Friday, May 29, 2015

Researching the Thriller

I get asked quite a bit about what it's like to write a thriller, or how do I write a thriller. Well...it's a good question.  Out of all the genres that I do write in, I really enjoy writing a dark thriller the best. Not sure what that says about me, but it's true. I totally love 48 Hour Mysteries, Dateline, anything that involves a dark mystery.

When I sit down to write a thriller, just like anything that I write, I always start with the what if... Once I have that initial what if down, I create characters and a plot around the question. Creating a killer is daunting. Let's face it...murderers are really, really bad, heinous individuals--especially the ones that I write, and they can be exhausting to write. When I have a character semi-developed and a plot line moving along, that's when I bring in the experts. Let me just say that it is true that fact is stranger than fiction. While working on my new thriller The Preference, which is a part of the Holly Jennings series, I'm having the privilege of working with two experts. One of them is a homicide detective and I'm terribly afraid that he thinks I'm really disturbed, but every time I send him a scenario, he says, "Wow! Cool!" Okay, I'm good with that. He then challenges me as far as with questions I never thought to ask, or answers I need to really think on--things like considering blood splatter, DNA testing, how long it takes for lab tests to come back, toxicology reports, etc. I mean, sure I knew that in some ways. I couldn't have written the thrillers I currently have out there, but I want to go that extra mile with this book, and having a real homicide detective to work with is helping me make it that much more legit. Of course, it is fiction so it can't come close to fact. ;) However, the way the investigation is conducted can be as close to fact as I can possibly achieve--thus going to the experts!

I'm also working with a criminal psychologist on this book. Again--there's some really weird stuff going on out there. I mean, I thought I wrote real bad guys, but there is some evil out there that the doctor has told me about that has made me squeamish (I don't do squeamish typically) and even may have caused me to have a nightmare or two recently. Like working with the detective, the psychologist helps me see angles that I may not normally see. Killers have real patterns and reasons as to why they do what they do. She has helped me find the reason and the pattern of my current villain.

So...if you are looking to write a thriller, I strongly suggest doing the homework. Talk to the experts and make your novel the best possible book that it can be!

Look for The Preference this July! Available for pre-order now! http://www.amazon.com/Preference-Holly-Jennings-Thriller-ebook/dp/B00W37D3O8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1432924709&sr=8-1&keywords=the+preference+ak+alexander

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