Mark Adduci, writing as J. M. LeDuc, is a native Bostonian who transplanted to South Florida in 1985. His first novel, Cursed Blessing, won a Royal Palm Literary Award in 2008 as an unpublished manuscript in the thriller category and was published in 2010. Sin, the first book in his Sinclair O’Malley series, introduces an exciting protagonist. O’Malley, called Sin, was recruited by the FBI straight out of Quantico for her intelligence and attitude and released by the bureau for the same reasons. Then they needed her back! Sin returns in PAINTED BEAUTY.
Where did you get the idea for PAINTED BEAUTY?
When I began thinking of where to take Sinclair O’Malley in book 2, I knew I had to escalate the tension from the first book. Well, that was a tall order, considering Sin dealt with human trafficking and corrupt government officials in book 1. I wanted her to face a killer so twisted and psychotic that even the killer had no control over his or her actions. I wanted the villain to tread the fine line between genius and insanity. That’s where the “artistic vision” of the character came from. I also wanted to hint at more of Sin’s past and the reasons she had originally been kicked out of the FBI. Finding and entwining William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience was a God-send. The words and meaning behind his poetry ended up being the driving force of the novel. From those basic premises, the other plot lines wove themselves in as Sin and the rest of the characters spoke to me.
How did you get into the mind of a twisted killer to write that character?
It was difficult at first. I did a lot research on serial killers and psychoses, as well as what personality traits and quirks they had in common. Once I came up with the underlying MO, it was easier to get into the mind of the character.
What kind of research did you do with the FBI and police?
I’m lucky in that regard. I still have a few contacts within the agencies from way back when. I’ll just leave it at that. The toughest part for me was that Sin is not a rule follower, so I had to have her break from protocol, while making it realistic.
What is your writing system, do you plot intensely or improvise as you go?
Plot intensely? Sometimes, I wish I could, but in actuality, I don’t plot at all. I have an idea of how I want the story to begin and some idea as to who the characters are. After that, I have to put complete trust in the process and that my characters will take me where I need to go.
In that respect, writing in a fluid manner can and does lead to a few dead ends along the way, but that just allows for more twists, turns, and creativity. As Steven James has stated, “The story and the twists involved must be unexpected yet inevitable.” Once they are revealed, the reader must be left thinking that they not only make sense, but their result is the only real logical conclusion.
I love the fact that I end up just as surprised as the reader as to where the story goes and to the eventual climax.
I’d like to thank The Big Thrill and the ITW for highlighting PAINTED BEAUTY.
Blessed to have had a mother who loved the written word, her passion was passed on to him. It is in her maiden name he writes. J.M. LeDuc’s first novel, “Cursed Blessing,” won a Royal Palm Literary Award in 2008 as an unpublished manuscript in the thriller category and was published in 2010. The rest of the Trilogy of the Chosen: “Cursed Presence” and “Cursed Days” followed in 2012, as well as a novella, “Phantom Squad”—a prequel to the trilogy. “Cornerstone,” the continuation of the Phantom Squad series was published in 2013 to critical acclaim. Two years after its original publication, “Cornerstone” became a # 1 Best Seller on Amazon in November or 2015.
“Sin,” the first book in the Sinclair O’Malley series was published in May of 2014. “Painted Beauty,” the second in the series, followed in May of 2016.
J.M. is a proud member of the prestigious International Thriller Writers (ITW) as well as the Florida Writers Association (FWA) and loves to interact with his fans. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Facebook on his author page.
To learn more about J.M. LeDuc, please visit his website.