The FALL BOOK BASH is still going strong! Nike Chillemi is with us today to answer a couple questions about her writing and to share an excerpt from DEADLY DESIGNS. She is definitely on my list of favorite mystery authors and her resume is pretty awesome.
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.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Nike: Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels, the heroine in DEADLY DESIGNS, is a terrific gal. Nobody could want a better or more loyal friend. However, she can be trying and annoying. She’s got a lot of baggage and is socially inept. This comes from her dad having been openly and repeatedly unfaithful to her mom when Ronnie was a pre-teen. Then he divorced her mom and married his secretary. This was not only humiliating for Ronnie and her mom; it left them struggling in poverty. With great effort and determination, Ronnie was able to finish school, go to college, and make a career for herself as a private investigator. She’s got a sassy sense of humor and shoots off zingers to her friends and associates.
Nike: I like to write in the morning, but after everyone’s gone to school or to work for the day. I’m retired so that works for me. Everything is quiet then and I can totally concentrate on writing. I find I also get a second wind in the late evening. Usually, things have calmed down by then. The dishes are done and the house has settled down. That’s also a good time to write. As far as a special place to write…I have my computer desk. We live in a two-floor, three bedroom, brick, attached-house in Brooklyn. A three bedroom in the city isn’t as large as one in the suburbs or in a rural area, and our lot is tiny. My writing space is my desk…that’s it. A lot has come out of this little writing space.
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.
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.
DEADLY DESIGNS (excerpt)
Day One, Friday, Early Afternoon
Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels, Private Detective
What was wrong with Hughes? As a lawman, he had to have known better. He should’ve called in the local police a day and a half ago. What was he thinking? In a missing child case, time was essential, and they’d wasted a whole lot of precious hours.
I chewed off what was left of the pink polish on my thumb nail, gunned my Chevy Cruze Eco, and moved into the left lane on Interstate 95. In a time that now seemed distant, my late husband noted the car’s topaz-blue metallic finish matched my eyes. Of course, he’d been staring into another’s eyes, and I was the last to know about it.
When I resurfaced from my self-depreciating musing, New York State was behind me, and I-95 had become the Connecticut Turnpike. I hit the gas pedal again, but then changed my mind and slowed down. If I got pulled over for speeding that would waste even more time.
After another forty-five minutes, I bore down on the exit for Dunst. Following the instructions of the female voice on my GPS brought me to Main Street of this working-class village. It wasn’t exactly run-down, but could use some renewal in places. But, then, who was I to pass judgment? I lived in Brooklyn where the pigeons were as large as some single-engine planes and the subway rats even larger.
I made a turn onto Pequot Street and three houses later pulled into the driveway of a quaint, gray salt-box house, with miniscule front windows and a tiny garage. I parked behind a black Ford Explorer rental, and a tricked-out Harley Davidson motorcycle.
After grabbing my conceal-and-carry shoulder bag, I got out of the car, and clicked the key fob to lock the doors. When I’m driving long distances it’s more comfortable to have my Glock in a handbag than in a clip-on holster, sticking me in the side mile-after-mile.
I rang the bell and a geeky guy with squarish horn-rimmed glasses opened the door. Dawson Hughes stood several feet behind him.
A shadow passed over the man’s eyes and they narrowed. I couldn’t determine if it was confusion, or guilt and remorse. He took a faltering step back. “Um, come in, won’t you?”
I did, and marched directly to Hughes. “We’re thirty-six hours into a missing child case. Why haven’t the police been called?”
Hughes grimaced and held both hands up, palms out, in a stopping stance. “Whoa. Janus Agard notified the authorities over an hour ago.”
“I’m thrilled somebody finally decided to do something. Just who is Janus Agard, and what’s he got to do with the case?”
*** Purchase DEADLY DESIGNS ***
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