Bestselling Author, Andrea Kane
When Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine was invited to be a part of Andrea Kane’s virtual book tour for The Murder That Never Was, we couldn’t have been more pleased. I’ve been a fan of Ms. Kane for many years. Her novels are intense, well designed mysteries that literally do keep you on the edge of your seat in anticipation. Her newest maintains that standard. It is terrific. You’ll find my review here on Mystery Suspense Reviews.
We loved the opportunity to ask her questions about her books and her method. Mystery lovers—any book lovers—will enjoy the interview.
I’ve been a fan or yours for so many years, it is a pleasure to have the opportunity to chat with you. Thank you for that!
Hi and thanks for the kind words. I’m looking forward to chatting with you, too! ☺
What led you to write your very first book?
A: I’ve been telling stories in my head since I was two, participating in writing contests since I was in junior high school, and reviewing books as a young mom (not to mention reading since I was a tot!). Given my non-stop imagination and love for reading and telling stories, I always dreamed of writing a novel. But I didn’t get started on my first one until my daughter was in kindergarten and I actually had some time. Getting published was a dream-come-true. I haven’t stopped writing novels since then!
I believe you began with historical romance, correct?
A: If there had been a bookshelf category for it, I think it would have been called historical romantic suspense. You’re right, because the historical romance aspects of my books were front and center, with the suspense plot as a backdrop. But I always mixed the two, because I loved doing it.
When you wrote your first suspense thriller, it was a big hit. Was there a particular decision to switch to mysteries/Thrillers/Whatever? Was it a hard switch?
A: I was very fortunate that Run for Your Life hit The New York Times bestseller list right out of the gate and was such a great success. Honestly, the transition to suspense thriller was the right one for me at the right time. It wasn’t a sit-down-and-think-about-it decision; it was an I-know-this-is-where-I-belong decision. My characters, who are the heart and soul of all my novels, remained front and center. But the suspense amped up and took a front seat to the romantic relationships (although character relationships of all kinds are still integral to my thrillers). The switch came very naturally to me—and I loved (and still love) writing contemporary dialogue. Plus, it was a great bonus to be able to include modern technology—like having my characters call each other on the phone, rather than send missives that took hours to reach their destinations.
Will you tell us a little about your writing process? For instance, are you outline or character driven? Do you know most of the story before you start?
A: I am very character driven, and I need to fully flesh-out my characters before the writing process begins. However, I’m also a diehard outliner where it comes to my plot. There are too many red herrings and plot twists for me to just wing it. So I write a pretty strong outline going into the process. The problem is, the characters and the story don’t always want to stick to the outline. So I take lots of detours along the way, and adjust my outline accordingly. It’s wonderful and maddening all at once!
From the very first, your suspense novels have been complex, tightly written tales. Along the same lines as outlining, how long does it take to flesh out the characters and the plot in your mind?
A: There’s a reason I only write one book a year. It takes me months to flesh out everyone and everything, along with doing an equal amount of research. I’m a Type A+ perfectionist, and I won’t settle for anything less than my best. It’s just who I am.
Some authors say they spend months developing characters before they start, while others get to know them as they go along. How do you handle that? Do they ever surprise you while you are writing?
A: I fully develop my characters from the get-go, BUT they continually surprise me. So, yes, there are personality tweaks that take place along the way as the characters evolve. It’s one of the exciting yet frustrating unknowns of writing my novels.
Do you maintain a writing schedule? That is hours a day, words a day?
A: Yes and no. I write almost every day, somewhere between 4 and 8 hours a day (some of which is very productive and some of which is deleted as soon as I reread it). When my creative juices refuse to flow, I do research and edit previous scenes. But I never set daily goals for myself in terms of words. I’d be a nervous wreck and all my attention would be diverted from the content of what I was writing to how much I was writing. Certain parts of the book take longer for me—the beginning, the forks in the road I didn’t count on, and fine-tuning the villains and suspects. I need to focus on perfecting the book, not on reaching a specific daily word count.
What do you find the hardest when writing?
A: My own creative perfectionism. It’s good, because it pushes me to write the best book I can, but it’s bad, because it forces me to perpetually re-evaluate every word and every scene to see if I’m accomplishing my goal. Suffice it to say, I’m tired at night!
Is most of your research done before you start or is that ongoing through the writing too? With as many successful novels as you now have, is there less research needed at this point, or more?
A: A great question. I do a large chunk of my research going into the writing of my book. But new questions always come up as I go along, so I go to my consultants for help throughout the process. They’re used to getting urgent emails from me about the smallest scope subjects to the largest scope subjects. The research is different for each book, but they all require a great deal of time and sophistication.
Does your writing lead you to a dozen other ideas while you are in the midst? How do you handle those ideas?
A: My brain is noisy, to say the least. Yes, I always come up with different “what if’s” at the most inopportune times, like when I’m deeply involved in writing a scene. I usually pause long enough to record the idea in my computer for later use, and then go straight back to my writing.
Do your characters ever lead you in a direction you don’t want to go?
A: If they’re leading me in that direction, it’s usually for a reason. I tend to follow them, rather than force them to follow me. Usually, we come up with a compromise that works for both of us, kind of like rerouting your GPS.
The Forensic Institute series is so popular. Part of the enjoyment of the story is that the reader forms a relationship with the characters. Do you have a number of future plots in mind already to continue the series? It seems like ideas for it would be limitless! Or are other non-FI series ideas interfering?
A: I truly adore the Forensic Instincts team, each and every one of them. At this point, I can’t imagine leaving them, since they have so many stories to tell. I have ideas about bringing back some past character favorites to work with them, but those are still germs of ideas. The ultimate answer will be which idea clamors the loudest to be heard.
What is in store for them next?
A: I’m tackling a book involving two distinct and dangerous investigations for the FI team to solve, involving two equally terrified clients and their life-threatening situations. I’ve never taken on simultaneous suspense plots at the same time and in the same book, so this is representing a huge challenge for me. I’ve only just gotten started, but I’m already totally immersed in the characters and the plot(s). I can’t wait to see how things play out.
What are you working on now?
A: The Forensic Instincts book I described above. I never write two books at one time; I’m just not able to give each one all I’ve got.
How much time is spent writing and how much on the edits? Is it easy or difficult to edit once the story is on paper (or on the computer)?
A: This is hard question to answer because I edit every day as I write. If a particular section (or even a particular paragraph) doesn’t feel right, I can’t get past it. So I work with it until it does. There’s never a “first draft” for me, because I write and rewrite even before anyone sees the book for the first time. This whole process is extremely difficult. It’s even more difficult to edit once the book is finished and changes have to be made.
Which authors influenced you most to become a writer?
A: Another hard question. I loved D.H. Lawrence in college. After I got published, my previous (and wonderful) literature professor used to joke with me that he always knew I’d write about relationships because I was so drawn to Lawrence’s books. As for writing historical romance, I’d definitely say Judith McNaught. I thought she not only told a beautiful story, but her writing itself was outstanding. Then there were the suspense novels—Mary Higgins Clark, Robert Ludlum—I could go on and on. I was addicted to mysteries since my Nancy Drew days and to relationships forever. Those were some of my earlier influences.
What are you reading now?
A: I’m about to dive into Allison Brennan’s Poisonous. I’m really looking forward to it!
Thank you again for your time, Andrea! I’m already looking forward to your next book!
Thanks for having me. It’s been a pleasure!
The Murder That Never Was
by Andrea Kane
on Tour May 9 – June 9, 2016
Given the opportunity, would you assume someone else’s identity and leave your old life behind? A serendipitous crossing of paths between Lisa Barnes, a down-on-her-luck job seeker, and Julie Forman, a personal trainer to an Olympic hopeful, forever changes the course of both women’s lives. One winds up dead and the other finds herself a fugitive, hiding behind one lie after another as a cold-blooded killer methodically hunts her. Desperately trying to stay alive, the terrified woman enlists the help of Forensic Instincts, a rogue investigative team that clandestinely operates in the gray area between legal and illegal. Safeguarding their client’s deception, Forensic Instincts digs into dangerous territory as they try to find out who’s after their client and why. Meanwhile, bodies are piling up in Chicago, New Jersey, and Vermont as a megalomaniacal genius will stop at nothing to eradicate anyone who threatens the success of his medical breakthrough. With an unhinged client and a monstrous criminal enterprise as its adversary, Forensic Instincts is forced into uncharted territory to protect their client and save one of their own from becoming the next corpse. Forensic Instincts is an unorthodox, criminal investigative team that carefully navigates the fine line between legal and illegal. The team consists of a behaviorist, a former Navy SEAL, a techo-wiz, an intuitive, a pickpocket, a retired FBI agent, and a human scent evidence dog.”
Read an excerpt:
ANDREA KANE’s psychological thriller, The Girl Who Disappeared Twice, became an instant New York Times bestseller, the latest in a long string of smash hits.
With her acclaimed signature style of developing unforgettable characters and weaving them into carefully researched story lines, Kane has created Forensic Instincts, an eclectic team of maverick investigators. Recruited because of their special talents and dynamic personalities, the high-energy members thrive on blatantly disregarding authority. Armed with skills and talents honed by years in the FBI and Special Forces, and with training in behavioral and forensic psychology, this unstoppable team solves seemingly impossible cases while walking a fine line between assisting and enraging law enforcement.
With a worldwide following and novels published in over twenty languages, Kane is also the author of numerous romantic thrillers and historical romances. She lives in New Jersey with her family, where she is busily crafting a new challenge for Forensic Instincts.
Interested in reading more of The Forensic Instincts team? You’ll enjoy seeing how they develop with the selections here…
Be sure to check out the stand alone novels written by Andrea Kane as well. Suspenseful thrillers each one, with complex, often frightening plots! You won’t be sorry.