If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

WWK's May interviews will be: 5/2--indie author Bobbi Holmes, 5/9--TG Wolff (aka--Anita Devito), 5/16--Chocolate Bonbon author Dorothy St. James, 5/23--Lida Sideris, 5/30--Food Lovers' Village (and multiple Agatha winner) Leslie Budwitz. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our May Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 5/5--John Carenen, 5/12--Judy Penz Sheluk, 5/19--Margaret S. Hamilton, 5/26--Kait Carson.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), will be available on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here.

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with the authors in this anthology on 4/14! Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in August, 2018.

In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Fifth Course of Chaos.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Donnell Ann Bell's Deadly Recall Released!

 Sex, politics and religion are not topics discussed in polite company. Donnell Ann Bell writes about all three in her new novel, Deadly Recall. When I heard that Donnell’s second novel was about to be released, my hands itched. I wanted to read the book and interview her. She’s won numerous awards for her writing, so when I found out that Donnell was a finalist in the 2010 Golden Heart® contest for unpublished novels with the manuscript for Deadly Recall, it was no surprise. Deadly Recall was meant to be published.

Here’s a teaser for everyone from Donnell’s website: “Seventeen years ago Eden Moran blocked out a murder. Heaven help her, she’s about to remember.”

Elaine: Parts of the book read like a romance, others, like a mystery and the remainder is suspense. How did you decide on the structure for Deadly Recall?

Donnell: Hi, Elaine. Whoa! Way to make me go and think. I wrote the book, in my opinion, the way it needed to be written. Deadly Recall is a romantic suspense, but there’s a strong mystery that needs to be told in its pages. In my mind it’s two subgenres. At least, the mysteries I read include suspense.

As for the setup, because Eden, my protagonist, has repressed memories, I needed a catalyst to make her remember. When my police detective interviews Eden, he’s the spark that activates her heroine’s journey and Detective Kevin Dancer’s call to adventure. Trust is an issue for Eden, and for her to give in to her memories, she needed a confidant, a support system. Detective Dancer, in trying to solve his cold case, is attracted to Eden and fills that role. Kind of like the setup of Romancing the Stone with Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas. Joan Wilder has to trust Jack T. Colton before they can go after the jewel and save Joan’s sister. In Deadly Recall, Eden has to trust Detective Dancer, so we can get to the heart of the mystery and find out who killed Sister Beatrice.

Elaine: In categorizing novels for the market, mixing two genres seems acceptable. But what do you do when three (sub)genres are mixed?

Donnell: Again, I see Deadly Recall as two subgenres. Not so in The Past Came Hunting, where I incorporated a bit of Women’s Fiction and even Young Adult into my Romantic Suspense.

In the past, mixing genres has been discouraged by the major publishing houses because their marketing departments are tasked with labeling books for brick and mortar bookstores. Thanks to small presses and electronic publishing, publishers have branched out freeing authors to enlarge their storytelling parameters.

One of the reasons fellow Sisters in Crime author Ann Charles created her own publishing company (when she had plenty of offers) was because she had so many subgenres in her series. Note: I still prefer tight writing and pacing. And here might be a good place to mention in Catholic school I received checkmarks for ‘failure to conform.’

Elaine: The premise of Deadly Recall, an apt title, relies on the trauma repressed memories of female main character, Eden Moran. What did your research into this psychological phenomenon teach you?

Donnell: That it’s an inconclusive, misunderstood field, and that psychiatric and mental-health professionals still have a lot to learn. Law enforcement and the judicial system remain highly suspicious of people who use repressed memories as a defense. Something I can’t fault them with; it’s too inconclusive. Works great for a fiction plot, though.

While researching my plot, I read stories written by alleged victims with repressed memories. One that struck me was a case in California. A little girl watched her father abuse, murder and bury her best friend in the desert. As an adult, the daughter claims something triggered the event and her memories resurfaced. She testified against her father, sending him to prison and solving a decades-old cold case. That newspaper article definitely sparked my idea for Deadly Recall.

Elaine: Eden’s repressed memories include not only a murderous day’s memory, but also a talent that she failed to realize. Is this common in people who have trauma repressed memories?

Donnell: I have no idea if it’s common, only that to me it made sense. I formed Eden’s goal, motivation and conflict here. Eden’s gift was encouraged by a woman she loved, Sister Beatrice, and quashed by her regular music teacher, Sister Agnes. Eden loved playing the piano for Sister Beatrice, despised playing for Sister Agnes. With Sister Beatrice gone, and Eden blocking, one of the side effects she suffers is that she suppresses her talent.

Elaine: In Deadly Recall, you explore issues in the Catholic Church. Were you raised Catholic?

Donnell: I was raised Catholic and still am. I may touch on issues in the story, but I tried not to dwell, justify or preach on any of them. That would be author intrusion and not the purpose of this book. Deadly Recall is simply Eden’s journey (she’s definitely fallen away), a love story and a mystery.

The primary reason I chose the Catholic Church is that I’m a firm believer that every story has to have conflict. In my debut novel, a police lieutenant and ex-con fall in love. In Deadly Recall, two equally off-limit characters are drawn together. If I placed this story inside, say, the Baptist or Methodist Church, the conflict wouldn’t have been as great as their members don’t take a vow of celibacy.

Elaine: Eden’s horrible relationship to a nun contributes to her repressed memories. Do you think the Church confuses the concept of humility with humiliation?

Donnell: I can’t speak for the Church. I can, however, speak for human nature. People often bend a rule or a commandment to suit their purposes. In my Catholic school experience, and later when I entered public school, I had good teachers and bad teachers. Later, when I entered the working world, I had good bosses and bad bosses—and I should insert here, I was certainly no angel. Jealousy, belittling and bullying exist in every stage of life and in secular and non-secular organizations alike. Fortunately, goodness, kindness and generosity prevail as well. Human nature is that constant struggle of good versus evil, which happily keeps us writers in business.

Elaine: Eden Moran and the male main character, Kevin Dancer, both come from dysfunctional families. Both have issues from their past. How do they overcome those issues?

Donnell: One of the things I got out of writing this book is that every single character, save the killer, finds forgiveness or forgives someone. Eden, who has been estranged from her family, is reunited with them. Kevin forgives his stepfather and vice versa. Kevin also realizes that although Eden shares his stepfather’s profession, she is nothing like him. Kevin aka Detective Dancer also changes his mindset that not everyone accused of a crime is guilty. Finally, when the bishop asks Eden to forgive Sister Agnes, and to free her memories of Sister Beatrice, Eden turns a page. This freedom allows her to regain her gift. In my mind, forgiveness is what enables people to move forward, and that is what I hope readers take away from this story.  

Elaine: Do you think past problems have to be resolved in order to have functional relationships in the present—can you really leave the past behind?
Donnell: Although I took psychology in college, and have training as a volunteer victims’ advocate, I’m speculating when I say some people possess the character and willpower to overcome; others regress, refuse, lash out and/or seek addiction. So many factors determine your question and my inability to answer it—brain, environment, prenatal care, heredity. I will say analyzing the human condition is why I write.

Elaine: After reading The Past Came Hunting, your first published novel in 2011 and Deadly Recall, haunting is a common theme of your work. Why, and will you ever write a supernatural novel?

Donnell: While the characters are definitely “haunted,” and although I enjoy reading otherworldly novels, I enjoy dealing with real world events more. I do have a reincarnation story, called “The Memory Maker,” that took first place in the Gothic Romance Writers Chapter, in – oh, no—The Haunted Hearts Contest.  I may drag it out of mothballs someday.

Elaine: Did you stay with Bell Bridge Books, the publisher of The Past Came Hunting or move to a new publisher? Why?

Donnell: I stayed with Bell Bridge and signed a two-book contract with them in which Deadly Recall was book one. I love working with Bell Bridge Books and the wonderful staff, including my editor Pat Van Wie. The main reason is because Debra Dixon and Deborah Smith are not only publishers, but they are successful authors and widely respected in the industry. They also understand authors. When Debra Dixon said she had a vested interest in seeing both publisher and author succeed, I was like. . .where do I sign?

Elaine: What comes next, Donnell?

Donnell: I just turned in book two of my contract, working title called, “Betrayed.” This book takes place in Denver, keeping with my theme Too Close to Home and should come out late 2013. I’m excited about Betrayed. I learned a lot from this book and stretched as an author to write it.

Bonus: Salty or Sweet? Not sure what this means, but, I’ll bite, especially if they’re chocolate-covered pretzels. Thanks so much for having me, Elaine.

Elaine: You fudged!

Donnell Ann Bell is a two-time Golden Heart® finalist. Her debut novel The Past Came Hunting became an Amazon bestseller, reaching as high as #6 on the paid overall list and finaling in 2012 Gayle Wilson Award for Excellence, RWA’s® Greater Detroit Bookseller’s Best, and the 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. Deadly Recall, brought to you by Bell Bridge Books, is her second published novel. Learn more about Donnell at www.donnellannbell.com


James Montgomery Jackson said...

I suspect one of the positive things about smaller publishers is their willingness to stretch or ignore the concept of genre and publish worthwhile books regardless of the big box need to classify as this or that.

Best of luck on books two and three.

~ Jim

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Good morning, Jim, thank you very much!

Claire said...

Good interview, with great questions and answers. Makes me eager to read the book (well, both books).

The underlying themes really speak to me.


Donnell Ann Bell said...

Good morning, Claire, thank you! Elaine really made me work for this interview. ;) I think book themes are so interesting really lets us into an author's pysche.

Polly Iyer said...

Excellent interview, Elaine, and great answers, Donnell. If Deadly Recall is as good as The Past Came Hunting, I'm sure you have a winner. Since I read a bit of Betrayed, I won't be going out on a limb to say that it, too, will be terrific. You've found a good publisher for you, Donnell. They're ahead of the curve when it comes to cross genres. I'm sure Deadly Recall will be a bestseller.

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Polly, Elaine's good, isn't she? Thank you on all counts! Back atcha with your fabulous writing. Hope your hands are doing okay. Don't overdo it ;)

Carla Damron said...

Jim has a good point. Small presses aren't always focused on the next James Patterson, etc. Loved the idea of "haunted" characters--we can all relate to it.

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Very good point, Carla (and Jim ;) Thanks for sharing.

Pauline Alldred said...

Elaine is a great interviewer. I can't wait to read both books, Donnell. They sound so intriguing. I see Catholicism as providing the form and the characters in their interpretations as giving the faith human content. Congratulations to interviewer and interviewee. Pauline

E. B. Davis said...

My apologies for stopping by late. I'm up to my ears in contractors at my house. You think it's a simple renovation, but nothing is simple.

I enjoyed reading your book, Donnell. It hits on some controversy, but it is written as a solid mystery, and within the frame of fiction, controversy is good! It provides tension.

When I do interviews, I wear two hats, writer and reader, and reader is more important. Donnell is building her brand with solid writing, characters readers can identify with and then topic. You hit all three, and then some.

Susan M. Boyer said...

Donnell, I LOVE that you got check marks for "failure to conform!" And, as you know, I love small presses, and totally agree that most are eager publish great books even if they don't fit neatly into a slot on a list.

I LOVED the Past Came Hunting, and can't wait to get my hands on Deadly Recall. Great interview!

Jean said...

Tough questions, great replies. I loved The Past Came Hunting and can say that Deadly Recall is an exciting read as well. Can't wait for Betrayed!


Jacqueline Seewald said...

Thanks for bringing our attention to both the author and the new novel. As both a reader and writer of romantic suspense, I read the interview with great interest.

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Pauline, I absolutely agree that Elaine is a great interviewer. She touched on many questions I hadn't thought about. Really had to analyze the story, which I hope was good! If you do get an opportunity to read either book, I hope you enjoy. Thanks!

Donnell Ann Bell said...

E.B. aka Elaine. Ha, renovations -- we should compare notes. There's not such a thing as a simple renovation. We did a kitchen remodel a while back and now we're vying for the bathroom. My husband keeps saying the word "budget" to my contractor, and I just laugh. Everything costs so much money!

Seriously, I feel for you in this phase. It's a lot like writing -- you're in the draft stage! Pretty soon, you'll have a finished product. Thanks so much for the interview and hosting me today.

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Susan, those checkmarks weren't pretty! I'm so stubborn, which is probably why I wouldn't give up on this story. Thank you for your kind words. Can't wait for book two in your series of Low Country Boil!

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Thanks, Jean! I think this woman and I were separated at birth :)

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Hi, Jacqueline, I love romantic suspense. You can do so much with it. I particularly love a hero and heroine working together to solve a crime, or putting up some obstacle between them where the reader wonders how on earth they can ever be together. Thanks for sharing your thoughts today.

Maggie Toussaint said...

What a great interview. Donnell's so thorough in her research, and her books always keep me turning the pages. I"m also a fan of blended genres, so phooey on the mainstream publishing world for insisting we write one thing or another.

Wishing you all the best with Deadly Recall!

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Thank you, Maggie. Ha! Appreciate your phooey and I love your new picture! Will I see you at Left Coast Crime?

Maggie Toussaint said...

Yes Donnell - I will be at Left Coast Crime. I'm very much looking forward to this opportunity to network with Left Coast folks and to meet new readers. My gift basket for the raffle is already safe and sound at my daughter's house. See you -- Soon!

Gail Farrelly said...

Excellent interview. Donnell, DEADLY RECALL sounds wonderful. I'm going to order it for my sister as an Easter gift. This way, I'll get to read it too. Lots of luck with your writing.

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Thank you, Gail. I hope you enjoy! Happy Easter!

Linda S. Reilly said...

Elaine, what a superb interview this was! Donnell, I read The Past Came Hunting and loved it, so I'm very anxious to read Deadly Recall. Best of luck ~

Ann Charles said...

Elaine--another great interview!
Donnell--love the sound of this story and the mix of genres. I admire your publisher for keeping their authors' careers in the forefront of their thoughts. I sure enjoy getting to work with authors to help build their careers through the small press I co-own. I can't wait to see you at Left Coast Crime next month!
Need to go buy your book now... Hugs, Ann Charles

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Linda, thank you so much for letting me know you enjoyed TPCH and if you get a chance I hope you enjoy Deadly Recall. Thanks for stopping by and making my day!

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Hi, Ann, you have the most amazing success story of literally taking the bull by the horns. Thank you so much. I hope you enjoy it. And yay, you'll be at Left Coast Crime. See you there!

Gloria Alden said...

Donnell, your book sounds fascinating. I'll have to look for it at Malice, if you're going to be there again this year.

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Gloria, Joelle Charbonneau mentioned this last night that I should be there. I'll do my best. Thanks for stopping by!

Marilyn Levinson said...

Both your books sound wonderful. I must put them on my TBR list. Good luck with sales.

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Hi, Marilyn! Thank you. And thanks for dropping by today

Georgia said...

Donnell, you pushed all my buttons. I appreciate the work ethic you bring to the craft in developing conflict and tension over layers of subplots. Best wishes for success at Bell Bridge.

Georgia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anne DeMarsay said...

Elaine, thanks for introducing me to Donnell Bell, and thank you both for the fascinating interview. I'm happy to hear that smaller publishers are more open to a blend of genres. Donnell, I look forward to reading your book!


Donnell Ann Bell said...

Georgia, thank you so much for your lovely sentiments and stopping by!

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Hi, Anne, I'm so glad you found something useful out of the interview! Elaine will tell you I was nervous! Thank you for stopping by!