An Interview with Unni Turrettini

 

 

I recently had the pleasure of meeting true crime writer, Unni Terrettini, and am excited to welcome her as she shares information about her book, The Mystery of the Lone Wolf Killer, available now on Amazon. The paperback edition releases March 16, 2017.

 

Unni, please tell us about your book.

My first book, The Mystery Of The Lone Wolf Killer, is about Anders Behring Breivik and the massacre in Norway on July 22, 2011. That day, then thirty-two year-old Breivik blew up the government center in Oslo, managed to flee the scene and went to the island of Utøya where he shot and killed teenagers participating in the Labor Party’s Youth League summer camp. Breivik killed seventy-seven people that day, most of them teenagers. More than 300 more were critically wounded. He wished to kill his government and save Norway from Muslim immigration. On a deeper level, he wished to be recognized and to matter.

 

What inspired you to research and write this book?

The shock of Breivik’s massacre triggered something in me. Although I lived in Switzerland at the time, I was born and raised in Norway. The event felt personal. I started doing research to find out why and how this could happen. I needed to understand how Breivik could become a mass murderer and what we can do to stop the next lone wolf. Violence comes from a place of deep suffering.

 

How did you go about doing your research?

I started by reading everything I could find on Breivik and other, similar killers around the world. I am multi-lingual, so I was able to conduct research in several countries. I spoke with experts in psychology, terrorism, and religion. I followed Breivik’s trial and studied his 1500-pages manifesto.

Although I tried to get an interview with Breivik in prison, no one has yet been allowed to visit him. That might change as Breivik sued the Norwegian government for inhumane treatment due to the isolation—and won—in 2016. The appeals court will render its final decision on the matter in the next few weeks.

 

Is there something that you hope others will learn from reading it?

As difficult as it was to study Breivik’s mind and past, I also felt compassion for the boy and young man Breivik used to be. I felt a connection, I understood. I could relate to some of his pain growing up. Hopefully, we can use this knowledge to create a more inclusive environment and eradicate bullying. All everyone is ever searching for is love and connection.

As a society, we give attention to someone after he has committed a violent act, but we don’t want to see him when he is simply a young man in pain. There are many angry men out there. Some of these men become lone wolves, others join ISIS.

Breivik is unique in the sense that he is the only lone wolf killer in the world who is still alive and more than willing to discuss his crime. There are always warning signs. Awareness and understanding are crucial if we want to prevent massacres anywhere.

 

Author Bio:

Norwegian-born Unni Turrettini is the author of THE MYSTERY OF THE LONE WOLF KILLER, in which the life and mind of Anders Behring Breivik, the most unexpected of mass murderers, is examined and set in the context of wider criminal psychology. As a foreign exchange student, she graduated from high school in Kansas City, Kansas, and she has law degrees from Norway, France, and the United States.

 

 

 

 

AN INTERVIEW WITH BONNIE HEARN HILL

 

I’m delighted to have Bonnie Hearn Hill back on my blog for an interview to celebrate the April 1, 2017, release of the third book in her Kit Doyle series: I Wish You Missed Me.

 

Here’s a description of this exciting new contemporary thriller: Farley Black, Kit Doyle’s friend and former radio co-host, is missing. When Kit and her friend, former street person Virgie Logan, search Farley’s home, a surprising discovery makes it clear that Farley has been lying to Kit – and everyone else. As she and Virgie head north in search of the truth, a series of menacing incidents convinces Kit that she’s being watched. Someone is tracking her every move. As her unknown pursuer grows bolder and more reckless, Kit realizes she isn’t just looking for her friend – but running from a killer.

 

I love the title of this book, Bonnie. How did you come up with it?

“I Wish You Missed Me” is graffiti in San Francisco. Seeing it broke my heart. Who writes something like that? And for whom? The only way I could examine (not answer) these questions was to write the book.

 

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

Here’s what I took away from it. Writing this book taught me how we are changed by conflict and also what it teaches us about ourselves. It also made me question the pros and cons of off-the-grid communities, a topic I explore in the book. The book is set in a Sacramento homeless shelter where Kit volunteers and in a rural area on the Redwood Highway. I hope readers are able to experience these areas.

 

Was there anything new that surprised you, or that you discovered, as you wrote this book?

Much of what I discover is always about character. I discovered the person I labeled a killer was only desperate, and that the real killer was a character I hadn’t yet created. I learned that Virgie has secrets I still haven’t discovered. I learned that the relationship between Kit and John Paul, the former cop, is more complicated than I originally assumed. I was surprised to learn that Farley had been a promising classical musician until he broke his left hand in a fight. That was a shocker but also an organic development; I hadn’t been sure how he ended up in radio. Every book is full of surprises for me, and these are just a few.

 

I invite readers to join Bonnie’s protagonist, Kit Doyle, in her latest adventure. And thank you very much for being a guest on my blog today, Bonnie. I wish you the very best as you launch this new book!

 

Author Bio: This is the third in the Kit Doyle series and the author’s seventeenth novel. A California native, Bonnie Hearn Hill is passionate about how conflict changes us and both allows and forces us to discover new truths about ourselves. A mentor to numerous writers, she has appeared on a Central California television’s book segment for fourteen years.

HUNTING HOUR Cover Reveal

 

I’m thrilled to present the cover for HUNTING HOUR: A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery, scheduled to release August 8, 2017, by Crooked Lane Books.

 

Here’s the description from the book cover:

Deputy Mattie Cobb is in a dark place and has withdrawn from Cole Walker and his family to work on issues from her past. When she and her K-9 partner Robo get called to track a missing junior high student, they find the girl dead on Smoker’s Hill behind the high school, and Mattie must head to the Walker home to break the bad news. But that’s only the start of trouble in Timber Creek, because soon another girl goes missing—and this time it’s one of Cole’s daughters.

Knowing that each hour a child remains missing lessens the probability of finding her alive, Mattie and Robo lead the hunt while Cole and community volunteers join in to search everywhere. To no avail. It seems that someone has snatched all trace of the Walker girl from their midst, including her scent. Grasping at straws, Mattie and Robo follow a phoned-in tip into the dense forest where they hope to find a trace of the girl’s scent and to rescue her alive. But when Robo does catch her scent, it leads them to information that challenges everything they thought they knew about the case.

 

I hope you’ll join me for this third episode in the Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries!

BOUCHERCON 2016

 

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Bouchercon, the annual World Mystery Convention, is in the can for another year. This was my first year to attend this fan-based conference designed to introduce readers to mystery, suspense, and thriller authors. Held in New Orleans this time, it was a great year to start; and our hotel sat down in the French Quarter, mere steps away from voodoo shops, marvelous restaurants, and jazz clubs. The convention organizers did a terrific job setting up panels where authors could talk about their books, their lives, and the writing life, as well as interviews with special guests of honor Harlan Coben, David Morrell, R.L. Stine, and Craig Robertson.

 

My favorite panel? A panel of ATF agents talking about their work and an explosives detection demonstration by Special Agent Katherine Barton and her yellow lab Ting. Here are photos of Ting posing with her handler, and of Ting and me getting to know each other. What a sweet girl!

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I also walked down by the river and took a picture of some paddleboats, which I’ll post on my author page on Facebook. I had a great time, but it was good to come back home to a quieter place in Colorado with my husband, our dogs, and our cat. Now it’s time to get back to work on book three of the Timber Creek K-9 series.

STALKING GROUND COMING SOON!

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We’re so excited at our house! Our clown, Hannah, had to jump on the bed and root out the pillows in her excitement.

A book launch is a thrilling time for authors and their families, and the STALKING GROUND release is scheduled for September 13. The book club edition launched this month, and I’ve been so pleased to hear from readers who love it. The story challenges the characters and develops them further while presenting them with a new murder to investigate. Robo stars in the show and plays a big role in solving the case.

We’ll hold our local launch event in Fort Collins, CO, on September 24, and there’s much to do to prepare. (Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 4045 S. College, 1:00-3:00 PM) In the meantime, I’ll be at the Colorado Gold Conference in Denver and the Bouchercon World Mystery Conference in New Orleans the two weekends before the launch—thus the delay for my local party. Thanks goodness my husband will stay home, carrying out the plan and putting on finishing touches while I’m gone. I appreciate his help so very much.

It’s been a busy summer, writing book three and keeping up with summer chores. The writing cycle continues, and I can’t wait to share what’s next in store for Mattie, Robo, and Cole. Best wishes, and thank you for your interest in the Timber Creek K-9 mysteries!

Q&A with Scott Graham

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Scott Graham is the author of the National Park Mystery Series, featuring archaeologist Chuck Bender. The series includes Canyon Sacrifice, set in Grand Canyon National Park; Mountain Rampage, set in Rocky Mountain National Park; and Yellowstone Standoff, set in Yellowstone National Park. I love outdoor mysteries, and this series ranks among my favorites. It’s my pleasure to host a short chat with Scott Graham on my blog today.

 

What great settings you’ve chosen for your mysteries, and doing research in a national park must be a treat. How did you come up with the concept for the National Park Mystery series?

 

Scott:  As self-professed national park groupies, my parents piled my three siblings and me into our Ford Galaxy 500 station wagon and set off to explore a new batch of Western parks each summer. A generation later, my wife and I enjoyed raising our sons the same way in the West.

When I made the switch from nonfiction to writing mysteries, it made sense to set my series in places I knew and loved—the United States’ best idea, our national parks.

And yes, visiting various parks to conduct “research” (using the term very loosely) for my mysteries is a real treat, and has proven a great way for my wife and me to rediscover, as empty-nesters, the magic of our national parks all over again.

 

Your recent release, Yellowstone Standoff, is a terrific mixture of science, landscapes, and mayhem that absolutely captivated my attention. What drew you to the particular aspects of Yellowstone National Park featured in Standoff?

 

Scott:  I focus on what I find to be a particularly fascinating aspect of each national park I write about, one I hope my readers will find fascinating as well. For Canyon Sacrifice, book one in my series, that aspect was the early settlement by ancient Indian tribes in some of the deepest and most remote parts of the Grand Canyon. For Mountain Rampage, book two in the series, two aspects of Rocky Mountain National Park captivated me so much I wanted to write about them both—the history of hard-rock mining in and near the park, and current problems with poaching in Rocky Mountain National Park and other national parks.

I knew from the start that Yellowstone National Park’s top-of-the-food-chain predators, grizzly bears and gray wolves, would play lead roles in Yellowstone Standoff. Setting the murder-mystery aspect of Standoff among a group of young scientists working out of a group camp deep in the Yellowstone wilderness was based on my love of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None—a group of people separated from society with an unknown murderer on the loose among them.

The various areas of science that drive the plot of Yellowstone Standoff are based on fact but include plenty of fictionalization as well. I will say, however, that the seemingly outlandish bit of science that drives the climax and resolution of the plot is based directly on work being conducted today in a number of laboratories around the world.

 

You’re described as an amateur archaeologist. How did this avocation influence the development of your archaeologist character, Chuck Bender?

 

Scott:  I was raised in Durango, Colorado, among the ancient ruins of the Ancestral Puebloans, also known as the Anasazi Indians, who disappeared from the area a thousand years ago. I’m one of many Durangoans who enjoy archaeological-site exploration in the Four Corners region as an intellectually fulfilling avocation, one my parents shared with me, and my wife and I shared with our sons.

Having selected national parks as the setting for my mystery series, I needed a vocation that would take my protagonist, via work contracts, from one national park to another. I also wanted a vocation for my protagonist that readers would find interesting, and one that would place my protagonist outdoors, where my mysteries play out. Making a professional archaeologist of Chuck Bender fulfilled all those needs and enabled me to research and write about the world of archaeology in the western United States, a source of endless fascination to me and, I hope, to my readers.

 

I was intrigued by the archaeological find that brings Chuck Bender to Yellowstone. Was this find inspired by fact or pure fiction?

 

Scott:  The find Chuck is contracted to study in Yellowstone Standoff is based entirely on fact.

In researching Standoff, I spoke with a number of young scientists working in Yellowstone National Park. One of the young scientists with whom I spoke studied exactly the sort of find described in Standoff—ancient, woven reed baskets that have melted out of a glacier in Yellowstone as a result of the park’s glaciers receding with the onset of climate change.

I did change the location of the find in Standoff, moving it close enough to Yellowstone Lake to be accessible to Chuck and his family.

 

What other projects are you working on?

 

Scott:  I’m writing Yosemite Fall, book four in the National Park Mystery Series for Torrey House Press. It is scheduled for release in June 2017. As might be surmised from the title, Yosemite Fall features plenty of climbing (and falling) action in Yosemite Valley, as well as those crazy wingsuit fliers who jump off the cliffs and glide down into the valley.

 

What is your biggest national park pet peeve?

 

Scott:  Our national parks truly are “America’s best idea.” I’m a champion of the thousands of park staffers and employees who dedicate their professional lives to protecting and preserving our parks for future generations.

My only park pet peeve is that, as a regular visitor to national parks across the West, I’ve seen the damage ongoing federal funding cuts are doing to our national treasures. Our parks deserve—and require—our support as owners and taxpayers.

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SCOTT GRAHAM is the author of seven books, including Canyon Sacrifice and Mountain Rampage, books one and two in the National Park Mystery Series from Torrey House Press, and Extreme Kids, winner of the National Outdoor Book Award. Like most visitors to America’s first national park, Graham was awestruck by Yellowstone as a child. His fascination with the park has continued in the years since, with numerous visits to Yellowstone’s geyser- and wildlife-filled front country and its incomparable wilderness. Graham is an avid outdoorsman and amateur archaeologist who enjoys mountaineering, skiing, hunting, rock climbing, and whitewater rafting with his wife, who is an emergency physician, and their two sons. He lives in Durango, Colorado.

Q&A with Mark Stevens

 

 

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I’m pleased to host this interview with Mark Stevens, the award winning author of the Allison Coil mystery series. Trapline, third book in the series, won the 2015 Colorado Book Award for best mystery and the 2015 Colorado Authors League Award in genre fiction. Book four, Lake of Fire, was selected as a finalist for the 2016 Colorado Book Award. I’ve read and enjoyed all of Mark’s books, and I hope you’ll enjoy our chat.

 

Where did you get the idea for your Allison Coil mystery series?

Mark: From the back of a mule. His name was Eli. My wife and I were on a day-long ride in the Flat Tops Wilderness (north of Glenwood Springs, southeast of Meeker) and we were being led by a compelling woman. She was enthusiastic about the Flat Tops and knowledgeable about every aspect of her environment, from the geology to every tree and plant around. Then, she casually mentioned that she also worked as a hunting guide in the fall and I immediately thought she might make for the basis of a good character.

 

How did you choose the Colorado setting for your stories?

Mark: Well, the setting and the character were handed to me in one fell swoop. I really think, in a way, that they were a package deal. The Flat Tops are so distinctly different than anywhere else in Colorado—and they make a great setting because of the rich wildlife in the area and because of the mood they set. It’s a serene area and because it’s wilderness, it’s only open to humans on foot and horses; no mountain bikes or any motorized vehicles of any kind. Also, there aren’t too many books set (that I am aware) in Glenwood Springs and Meeker and when Allison isn’t up in the woods she has to deal with stuff in one of those two “big cities.” Western Colorado is a fascinating place; it’s full of change and plenty of issues.

 

Wildfire in the Colorado high country raises the tension in Lake of Fire. Why did you decide to challenge Allison and her friends with not only murder, but also forest fire?

Mark: One of the themes in Lake of Fire is climate change. More importantly, I suppose, the underlying theme is whether we are going to work together to do something about climate change or just all go our own way. Colorado has been home to some spectacular fires over the past decades and it seemed natural to put a big one smack on Allison’s precious Flat Tops Wilderness, where there have been major fires. In 2002, the Big Fish Fire scorched 17,000 acres, including around Trapper’s Lake, and it’s impossible to imagine it won’t happen again. Finally, if you’ve ever been camping with me you would know I like a good size fire. So it was fun to light one in fiction, too.

 

 

Those of us who belong to Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers appreciate the support you give the organization, Mark, and that appreciation is reflected in your nomination for RMFW 2016 Writer of the Year. Have you found participation in this type of organization helpful to your writing career and if so, why?

Mark: Invaluable. Read my lips: I would not have gotten published without RMFW. And I’m still learning. All the time. I have made so many invaluable connections through RMFW and received help on every aspect of the business—from the writing to editing to marketing and other aspects of the business. Sure, you can go it alone out there but I really believe you’ll get there faster with friends by your side.

 

What other projects do you have going on?

Mark: I just finished the first draft of the fifth book in the series. I also recently co-authored a short story with my friend Dean Wyant that will be published in the next RMFW anthology. I have two stories in another anthology called “Blood Business” from Hex Publishing that comes out in 2017. One story in that collection I wrote and the second is also co-authored with Dean Wyant and picks up with the same character from the RMFW collection. Finally, I’m starting to think about a non-Allison Coil standalone that I’ll turn my attention to as soon as my agent is happy with the fifth Allison Coil.

 

 

What advice can you give writers who are just getting started?

Mark: Write every day. No matter what else you’ve got going on, write as much as possible. A few paragraphs will do. A page is great. It adds up. Go to workshops and sign up for classes. Read as much as you can. Go to book-related events. Get to know writers. Make friends with writers. Get feedback. Be open to feedback, but stand up for your vision of storytelling choices, too. Make it fun for yourself. It’s art. Get words on the page and then start reshaping, reworking, rebuilding. You don’t know what the story is until you’ve written it and then can step back and take a fresh look.

 

 

Mark Stevens

Mark Stevens is the Denver-based author of the Allison Coil Mystery Series—Antler Dust, Buried by the Roan, Trapline and Lake of Fire. The series, set in the Flat Tops Wilderness of Western Colorado, has drawn upbeat reviews from The Denver Post, Kirkus Reviews, Mystery Scene Magazine, and more. Kirkus Reviews called Lake of Fire “irresistible.” Stevens is a president of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and hosts a regular podcast for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. He also belongs to Western Writers of America, Colorado Authors League and Sisters in Crime. Stevens spent 20 years in journalism (The Christian Science Monitor, Rocky Mountain News, MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour and The Denver Post) before starting a career in public relations.

Q&A with Bonnie Hearn Hill

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Bonnie Hearn Hill is the author of the Kit Doyle mystery series, and I’m pleased to host an interview with her on my blog today. Her second book in the series, GOODBYE FOREVER, will be released June 1, 2016. I’ve read it and thought it was absolutely terrific: a fast, suspense-filled read. I hope you’ll enjoy this interview as well as a copy of Bonnie’s new book!

 

GOODBYE FOREVER is the second book in your Kit Doyle mystery series. Please tell us a little bit about it.

Bonnie: Kit, my protagonist, is a true-crime blogger and Sacramento radio host who goes underground to find her husband’s niece, a runaway. This was influenced by an article I read years ago about two teens who disappeared from the same apartment building. I started playing the what-if game and began wondering what would happen if two or more young people disappeared and left the same note. ​

I also interviewed friends in law enforcement regarding why kids run away. Most were not the kind of stories I wanted to write. Then I remembered another book I had thought about writing, and I combined those ideas.

Will there be more Kit Doyle mysteries?

Bonnie: I’m writing I WISH YOU MISSED ME, the third Kit Doyle, right now. It will publish next year. After what happened to her in GOODBYE FOREVER, I couldn’t imagine poor Kit wanting to do anything other than heal, but then she hasn’t counted on what happens next.  ​
I really enjoyed the suspense created when Kit went undercover as a teenage runaway. Do you have a special interest in this subject?

Bonnie: My interest in camps for “disturbed” kids was part of what influenced this book. I heard some alarming stories about children who had been put in such camps, and I also spoke to parents and teens with firsthand experience. Again, the what-if game kicked in.

What roles do you like your secondary characters to play?

Bonnie: Kit and I are similar in that we lead relatively ordinary lives surrounded by extraordinary people. Secondary characters are tough because I tend to fall in love with mine, and then they think they can take over the book. Virgie, the runaway in GOODBYE FOREVER, plays only a small part in that book, but she stayed with me, and I kept wondering what would happen to her. Although Kit and I are nothing alike, we do share a trait of wanting to save the world (although I’m getting better at knowing how futile that is), and Kit does want a better life for Virgie. Why does Virgie resist? In I WISH YOU MISSED ME, Virgie is back, and I’m forcing her to remember that she is a secondary character, not the protagonist. I also like John Paul Nathan, the former cop who is on the air with Kit and her friend Farley. Both of these men intrigue me in their own way–as they do Kit–and I have to be careful not to let them take over. They are both strong personalities, and they would love to do just that.

What else have you written?

Bonnie: Six suspense novels for MIRA Books, four young-adult novels, a novel with my husband, Larry Hill (about the star-crossed love affair of pre-Elvis singer Johnnie Ray and columnist/What’s My Line TV panelist Dorothy Kilgallen), and some nonfiction, including a book on writing with my good friend Christopher Allan Poe.​ I also have an unpublished Kit Doyle book that is a prequel to the series.
What part of writing a book do you enjoy most and what part least?

​Bonnie: I love it all, even when I hate it, and I can’t imagine doing anything else.​

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California author Bonnie Hearn Hill’s fifteenth novel, Goodbye Forever, will publish in the UK and the United States in 2016. It will be followed in 2017, by I Wish You Missed Me. A national conference speaker and mentor to writers, she writes suspense that deals with social justice themes. Huelga, a film set during the Delano Grape Strike of 1965 and based on one of her books, is currently in pre-production.

Using the Enneagram to Develop Characters

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Guest Blog Hosted by Killer Nashville

We all have different methods of analysis to make sense of the human mind—both the one we live in, and the ones we create when writing. When writing her new series, author Margaret Mizushima turned to the inside-out character development of the Enneagram personality types for her leads. Whether you’re an armchair psychologist or a personology neophyte, you’ll find Margaret’s thought process full of valuable character creation techniques for your own work.

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RT BOOK REVIEWS CONVENTION 2016

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I can’t believe I’m here in Las Vegas celebrating with my agent (Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary Management) and publicist (Julia Borcherts of Kaye Publicity). What a journey this has been—from meeting Matt Martz of Crooked Lane Books at a conference in 2014, to signing my first book contract, to the release of KILLING TRAIL. This pathway led to the reason I’m here: KILLING TRAIL was nominated for an RT Reviewer’s Choice award for Best First Mystery. So thrilling! The book did not win the award, but that little fact didn’t diminish our excitement.

 

It’s a funny thing about awards. I never expected my debut to be recognized with one and was surprised and overwhelmed with gratitude when nominated. I got my hopes up that I might win, but when I learned I didn’t, I was even more grateful for the nomination. During the past months I’ve learned that it’s all something to celebrate—each step along the way—from completing a manuscript, to getting an agent, to finding an editor and publisher, to releasing the finished book, to having a reader say, “I loved it!” And I’m so grateful for the RT Reviewers who connect readers and authors in so many different genres. They do great work.

 

One of my writing friends said, “It’s a long, slow journey; enjoy every step.” Great advice! And I intend to follow it.