I’m so honored to have Award-Winning Author Kim Cresswell giving of her time for this interview. Kim and I have been friends on Facebook for quite some time, so I figured it was time to let her share with us what makes her tick as an author, and how she creates her exciting Thriller, Suspense, and True Crime novels.
First, here’s a little background: Kim resides in Ontario, Canada. Trained as a legal assistant, Kim has been a story-teller all her life but took many detours including; working in legal and adult education before returning to her first love, writing.
Her debut romantic suspense Reflection (A Whitney Steel Novel – Book One) has won numerous awards: RomCon®’s 2014 Readers’ Crown Finalist (Romantic Suspense), InD’tale Magazine 2014 Rone Award Finalist (Suspense/Thriller), UP Authors Fiction Challenge Winner (2013), Silicon Valley’s Romance Writers of America (RWA) “Gotcha!” Romantic Suspense Winner (2004), Honourable Mention in Calgary’s Romance Writers of America (RWA) The Writer’s Voice Contest (2006).
Her book trailer for Reflection was featured on Robin Covington’s, Happy Ever After, Special for USA TODAY.
Lethal Journey was a finalist in From the Heart Romance Writers (FTHRW) Golden Gate Contest (2003) and more recently won RomCon®’s 2014 Readers’ Crown (Thriller).
Kim has published two action-packed Amazon Kindle Worlds novellas (Jet: Oblivion and Jet: Duplicity) based on Russell Blake's New York Times and USA Today Bestselling JET action/adventure series and her own characters from her Whitney Steel novels.
Her action-packed suspense thrillers have been highly praised by reviewers and readers. As one reviewer said, “Buckle up, Hang on tight!”
Kim also entered the true crime writing arena. Real Life Evil – A True Crime Quickie (two short stories) was published in January 2014. You can read more of Kim’s true crime stories in Serial Killer Quarterly, an e-publication by Grinning Man Press.
As you can see, Kim has accomplished much in her writing career. Now, let’s get to know her better.
Hi Kim, I’d like to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to drop by and allow us to get to know you better.
Thank you so much for having me on your blog today. I’m thrilled to be here, Linda.
I have to say I’m quite impressed by all the awards you’ve received for your books. Can you tell us if there is one that stands out over the others in your heart?
Thank you! The Silicon Valley’s Romance Writers of America (RWA) “Gotcha!” Romantic Suspense award stands out the most because it was my first award for my first published novel, Reflection.
By winning so many awards for your work do you ever feel extra pressure for the books you release?
I do feel extra pressure. I want each book I publish to be better than the last.
Please share with us how you develop your story ideas and your intriguing characters.
My ideas come from many places such as movies, conversations, and experiences to name a few. Once an idea smacks me in the side of the head...so it begins. I choose my character's names and their roles in the story. I know their basic details such as gender, age, and occupation etc. Next, I write the back cover blurb and the first chapter. From there my characters begin to bloom and I spend more time figuring out their wants, likes, and their backstory.
There is a vast difference between writing Thriller/Suspense and True Crime novels. Which do you find the most enjoyable and easiest to write?
Writing romantic suspense and thrillers comes naturally to me. It’s the genre I enjoy reading and writing. True crime is different. I do enjoy the change of genres but I find it more difficult to write because of the amount of research. Each detail must be correct. Due to the heinous crimes that I have written about, it’s very hard to get those facts and images out of your head at times. After finishing a true crime story, I have to take a break from writing for a few weeks to decompress and wash the story from my mind.
How important is research to you when writing a book?
Research is extremely important when writing a book to keep the details as true to life as possible. When I wrote, Reflection, I spent countless hours researching human cloning. With my two JET Kindle Worlds novellas, much of my research involved building bombs and terrorist groups.
Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?
I’m definitely a plotter. I outline chapter by chapter then scene by scene.
I’ve spoken to several authors who said their first book seemed to take forever to write. Did you ever think you would be unable to finish your first novel?
Honestly, I never thought I’d finish my first book, Reflection. It took me over six years to complete. I struggled with the story because when I write I take on many sub-plots and of course each sub-plot needs a beginning, middle and end. Every thread must come full circle. There were many complicated mini-stories buried within the main story which honestly gave me fits.
Have you ever used something that happened to you in real life in any of your novels?
I can’t say I ever have.
If you had to choose a favorite character out of one of your books, who would it be and why?
My favorite character is Whitney Steel from Reflection and Retribution. I love her strength and determination. She’s an investigative report who doesn’t back down from anything or anyone even if it may cost her her life. She's pretty good at kicking butt too!
Have you ever turned a dream or a nightmare into a written piece?
Definitely! I have a new four book supernatural thriller series plotted out for 2017. The first book in the series is called Deadly Shadow. The idea came from a terrifying dream. For months the dream bothered me so much. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I didn’t understand the meaning. Then suddenly I realized what I was supposed to do with the details — the perfect scenario for the story's villain, a serial killer so heinous, he will shock even the most unflinching readers.
What advice would you like to give writers who are struggling with their first novels?
My advice…keep writing! Get it down. A sentence, a paragraph, a page. It doesn’t matter. Just keep writing because eventually, all those words add up.
Can you tell us about your current project?
Presently, I’m working on the third Whitney Steel novel, RESURRECT.
Would you mind sharing a brief sample?
I’d love to. Whitney Steel is back! Here is an exclusive first look at Resurrect (A Whitney Steel Novel – Book Three). Enjoy!
After two prominent scientists working at separate privately owned BSL-4 labs in Nevada and Texas are found murdered, no one makes the connection until investigative reporter, Whitney Steel, receives a lead pointing to a plot to unleash a biological attack using a new chimera virus known as “Resurrect”
But when Whitney begins to unravel the truth as to who is behind the threat, enemies far and near surface, and a shocking discovery into the past changes her life forever in a race against the clock to stop the strike before thousands of innocent lives are lost.
Dr. Matthew Fielding estimated he had six days to live.
He doubted he’d make it that long. Not judging by the harsh glint in the dark eyes staring at him through the clear visor. Inside the barren warehouse, the man wore a blue positive-pressure suit with its own air supply and clutched a gun awkwardly in his rubber-gloved hand. The spaceman-like suit would protect the man. For Fielding, on the other hand, it was already too late. Sweat trickled down the sides of his face, and his body trembled.
It had begun.
The high fever and chills were only the beginning. Soon, he’d experience the worst headache of his life, muscle and abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. Already, his internal organs burned as if set on fire, the pain insufferable. An hour ago, he’d noted a purplish-red maculopapular rash on his chest and shoulders, followed by a five-minute nosebleed.
“Do you have it?”
Fielding coughed, then nodded. “They’re going to know the sample is missing.”
“I’m planning on it.” The man pointed the gun at a gray chest on a metal table against the brick wall. “Put the vial in there.”
Fielding lifted his shaking hand and pulled out a glass tube from his shirt pocket. He walked across the room, his legs weak and wobbly, and pressed the red button on the portable refrigeration unit.
The lid hissed open, and he placed the tube inside. He eyed a second sample already in the unit. Worry worked through his body. “What do you plan on doing with these? It’s not as if I’ll be around to find out. We both know that.”
The man waved the gun. “Close the lid.”
He did as ordered and heard the suction of the vacuum seal, confirming the component was secure. Whatever the man was planning, it wasn’t good. He’d learned that two days ago, after he’d come home from work to find the man in his home, threatening to kill his wife and daughter if he didn’t do exactly as instructed. He’d had no choice. He would sacrifice himself if it meant keeping his family safe.
“Thanks to you, a new chimera virus. Just think about how much you have helped us today.”
It was much worse than he thought. The man had what he needed: two different micro-organisms containing the necessary genes to replicate and create a new pandemic. Nausea boiled in his gut, and the room spun. He seized the edge of the table to steady himself and closed his eyes until the dizziness subsided.
He had worked in Nevada at Flatiron Sargasso Laboratories for the past fifteen years, one of only two privately-run CDC/USDA registered BSL-4 labs in the United States, researching some of the most dangerous pathogens in the world: smallpox, Marburg, Ebola, dengue and yellow fevers.
Fielding knew what the man was up to. He just didn’t know the target’s identity. Nor did he know which terrorist group the man belonged to, whether foreign or domestic. Not that it mattered, because he wasn’t walking out of the warehouse alive. He erupted into a coughing fit, his throat dry and raw. He yanked a crumpled handkerchief out of his pants pocket and wiped his mouth. Blood soaked the white cloth, indicating hemorrhaging had started. He noticed the two new large bruises on the outside of his hands and wrists caused by the bleeding under his skin.
Fear paralyzed his limbs.
If the man didn’t kill him first, shock, delirium, and kidney failure would put him in a coma, followed by an agonizing death. Either way, he was a goner...
When do you expect its release?
I’m hoping to release Resurrect in December or early January. Who knows? It might even be sooner. <grin>
Okay, last question. What is your ultimate goal as a writer?
My ultimate goal as a writer is to entertain readers. It's a deep need to tell an entertaining story where the reader travels along. I want to yank at your heart strings, scare you, make you gasp, bring you to tears, and keep you thinking about the story and characters long after you read, “The End”. If I can do that, I’m happy.
I’d like to thank you for spending this time and allowing us to get to know you better.
Thank you again for having me, Linda. It’s been a blast!
As you can see Kim is not only a talented author but is an all-around nice person. I hope that you will not only check out her books but also follow her on social media.
Audiobooks - Reflection (A Whitney Steel Novel – Book one) is now available at Audible, iTunes, and Amazon.
Watch the Book Trailer for Reflection (A Whitney Steel Novel – Book One)
**Retribution (A Whitney Steel Novel – Book Two) is coming soon to Audible!