An NFL linebacker, Brian Williams, is found dead in the middle of the street in the Nation’s capital. Other famous athletes are murdered one by one in the following weeks. The serial killer stumps the police and FBI by using a different method in killing each victim.
This is the premise of Annie Rose Alexander’s new novel, RETRIBUTION.
In the story, homicide detectives Ariel Summers and Paul Costello interrogate victim Brian Williams’s wife, who hires Private Detective, Jason Steele, not knowing that Jason is Ariel’s boyfriend. Jason and Ariel clash when evidence surfaces that causes Ariel to arrest Brian’s wife. But as the death toll continues to rise, they are forced to work together on a plan to trap the nation’s most dangerous and cold-blooded assassin.
What prompted you to write this story? It touched upon a lot of cultural memes that made the story seem especially timely. And what’s your fascination with murder?
I think what prompted me to write this story was the murder of NFL Washington Redskins safety, Sean Taylor, and other athletes who were murdered before and after Sean’s untimely death.
I wouldn’t say that I have a fascination with murder but the public wants to know why people kill and they are intrigued by the ways people commit the crime. And I think people have a need to know about motivation and means in order to prevent crime and protect themselves from crime. And because of this need to know, or fascination with murder, the public buys the mysteries and thrillers we write.
You have a breezy style of writing that made me speed through your prose. What principles of craft do you keep in mind as you write?
The rules of good grammar and punctuation, if possible. LOL.
No, really, I try to use the KISS principle. I keep it simple and entertaining, yet I always try to give my readers some information about the historical or technical elements involved. I perform a lot of research before I start writing. And, finally, I avoid information dumps while providing information. I try to keep it interesting.
That police detective Ariel Summers and private investigator Jason Steele were romantically involved was an intriguing plot complication. How did you map out that relationship to keep it from getting too melodramatic and detracting from the mystery?
Umm…. Good question. I think the fact that Ariel and Jason were both professionals in law enforcement, in some way, sparked my imagination. Defense attorneys and police officers, or defense attorneys and prosecutors can create complications when love is involved. And in real life, it happens all the time. People can’t help who they fall in love with.
What was your biggest surprise after you got published? Any advice you want to share with newbie writers?
I think my biggest surprise and delight was the support I received from my family and friends, and complete strangers. I was featured in the Frederick Times Post, and I was approached by complete strangers asking me about my novel. Now, if I could just get them to buy from Amazon, and write reviews, instead of buying from me, I might get noticed from a greater audience.
Considering your accomplished lawyer background, how much do you draw on your experience and how much do you leave to fiction?
I always like to use my litigation experience in courtroom scenes in my novels. It’s fun. And I always try to include a good courtroom scene.
What is your strategy for balancing writing with your busy life? What tips can you share with our readers?
I like to write early in the morning, when my mind is uncluttered. I believe that authors need to find a place they can write in peace, quiet, and solitude. I don’t try to write when I am stressed about getting to work on time, or after a stressful day at work.
I’m a weekend novelist, during times when my job takes up my time Monday through Friday. If I’m not on a nine to five job, then I find plenty of time to grab a hot cup of tea, and a breakfast sweet, to write.
You no doubt have been acquainted with a lot of fascinating cases. Are there any you would like to tackle in a novel?
I have to smile at that question. I have been acquainted with a lot of fascinating cases, but as for tackling them in my novel, probably not. I don’t want to get sued. I do use the first names of people I know in my novels but only with their permission.
Who are your favorite authors? What’s on your TBR pile?
I have too many favorite authors. And the list changes from time to time. I used to read cozies, but found that thrillers were more fascinating. I also found that I am a much better thriller writer than a cozy writer. Some of my creative writing instructors have recommended certain authors from time to time, and I read books they suggest. I also visit the bestsellers list on Amazon and read what’s selling. I also read the reviews to see what readers think about novels from famous thriller writers. Sometimes it’s helpful, sometimes, not. Sometimes I agree with them, and sometimes, I totally disagree.
What’s your next book? Any hints about what to expect?
I am presently working on an international thriller. I think it will be my best, yet.
I am very excited about it. There is a lot of history in it starting with the Nazi concentration camps to the present time. It is utterly fascinating. I can’t wait to get to the end to find out what happens.
Thanks much for a great read. Happy Holidays.
And Happy Holiday to you, too. Thank you for your intriguing questions, and for giving me a chance to express my views about my novels and my future projects.
Annie Rose Alexander is the author of two published novels, Retribution, and, Evil In High Places, Both are mystery/thrillers. Annie attended Erie Community College in Buffalo, New York, where she received an academic scholarship to any four year university of her choice. She attended and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Howard University, and a Juris Doctorate Degree from Howard University School of Law. She is admitted to the Bar in Maryland and the District of Columbia. She won the National Trial Lawyers Moot Court Competition (NITA) held at Georgetown Law School. She also earned the highest grade in Civil Procedure in law School and received an award. She has over fifteen years of experience litigating criminal and civil cases in Maryland and the District of Columbia. She was a writer for local magazines in the DC area, and an editor for an international E-magazine. She loves spending time with her children and grandchildren. Her passion is reading and writing mysteries and thrillers.
To learn more about Annie, please visit her website.