Author Heather SunseriNews and Other Notes
David Alan Binder interviewed me this week. Much of the interview consists of my thoughts about writing, getting an agent, and the publishing industry. I talk openly about what I would do differently in my career, whether or not I would get an agent if I were just starting out, and express many other opinions. I hope you’ll go give the interview a read, and then come back and let me know what you think.
You’ll find my interview HERE.
A Little In Darkness Book News First:
A lot going on this Monday morning. I’m currently researching, outlining, and writing the next full-length book (Book #5) in the In Darkness series. This novel doesn’t have a title yet (well, it does, but I’m holding it close). Watch for an announcement soon. If you’ve read all four books so far in the series (especially the last page of Shot in Darkness), you should know that I AND readers of the In Darkness series are hoping for a lot from this next novel and from Brooke and Declan. I’m going to do everything in my power not to let any of us down.
Protected in Darkness: A Special Kindle World Story
I have written a novella that will launch in Susan Stoker’s Kindle World this November, and it is titled Protected in Darkness. More on my story in just a moment. First, do you know what a Kindle World is?
Robyn Peterman (who has a beautiful and fun Kindle World that you can find RIGHT HERE) defines Kindle Worlds like this:
Kindle Worlds is an Amazon exclusive program. The titles written for the world can NOT be purchased at other ebook retailers or anywhere besides the Amazon US site, but they can be read on any tablet, computer, or smartphone using the free Kindle App.
I was fortunate and blessed to be invited to write in Susan Stoker’s Kindle World, and I couldn’t be more grateful and excited for the opportunity. Susan writes military romance and suspense, and I did my best to write a story that will appeal to both Susan’s readers and my own readers who have fallen in love with the characters of the In Darkness books.
Protected in Darkness is a standalone novella (you do not have to have read the rest of the In Darkness books first, but you’ll want to soon after, I hope). Protected in Darkness is actually a story about a character that I am asked for all the time. It’s also a story I wasn’t planning to write EVER. But I was sitting here at my desk one day wondering what kind of story I could write for Susan’s world, and it came to me. I knew I didn’t want to write a Declan and Brooke story inside the Kindle World for all sorts of legal and business reasons, but I wanted to give readers who have been so kind and loyal to the In Darkness series a reward for their dedication.
So I began thinking about all the characters I’ve introduced inside the In Darkness series and wondering, “Which character(s) would people like to hear more from. Dimitri was an obvious choice, but I have special plans for Dimitri, and a novella wouldn’t be enough story for a character like Dimitri.
So, who else???
And then it hit me. Shortly after Cut in Darkness was released, I got SO MANY emails asking me what happened to Charley. Will we ever get to know how Charley’s life turns out. And my answer was always, “Sorry, but I have no plans to write anything more about Charley.”
Protected in Darkness is set four years after Cut in Darkness and after Charley Packstone was put into the United States Federal Witness Protection Program (aka Witness Security Program), and many of your questions about Charley will be answered. In addition to Charley, Protected in Darkness will venture into the life of a Navy SEAL.
Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter for all news and to the blog for other fun details of the books and of my life (see the right sidebar for both of these signups).
A book cover for Protected in Darkness and an official blurb is coming soon!! In the meantime, be sure to follow along on my Pinterest boards. I’m in the process of adding pins for all In Darkness books. I’m actively releasing tidbits of Protected in Darkness as I Pin. And don’t worry… The In Darkness boards are pretty bare at the moment, but that’s because I am getting them moved over from Secret Boards into boards you can see. So follow along and feel free to comment on pins as we go.
Until next time…
Good morning! My favorite thing to do on a Saturday is get up early before everyone else in the house is up (yes, I know I’m weird) and just surf the net for entertaining reads or Pinterest pictures or whatever. I say I’m getting up to finish the story I’m working on for you guys (the one where I tell you what happened to Charley Packstone after she went into witness protection after Cut in Darkness), but I’m really just going to enjoy my morning coffee while questing for interesting internet reads and procrastinating real work.
Speaking of interesting internet reading, I stumbled upon Chuck Wendig’s post about the movie IT. The movie and Chuck’s interpretation of IT (and life, really) are fantastic, and you should totally go read the post. And see the movie! There are no spoilers in his post, and Chuck Wendig is one of my favorite bloggers when it comes to novelists who blog. Here is how he describes himself on his blog:
Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. This is his blog. He talks a lot about writing. And food. And pop culture. And his kid. He uses lots of naughty language. NSFW. Probably NSFL. Be advised.
Back to the movie IT… I loved it. The child actors were awesomesauce, and Pennywise is frightening. I jumped several times. I laughed at the children, because their dialogue is incredibly witty and because they’re great actors. And in true Stephen King fashion, he takes someone my age back to the 80’s when life was… different. It would take a series of posts to explain what I mean by “different” in that statement, but if you lived in the 80’s, you know what I’m talking about.
Here’s how Chuck put it:
So, we’re not talking some shiny happy worldview here.
And yet, just the same, it’s a place where that evil can be defeated. It is a place where, moreover, it can be defeated by children — the unlikeliest of combatants, the scrappiest of heroes, the Gooniest of champions.
Chuck goes on, and you should go read it, but I think we are all craving that feeling these days — the feeling that evil can be defeated.
Have you seen the movie? Did you like it?
I guess I should alter that headline to say: Writers’ Police Academy (WPA) is the best conference for Mystery, Thriller, and Suspense writers, however, since I have also written young adult in the past, I still picked up valuable training and information that could be used in my young adult as well as my adult thrillers.
I’ve been to many conferences. Some I’ve vowed to never go back to again. Some I’ll attend if the right opportunity presents itself. But WPA is a must!
Last year was the first year that I attended WPA. I attended by myself, knowing no one, but I quickly met several writers who I have so much in common with. And this year, that community of writers that I’ll keep in touch with throughout the year has grown. To make this year’s conference even more exciting for me, I attended with my partner-in-crime—Author Kris Calvert.
Writers can be a strange community, but writers who kill people for a living (with their words, of course)? We can be downright twisted at times. And when you put us in the room with instructors who teach us how to shoot guns, who study serial killers for a living, or who perform autopsies? Well… we’re just downright giddy with joy.
And I kid you not… I attended the the class on Medicolegal Death Investigators (MLDI), which is a more accurate and fancier term for medical examiner, and stared at photographs of crime and death scenes that no one should see directly before eating lunch. And I still managed to eat lunch with no problem. I told you writers can be twisted.
But practically speaking, a writer is not going to attend WPA and come away without learning some very valuable lessons or meeting some invaluable resources for when you have that really strange police procedural question.
In 2016, I met an ATF agent who I was able to Facebook message with about outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMGs) as I wrote Cut in Darkness. This year, I met a Secret Service agent who discussed the many types of investigations that Secret Service investigate and whether there really are turf wars between the many federal agents and police.
I got to shoot a Glock and an AR-15 inside a firing range this year.
I entered a Shoot, Don’t Shoot simulator and was able to test my ability to make a split second decision on whether to shoot a person who might be getting ready to kill me, or might just be in the wrong place at the wrong time. IT’S NOT AS EASY AS IT LOOKS!
I attended a class taught by Katherine Ramsland about How To Interview Serial Killers. THAT was fascinating. I’ve been reading her book, Confession of a Serial Killer: The Untold Story of Dennis Rader the BTK Killer, since last year’s WPA. I can only read this book in small doses. It’s that good, and that scary!
I’m leaving out many, MANY things. The point is: Writers Police Academy is a must for writers, but especially if you write in the mystery, thriller, or suspense genre. This conference goes way beyond learning the craft and networking with other writers. This conference gives you the incredible details and ideas that you need to create thrilling, unputdownable, and accurate stories. And it gives you an inside look into what our police officers face every single day. (So hug a police officer today! They deserve our gratitude and love!)
And if you’re a writer, be sure to add this conference to your wish list, add a reminder to your calendar, and sign up for the WPA newsletter so that you hear the minute conference registration goes live, because this conference fills up fast!