Nike Chillemi is very good at slapping my writing wrist. She’s a long-time critique partner who asks the probing questions and tells it to me straight. I try to do the same for her, though on this latest release, I didn’t have to work so hard. Besides her “deadly” wrist-rapping ability, she’s pretty skilled at suspense.
I enjoyed working on Deadly Designs. For one thing, I loved the characters. Since this is the second novel featuring Ronnie Ingles and Dawson Hughes, they felt like family, and I was happy to be along for the ride. I posed a few questions for Nike, just so I could feature her second book in the series on my blog. Here’s how it went:
For those readers who may not know, how did Veronica “Ronnie” Ingles first meet Dawson Hughes?
Ronnie and Dawson met in the first novel in the series, HARMFUL INTENT. Ronnie’s husband has been cheating on her in Abilene, Texas. Immediately after this sassy Brooklyn, NY private investigator arrives in west Texas and confronts him, he’s murdered. Handsome Deputy Hughes isn’t convinced this heavily-armed city gal didn’t kill her husband.
How did you come up with your idea for this series?
The series has been writing itself. The concept keeps enlarging. It started out quite small, as a writing challenge for a short story, of all things. The objective was to take a character and place them somewhere uncomfortable to them and then stress them even more. I took city gal Ronnie Ingels, plopped her in west Texas and then have her virtually accused of killing her cheating husband. The short story grew to 55,000 words, then to a full-length novel at 81,000 words.
Tell us about your favorite place to write.
As far as a favorite place to write…I have my computer desk. We live in a two-floor, three bedroom, brick, attached-house in Brooklyn. A three bedroom house in the city isn’t as large as one in the suburbs or in a rural area, and our lot is tiny. I’m a NYC gal, just like my heroine Ronnie. My writing space is my desk…that’s it. A great deal has come out of this little ‘creative’ space.
Tell us a bit about Deadly Designs.
Private investigator Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels teams up with Deputy Dawson Hughes to find a geeky radio broadcaster’s missing wife and young daughter. They fear the woman and child were taken by Islamic terrorists as revenge against the husband’s pro-Israel, conspiracy theory broadcasts. The investigation takes Ronnie and Hughes from a manicured Connecticut estate, to interviews with an elitist A-List society crowd, and run-ins with cranky local police detectives. Then they plunge deep into the seamy, drug-riddled underbelly of the fashion world, with the specter of international terrorism hovering.
Hughes has recently been promoted to lieutenant in the Taylor County, Texas Sheriff’s Department. He’s on leave on a special assignment with Authorized Operations (AO), a clandestine, quasi-government agency operating out of a sea-side mansion in Hither Hills, NY. The only thing is, many powerful politicians, and government big-wigs claim Authorized Operations doesn’t exist.
Ronnie is furious at both Hughes and the broadcaster for waiting thirty-six hours to start the search. She knows the longer it takes, the less chance there is of finding the child alive. The problem is, radio talk-show host Ed Harper has been hoping-against-hope that his pot-smoking, model wife is on one of her ‘esoteric experiences’ and has simply taken the child while she romps for a few days. He doesn’t want to seriously consider the other, more hazardous possibility… that his radio broadcasts have angered some very dangerous people.
What’s up next for Ronnie and Dawson? Are you stopping at a trilogy?*
The third novel in the series is BLOOD SPEAKS. Ronnie and Dawson have become engaged to be married. Ronnie and her two gal-pals (from the first two books in the series) are on a bridal shopping spree. Ronnie thinks she’s finally arrives at a threshold in her life where nothing will spoil things. Hmm, then there’s a murder. And naturally the killer begins stalking Ronnie and her bridesmaids. This one has a political spin on it. *See next question for answer to second part.
Do you have any other works (or ideas) in process you can tell us about?
In DEADLY DESIGNS, I introduce all the heroes in this extended series. One of them is Dr. Dimitri Garmonin, forensics psychologist for the NYPD. He is the hero in book four. There will be three novels with this charming profiler and the lovely lady cop he can’t get off his mind. This will be a ‘law enforcement couples’ series. At this time I’m planning for twelve novels in all. Main characters from one trilogy may turn up in another trilogy as secondary or minor characters.
More about Nike Chillemi
Like so many writers, Nike Chillemi started writing at a very young age. She still has the Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned (colored 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.
Nike is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and is its Chair, a reader’s choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She has been a judge in the 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories; and an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category. Her four novel Sanctuary Point series, set in the mid-1940s has finaled, won an award, and garnered critical acclaim. HARMFUL INTENT released under the auspices of her own publishing company, Crime Fictionista Press, won in the Grace Awards 2014 Mystery/Thriller/Romantic Suspense/Historic Suspense category. Her new release is DEADLY DESIGNS. She has written book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and John 3:16 Marketing Network. http://nikechillemi.wordpress.com/
For more information and to buy the book ⇒Deadly Designs