Is there a specific element in your writing that you find most challenging?
Andrea: Balancing characterization and plot. A good suspense thriller has to be fast-paced and exciting. If the reader isn’t dying to turn the pages, I haven’t done my job. So there has to be a certain compelling urgency to the storyline. That having been said, I’m a firm believer that characters make the book. If you don’t care about the characters, why would you care what happens to them? So the trick is to develop those characters through their actions and interactions, while building the suspense right up to the end. If that’s not a challenge, I don’t know what is!
How much, and what kinds of, research went into creating this novel?
Andrea: I’m a passionate researcher. As my editor and agents will tell you, I spend months on my research, both before and during the writing process. I’m a stickler for accuracy. As a result, I seek out experts in every field I cover. I’ve worked with the FBI for several years now, and learned their world firsthand. I’ve made several trips down to Quantico, where I shot a Glock and an MP-5, met with the BAU, participated in hostage negotiation exercises, and was honored to do several book signings.
With The Girl Who Disappeared Twice, I worked with the Crimes Against Children Unit, the Child Abduction Rapid Deployment teams, the BAU 3 (the unit of the BAU that deals with crimes against children), several former Navy SEALS, the FBI Laboratory’s Forensic Canine Program, the Evidence Response Team. I even shot a Glock 22 and an MP5 so I would be able to understand firsthand the challenges an agent faces in a rapid-fire situation. Check out the FBI Central page on my website at http://www.andreakane.com/fbicentral.php to get a feel for my FBI civilian training!
Then, of course, there were the brilliant technology experts I consulted with, the NYPD, an intuitive, medical professionals, and two former FBI agents who were with the Bureau 32 years ago, when my prologue begins.
[amazonify]0778329844[/amazonify]I try my best to be as accurate as possible in incorporating my research knowledge without compromising my storyline or slowing down the pacing of my novels. And with a whole team to research in The Girl Who Disappeared Twice, rather than a single protagonist, it was quite a challenge!
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Andrea: I’d delve deeper into the characterization of each Forensic Instincts team member. I wanted to flesh them all out totally, so my readers could see what I did. But that would have been a book unto itself! So I content myself with the fact that FI will be back, and I’ll have more opportunities to share them with my readers as they take on a new, equally compelling case.
What is your daily routine as a writer?
Andrea: I’m not one of those authors that can write for 12 hours straight and crank out 20 pages. I write in about 4 hours chunks—in the morning, the evening, and late at night. I have an energy drop in the late afternoon, so I use that time to research. And I start every day by re-reading my printed pages from the day before. That way, I can edit my work and also jump seamlessly back in where I left off. I also take periodic breaks to revisit a large portion (maybe 100 pages) of my manuscript and edit it. I simultaneously plan ahead and rework my outline, which has inevitably changed a dozen times since I last wrote it!
Are you working on anything else at the moment, and if so can you tell us?
Andrea: I’m writing the next Forensic Instincts novel. It’s called THE MAN WITHOUT A FACE, and it’s another heart-wrenching, race-the-clock challenge for the FI team.
Don’t forget to check out our review of The Girl Who Disappeared Twice!