Angie Azur is a YA Sci-fi Writer.
Writer for PALEO Magazine.
Former Intern at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
SCBWI & COWG Member.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Interview with Jennifer Chase: Author of Dark Mind

I met Jennifer on Facebook. I have a dark mind, like many authors do. So the title jumped out at me. I love crime scene investigations and TV shows about criminals too. She was batting 1000 with me already. I had to know more about her.

I reached out by sending her a message and she responded with a thank you and a yes to being interviewed! 

As you read on, you'll learn why Jennifer is a success. She's walked the walk and talked the talk. And, when she has questions, she investigates. 

Below are the questions I asked her:

Where do your dogs and cats hang out when you write?

The cats hang out wherever they want (aloof creatures they are) and sometimes they are in my home office curled up on the futon.

You’ll always find at least one snoring Labrador by my bare feet when I’m writing.  The dogs know that when I’m writing, especially when I’m writing a high-action scene, you don’t bother mom!  Writing is so solitary that I love the company of my four-legged friends.

Describe your writing in 5 words:

Crime, murder with a twist.

Did you ever work in the criminology field, or use your degree only for writing?

During the time when I was working on my masters in criminology and writing my thesis, I got the idea to write Compulsion.  

It was a crazy time… because I completed my first novel and finished my masters in the same year.  I don’t recommend attempting all in one year – it’ll make you nuts.  

I was all set to work in the law enforcement field, but something called me to writing and it took me on that path.  However, I do consult on cases, specifically for crime scene and behavioral evidence.  This background really helps in my writing and I feel that it gives my novels a little edge in the investigation and crime scene areas.

How many awards have you been given?

It’s been a wonderful honor to have received two distinct awards for two of my books. 

DEAD GAME received a bronze medal award for Thriller and SILENT PARTNER received a silver medal award for Suspense from Readers Favorite.  

At the beginning of July, I just found out that my latest novel DARK MIND is a finalist for Fiction/Action from Readers Favorite and a semi-finalist in Mystery/Thriller from Best Indie Books 2012.    

What is the oddest thing a reader has asked you about your books?

I once had a reader ask me if I physically measured how my crime scenes are going to work before I write them, for the evidence, body position, etc.  

I thought it was an odd question, but I love the enthusiasm and attention to detail from an avid reader.  I think about that question every time I write any crime scene now.

What time do you get up and what do you eat for breakfast?

I treat my writing schedule like a typical work day at the office – it helps to keep me balanced with plenty of sleep.  

I’m up by 7:00am, feed the animals and drink a glass of water with a squeeze of lemon.  My favorite quick high-protein breakfast is usually two soft-boiled eggs, fruit (love mangoes when in season), lean bacon or chicken, and a piece of non-gluten toast.  I have to eat a good breakfast otherwise my battery runs out too quickly and because my lunch is generally light.      

Do you ever creep yourself out when you write about crime?
   don’t really get creeped out per se, but what happens to me is that I hold my breath when I’m writing a tense scene about serial killers.  

  When I know that I have to write these types of scenes I make sure that I take plenty of breaks to give myself a rest – and breathe.

Which character has become your favorite and why?
  It would be easy for me to say Emily Stone because she’s the main character in the series, but I love my quirky, out-spoken supporting character Jordan Smith.  

   He’s a character that Emily meets in DEAD GAME and he’s been a recurring character ever since.  He’s one of those characters that says exactly what’s on his mind and he has boundless energy, even when it’s not appropriate.  I guess he’s the comic relief in a very tense crime story. 

Ever use your ties to the cops to get out of a ticket?
Not sure if I should answer this question… but I will say that I’ve never received a speeding ticket in my life.

Who is your biggest fan?
  That’s easy, my husband is my biggest fan.  

   He’s always been there for me and is constantly cheering me on.  He’s not much of a fiction reader, but he did read DARK MIND and enjoyed it.  His words were that he thought I wrote the fight scenes extremely well.

Where do you go for the best cup of Joe?
   Don’t laugh – but I don’t drink coffee.  It’s true, I can’t stand java, but I do like Chai lattes.  My favorite place is a coffee house called Surf City Coffee, and I’ve heard their coffee is good too.

Any words of advice for fellow writers?

  There’s a lot of writing advice out there, but my advice is to write, write, and write.  

  Write what you love, and not what you think you should write, or what someone tells you that you should write.  Stay true to your craft and you’ll be amazed at what can happen. 

What one word best describes you?

Have you taken any self-defense classes?
   My inspiration for my first novel COMPULSION actually came from the experience of living next door to a violent psychopath.  This person threatened my life, sometimes daily, for more than two years. 

  Now, I’ve got you thinking!  

  At one point, I hired a personal trainer who trained me in kickboxing and self-defense techniques.  I wanted to be able to defend myself if this neighbor actually tried to hurt or kill me.  I learned helpful moves if I had to fight someone in hand-to-hand combat – it was a great experience of confidence building. 

  Also, this experience helped my heroine Emily Stone in her own predicaments. 

What’s your favorite thing about being a published author? The worst?

I love being a published author and having the freedom to write crime fiction.  It’s amazing to see my books on a book shelf, but at the same time it’s thrilling to know that readers are enjoying my books and waiting for the next one.  

The worst is thinking that terrible “what if” I can’t write another book or “what if” everyone hates it.  I try to push any negative thoughts from my mind and push forward.  Besides, what’s the worst that can happen?

What do you think about e-books and the publishing world today?
  I think e-books are an incredible way to have access to books and to become published.  It’s a wave that’s not showing any signs of stopping.  

   I didn’t like the idea of e-books at first, but I’ve come around.  I still think there is a market for paperbacks but the ease, cost effectiveness, and endless supply of e-books has made it available to almost everyone worldwide. 

   For me personally, I read some books on my Kindle and some actual paperbacks.  

   The big publishing houses are going to have to realize that they will price their way out of the booming mass e-book market if they don’t drop their prices just a bit.   

Do you see your books becoming movies? If so, who would play your main characters?
   I love to daydream about Emily Stone hitting the big screen.  If I had to choose my dream actors, it would be Angelina Jolie as Emily Stone, Johnny Depp as Rick Lopez, Matthew McConaughey as Jordan Smith, and Christopher Walken as Samuel (serial killer from DEAD GAME).

Jennifer Chase
Award Winning Author & Criminologist


Books: Compulsion  Dead Game  Dark Mind  Silent Partner  Screenwriting

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