As followers of The Overnight Bestseller will know, I just published The Fregoli Delusion, the third Donaghue and Stainer Crime Novel. While for the sake of my mental health I should probably take a bit of a break first, the compulsion to jump right into the next one has proven to be irresistible. Mind you, I'm right at the very beginning of the process, as my answers to the following Next Big Thing questions will show:
What is your working title of your book?
The working title of the next Donaghue and Stainer Crime Novel is The Serenity of Night. At the moment it's strictly a working title, but if you like it and think I should keep it, let me know.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
This novel is part of the overall story arc for the series that I developed while writing the first novel, Blood Passage. In this installment of the series, Detective Karen Stainer marries her ever-patient, doting fiancé, FBI Special Agent Sandy Alexander, while a serial killer who is the subject of an ongoing investigation decides that she would be an amusing target for his next horrific murder.
What genre does your book fall under?
The Donaghue and Stainer Crime Novel series is categorized as Mystery/Thriller or Crime Fiction. Its subcategory is police procedural, as the novels describe in realistic terms the homicide investigations of the Glendale, Maryland Police Department.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie version?
This is a difficult question for me to answer. As far as Hank Donaghue is concerned, I think Jeremy Sisto would be great casting for the role, although he's about eight years younger than Hank. I'm going to pass on a choice for Karen Stainer, though. I'd rather have readers answer that question!
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
While Homicide Detective Karen Stainer finally takes the big step and marries her ever-patient, doting fiancé, FBI Special Agent Sandy Alexander, a serial killer who is the subject of an ongoing investigation decides that she would be an amusing target for his next horrific murder!
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I haven't started writing the draft yet. At the moment I'm designing the character of the serial killer and designing his crimes, as creepy as that sounds, while doing my research. I plan to begin writing the manuscript in the first week of January. I'd like to have the first draft done by the end of April 2013, but we'll see what life brings. Marcie's Murder took about six months from Word One to final revision, while The Fregoli Delusion took more than a year. We shall see.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
This is another question I'd rather leave to readers and reviewers to answer once the book comes out. I'm not a great reader in this sub-genre, myself, so I'm not really sure about comparisons. I will say, though, that for me, the sub-genre begins and ends with The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. Just the same, I'm going to try to approach the subject of serial murder, which has been worked and reworked a thousand times, from a fresh perspective if I possibly can.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Many readers have asked me, when I've met with them, if I've considered writing from the point of view of the murderer. I usually respond that I prefer to tell the stories from the point of view of the law enforcement officers who devote their careers and their lives to this dangerous and life-consuming work. Peter Mah, of course, is an exception to this rule, and I will return to his point of view later in the series, but for the purposes of The Serenity of Night I will once again tell the story through the eyes of Hank Donaghue and Karen Stainer. However, I have a trick up my sleeve that will take readers into the mind, and the sickness, of my serial killer, just the same. Stay tuned.
So, to make a long answer short, this book will be inspired by my readers, the fans of Donaghue and Stainer.
What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
The Fregoli Delusion explored the background and life of Hank Donaghue. Fans of Karen Stainer will be delighted to know that in The Serenity of Night we will finally get to the bottom of Karen's chronic anger and anxiety. Attending the wedding from her side of the family will be her brother Darryl Stainer, a veteran Oklahoma state trooper, brother Delbert Stainer, a Houston auto mechanic who fixed up her beloved '79 Firebird for her, and even brother Bradley Stainer, a building contractor in Plano, TX, whom she used to protect from bullies when they were kids. Youngest brother Jimmy Bob Stainer, serving time for armed robbery, will not be able to attend, however.
You'll want to grab a seat at the table while Darryl orders a round of beer for everyone, including you. Sit back and listen to the Stainers talk about their childhood, their beloved late father, Texas State Trooper Bobby Stainer, and their mother, Mary Beth, who is still institutionalized in Texas with severe schizophrenia.
Then ask yourself: what kind of serial killer has the moxie to stalk a veteran homicide detective as his next victim in a small town in Bath County, Virginia, where almost every wedding guest is a cop, a state trooper, or an FBI special agent?
You're not going to want to miss this one!