C.T. Jorgensen (aka Christine Jorgensen) is a multi-published crime fiction writer. Her first six novels were humorous amateur sleuth mysteries—five in the Stella the Stargazer series and one standalone. MISSING is Jorgensen’s debut thriller, the first in a series featuring Detective Casey Jansen.
In MISSING, a young single mother, Karen Preston arrives to pick up her daughter from her first sleepover to discover her daughter missing. When she returns home to get a picture of her child for Detective Jansen, she finds her apartment stripped of all evidence of a child. It’s not a spousal kidnapping, the child’s father left the country before knowing of the pregnancy. Then secrets about Karen’s past begin to surface. Jansen is skeptical of her story, and she takes it upon herself to find her missing daughter while trying to keep her own secrets hidden and untangle the truth about a terrible crime.In this race against time, a young mother risks her life and a detective risks his career in a race against time to save a young girl.
For the new series, Jorgensen draws on her professional background as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker specializing in the fields of child abuse and neglect, and in pediatric rehabilitation. Recently I had a chance to catch up with Jorgensen and ask her a few questions.
Missing is a real change from your first six novels. It’s much darker. What prompted such a dramatic change in direction?
I was writing very dark stories when I first started writing. But when the demands of my then job (a child protective social worker at first Denver Social Services and then at The Children’s Hospital) became so dark and depressing, I turned to humor for a relief. Now that I’m retired from that position, I am a much happier person and can go back to my first love—the dark side.
Do your stories draw on things you’ve seen during your time as a social worker, or do you draw your ideas from other places?
Ideas come to me from everywhere. I am, by nature, a very curious person. Plus I have a twisted mind, and that always helps. Certainly my experiences at work, as well as in life, influence my writing. I’ve met and worked with a wide variety of people and personalities as well as a range of ages and I think that helps me tremendously in understanding character development and criminal behavior.
Detective Casey Jansen is a prominent character in the book, but he takes a back seat to the protagonist, Karen Preston. Is this by design, and how will that play through the rest of the series?
By design. I wanted Jansen to be a steady, but not overwhelming protagonist. He represents the rational, careful and strong force that anchors the story. I wanted to explore the crime and the people who are involved, either as the perpetrator and the victim. He continues like that in the series.
Without giving away the twists and turns in the plot, you’ve dealt with several different serious issues facing today’s society, and done so without being standing on a soapbox. What are you hoping readers come away with?
I had been thinking about the way love and extreme emotion blind us to the consequences of our actions and how even decent people can do terrible things, but I didn’t purposely write the book to make a point or provide answers. These issues are tough. There are no simple answers.
Having been fortunate enough to read pages in your next Detective Casey Jansen novel, I notice you have again chosen dark issues of concern—primarily for women and children. Do you see this as a theme in your work, similar to the way Harlen Coben often uses secrets of the past to drive his fiction?
I started to answer this quickly, saying hey it just happened, but in fact those issues come out in all the books I’ve written in one form or another. Yet I once tried to write a book specifically about a social worker and the abused and I got so stuck the thing is still only a quarter done and it’s years old. At this point, I’ll just keep writing about the universe I know, and I guess that is primarily women and children. I think of it as domestic thriller material. The issues are large but the stage is smaller.
A Colorado best-selling author, C.T. Jorgensen’s second novel in the Stella series was a Colorado Book Award finalist. In MISSING, she has crafted a fast-paced thriller that pulls you in and keeps you reading until the last page. This is a book you don’t want to miss reading!
For more information on Jorgensen, please visit her website.