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Emilia believes she has come back to life in a different body and is determined to find her family from her former life. The search takes her to Texas, to Samuel Lake’s home, her supposed husband from the former life. She tells him that she was born the day his wife died and that she has come back for a reason, which she doesn’t yet know.

How can she convince Samuel to help her find her purpose without appearing crazy? Find out in this suspenseful mystery novel.

Author C. M. Okonkwo spent time with The Big Thrill and offered some insight into her latest thriller, WHEN IT’S MURDER:

Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?

The plot took shape first. I already knew what was going to happen and how it was going to play out. I had the beginning, the middle, and the ending mapped out, after which I determined the setting.

I wanted to use a place where I’ve been, so that the story would flow better, so I chose both Chicago and Missouri City. The characters came in last. Apart from the main character, all my other characters always come in as I develop the plot and write the story.

Was there anything new you discovered, or that surprised you, as you wrote this book?

Writing is a discovery process for me, as I get to read/research a lot when I write. I discovered more about reincarnation and read more into graphology. These are somewhat common topics, but I never felt the need to know about them until I wanted to make use of them in the book.

In fact, I wrote the book as a reader, learning throughout the process. I also surprised myself by using a paparazzo to investigate a case, instead of the usual P.I. or police. I also discovered that paparazzo was singular for paparazzi.

What attracts you to this book’s genre?

The suspense and plot twists that an author creates to keep readers glued to the book is what attracts me to the thriller genre. Thrillers, especially thrilling mysteries, where readers can experience and feel the book by searching for clues and trying to solve the case, is a major attraction for me.

I know what I love to see in a thriller/suspense book, so I try as much as possible to write what I love to read, with the hope that readers would enjoy it.

What’s the one question you wish someone would ask you about this book, or your work in general?

Where do your ideas come from? And I would say 80 percent from my dreams.

Weird as it may sound, I have the strangest dreams, and when I’m not being inspired by my dreams, I use my imagination. I think a lot, and with my writing, I try as much as possible to think outside the box. Actually, I don’t even have a box, and I believe I have limitless imagination. I task and challenge myself all the time, and I always ask myself these two questions about every plot twist I want to write: Is it surprising? Is it unexpected?

It’s not easy to create the unexpected—it takes a lot of focus, creativity, and again, imagination.


C. M. Okonkwo is a Nigerian author who grew up in Lagos and moved to France to study, where she obtained a B.Sc. in Business Administration and Management, an M.Sc. in Personnel and Employment Management, and an advanced M.Sc. in International HR Management and Development. A lover of travel and tourism, her writing ideas and style are inspired by experiences gained in different countries she has lived in and visited.

Her best genres are action-packed mystery, suspense, thriller and detective. She writes in various genres ranging from thriller, to erotica, to literary/realistic fiction, to romance, to mystery, to a general “suspense” genre. Her writing goal being diversity, she is still exploring other genres, including fantasy, horror, and sci-fi.

Her short story titled “Invisible Daddy” won the Africa Book Club Short Story Competition in July 2014, her novel “Twenty-One Days” is listed as #3 of the 50 Best Indie Books of 2015 at the Indie Author Land, and her novella “All That Glitters” was a Top 5 finalist in the 2018 Quramo Writers’ Prize.

CMO is an active member of the International Thriller Writers and the Association of Nigerian Authors (Lagos chapter), she is also the founder of Laybels UCL, a company that promotes art and culture, specifically in the literary field.

To learn more about C. M. Okonkwo, please visit her website.