On the upcoming Crime Cafe podcast, I’m interviewing the very awesome thriller author Jamie Freveletti. I can actually say, “I knew Jamie when …” 🙂
Be that as it may, Jamie is not only author of her own great thrillers, but she writes Jason Bourne novels. Whoa!
And has she got a book giveaway for you. You can enter to win a copy of her latest exciting story BLOOD RUN (pictured on the left). All you have to do to enter is click here and follow the instructions. Contest limited to residents of the continental U.S. aged over 18.
Now … without further ado, here’s Jamie!
Missing Smallpox virus, Sleeping Beauty syndrome and Sherlock in Chicago: Writing thrillers can be fascinating.
Emma Caldridge fell asleep on a British Airlines flight from Miami to Bogota and woke up sixty seconds before the plane was downed in the Colombian jungle.
That’s the first line from my debut thriller, Running From The Devil. This is the book that started my career, won multiple awards, and introduced my character, Emma Caldridge. Emma is a chemist who travels the world in search of plants and minerals that have an application in science. An ultra marathon runner as well, she’s comfortable hiking the long distances into dangerous territory that is required for her job. She can also think on her feet. Because she’s usually in the middle of nowhere when she encounters trouble, she often needs to fashion weapons and other tools on the fly. I imagine her as a sort of female MacGyver.
I write by starting with a premise, usually one line, and just go. No outline. This, while thrilling for me, can also lead me smack dab into brick walls. More than once I’ve been writing away and have placed Caldridge into a jungle or desert or island with no traditional weapon or outside assistance. And, more than once I’ve rolled my desk chair back, stared at the monitor and said, “Huh, what the heck am I going to do now?” That’s usually when I slap on my own running shoes and hit the road in the hopes that the exercise will shake loose some ideas. It usually works, but research does too. Lots of it.
Over these past five books I’ve learned that research can give me the most interesting premises for my next book, but also teach me a lot along the way. In The Ninth Day I had Caldridge facing down a drug lord who was sending a deadly chemical into the United States along a drug route. This chemical slowly ate away at its victims. I read clinical reports on ancient diseases and discovered a real practice in the Southwest that was implicated in spreading a real, ancient, dreaded disease. I wove it into the story and just a few months ago a reader sent me an email with a link to a study that confirmed the theory. I was surprised that it actually occurred as I thought it might.
In Dead Asleep a virus attacks a small island, sending the inhabitants into a deadly sleep. I researched real viruses and discovered a syndrome, Kleine Levin Syndrome, as one of a few viruses that causes such sleep. These viruses are believed to be the genesis for the Sleeping Beauty folktale.
And in Blood Run, my latest, I got an idea after reading an astonishing article about how the National Institute of Health found, in a storage closet of a long closed building, dust covered vials of still- live Smallpox dating from the 1950’s. Also in this book I managed to write Caldridge into yet another corner, when I had her stuck in the Sahara with only a couple of pickup trucks, a rifle and in dire need of an explosive, fast. She fashions one, (nope, she doesn’t use the gas in the trucks, the batteries or any part of the rifle) in true MacGyver style. I’ll leave you to read the book so as not to ruin the surprise.
This penchant for research has helped me through all of my novels, including the two I wrote for Robert Ludlum’s Covert One Series: The Janus Reprisal and The Geneva Strategy.
And finally, there’s Sherlock Holmes. Recently I was asked to write a short story using the character for an anthology called For The Sake Of The Game. This was a close as I’ve ever come to getting writers’ block. To write one of the most famous characters in history! Wonderful. I was pinching myself. And then I was frightened to death. As I wrote, though, I turned once again to my faithful research habits. I wrote him into the fabric of Chicago, with its long history of crime, Dillinger, H.H. Holmes, and one little known place that may have also had a connection to the real Conan Doyle.
I love writing thrillers and to all of the readers out there who love them as well, Thank You!
All the Best,
Jamie Freveletti is an internationally bestselling author of seven novels, four short stories and is published in four languages. Her Emma Caldridge series won an International Thriller Writers Best First Novel award, a Barry award, and was a VOX media pick in Germany. In addition to her own novels, she’s written The Janus Reprisal and The Geneva Strategy for Robert Ludlum’s Covert One series and is a contributor to the non-fiction anthology, Anatomy of Innocence, Testimonies of the Wrongfully Convicted and the Sherlock Holmes Anthology, For the Sake Of the Game. A former lawyer, avid distance runner and black belt in aikido, a Japanese martial art, she lives in Chicago.