10 Questions with Allison Brennan
Who is Allison Brennan?
New York Times and USA Today bestseller Allison Brennan is the author of eighteen novels and several short stories. A former consultant in the California State Legislature, she lives in Northern California with her husband Dan and their five children.
Crime fiction, mysteries, and romantic suspense have always been Allison’s favorites, so it’s no surprise that her romantic thrillers have a dark suspense edge. Reviewers have called her books “terrifying,” “mesmerizing,” “fast-paced,” “pulse-pounding,” “wonderfully complex,” “layered,” and “a master of suspense – tops in the genre.” Lee Child called LOVE ME TO DEATH, “A world-class nail-biter” and Lisa Gardner says, “Brennan knows how to deliver.”
10 Questions with Allison Brennan
1. Ms. Brennan, thank you for this opportunity to be interviewed for my blog. Your thriller, Stalked, came out today. Tell us a bit more about this work.
STALKED is the 5th book in the Lucy Kincaid series. My goal of the series was to show a character from the beginning of her FBI career through the first few years as a new agent. So many books are about seasoned cops that I thought it would be fun and different to start as Lucy is applying to the FBI Academy. In STALKED, she’s finally made it to Quantico, but things are not as easy as it might appear.
2. Who is Lucy Kincaid, now a trainee at the FBI Academy, and how did you go about creating his character?
Lucy was a secondary character in a previous book (FEAR NO EVIL, 2007) where she’d been kidnapped and raped live on the Internet. Her brother Dillon with the help of a rogue FBI agent saved her, but not before some serious damage. I knew then that I wanted to write a series around Lucy, but needed to wait until she was older. She’s a survivor. Though her past affects her future—as it does with most people—she’s found ways to get through the worst. There are a few issues that aren’t easily resolved and will play a role through the series. For example, Lucy is prone to panic attacks if she’s being watched. She has these under control, but there are some triggers that she hasn’t quite stopped. In STALKED, for example, her supervisory who has problems with Lucy is watching her intently at the gun range. After a nearly perfect score, she gets tense in the second round and her score plummets.
3. What is your secret of writing three books a year? How do you organize your work?
I write every day. There is no secret, it’s simply hard work and staying focused during my set writing time.
4. Why do you write?
Love it, warts and all.
5. A word of advice for new writers?
Write daily, or at least set a schedule for yourself and stick to it. Make sacrifices—when I first started writing, I worked full-time out of the house and had five young kids. I wrote every night for 3 hours after they went to bed, finding the time by giving up television.
Write what you love. If you don’t love it, if you don’t have the passion for your work, it’ll show through the story. And to paraphrase Stephen King: Write with the doors closed, edit with the windows open. Meaning, don’t seek opinions on the work in progress, but listen to people you trust when you need to edit. Nothing is perfect on the first draft. Or the second. At the same time, don’t edit the life out of your story. It’s still your book. And know from the beginning that it doesn’t get any easier.
6. What is your typical writing day?
After the kids go to school at 8 in the morning, I check email, blogs, and the like. By 10 I start work, quitting just after 3 when the kids come home from school. We have sports practice and homework and other activities, so I focus on that until after dinner, when I go back to my office to continue writing, going to bed between 12-1 at night.
7. What are your favorite pastimes?
Reading (of course!), video games, television, old movies, and watching professional sports (I’m a SF Giants baseball fan so you know I’m very happy now!)
8. What other books are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on revising book 6 in the Lucy series (STOLEN) and when that is done, I’ll be writing the first book in a new series about an investigative crime reporter, Maxine Revere. MAXIMUM EXPOSURE will be out in hardcover in early 2014.
9. What do you like to read and what are you reading now?
I read broadly, but mostly thrillers, mysteries, romantic suspense, and true crime books. I’m current reading THE TRINITY GAME by Sean Chercover and CATCH ME by Lisa Gardner (one’s in my office, one’s in my car for when I’m waiting for the kids!) But next up is my friend Laura Griffin’s SCORCHED—she’s never disappointed me!
10. What can readers expect to find in Stalked?
There’s an exclusive excerpt up at Criminal Elements (http://www.criminalelement.com/stories/2012/10/stalked-new-excerpt-by-allison-brennan-thriller-romantic-suspense).
In STALKED, a true crime writer is murdered and it might connect to a case Lucy had helped the New York FBI office with several months before. And the writer may have information on Lucy’s past. While her past isn’t a secret, the idea that someone would write a book about what happened to her terrifies her. She and her boyfriend, PI Sean Rogan, work behind the scenes to find out have happened to the writer and if it connects back to Lucy. The more they learn, the more they suspect a killer is at Quantico. Current readers will be happy because several small subplots are wrapped up in this book, and new readers will be happy because there’s a complete mystery—you don’t have to read the series from the beginning, as each book stands alone, though the characters grow and change over the course of the series.
Thank you Ethan for taking the time to interview me and read STALKED!