Welcome my special guest, R. Barri Flowers, an award winning criminologist and internationally bestselling author of more than 60 books, including thriller and suspense fiction, relationship fiction, young adult mysteries, true crime, and criminology titles. In this interview, R. Barri talks about his latest novel, Before He Kills Again: A Veronica Vasquez Thriller.
Visit the author’s website at: http://www.rbarriflowers.com.
Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Before He Kills Again. When did you start writing and what got you into writing thriller fiction?
I started writing in college. Apart from doing short stories and poetry, writing my thesis got me in a writing frame of mind. When the thesis was published as a hardcover book by an academic publisher, I was well on my way to establishing a writing career.
Why I chose to write thrillers, in particular, I majored in criminal justice in college and so I studied about real life criminals, what motivates them, and the criminal justice system. Having been a big fan of thriller writers such as Robert Ludlum and Jeffrey Archer, I felt that the thriller genre played into my strengths as a creative writer who also happened to have the verisimilitude to write thriller fiction as a criminologist with an expertise on serial killers, one of the hallmarks of thrillers in today’s times.
With Before He Kills Again — about an FBI criminal profiler who assists the police in going after a serial killer, I felt that it was apropos for my background and storytelling ability.
Did you have a mentor who encouraged you?
Indeed, I had a few mentors to encourage me. One was my father who taught me how to follow my dreams and stay the course, no matter the obstacles.
I also had several mentors in college. My three member thesis committee was a great help to me not only with the thesis, but advice on getting the most out of my talents in pursuing a career in writing and publication.
My wife has also been very supportive of my writing and patience in allowing me to grow as a writer and find the success I am currently enjoying.
Did you have any struggles or difficulties when you started writing?
My biggest struggle when I started writing was making money from it. My first few books were criminology books that were quite impressive, but not enough to make a living off of. As a result, I had to pay my dues, so to speak, by building my resume in the early years, which gave me the credibility to attract bigger paying, commercial publishers. This, in turn, helped me to build my brand and increase my following over the years.
What was your inspiration for Before He Kills Again?
I was inspired to write this book largely by being a fan of both thriller fiction and television crime series that often focused on serial killers — including crime documentaries, such as on Investigation Discovery, and scripted shows, such as Criminal Minds, Dexter, Cold Case, and CSI.
I wanted to write a thriller that could truly get into the mind of the killer by my fictional profiler in a more realistic way than with most fiction.
The story takes place in Portland, Oregon. As I used to live there, I thought it made a great setting for this tale and, as such, I made good use of the sights and sounds of The Rose City, as it is nicknamed.
Do you have any plotting secrets? Do you use index cards or special software?
My plotting strategy is largely not to overthink the plot or characters. While I do develop a character sketch and key points of plot, I like to keep an open mind throughout the story in allowing characters and storyline to evolve along the way.
I do not use index cards or any special software.
What do you tell your muse when she refuses to collaborate?
I simply tell her that what’s good for me is good for you too. :>)
I also feed into the philosophy that inspiration is great for the soul and cooperation can go a long ways.
Many writers experience a vague anxiety before they sit down to write. Can you relate to this?
Having written for many years now, I am quite comfortable sitting down to write and experience no anxiety in doing so. On the contrary, I tend to be more uneasy between writing projects as I am usually itching to go get started on my next great work of fiction or nonfiction.
Do you have a writing schedule? Do you set yourself weekly goals for your writing?
I start writing early in the morning and stick with it all day till dinner time. I do not set weekly goals for my writing, per se, however, I am a very disciplined writer. As such, I tend to type a certain amount of pages everyday like clockwork, ensuring that I complete project in a satisfying and timely manner.
How do you celebrate the completion of a novel?
Great question. I often celebrate by taking my wife out to dinner (or the other way around). I also love to take with her a celebratory trip to an exotic location to get away for a while after being holed up in my office often for months while hard at work on novel.
As I communicate regularly with my fans on Twitter and Facebook, I also like to keep them in loop on progress made on a book, as well as when I have completed it and when they might expect to see published.
What do you love most about the writer’s life?
I love the freedom it affords me as a full time writer. Without needing a nine to five job, or otherwise being in an unhappy occupation, I get to enjoy what I love most: creating heart pounding thriller fiction and tense true crime books that keeps my growing fan base wanting for more.
I also enjoy the warm camaraderie with other writers online and at writers’ conferences; as well as communicating directly with fans online and at book signings.
It really is a great life to have and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?
I hope readers will read Before He Kills Again, now in print and eBook, and soon to be in audio; as well as some of my other thrillers currently out, including Dark Streets of Whitechapel, Murder in Maui, and Killer in the Woods, among others.
For fans of young adult vampire novels, I also have out, Count Dracula’s Teenage Daughter: A Transylvanica High Novel. It is the first in a new teen series.
I also invite readers to follow me on Twitter (@RBarriFlowers), Facebook, and Pinterest.
Learn more about me and my writing on Wikipedia, The Internet Movie Database ( IMDb), Goodreads, LibraryThing, LinkedIn, and www.rbarriflowers.com
I enjoyed doing the interview and hope to come back again.
R. Barri Flowers’ Blogs:
Mystery Fiction Blog: http://www.mysterywriters.org/?q=node/334
Thriller Fiction Blog: http://hawaiimysteriesauthorrbarriflowers.blogspot.com/
True Crime Blog: http://rbarriflowers.blogspot.com/
Young Adult Fiction Blog: http://bestsellingteenfiction.blogspot.com
Audio Books Blog: http://authorrbarriflowers.wordpress.com/