This was the first novel I wrote. When it didn’t sell, I put it on the back burner and wrote A Cry From the Dust. When I went back to this book, enough time had passed that I could see how awful it was. I did a complete re-write. It’s loosely based on my forensic art work with two major cases: the Phineas Priesthood case for the FBI and the Robert Lee Yates serial killing.
Did you have a specific theme in mind as you wrote The Bones Will Speak? Did a theme pop out as you finished the book? Did the theme change?
All my books (okay, all three of them) have several themes and threads running through them. They feature forensic art, some type of religion or belief system, and some Christian or faith message. This book features the Christian Identity movement and forgiveness.
What’s your favorite genre of writing?
I love suspense/mystery/thriller.
If your stories are more character driven, what events kick off a change or growth in the character?
In The Bones Will Speak, forensic artist Gwen Marcey is facing the perfect storm: a serial killer who is a Phineas Priest and believes he’s God’s executioner. Gwen is also dealing with her anger, hurt, and lack of forgiveness to her divorced husband. She has an epiphany that the difference between her and the killer is only a matter of degree.
I do a massive amount of research. In my first book, A Cry From the Dust, I read twenty-three books. The Bones Will Speak required twenty-one books on the Christian Identity movement as well as serial killers. I maintain a bibliography on my web page.
Do you have a writing system? What works best for you?
I’m still playing with different writing systems. Each book was done differently. I do start each book with 3 x 5” index cards and just scribble any thoughts that pop into my brain on a different card.
Do you travel? Has a place where you have traveled ever sparked a story idea?
My husband and I travel quite a bit teaching forensic art. This year will see us in Phoenix, Port Hueneme, CA, Fort Lee, NJ, S. Lake Tahoe, CA, Aspen, CO, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Oconomowoc, WI, Dallas, TX, and Mount Pleasant, SC. I do get some story ideas from my travels and students. My next book, for example, takes place in Pikeville, KY. We taught there this past October.
How do you find the time to write?
It’s hard. I travel and teach forensic art, do my own fine art, have a dog kennel of Great Pyrenees, and live on a 685 acre ranch. I try to be organized. Note the word “try.”
Do you have, or have you ever had a writing mentor?
I had the greatest writing mentor in the world, New York Times bestselling author Frank Peretti.
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
Book #3 of the Gwen Marcey series has Gwen working in Pikeville, KY, where she becomes embroiled with a group of Pentecostal snake handlers. It will be out probably August of 2016.
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