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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Twilight Thursday

Welcome Author

Gerrie Ferris Finger!!!

I've brought Gerrie into the spotlight not just because I like crime novels, but because she brings together many of the elements that I happen to like in the genre. The End Game offers a stable relationship right from the start, so it's not about building a romance, but it's more about how these two can make their relationship work in their respective lives of solving crimes and if that connection is strong enough to withstand the pressures they deal with every day. But that's not the only reason I wanted to shine the spotlight on Gerrie. I wanted to shine the spotlight on her because she had me gripped in her story from the beginning and managed to chain me to it, which hasn't been all that easy to do recently. If it wasn't for the characters in my own head wanting me to tell their stories, I'd have finished The End Game by now.

If it weren't for my characters distracting me constantly these last two weeks, this interview would have been posted last week! Sorry to everyone about that!

ME: May is loaded with all kinds of interesting holidays (Cinco de Mayo (5th), Mother’s Day (9th), Armed Forces Day (15th), Memorial Day (24th)). May 5th marks a unique voluntarily celebrated holiday recognizing the Mexican efforts against the French in the Battle of Puebla in 1962 under General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin. This battle is legendary because since that time, not one country in the Americas has been invaded by another continent. Do you and/or your friends celebrate this holiday? Why or why not? If so, how do you celebrate Cinco de Mayo?

GERRIE: We always celebrate Cinco de Mayo. This year, my husband and I were in Charleston. I was signing THE END GAME at a Barnes & Noble across the street from a celebrated Mexican Restaurant. In the afternoon, around 4 p.m., we went to check out the menu and sat at an outdoor table to check out the margaritas (him the Mexican beer). We met Mario, a naturalized American citizen from San Antonio, in town with his company, and wound up staying until dark, while the band played on. Fortunately, our hotel was in walking distance. Next day, Mario came and bought a book, and we have emailed. What an evening.

ME: Mother’s Day has become as commercialized as other holidays, but, as far as I can tell, no one seems to mind. Some mothers prefer flowers, some a nice meal, while others prefer gifts like time alone. If you are a mother or wish you were one, what would be your ultimate gift on Mother’s Day? Do (would) you prefer your gifts bought or handmade?

GERRIE: Any gift that comes with love is to be treasured.

ME: With the situation in the Middle East, more and more people feel the need to demonstrate their support for the troops. Are you among them? Why or why not? If so, what do you, or have you done to show your support? (If you’re not, that’s okay!) Will you be doing anything special on Armed Forces Day?

GERRIE: My husband is a retired Marine Corps colonel. So yes, we have a retired Marine Corps license plate and we fly the American flag. We belong to many retired military organizations and we'll be having dinner with our military friends.

ME: Many people make a point to care for the graves of loved ones on Memorial Day, or have parties and picnics to celebrate them. What about you? What, if any, Memorial Day traditions do you have?

GERRIE: We do not live in the cities where are loved ones are buried. We will be going to a golf outing and picnic afterward.

ME: There are several games on Facebook (and maybe other social networking sites) that advertise about turning your image into a cartoon avatar, and these next questions find their roots there, but character has been substituted for avatar. If you wrote yourself as a character, who would you be if someone other than yourself? Would you have the same name, physical attributes, anatomy or would everything change? What would your name be and what would your character-self look like? Would you be the heroine or the hero? Why?

GERRIE: I would be someone other than myself because I would want to have a conversation with that person, and, as much as I like myself, I wouldn't be that interesting. I'd already know what she would say. I write from the woman's POV, although I've considered writing a hero's story. I don't know what my name would be or what I would look like, since my characters seem to want to name themselves and stir up an image in my head.

ME: What about your personality and traits? What would you change and what would you keep? What new traits would you give your character-self and why those traits?

GERRIE: I would keep my good traits, and try to change the bad and ugly. I like characters who are brave and resourceful, but not foolish.

ME: When would you exist? Would you go back in time, stay in the present, or jump into the future? What time period would you pick and why?

GERRIE: For this discussion, I would say back in time. I like history and research. I did a romance set in the 1920s and thoroughly liked that era.

ME: What type of story would it be (other than historical, contemporary or futuristic)?

GERRIE: Romantic suspense and mystery. My romances are considered light, and my novels will always have a crime twist in them.

ME: Would you have companions (family, friends, pets, children) or would you be the loner-type? What companions would you have and what would they be like? What, if any, special qualities would your pet have if your character-self had one?

GERRIE: Depending on the setting, most would contain some or all of the above. I would need to develop a plot to know what my companions would be like. I especially like to have dogs in my novels. They are wonderful characters.

ME: We’ve had our fun now, so let’s put the focus onto your writing. What is your main genre (erotica, erotic romance, romantic suspense, etc.)? What was the draw for you?

GERRIE: Romantic suspense. My characters are in their thirties and desire romance, but wherever their love and lust takes them, I do not open the door on their privacy. I love suspense and mystery. I want my lead romance characters to have a certain amount of distrust and suspicion of character who is reluctant to reveal much about him or herself. My mysteries will always have a murder and twists and turns that are fair to the reader.

ME: Besides your main genre we just discussed, what elements do you prefer to use in a story and why those elements over others? Any elements you would never use? Why or why not?

GERRIE: As I've mentioned, mystery; there's got to be some mystery surrounding their romance. I wouldn't use fantasy or vampires. It's just overdone now.

ME: In your opinion, what author or story had the most influence on your writing? What about their writing or that story did you find so influential and why?

GERRIE: I loved the Mary Stewarts and Judith Krantzes until they got repetitive. I guess that happens when writers are prolific. A lot of romance writers are very good plotters, but sometimes the writing weakens. I've always been fond of Mary Higgins Clark for her ability to write a gripping story. In the mystery vein, I love Greg Iles and Val McDermid.

ME: While authors and stories can definitely influence us, inspiration can be everywhere for a writer, but sometimes specific people, places and events can inspire certain characters, personality traits or things that happen in our stories. In your current story that we’re promoting here today, The End Game, did any one particular person, place or event inspire you? If so who/what was it (were they), how did it/they inspire you and how is this inspiration reflected in your story?

GERRIE: I wrote THE END GAME after I retired from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I'd heard of foster children going missing and I wanted to create a heroine who was going to do something about it.

ME: Without giving away anything pertinent to the story, tell us about the hero and heroine (s) of your story. What do they look like? How do they meet (or “did” if this is not the first book with these same characters)? What are their personalities – Are they comical cut-ups, are they serious or are they a mix of the two? Please give us a little bit of dialogue from the story that can illustrate this. (Not much, but just a few lines and from a different section than the main excerpt – Thanks!)

GERRIE: Moriah Dru is a tall, dark-haired woman of thirty-five. She's athletic. She and Richard Lake, who is an Atlanta policeman, run 10-Ks every day that they can. It keeps her in shape for the rigors of going after bad guys and finding missing kids. Lake is a good-looking guy, one that cop and media ladies find fascinating, to Dru's jealousy consternation.


Pressing END, I went for my backpack, slid the cell in, and thought about my poor overworked lover. A big-city detective lieutenant couldn’t count on two whole days to himself unless he escaped to a desert island and changed his name. Neither, it seemed this morning, could an ex-policewoman turned child finder.

I pulled clothes from a wardrobe while I watched the tragedy on the tube. A helicopter hovered above the scene. Video caught firemen tromping through a gutted house and horrified people clinging to each other. The chopper ranged the neighborhood where searchers darted like fire ants. Closer to the ground, the lens tightened on a Search and Rescue dog pulling its handler along an overflowing ditch. Another SAR dog zig-zagged across a playground with swings and see-saws.
Lake came from the bathroom toweling his chest. We exchanged glances. I said, “It was really nice while it lasted.”

“Really nice?” he mocked, flinging boxers and socks from a drawer onto the bed. “You say better things about my wardrobe.”

He’s a tall, broad-shouldered man, but it’s his face that captivates–all angles and irregularities merging to make him beautiful. Then my brain’s devil-voice said, you’re not the only woman in Atlanta who thinks so. I didn’t have the time to dwell on my jealous side and whirled for the shower. I said over my shoulder, “It appears you’re on loan to me.”

“Isn’t owning me enough?”

If only I did. “Portia made sure you got the gig.”

“Lovely Portia.”

As I washed hair and scrubbed body, I said goodbye to an amorous weekend and set my mind on the reality of what lay ahead. Kids going missing after their house burns down. Foster kids. Troubled kids. My kind of kids.

ME: The main characters are usually great, but sometimes, secondary and tertiary characters are known to steal the scenes. Who are the secondary/tertiary characters in your story and what do they look like? What’s unique about them? What is their relationship to the hero/heroine? Have any of these gone on to become scene-stealers? If so, who and how did they do it? (Again, please give us a small bit of dialogue to illustrate this – thanks!)

GERRIE: My scene-stealers are two Search and Rescue dogs. No kidding, they've gotten a lot of review press. The Lab is an airscent and the German Sheperd is a ground tracker. Their names are Buddy and Jed.

The End GameMoriah Dru’s weekend off with her lover, Lieutenant Richard Lake, is interrupted when Atlanta juvenile court judge Portia Devon hires Dru to find two sisters who’ve gone missing after their foster parents’ house burns down.

The latest winner of the Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition, The End Game features a strong new heroine in a vivid Southern setting. Gerrie Ferris Finger puts a new spin on the classic mystery novel.

Gerrie Ferris Finger is a winner of the Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition. She lives on the coast of Georgia with her husband and standard poodle, Bogey.

To learn more about Gerrie and her other books checkout:

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY Review of The End Game
A hunt for two young sisters propels Finger's compelling if at times sobering debut… A well-researched plot and snappy dialogue—plus some fine rail-yard K-9 detecting by Buddy, a German shepherd, and Jed, a Labrador retriever—keep the action moving.

6 Moonbeams (comments):

Gerrie Ferris Finger said...

Thank you Carrie for letting me guest on your terrific blog.

Dana Fredsti said...

Carrie, another fun interview - I love the questions you ask! And thank you for introducing me to another author whose work I can tell I'll love!

Gerrie, I love the picture of you on the dock with the dog - may I ask where that was taken?

Liz said...

I'm not familiar with this author, but I'm putting the book on hold at the library -- it sounds great! I wanted to add that I loved Mary Stewart and never really thought she got too repetitive, but agree with you about Judith Krantz. And look at Nora Roberts -- she's incredibly prolific but I think is just a whiz at spinning a good yarn.

I was interested in your comment adding mystery or suspense; I know you don't do fantasy or vampires, but L.R. Saul does do fantasy that also includes mystery, which is quite unusual. Let's face it -- most of us love our mysteries. Just finished "Bloodline: Alliance," which is fantasy with a message, one that makes you think, and also makes you feel.

Liz said...

Drat -- not at my library. Am going to see if they can find it for me.

Carrie said...

Thanks so much for letting us shine our Moonlight on you! We've do so enjoy meeting new authors!

Gerrie Ferris Finger said...

The photograph on the dock was taken in St. Mary's Ga.
Please ask librarians to stock any book you want. A lot of libraries do not stock debut or midlist authors. It's a money thing, but if you request they will order.
Thank you all for reading and commenting. It has been a good time here.

Best, Gerrie