“You’re the one,” he repeated, still holding her close to him.
The comment left Dana rather confused, but also slightly amused by
such an obscure statement. “The one what?”
“The one I’ve chosen to kill.”
Scheduled To Die (Loc 299)
From page one, I was morbidly fascinated by
Alan Cupp’s Scheduled To Die. I’m not
one to stop and gawk at auto accidents, but the situation Alan presented glued
me to the page and harnessed my sympathy for victim, Dana Carrington, a nice,
but too trusting woman. While on a business trip to Asheville, NC, she happens
on a handsome stranger, who is a psychopath.
Scheduled To Die is the
second book in the Carter Mays mystery series. But I think there is a story
behind the creation of the series that Alan needs to tell so we’ll jump into
the interview. Please welcome Alan Cupp to WWK. E. B. Davis
I’m confused Alan. On Amazon the first book
in your Carter Mays mystery series is titled, Malicious Masquerade, but from the book description on Henery
Press’s website, the same book is titled, When
Lies Crumble. Is there a reason the same book has two titles?
Cupp: When I wrote the first one, I wrote it
as a stand-alone novel. However, my publisher really encouraged me to consider
making Carter Mays a series. So when I came up with a story line I really liked
and felt would work with Carter, I wrote the second one, Scheduled To Die. At that point, my publisher decided to design
covers for both books that better captured the feel of urban crime mysteries. In
the process, we decided to re-brand the first one changing the title to When Lies Crumble. I personally feel
like the changes coordinate the two books together and serve as a better
reflection of the stories.
Scheduled To Die begins when Dana Carrington trusts the wrong man, who has
misrepresented himself by lying to her. Later in the book, we discover Betty,
Dana’s mother, is too trusting and gives out more information to Mike Sweeney,
the psychopath. Do you think most people are too trusting? Is it a learned
Cupp: To some extent, I think so. I think the
environment we grow up in has a big influence. If someone lives in fairly
peaceful surroundings and has managed to live a life without much adversity, it
can make that person less guarded and more trusting. I also recently heard on
the radio about a study that reveled older people (senior citizens) are often
more trusting and willing to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, making
them more susceptible to being victimized. I tend to believe it depends heavily
on an individual’s life experience.
Mike Sweeney is very smart. Are all
psychopaths smart? Although he is your creation, how much did you research
Cupp: I doubt all psychopaths are smart.
However, the ones that are smart are the most dangerous. I didn’t really do
much in the way of researching psychopaths. I relied more on my personal
perspective of what would make an individual extremely frightening.
The terrifying aspect of this book is how
real the situation could be. When Mike drugs Dana in her hotel room, he copies
her keys, gets her address, phone numbers, goes through her computer, and finds
out her life details making her vulnerable. Because Mike knows so much, he has
power over Dana—Is power and control the motivation behind psychopathic
Cupp: I believe power and control can be the
motivation behind it. But I also believe it can be the result of someone’s own
miserable, tortured existence. Perhaps they’ve been on the receiving end and
are desperate to switch their role and not be the one in pain.
Erin Naylor, Dana’s best friend, urges her to
be proactive and go to the police. But after Dana sees Mike following her in a
car and freaks her out and she crashes, Dana decides to hire Carter Mays, who
Erin knows from her gym. What is Carter’s first reaction and strategy after
hearing Dana’s situation?
Cupp: Carter immediately feels compassion for
Dana and is compelled to help her. His initial strategy is to keep her safe
from immediate danger while he gains as much information as possible so he can
eliminate the threat all together.
Many of our readers like cozies. Your book is not cozy. Mike kills
Dana’s dog. For that reason alone, many of our readers would kill Mike. Was
that the intended effect?
Cupp: My book is definitely not a cozy. It’s
much more of a hard-boiled. Throughout the book, I want the readers to feel the
intensely horrifying nature of this man and what Dana is experiencing. Whether
it’s the subtle calm manner in which Mike speaks of Dana’s death to his more
dramatic destructive behaviors, both Dana and the readers should understand the
nature of this man. When Dana is able to grasp the potential for evil this man
has, it better equips her to fight for her own survival.
All villains have a fault. Mike’s is his ego.
In his need for power and superiority over others, he reveals enough of himself
for Carter to mount an offense. Is it strategic warfare?
Cupp: I believe Mike is so confident in his
ability to elude anyone pursuing him, he’s willing to make a game out of it.
When I looked at your books on Amazon, it
appears that you started your writing career in mystery, then changed your
focus audience to YA, and then came back to mystery. What’s the story? Were you
published by small press?
Cupp: I typically don’t really have a particular
genre in mind when entertaining a story idea. When that initial scenario comes
to my mind I go with it. It’s usually sometime later when I start realizing, “Hey,
this would be a great YA book or a great suspense novel.” I enjoy writing a
variety of stories. I like writing humor as well, although I’ve not published
in that genre…yet. I am published by smaller independent publishers. With my
Carter Mays mysteries, it’s Henery Press, who specialize in mysteries,
particularly cozies and humorous.
Who is Alan Cupp when he’s not writing?
Cupp: Aside from writing, it’s my faith and
family that best define me. I’m married to my beautiful wife of nearly 23
years. And I am the extremely proud father of two exceptional young men, one in
college and one in high school. Finally, I’m pretty much a big kid who enjoys
staying active. You can often find me trying my best to keep up with people
much younger than me on a volleyball court, softball field, or playing ultimate
What attracted you to submit to Henery Press?
Cupp: As a fairly new publisher, they were
very approachable from the beginning and committed to putting out quality
books. With the tremendous growth and success they’ve experienced in the last
few years, I feel blessed to be associated with them. They’ve been great to
Chose a vacation, Alan. Beach or mountains?
Cupp: Both! Vacation has always been a
priority to our family. We do tend to end up at the beach most often.
Scheduled To Die will be released by Henery Press in June. Be sure
to put this mystery thriller on your TBR pile. Connect with Alan on Facebook.