Welcome Today's Featured Author
Initiated to Kill
an historical/present day psychological thriller.
Annabella Cordova quickly becomes embroiled in the conspiracy involving the university she studies at. Her life is turned into chaos when her friend disappears, seven days later a gruesome package is delivered to Andres Valero; the troubled detective, returning from forced leave, only to be faced with horrific crimes that brings his memories to the surface.
Annabella's past collides with her present, a traumatic childhood event leaving her deaf and without both of her parents. Her ability to read facial and body language in people leads her to discover parallels from an earlier century.
Annabella and Andres must use their skills to track a brilliant killer; a psychopath exploring the mind and actions of an infamous serial killer, and how his crimes are linked to a controversial conspiracy, only he can unravel.
The novel continuously takes the reader back in time to the 19th century; creating a psychological profile of the serial killer that wanders the London streets, his paintings depicting crimes only seen by a killer’s eyes.
Annabella and Andres combined must stop this person at any cost, and reveal a conspiracy hidden for centuries.
About Sharlene Almond:
I have a diploma in Body Language and Criminology, enabling me to explicitly portray my main characters. Living in Auckland, New Zealand with my two dogs and partner, I enjoy watching documentaries about history and conspiracy theories, giving me ideas for my next books. At 30 years old, I have a diploma in Cognitive Behavioural therapy, Freelance Journalism, and Editing and proofreading; giving me the ability to better understand the human mind, writing about it in a comprehensive manner.
I have also started up two additional websites: Body, Mind and Health services - https://bodymindandhealthservices.wordpress.com
Animal Health and Welfare Services: https://animalhealthandwelfareservices.wordpress.com/home
Both websites are based around my qualifications in Counselling, Personal training, human and animal nutrition, Animal behaviour and Natural therapies.
About.me: Blog: https://sharlenefreelancewriter.wordpress.com/
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Sharlene-Almond/e/B00K3ZK2ZA/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Interview With Sharlene Almond:
1 Can you tell us a little about your books?
Initiated to Kill is a historical/present day psychological thriller; that has two parts to it.
The first part is based in 2016, Seville, Spain. Annabella becomes involved in the case when she reports her roommate missing. Because of a childhood accident, Annabella is deaf; but uses her other senses to read people.
The police only start taking it seriously when every week another girl goes missing, and six days after they think the girl has been missing, a package arrives at the front desk of the police station. In that package sparks a major manhunt. Which brings in Andres Valero, who was on leave because of the attack on his fiancée, and subsequent handling of that case.
When Andres Valero, and his partner Riveria go to talk with Annabella, they soon discover her unique skills of reading people. Not just their body language, but when someone could be lying.
Reluctant to at first bring Annabella in, Andres soon concedes, as panic starts to spread about these girls going missing.
Their case brings them into contact with Seville University, where the girls are from, and with a conspiracy thought to have been forgotten about for centuries. Along with a man bent on getting what he desires most of all.
Throughout the book, I take the reader back in time to 19th century Whitechapel, London. And to a man that is considered one of the most infamous serial killers – Jack the Ripper.
But this plot isn’t just another tale about his crimes, but the man that could possibly have been Jack the Ripper. The narcissistic child; that grows into a talented, but sadistic artist, strolling the sordid streets of Whitechapel, looking for his next masterpiece.
Although, some may liken my conspiracy theory and symbology to Dan Brown, I would like to think my novel stands apart from his in the way of how I present the conspiracy, and how the Jack the Ripper crimes could have been a part of this conspiracy.
Both the present-day and historical element of the novel all have flash-backs to the main character’s lives. Instead of just talking about what happened to them, and their background; I have set a stage, created the chapters to enable the readers to get a detailed picture and understanding of the main characters.
Which of course is where the psychological thriller comes in. My novels explore the deprived psyche of two serial killers – both past and present, and how both of them are connected to each other. While also exploring the disturbed and wounded psyche of Annabella and Andres.
I have also written three other books, that I’m currently looking to get published. All based around the historical/present day element, with Annabella being the main character.
I've quite enjoyed changing Annabella's personality throughout those books, and writing about the international locations she travels to - Romania, Egypt, and Greece.
And the historical elements cover the first female serial killer - Elizabeth Bathory; the siege of Masada in 72 AD, and the historical character being taken as a slave to Rome; and lastly, how the Bubonic plague spread to cover all of Europe and beyond.
I have created a range of historical characters to fit into those timelines to tell their side of the story, and sounding out the alternate possibilities to why these historical events took place.
2. What inspires you to write?
History is always something I've loved. The fascinating world that at times seems unbelievable. I love the research that goes into writing history, and how much I learn through that research. It also tends to inspire more ideas to flow as I do my research.
Writing is first and foremost a great hobby. But what I love most about it, is that I learn so much through researching and writing. It allows me to escape to another world, a world that I created, that I can change.
It also allows me to create a range of characters that tell their story, that unveils how each psyche works.
Every day is different, whether it’s focusing on the conspiracy side, developing the character’s personalities, researching the history or location. I haven’t gotten bored yet, as even the sometimes tedious part of editing, allows me to change things, and learn how I can do it differently.
3. When did you know you wanted to write a book?
Ever since I can remember it seems that writing was a part of me. From an early age I enjoyed writing short stories, even coming up with scenarios randomly during the day in my head, and jotting them down for future use.
I have been fortunate enough to be able to have the time in my early twenties to finally fully commit and write a novel. I have always wanted to write a novel, but time and health wasn’t always on my side.
So, finally, one day when I was reading over my idea’s notebook, I got quite excited about a plot involving a cult. It just started off as basic research, and as I researched, ideas just flowed. And gradually the bigger picture/plot line took place.
I was addicted. Once I started writing, I didn’t want to stop. My creative juices were on a roll.
4. What is a usual writing day like for you, how is it structured?
I get up around 8am, sometimes earlier if I have gone to bed early enough, lol.
I start my day off with a half hour workout, to get the brain and body awake and motivated. After a shower, I get into my writing.
I have a diary that I jot down what I want to get done in that day, that way I’m not stopping to focus on what I need to do, it’s already there.
When I start writing a novel, I also go by my Word Excel Chapter outline. In which I label in the top columns - Chapter 1, 2, 3...
Underneath those chapters, I write 1-2 sentences detailing what I want in that chapter.
This method allows me to know what I need to research and focus on each day; and secondly, I can move these chapters around if need be to ensure the chapters flow together in a cohesive structure.
I take regular breaks as my brain can get a bit bogged down with information. I tend to do another workout in the early afternoon, as it wakes my brain and body up once again, and I tend to feel more motivated to get more work done after that second workout, as I feel refreshed, like starting a whole new day.
5. Do you have a favorite food or drink you must have nearby when writing?
Water and coffee, lol. Water is a must-have for me, keeping myself hydrated prevents my brain from lagging, and getting any headaches.
And a cup of coffee to get a bit of a caffeine hit.
Mid-morning and mid-afternoon, I also tend to sip on my Amino energy drink, and my Power Smoothie - which I have the recipe up on my Health Website - https://bodymindandhealthservices.wordpress.com
It’s a great smoothie to fuel the brain with chia seeds, walnuts, brazil nut, protein powder, banana and milk.
6. Do you have a favorite spot to write?
Usually where sun is peering through, and where I can occasionally look out at nature. So in the dining room, or lounge, where we have a sun seat is a great spot.
I can put my coffee and water on the window ledge, spread out my research paper along the long length of the window seat, lean back against some cushions, and let the creative juices flow.
7. If your fairy godmother waved her wand and whisked you away to the location of your choice, which place would you choose, and why?
Hmmm, now that’s a good question. Considering all of the great locations I have written about, I would probably have to choose Egypt. Egypt has so much history and secrets still waiting to be discovered.
The pyramids that still to this day people are still trying to work out how they did it. And the stunning oases scattered throughout the harsh desert. The amazing way the oasis pops up where you least expect it - and there right in front of you are palm trees, hot springs, and small villages surrounded by stunning sand dunes.
I write about Egypt in my third novel. And even though I knew about some of the spectacular scenery it has, it wasn’t until I did my own research, that I learnt how amazing this country was. Even the contrast of the desert, compared to Cairo where you would even find places like McDonald’s, been partly westernised.
The contrast, the history, the mystery, the ancient gods... The list goes on.
8. What are writing projects are you currently working on?
Currently, I am contacting publishers about my second novel in the Annabella Cordova series - The Legend Returns. Tells the story of the first female serial killer in history – Elizabeth Bathory, connecting to present-day events in Hunedorea, Romania.
In the aftermath of the deaths in Seville, Spain, Annabella Cordova is recruited in a clandestine vigilante organization. A case comes her way that reminds her of her past. A young girl turns up mutilated, with unusual marks on her neck.
As more young girls go missing, and tortured bodies found with marks resembling bite marks; history shows itself through the similarities of a sadistic female serial killer – Countess Elizabeth Bathory. Andres Valero and Annabella are reunited again when he is anonymously called in to investigate these deaths. As Annabella comes closer to the truth, she exposes an ancient Roma tradition lead by a sadistic murderer, and two psychopaths that are linked to the history of those that made Transylvania, Romania so famous.
The other two novels I have written and currently editing, take Annabella to Eypgt, then to Greece. Each novel containing the historical element that connects with present day events. And throughout the novels, more is revealed about Annabella’s past, and her close connection with the violence that constantly surrounds her.