Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Next Big Thing: Huntress Moon

There's a game of blog tag going on with authors right now called the Next Big Thing,  in which authors respond to a ten question Q & A about our latest books. I've already been tagged and responded with ten answers about Huntress Moon, including a fun question on who I'd cast in a movie or TV adaptation of the series!  But this week horror author Mark Rainey tagged me again, and I do have this other blog... So here's Mark's interview on his latest chiller, Monarchs, and here's my Next Big Thing Q & A on Huntress Moon. 


1) What is the title of your newest or next book?

Huntress MoonThe next is book two in the series, Blood Moon.

And I just found out this morning that Huntress Moon is one of Suspense Magazine's picks for Best Books of 2012!

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

The idea came to me at the San Francisco Bouchercon, always the most inspiring of the mystery conferences for me. One afternoon there were two back-to-back discussions with several of my favorite authors: Val McDermid interviewing Denise Mina, then Robert Crais interviewing Lee Child.  (Can you even imagine...?)

There was a lot of priceless stuff in those two hours, but two things that really struck me from the McDermid/Mina chat were Val saying that crime fiction is the best way to explore societal issues, and Denise saying that she finds powerful inspiration in writing about what makes her angry. 

Write about what makes you angry? It doesn’t take me a millisecond’s thought to make my list. Child sexual abuse is the top, no contest. Violence against women and children. Human trafficking. Discrimination of any kind. Religious intolerance. War crimes. Genocide. Torture.

That anger has fueled a lot of my books and scripts over the years.

And then right after that, there was Lee Child talking about Reacher, one of my favorite fictional characters, and it got me thinking about what it would look like if a woman were doing what Reacher was doing.  And that was it - instantly I had the whole story of Huntress Moon.

Because of course I’ve been brooding about all of this for decades, now. I've always thought that as writers we're only working with a handful of themes, which we explore over and over, in different variations. And I think it's really useful to be very conscious of those themes. Not only do they fuel our writing, they also brand us as writers.

With the Huntress series I finally have an umbrella to explore, dramatically, over multiple books, the roots and context of the worst crimes I know. And at least on paper, do something about it.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

It’s never just one for me! Psychological thriller, police procedural, hard-boiled mystery.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Because I've worked as a screenwriter I approach casting in both an ideal and a practical sense; I've got a pretty good idea about how it really happens. So I've qualified some of my choices below and provided many options, you absolutely can't get tied to one person.

I always see Kyle Chandler as Special Agent Roarke, but practically that wouldn’t happen. Maybe for a TV series.  If Russell Crowe were even remotely interested I'd die happy. And Christian Bale would work just fine!

Such a dearth of American leading men, and even fewer who can get a movie made! Ryan Gosling is too young but would be just about old enough by the time the movie actually went into production, and I think he's brilliant.

Then there's Viggo Mortenson, if I made both lead characters older. And who wouldn't do whatever it takes for Viggo!

I’m a longtime fan of Norman Reedus, which also would probably be more likely for TV. (He looks younger than he actually is!) . And speaking of The Walking Dead: David Morrissey? Yes, please.


If it’s a movie, Keira Knightly or Mila Kunis would be superb for the Huntress.


I would gladly rewrite the character as a little older for Milla Jovovich or Charlize Theron.


On the TV front, I've been impressed with Lauren Cohan and Summer Glau. 

And I am so hoping that Lindsay Lohan gets herself together and goes on to be the brilliant star she clearly could be. People forget or just don't know how many of our most beloved actors fell just as far as she has before they got a second chance from people in the industry who understand very well about demons and the perils of a too-early stardom.  I think she'd be great.

And Special Agent Epps – okay, I know what I just said about not getting tied to one ideal actor, but here there's no contest. I wrote him with Idris Elba in mind. Constantly. Did I mention how much I love my job?

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A driven FBI agent is on the hunt for that most rare of killers... a female serial.

6) Is your book self-published or traditionally published?


7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

It felt like forever! I started it two years ago, and maybe I actually got to a first draft back then, but then I had a whole lot of life - and death - intervene. I picked it back up at the beginning of this year and powered down and finished it.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

People who review it compare it to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Dexter - and the TV shows Criminal Minds and CSI and Luther, but I've always thought of the Huntress as a female Reacher. Only crazier. And the structure is definitely like The Fugitive.  But with a woman. Which means a hell of a lot more erotic tension.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

See # 2 above!

10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

I wrote it about a female serial killer – when arguably, using the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit's definition of sexual homicide, there’s never been any such thing. I wanted to explore that very point as a social and psychological issue, and that’s one of the tensions of the book. Is she a serial killer or not? What is she doing, really?

Also, it’s very clear that the vast majority of readers end up strongly sympathizing with, and empathizing with, or even falling in love with the killer, and most of them are surprised by that.

Also, if you've ever fallen for someone who is just wrong in every way and still irresistible... well, you might relate.

My question to all you guys is a fun one today. Who would YOU cast in the book you're working on, or in your favorite book?  (You don't have to be as practical as I was, above, just go for it!)

- Alex

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