Q&A with authors Lars Kepler #killerfest15

Category: Author Post

Your name: Lars Kepler

Tell us about yourself: We are a husband and wife team and our real names are Alexander Ahndoril and Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril.

We were writers in our own names long before Lars Kepler. So we knew by experience that writing is one of the loneliest professions in the World. When we came up with the idea to write together we had been married 15 years and had three daughters.

We have always loved to do things together and thought it would be great to share the process of writing as well. But it was a lot more difficult than we had imagined. We made some serious attempts to write together that didn’t work out at all. We started to argue about everything – from literary style to plot – and we put so much individual prestige into every sentence. The result was almost no words, just fights. But we couldn’t accept the failure. We wanted to make a last try and came up with a strategy. We created a totally new author – Lars Kepler – and stated to write a crime novel about a skilful hypnotist. And suddenly our conflict was over. Maybe it sounds strange, but this was exactly what we needed. From this moment, writing together has been an absolute pleasure. It’s just fantastic.

Tell us about your latest book: The Sandman. It’s about Jurek Walter, Sweden’s most prolific serial killer. Jurek Walter is serving a life sentence. Kept in solitary confinement, he is still considered extremely dangerous by psychiatric staff. He’ll lull you into a sense of calm.

Mikael knows him as ‘the sandman’. Seven years ago, he was taken from his bed along with his sister. They are both presumed dead. Walter has one target left.

When Mikael is discovered on a railway line, close to death, the hunt begins for his sister. To get to the truth, Detective Inspector Joona Linna will need to get closer than ever to the man who stripped him of a family; the man who wants Linna dead.

When did you start writing? Alexander has been a writer for more than two decades; he debuted with a novel when he was only 20 years old. Alexandra used to work as an actress in the theatre, but started to write historical novels in 2003. But it wasn’t until 2009 that we started writing thrillers as Lars Kepler.

Where do you write? We have a totally white study in our apartment in downtown Stockholm and an identical study in our house on one of the islands of the archipelago of Stockholm. We’re always writing side by side on two iMacs and are constantly emailing each other.

Which other authors do you admire? We read a lot and we like many writers from different genres. We admire and respect every author who writes with his or her heart. Right now, we are both into Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, which is twisted and fantastic.

Book you wished you’d written? Anything by Dostoyevsky, Rilke and Joseph Conrad.

Greatest fictional criminal: Maybe Jim Moriarty played by Andrew Scott.

Greatest crime or criminal from the real world: We only enjoy the fictional ones.

What scares you? Our own books often scare us. Alexandra is always having nightmares during the writing process. But in the real world, we are scared by war, lack of mercy and how easily people can become monsters in certain situations.

Are you ever disturbed by your own imagination? To have a vivid imagination is crucial for a writer. But sometimes we wish we weren’t that good at imagining everything dangerous that could happen. There is always a period in our writing when we have nightmares every night.

Do you listen to music when you write? No, we just listen to the sound of our fingers on the keyboard of our computers (and Alexander whispering in a creepy way when the characters’ talk).

Are you on social media? Yes, www.larskepler.com and Lars Kepler also has a Facebook page.

How can fans connect with you? We always read and update our Facebook page where readers all over the world contact us. We try to answer everybody ourselves (even if it sometimes takes some time).

Q&A with author Jilliane Hoffman @jillianehoffman #killerfest15

Category: Author Post

Your name: Jilliane Hoffman

Tell us about yourself: I was born and raised on Long Island, just outside New York City. I left NY after law school to take a position with the Miami Dade State Attorney’s Office in Miami as an assistant state attorney. I was a felony criminal prosecutor for five years in Miami, and then the Regional Legal Counsel for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for another five before leaving to write my first thriller, Retribution, which is the first in the CJ Townsend series. I have written five other thrillers to date: Last Witness (a CJ Townsend thriller), Plea of Insanity, Pretty Little Things and The Cutting Room (the final instalment in the Cupid/CJ Townsend thrillogy).  My novels are inspired by the criminal cases that I have investigated and prosecuted.

Tell us about your latest book: My latest is a standalone thriller entitled All the Little Pieces.

Pretty, sweet Faith Saunders lives a quiet, unassuming life that from the outside looking in, most people would find enviable. She is a loving wife, mom, sister, daughter. She owns a cupcake bakery with her best friend that is thriving, her handsome husband is a rising star at his law firm and they do well financially, and Faith herself is well respected in the small South Florida community in which she lives and works.

But Faith’s unassuming, enviable life is about to change.

Driving home from her sister’s late at night in the middle of a violent rainstorm, with her four- year-old daughter asleep in the backseat, Faith makes a wrong turn and gets lost in the maze of rural roads that wind through the sugar cane fields of Central Florida. Mentally exhausted, running low on gas and missing her cell phone, she pulls over to wait for the worst of the storm to pass and unintentionally dozes off.

She awakens in a nightmare.

A distraught young woman is banging on her window for help. Behind her is a nefarious stranger dressed all in black. In a split second Faith must make a decision that will affect all of their lives forever.

I don’t like to give too much away about my thrillers, because I really try to write in lots of twists and turns and I hope that every chapter leaves my readers gasping for breath and frantically turning pages to start the next one. So I am intentionally vague. Suffice it to say, this is just the intro to All the Little Pieces: the roller coaster ride starts after Faith makes her decision.

When did you start writing? I quit my job with FDLE in 2001 to write my first thriller, Retribution. Inspired by a serial rapist I prosecuted with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, the premise for Retribution was conceived in the courtroom and ultimately developed into a full-blown idea for a novel during my career with FDLE. I had to get it out on paper and it was hard to balance a full- time job in law enforcement, being a mom to two little girls and trying my hand at writing a novel.  So I quit my job and concentrated on excising that great, complicated, thrilling plot out of my head. After Retribution’s success, I just kept on writing, as I said earlier, inspired by the many cases I worked and criminals I encountered in my ten years in law enforcement.

Where do you write? Everywhere. I have a laptop, so I generally start out at my local coffee shop, Brew, order a skinny vanilla latte and settle in for a few hours. When I am home, I head for the dining room, although I have an office upstairs.

Which other authors do you admire? I love John Grisham, Thomas Harris, Ann Rule, James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell, Gillian Flynn, Tess Gerritsen, Karin Slaughter, Nelson DeMille, Jeffrey Deaver, Stephen King and John Le Carre. I like novels that keep you up all night, flipping pages, and when you are finished you can’t turn off the light because you are too scared. I also love novels where you learn a little about something you didn’t know: diseases, conditions, ailments, psychology.

Book you wished you’d written? The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. It’s one of my favourites. I love the plot and I love the writing style. Another book would be Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, a true crime novel that reads like a fictional thriller.

Greatest fictional criminal: Hannibal Lecter

Greatest crime or criminal from the real world: Great question. There are some twisted, twisted serial killers that I would not use the word ‘greatest’ to describe, like Ted Bundy, Dennis Radar, Gary Ridgeway. I think they might get the vote for most revolting and possibly intriguing criminals, though. I would love to climb inside their heads and see what makes them think the way they do. I don’t admire them, though, just to be clear.

What scares you? Unlocked doors. Sociopaths. Terrorists. Having worked in law enforcement for so long I know what people are capable of and I have seen the damage first hand. There are a lot of things and situations that raise the hair on my neck. All I’ll say is: lock the door, set the alarm, check your rear view and don’t walk alone at night. It’s always better to prevent a crime then clean up the aftermath.

Are you ever disturbed by your own imagination? Surprisingly, no. But I have been told I should be.

3 crime books you would recommend to EVERYONE:

Do you listen to music when you write? Yes. Classic rock, alternative rock and hard rock, which my daughter used to say, ‘scares me, Mommy’, when she was young. And that comment was just about the beat—I wouldn’t let her listen to the lyrics! But I only break out THAT music while I am writing certain scenes.

Are you on social media? I am, but I’m no Kardashian. I don’t tweet or post much. Drives my teenagers NUTS. I think they think it’s a sign I am old, which I am not, but the reality is, I don’t like to put too much of myself out there in public view. I tried to teach my kids that, too. In fact I wrote Pretty Little Things to scare them off Facebook at thirteen. It worked.  And then there was Instagram and Snapchat and Twitter and a host of other social media sites.

How can fans connect with you? The best way to contact me is to send me an email through my website, www.jillianehoffman.com. I try to get back to everyone and I love to hear feedback.

Q&A with author Peter James @peterjamesuk #killerfest15

Category: Author Post

Peter James author photo

Your name: Peter James

Tell us about yourself: I was born and brought up in Brighton and I now have homes in Notting Hill in London and near Brighton in Sussex. Before I became a full time novelist I worked in film – both as a producer and screenwriter.

Tell us about your latest book: You Are Dead is about Brighton’s first serial killer in 80 years – which presents a totally new challenge for Roy Grace as there is no past experience in the county to call on. In this instance the serial killer is targeting women of a certain appearance and age – as many real life serial killers have done so in the past.

When did you start writing? I wrote my first novel when I was 18. I had written three novels in total by the time I was 22 – luckily none of them have been published but they got me an agent!

Where do you write? I write in my office in Sussex and my flat in London. Over the years I’ve learnt to write anywhere – in the back of taxis, hotel rooms even on an aeroplane. In fact I finished my last novel on a plane to Singapore!

Which other authors do you admire? My favourite author is Graham Greene. He is the writer who made me want to write. I read Brighton Rock when I was 14. When I’d put it down I thought: I want to write a crime thriller set in Brighton which is 10% as good as this.  I’m also a big fan of Patricia Highsmith – I’m actually on a panel discussing her work at the Harrogate Crime Festival this year. In terms of modern writers I’d say Michael Connelly because I’m a stickler for research and Michael, who used to be a court reporter, always gets his research right.  

Book you wished you’d written? Brighton Rock. And Silence of the Lambs.  Both, in their own ways, changed the crime novel.   Brighton Rock because it broke all the UK traditions of a dead body in the first chapter, and Silence Of The Lambs which broke the tradition of good versus evil by introducing the element of bad versus evil…

Greatest fictional criminal mastermind: Gary Soneji, in the early James Patterson novels is the most evil and cleverest of all fictional characters. He’s a brilliant creation.

Greatest crime or criminal from the real world: For my latest book I did a lot of research into serial killers and the most intriguing, to me, is Ted Bundy. He worked as a lawyer for the Republican Party, he was charismatic, good looking, highly intelligent and he killed 106 female colleague students. Even when he was in the dock, a female witness got confused and mistook him as the defence attorney.

Greatest fictional detective: Sherlock Holmes. Conan Doyle invented modern forensics and placed the modern detective on the literary map.

What scares you? I am claustrophobic. For the first Roy Grace novel, Dead Simple – the play of which is currently on tour – a central character is buried alive in a coffin after a Stag Night party goes horribly wrong. Part of my research method involves fully experiencing what my characters will – short of actually dying! For Dead Simple I went into a funeral parlour and asked them to put me in a coffin for half an hour and screw the lid down so I couldn’t get out. It was a family run place and they left their doddery old grandpa to take the top off. Being in that coffin was like a worst nightmare come true and I started to worry that this old man wouldn’t drop down dead before he could let me out.

Are you ever disturbed by your own imagination? Yes. I often think that, knowing what I know, I could commit the perfect murder. I don’t think I ever would commit murder because I couldn’t live with my conscience,  but I also I believe everyone has a darker side. When I’m planning the killing of a story I have to put myself in the mind of the murderer and try to justify their actions to themselves – which is dark area to explore. During my research I’ve met several murderers and mass murderers, in and out of jail, an experience which is both intriguing and scary. I recently met Paul Teed who murdered his father, stepmother and 10 year old stepbrother in Brighton in 1985, after he was released. What fascinates crime readers and writers is examining the different between us and that human being capable of killing another.

3 crime books you would recommend to EVERYONE

Do you listen to music when you write? Yes in the evenings. I do my best writing between 6 and 10pm when I sit down with a stiff drink and some music. I begin listening to modern music – The Kinks, Van Morrison – and then move on to classical music –opera- as the evening progresses.

Are you on social media? Yes. You can follow me at @peterjamesuk. I’m also on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/peterjames.roygrace

How can fans connect with you? Twitter. Facebook. They can look at my website www.peterjames.com. They can also subscribe to my newsletter – also found on my website.