I’m hosting an author interview today with Kristi Loucks, the author of mystery/suspense novel “Rose Red Reaper”. Thank you for answering my questions, Kristi!
1) Tell us about yourself.
I am a pastry chef as well as an author. I specialize in sculpted cakes and breads, though I have classical French pastry training from Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago. My writing has been something that occurred in the background as a way to “decompress” from the day to day stresses of working in the food industry with it’s insane hours, weekends and holidays and fast pace.
Today, I run a retail and commercial bakery in a suburb of Chicago and write any chance I get.
2) Tell us about your book in five sentences or less.
The Rose Red Reaper is about a specialized crime unit tasked with finding the cities worst criminals. In this particular case, they are looking for a serial killer that has a very specific victimology.
3) What was the inspiration for your book?
The book started out with a single piece of imagery, the rose in a pool of blood, hence the rose red reference. For whatever reason, the simplest things tend to turn into stories for me. And I do have a tendency to build the story around the villain in the sense that I tend to work out the killers profile and what makes them tick before I flesh out the rest of the story. At the end of the day, I feel like the believability of the killers motives are the most important pieces to the puzzle. No matter how well you craft the characters if the reader doesn’t understand how or why the killer evolved the story can fall a little flat.
4) What was the most challenging part about writing Rose Red Reaper?
Writing Dakota. I didn’t want her blindness to be a weakness, I wanted to make sure she came off as strong and confident in who she is. For me, the hardest part was trying to understand how someone would experience the world around them when they couldn’t see it. I spent several days living in my world without the ability to see in order to try and understand the day to day obstacles living in an ever changing environment might pose. And I can tell you it was a challenge.
5) If you could meet three authors (dead or alive), which ones would you
Stephen King, Jane Austen and Shel Silverstein
I am a huge fan of Stephen King, (though I didn’t actually think about the link to his book called Rose Red when I came up with the title for this book). Jane Austen because it was one of the first books that I read in school that I didn’t despise. And Shel Silverstein because his books and poems were a huge part of my childhood memories.
6) Can you tell us about your current work in progress?
I am currently working on the follow up to The Reaper with the second book in the Chicago Serial Crimes series. It is called the Blue Line Bone Collector. This book will focus on Devon Cole this time around as the team chases a killer who is using the cities “el” line (Chicago’s Elevated Train) to stalk his victims. Suffice it to say, you might not want to ride the “el” late at night ever again. I am currently working on cover design, and I am shooting to have it completed by the end of the montth for an early summer 2013 release.
About Rose Red Reaper
Author: Kristi Loucks
Genre: Romantic Suspense/Thriller
Lt. Commander Mason Cole never intended to follow his brother into law enforcement, but the murder of a loved one gave him the motivation needed to take a position as the head of Chicago’s Serial Crimes Unit. Along with his brother, Detective Devon Cole, former FBI Profiler and Technical Analyst Melinda Kade and Detective Piper Torello, Mason is tasked with finding some of the cities most prolific serial killers.
As a former Navy SEAL, Mason has seen some of the worst the world has to offer, but nothing could have prepared him for his initiation into the world of a serial killer.
Their first case came with a gruesome introduction from a man who has given himself his own press ready moniker. Known for his macabre signature and the white rose he leaves at the scene with a calling card signed in blood,
THE ROSE RED REAPER
Mason and his team will pursue the killer through the vast streets of Chicago, across the affluent suburbs of the North Shore following cryptic clues left at each crime scene and pointing them to a web of violence dating back to The Reaper’s own childhood.
Complications begin to arise when The Reaper makes a connection to the woman that Mason loves. Dakota Rose Shelton. The stunning, raven-haired beauty that has carefully salvaged Mason’s broken heart may also be the key to ending The Reaper’s bloody reign. Left blind by a childhood illness, she must help them to assemble the pieces of the Reaper’s past with no visual memories to aid her.
Can Dakota help the team put the pieces together before The Reaper targets one of there own? And will she be able to fight off a killer that she cannot see?
Kristi Loucks is a Pastry Chef and Cake Designer with a degree from Le Cordon Bleu Chicago. Her writing and storytelling has always been a way to manage the day to day stresses of working in the world of restaurants and food service. Kristi started writing in High School and has continued to share her work with friends over the years.
While she never planned to pursue writing as a profession, but a supportive friend armed with a copy of her debut novel, A Life Interrupted happened to share it with the right person who urged Ms. Loucks to consider publishing her work.
On March 4, 2013, Kristi released the first book in her new Chicago Serial Crimes Series, The Rose Red Reaper. It’s follow up, The Blue Line Bone Collector is expected to arrive this summer. Currently, she is planning for a four book series.
Kristi splits her time between two creative worlds these days. Working at her Suburban Bakery during the day and writing at night, or on her somewhat infrequent days off.