CONGRATULATIONS TO BARBARA!
WINNER OF BURNING HEART
Please welcome Nike Chillemi to Sleuths and Suspects. This is her first time with us. I hope you learn more about Nike and her writing from the interview. I've just heard from Nike and she is going to give away a copy of her new book "Burning Hearts." She will choose from the best comment. Be sure to leave your email address and be a follower. Without further ado here we go!
Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
Nike: I grew up in upstate New York. My dad was an English teacher who read to my brother and me and I've had a love of books since. I wrote the requisite teenage poems filled with angst, which I read to my parents quite frequently. They were very good about not running out of the room screaming. I worked in marketing in the bridal industry before seriously throwing myself into writing for publication. Every once in a while I give my bridal industry experience away by writing something like: The gown, of pink tulle, having a sweetheart neckline and tulip sleeves, floated at her calves as she glided into the room.
Q: Tell us about your most recent book/or the book we are focusing on.
Nike: BURNING HEARTS (arson/murder, action, romance, and humor) is set on the south shore of Long Island in the mid-1940s. The story opens with an arsonist burning down a house, killing the owner. A young seamstress, Erica Brogna, make a rescue attempt, but the heavy smoke forces her to get help. Enter Harley Davidson riding Lorne Kincade, a WWII hero, who rushes into the inferno. The story is filled with action. The killer tries to frame Lorne for the murder. But it's also a "sweet" romance in which Erica and Lorne face trials together and fall deeply in love. It's actually my debut novel, which Desert Breeze first published as an ebook, but it's now come out in print and I'm very excited about that. I love ebooks and was completely happy with it in electronic format, but I do know there are readers who only read print and now BURNING HEARTS available for them.
Q: Why did you choose this particular genre?
Nike: I love murder mysteries and detective stories. The vast majority of book I read fall into one of those two categories. I love to route for the good guys to win. My home, in New York City, has quite a few bookshelves filled with whodunits. I'm so wrapped up in this genre that I've been dubbed the Crime Fictionista. I write reviews of crime fiction and action-adventure novels for The Christian Pulse online magazine. I've judged several literary contests in the last three years, usually in the mystery/thriller category, but sometimes in the action-adventure category.
Q: What was your journey to publication like?
Nike: It was filled with trepidation like everybody's. I had no idea what I was doing six and a half years ago when I wrote my first mystery novel. Not a clue. I keep the manuscript around just for laughs. It's that bad. I got a lot of help from more established writers and I hope I've returned that favor, helping newbie writers as they begin on their writing journey.
Q: What is a couple of your favorite books and what are you reading now?
The Roland March series by J. Mark Bertrand is one of my favorite Christian crime fiction series. He can't write them fast enough to suit me. COMES A HORSEMAN by Robert Liparulo is another. INJUSTICE FOR ALL by Robin Carol and EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE by M.K. Gilroy are two others I couldn't put down. Right now I'm reading the New York Times best seller BURNT HOUSE by Faye Kellerman.
Q: What are you working on now and can you give us a little peek inside it?
Nike: I'm leaving the world of historical whodunits w/romance and venturing into contemporary mysteries w/romance. I'm constructing a series with really strong, spunky private investigator and law enforcement heroines. My stalwart male investigators may find themselves exasperated at times by these impulsive, but very capable females. My heroes are three-dimensional and ultimately can handle relationships with complicated women. The first work to introduce this new contemporary series is a novella, HARMFUL INTENT. My heroine is a girl-next-door private investigator from Brooklyn, NY who travels to Abilene, TX where she is accused of murdering her husband of one year. There is a huge amount of humor, some of it all out funny, or zany, with moments of satire. I'd compare it with some of the works of Susan Issacs (humorous romantic suspense) or Jaqueline Girdner (comic California murder mysteries) or Chris Well (Earl Walker series, hilarious Christian mysteries).
Q: What advice would you give authors who are on their own journey to publication?
Nike: First of all, keep writing. In the beginning, don't worry about how good it is. Just write it. The first manuscript will most likely get rejected. I don’t know a single writer who submitted their first work and an agent went mad for it and published it. Everyone got the first one tossed back to them. At least everyone I know did. The other thing newbies should do is read in their genre. Read the very best writers in their genre. The ones who are winning awards. Then ponder what makes their writing so good. Don't copy them. Keep your own voice, but learn techniques from the best.
Q:Do you have any books or websites that have helped you with your writing that you could share with us?
Nike: The one single thing that's helped my writing more than anything else is the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) critique groups. That's like bootcamp for writing Christian fiction. I highly recommend getting into an ACFW group. I've also taken ACFW writing courses and courses other groups have given. I belong to a crime scene writers group where a lot of the members are retired law enforcement personnel. That group concentrates on the police procedure and technical elements of writing crime fiction.
Q: Please let us know where we can find you on the web.
Nike: You can find me at Nike Chillemi ~ Crime Fictionista http://nikechillemi.wordpress.com/
BURNING HEARTS at Amazon, now in paperback. http://tiny.cc/7tojyw
The Sanctuary Point, historical murder mystery w/romance series at Amazon. http://tiny.cc/uwojyw
Like so many writers, Nike Chillemi started writing at a very young age. She still has the Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned (penciled might be more accurate) as a little girl about her then off-the-chart love of horses. Today, you might call her a crime fictionista. Her passion is crime fiction. She likes her bad guys really bad and her good guys smarter and better.
She is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and is its Chairman, a reader's choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She writes book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She was an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category and a judge in the 2011 and 2012 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories. BURNING HEARTS, the first book in the crime wave that is sweeping the south shore of Long Island in The Sanctuary Point series, finaled in the Grace Awards 2011 in the Romance/Historical Romance category. GOODBYE NOEL, the second book in the series released in December, 2011 won the Grace Award 2011 in the Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller category. PERILOUS SHADOWS, third in the series released July, 2012, and DARKEST HOUR, the fourth in the series released in February, 2013. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers (Ning). http://nikechillemi.wordpress.com/