I am super excited to be hosting Her Last Breath by J.A Schneider Blog Tour. Not only have I got a Q&A interview with the author herself, but I also have a 4.5 star review…..so keep readying guys.
Morning thank you for joining me this morning
Hi back, Shell, I’m happy to join you. I think we’re in different time zones, I’m in Connecticut, USA, so I’m waving across the puddle.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and background?
Grew up loving three things: reading (everything!); swimming (on a swimming team from childhood through university); gardening (grew pumpkins for the whole neighborhood; now I love roses & boxwood, will prune anything that can’t run away.)
Would you like more? Ok, I majored in French Literature in college (USA-speak for university), learned Spanish, spent my 3rd university year at the Sorbonne, learned Russian too & got sent to the, ahem, Soviet Union in a US-USSR Student Exchange. Great cultural exchange in which I learned the perils of vodka, fell down a ravine while hiking with Soviet students, wound up in a Sochi hospital (doctors were nice), then with friends got arrested for spreading anti-Soviet propaganda – for wildly giggling about their pea-green-colored water. But our door was locked! How could we know it was bugged? Then came home to work for Newsweek, met tons of writers; then marriage, kids, tried writing when they were little, failed…but NOW things are really interesting since I’ve been writing. After everything you’ve just read above…trust me…the best adventures are in books and in writing.
When did you know that you wanted to become a writer? and how did you go about it?
“Writer” always seemed like such a pretentious word. Still does. I’d never walk into a party & introduce myself as, “I’m a writer.” Don’t know why that is, how odd of me. But I always wrote: poems, short stories, made up ghost stories to entertain other kids around the summer camp campfires, that sort of thing. And at Newsweek…well, everyone was doing it – writing – hoping to create that great bestseller so they could quit working at Newsweek. That was my first taste of how hard writing is, especially fiction.
Can you tell us what genre your books are and the audience you write for?
Suspense and psychological thrillers, for those who love them.
What is your writing process? and how long does it take?
I don’t outline, & hopefully a book should take under six months. Fear Dreams and Her Last Breath both took about 4 ½ months. That sounds crazy, I know. The thing is, I spew, I love the intensity and the action and if I slow down, the story slows down. I start with the idea for the beginning and a rough idea of the end, and I have one or two characters I love, and that’s it. Not that it’s ever easy. Every day begins with terror: what happens next, what happens next? I read once where Stephen King described the Ira Levin thrillers as having the precision of a Swiss clock. And while it’s true that character matters more, the plot should work, too.
Are your characters based on anyone you know or are they just fictional?
They’re fictional, but then, I am friends with police detectives who have influenced the creation of caring, intense, amazingly intuitive Kerri Blasco. Then there’s Liddy Barron in Fear Dreams…after Newsweek and B.C. (before children), I studied art at NYC’s Art Students League. I have a passion for art, the paintings of Van Gogh, the water colors of Dufy, so that influenced the creation of sensitive artist Liddy. And my husband is a physician (cardiologist), so I hear tons of talk about science, which helped me with Liddy Barron’s scientist husband Peter in Fear Dreams. Last but not least, Mari Gill in Her Last Breath is…a writer! So…from people I know I get what they do; then I create their characters. Oh, one thing about Kerri Blasco that is totally me is her love of chocolate. Her partner and sweetheart, Alex Brand, is constantly pulling candy wrappers and Hershey bars out of her handbag: “You shouldn’t eat this crap!”
Have you written about a personal experience in your novels?
Mmm, no. Nobody getting drunk with a bunch of Bulgarians and Russians and falling down a Soviet ravine.
What research do you do?
I use Google a lot. In olden days writers used to say, “I had to go to x to research it.” That’s no longer necessary. I’ve used Google to research everything from ballistics to street scenes to the price of saffron in Spain. For science stuff, I ask my husband – like, what effect does heroin have on the eyes? Answer: it constricts the pupils. That gave me the scene, in Her Last Breath, where Kerri Blasco asks a suspect if she uses H. “No,” says the suspect – but her pupils are pinpoints. Kerri thus realizes the girl is probably lying about other things.
Who would you like to co-write with and why?
Ira Levin if he were still alive.
What’s your favorite book?
Two: The Boys from Brazil and Rosemary’s Baby, both by Ira Levin
What’s your favorite food?
French paninis and Hershey’s chocolate with almonds.
What’s your favorite film?
What’s your favorite song? “Roll me Away,” Bob Seger Such loving intensity the man has! If you ever feel droopy or your writing batteries need re-charging, click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEBwq4A1wsU
How can readers find out more information about your and your books?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I love to hear from readers, and will always answer.
A chilling psychological thriller about a woman caught between two men…
Mari Gill wakes to horror in a strange apartment next to a murdered man, and can’t remember the night before. Accused of murder, she feels torn between her husband, a successful defense attorney, and a mysterious, kind man who wants to help. Can she trust either of them – or even her friends? Detecti…more
Imagine waking up in a strange apartment next to a murdered man Then being accused of murder …..The thought of it is unbearable but this is what happened to Mari Gill. She finds herself torn between two men one being her husband and the other being a mysterious kind man!
This story starts off with one hell of a tense climax where I was literally on the edge of my seat. This is where I knew this was going to be a corker and I wasn’t wrong. After this amazing start I was well and truly hooked and devoured this two evenings…just a shame I had to go to work because I would’ve read this all night.
The tension and climax of a story normally happens at the end but in this story that is not the case. The author has done a brilliant job of grabbing the reader from the start. But the tension doesn’t end there, this is certainly one fast paced thriller that kept me guessing until the end.
This is the second novel that I have read by J.A Schneider with Fear Dreams being the first one in the series. And the author has totally upped her game. I found this one more a lot more gritty and exciting.
Detective Kerri Blasco is a series not to be missed. The characters are realistic and believable. And I am looking forward to the third one in the series and getting to know Kerri more.
If you’re looking for a page turner this is the book for you which I highly recommend giving it 4.5 stars
Thank you to the author for a copy in exchange for an honest review.