. I truly can take the most innocent encounter or experience and twist it into something pretty damn frightening. I do this naturally, like a dog chasing a car. In fact, it used to worry me until I realized that it was a gift.  My dark gift, I call it.
 


4. When writing a tale of suspense, do you usually begin its creation with a pretty strict outline in mind; meaning, do you know how it begins, what will have to be overcome, and how it all ends, or do you sometimes get surprised by your characters taking over with their own ideas of how it should all progress?

I always have the germ of an idea before I begin the process of beginning a new story. I brainstorm that idea on yellow legal pads. I literally fill two or three tablets, noting every idea that comes into my head. I link elements, eliminate others, head down one road and then another. Finally, the ideas begin to gel into something I am excited about.

Then, and only then, do I open a document on my computer. That document will be my synopsis. Mine run about 50 pages. This process takes three weeks to two months, depending on the story. Some stories are more temperamental than others.



5. What is your favorite part of the whole process of writing/publishing/promoting a new book, and which part stays with you
the longest?


My favorite part, hands down, is the creative process: coming up with the idea, creating the characters, the twists and turns, the thrilling ending. I love the inspiration, fitting the pieces together.

Every so often, I receive a letter from a reader who tells me they "have a great idea they want to give me for a book." I always respond, "Thanks, but coming up with the idea is what I love!"

 

6. Interestingly, you've never committed to a series, with your suspense titles all stand-alones, any particular reason for this?

As my readers know, generally, I write stand alone novels. Only recently have I carried over characters, although, this still isn't a "series."

Stacy Killian from See Jane Die was such a character. While writing 2004's See Jane Die, Jane's sister Stacy sprang so fully to life, I had to give her her own story. In fact, she kept trying to take over Jane's book, and wouldn't quiet down until I promised her her own. I'm glad I did - I got lots of letters from readers asking for a book about Stacy.

Killer Takes All pairs Stacy Killian with Spencer Malone. Readers may recognize Spencer and the rest of the Malone clan from 2001's Bone
Cold. I always wanted to reprise the Malones and found Killer Takes
All to be the perfect opportunity.

When I wrote Killer Takes All, it was with the idea of perhaps doing a series with Stacy and Spencer, one I inserted between my stand-alones.  Although I'm currently writing, and enjoying another story where she and Spencer
Malone are back, a "series" is still in the "perhaps someday" stage.



7. Have you ever felt a sense of loss when finishing a title, missing the characters you have created?

I always feel a sense of loss when I finish a book. But interestingly, I also experience a feeling of elation - a really incredible "high" when I write "The End." I miss the characters, but also the intense focus finishing a story gives me. We writers are a conflicted lot, aren't we?



8. Now a bit about your latest. This story seems darker and more pensive than previous titles (love it!), focusing more on the suspense and less on the romance, resulting in a more contemplative type of read than ever before. Was this a deliberate objective, or did it just happen to turn out that way?

Yes, Copycat is deliberate and more pensive, but that is what this story and those characters demanded. I'm very much an author who follows her muse, letting the story and its characters lead me. In Copycat, I wanted to explore the relationship between the two female protagonists--but also the relationship, the connection, of this killer to Kitt, the older of the two women. I'm really happy with the way it turned out, and hope my readers are, too.



9. I appreciated your realistic approach towards women's roles in a male dominated field, not only regarding the obvious issues, but also in your recognition of the inherent need that women might feel to create a forceful, even aggressive, "image" in order to be taken seriously. One that, unfortunately, can also impede the development of personal relationships in the workforce. Do you feel that women's heretofore capacity for easily creating close relationships has and/or will diminish as their roles continue to grow in such fields?

Great question. It's an interesting subject--and one I'm not sure how to answer. I think, in some fields, at some levels, women cannot form close relationships--and have to forego familiarity in an effort to be taken seriously.

I hope their capacity for intimate relationships doesn't diminish, but is channeled to other areas of their lives.



10. It seems more and more female characters are now battling issues usually reserved for men, while also having to deal with issues that have always been, such as those of your two female heroines. Do you feel a successful balance can be achieved, or will it always be an uphill battle?

I think there's always going to be conflict between the two roles.
They're just so different, with so many unique demands. Although
women, myself included, can--and have--struck a balance, it's often an
uneasy one.
 


11. Speaking of heroines and battles, readers will love your latest
two, and as it seems they might just have a couple of more challenges
to overcome, any chance we might get to witness their assured victories?

Absolutely a chance. I created them with the idea that "maybe" I'd bring them back. I really loved Kitt and M.C. and their relationship, but I haven't decided yet if they are coming back.

My work in progress brings back the team of Stacy Killian and Spencer
Malone, from Killer Takes All. Killer Takes All, set in New Orleans, was written and published pre-Katrina. The paperback edition was just released in May. As a writer, having witnessed the destruction, aftermath and changes to New Orleans as a result of the hurricane, I felt compelled to bring back these characters post-Katrina. The book is titled, "Last Known Victim."
 


12. So what are your plans this fall, rest and relaxation, or maybe on
towards the next?

I'm finishing up Last Known Victim, then hope for a bit of rest and
relaxation - then on to the next thriller!


Thank you for sharing, Erica, and for keeping us up at night, we
eagerly look forward to whatever you have in store for us next.

 

BIO:

When Erica Spindler set her new novel, COPYCAT, in her hometown of Rockford, Illinois, she never dreamed that she would end up finishing it there. Like thousands of her Louisiana neighbors, she and her family were uprooted by Hurricane Katrina.

“It was such a terrible time, but we came through it fairly well. I’m grateful but I feel terrible about the thousands of my neighbors in the greater New Orleans area who weren’t so lucky,” says the author. “It’s ironic that after deciding to set a book in my hometown, I’d end up writing it there, too.”

The author of 25 books, Erica likes to say that catching a summer cold changed her life and made her an author. Up until that fateful malady, Erica planned on being an artist. She had studied for that profession, earning both a BFA and an MFA in the visual arts. Then, in June of 1982, she stopped at a local drugstore to pick up cold tablets and tissues; the cashier dropped a free romance novel into her bag. She hadn’t read a romance in years, but once home, with nothing to do but sniffle and watch daytime TV, she picked that romance up—and was immediately hooked. For the next six months she read every romance she could get her hands on. Sometime during those months, she decided to try to write one herself. The moment she put pen to paper, Erica knew she had found her true calling.

Today, Erica is best known for her spine-tingling thrillers. Her titles have been published all over the world, and RED was turned into both a wildly popular graphic novel and a daytime drama in Japan. Critics have dubbed her stories as “thrill-packed, page turners, white knuckle rides, and edge-of-your-seat whodunits,” and the Times-Picayune praised 2003’s IN SILENCE, calling it “creepy and compelling; a real page turner.”

Erica is a New York Times, USA TODAY, Waldenbooks and Amazon.com bestselling author. In 2002, her novel BONE COLD won the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for excellence. An RWA honor roll member, she received a Kiss of Death Award for her novel FORBIDDEN FRUIT and is a three-time RITA® Award finalist. In 1999, Publishers Weekly awarded the audio version of her novel SHOCKING PINK a Listen-Up Award, naming it one of the best audio mystery books of 1998.

Erica and her husband—a man she describes as funny, handsome and way too sassy—met in art school and have been together ever since. They have two sons, born nine and a half years apart. Erica makes her home in the New Orleans area, although she originally hails from Illinois.

Erica came to her present home in much the same way she came to writing—fate intervened. She and her husband, then college students, traveled to New Orleans to see the King Tut exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Without advance tickets, they had a choice: wait in line all day or spend the day sightseeing. They chose the latter and fell head over heels in love with the city.

In fact, to help support the recovery of her hometown, Erica has decided to donate 5% of the sales of all of her paperbacks sold from April 25, 2006 until August 1, 2006 to the New Orleans Police Foundation’s NOPD Emergency Relief Fund, dedicated to helping the brave men and women of New Orleans Law Enforcement in their recovery efforts in Katrina’s aftermath. Readers should send Erica their cash register receipts for purchase of the books, postmarked no later than August 1, 2006. For complete details, click here...

This May marks the paperback release of the bestselling KILLER TAKES ALL, a fast-paced dive into the world of role-playing games, followed in June with the hardcover release of COPYCAT, a harrowing tale of a serial killer of children. With these back-to-back releases, Erica shows again why legions of fans turn to her for the best in mystery and suspense. --Erica Spindler


Please check Erica's website at www.ericaspindler.com for more photos and information.